Wednesday, August 16, 2017

More work DONE!

So while I'm on vacation, I can still be working?  Yep  - if you look at today's blog post, you'll think that I'm working up a storm but that isn't the case. 

Matter of fact I am doing something. I have a couple of small embroidery projects that I could work on. One is done and I hope to finish the second one (today?). Neither of them was started before I came. How sad is that?  It's not like I'm spending all day stitching either!   So there is hope - a teeny weeny bit of hope. 

Having a good visit and visited the local Fabricland where their batiks are listed at $36 a meter. Seriously??   Then I noticed a big sign on the wall that says "50% off quilting cotton for everyone"  or something to that effect.  Seriously?   Why not just list the price at $18 then?   I don't know. I did buy a few things - I couldn't help myself.  No need for a membership card.  It's very bizarre. 

I went to the sewing center here in town as they are participating in Row by Row and The TransCanada Block Party.   Yeah - so I got a kit and I got a free pattern. No license plates as they are the same as last year.  

The weather here is bizarre as is the weather all over the darn place.  It's cold here!  I think the temperature this morning a bit north of here was 11.  Yikes!  And yesterday was windy and rainy, but better that than brutal heat. I'm not complaining! But it was nice when we went to the parade!   I know - you can take the girl off the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the girl!!!  

And while I miss my girls back home, my brother has two dogs that are so similar in character to mine that it's uncanny. Moose and Meadow - one is soft and girly (just like Miss Lexi) and the other is well - his name reflects his character and he's just like Murphy. 

What was I working on before I left??? 

I managed to get a customer quilt done. And it's already been picked up. 

Customer quilt - DONE
This quilt had minky on the back which is always a little more time-consuming to load on the long arm. But it's done!  I have to laugh because of this particular customer  - I give her two quilts done and she gives me three more to do!  I love her though!

Then I made this - do you know what it is???

Adult bib

Pattern for the bib

It's an adult bib!  One of the ladies at work was using a paper towel for a bib one day and I thought she would appreciate a real bib. So I  made her one.  It really doesn't take long and hopefully no more spills for her!!!!

I think I did this when I was at Monday sewing.  I got the next little triangle on the log and sewn to the block.  There is one more row (the cream on the side) to add and then one more log to prepare and sew on and then sew the blocks together. This is my February UFO project.   If I focus, it would take me two days to finish it.  That is going to become a focus, NOT an ender and leader which takes too long.

Progress on the February UFO

And I got another one of the Ronald McDonald quilts done.  It's trimmed and someone else will put the binding on!   There are still quite a few to go (less than 10) and I hope to get 3 more done before the guild starts back up so someone can get them bound!

Comfort quilt - DONE!

Yep - even when I'm away - I'm productive!   I've taken loads of pictures while I'm here, but no way to get them resized. I MUST MUST MUST get some software for this computer so I can do that while I'm away.  Or there is probably something in the blog software that does that - if I were to investigate!

No worries

On that note, I'm off to finish my embroidery!!

Have a great day!!!


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Out and about!

No - I haven't gotten lost. I'm on vacation!  I had a bit of a quiet period so I hopped on a plane to visit my parents for a couple of days!  I left on Sunday and well - it's been a bit crazy so no chance to hook up to the internet to get to the blog. And I uploaded a whole pile of pictures before I left and so whatever post I happen to open - that's the one you're going to get. 

Let's just say that I will NEVER take my own space and peace and quiet for granted!  

Since I couldn't go quilt shop hopping on the day I arrived - who in their right mind travels on a Sunday when shops are closed?   I did manage to get to McNally Robinson book store which is just the best book store around. The Saskatoon Quilt Guild hangs quilts in the store and the quilts are changed every three months.  There were some beautiful ones and I did take a couple of pictures.  

I checked out the magazines and yes - they do get different stuff than we do back home. Weird!   And then I check out the craft section as I've always found something interesting. I'm standing there with a few books to sit and browse through and this lady asked me if there were all for me. I said I was browsing. We got to chatting - turns out, she's from Kitchener which is about one hour from where I live back home.  Seems like we ALL check out McNally Robinson when we travel!  We got a good chuckle over that. 

