Thursday, April 25, 2019

Christmas in July!

I'm on a new mission. It's a very personal one, but I hope some of you can help me with it. I've been attending physio and massage appointments for the past couple of months to deal with the whiplash from that stupid fender bender. While I'm still dealing with the pain on the left side of my neck, the masseuse is digging deeper.

My posture sucks!!!!  The masseuse threatened to make me wear a posture belt if I didn't get my act together. So, I'm to be standing in perfect posture at all times. Hinge from the waist, not the neck. Try that at a sewing machine!

However, he's perfectly right in nagging me. If I don't fix my posture now, I'm going to be in bigger trouble as I get older. The acupuncture seemed to help a whole lot with the pain and the muscle knots and now I feel like I have a very stiff neck. Still, a long way to go and I know that some of it can be relieved with the posture issue taken care of.

If you see me slouching in any way shape or form, you are to simply say - Posture! I'll get the message. It's trying to remember to stand up straight - the more I do it, the more I'll remember and at some point, it'll become totally natural. ACK!!

UPS has been very busy at our house lately. This arrived on Monday.

Three boxes arrived on Monday
Nothing to get too excited about. It's just quilts being returned to me. Yep- there were TWO quilts in each box.

Then all this arrived yesterday. The bottom three boxes contained quilts - two per box. I know - what the heck am I going to do with them all???

More quilts arrived home
Some of them had been at the magazine office for quite a while. But still - that's a lot of quilts. I think there might be one more box coming and then except for the recent stuff I've sent (3 - I think), all my quilts have been returned.

But what's in that little box on top?? I hadn't ordered anything from Amazon. I opened it and got a huge chuckle. I'll share it with you tomorrow since I want to figure it out first. It's a thank you for helping someone yesterday.

I drove a friend to her day surgery appointment. Nothing earth-shattering, but it required a couple of days stay and she can't drive. So she sent that little box as a thank you. I think we're going to have a lot of fun with it.

While I had some down time waiting, I decided to hit Lens Mill since there was one not far from the hospital.

What a glorious time I had. It's been a LONG, LONG time since I had the luxury of wandering around with no real deadline while in there. I saw loads of interesting stuff and loads that I would have purchased but not anymore. I did get a shopping cart to make my life easier and I wandered up and down the aisles. Standing straight as I wheeled the cart around!

I did make a few purchases. I'll share a couple with you this morning and the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm behind this morning and I need to get myself moving.

This is a ¼  meter of fabric to put with my Lilla project. I think this will be enough to finish off the blocks. I know - a measly ¼ meter!!!  Don't need more, don't want more. What would I do with the leftovers???

Additional ¼ meter for the Lilla quilt

In all of the shelves at Lens, I saw only ONE bicycle fabric. I don't really need this, but I got a ¼ meter to add to the stash. Yep - just ¼ meter!!!  See how good I'm behaving???

Bicycle fabric

I did get a couple of other things but those will have to wait until tomorrow when I have a wee bit more time.

Yesterday morning before I had to leave the house, I spent some time cleaning up Studio U. There were threads everywhere, bits of stabilizer, fabrics, tools - you name it - it was strewn everywhere. It's now more or less contained where those items belong. I have a box of stuff to bring downstairs to sort into the proper home in Studio B. It felt great to get that done - I was tired of stepping over stuff to get to the iron or the sewing machine or whatever.

Hopefully, the next couple of weeks will move at a wee bit more leisurely pace. Lots to do - especially paperwork which is NOT my favorite thing. If ever I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is hire a secretary or personal assistant. Yep - that would be a priceless asset to me!

And if I had a personal assistant, he or she could take pictures of all my quilts and put them on a web site. Wouldn't that be awesome?? I need to do that. I'm going to have to start somewhere. Might as well be at the beginning.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

North Stars Show n Tell

Today -it's all about Reggie. Reggie is the name of the reindeer in the North Stars pattern.

This is one of our year-long projects at The Hobby Horse. The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman. It's super cute. There are 9 blocks and we're going to have the final show n tell at the end of November.

