Tuesday, June 27, 2017

More show n tell..............

So what's with the weather?  This is not summer.  BUT I'm not complaining because I'm quite happy with the cooler temperatures. Great for sleeping, great for hanging out outside. I could do with a touch less rain. 

I made good progress on my deadline quilt last night.  The top is done, the border strips are cut. I didn't have any backing fabric so I couldn't load it on the long arm. DUH!!   First thing today - get backing fabric. This is actually the SECOND version of the same quilt.  I was making it for Fall Market last year. Didn't quite get it finished, but enough for my purposes.  I figured I might as well finish it. It's fast and easy except the version that didn't get completed uses the directional print of the collection which is called Silent Night by Northcott. I got most of the nasty part of using the directional print done this morning and I should be good to get that finished up soon.  This collection will be shipping to stores very soon.  It's gorgeous - deep rich colors. 

When you work on these deadline quilts for magazines, they get done months before the magazine comes out. And then when the quilts finally get returned to you, you've almost forgotten them.  I got one back the other day. This one is from the Stitch in Time collection (also by Northcott).  There are two colorways but this one is my favourite.  

Table topper - A Stitch in Time collection

The table topper appears in the current issue (Spring 2017) of A Needle Pulling Thread.   I also have an article in the same issue on string piecing and making scrappy blocks.

Oh - I might just throw some of that string piecing in my retreat bag.  The only problem is that carrying ALL those scraps takes a lot of space and I'm supposed to be good and stay with two bags!  Last night, I remembered another project that I want to work on and it's all cut so that got winged into one of the bags last night.  I've still got loads of space.

One other project that got put into the bag is the Gravity quilt by Jaybird.  Here's one that's almost finished. Rose brought her version to our weekend class for show n tell.  It's a huge quilt, but absolutely stunning. She just needs to bind it.  She did an overall design on it and I love it - quick and easy. I taught this as a class last year.

Gravity quilt by Jaybird
Mine is now completely cut out - it was mostly the background diamonds that weren't cut. It's in the retreat bag, the rulers (need them to cut off the tips of the diamonds for easier assembly) are in the tool bag.  I think I now have four projects all cut and ready to go and one bag is only about half full.  I told you they were big bags!

Lots of other stuff going on - madly trying to write up some patterns  - in particular Coast to Coast to Coast which is the one that I made with all the Provincial panels. My goal is to get it to print by tomorrow.  The first draft is done!  That's the easy part. Now the checking and rechecking and it's a tad harder since I don't have the actual quilt with me and there is a bit of fudging to do. No worries - we'll make it happen.

On that note, I'm out of here. As usual, there's loads to do. I mean what would be the point of coming to work and sitting around doing nothing?

Have a super day!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Motivational Monday - thoughts on increasing productivity

Good morning!  Looks like everyone is on track to getting projects done. And if you're not, are you OK with that?  Remember it's summer and if you don't sew in the summer, then you shouldn't be writing tasks in your Task Master.  You only write what you need/want to get done.  Don't push the task if you're not ready to do it. And more importantly, recognise that fact! Don't berate yourself for not getting anything done. We are our own worst enemy ALWAYS!!!

Here's something that I'm realising about myself. One is that I'm the most productive when I sew in the morning. Depending on the day, I like to get up early and sew for a couple of hours. Then I take the girls to the dog park, have breakfast, write the blog and back to sewing. And if I had my way, I'd sew all day.  If I have to leave the sewing for whatever reason and let's say, I get back to it later in the afternoon? I'm not that productive. I need to plan for that. 

If I get home from work early (start work early, leave work early!), I can get a lot done. Once I get in the zone, I'm committed. But if I get home at 6, have dinner, I have zero motivation to do any sewing. Figure out your work schedule and schedule your sewing accordingly. 

I got a fair amount accomplished over the weekend, but was hoping for more.  However I had classes to teach on both days and that interrupted my routine and so in the evening, not much got done. 

As I mentioned last week, I needed some system for those deadline projects.  After comments by YOU, I realised that I need something that I can shuffle.  Got several suggestions, but this is what I found. 


