Saturday, December 5, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing!

Jemima has made a nest in my quilt pieces.

Mrs. Beasley keeps me company. The cats all like the old flannel quilt which is on the daybed.

Maisie takes my chair when I leave the sewing machine to cut or press fabric.

Work in progress.  What you don't see is the pile of scraps to the right of the machine, the stack of fabric on the ironing board and still more of it in an untidy pile on the floor.

I did tidy up after the quilt top was [finally!] finished.

Meanwhile, the weather has turned unpleasant.  I didn't venture outside to take this photo as the snow began to fall on Wednesday.

Taken Thursday evening.  I didn't linger long on the front porch--and didn't notice til posting the photo that clothesline and snow-frosted clothespins were visible. 

Somehow, as each Christmas season draws close, I am inspired to take on projects that should have been tackled weeks earlier.  I finished a "big block" quilt for our daughter before Thanksgiving and put it on the waiting list for the long-arm quilter. Well and good.  I came home from our weekend with Howard and Heidi and decided they should also have a new quilt.  I chose the "primitive log cabin" block as a simple one to do in a hurry, worked out the cutting dimensions to create a 14" block. I didn't stop to consider that although most of the log cabin variations are very simple to piece, one ends up stitching miles around those "logs!"
I didn't have to work at the shop on Monday, as the fabric needed for my orders wasn't there, so took the opportunity to start this quilt.
The owner of the quilt shop is in Las Vegas as a vendor at "Cowboy Christmas", a huge craft fair that runs concurrently with rodeo finals.  After setting up her booth, she determined that she needed a quantity of the decorator pillowcases which we make.  These are made with a cuff, piping and French seams.  I can put one together in about 30 minutes.  I brought home 5 to make Tuesday evening, turned out 5 more at the shop on Wednesday.
I begged off work on Thursday to sew on my own quilt while making supper for our niece and her three children who are visiting in the area with J's brother and his wife.  I also invited daughter and SIL from next door.  It was a cold day, so I simmered a large kettle of vegetable soup, made an apple crisp, took home made bread from the freezer, put together a salad.  In between, I ran in here to sew another round of logs on the quilt blocks.
By Friday I felt over whelmed by the task I had set myself.  I had pieced and pressed 48 blocks, redid my math and calculated that 42 would be sufficient.  This is the part of quilt making that should be fun--arranging and laying out the blocks, enjoying the color combinations, seeing the entire top come together.
However, the morning was plagued with small annoyances. The cistern was low and the water pump making distressed sounds, so J. shut down the pump and went out to haul water. He found that it was so cold the old Dodge we call "Snort'n Nort'n" wouldn't start.  J. transferred the water tank to the other truck and quickly filled the cistern.
I discovered that Teasel had an abcess in a delicate place and needed a visit to the vet. J. announced an errand in Riverton and offered to take Teasel to the vet, so there ensued the rather traumatic capture of an agitated cat, who had to be stuffed, thrashing wildly and gnashing her teeth, into the cat carrier.  Teasel hissed while the other cats looked on in apprehension.  J. took up the carrier and headed out through the garage, Teasel's mournful yowls floating on the frigid air.
Thinking that I was due for a belated shower, I turned on the tap and stepped into the stream of water--which promptly quit.  The pump was air-locked.  Feeling scruffy and harrassed, I pulled on warm clothes and returned to the quilt project. The sewing machine unaccountably snarled threads, misbehaved.  I began a mental mantra, "You can do this.  You're going to get this done.  Two more rows, last row. Cut out the border, stitch the lengths, pin, stitch, press."
J. returned with a chastened Teasel who had endured the lancing of her abcess and two injections. She promptly retreated under the bed while the other cats sniffed suspiciously behind her.
I delivered the finished quilt top to the shop at 4--where it has been duly entered in the waiting list.  Traffic had been blocked on Main Street while the holiday season was honored with the turning on of strings of overhead lights. I followed the line of vehicles inching up the side street to the end of town, tires crunching on packed snow.  Sunset colors stained the sky, casting pink shadows on the white foothills.  As I turned off the dirt road Pebbles the Horse frisked along the pasture fence, anticipating her evening feed of hay.  In the house the cats waited for their "tea" to be dished out; the propane fireplace battled the chill, as J. hung a heavy blanket over the porch door. 
I made myself tidy my sewing area, brewed a mug of tea and slumped into a chair, reviewing the "still to do" list: Christmas program to compose for church next week; three dozen placemats to tackle at the shop; food for annual church Christmas vespers; take sewing machine in for brain whirred, eyes felt gritty.  Enough for now just to savor the hot tea and enjoy the furry weight of a cat on my lap.


  1. Hullo MM,

    Its strange the self inflicted pressure we suffer and how when these are at their worst, or the threat of them is at their worst, how other things conspire against us.

    Your post made me think of Robert Burns
    “The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft a-gley; And leave us naught but grief and pain For promised joy”

    But also I thought that perhaps like me you often perform best under self inficted pressure.

    Hope it all works out.

    Cats are so good at making you feel guilty too, no matter the circumstances.


  2. I do hope Teasel is feeling better ... but why do they get ill when one has no cash or little time . No matter what, we find both if need be.

    I so take my hat off to you when it comes to quilts and a machine equals a puckered mess lol

    Wonderfully atmospheric shots ....pegs and all lol

  3. Sounds like you were quite the busy bee while the boss was at the Cowboy Rodeo show.

    Which shop do you work for?

    Kona Bay Fabrics

  4. Thank you for sharing your days. Piles of scraps - yup. Plenty of those. Usually in the middle of the table with a cat sat on them. I see the snow is now with you. That's bad news, though you should have a white Christmas (a real rarity here). We are just having wintry showers, which are bad enough - I'd rather have the snow TBH!

    Christmas is always a good boost to the getting of jobs done. I plan to have the whole house tidied so that when the girls are home, it will just be trotting around with a duster and the occasional swish of a vacuum cleaner . . . as long as Snowy doesn't keep moulting that is!

    Sorry to hear about Teasel and also all the hurry, scurry and problems with quilt-making, water systems and life in general.

    At least Pebbles sounds good if she's frisking about the paddock and demanding her hay.

  5. Al; I do this to myself fairly often--slow learner. A deadline does prod me to be more efficient with my time, but it falls apart when things "gang a-gley" And why should I expect that they won't?
    Yes, cats do the "guilt trip" act very well, and then go smugly off after we have fallen for it.
    Angie; Teasel is feeling better as a result of her prompt trip to our good vet. It worked well for me that J. could take her, although I felt like a bad mother, sending her special "child" off to the surgery alone.
    I handle a sewing machine well after these many years of experience, but could never create the stunning photo collages you make--I am so clumsy with papers and anything involving glue.
    Douglas; I work part time for Wyoming Quilts in Lander, Wyoming. There are several of our stock items which I keep made up as well as doing custom orders. We also design and create quilts to showcase the western-themed fabrics of WestHill Designs [Troy Fabrics] which accompany rep Bob Gardner to "market." You can view our shop online at
    I visited your blog and will make a point of going back at my leisure.
    BB; "Life in general" will get us every time! Bit much of that lately. The cats so like to be in the middle of whatever I do--I sometimes put my cutting mat down on the floor in here to slice fabric in a hurry [which is hard on aging knees] and have to scold at least a couple of cats that they need to MOVE or risk having toes or tail in the way of the rotary cutter. Update on the snow coming up!
    I'll also post the two Christmas gift quilts when they are returned from the long-arm quilter and I have applied the bindings.