Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sleepless in the city...................

Can you tell me why it is that we can wake up at 1 AM which is way too early to get up even for me! But I'm wide awake at that moment thinking (with zeal) about what I'm going to do today. Then I finally fall asleep and wake up at the right time - totally exhausted? Drives me crazy when that happens. No worries - I'm up now and excited for the day ahead.

Today, I was hoping to post the pictures from our $25 classes this past year, but what I have to say is more important. I'll start posting those pictures tomorrow.

YES - the magazine quilt is on its way!  Yeah! I think I was at the UPS office at 4:00 PM. I wasn't all that happy with the results as I was quilting it, but when I hung it up on the wall for a photo? Oh yes - I like it and it's exactly what I had planned. That makes finish number 72 for the year. Doesn't look like I'm going to make 100 but I don't really think that's a problem. I do have some stuff lined up for more finishes so it won't be a 100, but close.

On top of all the customer quilts I did this year and the ones that I added to the "to be quilted" pile, I'm more than thrilled with the results of this past year. I'm looking forward to next year when I hope to be even more productive. As my space gets cleaned up, productivity gets better. Not having to search for things makes a huge difference and I feel that I did less searching this year. More focus, less searching.

I should mention one thing about shipping quilts. I've shipped a fair number and received a fair number back this past year. It costs a FORTUNE to ship overnight. My quilt was 50" square and weighed 7 LBS  (I don't believe that). The box size was 14" by 13" by 5". Overnight was going to cost $130. Three day was $100 or something like that and 5 day was $34 (with tax). I sent it 5-day. I couldn't bring myself to pay $130 to ship the box. I think back to how slap happy people are when prepping things for shipment and NO REGARD for the cost. Well, I'm guilty of that as well as I had NO IDEA how expensive it was. I think that any company that does a lot of shipping should educate all their employees on shipping costs. If companies were careful, they could hire at least one or two more people by what they save on the shipping bill. It's a whole lot different when the money comes out of your pocket versus the company you work for!!!

Once the magazine quilt was out of the way, I loaded a customer quilt and that got finished last night.

Customer quilt - DONE

This quilt will keep its owner nice and warm. Flannel on the top, fleece on the back (notice the excess Toronto Maple Leaf fleece on the left) and there's batting in there as well. Thankfully it's not too big otherwise it would be very heavy. But my kind of quilt!!!  And guess who gets the lovely task of sewing the binding on? Yep  - that would be me! One of my fun jobs of the day. Oh, the things I do for my customers - but I charge them of course!

I was hoping to have the next quilt loaded last night, but it didn't happen. Big deal. I had to piece the backing and it's now together, but needs to be ironed. That's a job for this morning.

But here's the MOST exciting news of yesterday. Last night, I decided to tidy that messy corner a wee bit so I wasn't jumping over stuff to turn the radio on and off.

The messy corner is a wee bit tidier
Hm - remember yesterday when I said that there were TWO boxes of stuff for the Misty Pines quilt? Well, I found the second box in a stack of project boxes and guess what was inside??

The missing box for Misty Pines

My two missing baggies of fabric!!!!   YEAH!!!  Christmas came early at my house. Speaking of Christmas, I ordered my Christmas present to myself yesterday. I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. It won't come until December 27th, but it's going to be worth the wait and worth every penny.

The missing baggies of fabric

I also found all the paperwork for the kits. I bought bolts and bolts of this fabric from Northcott. It's from their Stonehenge Woodland collection which of course is now long gone. It's not even in the archive section of their website.

The paperwork

I think there were 20 people who bought kits. There was the option to buy the kit and take a class or just buy the kit. I know that some people finished their kits a long time ago, but I would bet that there are still a few out there who haven't even started! Well, I'm going to get mine completed and tidy up those boxes and if someone is missing fabric - too late!!!!  It's time to put this quilt to bed.

I'm working on my classes for 2019. Almost got everything finialized and I can start posting them. It's a lot of work to coordinate my schedule with the various stores. I'll also be hosting some classes at my house. So once I've got the pictures posted from last year's classes, I'll start posting the classes for next year. I still have to write descriptions for some of them and for a couple, figure out what specific pattern I'm going to teach.

