2009 Summer Nationals, Day 4

Div2 Women’s Epee went well for me, overall! I was seeded 40th (out of 113) initially, the last of the “C” rated fencers in the event, as I had the oldest C (a C05). My C will expire at the end of July, and turn into a D09. *sniff* I earned it right before I started my grad program at Texas State, so I didn’t compete for 2+ years. Ah well.

I went 4-and-2/+6 in pools, which put me seeded at 34th. Top 80% after pools went up to the DE round, so 39 people got byes into the round of 64. It took FOREVER for DEs to start; I think it was over two hours between my pool ending and when I got to fence my first DE bout. I won my bout in the round of 64 easily, and then lost 15-11 in the round of 32 to the #2 seed. I didn’t think her fencing was all that special – she was a “one-trick pony” her her circle-6-fleche-to-the-body – but I couldn’t move my feet fast enough to deal with it. Did I mention she’s half my age? Yeah… oh well. She lost in the next round to a fellow Texas fencer who had been in my pool.

I got a little revenge, too – remember when I lost at sectionals 15-14 to a beginner, and therefore didn’t qualify for Div1-A? She was in my pool. She lost 5-1. /snark off

One of my online quilting friends came up to see me and DH fence on Saturday! I was really surprised that she wanted to drive that far (about an hour) to come watch. It was really nice of her. My HS French teacher and her husband also came, and stayed for the entire tournament. I can only think of a handful of tournaments that I had a personal cheering squad. ๐Ÿ˜€

DH fenced Div3 Men’s Epee. He did AWESOME in pools – won all six bouts and was seeded 3rd after pools. He won his first DE but lost the second one in the round of 32. He was a little annoyed, as both fencers he fenced were weird and erratic, which is hard to fence against.

2009 Summer Nationals, Day3

I’ve been taking pictures, but I don’t have my cable to hook the camera up to the computer. So, those will have to wait until we get home.

Yesterday was Div III Women’s Sabre and Div II Men’s Foil, so DH and I both fenced. We got to see a little of each other’s bouts, but not all as the events were scheduled for roughly the same time. My goals were pretty simple: not to get blanked in pools (i.e., not to lose any bouts 5-0) and to make the cut to get into the DE round. I went 2-and-4 in pools, with a -4 indicator, which wasn’t too shabby considering I’m not a sabre fencer and the competition was tough! The two bouts I won went 5-1 and 5-2, and I got at least a touch on each other person in the pool.

I came out seeded 55th (of 75), and had to fence the #10 seed. I basically didn’t move my feet at all in the first period, and was down 8-1 at the break. I finally woke up for the second period to make a comeback, but still lost 15-8. If I had fenced like that in the first period, the score would have been much closer! The girl I lost to ultimately ended up 8th place, so at least I didn’t lose to a scrub fencer. ๐Ÿ˜€

DH did okay in pools. He won his first DE handily, and then lost in the round of 64. The referee seemed to have it out for him because he asked for clarification on two calls – not arguing them, just asking what the referee saw – and the ref carded him, saying he didn’t have the right to argue. Uh…that’s not a card… Later in the bout, the other fencer elbowed DH across the mask really hard, causing DH to land on his rear end. The ref SHOULD have carded the other fencer for corps-a-corps (body contact), if not a red card for jostling, but instead he said that because DH was “rushing forward” it was his fault. He then said that he should card both of them, but because it would be a red card for DH he’d let it go – as if he were doing DH a favor for not carding the opponent! There were also a couple of right-of-way calls that were uh…questionable.

I got to watch some of the women’s epee teams, which was some great fencing! Two Texas teams made top 8, one of which was in the round of 4 when we left.

Tomorrow is Div II Women’s Epee (my main event) and DH has Div III Men’s Epee (his secondary weapon). We both stand a good chance of doing well, so keep your fingers crossed for us!

2009 Summer Nationals, Day 2

It was an exciting day today! We left bright and early to give DH enough time to warm up before his event (I didn’t fence today). Long story short, he placed 8th in a field of 150+! The top 8 are considered finalists, so he got to go up on stage, get a medal, a bag of goodies, and have all sorts of pictures taken. Finalist in any national event is a huge deal – he did an awesome job!

