Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Originally this blog was supposed to be about intuitive design.  I know that sounds really fancy and maybe a bit intimidating, but I felt it was needed.  The series of blogs I wrote back in 2018 dealing with the Golden Ratio are still getting lots of hits (YEA!!).  I get PMs and emails with questions several times a month.  So, my thought were that with this blog I would answer the most frequently asked questions to see if that would help fellow quilters out.

I had my outline.

I had my graphics.

I was ready to rock and roll. 

Enter technical problems.

As a whole, technology and I get along pretty well.  As soon as home computers became available, I had one (I think it was Radio Shack’s brand, back in the mid 1980’s).  I’ve manipulated software.  I was using Quickbooks for home bookkeeping back when it was in DOS.  As a high school science teacher, I would upgrade my Texas Instruments science calculators every time a new one came out.  Big Red is computerized.  My Babylock Spirit is highly computerized, as is LeAnne the Long Arm.  I have a new iPhone and Apple Watch.  Each time I upgrade something, I have a little niggling fear in the back of my mind – what happens if some of this stops?

So besides just seriously aging myself – because let’s be real, who remembers Quickbooks when it was in DOS besides me and maybe a few accountants – here’s where my issue with technology comes into play this week.  See this?

This is my present laptop screen.  And no, I didn’t program it to look like a rainbow.  It did that all by itself.  A few days ago, I was working on EQ8 when it happened.  I had left my desk to go get something to drink.  When I returned, I wiggled my mouse to bring my laptop back to life.  The screen went white, and then began to show these stripes.  So, I did what most people my age do when they’re suffering technical dilemmas – I talked with one of my kids.  In this case, it was Meg, because she can make computers not only talk, but sing in harmony —  in vivid (and sometimes colorful) detail. “Could be the screen,” she told me.  “It could be going bad.”

“What do I do?” I asked.

“Take it to your computer guy.  He can replace your screen.  It’s an easy fix.”

Which all makes good sense – except that means I have to surrender my laptop for a few days.  And you never know how computer dependent you are until suddenly you’re without one.  Yes, I have a great phone.  And an iPad.  And two android tablets (one is on LeAnne).  But I write and edit my graphics on my laptop because the screen is bigger.  I’m 58.  My eyesight can only deal with smaller screens for so long.  Thankfully my DH gave me an android with a keyboard for Christmas.  The keyboard is tiny, but hey, it’s a keyboard and it’s not a permanent way of blogging.  So, with those positive thoughts in mind, I packed up Larry the Laptop and drove him down to Archdale to my computer guy (You may notice at this point all my sewing machines have female names.  The laptop is a male.  I’m not sure what this says about me).  Time will tell what the diagnosis is.

So, while I am struggling through my laptop-deprived existence, I thought I would do a virtual show and tell so you can see what I’ve gotten done.

I have finished this – as I reported earlier.  This is the lap-sized Sunny Lanes.  I also have finished what I thought was the queen-sized sister to this one in the same fabrics.  However, it was an extra-large queen by the time it was complete and wouldn’t fit on my long arm frame.  While I have the type of  frame I can extend to 12 feet, my studio would only reasonably accommodate the 10-foot space.  And this never worried me because I never anticipated I’d ever make anything larger than a queen-sized quilt.  Anyway, the larger version of Sunny Lane is now winging her way to Missouri Star Quilt Company to be long-armed.  As soon as she’s back, I’ll bind her and she’ll go on my bed.

This is how far I’ve gotten on my second block of my Language of Flowers quilt.  I’ve gotten lots of prep work done but haven’t seemed to be able to settle down and get the rest of the pieces glue-basted on to this one to continue the applique.  Part of the reason is this:

That’s right.  We took time out to take the family to Disney World after Christmas.  We are a die-hard Disney family.  The DH and I honeymooned there, as did Meg and her DH.  My son and his DW have been there numerous times.  The big draw for us (at least for Matt and me) was Galaxy’s Edge.  We’re huge Star Wars fans.  However, we didn’t let the grand darlings know we were going until we were literally pulling onto the on ramp in Orlando to go to Disney.  Their reaction was priceless.