On that note, I'm out of here. Off to press that giant backing and get it on the long arm before my guest comes today. It's a sewing day!!!!  And I get to work on finishing stuff. All the quilts that need binding are sitting on the "binding" table with the sewing machine set up for bindings. I wonder how many I can get done in a day?

Havea  super day!!!!!


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Pandora's box (es)

I'm late this morning. Back from the gym where I eeked out 32 KM in an hour. And I'm an idiot. I was at the gym on Monday and when I'm done my workout, I like to sit for a bit in the steam room. I saw a note saying "the spa would be closed all week due to repairs".  Oh, shoot. I didn't go in the steam room. Well, this morning, the HOT TUB (AKA the spa) was dismantled. I see - they call the hot tub the spa. Now I know. Needless to say, I had a great 10 minutes in the steam room! I'm all pink and wrinkly.

I stepped on the scale this morning. Not bad news - still not over that buffer zone of mine, but I think there are a few too many cookies being eaten! I can't help it - it's winter and I need that extra layer of fat to keep warm! OK - after I eat this last package of refrigerator cookies - that's it! And I'm going to do a detox in January to get myself back on track!

In case you're wondering, the magazine quilt is NOT done. I got the top pieced and it was loaded on the long arm before lunch. But there was a lot of stitch in the ditch and I was bored since I don't have an audiobook. OK - I could have downloaded another one. I did find two other books that I wanted to listen to - both of them are now on hold.

Anyway, the quilt is almost finished. There's about one more hour of quilting and then binding and sleeve. It'll go out this afternoon. I'm OK with that.

Today, I'm sharing with you what I worked on at Monday Sewing. This is one of my UFOs from 2017. It's called Misty Pines by Patti Carey and was published in a magazine a while back. (McCall's Jan/Feb 2013). I taught this class several times and sold kits as the fabric was very specific. Check out this link from 2015 where we are having a class.

Misty Pines by Patti Carey

While the quilt itself isn't complicated to sew, it's complicated by the fact that there are 12 fabrics that are very close in value and pattern and you need to keep them straight. LABEL LABEL LABEL.  These are the blocks/pieces that are completed.

Completed blocks
 When I made the kits, I had 12 baggies each with the pieces from one of the 12 fabrics. There was a paper note in each identifying the pieces. As I was working on the blocks above this past week, it became pretty clear that TWO bags are MISSING!!!!   How could that be????

The bags from the kit I made

When I was prepping this project for the Monday sewing bag, I must have "lost" two of the little baggies? They were all together in another zip loc bag. I don't remember what kind of a container they were in. I thought there were two boxes - one for my quilt and one with all the extras in it. 

But I have the bag with all the leftover scraps. No Ziplocs with pieces. 
Bag of leftovers from cutting the kits

 I cut those kits years ago - I am certain that I would not have short changed myself. That means they are in the studio somehwere. But where???  No time to look today and I can move to the next component to sew which is what I'll do on Monday. But ACK!!!!  I'd better find that bag or I'm going to have to do something very creative to finish the quilt.

Then I worked on the little paper pieced blocks for the other quilt for my Mom. This is the fall quilt. These little quilts are going to be the death of me. I hadn't sent the other two because of the postal issues. When I spoke to her last week and mentioned that I'll be putting them in the mail soon, she says "oh - we don't have room for that on our door as we have a wreath!" Just shoot me in the eye!! Quick!!!

Paper pieced blocks

This past Monday I was searching through the toolbox on my sewing machine. Not sure why I was doing that. But I found something interesting. At our last retreat, Katheleen was having trouble with her glasses. The screws were loose and no one had a small enough screwdriver to help her out. I'm hoping that she managed to get her glasses fixed by now. But look what I found in my sewing machine toolbox. A teeny tiny little screwdriver. The kind you need to repair glasses. Now, why the heck is that in there? And where did it come from??? I've had that sewing machine for almost 20 years. The screwdriver has probably been in there for 19!

Teeny tiny screwdriver

At the Sit n Sew on the weekend, we got to chatting about Pandora bracelets. I mean - who doesn't have one? I know there are people that do not have one, but it seems that a LOT of people have one or more. I have one and I don't wear it often. Matter of fact, I don't think I've worn it all year. Why? Becaue there are new charms that need to be added and I have to move those spacers and I'm an idiot and too lazy/too challenged to make that happen. Look - there's the bracelet and FOUR boxes of stuff to add to it!! It's going to be like Christmas when I get it all together!

