Joyeux Pacques!

I left my hermitage today to go to brunch at a restaurant that looks like a funeral home and has waitresses who've been working there since the Johnson administration. It is the towniest of townie joints out on the far south side. What could get me out of my sewing cave for that? Well, not just my love of all things townie (as long as there are no hipsters stinking up the place), but the suggestion of my dear cousin Bam Bam that we take our grandmother out for brunch there. She's been ill for the better part of year, currently living in a rehab facility. She's the only person I know who goes out less than I do, so I immediately agreed. She clearly had been looking forward to our outing all week, because she was dressed to the nines in an all purple ensemble when we arrived, ready to go. The weather was perfect, the company lovely, and the food fantastic. Our waitress looked like a drag version of Jennifer Coolidge's character in Legally Blonde. The complete lack of irony was amazing.
I should get out more.

I am almost finished hand-quilting the secret 48 x 54" quilt. I have spent easily a hundred hours quilting this thing and have realized a couple of things in the process. Because of the busy patterns on the front, I decided to mark and quilt from the back. A mistake. I soon realized that my easygoing stitches that looked fine on the back were not so hot on the front. So, I've had to resort to super tiny, show-off stitches, as though I was trying to make a precious heirloom, in order for it to look decent on the front. I'll not be doing that again. Also, the thread that I chose, which claimed to be good for machine or hand quilting is total crap for hand work. It splits. It breaks. I hate it. Once I am done with this project, it's gone. I used a fusible batting in this quilt sandwich. You don't have to baste or pin, jut "tack" it in place with an iron. This sort of works. I've had to re-tack it a couple of times and am not impressed. That said, I really don't miss getting basting safety pins caught in the frame of my hoop and them stabbing me in the wrist. Last of all, my choice of motif was unexpectedly labor intensive. I decided to do an all circular quilting pattern, tracing around various household objects. Well, the problem with curved hand sewing is that it is impossible to do a running stitch. Every single fucking stitch in that quilt had to be pulled through by itself. It is so much slower going than a linear pattern would have been. Fortunately, I really like the texture that it makes in the quilt, but I will think more than twice before doing that again.

In order to sew all those single stitches, I work with my right (dominant) hand above the work and my left below, to catch the needle and feed it back through. As a result, an overly long quilting session will leave me with aches in both hands. This has severely limited my knitting output. I am currently neglecting or ignoring the following knitting projects:
* Metro cardigan in Dream in Color Classy. It needs a cuff finished on one sleeve, the hem re-knit, and its collar sewed down. I haven't figured out the best way to attach the collar.
* Embossed Leaves socks. The first one just needs its toe kitchenered. Then the second can start traveling with me on the El. Maybe.
* Helmi cardigan in Allhemp 6. It's hemp, which isn't the easiest on the hands. Also, lots of stockinette, not in the round. Yawn.

To follow up on previous posts:
I haven't picked up that Double Irish Chain quilt that I started last year (or the year before?). I took all the pieces out to figure out how it goes together, but packed it back into its box. It's strip pieced, and only some of the pieces has been done. After that, the pieces get chopped up and sewn into blocks. Then there's more cutting and piecing. I already have a batting for this, but not a backing. Maybe by the time I get around to finishing the front, I will have found a suitable back. I want to learn to machine quilt before this gets quilted, so I've decided to make another throw (for myself, for once) before tackling a bed sized piece.

I never got around to going to a museum.

I'm still happy with my Soda Stream machine. The Dr. Pete flavor is my favorite.

My gall remains mitigated. My amazing acu-pal Stacy is a total miracle worker and has gotten my gallbladder back on an even keel. It's also really helped with some long-term lower GI problems (which might have been gallbladder related, I have since learned) and my overall feeling of well-being. I am a total acupuncture convert. I don't plan to be as annoying about it as religious converts or ex-smokers, though. I'm one of those two things, by the way. I'll let you guess which.


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