Monday, September 27, 2021

Week 29: Blah Week

I took/attended three zoom quilting classes this week.

Class One: Lauren's session was about developing a color pallet. Going from different colors and filling in the missing pieces. At least I think that is what the talk was about. Little Buffy needed attention during the presentation so I missed most of it. I hadn't straightened up my sewing area before the class so I didn't have a block to share from last week's presentation and I don't have one to share for the new lecture either.  If I can sit and listen to her series though I know I will learn new information to apply to my quilting.

It turned out that I only needed a few hours to get the sewing room in order before the next two classes, so I hope to look back at my notes and have something to share at the next class session.

Class Two:  I printed and pasted the pattern templates on cardboard so they would be reusable and picked out my fabrics.

The supply list for the first class said to have 10-12 fat quarters, 1 yard for background and border, plus a selection of 8-10 inch scraps to make the entire 25 block quilt.  At first I was going to plan to eventually make the entire quilt, but then decided to be happy with four blocks, as I could sew them together to add to my Starry Nite quilt. Which was already has some 4 patch blocks in the design.

So I did too much preparation since I cut back what I was going to make.  But in the end I didn't even use two fat quarters and just needed a few long strips for scraps.  I'm glad I didn't cut fabric down before the class began as that would have been really wasteful - of time and materials.

She had the blocks designed so they were asymmetrical until the last strip was added to the side that then made them square. When I printed the templates I measured the one inch test square and that was correct. But after discussion in the class found out that the one template was supposed to be 6 1/4 by 6 1/2 - but my piece printed at 6 1/8 by 6 1/2. The other people hadn't measured the one inch so they went and reprinted and were happy. Mine still showed one inch test box but a different measurement for the template piece.  I just put the blocks I made in a little bag with the pattern to deal with when I pull out the blocks for the bigger project - then I will decide what to do...  It was fun and interesting to work on adding the inserts to the larger pieces of fabric - but that was done before the template was cut out, so it was sort of a side trip.

In the pattern she shows the diagram of a quilt made without the inserts, but when I looked I only saw the colors, not that detail.  It is good that I refreshed my memory on what fabrics I have, and that I didn't cut down fabric to have fat quarters and 8-10 inch squares before class. She had a diagram showing how you could cut four blocks from one fat quarter, that I guess went with the no inserts version, but it was unclear to me how to interpret the pattern.

She covered herself by printing that the real fabric needed would depend on choices we made, but it was sort of waste of time and effort before the class anyway.

I used the colors and fabrics saved from my WIP Starry Bright Sky QAL  Once put together this new block it will be a nice addition to the quilt.

Class Three:  This was another long class, with lots of time to actually sew things together.  The templates were printed using Carol Doak paper - it took a little work to remember how best to tape the pieces on the window to line up the templates. Up to four pages had to be connected for one of the four blocks.

This was another case of even though I had read the pattern and looked online to see examples, there were things about the pattern that I didn't see until the class discussion.

My goal was to make two blocks in class, and to finish the other two after class.

I finished just one, and rushed to finish the second one... So that one will need to be redone.

The new things I learned in these were:

1.  That taping templates to fabric and then cutting is a thing!  It worked very well to get the skinny pieces cut, and while I was at it I just taped everything down before cutting.  It was very easy to cut the starched fabric.  

Years ago - like perhaps ten or fifteen years ago or longer, my mom had purchased a stack of green boxes of scotch tape.  Enough for an office or school.  But now I have a reason to use that tape and it was a dream to use for this purpose.  I was thinking of how my mom was with me while I was sewing for this class.  She would have done excellent work in the class and ended up with a perfect set of blocks.  I wish we had sewn together more.  

2.  Look carefully at template pieces, and be sure to have what you need for a block in one area.  I didn't and cut a piece (clearly labeled with the word background) that was supposed to be grey out of purple material.  But just a little mistake that I hope to not repeat.

3.  When they say to sew slowly, even though others are way ahead of you with their work, still sew slowly.  In my rush to finish the second block after class I have a few puckers that will require seam ripping or just redoing it all together.

4.  The teacher showed an example of a block she made that had ended up very crooked compared the blocks it was to be joined to. On the same slide, she showed the piece corrected and sewn together and quilted.  She showed the slide saying it was something to be aware of but it was fixable.  When asked she confessed the solution was not only to spray and block each piece as completed, but she had to rip out the work and redo it!  Ugh!  

5. Sometimes teachers recommend a tool as they use it, but really there often are ways to do the procedure without the expense or needing to store the item for later use.

6.  Also, using items to weigh down larger pieces of template on top of fabric will help with cutting the pieces too. When cutting a skinny piece for example it was good to weigh it down for the return cut to stop it from moving and wrecking the cut.