My Pandora bracelet
It seems like a lot of work to move the charms around (OK - better than the old style of charm bracelet we used to have), but then it was easy to add a charm wherever you wanted. But I dug the bracelet out becaue Ronda is coming tomorrow and she's going to help me get it all together. I did play around with it and I think I can figure it out. Just a question of sitting down and doing it. OK - tomorrow's the day!

I got a bit more work done on Audra's quilt. It's amazing what time you wake up when you go to bed early! I won't tell you. Because the blocks are too small, I had started to take some of the blocks apart and resew them together. OK - I only did that once. Now I'm just adding a spacer to make the blocks the same size. The two top rows are complete and sewn together. The third row is ready to sew together and I have to add spacers to the last row.  I might just get that done in the next day or so and then it can be quilted next week. I'm super excited about that!!!!

Audra's Simple Country Sampler by The Rabbit Factory

On that note - I'm out of here. Loads to do and no slacking off today!

Have a great day!!!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What we did at Sit n Sew

I love having Monday Sewing back to back with Sit n Sew. Sewing with friends is ..... well - it's therapy, it's what keeps me sane and the things that I get done and the things that I learn - no comparison. If you don't have a chance to sew with friends, well - you're missing out on something very special.

Let's see what everyone was working on at Sunday Sit n Sew. I tell you the new dates for 2019 filled up faster than I could get the e-mails read!!!!  I wish I had a bigger space.

Ronda had been agonizing (not really) but she wasn't sure what to bring. She doesn't have too many UFOs. Maybe she does and she is ignoring them? So she grabbed two packs of pre-cut strips that each contained 24 strips. One was red, one was green. She decided to make a jelly roll race quilt, except that it wasn't a race unless she was timing herself!

Randomly, she called out "red? or green?" And then she added that color of strip to her long piece.

Joining the strips

Once the strips were joined which didn't seem to take that long, she was off. Here she is on the second pass of sewing the strips together.

Step two of sewing the strips together

And what to do with those long strips????  They fit nicely on the floor.

The strips waiting to be sewn

And here's the final quilt. OH look - we had a lonely dog visit us. No one was upstairs to keep her company and she creeps down the stairs and then bounds into the studio. "Look at me! I'm cute and someone needs to pet me!" She also thinks she should test all the quilts.

An unwelcome visitor
 Here's the final quilt. Not sure where that one white strip came from.  But it looks good and it's still the fastest way to get a lap sized quilt top made. We could have thrown that on the long arm and it could have gone home as a quilt!

Jelly roll race quilt

France finished her blue/white quilt minus the borders. I wasn't on my toes to get a picture of it, but it looks gorgeous!!  She dug out The Little Lacie Bag (Border Creek Station). She also had the intention of using it as a carrying case for her little iron. See the heat-resistant material on the right? There's a story behind this bag. She's been bringing it to the Sit n Sew days all year and every month, there's been some issue with it! I don't think it got completed - NEXT YEAR!!!  I think France should write this on her 2019 list of UFOs to finish!

The Little Lacie Bag - kit, lining, and pattern
 Surprise - Liz brought something to piece instead of her big applique project. This was a block of the month at a shop that has since closed. The top is now done and it'll be donated to her guild's community projects. Yeah - one more done!
Liz's quilt top - DONE

Diane was working on her nine-patches. She's making a Blooming Nine-Patch quilt. Not sure if that is the name of the pattern she's following - might be called something else. It's from a different book than I made mine years ago! Let's just say that there's a LOT of nine-patches to be made. Just Google Blooming Nine-Patch if you don't know what it looks like.

Diane's nine-patches
Anyone recognize this quilt??  It's actually a panel and Elaine was quilting it which she got finished and trimmed. It was originally a quilt pattern by Possibilities - Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith. Years and years ago. It was so popular that they reprinted it as a panel as it's a bit of a challenge to piece with all those hexagons and triangles and also hard to find all those I Spy fabrics. Well, not hard to find, but costly unless you buy a kit. 

Elaine's I Spy panel - quilted
 Around the perimeter of the border are some printed words of items in the panel.  The original had embroidered words around the edge. She had purchased several of these panels and this is the last one!!!  I know I have a quilt top somewhere around the house that is waiting to be quilted or needs a backing and binding made.

