Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Seeing red?

I had a super fun day with the sewing group yesterday.  It was so great to be back (even for just one day) despite the fact that I had a ton of stuff to do so I didn't get to chat a whole lot. Besides, I'm used to working heads down by myself so it was almost overwhelming a bit!

I got HALF of the backing done for my One Block wonder quilt.  Then I realized I was going to run out of time, so I put it aside. It was the hardest half so that is good to have that out of the way. It will have to wait until I get back to finish.  I also got the binding done.

I got a whole pile of flying geese done for a pieced border for another quilt. I needed that border on for 9 AM this morning and I'm happy to say that I'm right on target with that.

Then I needed a sample for our booth. Something small (thankfully) and I whipped that up last night and bound it this morning. Is it my best work?  No - but it's all improv stuff and well, there's so much to learn from improv.  I'll show it later and give you the blow by blow on what went well and what didn't.

I see I have a couple of pictures in my photo editor that I haven't shown yet so here they are.

Radiant Light
 The top is together, but the pattern still needs a bit of work. Yikes - there are a LOT of seams in this one.

And I got the next two patterns for The Canadian Sampler at Sew Sisters.

Next two blocks

Here's an interesting thought. I spoke to Judy the other day about popping in to get some red fabric to start making these blocks.  Nope she says, red is very hard to find this year. OK, so I checked at Hobby Horse and there were NO suitable reds either. Lots of reds with designs in them, reds that are orange/red but NO deep rich monochromatic reds. And I don't have any in my stash either!

So what's going on?  Because it's Canada's Sesquicentennial, has everyone been buying up the reds?

Well red fabric is now on my shopping list. It's so much better to go to a quilt show with SOMETHING on the list. It helps to avoid buying willy nilly!

On that note, I'm out of here.   I've a few things to get done before my plane leaves tonight at 6 PM.

Have a super day!!!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Motivational Monday MIRACLE!

It's Motivational Monday again. A very exciting day. Many people are not that fond of Monday - it's the end of the weekend, it's back to work. For me, Monday has been a very exciting day for many years as that is my sewing day. Well now that I work full time, it's not technically a full sewing day, but it's all about sewing as I do get to spend a bit of time first thing in the morning with the sewing group and then off to work which is always exciting.

Today is even more exciting as I'm going to spend the entire day with the sewing group. Normally on stat holidays, the sewing group doesn't meet, but today they are and so I get to join them.

BUT even more exciting is what I have to share with you this morning. The TOP of my January project is done!!!!  Yes - it's been almost 10 years since I started this project. I've tried to resurrect it several times and got bored?  But the top is DONE!!!!   I'm super excited about that and hope to get the binding (which is cut and ready to sew together) and the bits for the backing are in my sewing bag today. As I lay awake this morning, I had a vision of how to put the bits together for the backing! Perfect!!!!

Let's have a look at how the top got finished.

First, I wanted to share this fabulous quote with you.  How true!  Let's get these things done, but perfect?  Hardly. But what a huge weight I felt lift when I got this top done!!!  That's what we're aiming for!

There was ONE last seam to be sewn in order for this section to be finished.

One last seam and now the center is together

I was short by ONE hexagon when I put it together and I used a different green. You can see it in the top left corner and also near the bottom right hand corner.  I wasn't sure that I like that green so I tried another one.

Ah - I don't think so - this is hideous and stands out way more than the one that I orginally used.

I don't think that green works!!!!

So I tried yet another green and this time, I was much happier with it. I think what bothered me was the original fabric was ONLY green and there were no blocks that were solid green in the quilt.
The new fabric has some gold in it so it blends better.

Much better
 After the auditioning process was over, it was time to replace those bits. Thankfully, they were on the edge so wasn't too big of a deal to replace.

NOW the center part is complete
 Next up was to choose the borders. I tried the new green for the border, but it doesn't look as good as it could when placed directly against the pieced bits.

Color is good, but it looks weird
 That is even more jarring when the border is placed next to the orange/yellow bits.

The border is even more jarring!
 Let's try a smaller border in yellow/oranges which of course wasn't hard to find. I literally grabbed the first or second fabric from the orange basket and it works perfectly.

