Maybe We All Need Repotting…

Somehow, the month of February whizzed by my head without fully whacking me unconscious, so here we are. In March. Four weeks closer to Spring Break. Another paycheck closer to Summer Break. And no paychecks. Love summer for that. Such a challenge. Every year. That said, it’s getting Spring-like, and that’s nice…new growth on plants, flowers popping up, weeds taking over the yard. All the things!

Well the biggest news, besides my sewing machine being in the shop because it wasn’t dropping the free-motion foot (it dropped feet when straight stitching, but not zigzag; talk about fussy), is that I got my first vaccine. I am a teacher, in case you didn’t know that, and the school I teach for (not AT at the moment, because I can’t go back without these shots) is in a high-infection area (which means that, yes, I live in a high-infection area), so we were first on the list. Got my email on Friday while my science kids were finishing their work; got an appointment for Saturday morning…with a few hundred other people. Seriously, this was the most people I’ve been around since before COVID. And in an enclosed space. Freaked me out.

Plus a shot. Finally getting closer to being safe. Hopefully. I forgot to take a picture when the doc injected me, and he forgot to give me a sticker. Ah well, my co-teacher came to the rescue and met me outside after they monitored me for 30 minutes due to my weirdo reactions to shots.

I’ve been fine, just a sore arm and maybe a headache and fatigue. Hard to say if those aren’t things that I would have felt anyway. Probably! On to the next shot in a few weeks. Exciting stuff.

Our weekly gaming with friends seems to have moved to Sunday night, but that leaves open a night to game in person at home with the two men…we had a new Settlers of Catan expansion, so we read all the instructions 17 times and played a couple rounds.

I almost won one without even noticing. I’m not that good at games. I like to play; I don’t need to win.

Saturday, we did a little hike after taking the sewing machine in.

It’s definitely Springlike.

But the weather is still cool and breezy, so hikes are nice.

We tried a new trail in a place we hike all the time. It had a little up in it.

But it was good. Only 3.5 miles though. No time for a longer hike…left too late.

Then because the sewing machine was being cranky, I did some hand-sewing for a while on Saturday night.

Just sewing things down.

There might be a time when I come back to these and add more stitching.

I enjoy it, but don’t usually make time for it.

I also started this drawing at dinner on Saturday night.

And then finished it last night. It’s small. This is actually a printout of it larger than it is in real life. I joke that now I have the nanites in me, so everything will be fine. Honestly, I’d be OK with the nanites. Fix me, you little machines. Fix me.

Otherwise, I’ve been buried in schoolwork. Posting things, redoing things, making videos of things, grading things, answering too many panicked emails and ignoring others. School is frustrating in the best of times. These are not the best of times. These guys don’t care. They just want pets.

So we pet them. Although Nova, the sweetheart on the right, caught my finger and ripped it open Saturday? Friday? when I was petting her and tried to stop. So it’s a little painful. Otherwise, they’re all good.

This plant finally flowered. I’ve never seen it flower.

I repotted it and it is obviously much happier. Interesting take on the world there. Maybe we all need repotting.

School all day, hopefully some exercise, hopefully some art. A lot of grading. Every day until I’m done.

I Hit Cancel

My sewing machine is having issues. At least I think it’s the machine. It might be the foot I’m using, because the regular straight-stitch foot is working fine, but the spring-loaded free-motion foot won’t go all the way down to the fabric. It’s hovering about 1/2 an inch above and won’t go down. I’m frustrated. I turned off the machine a few days ago and walked away from it, and then came back and sewed stripes because it can do that, hoping it would forget whatever was making it do that crazy shit. But no. I tried again last night, because I have one little thing to quilt and a slightly larger thing to stitch down, and it won’t do it. I tried the floating free-motion foot and I’m not a fan. While quilting, it would randomly decide it would put pressure down or not, and the inconsistency seemed to cause the thread to knot up on the back horrendously. Sigh. So I will call my machine guy (Jimmy. His name is Jimmy, so I will call him that, but also I will ask him to fix this beast or just tell me what button to push to make it work). But it means I’m kind of stalled on those two projects, and because school is such a whiny-ass bitch right now, I can’t focus enough to decide what else to work on. So I sewed more stripes…mirror stripe this time…

It’s too big, I think…too wide. But I will make another one smaller to make up for it. Maybe. I don’t know what I’m doing here. Nothing new. I have many in-process projects I could be working on. Sewing sort-of straight lines won last night at 11 PM when I was trying to decide what to do with my brain.