North Stars pattern by Elizabeth Hartman
Elizabeth has designed a line of fabric for the quilt and a few of the class participants had purchased kits. But many did not and it's super fun to see what fabrics they picked for their blocks.

Let's start with my block. I'm using a blue background that looks like cracked ice or snow. The colors were randomly chosen from my stash of brown fabrics.

Elaine's blocks

Now let's have a look at what the students did. OH MY GOD - this is Kathi's block. I know that she was a wee bit tentative with her fabric choices, but she did an amazing job!!!!!

Kathi's block

Look at the fabric that she chose for the body of the reindeer. It's got little reindeer on it. That's so cute!!!

Reindeer fabric for the reindeer!

I'm trying to remember whose block is whose. I believe this next one belongs to Jo-Marie. Lots of great contrast in the block. I didn't think that some of the fabrics in the kit provided enough contrast to the background. I love the fact that we can take chances and do our own thing!

Jo-Marie's block
Sara threw all caution to the wind (as usual). I love the fabric she used for the reindeer. I think she threw in more fabrics than the pattern called for which is great. No need to follow the pattern exactly. Each block is 24" square and there are 7 fabrics as per the pattern, but as you can see, more can be added without throwing the block into chaos.

Sara's block

Did you see the fabric that she used in the big squares??  Yep - it has deer on it. That's super cute.

Sara added fabric with deer on it to her block

Nancy is using the kit which is very convenient. No need to search for colors. You can see how some of the flying geese near his feet are very low in contrast to the background. A totally different look - but nothing is wrong and that's part of the lesson that we're all learning.

Nancy's block

Valerie is also using the kit and here's her version of the block. For a minute, I thought it was the same block, but look at the position and direction of the fabrics in that arrow looking block - they are different!

Valerie's block

I didn't think I got a picture of Jana's block but then realized that I hadn't forwarded all the pictures from my phone. The fabric for her block is super cute. Many dots! The background has dots on it, the reindeer is also a print with dots. And notice that she did NOT include all those fussy triangles along the bottom, side, and top.

Jana's block
I know - you can't see the top of the block. Here's the picture she sent me when I thought I hadn't taken a picture of her block. Now you can see that she didn't add the extra stuff along the edges.

The second picture of Jana's block

I believe this block is Marg's. The plaid fabric is adorable on the antlers and other parts of the block. And I love that blue background!

Marg's block

This one is Linda's who also used the kit. I thought it was funny to see how people cut the directional print. Some of those mountains (the brown/gray fabric) are pointing inwards and some are pointing up. Linda also changed some of the fabrics in the bottom star. Even with the kit, they have managed to make their blocks unique!!!!

Linda's block

Next up is Sharon. She's got some very rich colors happening in her block. She used a metallic fabric for the reindeer body and if you look close, you can see that she fussy cut that fabric. Notice how light his tummy is compared to the rest of his body. It was a graduated print that she used. Very clever.

Sharon's block

Then we have Rosemary's block. I absolutely love the fabric she used for the reindeer. It's a very mottled print and it's perfect!!!!

Rosemary's block

Diane is also using the kit. Notice that all her mountains are pointing in toward the center. That requires a bit of concentration during the cutting process!

Diane's block
Lynn is using the fabrics from the kit to make the stars and the reindeer - well she's using some of the fabrics and then using the same background that I'm using.

Lynn's block
That was it for blocks that were at the class. However, I do have a few other blocks to show you. The class was on a long weekend and several people couldn't make it.

This one is Sheila's. Now, how neat is that background fabric? And the reindeer fabric is gorgeous. She was working on the block at our Monday sewing and this is as far along as she had gotten before I had to leave.

Sheila's block

This belongs to Colleen. She's using a lot of Northcott Toscana in her block. A totally different look. And look at the color of the reindeer. It's gorgeous!!! 

Colleen's block
And the last block belongs to Lynne. This is gorgeous and looks very Northern and frosty. Love the colors in this one.

Lynne's block
This is one of the reasons why I love this kind of class. You get to see so many different color/fabric combinations that you wouldn't normally see if you were working on the project by yourself. I love them all!!! 

