Fribble's Blend

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Location: Jefferson City, Tennessee, United States

Published by: Hard Shell Word Factory ( and Awe-Struck E-Books (

Monday, March 19, 2007

Quilt Show Thoughts

Friends and I went to a quilt show yesterday. This is pretty much a springtime ritual with us. The Pigeon Forge "Mountain QuiltFest" is a big event -- spread over three venues, and you have to climb onto a free trolley to get from one place to another. It's fun to ride an "old" trolley. The wooden benches are slippery, and you get talking to your friends so intensely you forget to braces yourself going around a curve. But I digress.

We looked at each and every quilt in the two displays. Our comments ranged from "Ooh!" and "Ahh!" to "What in the world is that!" and "How did that win a ribbon?"

One quilt we agreed on was one huge, gorgeous quilt that was pieced by one of our friends and quilted by machine by someone who is really good at machine quilting. It had a white Third Place ribbon hanging on it. Loved the white, pink and green fabrics, were impressed by the piecing in a Log-cabin design and the appliqued flowers -- apple blossoms, I think -- all very precisely done.

And as someone struggling to learn to machine quilt, I was stunned by the beautifully executed quilting. Machine quilting has come of age in the last five years or so. It used to be: "You mean she machine quilted it?" but now it's: "She did a lovely job of machine quilting it."

I , for one, will probably never hand quilt a piece that is larger than a baby quilt -- my wrist just can't take the strain. I took a serious look at a machine quilting setup in the vendors' area. Hmm. . .just maybe.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Quilting Isn't for Sissies

I'm taking part in a challenge to finish the unfinished quilt tops that have been piling up. You have to know that I procrastinate -- but I also show strong obsession/compulsive traits. These characteristics can be at war with each other.

Oh, I started out strong! A friend took in two little kids who needed cuddle quilts, so I dug into my basket and came up with small but pretty tops and whipped them into shape. Then I attacked the Number One challenge, a wedding quilt that is enormous, and I wasn't happy with the machine quilting I'd done on it. I bit my lip and took the seam ripper to the 20% of the quilt that had been done, then devoted my time to requilting, getting it done yesterday shortly after lunch.

There was much rejoicing. I took a deep breath and began planning to tackle my next designated quilt top. Husband came back from visiting our friend who took in the first two kids and told me that she'd taken in another -- a tiny baby who brought literally nothing with her. Luckily, I was sitting down. I reached into the basket and pulled out another little quilt top, about 40 inches square -- and got to work. I finished it today, and washed it so it would be nice and fresh.

Tomorrow, I tend to get back on track. I still have three quilts to finish by the end of the month. If I can stand the pressure!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Pulling a Ken

Husband says I "pulled a Ken" on him yesterday. He has a habit of doing something he thinks is important and I think is inconsequential -- and then I spend the rest of the day making allowances to accommodate the change.

Now, what triggered the whole thing was that about two weeks ago, I recommended that we get new drapes for the living room and the master bedroom. That meant we had four panels of drapes we could use somewhere else. (Tossing usable things out is not generally in the scheme of things here.)

I made a casual suggestion that the panels could be well used in Son's "studio" -- the room where his computer is. (It's a glorified hallway between the furnace area and the back of the house.) That kept him busy for a few minutes. when I went to look at the results, I realized that there was going to be too much glare on the computer screen, a fact which Son verified. So I suggested window shades, while they thought that venetian blinds would be enough.

By then we'd had lunch (we never do anything in a hurry) and Husband took me to Big Lots. there were no window shades but we got a good deal on venetians. And I got a month's supply of fancy tea, so it wasn't totally disappointing.

At home again, Son assisted Husband in putting up the blinds, something they had not hitherto done jointly before. Yep, it took three times the amount of time it would take for one person to do. Husband was just about finishing up when there was a knock at the back door.

A neighbor came to ask where we wanted him to plough our garden. Hoping to get out from under the strain of supervising what had become a daylong chore, I took the opportunity to get some fresh air and direct him to the place where the chicken house used to be.

Husband, finished with his work for the day, laughed and said I'd turned the tables on him. He is the one who usually decides it's a good day to do something and I'm the one who has to take over the problems that crop up along the way.

(Someday I'll tell you how it took my mother six months to get the dining room painted.)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Answered the Phone Last Night

I'll be the first to say I don't like people who call on the phone wanting my money. But last night I kept one on the phone for quite a while before saying I'm not contributing anything to the cause. And this is an outfit I go back a long way with -- the college I went to.

A rep of Edinboro University of PA was on the phone -- a young lady who is a student at the college, not a paid fund-raiser. "I notice you're a romance writer," she said a few minutes into the conversation. "I'm an English major myself, working on poetry. By the way, did you write a book called DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH?"

I confessed that I had.

"My mother's a librarian," she said. "She read it and just loved it -- said I should read it."

I told her a few anecdotes about my writing history. I think she was genuinely impressed.

It takes a will of steel to turn down a pitch from someone like that -- but I had to remind her why she called me. I told her I couldn't afford to give anything this year. But I do plan to take a collection of my works to the college library next time I go "home." Maybe they'll be worth more than the few bucks I might have sent.