This is much better!!!
 I laughed at one point when I was working because the January project is pretty bright, while the February project which is on the left is pretty dull!

February project is dull compared to the January project
 Speaking of the February project, it's also in my bag for sewing today!!!

Let's get those points trimmed off!

Off with the points!
 And put on that first border.  There are many bias edges on this quilt and over the years of mistreatment, the pieces have been stretched. Thankfully the stretching wasn't too much of a problem. But this is a good example of why we need to make sure the top and bottom borders are the same length and that the two side borders are the same length.

First border on!
Audition the green again.  Much better!!!

Much better
 Now it was an easy process to add that final border - well almost. I decided that last border should be mitered.
Mitered corner
Here is the top - completely DONE!!!!!!

Top is DONE!!!!!!
 I never noticed this before, but I always had it on the wall in this orientation. Probably because the columns were easier to put on the wall. But the final size of this quilt is 63 by 72 which is pretty close to my general lap size so guess what, it's going to be a lap quilt, NOT a wall hanging and it will look like this!!!!

Now it's a lap quilt!

I'm super happy with it. I think I may keep this one for myself after all the agony of it.  BUT here's the thing - without this group, without The Task Master, this project would have gotten shelved yet again. I could see everyone posting their January projects and some are already finished their Feburary projects. Well I had to keep slogging.  I was even tempted to put it on the long arm and quilt it yesterday, but I had a customer quilt that had to be done and I have a few things to finish off before we leave for QuiltCon so those take priority. When I get back..................   well we'll see.

Customer quilt - DONE!!!!!

So a HUGE HUGE thank you to all of you who are posting your completed projects.  It's very motivating.

On that note, I have to finish getting ready for my sewing day!!!

Have a super day!!!


And if you want to join us on Facebook and post your finished projects, check out the group.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Size matters.................

Yesterday was an awesome day. I taught three classes and while I wasn't 100% completed what I would have like to have done, it was enough to get us going and thanks to Diane for having completed blocks.  I took loads of pictures and I'm going to try and get them all up this coming week.

But the best news was when I got home. I've been a busy little bee, I've updated The Task Master and while there are still a few things that need to be done from a few weeks ago, I don't feel too bad.

The even better news is that I have NOTHING to do today. I mean no appointments or commitments. I can sew all day, I can read, I can do whatever - well with the exception of having to quilt one customer quilt, but I hope to get that out of the way right away and still have loads of free time.  Yes - I'll probably be sewing and I'll take the girls for a walk later today, and I do have a couple of errands, but nice to not have any crushing deadlines!

I've been doing a lot of cutting over the past couple of weeks. My scrap basket on the table was overflowing and I didn't even have time to empty it. At one point, it got put on the floor and I aimed for it, but didn't actually hit it often.

The scrap basket
 At last a minute to empty the darn thing. I had to!

One pet mat full of scraps
 I had another bag of scraps sitting on the table and hadn`t had time to put that in a pet mat as well, so when I emptied it all, I had three bags full!!!
Three bags full!!
 Now to get the serger out and zip up the ends and those will be ready to go, along with the giant one I got yesterday. Thanks Shelly.  It`s still in the car so no photo of that one.

I managed to quilt a quilt this past week.  You`ll see a bit more of this quilt in the very near future and if you want the pattern, check out the link. The quilt is called STAX by Patti Carey of Northcott.  The fabric is by Patricia Ritter of Urban Elementz BASIX for Northcott.

STAX - quilted
 I used one of Patricia`s pantographs (Urban Elementz) to quilt it.  Bubbles which is NOT easy to do on a hand-guided long arm. But it worked!!!

(Speaking of FREE patterns - if you missed my tote bag that was in Quilts and More, I heard yesterday that it's available on ALLPEOPLEQUILT as a free download.  Check it out!!!!!

Then I had a tiny project to quilt and I was on a roll, so I loaded the backing on the long arm.  Yes - this teeny tiny piece is the backing.

A teeny tiny backing loaded

I will share the mini-quilt at some point, but not now.

