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Chaos theory for beginners

Hiya, quiltish ones of all kinds!  Welcome to my very first blopghop!  You’ve doubtlessly found yourself here through QuiltingJetGirl’s blog because this is the second week of the 2017 New Quiltbloggers Bloghop, and I’m one of the many new Quiltbloggers in question.

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What you see above is why I named my blog Chaos Theory.  I spent a large portion of this past Saturday afternoon working on two blocks for my Sweet Tooth quilt.  These are beautiful blocks, and it had been going along just fine. Then I realized several otherwise flawless pieces had been sewn together backwards. Sigh.  In short, chaos theory is a mathematical concept that loosely defines what happens when a very predictable situation has an unpredictable outcome, and life (particularly mine) is full of those circumstances.

My name is Cate. I’m a happy 52-year-old quilter with two grown children. They were both surprises, and there’s a huge age gap in age between them. I’ve been divorced twice due to odd, unforeseen situations.  I have a love/hate relationship with my job — mostly love, but I work in the environmental safety department of a large company that has accidents. Those accidents keep me employed, but they can be phenomenally frustrating and sometimes depressing.

I started quilting a few years ago after my mother died of lung cancer. We’d been close my entire life.  My father had died many years before when I was 19.  I was sad beyond measure, although not at all surprised when my mom died, and so were my two kids, who were also very close to their Gram. She was like another parent to them. In my sadness and theirs, I wished for something tangible to ease our pain. I wanted to leave my kids something that would comfort them and remind them of how much I love them when I had gone. Voila!  Quilts!  I’d learned to sew in HomeEc class sometime in the mid-70’s, but my skills have required some serious work.  I think I’ve watched almost every YouTube tutorial available on the topic, and a metric ton of Craftsy classes as well.  I’m now a seasoned fabric addict.  I lean towards modern quilting, but can’t resist a good floral at times.  Most of my quilts have been given to my children, my sister, or a charity.

There are a number of unquilted tops in my chaotic sewing room, and I really want to learn longarm quilting, especially as a side-hustle for when I retire.  I’m currently contemplating a Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen with the Little Foot frame.  I’m thinking it will provide the longarm custom work experience I need to learn without taking up anywhere near as much space as the real thing. Why so little space?  Those two grown children live with me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but don’t tell them that. It’s best if they think they need me, not the other way around!

Honestly, I do need them.  Not just to keep me from getting lonely, but because I struggle with rheumatoid arthritis and physically require assistance when it flares badly.  If you don’t know anything about rheumatoid arthritis, you might want to follow that link to a guy who explains it really well, and with humor. You’ll hear me complain about the randomness of this autoimmune pain in my every joint.  This isn’t your grandmother’s arthritis!  Children can have it.  It’s potentially disabling and requires very expensive drugs that cost more than the average person makes in a year, and I know a couple of other (younger) quilters who struggle with it.

It’s nice to meet you, quilters  I’ve only been blogging since the start of this year, but you can see more of my quilting and chaos on Instagram.  I’m @cate.sans.eraser and I tend to use IG a lot.  Now that you’ve been here, go visit some of the other new quilters on the Bloghop!  There are fabulous prizes to be won and lots of great quilts to see, as well as cool tutorials and other stuff worth visiting.  Go!  Look!

Three other quilters from my hive are part of this week’s Bloghop, too. There are also two other hives with participants in the hop.  Our Hive Mom (Queen Bee?  Hive Honcho?  Buzz master?) QuiltingJetGirl has all the info right here.  

Oh, and if you’ve made it this far and want one more random fact:  I play a resto troll shaman in a raiding guild, Horde side two nights a week with my son and some of our closest friends.  World of Warcraft is still a blast after 12 years.  Send me an email at cate.sans.eraser at gmail dot com if you’re a quilter looking for a guild!  Especially if you have good DPS and have cleared Nighthold.  You can carry us!  Just kidding.

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58 thoughts on “Chaos theory for beginners

  1. Hi Cate! So wonderful to meet you. I love that you’re in my hive! My sister struggles with RA as well so I understand a bit of what you’re going through. So glad you chose quilting as your therapy! Love the sweet tooth quilt you’re working on and can’t wait to see more. Although I don’t play Warcraft, my daughter is in RPG at college and enjoys lots of role playing games both video and in person so I understand the attraction. We are lucky to have both Comic Con and Gen Con here and I love taking her. I enjoy the costumes and kids of all ages just having fun! I think we’re going to be great friends.

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  2. My son got me started playing World of Warcraft. He was about eight years old when it came out, and he really wanted to play it. I wasn’t unfamiliar with online gaming and its perils for little kids, so I said he could only play it with direct supervision. Mom needed to play with him and interact with the same people he did. Well, we wound up having a blast together, and it’s still one of our favorite things to do. He’s our main tank.

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  3. Thanks for being part of the blog hop Cate! I worked with a girl who has RA and she has had a rough time of it. I couldn’t believe how expensive her meds were. I hope you have more good days than bad! My sewing room is often chaotic too. I love that you chose to name your blog after the chaos! 🙂

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  4. I give away most of my quilts too. I just can’t help myself. But then most of my fabric and thread is thrifted.
    “Want to learn long-arm quilting, esp. as a side hustle when I retire,” that sure made me smile. I’m thinking you have to push through a lot of quilts to justify that 5k upfront expense.

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    1. I’m thinking you’re absolutely right! I’m trying to look at it as both an investment in my own skills as well as something that just plain looks fun. It’s hard to justify the expense, but easier with no spouse!