Words on the border of some of the items in the I Spy
Shoot - Linda was tucked in the corner and I missed what she was working on. Oh yes - one of the silicone oven mitts. Hmm. That's all I'm going to say because I have a feeling the pattern isn't the best.

I worked on Audra's quilt. I was working on the applique and since I had used mostly the same fabrics in the two applique blocks, I did the stitching on both at the same time so I wouldn't have to keep changing the thread color. 

Applique block - Number One - DONE

Applique block - Number Two - DONE

Then I started to sew the blocks together. Oops - they are NOT all the same size. I knew that was going to be a problem, but I don't deal with the problems until it's time. Some of the blocks got a wee bit of a sashing on them and the first row is together.

Row One - together!!!
I had to stop working on it after the others left because I needed to get to that magazine quilt. I like to work on those quilts by myself. I made good progress on it after they left and then last night, I was going full speed. The blocks are almost completed and I've started to sew the blocks together. I figure another hour (OK - make that two) and the top will be together. The backing has to be made and loaded. Unfortunately, this quilt needs to have custom quilting and the binding and a sleeve. It might not quite make the courier today. But first thing in the morning it'll be gone. ACK!

After Monday sewing and while I was working on the magazine quilt, I got one of Audra's quilts done. This was from Quilt in a Day called the Underground Railway quilt. Thankfully she did the small blocks. It did not take long to quilt. And I read on the QuiltPath User's Group of another fix for that USB error message I got on the long arm. I disconnected the piece and so far so good. I love when fixes are FREE. 

Underground Railroad quilt - QUILTED

The binding is made for this quilt and after this magazine quilt gets out of the house, I plan to hit the rest of her quilts full force to try and get them all done. Won't take long, but will take a couple of days. It's all scheduled! I have the Task Master to thank for that!

On that note, I'd better get moving. Everything takes longer than we plan - I want to know why that is? I'm not needing to do any ripping, but just the process of sewing (accurately), pressing (accurately) and whatever - it all takes more time than we think.

Oh yes - so I'm sewing away last night and listening to my audiobook. I'm up to Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton. Then, POOF! - the book stops working. Hm - this is the second time this has happened to me. I'm going with Helen Anne's theory that the book didn't download completely. So I "returned" the book so I could redownload it. NOPE - someone has it on hold so I have to wait!!!  No - I don't want to wait - I want it now!!!  Oh well.

Have a super day!!!!!


Monday, December 10, 2018

User's Groups are a girl's best friend

We had the best time ever at Sit n Sew yesterday. I even got stuff done which is a good thing. I don't have time this morning to show you what we all worked on - that's for tomorrow.

I was going to quilt that quilt yesterday when the group was here, but since the customer was actually in the room - I thought that I had better not - just in case something went wrong. The quilt was nicely pieced and laid flat as a pancake. The kind I love to quilt.

As soon as everyone left, I fired up the long arm so I could get it completed last night. There were 8 rows in total to quilt. The first one stitched beautifully. The second row same thing. But at the end of the second row, I got an error message. Hm - this is the same error message that I had received at the absolute end of a quilt last week. That was easy - I just shut the machine off since I was at the end of the quilt.

However, I was only ¼ finished this quilt and I had this error message which would NOT allow the pattern to fit into the next row. ACK!!!  What to do? What to do?  I started by saving the configuration for the quilt. Then I exited the quilting mode and went back into the configuration mode. Then back into quilting mode. Same issue. GRRR!!!!!   So I bit the bullet and shut the tablet down completely. Not without a wee bit of a prayer that I could get everything back in place.

Turned on the tablet and loaded the saved configuration. Hm - I have two choices when I reloaded the configuration. I chose one and it wasn't the right one since it looked like a mess on the screen. Back out and choose the second option. Oh my - back at the beginning of Row 1. Since all the rows were identical, it didn't really matter. Realigned the quilt and I was back in business. No EXTERNAL help needed on this and it took about 5 minutes to figure out how to move forward. There is zero panicking allowed and it's just logic and takes a lot of courage!

Once the quilt was done, I went to the User's Group on Facebook and I see that I'm not the only one with this error message. I now need to buy a Dock for the tablet instead of using the USB port. Apparently, that fixes the problem. I wonder why that error is showing up now???  Was there an upgrade and I didn't do it? Anyway - I'm going to buy the docking thing and install it.