I think there are six blocks missing. Hopefully, we'll see them at the next class. I do know that some of the participants were out of the country.

What's the next block??  That's Lucille the Seal!!  I could have used a slightly darker fabric for the body so I may end up outlining that with a bit darker thread for some contrast. I do not have a lot of this color in my stash and this is the block that I needed to hit the scrap box to find one missing piece. Thank god for organized scrap boxes.

Homework for next month - Lucille the Seal

After the class, I had to pop to another store to teach - Brampton Sew n Serge. And look what I found???  Yep - this was perfect for the backing and even though I shouldn't buy more fabric for quilt backings, I couldn't resist.

The backing for my quilt

It's Polar Hugs by Northcott if you're interested.

I've got to run. I have an adventure today - well at least this morning.

Much more to share with you tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!!


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Quilt in a Day

There's nothing like a deadline to get you moving!

I had designed a quilt for a magazine and there was supposed to be loads of time to get the fabric and get the quilt off. However, a few things happened along the way (totally out of my control) that made making that deadline an impossible task. Everyone involved had been alerted weeks ago.

I got a call yesterday that the fabric had finally arrived and I picked up the fabric at 1 PM yesterday.

To make a long story short, the quilt is on the frame and ready to quilt at 9 AM this morning. Thankfully, the quilt isn't too big (52" square) and the blocks are fairly easy to make. Remember how I was working on the embroidery when we were at the CreativFestival? Well, it appears that I can't count. I needed FIVE blocks of embroidery, not FOUR. So I had to stitch one more yesterday, but with the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC running at full speed, the block was done within about a half hour!!!

So I'll be custom quilting the quilt this morning with the hopes of getting it to the drop off by 3 PM this afternoon so it can be shipped overnight tonight and will arrive only two days late in the US. That's the plan.

By the way - YES - I did get some sleep and even managed to get in a trip to the grocery store and an hour-long massage after I picked up the fabric. Pushing to get it done today will make my life easier than trying to ship it tomorrow.

I have to say that I plugged in an audiobook and honestly, I didn't even notice the time pass. Before I knew it, the top was done, the backing was made and the binding was prepped. Now how did that happen? An audiobook is a great way to distract oneself when under a deadline.

I should show you my two sets of earbuds. One I like and was a relatively inexpensive pair. The more expensive pair is very uncomfortable.

I don't have a lot of time this morning - only because I was going to post something else and I worked on that and well, I don't have all the pictures so I put that on hold.

I can't wait for this quilt to be delivered today as I have a lot of other things that I've been neglecting, but this one has the urgent deadline. The rest of the stuff can wait until I get home from dropping off the quilt.

OH - I did make it to Monday and got some sewing (hand applique) done. I never even thought to take a picture. See - I'm totally focused and totally out of sorts this morning.

Catch you tomorrow. Have a super day!!!!


Monday, April 22, 2019

To prewash your fabric or not?????

The age-old question - should you prewash your quilting cotton before you cut into them???

I do not prewash my fabrics. I did when I first started to quilt, but soon realized how much time I would spend doing that so I nixed the idea.

So did that decision come back to haunt me?? Perhaps, but I found a way to solve the problems.

Two months ago, we had a wee issue with water in the basement. I need to get the paperwork rolling this week (I'm home all week!) so we can get started on repairing the basement. There was no time before.

Some of my fabrics/projects got stained. In this particular stack, there was a blue batik that had not been washed and I think that was the culprit for all the staining.

I've been trying to tidy up some of the stuff and sort it out and find homes for everything. I came across some blocks that had gotten stained and I had soaked them when they were still wet, but some of the stains remained. Yesterday, I got out the Dawn dishwashing soap and some hot water. Let's see what happened.

Here's my little Easter basket that I made for M when she was little. She would use this to collect her Easter eggs that I hid around the house. I missed doing that yesterday! I gave away all our Easter decorations last year, but she wanted me to keep the Easter basket.