With refills

I had seen them on-line at Staples. They are MICRO - look at them on the cutting mat!  Perhaps a tad too small to be super practical, but big enough to write down a deadline and the name of the project.  Then I can shuffle the pages (it's a binder after all) to keep the deadlines in place and remove the page once the deadline is past.

The funny thing was that we couldn't find them in the store. I went to the binder section. Nothing. Asked one of the staff and he couldn't find them either. Perhaps it was in one of the boxes on top of the shelving that hadn't been unpacked yet. Nope - wasn't there either.  So another employee looked up the product on the store schematic (where all the SKUs are located) and VOILA - we found them in the notepad section.  I got a couple and I'll use them up - well that's a total of 500 deadlines - I may not need to buy anything else!  I hope not! I may not survive 500 deadlines!

In addition to my deadline stuff, I'm working on the Task Master list.  I'm working on the February project and making progress. Not fast, but making progress.  I hope to have a good portion of it done at the retreat.  Here's part of the project.

February project - trimmed so far
In addition, I posted some of the projects that I've completed in the last couple of weeks on the blog a couple of days ago. Just so you know that I'm in fact working on stuff!  I do have more stuff to post - just haven't taken a picture yet.

This is another project that I completed for our booth at Quilt Canada.  The pattern is by Jill Buckley. It's fiddly to make, but very cool in that Oh Canada (Our Home and Native Land) by Northcott.  I did ask Jill permission to use her pattern in our booth.

Jill Buckley pattern for a 3-D leaf

I did some cutting this morning on stuff to take to the retreat. I plan to get up and sew the entire day when I'm there - I don't want to have to stop and cut anything. Besides, if I only take what is cut, I can cram 10 projects (well maybe a couple more) into those two bags!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fired up!

We had our monthly class at The Hobby Horse yesterday and we all received our homework for the summer.  Yes - even me who is supposed to be ahead of the class.  I'm fired up to get some projects done - it was a very inspirational class even for me!

I love the show n tell from these classes and I've been very bad in NOT showing any of it to you.  I'm going to try and get that started soon.

But I do have a couple of pictures to show you!  So Ronda had asked me a week ago if I wanted a commemorative bag for Canada 150.  Sure! and she gave me my choice. I got the bag yesterday. Shelly turns up with the same bag for me - she knew which one I would choose!  Thanks, guys - the bags are already being used.

Commemorative reusable bag

I had no idea where the bags even come from, but I love them!!!!   So what am I going to use them for?  You can never have too many bags. The darn things never seem to wear out!  These are going to be my retreat bags.  My projects will go in there. Two bags are better and easier to carry than a laundry basket. No sense hurting ourselves carrying one big old heavy laundry basket.  I'll be perfectly balanced with two of these. BIT THANKS to Shelley and Ronda!

My tools and supplies will go into a separate bag so that way they are easy to find when I want them.  That's it - two bags. But those bags are a good size and if I'm careful, I can put a lot of stuff in them. I made a list last night of ten projects that would be great to make some advancement on. So I spent last night madly cutting and prepping.

My scrap basket is overflowing!
 My scrap basket is overflowing and needs to be emptied. I think I might have to make a cover for a pet mat as I don't think there are any sitting around.

Then I decided to look for something - my stuff for English paper piecing. I knew where it used to be. I knew what kind of container it was in, but do you think I can find it?  Nope - I do believe I moved it. Not only did I move it, but I'm pretty sure that I put it in a new container so I could keep the punches for the hexies and everything in one spot. Well - it's as good as lost now and there were a lot of prepped hexies in there.  Where could it be?  No idea. It will surface one day, but when?  who knows!!!

Here is some of the show n tell from yesterday.  This is a bag that Shelley made. It's called the ??????   - oh god - she told me a thousand times yesterday what it was. I repeated the name so I would remember and POOF - the name is gone. I do remember that it's a pattern from Swoon.  But the coolest part - she made it from an old leather skirt of hers.  Now that is cool.   I think I have a black leather skirt (suede) - I may have to dig it out!!!   Awesome job Shelley.

The Sydney bag by Swoon
 Just checked the website - it's called Sydney!

The bag was quite heavy so I asked what was in it?  Shelly had also made several small bags and when she pulled out this one - I  had to have a picture. I think the bag matches her hair!

