These are just some thoughts and ideas I wanted to put down "on paper"
The "Eyes" Have It
For almost 2 years I've been battling poor sight in my left eye, and as we all know, clear, crisp eyesight is extremely important to a quilter.
The deterioration of my eyesight was gradual so I didn't visit the eye doctor as soon as I should have-I was busy and could still see well enough, if not perfectly, so I kept putting it off. When I saw the doctor, I thought it would just be a matter of tightening up my prescription. Unfortunately, it wasn't that simple, so I was referred to a specialist who found that the retina of the left eye had detached at one point and the eye, in trying to heal itself, had grown a membrane in front of the retina. That's why, when I closed my right eye and looked out the left, objects were distorted and straight lines dipped in the middle. I still resisted having an operation to fix the problem because I'm a very healthy person and aches and pains have always gone away on their own. I finally gave up and scheduled the surgery for August of 2014. It was a little nerve wracking. I had to have an EKG and lung x-ray and a fasting blood test (on the positive side, all the tests showed I was in excellent health-except for the eye). The surgery itself was billed as out patient because I was in the hospital less than 24 hours, but I was under full anesthesia and recuperation took a few days. I had many people praying for a safe and easy surgery and I know the prayers worked because I didn't have to lay face down for a week after the surgery as is required for some patients with eye retinal repair. Thank you God!
I wish I could say the story ended there, but it didn't. My vision never really improved, it just changed from distortion to fuzziness (imagine smearing the left lens of your glasses with vaseline, that's what my sight was like in the left eye). The ophthalmologist had warned me I was almost certain to develop a cataract because of the retinal surgery so I wasn't surprised, although I was disappointed, when my eyesight didn't return to normal after the first operation. I struggled with the fuzzy sight longer than I should have because my husband and I winter in AZ and I wanted the cataract surgery in NE so that I could work with my original eye doctor.
I finally had cataract surgery April 28th, 2015. The cataract surgery was a breeze compared to the retinal surgery. It was done at an out patient clinic and lasted less than 2 hours from check in to check out. Anesthesia was very light. I was aware but not really awake-I think they call it twilight anesthesia-and I could see clearly from the moment I opened my eyes after the surgery! I can't express the joy at being able to see with a sharpness and clarity that hadn't been there for close to 2 years. Again, I thank the good Lord for the miracles modern medicine can achieve. I probably shouldn't even share this but one of the things that thrills me most is finally seeing well enough to pluck the pesky facial hairs on the left side of my face (how embarrassing to admit I do that).
Is there a down side to the recovery of my sight? Well, some wrinkles appeared on my face overnight, every surface in my house is covered in dust that wasn't there before the surgery, and I don't think I even want to look at the quilts I made in the past year. But all kidding aside, I'm thankful to all involved and I'll never again take my eye sight for granted.
Take a word of advice. Don't piece when distracted-or fighting with your husband. You'll spend twice the time ripping what you just pieced incorrectly.
I've heard that many quilters find attaching the binding to a finished quilt to be the most tedious part of the quilting process, and I know that the binding can be added successfully using a sewing machine, but I'm too much a traditionalist to allow myself to finish a quilt that way.
I enjoy the calmer pace of the hand work. I can sit down in my most comfortable easy chair and either watch a movie I've been wanting to see, or listen to a book on tape (which I do often when I'm quilting) or listen to some uplifting music.
Hand stitching the binding gives me time to say goodbye to the quilt (because most of my quilts are given away), to wrap myself in the feel and colors of the fabric, and to add the perfect finishing touch.
We're suffering thru a time of drought and heat that hasn't been seen since the "dirty 30's". Thank God, we haven't had the wildfires that CO has, but our crops (corn and soybeans) are struggling-even with irrigation. I've given up trying to save my lawn and am just trying to keep perennial bushes and plants alive.
I think of our ancestors who pioneered this land. I've read of their experiences-crops drying up and grasshoppers eating what's left- but until this year it was just stories. Now I feel a bit of what they felt. Day after day of heat and dry and scanning the horizon for rain clouds that never come.
I think of the quilters of that time. They had no electricity so stitched their quilts by hand, and I imagine they did the majority of their quilting a night when there was no daylight for the necessary daily chores. Quilting by lamplight had to hard on the eyes, and my admiration for them knows no bounds.
Could I do what they did? I don't know. All I know is that I thank God for my air conditioned house, for electricity to run my sewing machine and iron, and lighting that mimics daylight so that I don't have to suffer eye strain.
May the good Lord continue to bless this country and may He protect us from the effects of the drought and heat until the heavens once again open up and bless us with life-giving rain.
I like to save money but sometimes take it too far. I realize, after all is said and done, that I should have loosened my purse strings and spent the money. Such was the case when it came time to back my Kansas Challenge quilt. I knew it was going to be close but thought, with some piecing, I could make it work. Unfortunately, I was just a few inches short.