I also watched this talk by Ben Venom yesterday…

which eventually had me yelling at the iPad. I actually enjoyed the first part, and thought Ben himself, when he wasn’t answering stupid questions, to be quite knowledgeable. I enjoyed that part. His work is interesting and unique in its own way. Honestly, the Juxtapoz interviewer was more than a little ignorant of the quilt art world. No offense, Ben, but I don’t think your work is rebellious…but I’m not your standard quilter. You make skulls and birds and cool things out of recycled fabrics. Even though there’s a lot of heavy metal imagery, you’re cutting most of it up and using the fabric to make your shapes. And you’re a young white male, so I’m not sure what they think you’re rebelling against? You’re using what you like to make a pretty standard art quilt. They’re cool, don’t get me wrong, but you’re not rebelling…except that young white males generally don’t quilt. So there’s that. Anyway, ignore the silly questions about do you know what the Modern Quilt Guild is (who CARES???). I enjoyed what you had to say before all that. Work on!

I stitched with friends on Zoom, but I can’t show you that, because it’s not published yet. It’s not my pattern. But it’s relaxing.

The night before, I had book club. I also had a bug in my head about drawing, so I did that during book club.

I’m not sure I like it or that it was going the way I wanted it too, but it’s there. I might do more on it. It’s definitely not finished. I miss drawing and should do more of it. But it requires more brain power than I have most nights at the moment. I’ve been grading late work every night until 10:30 or so, and I still can’t catch up. Last night, after yelling at my computer repeatedly about a kid who was emailing me about why her grade was dropping because she turned her work in, I finally emailed her parents (and copied her), because she was turning in things blank and/or barely done. I’m pretty sure the other kid who was turning in stuff at midnight, 5 assignments in 2 minutes flat, she’s doing it so I won’t make her stay in class today to finish up. Except I’m in a mood now, so I’ll probably open all 5 of those assignments and see if they’re blank and then make her do them. Because they probably are blank. Or barely started. This is where distance learning is hard. OK, it’s not the only place…but it’s one of them.

School just sucks right now. And this is so true right now.

That’s part of my frustration. I am working harder than a lot of them. And then they get upset because “I turned everything in; why don’t I have an A?” Sigh. I will wake up Monday and feel differently, maybe. Because today is the deadline for all the late work. But also this…

Oh yeah, I hit cancel. And got a flash drive. And walked it to the other computer. It took much less than 764 hours.

I was teaching yesterday and a hawk landed in the tree in front of the window, ON the nest that is there.

Great photo, eh? Not so much. Luckily, no baby birds in that nest. Pretty sure it’s been empty for a while. But cool to see the hawk so close, even if I couldn’t manage a decent photo.

And yesterday morning’s weird fog in the valleys.

Very cool. I miss driving to school (which is in the valley), going from sunny up here, driving a whopping 2.5 miles to school, and being socked in by fog. Speaking of school, ours is on the list for the first official teacher vaccines in the county, so after being canceled out of the other vaccines we thought we were eligible for, we actually might get them in the next week. Finally. I’m glad for my teachers in the classroom, but also glad they didn’t leave me off the list. The only way I get to go back is with a vaccine. I’m so tired of teaching this way. I want to be able to go back in August.

OK, lots of things to manage today, and hopefully I’ll find a way to get my machine fixed too. Incredibly thankful to the people who are offering to pick up artwork at a variety of shows for me. I just don’t have the time to get to those pickups (and some are during school hours), so I appreciate their help. You know me, I like to be fully independent, but that’s not realistic right now. I’ll do some art tonight…whatever it will be…maybe some gaming with the fam as well. It can’t be All Grading All the Time. It just can’t.

I Should Listen…

Weird days, y’all. I’m in a funk. My sewing machine is being cranky. I want to draw. Really badly…but there are 17,000 emails about late work from kids. I banged through 50 of them last night, some legit, some lame-ass how can I turn it in without actually doing any work. Deep breaths. This is what the next week looks like. Lots of grading. Get through it.

I walked last night in response. And then finished ironing the quilt I’ve been working on. I didn’t want to fight the machine and I needed a win, an art brain success.

There wasn’t much left…one arm and hand, a bunny, the base dirt, and the head. I ironed the face and eyeball separately. It’s easier to see them that way and then just place them on top.

It didn’t take long.

Total ironing time on this was 3 hours and 21 minutes. A chunk of that was trying to find a background fabric for it.

I didn’t want to use yardage when I knew I’d have something big enough in the regular stash. Sure enough, there it was. It was probably the background on another piece somewhere.

So now I will have to suss out the machine issue and see if I can make it work without taking it in. Hopefully.

I also stitched these the other night, part of my QuiltCon learning experience.