I had lunch there and the waitress mentioned that they had two soup choices that day.  One being Cream of Celery.  Hm - haven't had that for a while - sounds good. Well, it turns out it was Salmon Chowder. Thankfully I didn't have any issues, but my taste buds were working over time trying to compute what the heck happened!

I'll fill you in on more details of the rest of the day later.  I'm off to hang up pictures!  All those things that we don't do at home, but when your Mom asks you to hang pictures - well I'm hanging pictures. 

Let me tell you about these pictures in today's post.  I was out on my bike a couple of weeks ago.  I headed out into the country and then turned the corner and headed in a different direction. Before long, I was in a rapidly expanding town. But look how bike friendly they are.   This was a great newly paved road with a dedicated bike lane AND a multi-purpose trail. Now, how civilized is that?

Great dedicated bike lane
Let's hope that in all major new developments that they will consider these features.

There was even a dedicated bike lane through the round about although I just rode on the street.

Dedicated bike lane through the round about

I'll try to write more later.  It's hard to write and visit at the same time. I had one pattern that I had to finish writing.  It's done and hopefully there are no mistakes. I'm just trying to get my e-mail open so I can send it.  Then I'll have time to devote to the blog!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pig's ears or a PROPER mitered binding

Remember what I said yesterday?  Life is all about learning new things?  I learned something yesterday that had NEVER even EVER crossed my mind. So simple and yet - well - I think I'm still stunned that I didn't think about it.

Wait for it!

Yesterday was another crazy day. Why?  Because I'm popping out of town for a few days.  It doesn't matter how much I plan, the day before is always stupid. Why? Because that is the day that I have to deposit cheques in the bank (yes - I could do it on my phone, but not US dollar cheques so might as well deposit everything at once BEFORE I forget and these US cheques have BIG warning on them  - VOID after 60 days. The last time, I made it to the bank on the day it expired!  Not this time - I only got the cheque this week and it's in the bank!

Then I had to pick my bike up. Never mind that it's been ready since Wednesday. But it's in the car.

And I had to visit the famous quilter. That would be Marilyn - more about her in a minute.

I should have had this quilt done and in the mail on Friday, but I ran out of fabric last weekend and well - it's taken me forever to finish it. BUT it's done with the exception of the sleeve.  It's pinned on!  All of these pictures are from the same quilt - I changed the camera setting and wow - what a difference.

Since I can't show yo the front of the quilt - here's the quilting on the back.

 I did go a bit wimpy on the outside border. Not sure why - probably time and the border is the first thing I quilt and my miind is usually empty of ideas at that time.  However I made up for it on the rest of the quilt and when it comes back, I may just add something in the borders.  I thought of it while I was quilting, but didn't really have the time to go back.

I got it bound last night (NOT my best binding job) so that is telling me that I need to slow down on this and I didn't have enough table space despite the fact that I do all my binding this way.  I think I was tired and cranky. It was after 9 or was it 10 by that time.  More on why that was the case in a moment.

All I can say is THANK GOD for those little labels.  I LOVE them and they are perfect.  Now the quilt is going out with my phone number, my blog, my name and my cute little bicycle.   For special quilts, I'll likely put something more, but for these ones - and in a hurry - those little labels are fabulous.

I had to laugh because I came across another quilter from Montreal who uses those little labels as well.  All from the same company - ikaprint.    Yes - it may be a pain to get their website to work just right (right Shirley?), but it does and the labels are so worth it and they don't cost much.  Thanks to Lorna (Sew Fresh Quilts) for introducing me!!!

quilt is labelled

OK - so there were two main things that messed up my day.  You see, I was planning on quilting a small quilt and taking it with me. HA - what a dreamer I am. I barely got this one done which I'll be delivering to a colleague's house shortly so it can go out on Monday. I was hoping to stitch the sleeve down this morning, but instead, I'm blogging. Blogging is way more fun!! And I'll stitch the sleeve when I get the quilt back.