So there has been much discussion about how to pack for a retreat. Tish takes ONE laundry basket, I take MANY everyday totes and usually a few extra things.  I vowed that I would take ONE laundry basket to the next retreat. I would start by sweeping everything from those tables into the basket. Well, I have to face reality that not all that stuff will fit in one laundry basket and then I`m not sure it would keep me busy for a five day retreat.

When I was in Ontario, California at the Target (searching for shoes to keep my feet dry),  LOOK what I found.


It`s a combination between a laundry basket and a hamper.  Now that`s the kind of laundry basket that I WANT.  I wonder if we can buy them in Canada????   Of course, what happens if I fall in when I reach for that last project on the bottom?

If you search for the definition of a lamper on the internet, well there are many definitions, none of which describe it as a hamper/laundry basket combo.

You can even get something similiar on WHEELS.

Now here's the interesting thing, did you know that the capacity of a laundry basket is in bushels???  What does the average consumer know about bushels????   I notice that the basket on wheels has a capacity of 1.75 bushels, while a regular one has 2.0 bushels. I think I'll take the non-wheeled one because it's bigger!!! However if you live in Canada, the laundry baskets are measured in liters. One bushel = 35 liters. So a two bushel laundry basket is the equivalent of a 71 liter laundry basket.

But there is a square one at 2.1 bushels - I might aim for that one!!!  That extra .1 bushel - well I could put a lot in there.

Hmmmm - just checked the label of the lamper and the capacity is 2.0 bushels.  CRUDE!!!!  It's not bigger. Oh well, I tried!!!!

I'm just going to have to be very careful in packing - something I don't do. Everything will have to be vaccuum packed and only the actual pieces I will be sewing can be included. ACK!!!!

On that note, I'm out of here to enjoy my day!!!!

Have a super day!!!


BTW - Lexi tells me she posted something this morning and I need to read it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Tidy up time

When I took that trip down memory lane through my previous blog - well it seemed that ALL I talk about is tidying up my stuff.  Seriously????   I need a new train of thought.  

At dinner last night, we had a discussion - do we take the stuff (in the garage) to the dump ourselves or do we call 1-800-got-junk???  Come spring, there is going to be a massive tidy up - at least in the garage. Must schedule a day for that.  

I had to clean up my hand sewing box. I'll share the reason tomorrow. Am I done my homework for class today???  NO!  I've got most of it prepped and that's why there is a short blog this morning as I still have a bit more that I need to get done. Perhaps I'll finish all the blocks off tonight - a fun night of sewing instead of a night sewing things that have deadlines.

I've been doing a lot of hand stitching - mostly labels and sleeves. I'll be happy to get those out of the way, but it seems that there is an endless supply of quilts that need labels and sleeves. These are perfect to take to the Monday sewing group where I have 1 1/2 hours on Monday morning to spend with the few early birds who get there. Then I zip off to work.  

But the handstitching box was full of pins, thread, burred needles and well - too much stuff. 

Untidy hand stitch box
I put the pins back in the pincushion where I can use them. The snaps went in the fastener box, all the threads got wrapped with a strip of vinyl to prevent the threads from springing off and making a huge mess.

Vinyl wrapped around the spools of thread
I was wondering if I could file down the burrs on those two needles?  I'll attempt this weekend, otherwise, they are history!

And now I have a tidy box with a lid that shuts tight and SECURE!

Hand stitch box is tidied up!

I know that many of you (and I know) that the less amount of stuff you have, the easier it is to keep tidy. I tend not to deal with stuff right away (non-quilt) stuff or silly little things accummulate over the years.  The dining room/office is evidence of that.  I so want this room to be tidy - wish me luck. I keep saying that and it is happening so slowly that I don't see it happen.  I must schedule a day where this will happen.  The month of March is a pretty slow month for me so I'l going to schedule a day in there to just rip this place apart.  No that's not true - I'm going to deal with all the extraneous stuff that sitting on the floor. If that could be dealt with, I'd be happy.   Goals - another goal!

On that note, I'm back to the sewing machine to finish one more block for today.

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, February 17, 2017


That's one word that I would never use to describe myself!  I'm a far cry from preppy!  However, prepping - now that's more my style. I have three classes to teach this weekend and all of them still require prep work. The good news is that I've been prepping throughout this past week and so hopefully tonight won't be too insane. Normally, I would be prepping everything the night before or god forbid - the morning of the class.