I took a class from Maria Shell. I’ve always been fascinated with the improv quilts that are mostly traditional patterns but not so traditional placement and colors. I can make a small one, I think. Maybe. Honestly, I’m having a hard time getting enough info from the videos in the time allotted. I have until tonight at midnight. I’m taking notes and there are handouts, but you know how that goes. If you’re in the class, physically (on Zoom or a classroom), you do the things right then and there. Watch a video? You’ll probably never finish. So we’ll see how it goes. I’m just making units right now. Freehand cut. Apparently I freehand cut pretty evenly. I had to work to get them uneven. Amusing.

OK, work today. It’ll be OK. The pile of late work will get dug through before it buries me. I have my first vaccination appointment on Friday (finally teachers). I’m not in the classroom yet, but I want to be. I can’t be without it. I talk to my doctor next week about whether it will be safe enough in August. We know nothing, right? Well, we know some things. It might never really be safe, but I’m hoping we get closer than we have been. And art! I should do some of that tonight, in and around pilates and book club, both good things, but not art. I could draw during book club. Maybe? I could try anyway. I have two drawings yelling at me to get out. I should listen.

All That…

It’s a Monday morning. We all have feelings about that. My current feeling is that I’m not ready. I did get almost caught up with grading…well, until this week, when everything at the end of everything is due. Friday will feel overwhelming, for sure, but for now, I’m trying to get to a place of managing that. The trimester ends next Friday, the science unit ends this week, all the art projects end this week. And the month ends! It’s probably not related. Plus in the last week and a half, there are 4 pickups for art. I’m handling 2 of them and the men are handling the other 2, because they’re all during my work day…during a normal person’s work day, honestly. So yeah. Not sure what I’d be doing if I didn’t have people home to do pickups. Negotiating alternate pickup methods, I guess.

Did anyone do QuiltCon? I am realizing I prefer an actual class with a teacher talking to me to a pre-recorded video class. So be it. I’m in it for the human interaction. I watched both my classes, but haven’t started due to materials issues and time issues and just plain issues. I might get there. We’ll see. I missed the lecture I signed up for because I forgot about time zones, which I’m sad about, but it was recorded, so I watched it anyway: Chawne Kimber, who looks like fun to watch quilt. Like she’d be fun to take a class from. Future thoughts. I’m also signed up for the SAQA conference in April; looking forward to that, although some of the events start right when school ends, which could be complicated. We’ll see. My current QuiltCon project, by the way, looks like this.

That’s not much there. It might become more. We’ll see.

I did some other stuff, embroidery finishing, then piecing, and putting borders on, but it’s a recent Sue Spargo piece that hasn’t been published yet, so I can show anything but the cat guarding one of the spools of thread.

Just know I’ve been working on it and it will eventually show up here, probably in the next month or so. Mostly brainless easy stuff that I can do when nothing else is working.

Saturday, we did a longer hike (it was actually 1.4 miles shorter than it was supposed to be, not sure why)…this is another Coast to Crest challenge hike, from 2019-2020 though. It starts in Del Dios Highland Preserve, on the Lake Hodges side.

And basically it goes up 1100′ in less than a mile, no switchbacks. It’s not impossible…just hard.

And then at some point, you cross over into Elfin Forest Recreational Forest. This is not all the way up.

But we didn’t start that high up, for sure.

Spring has started to show up.

The point is to get to the Lake Hodges overlook, but you walk by Olivenhain Reservoir to get there.

It was the longest 6 miles I’ve ever done. It just felt hard.

Although the weather was perfect…cool with a breeze.

So yeah, we started at the level of Lake Hodges…down there.

Yeah. So my legs are still feeling it two days later.

Mostly flat. Literally 1365′ feet up and then back down. Averages out.

Anyway. Not a bad hike…might be easier to go up the Elfin Forest side? Hard to say.

Hey! There’s my piece in the California Fibers: Historical References show that is currently open in Los Angeles.

Yeah, mine is the big one, One of My Kind. There are appointments available to go see it, or you can see it online.

I did do the stitch down on the little owl last night…then sandwiched it.

And then fought the sewing machine and the sewing machine foot for a while and gave up and read my book. Because life is too short for fighting machines. I’ll try again tonight.

For now, I need to get some work done. A pissy parent demanding things, plus getting ready for school and teaching and all that.

Doing Something

Fast week. Too fast. I haven’t graded anything from last week. Was sort of caught up. Totally am not now. Ah well. Such is the life of a teacher. It’s definitely been life of a teacher this week. We voted (against) a memorandum of understanding that would have put many teachers back in the classroom 5 days a week, which honestly I think was the least of the MOU’s issues. More so? The district’s need to bang on massive professional learning requirements in the middle of a pandemic. I don’t trust them. This year was supposed to be “no new programs” unless they were curriculum (ours sucks by the way and we’ve dumped it), but here I am trying to navigate a reading program that is sort of driving me bonkers. Luckily I have a team of people who try to help, because I’d be lost otherwise.