On the way to Marilyn's house, and dealing with heavy traffic on the highway, I knew the second quilt wasn't going to happen.  OK - let it go. It doesn't have to be done - I'll just mail it when it gets done. No big deal - it's little. That freed up some of my "planned" time so I stayed and chatted with Marilyn. And what a great conversation we had. She's a wonderful person and VERY VERY talented.  She's part of the Handi Quilter Quilt Your Desire team.    Check out the link - that's Marilyn second from the left in that big picture. And check out this link to see more of her stuff and her videos!!!!!

I said she was talented and she is.  She's had several quilts juried into major shows. (I don't know how many exactly), but I've seen her quilts hang at Quilt Canada, Paducah and QuiltCon (where she won an ward which I don't remember at this moment) and she has a quilt going to Houston (remember the shipping - lost quilt story - that was Marilyn!)  Check out this link to see her FIRST PLACE win at Quiltcon.   It's in the Piecing category about 3/4 of the way down the page. She had TWO at Quiltcon no less!

Let's just say that she has experience with having quilts judged, etc.  She said casually near the end of our converstaion - oh you know about the pig's ears?"   Say what?    No clue - then she explaned the miter for the binding.  For god's sake -  I didn't know which way I did that miter and had to run home to find out.  Turns out I've been doing my miters wrong after thousands (maybe?) of miters.  If you have that miter going one way on the back, technically it should go the opposite way on the front to help offset the bulk (ME who is always thinking of bulk!).  I checked, NOPE - did it wrong always.  So last night when I was binding this quilt, I did it the other way.  HOLY COW - it's flat on those corners.

FLAT mitered binding corner

Seriously -- I cannot believe that I didn't think of that.  Thanks Marilyn!!!!!!   That's why your quilts go to Houston and mine do not!   Oh - I have to tell you one more thing about Marilyn. I had never been to her house before and as I drove up and could see the living room window, I gasped!  NO WAY!!!   Yes way - there is her LONG ARM right in the window.  NO WAY!!!!   Turns out that she has turned her living room into her quilting room.  Like many of us in this area, we have living rooms and family rooms.  Do we use both?  Well we sort of do in our house, but I would LOVE to have my long arm in that front room although I think a certain someone wouldn't be happy and I'd have to share it with my two four legged friends who have pretty much claimed that room for their own!

Thanks Marilyn!!!   You're the best!

Now it's much later than I had planned, but I was OK with that.  Then I had to go out for dinner.I must admit that I did have a good time and good food so I can't complain but that wasn't close either and then dinner and chatting - that consumed another 5 or more hours of my day and that's the reason that the binding went on after 10 PM and the sleeve is only pinned on.  Good enough for me!

And now I must get my act together (did laundry yesterday, packed this morning).

Don't worry - I even had a chance to load pictures into the blog yesterday and I'll be posting while I'm away.

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's all a learning experience!

Remember when you were a kid and your parents said "it's a learning experience"?  How come as an adult that I'm still having learning experiences?  I guess that's what keeps us alive.  I know for myself that if I'm not learning something new - well there's absolutely no fun in keeping things the same old way. 

I've decided enough is enough on holding back on the long arm.  I've kept things safe for a long time but this time - well, I put bright multicolor thread on the machine, I've been swirling and twirling and I been doing diagonal accordions without a ruler. I'm throwing caution to the wind!  BUT  I did practise my design on paper first - just like I teach my students. Some of this is new to me and I want to work out the logistics before I hit the long arm. Is it perfect?  God no! Far from it.  That is not the point - I'm learning. 

I'm learning what I'm good at and what I'm not. I'm learning that there is an artistic style deep within myself and all I have to do is give it some exercise. The more exercise I give, the better the artistic style becomes. Yes - we all doubt ourselves, but there has to come a point where we throw caution to the wind and just have fun!  I'm not going to show you a picture as it's for a magazine. But I'm sure there'll be more where that came from. 

I did four hours on the long arm last night and very close to being done. The binding is made and it shouldn't take long to get that finished off, but first I had to prepare a backing and the quilt top because GASP I'm dropping it off for a long armer to complete. It's beyond my abilities and my time frame so I've engaged a very famous long arm quilter to do it for me.  I have to drop it at her house this morning so NO  - it's not Angela Walters. I can't wait to see what she does with the quilt. It's for Market, so not sharing although you may see snippets of the quilt on her Instagram.  I'll let you know if I see anything. 

