Friday, February 23, 2018

Sit n sew days are the best!

Yesterday was a sit n sew day. I'm so thankful to have such great friends to share my passion with and I'm very grateful to have the ability to spend time with them as we share our passion. There were seven of us and we had loads of laughs, and I'm always learning new things. Like last time, I learned that I can peel butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Who knew? And we share recipes, as well as trials and tribulations of our lives.  It makes you realize that whatever you're going through, you're not alone! Thanks to everyone who came yesterday!!!!

Well - not only was it a fun day, but it was a super productive day. A SUPER productive day!!!

Have a look at what happened...................  Sorry - I only took pictures of my stuff. Next time, I'll try to share!

Some of this happened before and after the group left. It's so motivating to have all that empty space so I made good use of it.

I started the day off by getting this quilt top done! I'll tell you more about it another day. Let's just say the top is done.

Quilt top - DONE
 I also got the backing and the binding ready so this one is ready to go on the long arm. I need it fairly soon so it won't be going into the "to be quilted" pile. It's in the "URGENT need to be quilted" pile.

Backing, binding, and quilt top - ready for quilting

Then it was onto this table runner. I cut the runner and pieced it.
Runner completed
 Next up was to make the backing and the binding!

Runner, backing, and binding = DONE
Then I had a couple of runners that I had made, but they needed backing and bindings. So I got the backing and binding completed for this runner.

Runner, backing, and binding - DONE
Not done yet!!  I have this table runner and while I didn't have to make the backing because the runner fit on the fabric, at least it's chosen. I'm going to make the binding from the same fabric as the backing and will make the binding after the runner is quilted.

Backing ready for this runner

 I made two of these runners and so I chose the backing for the second one and made the binding. It's ready to be quilted as well. 

Backing and binding ready to go
 While I'm piecing all this stuff, I was madly doing my enders and leaders and I'm happy to report that I have another block for the pixelated apple - DONE!!!

Five blocks - DONE!!!
 But that's not all. I'm madly sewing on the next block and it's almost completed as well.

Block six - almost done!
 Rose brought this quilt top to show me. This is a project that she was working on at the last sit n sew day. I love the quilt top and there's a bit of a story behind this one.

Rose's bonus quilt
 Back in 2012 (or was it 2011), we were both participating (and probably not aware) in a Mystery quilt by a local designer. There are two sizes in the pattern - you can make a queen size or you can make a lap quilt. Rose was making one of each!  I was making the queen.

While I didn't get it completely finished as the clues were published, I was following the clues page by page.

Rose had been warned about a potential construction issue with the outer border. I didn't know about that issue and so I made all the border blocks with sashing on one side, figuring that the next step would be to use that sashing between the blocks. NO - when I turned the page, I realized that those bits of "sashing" were, in fact, one of the outer borders that had now been chopped up into lots of little pieces. It was silly to do that and I shelved the project for years.

Rose decided that the quilt without those blocks was big enough (I think it's 105 with the borders) so she added one final border on the quilt and had all these blocks leftover so she assembled them into a quilt. Now that's clever!!!  I have the same blocks made - I might just dig them out since I'm being so productive these days.  I will add sashing to my blocks (if I have enough fabric).

Let's just say that I (as well as a lot of other people) were not happy with the designer that she would put on a skinny border in bits and pieces. I told her so (politely) and she said - her testers were OK with it. Seriously????  It's a mystery quilt, but the integrity of good quilting practices shouldn't be compromised because of a mystery.

I'm going with Rose's design!!!  Thanks for bringing that quilt!!!  And I'm going to dig my version out.  2018 UFOs - be damned!!!

In the Quilter's Patch quilt, there are three blocks with inset seams. They are a bit of a challenge because of their size. I gave in to Diane (who did make an effort) to sew the inset seams and I gave her a pattern that used half square triangles instead.  It took all of 5 minutes to come up with the alternate in EQ8. I LOVE EQ8.

Eight-pointed star block by Diane

Phew - just had a dig around in the containers under the long arm and I found the mystery quilt, the blocks, the pattern and some bits. I'll have a look later today to see what needs to be done to complete the quilt and the BONUS quilt!!!  And just like that - I'm off!!!  But it's a UFO so I don't feel so bad about that.

BUT the big news of yesterday was this. One of the UFOs on my list for 2018 is a Bonnie Hunter mystery and look.  I'm making amazing progress.

Celtic Solstice
 I finished the second set of blocks yesterday and I have one row sewn together. I have to get the rest of the rows sewn together before Sunday morning as there is another sit n sew day and it's going to be a full house.  These days are super productive for me. So with these days and my Monday sewing, there really is a chance that I can get some UFOs finished. I think I could engage a long arm quilter full time in order to keep up with me!!!