The other day, I got Zoom bombed by who knows who. I’ve got 6 or 7 email addresses, only one that’s not generic. I let two of them in at the beginning of class when everyone gets in, but when they didn’t answer in the chat (I have a couple kids who come in with the wrong names), I removed them…and then sat there trying to teach while they kept dinging the entry bell (I can turn it off, but I’d have to remember to keep checking the waiting room).

They actually started with all this stupid Rolex stuff, which I guess is how I know they’re kids. I mean, who gives a shit about Rolex? I was intrigued by Vladimir Putin…I think that’s where I thought they must not be MY kids.

It’s spelled correctly. I love my kids, but spelling is hard. This is when I texted the principal, who sent the AP in.

I was hoping for a blocking solution, which we eventually found (after class was over). Most effective technique? Ignore. Leave them in the waiting room, don’t talk about it, eventually they get bored and leave. If you remove, they come back with a different name. If you report to Zoom, you have to fill out a long, complicated form for each one. I don’t have time for that shit. It’s fixed now, so that’s good. If you’re envious of my teacher life, of being home and sitting on my ass all day, apparently doing nothing, you too can enjoy shit like this. Sigh. I made them mad though. That makes me laugh I guess. Fuck you Putin.

Really the week has been about managing some end-of-trimester and end-of-unit projects…and thinking I could get some work done during that. Yeah, not happening. I’m trying. I’m also not feeling well. Had another low blood sugar incident in the middle of the night, plus possibly sick? Not sure. I have so few immune exposures these days…like how could I get sick? I haven’t been hardly anywhere this week. Anyway, I went to bed early last night and feel OK this morning…not great. I have a doctor’s appointment in a few weeks to see if we can figure this stuff out that’s making me feel off…not every day, but often enough that it’s an issue.

In good news, Quilt Con opened Wednesday night. I have two classes (not live), a lecture, and a show to go check out (haven’t had time yet). My quilt guild made a community quilt…find my two blocks! I can’t.

I know I did one simple stripy one on the left that had white and blue in it, and one of the kelp flags on the right…that I think only had one blue? Or a blue and a white? Not sure. Could scroll through and find the pictures if I cared enough. Looks cool put together anyway.

Wednesday night, I had enough energy to sort the ironed pieces…

In the middle of my chaotic work table. One of the reasons I’m working small right now is a matter of organizational space for larger quilts that is just not available. Between art and science, I need the space through the end of March. Well, less so for art after next week. I think. But science will make up for it…chemical reaction unit. A million demos.

I had a stitching meeting last night, so I started ironing the smaller quilt together.

Small is fast. This isn’t super small, just smaller than I normally do.

I got 200 pieces ironed down, so just another 80 or so to do and it’s done. Super fast. Maybe tonight?

Reading a new book…

Ah womanhood. I guess it could go either way.

OK, it’s Friday and I have a ton of schoolwork to do. Gonna go do some of it. Not sure what this weekend holds. Work. Maybe a hike? Maybe art? Maybe trying out some of this QuiltCon stuff? I have an assignment to do before I can come back and watch the rest of the first class video. The second one, I could keep watching (and will eventually), but I’d like to try it too before I get too far in the instructions and forget all of them. So that means doing something. Maybe that’s what this weekend is…doing something. We’ll see.

Appreciate the Sunsets.

Mid week already? That was fast. I’m even somewhat caught up. Wait. No. I still have 5 assignments to grade from last week, and even though I finished grading all the late work yesterday at 8:20 AM, there is now more in the pile that needs grading, because that is how the never-ending pile of grading works. It’s why the last week of school is such an inordinate relief. There cannot possibly be any more grading for at least two months! A reprieve! Sundays back. No constant planning, trying to answer emails, contacting parents. Such a relief.

Unfortunately, we are quite a few days away from that. In fact, with the trimester ending in 2 1/2 weeks, we are well into panic mode (we being the kids) because we forgot that what we do every day counts for a grade. You know. Like school does. That said, I had expected yesterday to be really stressful and yucky, and it was very manageable. The kids mostly listened and/or did the nothing they do on a regular basis. This is when standing over them (or like I do, rolling my chair around the room and staring into their panicked eyes) helps to get them motivated. Yesterday I called parents during class instead. Muted myself on the Zoom and called and left messages because they aren’t going to answer a number they don’t recognize, and even if I were calling from the school number, they probably wouldn’t answer. Ah well. That’s nothing new. The checked out kids are always there. This year is harder for that, sure. I was reading instructions for a program we’re supposed to be monitoring, and they say to “walk around and make sure they are on task.” Um. OK. Imma gonna do that. Rolling my eyes. It’s like the distance learners and teachers don’t exist sometimes. Please give me some more useful supports, y’all. I’m at my wit’s end with monitoring this program.