The bottom line - I was able to get out of the jam by myself in a short period of time and the quilt looks amazing. And the User's Group told me how to avoid the problem in the future. That's when technology works in my favor!!!

Here's the quilt by the way.

Customer quilt - DONE

My other issue with the long arm isn't quite over yet. I did have a wee issue with that last week, however, I now know how to fix it. A quick jiggle of a wire and I was back in business. That was also a five-minute fix. Once I'm done the customer quilts, I'm going to jiggle a lot of those wires - I think I might know which one is the loose one and see how to fix it once and for all. Then I can reattach the covers to the machine!!!!

While I would prefer that these issues don't occur, I'm happy to know that I can get back up and running in a very short period of time. That's good enough for me at the moment.

I'm now down to four customer quilts to complete before the end of the year. And I loaded one of Audra's quilts last night - it's little so that shouldn't be a problem to finish off tonight.

And I'm making progress on the magazine quilt. I hope to finish piecing it tonight and it will be quilted and bound tomorrow. That's the plan!

The scrap basket is almost full - OK - so it's overflowing. I need to get another pet mat made and get this emptied.

Scrap basket needs to be emptied
I''m not sure how the topic came up yesterday - there are so many things that we chat about in a single day!  But the topic was jigsaw puzzles. I LOVE jigsaw puzzles and I have a ton of them - some I've done and some I haven't. I had been contemplating doing one during the holidays. Turns out that a lot of us like to do jigsaw puzzles. My intention is to make the puzzle and then - it's gone. Just like my novels.

I dug this one out and Ronda very nicely sorted the edge pieces. Well - not so nice. Come on - when you sort the edge pieces, you're supposed to lay out all the other pieces and put them face up!  I didn't' have time to do anything with it last night so it still looks this way.

A jigsaw puzzle getting ready to put together

I love this jigsaw puzzle brand, but I believe it's defunct now. Anyway - an interesting picture. Don't look too close!

The jigsaw puzzle box

On that note, I'm out of here. It's Monday sewing! I remember packing my bag with a new project two weeks ago but couldn't remember what it was. So I peeked this morning. Oh yes - it's one of my UFOs from 2017. That would be awesome if I can get it completed this year. I'm torn between getting my stuff done or getting the stuff done for others. Either way, I'll be happy!!!  I will NOT volunteer to do anything for anyone EVER AGAIN! I won't bore you with the list, but there's a pile of stuff here that doesn't belong to me, it's technically not customer stuff and well - it will get done. That's going to be a goal for 2019. Get all that stuff out of the house! I'm working on it!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, December 9, 2018

The light is getting very bright in here!

Another super day! There really is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's getting bright. Very bright - I might have to put sunglasses on.

I delivered two customer quilts yesterday. And I got one more quilted. It's all trimmed - I still have to make a label for this customer and then it'll be delivered tomorrow.

Customer quilt - DONE

The next one which is "small" compared to the last few that I've done is already on the long arm. I'll wait until the ladies leave from Sit n Sew today before I quilt it. Then that one can be delivered tomorrow as well.

I got the quilts organized for the coming week. That means they go on the "next to be quilted" rack and they get put on the orange colored "white" board. I'm excited at how much progress I've made in getting this organized. After the one on the frame, I'm down to four customer quilts to finish this year. And I've got one community project quilt in the mix for next week, although I'm not sure I'll actually get to it as I remembered that I have four quilts for Audra to quilt. Those technically aren't customer quilts but I promised her daughter that I'd try to get them completed before Christmas. They are all fairly small so that should be doable. That would be HUGE to get that task done. I'm on a mission!

I did a wee bit of progress on the magazine quilt. I need to do more today or it's going to be late. I should have done more work on it last night, but after my class and finishing up the quilt above, I was tired and had a wee nap and then we watched a movie!  Free time is allowed so I don't feel too guilty, except that there's a deadline! Right now I have a very good reputation with the magazine editors - I don't want to ruin that!

My classes for the first half of 2019 are almost set in stone. Just a few more details to confirm and then I'll be publishing the list for you all to see. There are some super fun classes coming up in a variety of topics. I guess I'll be making samples next week. Some samples are already made, some classes don't need samples as they are almost full. The $25 classes at The Hobby Horse - almost full. If you're contemplating joining, I would NOT wait!!!  I'm serious - they are almost full.