This is the fabric that has been sitting in the project box for Celtic Solstice - waiting to be made into borders or binding. I hope by Saturday night that this will be empty (or filled with the bits from another project).
Fabric to finish Celtic Solstice

WOW  - I'm exhausted just looking at all that I did!!!  And all the while, not overeating. I'm tracking EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth and actually eating less than the calories that I'm supposed to be eating every day. Not by much but that's all a good thing!!!  I'm feeling great and every day, I take a walk to do errands. Yesterday we walked to the bank and Tim's on the way home. Which is a challenge to hold the leashes of two very strong dogs and a cup of tea and not spill any!!  I'm getting good at it and it's my upper body workout!

On that note, I'd better get some paperwork done this morning and I have a quilt to get off the long arm this afternoon and load another quilt so I can quilt it tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Farm Girl Vintage show and tell

Yes - it's time for show and tell. I've not been very timely with these in the past and this year, I'm planning to be more on the ball. The class was held last Saturday so it's not even been a week!!!  Yeah!!!

Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt
There are a lot of people in the class so I'm not going to be able to remember everyone's name!! Well, I remember names, but not everyone so I won't mention any!

For each pattern, there are two sizes of blocks - a 6" finished or a 12" finished. Many are opting to make the 6" blocks, but some are making only the larger ones, while others are making some big and some small. Those small ones will fit nicely in those plastic cases, I posted about yesterday! Just saying!! If you can find the darn things.

The homework was to make three blocks - the Kitchen Window (the one on the upper left), postage stamp (upper right) and pinwheel (bottom).

And I have to say that the quality of the workmanship of the group was AMAZING!!!!   Those seams were twirled where possible to make the blocks lie flat and the pressing? Oh my - those seams were FLAT. I'm very proud of the group! They're doing fabulous and it's only the first class! Imagine what we're going to see at the end of the year!!!

Here we go with the show and tell................

Two softer pastel blocks and a brighter one - all scrappy!

This person decided to have a sunflower appear in her Kitchen Window block and did not piece it like the pattern said. I love when people deviate from the pattern to make it their own!! Again - more scraps being used here.

Nice Kitchen Window block with the sunflower in the middle

Lori has other blocks that you can purchase (they are residing on the Fat Quarter Shop web page). This person bought the pig block (it's not in the book) and made both block sizes of the pig. So very cute!!!!

Momma pig and baby pig

I should mention also, that the group doesn't have to make every block if they don't want to.  Technically they could make a quilt out of ONE block. It's totally up to them. It's a bit of a design class as well as a block class. Heck - it's a get together sew along!!

This person has made the postage stamp block in two sizes - the big and the small as well as a small pinwheel. I believe she used a mini-charm pack for the larger size of the postage stamp block (using one of Lori Holt's fabric collections).

Two different sizes of the postage stamp block
Another group of the three blocks - love the border on that Kitchen Window block!!! 

Nice color palette - not too bright, not too pastel!!!

This person is making all large blocks and not sure where it's all going to end up. She made the Kitchen Window block on the left and didn't like it (?????   - I love the color combination) and so she made the new block on the right using sashing!!!  I love them both!!!

Large Kitchen Window blocks - one even has window sashing!!!

Large pinwheel and postage stamp blocks - those blues are intense!!!
 Love these blocks. I wonder if this person is working with the person who did the previous set of small blocks?  I see that blue diamond in the postage stamp in both blocks? Or are they just using the same line fo fabric?  I love that!!!

Look at that blue diamond
This person has gone wild!!  She made several versions of several of the blocks. Do you like the black/white combination or the color combination?  I love the Kitchen Window block. It's amazing!!!!

Wild coloring for the farm! 
 This person made a couple of extra blocks in addition to the three from the book. The mixer and the pig are all extra blocks that can be purchased at Fat Quarter Shop. They are super cute!!! And it looks like the blocks are made from 30's fabrics. That's going to look awesome.

30's fabric - great idea!!!
 Here we have a combination of big and small blocks. I think it's going to be fun to figure out how to put them together, but not so hard as four small blocks equal one big block. That's super easy!!!

Big and small blocks
I love the Kitchen Window block. I really really love that block and while I've liked the ones with the grey borders, the red just pops this block!!!  And a very scrappy postage stamp!!

Love that red border on the Kitchen Window block
 I have a newbie in the class and she's learning how to make half square triangles. So this is what she brought for show and tell.  She's on the right track and I love that plaid!!!

Half square triangles from the newbie
 Another nice combination of colors - again - not too bright and not pastel. These quilts are going to be gorgeous!!!