So we’ll see how today goes…Day 2 of a project…could be chill; could be not. Never know. Even in person.

Here’s the final finished picture of the Sue Spargo Block-of-the-Month quilt Earth and Twig I finished.

I do have another one pinbasted, ready to go, and a third one that is a finished top, and a much smaller one that’s finished. I should keep this going. First I want to finish the little bird quilt I have, though. Although it’s been hard to find the energy in the last few days to sit down at the sewing machine. Maybe tonight? We’ll see.

So I did finish ironing all the bits of Wonder Under to fabric in the most recent art quilt…

It only has 56 colors in it (small quilt) and it took a little over 4 hours to pick all those fabrics.

I started cutting them out Monday night…

And finished last night…

in 4 1/2 hours total. Tonight, I’ll sort them and maybe start ironing it together. So fast! I think I’ll do a few fast and easy ones like this and then start thinking about the next big one. I have ideas and I have one that’s drawn and numbered and ready to go. I’m just not ready for a big one yet. I need some quick successes, achievements, goals.

Here’s one of mine getting ready for a show in Los Angeles at Studio 203, opening the 20th. This is California Fibers: Historical References.

Not sure I’ll get up to see the show, but there should be video and maybe even some online stuff. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Spring is coming (Southern California does Spring early…sorry to all the snowed-in states)…the coyotes don’t care about humans on their paths…

And I’m no longer walking in the dark, which is nice.

Although I do appreciate a good sunset. Today is going to be pretty easy, I hope, and maybe I will get some grading done as well, knock some of those projects off my to-do list. My goal is always NOT to be working at 9 PM on school stuff, but on art stuff instead. So more of that. And I forgot to wish my mom a happy 80th birthday on the internet…although I made her a chocolate cake, so I think we’re good. Although it could have been more lava-like. My fault…should have taken it out of the fridge earlier. Anyway. Both parents have their 2nd vaccines scheduled, they’re relatively healthy, and those are good things right now. OK. Off to work. In the other room.

A Weird Year…

February is such a weird month. So short. So full of 3-day weekends (which I fully appreciate). You try to use that extra day wisely, make sure you have some free time, time off from school stuff, time to just relax. Sundays just disappear into school and groceries for me, and now gaming has moved to Sundays for now, totally confuzzles my brain. So I need today, the extra day, mostly to catch up with whatever I didn’t get to on Saturday, because my brain just stopped working. Not really. I did grade things. In fact, I’ve graded every day, and before you tell me I should take a break today and not grade anything, I’ve already considered it and rejected it because of the number of things I have piled up. The reality is that we’re getting to the end of a trimester, and the art stuff and science stuff make it harder to grade, because I have to full on change my mindset to pop from one to another; same with going from the 6th-grade art class to the upper-level art class.

Anyway, after grading Saturday morning (while the man watched the impeachment), we hiked the Highland Valley Trail, part of the Coast to Crest challenge from 2019/2020. This is a pretty one, although you never really get away from houses and the road.

It looks like it’s in the middle of nowhere…

But in reality, above those deer is a house…

They don’t seem to mind.

And below us is a road…

It’s a pretty trail though. We could have gone further.

But it was getting late.

Just under 4 miles.

WordPress seems to be having font size issues today. Hmm. We’ll see how it posts. Right now, it looks tiny.

Friday night, I did a little ironing on the Desert Bunny quilt. Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it right now.

I’m sure it will change. I quit when it was flesh time…until last night at midnight. Because that seemed like a good time to pick fabrics for a big chunk of the quilt. I tried to pick fabrics I hadn’t used before or often. Success! At least two of them had never been used.

Coolio.

This is such a tiny quilt. I’m almost done ironing it to fabric. Then I get to trim it. I also finished the sleeves and binding on the Spargo quilt on Friday night, but I need someone to hold it up for me for photography. Maybe later today.

Where Kitten sits while I’m teaching…

So she can see me but not be in class.

I keep trying to relax…pajamas, pets…

Furry love.

I miss treats at school.

I can’t be bothered to get in the car before school starts and go buy a donut. Silly what you miss.

Still doing the bullet journal after IDK how many years. It helps focus my brain. I like to try new fonts. My favorites are the ones that are a pain in the ass to draw…

I mean, my favorites are the ones that are totally different for each letter.

