New Tricks for an Old Dog

Well, now that its the first day of February, I will wish you a Happy New Year. 🙂 I keep meaning to re-start but realize how much of a perfectionist I am and how that really hinders me. I sat down to journal why in the world I haven’t been here!  And came with all sorts of excuses.

Reasons I came up with: can’t show some of my work right now, haven’t been taking enough quality photos and lastly, I feel busy but boring. And I realize how ridiculous that is. I had a fine week filled with a workshop I jumped into at the last minute for 2 days, a blizzard, dyeing a large quilt backing, a husband who has been gone skiing for 5 days, and this overwhelming urge to organize.  And I had critique with a long lost friend and dinner with my niece who is a young artist. So exciting for me, but maybe not so for you?

Anyhow, I did indeed purge my studio last month.

clean sweep of the desk

clean sweep of the desk


I can now see my desk and my photos I take on my little Selphy printer are all ready to be filed away. I have sat at this desk and actually sketched this past week and did some printing of inspirational photos for my journal. One of my new goals for the year is to use my sketchbook for more than just pasting photos and notes in . I got a swanky new  to me lateral file so I am dreaming of my profound organizational skills I will have this year. Yup,  you can smile .


I am dyeing some backing fabrics for finishing. I wasn’t sure how my white sink would like this but it fared ok.


never buy into the color when its wet

IMG_0335 2

And I wanted a white sink for what reason?


Bummer about the large hole in the first piece. It was too light of a color so I will darken it up after I cut out the hole. I had ordered extra wide Kona for the first time to save me from piecing the backs. So much for that great idea.


I also jumped into a workshop sponsored by the WMQG this past week. It was a 2 day long machine quilting class and featured the wonderful Harriet Hargrave. I took this same class 20 years ago and am not sure at that point if I heard anything at all. I was recently having such a time with my free motion quilting skills and the George and getting kind of desperate to improve-quickly and quietly. This workshop was absolutely the right thing to do. The amount of information I had wrong or was just ignorant about was AMAZING.

new edition chock full of information

new edition chock full of information

Needles , thread and just plain technique. I had been a walking foot girl for so long and what I was doing had been working for me.

tried and true walking foot although I would never mark a thing

tried and true walking foot although I would never mark a thing

I guess when I jumped into free motion quilting, I never took time to stop and understand how it was different. And a call to APQS helped me fix George’s problems that I had been struggling with for about a month now. I should have called sooner.

free motion quilting needs work

free motion quilting needs work

Harriet was forthright and adamant that you need to learn the skills. And then you can do whatever it takes to make it yours. I really needed this kick in the pants to practice before I jump into the next quilt. So, if you forgo a workshop because you “should” already know the information, think again. You are coming at the information from an entirely different vantage point. Or you haven’t done the practice. Harriet won’t be teaching for much longer so take advantage of her knowledge while you can . If she comes close to where you, sign up and you won’t regret it.

I generally take the lifelong learner phrase to heart. I am indeed a lifelong learner and find it rewarding  to stretch.

Nice to catch up.


5 thoughts on “New Tricks for an Old Dog

  1. Beth Berman

    I thought about giving a wrong answer to the math problem but I managed to maintain my maturity (smile). Love your post about being a life long learner. I LOVE taking workshops. Good luck with the fabric color!!

  2. Maria Shell

    I love the white sink! That class sounds like just the right thing for where you are at now. I have come to realize, from teaching machine quilting over and over again, that it is a steep curve and the most important things are the desire to learn and the willingness to practice. I wish Harriet would head North. Great post Colleen!

  3. Connie

    So wonderful you could take Harriet’s class. I learned free motion quilting from her books, and when I taught that book was the go to reference. (Nothing like teaching something to make you really learn it.) But I would love to have a class with her.


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