7.  Having some card stock and a smaller ruler helped with using some of the Carol Doak paper templates.  But sure to fold at the seams, back stitch in the seam line for each piece, fold the paper back and cut the fabric so there is a new 1/4 inch seam.  If using white and black might consider cutting black slightly narrower or move the white piece so it shows from the front of the template as you sew to prevent the black from showing thru.

8.  Teacher recommended pressing seams open as you add on the different layers of the pattern.

9.  No one knew a way to use computer to pour in different colors on the coloring page - so the ppl who used it actually used coloring pencils to test their fabric choices.  Apparently EQ allows the computer to help with coloring, but giving that file away was not an option for this class.  I don't have EQ so not an issue for me, and since I was using the same fabrics (not gradually going from one set of colors to another) I didn't really need the option.  But it would be nice to know how to pour in colors into a pdf image, wouldn't it?

Teaching Notes to Remember

She talked about how she developed this pattern as part of a series of like-looking designs.  I think if I ever were to teach a class I might give out or assign different students different fabrics to use to help with increasing the examples of different colors and perhaps giving some different pattern modifications to test too. And then print with notes so the differences are pointed out.

Also, although the dream is to have all the students eventually finish a complete quilt, for workshop purposes it would be great to organize it so there is a different workshop sub-pattern or set of directions to follow to finish something in the class time.  It was awkward to flip back and forth between pages.

The written and oral directions should be the same or an errata sheet of differences should be compiled by the teacher ahead of time.

In a class, better to start with easy steps and then move on to more complicated things.

Work on numbering blocks so they start with simpler to more complicated too. It the easier block to probably three or four then have the pattern label those blocks as one or two and change the others accordingly.

It's a fine line between giving information away and charging for it.  Charging for every thing is a drag and time consuming.  If you want to sell something, the put it in the pattern and clearly on the website too.  Make it easy and not part of class. 


I did get some walking/chatting sessions in and enjoyed them. Buffy continues to amaze with her progress.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Weeks 37-38: Box Progress

Not sewing yet.

I did attend the first in the new series of zoom lectures by Lauren Kingsland.  You can probably sign up too.

Here is the class write up:

In the Studio with Lauren
by The Georgetown Lombardi Arts and Humanities Program
8- week FREE, online workshop on THURSDAYS Sep. 16th - Nov. 4th, 2021, 12-1pm EST. Relax, Learn, & Community! Theme for the series: Colors  (There is a Tuesday class too.)

About this event

Love Those Colors

“I love the colors in your quilt!” Is a compliment that always brings a smile to a quiltmaker. The basic principles of color interaction are important tools in our artistic toolbox. In this class weekly hands-on exercises will help you understand how YOU see color and how to manage to get the effects you want. Lauren will share color “recipes” and tricks to give you color confidence. Hands-on homework projects will be simple hand piecing OR may be done by gluing or fusing.

Students will need small fabric pieces ( 6” square or larger) of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple in light, medium and dark values. Bring what you have to the first class.

A looseleaf notebook may be used to create your own color reference book if you wish

Who is this class for?  You! This class is for anyone who is interested in learning a new skill and being a part of a growing community. Beginners are welcome.

Accessibility Notes:  This class is closed captioned.

About Instructor:  The class will be led by Georgetown Lombardi Arts and Humanities Program (AHP) Artist-in-Residence Lauren Kingsland.

Lauren is an internationally known and beloved teacher, specializing in the intersection of art and healing. Her medium of first choice is quiltmaking and fiber art. Lauren is the author of several books, including “Healing Journey - Quilts about Transformation in the Presence of Cancer” and “The Extraordinary T-shirt Quilt - A Scrapbook You Can Sleep Under” as well as an experienced singer, and mindfulness practitioner.

No one read the descriptions, as we didn't bring our fabric pieces to class.  Lauren discussed hue and value and showed examples.  Our homework is to make a nice patch (or anything really) with different reds.

I am finally cleaning up my sewing room and will look for examples of red and orange fabric so I will be prepped for last week and this coming week.  

Also need to find the fabric I'll be using for the two classes I take next week with EBHQ: 


The Abstract Arcs Quilt is a pattern that can be made into a small wall hanging or a large bed quilt! This workshop covers the concepts of curved piecing, inset strips, and improv piecing. We will also discuss the use of color in this quilt, as well as layouts that emphasize the use of negative space. Students will finish several blocks during class.

Haven't decided at all what colors to use for this!


The Indigo Radial Quilt is a wall hanging made using paper piecing and curved piecing techniques. This workshop covers the basic concepts of paper piecing on an arc, curved piecing skinny arcs, and precision piecing. We will also discuss color options, alternate layouts using templates provided in the pattern, and quilting ideas. Students will finish several blocks during class. The Indigo Radial Quilt finishes at 24 x 24 inches.

I'm thing perhaps different violets, purples and red or gold for my piece.