This will always be a highlight of my life.  Since I’m a Mimi, I knew I could do one of two things.  I could either plan and budget on spending a lot of money on souvenirs that would be broken and forgotten within six months, or I could give them an experience that they’d never forget.  I chose the experience.  We did the Bippity-Bopity Boutique. 

Oh. My. God.  I don’t know who had more fun, me or the girls, or their mom. 

So, I was a bit distracted from my quilty projects while I was plotting Disney.  However, I think I am back on track now. 

See this pile of hexi blocks?  I am happy to announce that I’ve completed all the blocks for my A Day in Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I’ve steadily worked on these blocks for a year.  They’re pieced by hand using Cindy Blackberg’s hexie stamp.  These were my constant project at my Tuesday night Sit and Sew.  The girls have helped with the layout, so now I have to put on the connectors and get the whole thing together.  When I began this quilt, I honest didn’t know if I would enjoy hand piecing.  I had a plan B in place – if I struggled with it, I’d simply make a wall hanging or bed runner and be done.  But I found that hand piecing was soothing, and I believe I’m really going to miss this project when it’s completed.

I’ve also completed my Halo Medallion top. 

And I’ve set it aside.  This quilt deserves stellar quilting and to be honest, I don’t have the long arm skill set for this quilt yet.  It may be a couple of years before Halo is under my long arm needle.

I’ve also finished this quilt:

My BFF, Janet, introduced this quilt in 2019 as our guild’s mystery quilt.  There were size options, so I settled on the table topper after seeing how many biased edges this little sucker had.  However, there was another reason I settled on a smaller size.  I’ve been introduced to embroidery machine programs by Amelie Scott that allow you to quilt on your embroidery machine.  While I will never do a large quilt on my Baby Lock Spirit, I wanted to experiment with a small one.  So those lovely feathered circles were done on Barbara the Baby Lock.  The other quilting was done on Big Red.  For me, it’s more trouble to load a small quilt onto LeAnne than a large one.  By the time I go through all the hassle of loading it, I could throw it on Big Red and have it completed. 

I’ve started this quilt:

When I saw the kit on Laundry Baskets web page, I fell in love with the muted colors. Normally I don’t purchase quilt kits – I like the freedom to purchase my own fabrics with my own color choices.  However, this quilt kit was the exception, and since I had saved some birthday money, I purchased the kit that had the pieces already laser cut.  And I don’t regret it at all.  I am having so much fun making this quilt!

Then there’s this:

I know this looks like a pile of fishy confusion, but my DH asked for a fish quilt.  I purchased a fabric panel with bass and trout and cut it apart.  I have the basic layout, but the challenge will be putting the whole thing together so that it looks good.  The great thing about the panels is they are really colorful, so I can pull everything from my stash.  I hope to have it constructed and bound by Christmas…(notice I didn’t say which Christmas – because we all know how that goes). 

And I’ve made this:

My good friend, Karen, made one of these quilt planners and showed it to me at one of the Tuesday night Sit and Sews.  Since the page was a free download that could be customized, I asked her if she would email me her layout.  She did and I sent it to Office Depot.  They printed my copies and put it on a spiral.  So now I have this great quilt planner and these:

Lots of pretty pens to keep track of my projects.  I completely finished six quilts last year – pieced, bound, and labeled.  I’d like to finish eight projects this year. 

I’m afraid there’s not a whole lot of instruction with this blog.  However, I hope I have inspired you to finish a few of your own.  Meanwhile, my laptop is at Computer Guy’s shop.  I get it back tomorrow with a new screen.  Hopefully, it’s all fixed and I can resume my regularly scheduled blogs.

Until next week, Level Up That Quilting!

Love and Stitches,

Sherri and Sam

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