Speaking of classes, I still have one more all day private workshop to teach this year, but otherwise, I'm done with the teaching schedule. It was the last class for our applique yesterday and look at what they brought in for show n tell.

These owls are from Swan Amity. A great lady who designs very fun quilts. It was a three-part applique class and due to circumstances beyond our control, two of the classes had to be rescheduled. As a result, we lost a couple of people and the pattern was probably a bit much for beginners. Despite that fact, these three quilts are AMAZING!!!!!

Marg (despite calling herself a beginner) has an amazing sense of color. Her owls are GORGEOUS. She got all the applique fused down and now needs to do some stitching to finish off the edges. Great job Marg!!!!

Marg's owls
Linda combined two patterns to get her own unique design. She used the owls from one pattern and the tree from another. I love it. Don't you just want to be that little guy on the right? Yep - that's who I want to be when I grow up. 

Linda's owls

Judy was very brave and is making the full owl quilt. Or not. I do love it just like this - that little guy - the oddball, is way out on a limb and looks like he's having fun.

Judy's owls

Didn't they turn out amazing?  Great job to all of you and next time we do an applique project - it won't be so ambitious. Matter of fact, we have another applique class scheduled and it's my job to find a nice simple pattern for it. Any suggestions?

While I was at The Hobby Horse, I had a peek upstairs which is always a dangerous thing to do. OH MY! The new Harry Potter fabric is in. I haven't even read the last two books of Harry Potter, but I did need to bring some of that fabric home.

Here are some of the fabrics - all the house crests. The one on the left is a double gauze so it's perfect for a garment or a scarf. I didn't get any of it .......yet.

Harry Potter fabric
 If you're into flannel, these ones are flannel.

Harry Potter Flannel!!

There are also fat quarter bundles and I got one of those and a couple of meters of yardage. There's also a large pillow panel with the house crest on it.

This is what I got. Not sure what I'll make with it. Heck - I still have the original Harry Potter fabric. This new fabric is much more "sophisticated" if you can call it that. Just goes to show how trends go in the fabric world. My Harry Potter fabric is "vintage" so it should be worth a lot!

What I bought for Harry Potter fabric

Be careful when you pick up a Fat Quarter bundle as there are two other ones as well. One is Fantastic Beasts - whatever that is and there's one more, but I can't remember what it was all about.

To see the entire Harry Potter collection, check out this link. That shows you the fat quarter bundle that I bought, but if you check out this link, they have fleece, flannel and digital prints. A ton of stuff. No wonder at Quilt Market, Camelot had a whole display of Harry Potter in their booth including an actor dressed up like Harry to attract attention. I should have taken a picture of him. If you see something you like, then it's your job to search the internet to find it, but I do know that The Hobby Horse brought in what I showed you above.

As I mentioned, we have a Sit n Sew today. That one corner of my studio is a pig sty. I don't need that tablespace for today, but my goal between now and the end of the year is to deal with all the stuff that's in that corner. There's a large bag of batting scraps and a large quilt to be bound. If I could deal with those two things, that would help a lot to clear the space. Oh, who am I kidding? There's a lot of other little things in there as well. But I have a plan!!!

Matter of fact, I've had a lot of fun finishing up stuff this past year and I can't wait to get started all over again next year. It's all about using up and getting rid of stuff. Here's the huge bag of scrap batting that's sitting in the corner. 

Big bag of batting scraps
I also have a whole whack of wound bobbins (for the long arm) and I don't need to have all these colors wound. So what should I do with them?  Don't worry - I have a plan for those as well.

Wound bobbins for the long arm
 And a while back (years ago), I was reading a blog online and that person said - "oh if you have ugly fabric, then you should cut it into strips. Then the strips are ready to make quilts."  Well, I learned very quickly that this is NOT a good idea for me. That's not how I roll. It just goes to show that while someone may have a wonderful idea - it's just that - a wonderful idea for them. We all don't work the same way. So after MANY MANY years, these 2 ½" strips are still sitting there. Perhaps if I throw that into the mix above, I may just come out with something fun at the end. That's a project for next year or maybe, I'll dive into that over the holidays as a fun project to do one day. I do want to get that large bag of batting dealt with. You'll have to watch for that.