Stay tuned. I have pictures, but I forgot to bring the cable to hook the camera up to the computer. DOH! Maybe our host has one to spare…

2009 Summer Nationals, Day 1

We headed to the venue after we dropped the dogs off at James’s house.
DH got his gear checked, as he fences tomorrow and didn’t want to deal with long lines early in the morning. It also allowed for time to fix stuff if it didn’t pass! Fortunately, he stuff passed and we didn’t have to buy a new lame or anything.

I found an AWESOME deal on some new blades. The blades I use are Uhlmann FIE BF (high-end, international standard; read: quality, but not cheap), and they usually cost about $150 each, withOUT being wired for electric scoring. Wiring with the better German points adds about $20-$25 each, depending on who you buy from. I found some, WIRED, for only $120! I got two, which replaces the two that snapped in May. Fortunately, the way that I fence isn’t hard on my weapons, so they last for years. DH got a new blade as well. I also bought my new knickers and had my name stenciled on them. I also got the tournament t-shirt, a hoodie, and some socks that DH has been drooling over for years. They put the fencers’ names on the back of the t-shirt as usual, but you had to choose first or second half of the alphabet – because of the way they did the names on the back (full names, in columns, in teeny-tiny print), they could only fit half of the 6,000 entrant names per shirt. They used to do the names in a big block, using only the first initial and last name. Yes, it was hard to find your name, but everyone’s name was on the same shirt!

We’ve already seen several folks we know, across all areas of the fencing world – competitors, bout committee, armourers, vendors, etc. I realized that we’re pretty well networked across the country, which is neat. We watched some of the men’s team epee, including a great match between one of the Texas teams and one from…Pennsylvania? Tomorrow, a good family friend is going to come out to watch DH fence and catch up visiting with me (and let me explain fencing stuff to him!), and then he and his wife (my HS French teacher) will come on Saturday to watch me fence. I’m really looking forward to seeing them.

More to come!

Summer Nationals

DH and I are leaving in the morning, headed for Grapevine, TX, for Summer Nationals. We’re going to the venue Monday afternoon to shop, get equipment checked, and I’ll have to drop off my (newly-bought-at-that-time) knickers to have my name put on them overnight. I bought my sabre lame and had my name put on it at a NAC less than a month before DH propposed, so it has my maiden name on it. USFA rules require that you have your name on your jacket (epee), lame, or rear knickers leg – my jacket has my married name, but that would be covered by the sabre lame. My old knickers have a USA “splash” on the rear leg, so I can’t even use those for my name. I could buy a lame patch and have the name put on that, but I think the patches look kind of tacky. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Besides, my knickers are snug as they’re almost ten years old at this point, and well, your body changes…

Wish us luck! I’ll try to remember to post here after our events. DH is fencing Div III Men’s Foil on Tuesday. Thursday he is fencing Div II Men’s Foil, and I’ll be doing Div III Women’s Sabre. Saturday, he’s fencing Div III Men’s Epee, and I’ll be doing Div II Women’s Epee (my main weapon), to give you an idea of what is when…



I came in second today, so I qualified for Div II! Whee! I went 3-1 in pools with a +7 indicator (I should have won the last bout, *sigh*, AND not have given up so many touches!), and was seeded third after pools. I fenced a good friend in the first round and won 15-8, then fenced a girl from San Antonio who was solid but youg and beat her 15-10 (I was ahead 13-8 at the second break and just doubled out) and then lost in the finals 15-8 to a 16 year old who was tougher than expected. I barely missed SO many touches, by like half an inch! Aaargh! It was a fun bout anyways.

DH also qualified for both Divs II/III in both foil and epee. (I’m not eligible for DivI III because I have a “C” rating, even though it’ll drop to a “D” at the end of this season, as Div III is only “D” and under at the time of qualification.) He took second in the foil and third in epee, so yay for him too. Good weekend of fencing at the Ray household…

Yorick Open

I fenced today in two events of a small tournament. I did okay in the mixed (men and women) epee, but I had to fence my DH in the first round of DE’s! AAARGH. Not cool.