Love the dots in the pinwheels!
 I love how people are changing up the blocks or even using their own color combinations. They look amazing. Look at this Kitchen Window block - there's a cat in the window!!!  Nice use of fabric!!!

There's a cat in the Kitchen Window
 This is using one specific collection of fabric that's very modern, very soft and the final quilt is going to be very pretty!!
Very pretty and soft color palette

Here's one more set of blocks. Notice the pinwheel block and the one beside is a variation of the pinwheel!!  As well as the Kitchen Window. These blocks look like they are different sizes so that will be a challenge for the maker to put them together!

Variations of the blocks and different size blocks

Here are my two blocks that I completed. NO - I haven't had a chance to finish the postage stamp block as I was waiting to get scraps from cutting some of the others. Oh great - now the class will hate me for saying that!!!!!

I made one of the 12" blocks (the only one I plan to make) and two of the smaller blocks.

My blocks using a single fabric collection

Here are the homework blocks for this month! There are five blocks in total and YES - I made them all!!!!

The homework blocks for February

And now, I've posted the blocks before I sent the e-mail to the group with the homework. Oh well, sometimes, I'm ahead of the game and sometimes, I'm not!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Thinking ahead!

I didn't get a lot of sewing or quilting done yesterday. I'm going to have to rejig my schedule a wee bit in order to not lose that quilting/sewing time.

I'm doing the 60-day challenge at the gym with the intention of losing 10 pounds of FAT!  Every Tuesday, there's a class to introduce us to different classes at the gym. Yesterday was bodyweight training. Simple exercises that didn't require any equipment, but I was dead at the end! A very effective workout that you could do anywhere or only do part of them. Bottom line - it was great! There were 6 of us in the class - new gym friends!

Then I was off to do some errands in the afternoon - got rid of the old laptop - traded it in for a $70 gift certificate!, donated some Easter decorations and a few other things, dropped my book off to have the spine cut off and a coil inserted so the book lays flat.

From the errand perspective, it was a very efficient day!

But here's something else that I did on my errand day (besides watching a movie with Lynn).

Let's go back to the 150 Canadian Women quilt project.  What did/do you do with the blocks when you have completed them? And what do you do with the patterns? I was putting the pattern pages and the blocks in a page protector. However, you can see the problem with that.

The binder is exploding
 I've barely done a third of the blocks and I really didn't want to keep adding page protectors.

So I did this. I took all the blocks out of the page protectors and I combined the pages so that on the front is the write-up of the block on one side and the write-up the second block appears on the other side of the page protector.  Perfect - the binder is much thinner and I need half the number of page protectors.

The binder lies flat and has plenty of room for future pages
 How what to do with all those blocks?  You see, the blocks (hopefully) won't need to stay in the binder forever. They will be made into a quilt and so I might as well think ahead and plan accordingly.

The blocks so far for 150 Canadian Women
 I could put them in a Ziploc baggie, but those darn things are slippery. A HUGE thanks to Mary, Jane, and Rose who came to one of my classes this past weekend with the PERFECT solution. Look at the cute container that they found!!!!

Blocks are contained in a nice plastic case
Where did they get the case and what is it?  It's a mini scrapbook case that you can buy at Michael's. When I saw that on Saturday, I was so excited and I stopped at one Michael's on my way home. Nothing - they had NO mini scrapbook containers.

Yesterday when I was doing my errands, I stopped at a different Michael's and found the shelf where they were supposed to be, but there were NONE on the shelf. DRAT!!!!!  I really, really want these containers. I asked one of the staff and he asked me to show him the spot on the shelf where they're supposed to be. He scanned the bar code - they had FOUR in the store. Now to find them.

Two were in the drawer beneath the shelving unit and the other two?  Who knows?  I bought two of them.

Two mini scrapbook containers
 Here's a close up of the label in case you want to try and find some yourself. Good luck with that!

Label of the mini scrapbook case
I'm going to try and get two more and then I'd be happy. Trust me, I have several other projects where I'll be making small blocks and these are perfect to keep them from getting messed up!!

Thanks again to Mary, Jane, and Rose!!!

In an attempt to tidy up the office (well - it's all baby steps at this point), I decided that it was time to unearth this item that I bought several years ago. It's a weight scale that connects to the internet and the Fitbit stats. I told you - I love technology. I'm just not married to it!!!!

Fitbit scale

I tried to set it up this morning and darn - I think the batteries are dead!!!!  Even though it had that little paper in there to prevent the connection. So I'm off to the mall later today to find batteries as I don't have any of the required size in my battery drawer. Yes - I'm that organized that all my battery supplies (chargers, etc) are in ONE place.

