Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Come on Irene...

Yeah, I guess the song is really about Eileen, but it seems to fit my experience with Hurricane Irene! This post is long overdue, but it's just too cool not to share.

The weekend of Hurricane Irene, I had planned to drive to New York for a brief visit to my grandmother's. I was only going to be there for three days, and we had as many quilts to make in that short amount of time.

I didn't think anything of the hurricane as I hit the road. In Ohio, we heard it was coming, but that's about it. We didn't hear anything about the expected strength, evacuations, etc. ahead of time.

And my grandmother doesn't sweat the small stuff, or hurricanes, apparently, so she didn't really mention it either.

My grandparent's house

As a side note, I always want to go to my grandparent's house in the summer. There's something about that time of year (maybe because it's when we visited as kids?) that makes me want to visit. It's also one of my most stressful times of year at work, and whenever I find myself really overwhelmed, I want to escape here. Because there's not really cell phone service. And it's just so easy to unplug from your real life. And all I do when I come here is sew and read. I miss it already.

I got to New York and had a nice day of weather before all the storms hit. We managed to finish one quilt and start on the second during that first day. We watched the news and wondered if we would lose power. My grandfather ended up renting a generator just in case, but neither of them seemed worried about the storm.

This - by the way - is why I go to my Gramma's to make quilts:

This is her long-arm quilting machine and frame. It's amazing. It's 10 feet long, and you can put an entire king size quilt on it. I don't think I'll ever make a king size quilt, but it's nice to have the option. Instead of moving the quilt around on a stable machine, you move the machine on a stable quilt. It is SO much easier to achieve nice results when you work this way. It's also way faster.

This shows you how you roll the quilt on, back then batting then front.  You won't recognize this quilt because I made it for Zac's cousin's baby, and gave it to her before I took pictures of it. Oops. I'll take some when I see them at Christmas!

Another view of the quilt and machine.

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if you aren't paying attention. You probably got distracted by the GORGEOUS wall paper that is in the bedroom. Here's a close-up:

Stunning, right? Nothing like floral wall paper that is mostly weeds??

Here's a picture of Gramma quilting. She's so cute.

We finished the first quilt and some of the second on Friday. When we woke up on Saturday, it had started to rain. We worked ALL day Saturday trying to finish the second and third quilts as the storm kept raging. We had about half of the last quilt to do when we couldn't see straight anymore. We went to a neighbor's house for dinner, came home, and went to sleep.

Oh - not before we watched the news and saw that there was a tornado warning. And we had this conversation:

Me: "Gramma, you don't have tornado sirens, here do you?"
Gramma: "No, we don't."
Me: "How will we know if there is a tornado and we need to go to the basement?"
Gramma: "I guess we won't know."

She doesn't sweat tornados, either.

We didn't die in a tornado though, so that's good news. In fact, I went to sleep and slept through the night. Until I woke up at 6 AM and tried to turn on the lights - which didn't work. We all got up and were talking about what to do for breakfast when the power came back on. Papa made us breakfast (he is the best grandpa in the world), but the power was still on. We settled into the living room and watched the news. I even took a nap!

Around 9 AM, our good fortune had ended. The power went out again, and didn't come back on. Papa drove down the road and discovered a HUGE tree that had taken down powerlines and we knew there wouldn't be power again anytime soon (in fact, they didn't have it until Tuesday!).

It was daylight though, so we could read without needing flashlights. At one point, Papa ran an extension cord up to the second floor so that we could use the generator to finish the last quilt. It was so sweet of him to do that for us! 

Here's what it looks like when you quilt by generator:

That's as un-blurry as I could get it without a flash. It actually looks pretty light in this picture, but it felt really dark!

We managed to finish the third quilt, even though it was dark. The lights never came back on, so we drove into town to find some pizza. I was leaving early so we didn't stay up very late, and just like that, my trip was over. 

The only downside is that I parked in the dark, and left my sewing machine (in its black case) at their house. My sweet grandparents SHIPPED it to me, because I was so sad about it. The funniest part? It only cost $25 to send it! We couldn't figure out how it costs $10 to mail cookies to my cousin who is in college, and only $25 to send my heavy sewing machine??

So there you have it - our quilting by generator adventure!


  1. You are such a good storyteller! I love to read your posts.

    I'm totally intrigued by that quilting machine. So is it just for quilts or can it do regular sewing? Next time you should do a vlog about it because I'd love to see it in action. Then again, I'm a dork like that so maybe no one else would want to see it.

    You have 2 awesome grandparents!

  2. So glad you like the wallpaper but you forgot to mention how you were almost electrocuted.

  3. 1st and foremost that quilt you made has some of the cutest fabric EVER and is absolutely adorable!
    2nd I'm insanely jealous of your Grandma's quilting machine! Before we moved I took my first quilting class and bought the foot for my machine that will allow me to get a little creative with my quilting, but I have yet to use it. In fact I haven't made another quilt since that class and I need to get on the ball because my aunt is having another baby in January!
    But I guess I should first get my sewing machine serviced because it needs it desperately!
    What a fun adventure you had. I too love to visit my grandparents in the summer, but I think that's because Michigan summers are so mild!
    I hope you are having a WONDERFUL week friend!


  4. You really make me wish I was a quilter! Or at least knew how to operate a sewing machine....

    Also, this post made me teary-eyed thinking about growing up in central NY and spending time with my grandparents.

    Miss you!


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