The women’s event was after that. I won all but one bout in pools (there were 7 of us, total), and the last bout I hit the girl but my light didn’t go off. I asked to have my weapon tested, and it was found to not be working so her last (and final) touch was annulled. We go again, and I just missed. DOH! That was the only bout I lost all day in that event, though, as I ended up winning the tournament. I fenced well, but not the best ever; I also didn’t have to work that hard to do well at this particular tournament, which was also a nice feeling.

How was your Sunday?

Sectionals, Day 1

Day one of the tournament…in short, I got “beginnered” in my direct elimination bout in my “main” weapon. I lost 15-14 to a brand new fencer who basically got me on beginner’s luck. It’s so frustrating, because it wasn’t like I lost because of something I did(n’t) do during the bout or got outfenced by someone better. I didn’t qualify for summer nationals this weekend in epee, but I have one more chance in two weeks. The tourney in two weeks isn’t going to be as good though, as I can only qualify for Division II and not Division I-A AND DivII. I’m actually really, really upset about this because a) I didn’t fence poorly today (rather well overall, actually), b) I “kept my head” better at this tournament than I have in a long time, and c) I’ve been working my @$% off all year with weekly private lessons, intensity at practice, etc. for this tournament and fell short. *sigh*

EDIT: I forgot to mention that if I had won that bout, I would have qualified for both Div I-A and II for epee. *groan*

Long time…

It’s been awhile since I updated this blog. I haven’t finished anything crafty, so nothing much to post there. I may have some photos by the end of the weekend, though.

I just registered for one of the biggest fencing tournaments in the area tonight. When did they get so expensive? Two events (senior women’s epee and a C and Under mixed event) was $75! It used to be say, $25 with $10 for each additional event. Stop competing for a few years, and they just inflate the prices… *sigh*

Quilt Appraisal

I got the professional appraisal of “Color-Blind Coffee” back in the mail today. It was appraised at $560.00! Woohoo!


The Austin Area Quilt Guild biennial show was this weekend. There were lots of great quilts, including many made by friends and fellow bee-members. I did some volunteer work, including check-out at the end which was crazy hectic. My mom came down on Saturday from Dallas for the show. She behaved herself well overall, but some things are just never going to change…

I found multicolored variegated embroidery floss, which made me very happy! I also got three more mini wholecloth pre-printed quilt tops, a Halloween embroidery pattern, and a needleworked scissor case handmade by a guild member and sold in the boutique (all proceeds go to the guild). I’ll put pictures up tomorrow, as the camera is currently dead and I need to look for the extra batteries.

Here are a few of the quilts. I didn’t get pictures of all of them (there were more than 400!), but I got quite a few and put them up in a Photobucket album.

Here was the Best In Show. It also won Excellence in Design and 1st place in the Art Quilt Category. It was made by Bill Horne, who works at The Quilt Store here in Austin. He’s the first male quilter to win a BIS in Texas!

Here are my two quilts! I met my goal of not getting reamed by the judges. I have a few minor things to work on but overall I got good comments. I even got a “lovely hand stitching” from a judge who is known to have a critical eye for handquilting! Whee!

(My little one blended into the grey curtain, bah.) Not a good picture – can’t see the wholecloth design! Oh well.

Here are my favorite two – the picture came out small on one of them, though:

Here’s a close-up:

This Hawaiian quilt got Excellence in Hand Quilting and 1st in the large applique cateogory. This is my long-term quilting goal – to make a Hawaiian quilt. I can only hope it will be as intricate and beautiful as this one:

Show Quilts…DONE!

Yay! The Austin Area Quilt Guild show is this weekend. Colorblind Coffee will be entered under the handquilting category, and Steely Sun will be under the kit category. I just finished putting the sleeve on CBC tonight.


It’s done!