Last week’s, I gave up trying to draw…because it was all plumbing. YES. A PLUMBING FONT. Who knew? A pain in the ass to do.

OK, I need to go pick up art from a show that closed. I entered one show last night and started entering another, which turned out to be another pain in the ass. I don’t have a lot of “family friendly” art…at least, I suspect what most people would call family friendly. Oh well. Everything I have for that show is OOOLLLDDD. So be it. Then more grading, prepping food for my mom’s 80th birthday. I missed my dad’s 80th due to a COVID exposure. So I’m bringing food, especially cake. And hopefully some art. Plus grading. Not hopefully on that. That has to happen. And then no more 3-day weekends for a long while. Spring Break is in 39 days though. That sounds almost doable. We have a short camping and hiking trip planned for break, and then the Man leaves to hike the PCT. For possibly 5-6 months. It’s a weird year, y’all. A weird year.

Spargo Obsessed

Roof is getting fixed today. Solar got fixed yesterday (that was just the monitoring system…so cool to see the data again! Yes, I am a science geek. I need data.). I’m almost done with a quilt I started in January 2012. Kind of amazing. Nah, it’s not an art quilt…well, it is art, but not mine. When I need to relax or when I’m spending hours at soccer games (remember those days) or wherever and need something to soothe my brain and keep my hands busy, I stitch. I’ve appliqued lighthouses and national monuments from a friend’s patterns, I’ve cross-stitched from patterns, and in 2012, I started doing Sue Spargo’s block-of-the-month quilts. There’s something about stitching through wool and embroidering to embellish that is just truly relaxing. I do love making my own art, but this is not dependent on what stage of an art quilt I’m in. Sometimes I embroider on my own stuff too, but that still requires more brain power than I sometimes have at the end of the day. And was difficult to do in certain situations. So Spargo stepped in (or her patterns did). I don’t even remember where I saw them, but I signed up for Earth and Twig at the end of 2011 and got my first package the following January, and it’s been sort of an obsession ever since.

I was pretty good about working on this back then, and honestly, I think it’s less complicated than her current pieces, so it was pretty easy to keep up. In April of 2013, I was finishing up the last of the embroidery, but I felt like there was a flower and a bird missing. It looked unbalanced to me.

A bird in that space on the bottom left of the tree thing. And a flower near the rooster. Oh yeah, I added that one. But it took me a long time. You may notice it’s a slightly different color than the others (it is). I also ran out of the thread and the and the fabric for the flower center, so I improvised. I gave up on the bird, though. In May of 2013, I pinned the flower down. I even started stitching it down. And then I got distracted and it sat until 2016.

Some part of it was because I had never quilted on wool before and it made me nervous. When I started this Spargo quilt, I had never really appliqued with wool either, so it has some wonky moments.

So in 2016, I finished that flower and pinbasted the quilt. And then set it aside until sometime last year, maybe when the pandemic started, and I tried quilting it.

I just did some outlining and it was a pain because of the embroidery and the type of stitching foot I had, and then something was a higher priority and it got pulled off the machine. Meanwhile, I finished two more Spargo quilts and then a smaller piece over the summer. One is pinbasted and ready for quilting, the other two are tops.

My quilt guild is having a UFO contest, and without any pressing deadlines (pressing, ha ha ironing humor), I pulled this back out and made myself quilt it. In two days. Seriously, it wasn’t hard. I must admit, I am not a precision quilter. I take the word ‘free’ in free-motion stitching quite seriously. I measure and mark nothing. And I’m OK with that. There are some issues with the quilting on here, but it’s the first one I’ve ever done and it’s mine (despite a few people wanting to buy it yesterday) and I’m OK with the mistakes. It has hours and hours of embroidery in it, so it’s staying with me.

Sue Spargo has a book and maybe even still has a kit, y’all…you too can spend 9 years making this. OK, I could have been done in 18 months with a little more staying power, it’s true. I like the process of the embroidery more than I like the finishing. Last night, I finished up some of the quilting in the brown areas (they needed more) and trimmed it and got the binding machine-stitched on.

And I started the hand stitching. It won’t take long. I don’t know where she’ll hang, but I’m glad I got off my scared-of-wool ass and did it. Next is the one I call Bird Crazy (it’s not really called that).

It has less room for quilting, which might be OK.

Who knows. I have a different machine foot on its way to me as well, just to hopefully make life a little easier. I am still going to work on the other art quilt things I have lying around…I just needed to get this off the machine FINISHED so it wouldn’t languish in a pile of unfinished stuff forever. I don’t care about the quilt guild prize for finishing stuff, but I’m grateful they reminded me I have unfinished things. Sometimes I forget and they slip out of the to-do list. It would be nice to have them done and hanging somewhere. I’m not sure where that will be, but I’ll figure that out. There will probably need to be a rotation.