I'm happy to say that everything is CUT.  Yes - all of the block pieces are cut. But I have a lot of blocks to sew - OK, let's be realistic - there are FIVE blocks at the most that need to be sewn. The blocks are cut?  Easy!!!!!

This is one of the classes

Fancy Forest quilt class
EVERYTHING must be labelled well and in bags for this one.  There are oodles and oodles of teeny tiny pieces.

Organized fabric baggies
And in prepping for the upcoming retreats this year, I must make sure that everything is packed light and tight.  There'll be more on that retreat prep as the time gets closer which isn't that far away.

Everything for the quilt is in the basket
NO - it's not a laundry basket. That's one of the ones that I bought to control the visual Task Master.  Imagine what this would be like if I didn't have baskets - there would be bags everywhere!!!

One set of blocks all cut
Yes - there are EIGHT blocks in this baggie

more blocks prepped
And eight blocks in this baggie

I know that Joyce will be watching me tomorrow to see if I actually get those blocks pieced and well, I love a dare!!!  I told her they would be done and I'm going to make sure that they are!  Not all eight of the same block will be done. That would take a miracle, but one is enough of each type of block.

The other night, I couldn't sleep. Just a lot of stuff going on in my mind. Instead of just laying there, thinking about everything, I got up and started to sort paperwork.  I made it through several piles.  I know I say this all the time and then it gets crazy again.  I just want to sort and file whatever I can. The bits will go into a box. I want that dining room clear. It's just not conducive to work and I need a good clean space.

On that note, another exciting happy day.  Oh yes - I'll have to share this story at some point. Let's just say that I would NOT make a good travel agent. The stories I could tell about my hotel bookings would blow your mind!

Have a super day!!!!


PS - if you've never been on a retreat before or are looking to go on a retreat in the Orillia area, e-mail me if you might be interested. I have a spot or two open.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

When you in a hurry................

It doesn't pay to be in a hurry. As you know, big preparations for Quiltcon next week and other things going on for my classes this weekend, and other conferences later this year. 

And things niggle at the back of my mind. I must do this, I must do that.  So yesterday just before leaving work, I had some photos to send to someone.  I had edited the photos in the morning and just needed to send them via e-mail. Because they were kind of big, I decided to send the five photos individually.  I start to type the name of the recipient and their name pops up. Attach photo - SEND.  Second photo - SEND.  This is easy.  Then I got home and received an e-mail from a different person (same first name - different spelling) saying my photos were pretty but why were they getting them.  Oh, shoot - three went to the right person, two did not!!!!  And you would laugh if I told you who the photos ended up going to.  Someone high up in the Modern Quilt Guild - of which the photos had NOTHING to do!   I laughed about that. I`ll have to introduce myself to Jacquie and tell her I was the idiot that sent her the pictures!!!

I also needed to arrange for the delivery of one more quilt and sent a hurried e-mail only to get a response that I had already taken care of that detail!  DUH!!!!   So my brain is doing the work, but it`s not reminding that I`ve already done some of the stuff!!!!   

Recommendation - S L O W     D O W N

Here`s the rest of my day on Sunday.  After I quilted all of those quilts, they had to be trimmed and then THREE of them had to be bound. 

The customer was coming over on Sunday night. Now the weather was very bad that day but I thought - OK - she wants the quilts bad enough to come out in the storm, I`ll get them all done for her. 

I`m putting the binding on the first quilt - the Snowman one.  Notice how she wound that binding. I hate it this way as it twists when you sew it on. 

Sewing on the binding
Now here`s a blast from the past for my aunt. (who reads my blog!  - Hi, Aunt Irene!!!)   Years and years ago, she gave me a sewing machine in a cabinet. The sewing machine is no longer with us, but I`ve kept the cabinet and I LOVE it.  When I sew a binding on, I don`t have a lot of room on the left-hand side of my table and the quilt keeps falling off. I put the cabinet beside the table and it works like a charm!!!!

Cabinet beside the sewing table

Binding number one - DONE
I ran out of bobbin thread and that meant having to stop and clean the machine. I`m working on my own machine at the moment and it obviously hasn`t been cleaned in a while.