Close-up of quilting on front:

Close-up of border quilting design:

Everyone seems to like the quilting pattern viewed from the back of the quilt:

Steely Sun. It’s only 16″ square!

Close-up of design and quilting:


Three noteworthy things from the weekend:

I got Jรถran back! He’s all spiffed up and ready to go now. *cheers* I haven’t had a chance to see how he’s running, but I will tomorrow. I’m glad to have him back. While I love Jenny, my seams are waaaaay more accurate on Jรถran.

I finished quilting Cookies & Cream! I am going to block it and get the binding made and sewn on the front tomorrow. It’s almost done, and there is still three and half weeks until the show. Yay!

Only five more blocks to embroider for a siggy swap I’m doing. They’re coming along quickly!

Random people

So I’ve been working on my coffee quilt on the bus going to work in the mornings, as well as in the coffeeshop area AT work for about 45 minutes before I have to be at work. This gives me time to wake my brain up and lets spend a little time every working on the quilting. Yesterday a woman approached me and asked if I did them for sale as she wanted one. She was really surprised and seemed almost insulted when I told her no and the reasons why. I dunno. Today a lady stopped for a closer look, and she told me she used to quilt before her arthritis took over her hands. She was very nice and was thrilled that there was a person under the age of 50 quilting…in public, no less!

I guess you’re more likely to see knitting, crocheting, or embroidery in those situations, as they’re more portable. This quilt isn’t that big (44″ x 44″) and I can sit on the bus and ensure that I’m not taking up an inch of seat or floor space of the seat next to me. ๐Ÿ˜€ I do have to get a spot where I can put my feet or knees up, though, but that’s not hard as there is hardly anyone on my bus at 6:53 a.m. at my stop.


I was working on the mini blue quilt on the bus on my way home from work today, and overheard a woman a few rows back (I was sitting in the front, in the rows of seats that face each other) comment to the guy next to her, “Would you look at what that girl is doing? I don’t have the patience for that. I couldn’t even fathom where to find it.”

It’s funny. I don’t see handquilting as an act of patience, other than it takes a long time to complete a project. It’s more of a meditation exercise, and it’s easy to get lost in the repetitive motion. But, I also work crosswords to relax, so maybe I’m just wired funny. ๐Ÿ˜€

Almost done!

…with the blue miniature wholecloth quilt. I have one corner section left and then it’s ready for binding. The trick will be finding fabric that coordinates without dominating. The kit said it comes with enough fabric for a fold-over binding, and it does, but I a) don’t like how that looks as much, and b) can’t do it to where all four corners look good. If there’s enough from what’s trimmed off the sides, I’ll use the scraps as they’ll match perfectly. If not…I’ll figure something out.


I went to my sewing bee tonight, and took along the mini wholecloth quilt to work on. The “beekeeper,” Nancy, asked me how I get my stitches so small. She was flabbergasted and gave me a nice compliment on my quilting. The real compliment, though, was her asking for a tutorial of sorts, and she’s a) about three times my age, b) been hand quilting for over 20 years, and c) this is only my second handquilted piece. Whee!


I still can’t believe I’m actually entering something in the Austin guild’s show this year…let alone TWO quilts…and lastly, two quilts that are both handquilted! Eek!

One of them is a mini wholecloth kit I bought for kicks. As there was a category for kits and the like, and this one is almost done (and coming along quickly) I figured why not. I’ll at least get some feedback on my quilting, you know?

Here’s a close-up…of the back. It’s not perfect, but it’s not bad either IMHO:

The other one is a pieced top, made with coffee-themed fabrics. I decided to call it “Color-Blind Coffee,” as the dots remind me of color blind tests. I figured out the quilting design tonight, and I’m excited about it. The piecing turned out well on this one, too, so it may actually have a shot of doing well in the handquilting category. It will have borders on it, but I don’t have the fabric yet.

The goal? Not to get eaten alive by the judges. As I feel that my hand quilting skills are better than much of what I see at shows, I think I may actually come out okay in the end. For grins, I decided to have the coffee quilt appraised at the show. I’m just curious…