I’m Waving with Exhaustion

One week into getting the new studio ready, and I’m contemplating waving a white flag. Is is because painting and refurbishing tires me out? That would be a resounding NO. While it’s certainly tiring, there’s a crazy excitement that goes along with it. I mean, really. How much more fulfilling can it be, than to set up a new space, exactly the way you’d like?

No, the reason for exhaustion is ten pounds of terror, our sweet Tess. Tess has always been both fierce and friendly. A devoted little pooch. She’s 10-1/2 years old now, and somehow during the last 6 months she’s become less fierce and more anxious…especially around loud noises.

Last night some crazy thunderstorms rolled through, and my evening of sound sleep was disrupted by sweet Tess shaking, and doing her best to crawl inside my skin. She was groomed yesterday, so had sharp little nails, and of course kept trying to sit on my head. Our wake-up call was followed by a trip outside in the pouring rain. I’m sure I made quite the picture in my raincoat, cow pjs, and boots with chickens. Hey! I DO live in the country. Needless to say, today has been one full of sleep deprivation. I’ve got a thundershirt on order for our girl, and I’m happy to take any suggestions from other pet owners, who have dealt with dogs who have developed anxiety from loud noises.

Carry on…I’ve got quilting (or maybe painting) to do.


I’ve Got Chills, They’re Multiplyin’

For the past couple of years, I’ve been dreaming about some expanded frontiers I’d like my business to explore. About a year ago, those hazy shapes started to come into focus a little bit more, and then, a few weeks ago, their outlines sharpened dramatically. It’s been kind of like when you go to the eye doctor for the first time, and he or she puts lenses in front of your eyes. You get chills seeing things you’ve never noticed before. Trees actually have individual leaves!!! THAT, my friends, is what I was experiencing…that is until I came home from an incredible quilting retreat with friends, and within two days was fighting a 102 degree fever. Those were some chills! Now however, the fever is gone, so it’s back to the other kind of chills.

So what’s giving me chills you ask? This morning, I signed a lease on a space so that Frolicking Threads can have a new place of residence, outside of my home!!!! I know my excitement is palpable, but to be honest, this step is a big one, so I’m shaking in my boots as well.

Everything fell into place so seamlessly, and quickly, that our entire decision just had a feeling of “rightness” to it. Mr. Frolicking Threads and I have some prep work to complete, then my beloved Innova, “Gertie” will be moving to the new space, and in the next few weeks a companion will move in with her.

I’ll continue to longarm for my customers, who are, quite frankly, the best support team EVER, but moving will have some added benefits. We plan to be a gathering place for sewing, lessons, and rentals. Yes, YOU can learn how to longarm your own quilt! How cool is that?!!! (If you love it so much, I’ll be delighted to sell you a machine, too.)

Like any awards show, I’ve got to say some thank-yous. First, to Judy and Rob Engime at Olde City Quilts, for first presenting the rental and sales rep ideas to me last year, to Mandy Leins, who ALWAYS believes in me, and to Teri Lucas, for sitting with me at that quilt show, and forcing me to believe in myself.

Now…it’s time to get to work! See you soon.

CAN you teach an old dog new tricks?

That’s been the question of the moment…over and over…this past week. Gertie and I have been getting to know each other. We’ve generally had a very good relationship, with the exception of the day she crashed because she needed an update. Let me just take a moment to shout out to the tech guys at Innova. They are AMAZING!  Anyway, Gertie runs smoothly, and her tension? Oh my gosh, it has been so easy to find and keep a beautiful stitch.

Software, though, has been a different story. It’s actually kind of amusing to me. There was a time, oh so many years ago, when I worked in the Computer Services department at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. The world wide web was just getting started, and I was writing information sheets, and giving seminars, on how to use this amazing new technology. So what happened? I knew the software of my old machine quite well, but Gertie’s software is beastly! In a good way, mind you, but it’s a lot different the software I was using. Gertie is more powerful, and while her software is more elegant, it’s different than what I’m used to. There has been A LOT for me to learn. Still, the process is exciting, and it makes me feel good to conquer new skills.

So I guess the answer is “yes”. You can teach this old dog new tricks. No, I probably don’t master things as fast as I did when I was twenty, but so what? The important part is the desire to learn something new, and see where your knowledge takes you. What new tricks do YOU want to learn? I challenge you to take a step, maybe out of your comfort zone, and try. Let me know what happens.

Meet Gertie

Do you ever feel as if your life just kind of “happens” to you? I’m generally a planner, but the forces of nature sometimes change things up. It’s happened to me more times than I care to count, but somehow, the changes always seem to work out better than my original plans.

For the past couple of years, I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a bigger longarm for the business, but for various reasons (I’d say fear of spending the money was highest on that list) I just never did it. To make a very long story shorter, in May, with the help of Rob and Judy of Olde City Quilts, I put my money where my mouth is and ordered it.

Then…everything seemed to go to hell in a hand basket. Between floods in Texas at the Innova site to me being felled by a tiny tick to general scheduling snafus, we finally hit August and managed to come up with an installation date. To say I was insanely happy would be an understatement. I mean, this was HAPPENING!!!

Thus began the measuring and re-measuring of the studio to figure out how to fit two longarms in the space, when boom! Someone bought the old one a week before the Innova delivery, and picked it up two days before Innova day. (See, I’m back to that timing thing.)

So I’m please to introduce you to Gertie. She’s named after my 97 year old mom. Mom worked in the woolen mills in Massachusetts as a young woman, and she taught me to sew. It seemed fitting to name my new machine after her. Mom has also said, many times, that no one ever names anyone after her. I’ve done my best to rectify that. Here’s Gertie, on the front lawn, with Rob (from Olde City Quilts, Burlington, NJ) taking her partially apart. Parts of her wound through the house to get to the studio, while other parts were handed up through the window. (With the person doing the handing, standing precariously on a tall step ladder…I’m thankful no one was hurt.)

Gertie was installed on Sunday, so I looked forward to getting to know her better on Monday. Well, at 2am on Monday, I was headed to the ER with Mr. Frolicking Threads, where he had an appendectomy later that morning. Remember that timing thing? Yeah. That. Gertie and I started playing together on Thursday. I see a bright future.