Matching bags to your hair color!

While I love the bag, I LOVE the hair!  It's pretty cool and here I was telling people about the lady with the blue hair and in Shelley walks with green hair!  I wonder if there will be any change for Canada Day????

On that note, I'm out of here. I'm working on my next deadline quilt and also trying to prep some stuff for the retreat. But seriously - let's focus on what' important!

Have a super day!


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Oh Canada!

It would appear that EVERY quilter in Canada has made something with the Northcott Sesquicentennial fabric. Well, most quilters - OK a LOT of quilters. Have a look at this article about an 87-year-old male quilter!  It's pretty cool. Thanks to Susan for sharing that.

It's now my turn to share a bit of some of the stuff that I've been working on.  Northcott had the cutest little packs of 5-inch squares made up as a giveaway for Quilt Canada. They were highly coveted and even though it was to be one per customer for the show, I know that wasn't always the case. Guess what?  Yep - we ran out!  Fortunately, we had some other giveaways for the people that came by.    I don't think I have a picture of that little pack.  I did get one that I used for my sample but there wasn't any to spare. If you got one or more - USE IT UP!  Don't hoard it!

Here's the deal.  When other fabric companies give you fabric, you get just the fabric. When Northcott gives you those little packs of fabric - we also give you a FREE pattern. I know!  And guess whose job it is to write those free patterns?  Mine!  Sometimes I'm lucky and I can pick the fabric I'm going to work with and sometimes, I have to go with what I'm given. Let's just say that each opportunity is a challenge and I LOVE a challenge. In the little pack (Northcott calls these packs of 5-inch squares chip packs), there were 5 squares of the cream and 5 squares of the red print. And this is what I made with the squares.

10-inch (finished) maple leaf block
 I love the block and was happy to figure out how to make it from 5-inch squares with minimal waste. If you would like a copy of the pattern, here is the link on the Northcott website.  If you did get one of those chip packs from our booth or if you get one in the future at a show or other event, check the back of the packaging. There is always a link to the website for a free download pattern.

Now it wasn't enough to give you a pattern for a block and fabric for one block and not know what to do with it. So I made a cushion cover by adding a couple of borders.

Cushion cover
 And I also made a small wall hanging using the same block by setting the block on point and adding one fabric for the border.  (Note - I did have extra yardage to make THREE blocks in total)

Wall hanging
 In case you're wondering, this is NOT the Northcott Sesquicentennial collection. This is from the latest Oh Canada collection called Our Home and Native Land.  There was NO extra of the Sesquicentennial collection to hand out as a freebie. It's been flying out the door.

There is also a free download for a lap quilt (note the picture on the website is slightly different from the actual pattern).  These things happen when you design with electronic files and once you get the fabric, you realize it won't work.  Too wasteful or not quite the right size or whatever.  I'll get the picture changed on the website next week. There is also a free download pattern for a tote bag. It's my Everyday Tote using Our Home and Native Land. I was going to aim to have it done for the booth, but that didn't happen. I did get the quilt top done and the tote bag is partially completed.  Something to strive for this week????

I actually made the smaller items from the leftovers of the quilt - I fussy cut that border so it would work on all those projects.  But you don't need to make the lap quilt to make the other items.

And then from the leftovers, I made this little basket.  I was a real hurry when I made it and wasn't thinking at all about the size.  It's supposed to be a bit longer - 5 squares long rather than 4.  There's also a free download for that pattern. Actually, there are two different versions on the Northcott website.

Everyday Basket Version 1
Everyday Basket Version 2

Everyday Basket

I have more stuff to show but I left the items at work.  I was supposed to be doing some project photography this weekend and totally forgot to bring the quilts home.  Oh well - more time for sewing!

On that note, I'm out of here.  Wait a minute, I thought I saw Lexi at the computer. Oh yes - I see she did post this morning. That dog!  She and her sister, Murphy are two big trouble makers.

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, June 23, 2017

When it rains, it pours!