In other news, I’ve spent almost 6 hours in union meetings for the last two days and I’m kind of done. Still. Again. I’m glad it’s Friday. I’m glad my roof is getting fixed (it’s supposed to rain a little today). My mom turns 80 this weekend (wowza). And yes, I’m still working on Sue Spargo quilts, more than one at a time (because I’m crazy, that’s why). I can’t show you the one I’ve been working on since the pandemic started, because she hasn’t published it yet, but I’m also chipping away at some of the older ones. It’s relaxing to just sew stuff on and then make 200 French knots. And now I know I can actually quilt them. That’s a plus.

OK, school today. Challenge mostly accepted. Tonight, I’ll stitch a little. And hopefully get back to the two art quilts that are in process in here. Oh yeah, this picture of Greta Thunberg stitching makes me so happy…

That girl. She’s amazing.

Miles…

Hmmm. Am I walking too much? 20 miles in 9 days? Not so bad. If I were through-hiking the PCT, I’d have to do that every day. This is just in bits and bobs; 3.6 miles is the short bit, my regular weekly stomp up and down local hills. Added a couple of 4+ milers, one with dog and boychild, one with the man. I’m feeling it this morning. Plus? It helps me sleep. When I am doing more, though, I know that’s a sign that the stuff in my head is being cranky…apparently more so in the last week or so.

I’ve been quilting the Sue Spargo block-of-the-month from a million years ago…wool is not so hard, apparently. Nah, it’s really soft and mostly forgiving.

This is the first wool quilt I’ve ever quilted. I outlined everything so it would stand up, and then started quilting in the background.

Mostly spirals, but some other random stuff. There’s stars and stripes in there.

Some echo quilting around the leaves…

An occasional cloud or swirly bit. And then I ordered more thread, because I will need it.

OK, so I guess that means I can quilt all my wool pieces (there are three of them ready to go). It’s brainless and that’s what I need right now.

I started around the edges, so I’ll still need enough for the middle, and then maybe some parts inside flowers and birds in a different color. We’ll see.

We started hiking the San Diego River Valley’s 2019/2020 Coast to Crest challenge hikes because…well, why not?

Apparently there are still patches left and we can get another one. This is the northern Lake Hodges part of the trail, which starts on the east side of the 15…

And goes under it…so there’s lots of road noise in the first mile…

And then it’s a relatively easy and open trail.

With a view of the lake eventually.

A stream to cross.

I was hoping for a nice relaxing hike with the man, but it turned out to be stressful. No fault of the hike. These unprecedented times mean sometimes everyone is stressed out.

I’m kind of done with unprecedented times personally.

There are many birds that are too far away to see clearly. If you’re into that. I like birds.

We hiked to the selfie spot; didn’t do the whole 7.4 miles. Not my choice. But you know how that goes. Having a hiking partner is nice. Even when it’s not.

There was a coyote, a very skinny one, under the freeway bridge on the way back.

Last night’s hike, I heard them but didn’t see them…

Set out late (and alone) after a science planning meeting that I don’t get paid for and do every week anyway. Thanks to my school board for voting on a reduction in salary plan last night. Work more, pay less. Really appreciate it y’all. It’s been a great year. This makes it so much better.

Gonna appreciate the puppy love…

And sweet kittens…

And get to work. Sigh. Ugh. It was rough yesterday. It will be rough today. Perhaps every day. And maybe after the really long union meeting I am foreseeing in my future tonight, I will make art. If I have the energy. I hope I do.

This Is My Day Off

Yeah. Some president gifted me this day so I could have extra time to grade stuff without having to try to do it during the work day. I do that too. Kids are completing work, asking me questions, typing in the chat, fucking around on Roblox or YouTube INSTEAD of doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and I’m answering questions, typing in the chat, shutting down Roblox and YouTube, but also encouraging everyone to finish ALL THE THINGS, all the while trying to grade the easier, less-brain-encompassing assignments on the other computer. Jumping between tabs on a slow-ass Chromebook the school gave me. The teacher Mac is slightly faster, but not by much. I need a third one that works at the speed of light. What are they giving me instead? Another monitor. So I can have two laptops and two extra monitors to WATCH things. And try to bounce between things, which is already an issue for me. ANYWAY. I have found that there are some things that need my full attention for grading: anything for an academic grade that is more than two sentences OR anything that is artistic and requires some sort of holistic analysis of effort and craftsmanship. Cannot do either of those while doing anything else. Usually I need a rubric up on one screen and the document/photo on another. Big screens. Not tiny Chromebook screens. Also can’t do late work particularly easily while teaching…too much bouncing between screens and printouts of gradesheets. So last night, I graded 62 of the 97 pieces of late work that had come in during the last 8 days. I’m still behind. I’m always behind. And now I have an admin semi-hounding me so she can check in with a parent. Sigh. If only the sweet dingbats would turn work in on time. Life would be so smooth.