I had both my sewing machines maintained after a long break when I didn't use as I wasn't sure I should with the strange noises I started hearing when I was finishing the Christmas exchange blocks.

So I can also work on my EBHQ Lone Robin Quilt.  If I can finish before October 1 then I can be in the drawing - but probably won't be able to do that.  But perhaps if I find my notes on what I was going to make!

So hopefully my quilting and sewing will be starting up again.  And I will be able to continue going thru boxes too.

I had signed up for the classes I think when I saw that the  paperwork for the taxes would be submitted ahead of the deadline....  I have also been going thru boxes of papers and paperwork and making pretty good progress with tossing things, putting things into current file folders, and even started some scanning and then shredding.  I can see clearly now that no one will ever want to look at the records of things saved for tax preparation, so that will make that part of the adventure easier to do.

The first box I grabbed to scan happened to have the papers for my mom starting the year my father passed away and ending I think seven years later.  I had all the papers for when her home flooded and new flooring and kitchen had to be installed.  What a headache that was!  That sure reminded me of why I keep putting off having big things done to this house...  Also there were records for her medical care and all the work hiring extra people to help with caregiving.  That was really hit or miss on quality of care and record keeping.  I don't know if anyone could learn from the experiences I had.  I think unfortunately each person has to navigate the various systems and people themselves.  At least here in California.

Buffy is making wonderful progress.  She now has two or three walks a day.  Different lengths depending mainly on her mood, but when it has turned out to be hot I sort of move us toward home.  I think she was okay with that too though.

Sep 13 - her wounds are really healing well.  We are getting use to how she looks now and doing a better job of working with her so she is getting better with going up and down stairs and getting to places she wants to go.  She obviously feels better than she did before the operation.

Sep 16: Before I knew she was going to have the operation I also got her a new squeaky and crunchy toy.  She plays with this more often than her older ones. Fun to let her have it a little bit each day....

Sep 20: I had gotten her this game before I knew she would have operation.  You put a treat under each little cap - she smells it and bites to lift it up to get the treat!

A nice sunset in the neighborhood.

Sep 18:  A few years ago I got this canvas crate/bed from a neighbor.  Buffy didn't really like to sleep in it, but she would eat her food when it was placed inside. 
So I used when we were in hotels with her for that.  

Now Buffy really likes going in here to snooze. I have it so it makes her pen larger as the bed now is part of the wall. 

I like the way I can look down at her too.

Dogs sleep more than I realized.  
She has several hours of interaction time though that is very, very nice indeed.

My friend and I are back to walking - in the evenings though now as then if Buffy doesn't want to walk as long as I do, then my son or husband can watch her while I continue walking!  I'm looking forward to starting my online exercise sessions again too - but that will be after Buffy is better alone again, and I have more boxes finished.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Round Up Weeks 32 - 36: Other Things and Fabric Related

August 30 - EBHQ Zoom Lecture by Malka Dubrawsky

She is especially into dying her fabric, stamping and doing those kinds of things.  So in her examples she repeats designs within a piece, tests an idea with different colors and by creating a design with different techniques.

If EBHQ offers another dying class, I hope I can take it.  It was just the wrong time for me to devote a full day for anything this time...


I walked a few times with my friend while we chatted on the phone - before my son's classes at university started we would walk in the morning before the day heated up. After his teaching started we switched to evening walks one or two times.

My son and I made lemon curd for my husband's birthday cake.  This year it only has two layers as we were so concentrated on little Buffy.

My husband and I wrote postcards with the zoom group to encourage people to vote no on the recall.

Most of the time was spent thinking about or caring for Buffy. That time has certainly paid off! So pleased with her progress in healing after her double enucleation surgery.  She already seems to have more pep!

Round Up Week 32 - 36: Buffy

Dog photo heavy post - not quilting at all.

Well, I'm just writing this for myself to try to document Buffy's journey.

August 15 we took Buffy to vet as her eye was very red and tender.  We left her and he called A to say it was time to remove the eye.  She had glaucoma and apparently it is very painful.  He said if she could tolerate it, he also recommended removing the second eye (which had been the first to start to turn red).

I had heard that this might be a possibility, but thought we could prevent that from happening by being consistent with the medications and doctor visits.  We were consistent to five or rarely ten minutes.  We noted everytime we administered drops and gave pills.  We recorded food given and eaten.  We recorded bowel movements and urine.  We recorded walks.  But it in the end that only prolonged the illness.  Our son had investigated all treatment options and he told me too that it was time.  

I knew she was completely blind for a while.  I watched her sometimes go up to a wall, touch it, back away and go another direction.  She would repeat that sometimes until she got herself oriented again. When she was doing this it reminded me of that old game Pong. She was and is eating well, sleeping a lot, and eager sniffing for treats and walks and to be near us.