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  5. Another quilter/gamer? No way! Hahaha. Although it has been about a year since I have logged in, I have been playing EQII off and on for about 12 years (I think). Sometimes I will take a break from one and spend my free time on the other. Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to the tribe!

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    1. I’m starting to think everyone’s sewing room is a little chaotic.
      The worst thing about losing your parents is the realization that you’re now the oldest generation in your family and no one can bail you out now!

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  6. As a new longarm owner, I suggest finding a used machine. I bought mine for 1/3 of what a new one would cost, and it is a joy to use. Also, if I decide it was a mistake, I can sell it for what I paid for it.
    I like your blog name, too.

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  7. Hi Cate, So glad to finally meet you!

    I really enjoyed reading your story. I have to agree with you that everyone’s sewing room is chaotic…unless you have OCD. So sorry to hear about your parents! My mom passed away 25 yrs. ago and a seamstress. I find quilting very therapeutic for me.

    Oh my niece plays those games and she wanted me to get into it! I didn’t want to start only because I would be on it 24/7. LOL

    Thank you for sharing and a look forward to reading more!

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  8. Hi Cate, so fun to read your post! I love the title of your blog. I can relate to sewing something backwards but thinking you’re buzzing along doing great. It’s kinda like sewing along only to realize your bobbin ran out eons ago!

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  9. Very nice to learn more about you Cate! The name of your blog is just great. Well my husband is constantly having to pick up after me especially now that I’m sewing in a corner of the living room. He keeps warning about finding my pins everywhere and how dangerous that’ll be when we start having kids 🙈. I’m glad you have quilting and your kids to turn to and I pray they continues to be there for you.

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  10. It’s really great to meet you, Cate! I loved your nicknames for the hosts, aka Hive Honchos and Buzz Masters. 🙂 Chaos theory really does sum up so much of what we do as quilters – it’s perfect. Good luck on someday getting a long arm of some sort. Having RA must be so challenging when it comes to basting and quilting a project.

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  11. Nice to read more about you Cate – and your chaos!! I have a HQ Avante and I love it. I know lots of people who have a Sweet 16 and love them – they are a great company aswell and I have received lots of support that I needed initially.

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    1. I guess I should have said Simply Sixteen. The one with the Little Foot frame. Not the sit-down version. I’m a habitual doodler, and I really want to free motion quilt without jamming a quilt through the throat of a domestic machine.

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  12. Love the name of your blog! I think we all have some chaos in our lives;-D. I have Fibromyalgia and have had it since 1990, when everyone just thought I was crazy, hehe. So I understand some about your pain and my heart goes out to you. I’m a new follower and look forward to checking out your blog

    usairdoll (at) gmail (dot) com

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  13. Hi Cate, what a surprise, you’re a gamer! I have a confession now, I’m somewhat addicted to playing less serious games, thanks to my youngest son who is now 30, like, Bubbles, Dino-Mite, Plants vs. Zombies, Scrabble, Bejeweled, etc. and started reading quilting blogs as a way to reduce my computer game playing time which led to my decision to start blogging. I still play sometimes and known to still stay up at 3am playing games but I really would rather be sewing. I totally understand chaos theory because more often than not, I always do something wrong on every quilt I’ve made. I’m glad to have met you on the Blog Hop.

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    1. I’m really glad to have met you, too. If you need to balance the quilting with a bit of gaming, WoW isn’t all that serious, and it’s really relaxing to slay a dragon with 20 people you like. It’s a team sport!

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    1. I can’t wait to get it finished! It was a BOM I did last year, and it was supposed to be finished in Feb. but I let holiday projects throw me off last year. I haven’t finished anything yet this year!!!

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  14. Visiting from the hop. RA can be disabling, and I hope your medications keep you in control. Having a mid-arm size will help a lot with quilting without the commitment in space for a longarm. It is a lot easier to move the machine to quilt too. My favorite quote, and I don’t know who said it first – “Quilting on a DSM is like trying to write a letter by moving the paper.”

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  15. Nice to meet you Cate through your blog post. Your sweet tooth quilt is going to be brilliant, and a lovely idea that your family will remember you through your quilts. That is in my mind too.

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  16. Cate I enjoyed your post and the explanation for your blog name and I can totally relate to it. Not so to World of Warcraft though, but think its wonderful that you get to share something with your son! I think if we’re honest we have all had one of those ‘doh!’ moments, they don’t get any easier though do they?

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  17. Hi Cate! So enjoyed reading your blog post and I love your blog name! I have a few friends who play World of Warcraft and enjoy it. Its awesome you and your son have that to share! I too want to be remembered for my quilts, and my kids will have the stories of them to pass down through the generations. Looking forward to following along in your quilty adventures!

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  18. I play Warcraft too and also have for almost 12 years, taking breaks here and there. I play a resto druid and raid two nights a week. Our guild just killed Gul’dan on heroic for the first time last night…but I wasn’t there. I had to leave early.

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  19. A late ‘Hello’ Cate. Sounds like you don’t let your RA spoil your fun, and your zest for life shines through. Some quilters have a chaotic sewing room while in the midst of creating a new quilt they tidy is all up so it is pristine before starting the next one, but others like me never quite manage the pristine bit and live on the edge of chaos. I love your explanation.

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  20. How did I miss you in the blog hop schedule? I think I’m crazy and have an inaccurate grasp of time because I didn’t realize just how far behind I am… anyway… it was great to get to know you more outside of Instagram!

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