I was off yesterday and today; but before that, I worked 7 days in an 8-day stretch with one day off in the middle. I spent most of my free time this past week just trying to stay afloat with laundry, housekeeping chores and finishing the taxes, and I fit in a few minutes of sewing here and there where I could.
Consequently I didn't accomplish much sewing. My primary obligation right now is to finish the 30s repros quilt, and I am nearly finished with the center and will have just the outermost border to complete. I also got more of my four patches done for the Orange Crush mystery but am still behind. I knew Step 2 would be posted soon, and it finally went up the other day. I'll get caught up!
Yesterday my husband took me to MQX, the Machine Quilters Exposition in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was a gorgeous day, too pretty to be indoors, but it was a nice show. I spent a lot of time in the vendors' booths, looking at tools and gadgets for longarm quilters. I bought a small oil container, about the size of a fountain pen, that I thought would be quite handy for oiling the rotary hook on my Lizzie; lots of thread, one pantograph, one stencil, and some chalk and a dispenser for it.
I bought some videos not too long ago that I read about on one of the longarm lists; and the quilter placed her stencil on a quilt while it was loaded on the frame, rubbed a little chalk over the stencil, and then quilted the design. I thought it was a technique worth exploring.
The machine quilting on the quilts at MQX was very impressive. A lot of the quilts were very heavily quilted, and I can't really decide if I like that or not. Some of them looked very stiff. I think they must have put incredible amounts of time into these quilts. One of the things that was really amazing to me was how small and evenly they could stipple the background.
I was going to spend all day today sewing, so I sat down at the sewing machine early this morning, but I had trouble sitting still. It was another gorgeous day, temperatures in the 70s, blue skies; and my husband and son were out doing some much needed yardwork. I really wanted to be outside in the warmth and fresh air, so I finally said to heck with it and went out.
I worked outside for five or six hours, and I am going to be so sore tomorrow! I raked leaves left over from last fall, picked up all the branches that came down from snow and ice this winter, and pulled pricker bushes before they got a foothold. My husband and son cleaned up some of the mess from the woodpile and cut down five or six very tall, very overgrown lilac bushes and one enormous bush that continues to spread every year and seems to be just taking over. I was amazed how much that opened up the yard. I'll bet it added another 20 feet to the yard on the side of the house. The previous owners had some extensive gardens around the yard, but after five years we've grown very tired of all the growth, so we're getting rid of all of it and planting grass. When we get a handle on the lawn, which is in terrible shape right now, we'll start adding back a few plantings here and there as we have the time.
My son grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for supper, and we brought some of the wicker upstairs that was stored in the basement for winter, and had supper out on the porch. It was cool and quiet, the sun was setting, and it was so pleasant to just sit and chat for a change instead of watching television.