We’re hiking today. And I’m cooking some semi-complicated dinner (is it? I don’t know if it is…I just know it has lots of ingredients). We’re getting a late start…I didn’t push for an early morning…no need. So there’s that. I’ll grade some more later today, hopefully get my bread started (I keep mistiming it), and get some more art time in.

Friday night, I ironed some pieces from Sue Spargo’s Homegrown block of the month to fabric and thought I was missing a piece…

I have plenty of fabric, so I found a green that was similar (minus the dragonflies) and used that. The block of the month is from 2018, so I knew I probably couldn’t get a replacement piece. It’s OK, though, because the next day, during my guild meeting, I figured out that the piece of green was folded under and I just hadn’t noticed. There was plenty of dragonfly fabric there.

It’s possible that I shouldn’t do anything on Friday nights that requires brainpower, y’all.

The rest of Friday night I spent putting fabric away from the last quilt and from some monthly shipments I thought I would use in a certain way and decided to just throw in the stash for general use.

I don’t keep a lot of fabric separated…just some Kaffe Fassett fabrics I need for a quilt I don’t seem to be working on at all. Awkward. But I bought them specifically for that quilt and there’s a ton of Fassett fabrics already in my stash, getting used regularly.

This meant I could start picking fabrics for the new quilt. Good plan. Cleaning is pretty brainless. I like the feeling of clearing the slate for the next piece. Remind me to pick fabrics I haven’t used lately in this new one. I’ve already blown that, I think. Whoops.

Saturday morning was my guild meeting. They are very activity-based, challenge-based. I don’t know how many challenges I can handle besides the real-world ones. I have done a tiny bit of wool quilting for the UFO challenge, but not much. I spent most of the meeting trying to get those Spargo pieces cut out and pinned down.

That space under the computer is useful. Then I did some stitch down on the 4th Applique Stories piece.

It’s relaxing to do this…

Just a different way of putting things together. Maybe someday I’ll finish one. Who knows…it could happen. For a while, at the beginning of the pandemic, I stitched through staff meetings and trainings. Now I work through them, planning, posting shit for classes, basic grading. Sad but true.

I love how flowers always make great boobs.

And hearts…certainly not what the designer intended, but I’m OK with that. I’m continuing with this series into 2021. We’ll see where it goes.

After the guild meeting, I needed to be outside. Too many meetings on Thursdays and Fridays.

I find I don’t get outside enough. And it looks like Spring…recent rains make things green. We came home and I did more outside, watering some, cleaning some, finding the speaker that got lost back in May or June last year…it was under a chair pad, and kudos to Anker, it still works.

It didn’t even need to be charged.

The man and I went out for dinner…facing away from everyone.

It’s a bit of a risk, but one that keeps us sane. We stayed home when the governor told us to, which is why the numbers went down. Probably they’ll be back up in 2-3 weeks because of the Super Bowl, unfortunately. Stupid people and parties.

Speaking of challenges, the SIL has issued one.

Definitely needs doing. Then I’m supposed to pass it on, keep passing until someone doesn’t want to any more, and see how many marks get done. I haven’t had time to pull my own stuff, but it’s on the list. Then maybe I’ll mail the card to the girlchild.

Poor Calli…post Super-Bowl dumbasses shooting guns, we think. Super loud. She doesn’t like it.

She’s old and somewhat deaf, but not deaf enough.

Last night, I finally got around to ironing the small owl commission together that I’ve been working on…

It’s the owl from the last quilt, just by itself. She likes owls. I think this is the third one I’ve done for her? Not sure. Maybe second. I’ve done a lot of owls. I recorded the ironing of it for my Patreon…well, at least most of it. It’ll go out to them next weekend, after I process it.

I toned down the background slightly from that in the original quilt. Something this small needs a different focus than in the big quilt. It’s ironed to a background now that will never be seen, so I’ll do stitch down sometime soon (damn, gonna have to pull that wool quilt off the machine to do that! Or finish it) and get it quilted and bound.

Then I started ironing Wonder Under to fabric on the newest piece…

Didn’t get far before it was midnight. Time slips. But it’s a start. Like I said, I wasn’t very good about picking new fabrics so far, but this was the sand and the sky. I guess I can try harder for the rest of it.

OK, ready to hike! Or something. Then do things.