That seems to be the way it is around here these days.  We've had a lot of rain.  A LOT.  This morning I'm getting ready to leave the gym and it's pouring. Not just raining - no it's pouring BUCKETS.  All the sane people are waiting for it to subside a bit. Me?  No I plunge into the rain and run for the car. In seconds, I was soaked. No worries, I'm dry now except for my sandals. I do have another pair of shoes in the car so I could get them.  Parts of my sweater and T-shirt are still wet.

I'm a slug!  It would appear that if there isn't an immediate deadline, I don't do anything!  Well maybe it's because I pushed so hard the last couple of weeks that without a deadline - I'm a slug. I don't know, but I did do some work on the project that is due next week. Fortunately it's not a complicated one and not super big. 

But I'm puttering!   I should be producing copious amounts of work!  However I did get some cutting done and I'm picking fabrics for one more project!  Fun and games!

Before I show you my third Trend-Tex challenge, I want to share something. I'm not referring to one specific situation, but over the past couple of days, I've seen negative comments on Facebook, people sending hurtful e-mails or voice mails.  People people people!   Remember what our mothers told us???  If you don't have anything good to say - don't say anything!  It greatly affects the recipient. I have no problem with people providing feedback - that is how we grow, but there is a way to say it so the recipient doesn't get scarred for life. Instead of lashing out - why not take a walk around the block, deep breath, write a note and then trash it!   It's amazing how those negative moments get embedded in our brains, yet the positive ones don't seem to stick around. Why is that?

And that's why I ran out into the rain this morning!  We only have one life to live and I want to remember the fond memories and what better memory than running in the rain. That was way more exciting and a better story than saying I waited in the lobby!

Enough of that doom and gloom!  

Here is my third challenge piece that I purchased.  It's brilliantly designed. Very creative use of the fabrics and I'm thrilled to own this one as well.  It caught my eye right away. 

60 Years of Canada  -  Sarah Crutcher

I need to get busy and sort out the huge mess that is called my studio. After all those lectures and what not, there are quilt tops strewn everywhere. Quilts are everywhere.  I have a plan on how to store them - I just need a bit of time to make that happen.

Anyway - here's to hoping the rain stays away for a bit as I have to retrieve one more bag from the car!

Have a super day!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

I'll trip you!

The days are shooting by faster than I can keep track of.  It was so nice to go home last night (when I finally did make it home) and have NOTHING to do. Well, you know what I mean - nothing URGENT to do.  

I did tidy up a teeny bit and then decided to go outside to read and enjoy the longest day of the year. Well, I think Lexi and Murphy will have something to say about my shortened stay outside. Let's just say that those two dogs are ATTENTION seekers.  It was worse than being in a kindergarten class on a sugar high.  All I can say is those dogs are attention seekers. 

I'm picking fabrics for my next project and well - I have zero qualms about starting something new. I just can't help it, although I did get one "old" project pinned back on the wall that needs the borders put on. I can't seem to find the rest of the fabric although I didn't search very hard. 

There is some mad planning going on behind the scenes and let's just say that I've some very conspiring friends. One of them I'd like to hire as an assistant. She's meticulous about details!  How to slip more suggestions past her and then take advantage?  Oh Laura........  I need help!   I'll be sharing the details of that conspiracy in the next couple of weeks!

Also trying to get some stuff organised for the upcoming retreat.  I know - I can't wait!!!  So much to choose from - what to take?  I know - look at the priority list, but some of the projects are not the kind of thing to work on at a retreat. 

So as promised, I'm posting a photo of another challenge piece that I acquired at Quilt Canada. This is part of the Trend-Tex challenge.  I had a quick peek around the room and picked some that I liked. I put my bid on a few. When I went back to check on the status, I was outbid on several. Hmm - that's OK - I can live without that one or this one. BUT there was one that I was outbid on that I really really wanted. I looked at who outbid me. Hmm - that Peggy!  I like Peggy, but I don't think Peggy needs this quilt even if we both know the quilter. Hey - I used to live in Quebec and went to many sugar parties!  So I outbid her. 

We're standing around waiting for the bidding to close and guess who walks in?  Yep - that would be Peggy!  "Why - hello Peggy!" I said sweet as sugar pie!  "What are you doing here?"  I told her I would trip her in the rush to the bidding sheet if need be. I was kidding!  I wouldn't really have done that - well I don't think I would have.  But Peggy kindly let me have the piece as she was already the top bidder on another one.  Thanks Peggy - I really appreciate that. I even offered to share it with her - she could hang it for six months and I could hang it for six months. I tried to be nice!

