Firsts

On Thursday I attended my first quilt guild meeting ever. In New York I learned to free motion quilt from the Internet, mostly Leah Day. But since I’m in Illinois now I can take advantage of the ginormous local quilting culture, and that means the Illini Country Stitchers. There were over 100 people there! And by “people” I mean “women,” as there was nary a man to be found.

The meeting’s main speaker was Kaye England, who was so funny and compelling I signed up for her class the next day. My first sewing class! Where I learned to piece traditionally, something I’ve never done before, yielding my first pieced block:

It’s not nearly as precise as everyone else’s, but it was incredibly satisfying just the same. I’ve long wondered what the appeal of patchwork piecing was. Now I think I know: it’s largely in the process, like doing a puzzle.

These quilters possess MAD SKILLZ that take a long time to learn. Kaye is on the left.

Later I free-motion quilted my block at home, my first free-motion quilting on patchwork. The quilting isn’t great, since I’m way out of practice.

I don’t plan to do much more traditional piecing; this is more my style. But it was great to learn something new, and learn to do it properly. The class was a lot of fun, and I may have learned even more about teaching than I did about sewing.

Death and something new

Having sold one This Land Is Mine quilt and sent the other to my brother, it was time to make a new one. This is my first two-sided quilt. One side features the Angel of Death. The quilted outlines of the men killing each other give him texture.

This time I didn’t pre-wash the fabric, so the colors are very slightly brighter.

Another first for me: hanging tabs, so it can be hung from either side.

Death seemed like a fine piece to work on, since I’m grieving my beloved Bruno. That said, my Momz adopted a new cat from the shelter a few days ago. Her name is Lola, and she thinks my sewing machine is a toy.

I didn’t get pictures of her batting at the needle (it goes up and down! Toy!) last night because I shut off the machine and took her out of the room instead. These photos are from earlier today, as her interest was waning (which was why I was able to finish the quilt).

Lola is nothing like Bruno.  That’s one of the reasons we chose her. I’m not looking to replace Bruno, he is irreplaceable and I miss him terribly. Nonetheless Lola is an excellent cat. She is friendly, curious, and outgoing. She seems to completely lack any neuroses, which is unusual for her species. Also she is tiny and cute. She’d make a great therapy cat.

R.I.P. Bruno Schwartz, 2000(?) – March 1 2013

my beloved cat
Bruno circa 2007

I knew it had to happen some day. Bruno stopped eating a little over a week ago and when his decline went into suffering (his purr box broke near the end, it was heartbreaking) we were lucky enough to get an angelic female vet and assistant (Bruno likes women and is afraid of men) to perform the kindest, gentlest euthanasia at  at home. I have the flu so I was in bed with him his last several days; there’s nothing he would have wanted more, I think. I still have the flu, and a broken heart, but I’m very grateful for the 10 years of love this wonderful cat gave me.