ST&D: 30% quilted, and a lot of words

Not exactly a fascinating post, sorry, but I’ve been incredibly busy.

I thought for those who thought I’d disappeared off the radar, I’d better let you know that I’m still here, still quilting, and I’ve got two rows of Signed, Tealed & Delivered blocks quilted with the wavy lines.

Part of the problem has been poor Ariadne, my sewing machine. You may recall I had her serviced during our holiday, and she purrs along beautifully now, but there was still a mysterious grind and squeak. Well, I tracked it down. It was my walking foot. I hadn’t really looked at it for ages, but now I gave it a close examination. It’s been in pretty continuous use for nearly 10 years by my calculation, and guess what? It shows. The spring is very sad and saggy, the arm that raises and lowers the feed dogs is creaky and sticks, and the feed dogs them-selves are worn almost flat. So I treated myself to a spanking new one, and boy, what a difference. I’m so glad I took a look!

The walking foot ridges are worn almost flat

That said, I’m struggling a bit to find sewing time… “What?” I hear you cry. “Can this be a post from Chiconia?” Yes, it’s definitely me talking. Bonnard is merely inching along instead of flying along, and without the other distractions I’d have ST&D half done by now.

The thing is, I’m doing massive amounts of marketing planning, copywriting and copy editing right now. My oldest (or should I say most long-term) friend owns a school in Barbados, in the West Indies. It’s small (by intent), fee-paying and has a limited intake because of the way they deliver education, in very small classes with study tailored to the individual student, and offering a wide variety of curricula, include the US national curriculum, British O and A levels, the International Baccalaureate, etc. The school receives intake not only from Barbados but also from a wide expat community working on the island.

They’ve just been awarded Cambridge International School accreditation, and the lightbulb has gone on big time. It’s not a small, niche private school any more, but a serious contender in the island’s education stakes, and ALL their material has to be reworked, from business cards up to the website, brochures, signage, the lot. Sadly, the work doesn’t include a business trip over there (although I’m familiar with the school from previous visits), so the entire process has to be conducted online and by Skype. The school itself needs to grow; they want to include boarders, invest in more equipment, offer scholarships and pay their teachers premium rates to stop them being poached by other schools!  I therefore also need to write a business proposal for a prospective Board of Advisory Governors, encouraging them to support the school, assist with fundraising and marketing input, offer business advice, and so on.

I haven’t done this stuff for nearly 10 years. The skills are still there, but my brain has had to be kicked into touch, and I’ve been totally wiped out for the past few days after 12 straight hours of planning, analysis, reading, note taking, writing and rewriting each day. Oh, and designing a brochure for her; she wasn’t happy with what arrived from her own designer. Well, what else do you do when you get an SOS from your girlfriend of 40 years’ standing, whom you still call by the same old nickname no one else understands, despite her being a school principal and all?

The Husband wants us to submit an invoice for ‘1 x 75cl bottle of St Nicholas Abbey Barbados Rum for services rendered’. Me?  I’m doing it for love… 

33 thoughts on “ST&D: 30% quilted, and a lot of words

  1. claire93 says:

    a good job you thought to look more closely at your walking foot!

  2. The husband is right, just coming in a bit short though: 12 bottles plus danger pay.

  3. tialys says:

    I must have a look at my foot – I’ve also noticed a squeaking lately although I’m pretty sure it’s not had quite as much use as your one has.
    Reviving some old skills should give your brain a thorough workout – it gave mine one just reading about it 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      I tell you what, I was totally wiped out yesterday… And another half day of it today. They have SO much to do.
      I do think it’s worth having a look at your walking foot. Once the spring gets floppy it’ll start to be noisy and the stitches will be less even because the feed dogs won’t work smoothly. It’s taken a brand new one to make me realise what I was putting up with!

  4. I’ve never heard of anyone wearing out a walking foot before. I keep going back to look at that photo. I wonder how many miles you’ve stitched in total.