Speaking of which - here is another learning experience. This particular long arm quilter had a quilt accepted into the Houston Quilt Show. She's of that calibre - I'm not. I don't have the time, nor do I want to spend that kind of time on one quilt. The quilt was boxed up and sent via courier. At some point, it became apparent that the quilt was missing.  Any quilter's worst nightmare. Was it stolen? Did the label come off?  Dropped off the truck?  Turns out there was a second label from a previous use on the box and although the label had been partially removed, there was enough of the label that the scanner picked up that address and not the address on the full label.  

The good news - the quilt was found, the head guys at this courier service were very resonsive in their investigation and all is good.  The quilt is now in Houston. But the lesson here is that any previous shipping labels must either be completely removed or they must be totally obliterated!  I deal with that almost every day and I've been warned. So far, nothing of mine has gone missing. 

Just when you think you have things under control and each hour is carefully planned, DH says we're invited to dinner. ACK!  I don't have time for that - I have a deadline. So I may have to work a bit later tonight and dinner will be SHORT!  Don't spring last minute plans on me!  

I have many quilts without labels and while they are in my possession, it's not really a bit deal. But I was planning on giving one away and there is NO label.  I hate to send it out the door with nothing and our printer is on the fritz and needs to be replaced.  So I carefully opened up the binding and inserted my little label.  PERFECT.   Not the best task in the world to be faced with, but it worked.  This was one of my earlier quilts that I put the binding on and it's not the best. But again - now I'm really good at it.  Why?  Because I've done lots and each one is better than the last!  

So when our parents said - practise makes perfect?  Well, we'll never be perfect, but practise does definitely make better!  Gosh - I hate when our parents are right!

On that note, it's time to get moving!

Have a super day!!!!!


Friday, August 11, 2017

It's going to be one of those days

Ever had one of those days?  It's barely started and already things are messed up!

I did a lot of quilting last night, but soon realised that I was NOT going to finish. At 9 PM, I had to shut it down as I was tired. However I made excellent progress and the hardest part - deciding what design to quilt where is done!  In total I'll use four different colors of thread. I was working with two different ones last night and just the nature of the quilt, it made sense to do one row, change color and do another part. Repeat 8 times!  I believe I got 5 repeats done and very happy with the results. Oh yes - let's not forget to change the bobbin AND the tension as the threads were different. 

But it should get done or mostly done tonight, leaving the weekend to finish it off and get it in a box for Monday. I've already alerted the recipient that it'll be one day late. Shouldn't be a problem - I hope. 

Because I was so tired and I swear I heard coyotes in the night, I woke up and then slept in. I never sleep in or very rarely, but I did. 

I figured that since it's Friday, the traffic would be light as it's been pretty good all week. Not one, not two, but THREE different spots, the traffic slowed to a crawl and almost took me twice as long to get to work. The line at Tim's was much longer than usual. You see what's happening here!

Thankfully it'll be a quiet day at work - lots to do, but no rushing. Yeah!

I saw this quote from my calendar and was going to save it for a Motivational Monday post, but here it is.  This is so true and if we would only listen to this, it would save us a lot of grief. Yikes - just noticed the date.  I'm NOT that behind - I 've just been saving it for an opportunity.

I saw the link to this post last night on Facebook.  Oh boy - this is so true.  Never, never, never sew a border on a quilt that you haven't cut and measured to the right size. It's a great lesson on how to measure, cut, pin and sew on a border.    Not only that, but she shows you why!   I'm guessing she's a long arm quilter and oh yes - I've seen those quilts. I've had to deal with them and it's NOT pretty!  Do yourself a favor - measure, measure, measure!  This isn't something that quilt teachers make up to annoy their students - this is a good practise to get into.

The quilt that I'm currently quilting (which is my own) has a lot of little borders on it and it's quilting up beautifully because I took the time to sew it together the correct way!

Well, I'd better get the day started and hopefully it'll go a bit smoother than the morning has!

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Retreat revisited

I have some random photos that I found in my "to be posted" file.  