Easter basket
 The Easter basket was in the pile of stuff that got stained and you can see a nice big blue stain on the back of it.

Stain on the Easter basket
There are some red stains along the right side of this block. 

Stains on the right-hand side of this block

A big blue splotch on this block.

Another big blue stain

I believe this blue batik is the culprit fabric that bled everywhere. You can see that there is some staining on this piece as well in the lower left.

More stains on this piece

And this one uses the same fabric. It's an improv piece from a Ricki Tim's class that I took years ago!

The culprit fabric

So I loaded up the sink with hot water and some Dawn dishwashing liquid (soap). Notice that I did NOT immerse the handle of the Easter basket.

Soaking in the sink with Dawn dishwashing liquid

Look at that water - it turned purple!!!  That was likely because there was excess dye on the blue batik that had never got washed away. I don't understand that because the batik process requires a lot of washing!

The water turned purple during the initial soak

I left everything to soak for a couple of hours. Then I proceeded to rinse the soap out of all the pieces. See the water is now running clear with that blue batik.

The water is now clear
 I just let things dry hanging out on the sink.

Drying on the sink
And what happened???  Remember these items had already been soaked in Synthrapol when they were still wet from the water leak. They've been dry for two months.

The red stains along the side are GONE!!!!!

The block is like brand new

The big blue splotch is GONE

The bleeding of the blue is gone

The bluish marks on the orange have disappeared

And here's my Easter basket. It was soaking wet and it's still damp this morning.

Easter basket is wet

 But look - the blue stain is gone!  There was also a slight blue stain on the handle which didn't quite disappear because I didn't immerse the handle all the way into the water. If I didn't tell you about it, you wouldn't notice it. I'm not soaking this one again!!

The big blue stain is gone

Will this test change my mind about prewashing my fabrics? Nope - I still don't have time to wash before I use my fabrics. It just means that I need to be careful. I've always been careful. You can pretty much look at the fabrics and identify which ones will bleed. Not always - I know that. But if in doubt - test them. Thoroughly wet the fabric and let it dry on a white paper towel. If there's going to be a problem, the fabric will bleed on the paper towel. Then you can decide how you'll deal with it!

I'm not sure what today will bring. Hopefully, I'll be madly sewing up a quilt. The fabric is coming directly from the mill and it's late! The quilt is due today!  While I await word on the shipment, I'll be at the Monday sewing group! I've missed the last three weeks and I miss chatting with everyone!

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, April 21, 2019

UFO Club update

Whew! - yesterday was a total whirlwind. Three classes in two different stores - four different quilts! And I had to drop some samples that I had borrowed back to their owner. In the midst of that, I forgot my jacket in the second shop! It was warm by that time of the day - well warmish. No worries, I'll be back there to drop something off on Wednesday - I think I can manage without the jacket for a couple of days. I hope the weather is warm enough to NOT need a jacket.

DH thinks that I'm developing that A word, but my forgetfulness is strictly trying to do too many things in a hurry. My worse situation of forgetting things is my phone when I go to the washroom. The worst that has ever happened was in LA. Just before leaving the hotel, I went to the washroom. I normally carry my phone in my back pocket as god forbid the phone were to fall out and into the toilet bowl. So I usually take the phone out of my pocket and put it on the toilet paper dispenser.

Yep - I got halfway to the airport before I realized that I had left it there. Thankfully there were others in the car with me and we were able to alert the hotel and the phone was shipped overnight to me. That was very silly of me.

This past trip, I had a mild panic attack. Went to the washroom after getting off the plane in Toronto. On my way to the baggage claim when I wanted to take a picture, I realized that I had left the phone in the washroom. I hustled back there only to discover that it wasn't in the cubicle. Then a lady at the sink remarked that there was a phone on my carryon luggage that I'd been wheeling around. Yep - I put it there instead of on the toilet paper dispenser. DUH!!!!!   Thank goodness that lady spotted it on my luggage. Perhaps I need a BRIGHT shiny case so I can see it better.

I'm going to have to make a holster for my phone that attaches to my leg so I never have to remove the phone from my back pocket. Now how can we make that attractive?

