Catching Up (Again)

Do you feel like you’re in catch-up mode a lot? I sure do. And it’s CRAZY, because my life includes few deadlines, and almost all the obligations I have are self-imposed.

Right now I’m catching up from being gone several days. Jim and I were invited to a satellite launch at Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral) in Florida. It was Thursday, March 1. Without reservation I can say it was thrilling to be there, to witness in person. And I’ll also say, it was like watching a football game — you can see it a lot better on teevee than you can in person! 🙂 We’ll have more to say in a few days on our joint blog, Our View From Iowa. For right now I’ll tease you with this picture.

While we were still in the area, we took a drive through a wildlife preserve. I’m a lot more used to wildlife in the northern states than in Florida. We saw several of these ancient beasts.

Before we left on that jaunt, I finished the three “retreat” tops and their backs, and I made two of the bindings. They are now ready to quilt. The cool (and frightening) thing is, I upgraded my longarm. Yes, after intermittent fits over the last few years (my fits? or the machine’s?) I decided the old one had to go. I didn’t expect delivery of the new one until this week, but lo and behold, it was ready sooner. And honest-to-gosh, I’ve barely looked at it since then. Oh yes, I am eager to get started, but other things have been higher priority.

And my EQ7 software took to crashing after my computer’s operating system was updated. After some miscommunication between the EQ company and me, I did figure out a work-around. However, I’ve decided to upgrade my design software, too. And until I do, another project is on hold. Aye-yi-yi, as my friend Kristin would say.

Earlier this week I visited another guild to share information about the Mill Girls, textile workers in New England in the early 1800s. It was fun and gratifying — they were a terrific group. But my schedule has been kind of crazy.

AND THE MOST FUN OF ALL!!! I now have another cold, more difficult than the last two. (Yeah, all three colds in about two months. Maybe then I’ll be done with it for a while.)

So yeah, I’m catching up. This week I finally got back to sewing. My house quilt has been patiently waiting for weeks. There were (way more than) a couple of choices for what to do next. I could either maintain the proportions as square, or I could elongate it. Most of my quilts are square. I LIKE square quilts. But sometimes ya gotta do something different, and certainly this project is easier than many to make that transition.

I made 10 variable star blocks and cut non-square spacer blocks to put between them. Using spacers is a great solution for dealing with size problems, and also when a border of all pieced blocks is too busy. Variable stars have 17 patches each. That’s a lot of patches in a small block finishing at 5″, and spacers will show them off better.

This photo just gives a feel for how that will look.

After attaching the strips of stars top and bottom, I’ll frame the whole with another narrow border. At that point it will probably be time for some of the dozens of flying geese I already made for this quilt, back when it was going to be a strip quilt, not a medallion.

All of this reminds me of a post from three years ago, about something I overheard. It was short, so I will copy it here in its entirety: 

[Overheard] at the Chicago International Quilt Festival, one woman talking to another:

First woman, “I haven’t finished anything recently. Life got in the way.”

Second woman, “That’s the good news!”

Often I hear of “life” as an interruption to some other pursuit, like quilting, writing, or keeping up with television programs. It often connotes that something bad has happened, requiring our time, energy, and attention. It could be that a relative needs care, or we’ve been ill, or the college bills demand finding a second job.

But those aren’t interruptions, are they? Aren’t those the things we’re here for, taking care of others and ourselves? We are connected. Our relationships are (or should be) primary. That, of course, includes the relationship with ourselves. And the leisure pursuits are the luxury. To put it another way, the relationships are the sustenance. The hobbies are the dessert.

So the good news is that life gets in the way sometimes, that we have enough to sustain us that we can enjoy the treat when it’s available.

20 thoughts on “Catching Up (Again)

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Tierney! It was SO AMAZING to be there in front of the Saturn V engines. Or behind or below them or whatever. It almost literally took my breath away. Thanks for taking a look.

  1. audrey

    Love the little stars and you’re so right. Spacers can add that necessary bit of room to show off when designs get busy! The colors of this quilt are so mellow and warm–just perfection.:)

  2. snarkyquilter

    Yes, life is like buses – three arrive at one time, and you’re spoiled for choice. It sounds as if you managed to board them all. Too bad about another cold. Germs are a downside of travel. And now you get to play with new toys as you finish several projects.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, buses — three arrive at once and they aren’t all going on the same route. Hard to tell where you’ll end up! Yes, new toys. Maybe this week… 🙂 Thanks.

  3. KerryCan

    What a whirlwind! I love that you got to see a space launch–not the average activity to be invited to! You’ll be quite happy, I think, when the recent wrinkles smooth out and you can get back to something that resembles normalcy. But your attitude and philosophy are sensible and inspiring!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      At this point, I’m not sure what “normal” is! Each time I think, ah, the week ahead looks simple… something comes up. And that’s the good news. Jim and I are both getting better at rolling with it, though in truth we’d both be quite comfortable with a calm, unchanging schedule. 🙂 THanks!

  4. Shasta

    The colds may not be good news, but yes the rest of it sounds fabulous – life is worth living. Even if you can see more on TV, you can still say you’ve been there and watched the actual thing, and it is not fake news! The pictures are gorgeous, as is your new quilt. I just love the colors – and everything looks so good together.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Shasta! And yes, you can see it better on TV, but I wouldn’t give up the experience of being there for anything. 🙂 Thanks for taking a look and your kind comments.

  5. Pingback: Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (8) |

  6. katechiconi

    Your life just recently has been like a quilt, full of patches of different colour and intensity, but still stitched together into a integrated whole. The colds have been the slightly murky dark areas that throw the brilliantly coloured bright spots into contrast, there are areas which are not yet fully resolved, and you have a feel for where it’s going, but it’s still talking to you about what it wants!
    I hope you’re feeling better soon 🙂

  7. Cindy Anderson

    Hello Melanie! I’ve missed seeing your posts and had been wondering what you were up to. Good to hear you had the opportunity to see the launch. You are so right when you say that sometimes those things are better seen on a television. But you can say that you were “there.” Sorry to hear that you have been fighting with this season’s nasty germs. I hope that this last round goes by quickly. Thank you for sharing the update on your quilt. I think it’s turning out to be a very nice piece. You’ve made awesome color selections! I look forward to seeing the final reveal. Glad you are back! 🙂

  8. louisedduffy

    I like to think that “life” doesn’t get “in the way”, rather Life Is The Way! Although, sometimes my singularly focused objectives do get interrupted by more emergent or urgent needs, when I am at my best, I accept the shift of focus.

    I am curious if you are going to upgrade to EQ8 or to some other program. I recently got EQ8 as a gift and I am struggling with what I perceive to be limitations with the drawing aspects. Last night at our guild meeting, another member said that EQ is at its core a database manager – and that made so much sense. It is not primarily a vector design program, as I have been so used to over the years for non-quilty creative pursuits!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, I have EQ7 and intend to get EQ8. I get the point about it being a db manager. However of course you can do block design, as well. I know there are an awful lot of components to it I’ve never explored.


Thanks for your comments. I don't check them often. Please email me if you have questions.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.