    • katechiconi says:

      Lots and lots, it must be. I was fairly flummoxed when I saw it, I must admit. I did a post at the beginning of the year showing how many reels of thread I’d use in the preceding year. Multiply that by 10 and it’s a fair amount…

  5. You have such a big heart Kate! I’m full of admiration.

  6. rutigt says:

    I think it´s so nice to help a friend. I would too! I mean, what are friends for anyway.
    And now to something completely different 🙂 I want be taking part of this year F2F. I hope you´ll get enough of people to participate without me. I´m trying not to overdo my sewing this year and I´m already making too much 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      That’s fine, Gun, we have 9 people already, enough to go ahead. We’ll miss you, but you have to manage your time 🙂

      • tialys says:

        I think Sandra wants to do it again this year – I didn’t think she would as she’s not made her quilt up from last year yet. I think she just likes making the blocks though.

      • katechiconi says:

        Righto, if you can confirm with her, I’ll add her to the list. She sews beautifully, so we’re delighted to have her!

  7. kathyreeves says:

    What a rewarding project this is, even though it is a bit overwhelming at the moment. I am about to embark on some marketing and planning for my studio, which is minuscule compared to this. What a wonderful gift for your friend, and a real workout out for your executive side! Your walking foot has carried on well, maybe you should keep her for old times sake.😊

    • katechiconi says:

      It is just a bit! It feels a little like being under bombardment; something is always ‘incoming’!
      I won’t throw out the old walking foot; it does still work after its own noisy fashion, and you never, never know…

  8. I can’t help but wear metaphor-viewing glasses and from those lenses all of this looks remarkably synchronous. Here you are creating ever wider networks of friendship, creativity, and knowledge through and beyond the topic of fiber arts. And here you are responding to a far-off friend, helping her to reach out and spread knowledge and creativity. And at the same time, the very mechanism that feeds your faithful machine Ariadne and feeds your art needs to be noticed and restored.

    (I have no idea what any of this means..)

    • katechiconi says:

      Nor do I, but it sounds good! I do feel a little, though, that if anyone adds any more balls to the collection I’m juggling, there will be a great big mess instead of joyous creativity and satisfying achievement 😉

  9. dayphoto says:

    You are the MOST multi-talented person in the whole world!

    • katechiconi says:

      Er, really? I really don’t think so. I just happen to have some slightly rusty skills she needs and I just need to whip them into shape rather quickly. I used to do this stuff standing on my head, now, it feels like endurance training!

  10. nanacathy2 says:

    I think that your friend is lucky to have a skilled friend like you to call on. I’m with the rum invoice.

    • katechiconi says:

      And I’m lucky to have a friend willing to travel 18,000km to see me married… when we win the Lottery, I’ll go and visit her, travelling flat on my back in First Class!

  11. How fortunate that you have been able to come to the rescue for your sewing machine, and you bff. Yep, I get it, life is what happens while you are busy planning blog posts…

    • katechiconi says:

      The new walking foot has simply ironed out some minor irritations while I worked. I wish the marketing work had such a simple solution too. But I’m enjoying the agony in a weird sort of way, it feels kind of nostalgic… glad I’m not doing it every day, but stretching the brain again is good.

  12. I’m fascinated by your work, Kate. It does sound taxing, but hopefully it is also a labor of love. LOL on the rum.

    • katechiconi says:

      It is a labour of love. The school does wonderful and very important work, pulling students back from the brink of failure by simply addressing their strengths and educating them the way they’re best able to learn. I’m very proud to be asked to work on this project, and happy to help.

  13. Everything you do is a labor of love. Why should the work for your friend be any different. Now, hubby is just being patient and waiting for your time for him. A little rum would do him a bit of good for his sacrifice. 🙂 Of course you can’t send that through the mail. It would never make it. Good friends are hard to find and I hope your work proves fruitful for her. Learned a lot here today. Wearing out a walking foot ! I don’t think I sew enough. 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      The Husband of Chiconia knows and loves her too, and also knows that I put the work down when he’s home 🙂 And that walking foot was 10 years old and I *have* made a lot of quilts…

  14. Having worked in educational publishing for a very long time, all I can say is ‘yikes!’ Good luck with all that. The rum is the least you deserve!

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