Monday, May 11, 2015

What's Next? Dealing with It.

An artsy friend sent me this card last week, and 
I'm stuck on it. It pushes me to think. She 
would never call herself a great motivator, but 
she has a way of dropping Thought Bombs 
that stops me in my tracks.

Neither of us are empty nesters, but it's on our

 horizons. (I'm laughing because we have 11 kids 
between us. Will either of us ever be?) But we are 
mentally preparing for the next season of our lives, 
and it comes up in our conversations a lot. I know 
many of you who visit Pink Doxies blog are 
thinking this, too.

So, we ask ourselves, What's Next?

Which Road are we Taking?

How will we Know when we've Arrived?

 I got back into quilting because it fit easily 

into my life, and made me happy. Now I get 
my color fix, make neat things, and meet the 
most wonderful people through blogging. 
Sounds so cozy, doesn't it? Then what? 
What if I want more than that?

When we reach uncharted territory, it

gives us pause to think. The unknown can
be scary. We're now at the End of 
our Comfort Zone. I've been coming up
against this for the past few months. 

Where I'm At--One Place

I want to be able to create entire 

quilts from start to finish no matter the size. 
I'm making bigger projects now, and like this 
one, they don't fit in my domestic machine 
anymore--even my Janome with an 11" throat.

I felt like one thing I needed to learn 

was long arm quilting. It scared me, yet I spent
a lot of time looking into it. I visited stores, 
talked to friends, and even priced machines. I 
tried it a few times, but the learning curve was 
steep! I could do so many things on my domestic 
Janome, but it didn't transfer to a long arm. It 
was like riding a bike and rowing a boat--a 
totally different skill set. Was it a road I wanted 
to even go down? Was it worth it for me?

I have a neighbor just houses away with a
Tin Lizzie. She quilts commercially for clients, 
and was kind and willing to show me her machine
the day after my phone call. She even let me 
have a try at it. The next day my QST quilt was 
on her machine, and I was going to quilt it 
myself. She had faith in my skills when I didn't.

We drove an hour away to buy thread as she
does mainly Traditional quilts, and had nothing
in my color palette. We came home, pinned it
on, and after a few minutes we both knew the
color wasn't working. I couldn't see it enough
to follow the pattern. She happily helped me
rip out stitches for half an hour. At that point
I went home to sleep on it, but I kept waking 
up wondering if she'd be upset if I just wanted
to take it out of the frame. I was panicking I
would screw it up beyond saving. I loved this
colorful quilt.

The next morning, Mother's Day, she called
to ask if I wanted to try again. I had looked
at more patterns, watched some videos,
and drawn page after page with 2 hands
on my pen moving it at the same time.
I found this pattern on a porch chair, and
thought it was easiest enough to begin.

We re-evaluated thread color, and chose a
darker color even though I would have liked
a paler one. I needed to see it! This is a
lavendar shade, and she had a matching
So Fine for the bobbin thread. 

Away I went, down my first run, and by the end 
was in tears. Good tears! It was so terrifying,
and I had managed to do a passable job, 
and not ruined my quilt.

You might be laughing to yourself that I'm

being overly dramatic, but you have no idea
how afraid I was of botching this. I've done 
that before, and have the mess to prove it.

With the adrenaline rush going, I kept on.
Sandy helped to coach me by checking if
thing were in place after each pass, but she
stayed out of the way. I'm a good 7" taller
that she is, and I'm sure it was quite a 
sight with me scootching down to run the
machine at her height adjustment.

A quick break for lunch, a minute to smell 
my gorgeous Mother's Day bouquet, and I 
told my husband I'd be done by 3.

When I returned, Sandy took her sewing 
upstairs, and left me on my own. I managed
fine, and in my head kept saying,
"I can do this. I can do this."
It was an empowering moment for me.

My work was not perfect. Shoot, I
even ran over my design a few times
trying to see under the machine head, 
but the whole quilt was done
in one day. I'm so, so pleased with a
passing job this time.

The lavendar thread was a solid choice 
for the backing.

Effy had to have a quick try at it right off.

I still have the edges to quilt on my Janome.
I've chosen to use my sit down domestic

for the control it allows me, and then the
binding. All can happen this week.

I don't know if I'd ever have done this had
circumstances not been what they were.
It all fell into place when it did, and I 
didn't have as much time to over-think it.
Thank you, Sandy.
Fear nearly stopped me from this uber-
thrilling adventure. I'm totally wiped out,
and have come down with a cold or
something already, and I wonder if it's 
from stressing over it all.

As for my card above, I think I would 
rephrase it to say, 

"Growth begins at the end 
of your comfort zone."

Gardeners who start seedlings know it helps 
to brush your hand across them once a day. 
You're simulating nature brushing by them. It 
makes the whole stem structure healthier, 
I understand, when the seedling pushes 
back against the stimulus. In turn, it 
causes it to grow stronger

As for the biggest questions I have
above, I still don't know. Perhaps
I never will. My answer for today
is simple.

Let me grow.

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's all go sew.