That`s a LOT of lint
Here is the beautifully wound binding for the second customer quilt.

Nicely wound binding -- Good job R!!!!
Second binding on the customer quilt -= DONE!!!!
Remember our Oh Canada quilt for the CQA sewing bee?  I didn't have enough binding?  Well, I volunteered the remainder of Ronda's binding to be added to our group project.

Remainder of binding from quilt one

Binding on the second Oh Canada quilt - DONE

Leftover over binding
I joined those two bits with my three bits to get this much binding.

Binding for the Oh Canada quilt for the sewing bee
I think I still need 80 inches, but I have a couple more Oh Canada quilts to make so I'm sure I will have enough before June when the quilt is due!!!!

So Ronda comes over after dinner to get her quilts. We go downstairs to chat.  I noticed that she had set two pieces of fabric on the table. Finally, she says, "shouldn't we do the embroidery?"   OH GOD - I had completely forgotten about it. We had chatted the week before that she wanted me to do some work for her, but even when she was in front of me, with her fabric, it was far from my mind!!!!

Thankfully it was a short and sweet job and she was on her way with her three finished (on my part) quilts. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!

I chatted about the labels the other day.  Here is a label that I washed and you can see that the writing is still very legible.  You MUST use brand name inks - the cheap stuff doesn't work.  Only BLACK ink are colorfast, color is NOT.  And I heat set the labels as I'm turning the edges under.  Hopefully, that will answer the question to those that asked.

Washed label is still legible
And I guess it's off to try and get something accomplished today. My brain is going 100 miles a minute at this point and I hate to keep writing things down.   But I may have to.

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

OH Canada!!!!

It was a wild and crazy weekend.  I was excited and I was ready to go!  A lot of quilting to get done. You know how you get into a rhythm with things - that's how my weekend went. 

As you know, this is Canada's Sesquicentennial this year. Northcott always has a beautiful collection of Oh Canada fabric based on their Stonehenge collections, and this year, they have a new collection to celebrate the Sesquicentennial

The first quilt up was for a customer and it's based on the Northcott Oh Canada. 

Customer quilt - DONE
The back was black flannel and I used the Maple Syrup panto on it.  Looks awesome with a dark brown thread and just visible on the black.

Quilt Backing
Hmmm - since the Maple Syrup panto in on the machine, I could put the quilt that our group made at the retreat on the machine and get that done. It's part of the Canada's Big Quilt Bee.  Each block has to have at least ONE fabric from a Canadian collection. The goal is 1,000 quilts by end of the CQA conference in June.  Can you believe, they already have 100 quilts!  And probably THOUSANDS of blocks.

Here was an opportunity to use up some batting pieces.

Joined my batting pieces to make one big enough for this quilt
And there is the gorgeous scrappy quilt - lots of improv!  It just needs a binding.

Community project quilt - DONE

Same panto, but can't see it on the busy back
I have made a few projects from the Oh Canada collections over the past couple of months, so I dug out the binding pieces that were left.  Hmmm, not nearly enough, BUT, I have a plan. I'll share it tomorrow as I didn't have time to get the pictures done.

Scraps of binding
That's all that I managed to accomplish on Day One of my two-day quilting marathon. I did have to teach a class in the morning and well two lap quilts was good for the end of the day work.

Up bright and early on Sunday and after a jaunt to the dog park, I was ready to hit the quilting machine again.

And guess what - there's another Oh Canada quilt to be done. Same customer as the other one - might as well clear them all out.

Customer quilt - DONE
Same backing, same panto, same thread

Then I still have ONE more Oh Canada project and might as well get it done even though it wasn't due until April.

Fourth Canadian themed quilt in two days

Maple Syrup panto looks awesome on it
Phew!!!!   I think I can do that panto with my eyes shut and without a pattern!!!

But then onto the third quilt for that same customer which was NOT Oh Canada fabric. It was SNOW which is just about as Canadian as the Oh Canada fabric.

Customer quilt - DONE

Snowflake panto

I had to do a bit more work on these quilts before the customer came to pick them up.  You know what - I'm going to save that story for tomorrow as I didn't have time to edit the photos.

Have a super day!!!!!