Fortunately, I had an extra block I hadn't used in the quilt top, and it was big enough to cover the backing shortage.
I ironed under the edges and appliqued it in place.
I ended up with a great place to sign and date my quilt, but I think if I had to do it over again, I'd buy the extra fabric!
Sometimes I even amaze myself. Quiltmaker had a project for me with a short deadline and I was expecting a visit from my grandchildren. The fabric was delayed and didn't arrive until noon on the day my family arrived. I cut, pieced and marked the quilting on the top by 7 that evening. I fit in the basting, quilting and binding the next day between naps and time with grandpa. Thank goodness it was a small wallhanging- 28"x 28", but it's the cover quilt for Quiltmaker's 8th volume of quilting motifs so I had to make sure the points matched and that the threads were buried on all the quilting. The volume is available now at this site,and I hope you enjoy the quilt which graces it's cover.
TN Enterprises, an informational video company, has joined with Creative Crafts Group, the publisher of Quiltmaker magazine, to make DVDs of a variety of quilt techniques. They then sell the DVDs in a "book of the month" format. June Dudley, editor of Quiltmaker magazine invited me to their offices in Golden, CO to participate. With my heart half way up my throat, I said yes to the invitation and spent the next 10 days preparing demonstrations on Reverse Applique and Basting a Quilt. I practiced my moves and the words to go along with the actions over and over and over. My greatest fear was that I'd freeze up and stare into the camera like a deer in the headlights. Thankfully, that didn't happen; and, although I stumbled over my words a time or two, on the whole I think I looked and sounded comfortable and professional.
What made the process difficult and stressful for me was that the taping was not continuos. I'd often have to stop the demo if they needed a different shot or I'd made a mistake (guess which happened more often). When I teach a quilting class or talk at quilt guilds, I start at point A and continue on to points B, C, D, etc. without breaking my rhythm. Having to go from A to B, during filming, then back to A or on to C while trying to remember where to stand, where to place my hands, and when to look at the camera (forget smiling!) was almost more than my brain could handle. Little wonder I forgot about 1/4 of what I'd planned to say!
My 2 segments took 4 hours to tape and I was mentally exhausted by the end. Had they invited me then and there to return for future filming, I'm not sure I'd have said yes. But now that a few days have passed, and the memory of the difficulties is fading (kind of like a woman forgets the pain of child birth) I'm looking forward to seeing the DVDs and having the opportunity to share a few more quilt demos with TN Enterprise and Creative Crafts customers.
Lost Rings and Miracles
This is a tale of lost rings and miracles. My husband and I were in the car on our way home from Denver and I took my wedding bands off to apply hand lotion. I put the rings in my lap, which I know isn't the smartest move, but I've done it numerous times. This time- due to jet lag or whatever- I forgot to put the rings back on my finger. We traveled for quite awhile and stopped a time or 2 before I realized my rings were missing. The bottom dropped out of my stomach and though I hunted around my car seat and in the cracks of the door, I just knew they were lying on the ground, in a ditch, or on a grass lined curb somewhere. I was just heart sick to lose something so precious and I felt numb the rest of the way home.
My husband got on internet (God bless internet) when we got home and looked up a map of the 2 places we'd stopped. The first stop was basically an intersection between 2 highways with a couple of businesses on the corner. Our other stop was a gas station at the Wiggins exchange on I-76. I honestly thought I'd lost the rings at the first stop and called one of the businesses there to leave my name and number in case the rings were found. I called the gas station just as an after thought, thinking that even if I had lost them there, no way would the finder turn them in, but I left my name and number and put the whole mess in God's hands.
The next morning the phone rang, My husband answered and from his voice I thought it was a sales call. He handed it to me, I said hello, and heard a woman ask if I'd lost something the other day. I said "did you find my rings?", and the angel on the other end said "yes, I did." Turns out I did lose them at the gas station and this couple must have been traveling not far behind us. She was filling her tank and looked down and saw some shiny rings. She thought they were probably from a dime store or a toy dispenser machine and almost ignored them, but bent down anyway and realized they weren't some cheap toy. She and her husband talked it over, decided to take them along and, through St. Anthony's intercession, find the owner of the rings. She called the station the next day, got my name and number and the rest is, as they say, history. The finder of my rings has a special devotion to St. Anthony, patron saint of all things lost, and since I didn't think to pray to him, St. Anthony didn't help me find my rings, he helped my angel find me!
God's hand was in it all the way. He sent honest people to follow and stop at our gas pump, He nudged the lady to look down and pick up an item she normally would have ignored, and He nudged me to call the gas station even though I was positive I'd lost my rings at the other location. Thank you God and St. Anthony- prayers are answered.
Last Updated: May 01st, 2015 - 4:16 AM