So as awful as the day was when this happened, it is now almost a month later as I write this, clearly the right decision as she is doing so well.

8-15: The last photo before we left her at the vets. My son and I told each other later that we felt ill after telling the vet to go ahead.

8-16: two photos the day after.  Her forehead started swelling so we tried to apply a cold compress to help bring it down.

8-17: forehead still swollen, She does not look like herself with the round face.  We had set up cameras to monitor her while she was at the vet having the operation, we put collapsed banker's boxes around A's bed so Buffy wouldn't walk off into the air.  We have several cameras set up so we can see her in different rooms.

8-18: comfortable with a choice of pillows and pet beds to sleep - placed on the floor in the den.  We put her food and water bowls on a yoga mat in this room too.

8-19: Her wounds started weeping.  She looks so sad in this photo, but she was eating well and near us when she wasn't sleeping.
8-20: We sent photos to the vet and they said to bring her in.

8-21: wounds were cleaned up, new meds given for infection.

8:21- still weeping.  We took turns holding her and applying warm water compress to soften the weeping, then used other cotton balls or pads to remove several times a day.

8-23: To vets for another eye cleaning and this time he did another incision to remove infection.  This was A's first day of teaching anything ever.  He has three undergraduate courses to plan for and present at the university. 

8-24: still weeping from the wounds. She was making sounds while breathing so we sent a video to the vet.  He said to bring her in as soon as he saw the video.

8-25: Here she is on the way to the vet, at the vet's on a recovery bed on the doctor's desk, and after.  They changed some of the sutures and cleaned her up.

8-26: Feeling much better.  We took away the pet bed with the sides as she was rubbing her stitches even though she had the collar on.  She got up by herself from the bed and walked to the water and her food dishes.
8-27: Photo showing the pillows and plastic boxes arranged so Buffy will not hurt herself on sharpish corners of furniture.  You can also see the yoga mat with the food and water.  We were taking turns sleeping there with her to keep her company and monitor her movements.

8-28: Very little if any weeping now.  BTW she never tried to remove the e-collar.  We were too afraid to try to remove it ourselves to give her a rest from it so it just stayed on unless they removed at the vet's office.

8-29: So pleased that she is finding the food and water and helping herself!

8-30: Went to vet - these photos show the blue stitches.


9-2: Before I knew she was going to have surgery I had gotten this stroller for her only because I thought it would be nice to go walking in a different neighborhood or if we went to a ham radio convention or art fair as we have done several times.  I put her in the stroller on this day just to see how she fit and would react.  It's much smaller than I thought I would be, but she fit in nicely and I could picture her snoozing for the part of the walk when we go on a busy street to get to the other neighborhood.
9-3:  I took her for a brief walk in the neighborhood.  We didn't want to have her walk on the streets until her stitches were removed and she was more healed.  I walked a little more than half way down the street then turned back.  She never relaxed during the trip - but she does have the collar on so perhaps she could feel the sides of the compartment.  When I got to two houses away she started standing on all fours and sort of walked.  So I was glad I hadn't taken her very far away from home.

9-5:  She is doing so much better now.  Sleeping to heal, eating, prowling for treats we put on the floor of the den.

9-6:  She knows who to go to for the best massages and belly rubs!

9-7:  Stitches removed!  Nice to see her without the e-collar on. We did replace it during the night time to help her not scratch herself while we were asleep.

9-8: Set up her pen in the bedroom with the dream that I'd be able to get work done while she rested or hung out.  But that didn't happen.  Ended up putting her harness on and putting her on top of the bed.  I put the leash under me to prevent her from walking off in the air.  It worked well - but very little work was done by me.  She only has the e-collar on now at nighttime.  And she only has the harness on when we are with her.  Have been using that to guide her up the stairs and down the short stairs.  We carry her down the steps from the second floor to the first floor.

9-11: She spent time upstairs with me in the play pen and on top to the bed.  I had her in her harness and leash when she was on the bed, then put the leash behind my back so she was safe.  She walked up and down the stairs with the leash, doing very well.

9-12: Unclear photos of the front walkway - but I put then here to remember her first walk after the operation was 11 minutes. She almost ran down the street! But going to the second street she then turned around to come back. She did the same for the afternoon walk - turned around on her own to indicate it was time to return home.

So happy with her progress! She now has access to the den, up three steps to the dining area and kitchen and down a hall to A's room. So far she hasn't made that trek, but we blocked the hallway off so she won't be near anything that might be sharp for her to hit.

When she is upstairs she has the playpen, or the top of the bed with me at her side.  I discovered I could put a three-hole punch inside a pillowcase with a pillow next to her to keep her contained if I had to go the restroom.

I was able to go thru three banker's boxes full of different papers while she rested today. I got rid of two boxes completely, filed some of the items, and put about 8-inches of things to go thru again after I have gone thru the rest of the boxes in the room.