A drawer full of 2 ½" strips of ugly fabrics

On that note, I"m out of here for the day. I hope to get back to my regular schedule of the morning spent on paperwork and quilting in the afternoon. I desperately need to as I've been ignoring the paperwork side of things for a bit and it's piling up.

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Why do I work best under pressure?

I don't get it - I have deadlines. I'm very aware of the deadlines. My brain just doesn't seem to work unless the clock is ticking!

I'm working on a project - one that I can't share with you at the moment. I had a date in mind when it needed to be done. That was yesterday. Oh yes - along with everything else that had to be done. I had done a bit of preliminary work on the project, but I was overwhelmed. It's not quite my normal kind of thing to do - yep - my own worst enemy in that regard. As the deadline approached, I was working on the project but didn't seem to be committed to it. Well - at the ninth hour yesterday, I finally realized how I should be tackling the project. I didn't get it completed for the date that I wanted, but now that I have a very solid plan, it shouldn't take long to complete.

But why is that? Why won't my brain function that creatively when there isn't a deadline? I've no idea. Something I'm going to try and work on this coming year. While I don't mind the pressure and I seem to thrive on it, it can be a wee bit stressful if there is more than one deadline looming in the same time frame. I don't like that - I eat bad things when I'm in that situation. Still maintaining my "buffer zone" weight so I'm not complaining, but I don't like when I eat too many bad things!

So here's a situation I can share with you about being creative. Remember that reversible quilt I was working on? Well, it's being picked up today. That means I need to get it trimmed. I was tempted to NOT trim it, but I knew I would be helping this customer out a lot by doing so. We did have a chat yesterday and she is good for future (I hope!)

The quilt has been languishing on a set of work tables since I took it off the long arm. How to trim? Remember that the side edges of the front are wider than the back and the opposite is true for the other two edges. Does that make sense? If not - here's a better way of saying it. Suppose the side you see is the back. The sides of the back are wider than the front of the quilt. But the top and bottom of the back are shorter than the front. Don't ask how or why I quilted it like that. A challenge to myself I suppose. That does NOT allow you to give me a quilt like that!

The quilt waiting to be trimmed

How to keep the edges straight? I decided to get out my 20-inch square ruler and the medium size cutting mat. I used 15" as a guideline from the edge of the light green to the edge of the quilt maximizing the amount of fabric that was in the quilt. Very little was trimmed away.

Trimming the large quilt

I didn't touch the corners, yet. Just focused on the long edges. I trimmed one side and then moved to the other side of the table to trim the other side of the quilt.

One side almost trimmed
Then I flipped the quilt over so I could see how much fabric there was on that side. I think the measurement was something like 15 ½" from the outer edge of the center panel. So now all four sides are cut, but the corners are not. Is it going to work out and have nice square corners?

Surprising, those corners were PERFECT. 

Getting ready to trim the corners

See those corners exactly matched up!!!  They were perfectly square. All four of them were like that.

Corners are perfectly square
Now I realize that I was making it square with the method I used to trim. Despite the issues with the size of the two pieces, the customer had done a very decent job of measuring the width of all the pieces so I have to give her credit for that.

Anyway, it's now packed up and ready to go. Yeah!!!!!

Then it was onto the next customer quilt. And despite the fact that it was a large lap, it was a breeze to quilt. It was perfectly pieced. There was a striped fabric on the back and it was perfectly straight throughout the entire process.

The only problem? It seems that the bobbin loves to run out when I have this much quilt left to stitch. 

Bobbin runs out with this much left!!!

Here's the final quilt. It's now trimmed as well and ready for pick up later today.

Customer quilt - DONE

I'm down to six more customer quilts this year. I know - one more got into the line and I knew that - I was just ignoring it for the moment as I still don't have the actual quilt in my hands. I'm going to beg off doing one until the next year as I want to do something different on the quilt. But I have to ask the owner first. I don't see a problem - that one has only been sitting in the pile for a couple of weeks. One extra week or two won't make too big of a difference.

The big question will be - can I fit two more quilts in before Monday? The next one (which again is HUGE) is already loaded on the machine and I'll be working on that one today. I'm going to drive my Sit n Sew group crazy while I quilt the other one tomorrow. It's a wee bit noisy and normally I wouldn't do it, but I really want to get that one done as well. I'm on a schedule.