But first an update. I did manage to get the quilt ALMOST finished last night. The backing is made and loaded on the long arm. All that remains is to sew the top and bottom border on the last border. That will take a few minutes when I get home. The big question is can I get it quilted?  I really want to do some custom quilting on this. I know what I'm going to do - do I have time?  I may have to put my contingency plan in place which is OK. 

If I wouldn't have goofed around, talked on the phone, read my book - the quilt would be almost done. But alas - I need some down time. Better planning!

So here we go with the pictures. 

Thank goodness I go to the retreats by myself.  Look at how messily I pack my car!   And there was a bike that went in on top of all that stuff.

Great packing job on the way home from retreat

I'm not down to the one laundry basket like Tish, but I think I'm doing pretty good! Hey - I'm better than I used to be. But I did go to Monday sewing this past week and I was very good in what I took and I got almost all that I took done!  See there is a danger in that! What if you run out of things to sew?

This next project is one that I have taken to a few retreats. Never touched the darn thing. And I didn't touch it this time either. But when I got home from the retreat, I went through and assembled all the components so the NEXT time I take it to the retreat, all that remains to do is sew the various block components together. That should be easy! And since it's a table runner, it won't take much time!

One project ready for the next retreat
If I was smart, I could get it done now. But with the sewing schedule ahead of me - that most certainly won't happen. I have a feeling that September and October are going to be jam packed with sewing stuff for various shows and magazines. There will be little time to mess around with my own projects and let's not forget those UFOs from The Task Master that are sitting there.  I did review the list the other day and OH BOY - there are some really exciting ones that I put on the list. BUT first, I must finish the two that I'm currently working on.

I have to share this photo with you.  Jan was at the retreat and she had a bit of a problem. Her skirt was a tad too big (how did that happen on a retreat!). Let's just say that there were a couple of times when we thought she was going to lose it!  I'm not sure if any of us were prepared for that.

To help prevent any wardrobe malfunctions, she ended up safety pinning the skirt to the front and the back of her shirt!

Safety pins are important

We wanted to buy her a pair of suspenders, but she wouldn't go for that. We could even have made her a pair but she didn't go for that either!

I think she needs to buy a new skirt!

On that note, there is much to be done and little time to do it in.

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nothing lasts forever!

Good morning!

This is how I get myself into trouble! Next deadline quilt - just chilling on that - loads of time - right?  WRONG!   I got the missing fabrics yesterday and instead of working away, I worked on something else. Then it hit me that I'm behind so I did spend some time working on it.  It's progressing nicely, but it's going to be tight to get it done. I do have a contingency plan - but I'd prefer to not have to use it!

And I couldn't help myself - I had to finish the book I was reading last night.  The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini. This was a tough book to read  (subject matter tough). I've read it before - years ago. I knew it was going to be tough to read but I'm done!   It was actually a good book. I had stopped reading her books for a while, but I think I might get back into the series.  I believe there are 20 books in total. The Runaway Quilt was number 4, but I'm now going to skip ahead to Number 10.  Don't ask - it's just a silly thing I have about keeping lists.   I'm just ridiculous!

I've taught machine quilting for years and it never ceases to amaze me how many people are not familiar with the life span of a sewing machine needle.  I came across this little tidbit from Rhonda Pierce who is the spokesperson for Schmetz Needles.   Check out the web site and the newsletters'. There is a ton of good info there. By the way - we were ENCOURAGED to share the following information - I didn't steal it.

Sewing Machine Needles Don't Last Forever.

The needle is not a permanent machine part.
Needles get dull from use. Needles are meant to be changed.

Clue it's Time to Change the Needle
- Damaged or broken threads -
- Skipped stitches -
- Puckered or damaged fabrics -
- Wiggly squiggly seams -
- Popping, clicking or clunking sound -

And now it's time to get to work.  The days are sliding by faster than I can possibly imagine.  But having a blast and just as I get to see the light at the tunnel, someone lengthens the tunnel and I'm right back at the beginning again!  Like a little hamster on a wheel. Spin spin spin!

On that note - I'm out of here!

Have a super day!