Anyway - here is the piece. It was made by a fellow guild member, Tish.  Tish -- so super creative.  I love it and who would have thought you could create this from the five challenge fabrics!!!!  Brilliant and I'm so excited to have this in my challenge collection. 

Maple Syrup Zakka Style  - Tish Leupen

By the way, I forgot to mention that the piece from yesterday - Canadian Comfort - the Tim's cup - that won THIRD place!!!   There was one other one that I really wanted, but I already had another outstanding bid.    I'll post the last one tomorrow.

And on that note, I'm off to get some work done.  I'm behind - tons to write, tons of e-mail to work out and a teeny bit of sewing today. Then tonight, it's cut cut cut and onto the next project for the June 30 deadline.

Oh yes - I did get some prep work on my February project for The Task Master.  A tad behind, but I've every intention of getting caught up!

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Canadian Comfort!

What can I say! I can actually see outside the tunnel. The light is blinding!  I'm almost done (for now!).   I got the last magazine quilt quilted last night. I made the binding and sewed it on the back. I need to sew it onto the front this morning. The sleeve is made and I'll hand stitch that down in a meeting I have today. Then it's off. The pattern is written and sent. I just have to do some blah blah blah about the fabric collection. 

Yahoo!!!!  But WAIT!  If you think I'm home free, nope - I see another tunnel looming and the next deadline for a quilt to be in the US is June 30!!!   But that is 9 days away.  Nine days is a huge amount of time to make a quilt. 

I've started to write out my list of deadlines - there are SEVEN deadline quilts between now and September 1.  Seven!   How that happened, I've no idea. But it just does and I'm getting into design mode so there will be more (hopefully!)

I wanted to share two very Canadian things with you. When I was at Quilt Canada, I saw the Trend-Tex challenge. This is a challenge that has been sponsored by Trend-Tex for many years - I want to say about thirty. Anyway, it's been a long time. 

I have been lucky enough to purchase two challenges in the past. I'll share them one day - I think I've already shared them at some time. This year, I had almost forgotten about the Trend-Tex challenge until the last day. I popped in early on the last day to have a look and I couldn't find the light switch in the room.  DRAT!   But I did get in there before the bidding closed. 

There were MANY that I wanted, but not wanting to be crazy, I bid on several. I was outbid on some, but there were TWO in particular that I really really wanted. I'll tell you the story about the other one tomorrow. 

When I saw this one, I knew that I wanted it.  It's a very clever way to use up the five fabrics that were in the challenge kit. Pop on over to the CQA challenge page to see all the quilts and the fabrics that were in the kit. This little quilt is #44 on their page. 

Canadian Comfort by Jodie Matte
Isn't is just the cutest thing ever!!!!   And so me!!!  I know that I can't help myself - if I don't have that large steeped tea, black with two sugar in the morning - I'm grumpy!  It truly is my morning comfort!   I'm very excited to be the proud owner of this little quilt.  Thanks to Jodie for the great idea and it will travel with me when I do my lecture on challenge quilts!

The second thing that I saw at Quilt Canada that I HAD to have was this license plate.

Row by Row license plate

I do not need more license plates, but I WANT more license plates! And when I saw this one, I knew it was going to end up in my collection.  I'm not sure how many they brought to the show, but at one point I walked by and didn't see any hanging. I asked and there were only a few left. It's very hard when you walk the show in the morning and no one is around to buy things from!

That gives me TWO license plates for this year.  I have noticed on the Row by Row pages, that license plates are NOT as common as they once were. No worries - I don't need more.  I hope to do TWO full days of Row by Row this year.  Not saying a word, but my conspirators already know who they are.  Matter of fact, I hear they did a TON of research into one of our days.  Game on - I'm ready!!!

Thanks to everyone who provided suggestions about creating a prioritising system.  I'll look into the options and I do like what I found. The question is - will it work for me?  It's all a learning experience!

On that note, I'd better get that darn binding on!

Have a super day!!!!!