Did I mention how much I love my Quilt Path (the computer on the long arm)? It's my new best friend, to say the least. I have BIG plans on clearing up a bunch of stuff in the studio. BIG plans. Customer quilts are under control and since there's not a lot in the funnel for next year (but there could be if you call me!), then I'll be working on clearing up the community projects quilts that are sitting here waiting to be done.

That's exciting and each day I wake up ready to go. That truly is a great thing. I can't imagine getting up and dreading getting out of bed each day! And thankfully I'm one of those people that get out of bed and within minutes can be working. I don't need coffee, I don't need time - I get at it!!! That's all good because this "hobby" of mine has turned into more than a full-time job.

I have a story to share with you about a new quilt store in my town. Technically, it's not new, but a lot of people don't know about it yet. Michelle works out of her house and has a long arm business (but don't go to her for quilting your quilts - come to me instead!!!!)  OK - it's a free country - you can go to whomever you want and I know that I've been super slow in the past and I hope to change that this coming year. The turnaround has to be faster and will be faster, now that I have a plan.

Anyway, back to Michelle. I knew that she had fabric and I knew that she stocked a lot of Northcott. Would she happen to have some of the fabric that I needed for my quilt??  I had already tried another store a couple of days ago and they were out. I sent her an e-mail late the other night and I got an early morning phone call - she has the fabric. She's about a 15-minute drive away and I got half a meter. Thanks, Michelle.  The shop is called Quilted Memories. She operates out of her house. She's got a decent amount of fabrics - lots of blenders, wide backs. She also has a LOT of kits. Things like Riley Blake (Lori Holt) baking sew along, the Halloween quilt by McKenna Ryan, and the Elizabeth Hartman - the North Stars.  OH - I wanted to buy a kit, but then my right brain said to the left brain - "Are you CRAZY????   Don't even think about it!"  Check out her website for the fabric/patterns only - remember!!!!

Oh - I should mention how I knew that Michelle had purchased that missing fabric. If you go to the Northcott website and select the fabric collection that you're looking for. Under the Product Finder title in the top right-hand corner, use the drop-down menu to choose your province/state. A list of the SKUs (fabric numbers and a picture) will appear along the top - you may have to scroll left and right. and a list of shops that purchased the fabric. Now keep in mind - PURCHASED is NOT the same as still having it in stock, but it's an amazing starting point. Be sure to keep that in mind if you're looking for something. A GREAT tool - thank you Northcott for that.

Thanks to Michelle, I was able to finish cutting out the magazine quilt and it's ready to sew together today. 

Then I was off to teach a class last night at Oh Look Fabric. It was the last class of the year at that store, but we've got a HUGE line up of classes for the coming year. There's a partial list already on the website under Workshops. More will be added. While some of the classes are for beginners as the shop gets a lot of newbies (which we LOVE),  we have some amazing design classes and other fun stuff planned. I'll be posting ALL of my classes next week so you can pick and choose what you'd like to do. FUN FUN FUN!!!!!

I had two ladies in the pillowcase class who had attaempted to sew before, but with very unsatisfactory results. Both of them went home with a COMPLETED pillowcase. What's the best part? They were excited like crazy and so happy to have made something themselves. That's what teaching is all about and hopefully, we'll see them back for another class.

Two amazing pillowcases - DONE

While I was at Oh Look Fabric, I found this wild panel by Guicy Guice (Andover Fabrics). It's pretty cool. What to do with it? Well - I thought I could quilt it up and make a cushion cover or a wall hanging with it. Or it could become a block in a quilt. Not sure yet.

Wild panel
 And here's one of the corrdinates.

The panel and a coordinate

I'm not sure why designers are making these kinds of panels rather than letting the quilter do the work, but the pieces are so small, that you wouldn't want to piece it. Anyway - it's interesting and could become a great challenge. Oh yes - I can think of a few things to make with it. Now to find the time!!!

And look at my cute new pouch. I love it - nice and bright!  I love that it has a side pocket! Thanks Andi!!

Nice new pouch

I see that the Pantone color of the year has been announched.  Oh my - It's called Living Coral - let's face it - coral is in the orange family. I love it!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. Got some paperwork to do before I hit the long arm.

Have a great day!!!!