I was at spin class this morning and already got my stats from that. Why is this so important to me? I've lost almost TEN pounds since I gave up sugar about 6 weeks ago. I know - that's hard to believe but true. I don't crave sugar AT ALL. I even bought DH dessert at the grocery yesterday and didn't drool once. Sugar is pretty much not in my vocabulary any anymore and I also watch what I eat, but I'm not starving or depriving myself of anything that I want to eat. It's a whole lot different when you eat because you need to, versus eating because you're looking for comfort.  I have another 8 pounds to go and then I'll be happy. Then it will be all about maintaining that weight and in the meantime, trying to lose only FAT and not muscle.

The only thing now is to figure out how to prevent my protein powder from clumping in my oatmeal. According to my research, it will clump no matter what I do so I should have oatmeal and a shake!  I could do that!!!  That's the experiment for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

On that note, I'm out of here - I've got a long overdue date with the long arm!

Have a great day!!!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

There's an app for that!

I'm very happy to report that the seam ripping experience for yesterday was greatly reduced from the previous week. I'm guessing that it was MY fault for last's week seam ripping escapades and NOT Lynn's because she was sitting beside me yesterday. Oh boy - I guess we all have days like that!!

Even though it was a productive day, there isn't a whole lot to show for my efforts. But here they are.....

Back to work on the 150 Canadian Women project.  I was certain that I had prepped 12 blocks, but it appears that I only prepped 11. I got 9 of them completed yesterday - took all morning! And the very first block I started with, I had miscounted some of the squares I cut and I was short by 4 squares. I fixed that when I got home so 10 got made yesterday. One of the blocks needs the ends of the triangles cut off for easier sewing and I have templates for that at home, so that block and the templates are in the bag for next Monday. And I prepped eight more blocks last night.

Blocks for 150 Canadian Women
Once I get the 8 from next week sewn, I'll have 66 blocks completed and only 84 more blocks to go. Oh my - I'm close to halfway! If I can continue with 6 blocks each week, that will take me 14 more weeks. Yikes!!!   But I'm determined to not let this sit as a UFO.

However, this is all the red fabric that I have left after prepping the next 8 blocks. I think I might have to add some reds to my shopping list.

Reds for the 150 Canadian Women project
 I don't want to make a big quilt using all 150 blocks so as I'm sewing, I'm thinking of various ways to split the blocks and come up with some creative ways to sew them together. I haven't done any planning yet, but I might get started since (hopefully) before I know it - those 14 weeks will have zipped by!!

Speaking of buying fabric, someone left a comment on my blog yesterday that is hilarious, BUT very serious at the same time. Someone has created a spreadsheet (that we can all use). You enter what you use from your stash and what you buy with the end result being a deficit at the end of the year. Just like if you're counting calories and wanting to lose weight. See - quilting really is like eating!!!

Here's the LINK to the blog.  Scroll down in that blog post to get the download link to the spreadsheet. It's really very simple, yet an ingenious way to get PERMISSION to buy more fabric. It's also a way to really identify if you're reducing your stash or not. Since I'm really focused on finishing UFOs, I might calculate approximate yardage in a project when it's finished, although technically it's out of my stash already. Anyway, read the blog, it's an eye opener!!!

And thanks to whoever it was that e-mailed that link!!!

I also got a couple more blocks completed for the National Quilter's Circle Block Challenge. This is a free pattern and I don't really follow the comments on Facebook, but thank goodness I don't because it appears that there are a ton of people complaining because the patterns are hard to read (NOT!), there are errors (I think I found one in 6 blocks).  The blocks, although they are large, are a wee bit of a challenge especially since I changed the colors compared to the original. When will people ever become grateful for something free and stop complaining!

Two more blocks for the National Quilt Circle Block Challenge

I have two more blocks ready to sew next week. I'm happy with the blocks, they are huge - 16 " square and the quilt will certainly be bright. Gosh - I was marking some lime green squares yesterday and almost went blind!

Am I dedicated to this weight loss/eating better thing? You bet. I got home from Monday and realized that I was doing great on the calorie intake, but my Fitbit steps were down for the day. Should I run around the house to get to 10,000 steps?  No! I decided to go for a walk after dinner. Well, if I was going for a walk, I certainly couldn't go by myself so I had to get the girls ready and there we were walking in the rain, in the dark just so I could get Fitbit steps. And they say technology is bad for you!!! 

Technology is good as long as you use it wisely!  And so today is a new day. New calorie intake and a new goal for Fitbit steps.

On that note, I've got a lot of work to do today and I've got a lot of errands and the errands are taking precedent over the studio. Yikes!  I'll have to play catch up tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!