OH MY GOODNESS -- there really is such a thing - Who knew???  Check out these leg holsters.  You can also buy shoulder holsters for your phone.  Check out this one - what do you think???

Anyway back to our topic of today which is the UFO Club. So there are 12 members and I think I mentioned that I hadn't heard from Liz. Well, in fact, I did hear from Liz, but in the craziness of e-mails that I receive, I missed two from her!

She had completed her homework with pictures and sent me her commitment for the next month.

She's working on a Christmas quilt. Liz is going to have a LOT of Christmas quilts when this UFO club is done!  Her goal for the last month was to work on Month Three of this particular quilt which is called Holidays at Home.

Here's the cover of Month Three which included making the Center Block (one of those) and four sets of flying geese.

Liz' homework for March
Here are the four sets of flying geese - DONE

Four sets of flying geese - DONE
And here is the center block  - it's also done!

The center block for Month Three - DONE

Here is all of her homework for the month.
Complete homework

Here is Liz' commitment for April.

Month Four homework

Make four 9-patch blocks, the framing for the center block (the block from month 3) and then sew it all together to measure 22.5 X 22.5”. 

Homework for April

That's good. So sorry about missing that Liz. We're back on track for this coming month and I have your $10 sitting here for you!!!

So I forgot Lynne as well. Lynne was here and she had also completed her homework, but I missed taking a photo of her work and I was going by the photos since I didn't have my list with me.

Lynne had been working on this Anita Goodesign from several years ago. It's one of their tile projects. You embroider 24 tiles and then sew them together. She lost interest a while back and there it sat. So she dug the project out. She had 6 tiles to finish. Her goal was to make at least three more tiles. Guess what? She got all 6 done and they were completely sewn together.

Lynne's tile project - top is DONE
How did she make this? Well, it's machine embroidery applique. The fabrics are FLEECE. Yes - who knew? It's absolutely adorable and the matching of the seams is pretty impeccable. You can't even see from the photo above that it's made up of 24 small tiles. We had a chat about several options to finish it off and her goal for this coming month is to get it finished. Completely finished!! I can't wait to see that.

But look at this next picture she sent me. Lynne has a cat, not a dog and I think the cat was trying to tell her something.

Hey - get that dog OFF the quilt. Cats rule!

Isn't that hilarious that the cat sat in the exact spot where it would obliterate the dog? It would appear that cats are smart!

See the beauty of this UFO club? You are the one that assigns the homework so it can be as little or as much as you want it to be. If you do extra, that's a bonus for you. If you do less, then the money goes in the kitty!  It's a super system and we are motivated!!!! Yes - there will more opportunities for more people to join next year.

So there we go - that is it for the UFO club for this month. I've got to get working on my next blocks and I'll get them done. I want my money back. But it's not about the money although that helps. It's about making a commitment to get something specific done. I'm closer to getting that quilt finished and I can't wait. I really want to start on the next UFO project, BUT I can't because I've made a commitment to get this one done and that's my focus - well one of them!

I now have so much paperwork to send out to the students of the classes from the past two weeks. Bear with me - I'm working on it, as I have customer work, and paperwork from my day job to get started on as well.

It didn't help that I slept in this morning and I spent the last two evenings on the couch with my social friends! But that's OK. I was tired and I needed some downtime.

Today is wide open! Except for Easter brunch with DH. I think I can handle that - the quiet day I mean.

Hope the Easter bunny was good to you. I'm happy to report that even with eating in restaurants last week, eating the chocolate that the Easter bunny brought to me while I was away and not getting the same amount of exercise that my weight is totally stable. I've learned to control it. It's not easy and it's all about control and that damned refined sugar!

Here's the thing that I've noticed. If I eat natural sugar, I don't crave sugar, but if I happen to have eaten refined sugar, the moment that I'm done eating, I want more! Refined sugar just makes me crave. We have to STOP eating refined sugar - it's so bad for us. I'll have dessert today at the brunch and then I'll be back to eating it on the very rare occasions.

Now I'm out of here - have a super day -- Happy Easter