Linking up today with~
Freemotion by the River
Quilt Story
Blossom Heart Quilts
Late Night Quilter
She Can Quilt
Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Makers
Show and Tell with Bambi
Hug-a-Bit Quilts


  1. Julie your neighbor Sandy is an angel! She must also be a great teacher because your quilting looks so wonderful. You did justice to that beautiful quilt.
    A good thing to step out of your comfort zone from time to time. Did you get a chance to read Yvonne's post about that?

    As to your bigger questions, I can tell you that quilting helped me a lot in learning to reshape my life once the kids flew the nest.

  2. How fitting that the pattern you were quilting is of vines and leaves, and the colors of your quilt are springtime colors, and you were quilting it on Mothers Day--all of it is resplendent with a message of growth. Good for you! And thank you for sharing it with us.

    What a good reminder of how important it is to speak words of encouragement to ourselves: "I can do this", instead of undermining thoughts such as, "Don't screw up". My nephew suggested to his mom, a loving, supportive, optimistic woman, that it might be more helpful to hear, "Okay, kids, let's be on time!" than, "Hurry up! You're going to be late!" We're all still learning.

  3. Excellent job! I totally understand your frustrations but you pushed through and it looks great!

  4. Thank you for your inspiration today for all of us on the Show and Tell on Monday and your linking there !! Hug Bambi

  5. I know someone with a long arm but I'm not at the stage yet where I want to quilt on it - maybe when i finally get my soon quilt finished! Still getting to know my sit down machine and fmq patterns certainly push me out of my comfort zone still!

  6. That saying is oh, so very true! Congrats on pushing past your anxiety about quilting and create something beautiful! I bought a long arm three years ago with the intention of quilting for others, and it took me a full year before I got over my uber anxiety and outright fear that I would totally destroy someone's beautiful quilt. But I jumped in, and my first customer was delighted. And the second. And on and on. One foot in front of the other! Have fun with your quilting future.

  7. I can completely see how you were afraid to ruin such a beautiful top but now, with your quilting, it looks even more fantastic. It was so kind of your neighbour to help but it was really your courage and endurance that got this done. I must remember your post next time I think I'll just stick with straight lines again! Congrats :)

  8. What an awesome and empowering neighbor! I am glad you stuck with it. :)

  9. Great story and wonderful, pretty and colorful quilt. Love it.

  10. You are inspiring. Even if you never longarm a quilt again, you've done it and it turned out good. You've faced a fear and shared your experience with all of us. I know that you'll get a euphoric feeling of "I did that!" whenever you see that quilt. Hopefully, that will carry you through to new challenges, and you'll tackle and overcome them as well.
    Also, Sandy is a generous and wise woman. We should all be lucky enough to know someone like her!

  11. Gorgeous scrappy quilt! So pleased you were able to step out of your comfort zone and achieve something you were so happy with - hope you do it more often! Thanks for inspiring us at #scraptastictuesday to do the same

  12. So glad that it worked out...the quilt is gorgeous...that teal blue makes the entire quilt just pop! I loved the story!! :)

  13. You've given me SUCH a lump in my throat reading through all the variety of emotions you experienced. I can SO relate, Julie. Your quilt is truly special. It's beautiful in its original design. Gorgeous, rich fabrics/colours. And now the crème de la crème: your OWN FMQ design! Hugs and way-to-go warm fuzzies, my friend. :-)

  14. I found you through Karen. I'm signing up for your blog. Quilts and has doxie!!! Both my favorites. And you jumped in where angels fear to tread. You go girl.
    Mary Ann

  15. I think you have done an AMAZING job Julie! I love the pattern you have chosen and it doesn't look simple at all! Given that this is your first attempt at a long arm machine, I couldn't have been happier with the result! I love the thread colour choice as well and your quilt looks just gorgeous. Believe in yourself, you can do anything!!
    Thank you for linking up with me at Hug-a-Bit Quilts for Monday Makers!

  16. Your post is as lovely and inspiring as your quilt. Nice!

  17. So pleased you got over the fear and managed to make it work. Good on you, and you have a great result to show for your efforts.

  18. Congratulations on successfully learning a new skill. The quilt looks great.

  19. Your quilt looks so great! Yay for good neighbours with a long arm ;-)

  20. Such a beautiful sentiment! I love all parts of the quilting, and I think I will always have one hand quilting project on the go, but I figured that it would only be worthwhile to buy a long arm if I made 10 quilts per year, and I don't. One day I would like to rent longarm time and try it out.

  21. I love this quilt so much! The colors, the pattern, the border - it's perfect! And yay for longarm-owing and kind neighbors :) Can't believe this is your first try. It's so good.

  22. What fun to read your post today! I too just finished quilting my quilt. I rented time (first time) on a long arm quilting machine and while it's not perfect, I ran over the design too, I do like it and can't wait to finish with the binding. But I've started another quilt project that I need to get done so that binding will have to wait a bit.

    1. Karen~

      There's such a feeling of accomplishment, I know, but it's this powerful thing. If you remember the first time you sewed two pieces of fabric together, and then looked at them having gone from 2 into 1. It's remarkable how some of us view that as just the coolest thing at that moment. This was like that for me. A really wow moment. It sounds like you and I must be cut from the same yardage, sister.


  23. It's a beautiful quilt and your quilting is fantastic!


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