Monday, February 19, 2018

Motivational Monday - progress report

There is NOTHING like a sewing day with friends to get you motivated!  Yesterday, there were five of us. Remember we had to cancel the sewing day last weekend and I offered up TWO alternate days instead of one, so the numbers got split up and a few took advantage and are coming to both Sunday sewing days. They are very clever!!! 

I was in slow motion mode, but I was determined to get that flannel quilt done. And it's done!  I didn't take a picture of the top with the borders on, but you can see that it has TWO borders. It's funny how we sometimes don't think too far in advance when planning something. OK - I'm not so good at planning as I prefer doing! I had a piece of flannel that I was going to use for the inner border and the binding. Since this quilt is made from flannel, I like to use a little bit wider binding - 2 3/4" instead of 2 1/2". Well, if I would have figured out how many strips I was going to need for the binding and that inner border, I would have cut the inner border a wee bit smaller - 2 1/4" instead of 2 1/2". So the binding had to be cut at 2 1/2".  DUH!!!!   Not to worry - that piece of fabric is GONE!!!

Binding, backing and the top are ready for quilting
Oh - here's the top without the borders.

Flannel scrap quilt without borders
This is one of my UFOs from 2017. So that's good that this is finally done. I'm not worried about the quilting. It will make a good cuddle quilt for someone so when the need arises, it won't take long to quilt it up. BUT there is in fact way more fabric in that bucket so technically I'm not done this project yet.
The leftovers!
I've started to cut another scrappy quilt from these pieces and I'm thinking there might even be enough for a third quilt. The UFO project was to FINISH off this basket of fabric and I intend to! No wonder my UFOs take so long!!!

It took longer than normal to make the borders because the outer border had to be pieced as well. And the quilt is longer than two widths of fabric so a third strip of backing had to be added to the two pieces of yardage. Oh yes - nothing is easy!

Speaking of long projects - look what else I was working on as my ender and leader project. I finished the fourth block of the pixelated apple and I decided to go ahead and assemble them. Keep in mind ALL the seams on the back of this quilt are twirled. I should have taken a picture.

Four blocks together in the pixelated apple quilt
 And why stop there? I laid out the fifth block and the little four patches are almost together. Then it gets easier from there. Well - faster, not easier!

Fifth block in the pixelated apple quilt
 I counted the number of blocks - there are 16 full blocks (10 little squares by 10 little squares) and there are 4 half blocks - (5 little squares by 10 little squares). I'm just going to keep working on this and it's another attempt at using those busy prints for the background. I'm LOVING the effect, but that's because there is such HUGE contrast between the red and white and there is ONE central image.

Then I went for something that was almost cut out and super simple!!!  I got the top done as well as the binding and the backing.

Backing and binding for another quilt

I'm not going to show you the top, although you did get a preview a couple of days ago. Now, where is that picture?

Some of the blocks for the new quilt

I won't show you the top today because something occurred to me when I got it done and it's a perfect situation to talk about in a separate blog post because I laid out another quilt on the design wall this morning and - well, we have a problem that's a good lesson for all of us!!!!

Yesterday I tracked my food intake on my app. Well - the first day is always the hardest as you input your foods. Once you have the basic stuff you eat, it's a lot faster. So - I did great at lunch. I was super focused in the afternoon so no snacking - in the morning or the afternoon until about 4 PM. So far so good. A yummy dinner of chili - that was easy. I went for a long walk (4,000 steps) with the girls after everyone left. It was too nice a day to stay inside. Since my FitBit is linked to MyFitnessPal (the food diary), I got a bonus of 500 calories that I could eat!!!  I texted Ronda to ask what I should eat. Her response?  NOTHING!!!!   God - she's wicked!  So I didn't! A calorie deficit on the first day. I think that's a good thing!  That's how you lose weight!!!!

I have to say that tracking your food (like tracking our projects) makes us 100% accountable. Oh gosh - this is great. Now I have to think before putting anything in my mouth because I have to write it down and having the app makes it easy because you can scan items and then it calculates all the calories, the fat, the carbs, and protein. This is PERFECT for me.   I like all that kind of stuff, but I'm NOT married to the thing. I look at it, then shut it down.

Now I'm off to Monday sewing where I have a bag of totally different projects to work on. I'm thinking I'm NOT sitting beside Lynn because I seem to spend a lot of time ripping when I sit beside her. I didn't rip at all yesterday!!!  And some of these projects for Monday sewing are a bit more complicated. I'm getting my own table!!!

On that note, I'm off to make my smoothie and get the day started. Well, not really since I've already been up for hours!!

Have a super day!!!