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!


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Red and whilte

I had a great day yesterday although I think I'll refrain from sewing with the Monday girls for a while. I can home too darned inspired.  I saw one project by Maria and well, I went home and dug out some stuff and then I found some more stuff which resulted in a tin box landing on my head! A teeny bit tender this morning, but I'm OK!  So technically if I really scooted and since I have most of the components made for this project, I could even beat Maria to getting it finished! But I don't have time. I was looking for a second project that Claudette unearthed which I also have as a UFO, but I couldn't find that one - yet!  

However, I did get more work done and those photos are edited and you'll see them later this week. 

Today - it's all about my red and white quilt that I made for Quilts t the Creek. 

I don't know why, but I struggled with this.  I think I struggled for two reasons  - I wanted to use the fabric. Not just cut it up but find a way to really use the print on it. And second, I wanted to use only Northcott fabrics.  After seeing what some of the others did (and what I found in my UFO pile while searching last night), well, I could have done something else. But no matter - this is what the result is and it's done.  Move on!

My first thought was to do an eight pointed star. Actually what happened is that I had a preconceived notion in my head. I had seen this collection used as an eight pointed star in both the red and the black colorway.  I only had the red so I tried, but for some reason, I did like this????   This is NOT like the eight pointed star that I had seen. 

Eight pointed star
I thought I would try it on a red background but still didn't like it. Well, actually I liked it less. 

An eight pointed star on a red background

Hmmm - let's try something else. 

So I ended up with these blocks that I fussy cut and sewed back together. I really really like this, although it was very difficult to fussy cut this design as there was NO real element that was the start or end point. You just had to eyeball it and hope it matched up in the sewing. 

Quartered kaleidoscope

OK - what to put with this block?  I had this vision in my head of making some nine-patches.  I can fussy cut this one fabric for parts of it. 

Fabric to fussy cut for the nine patches

The scale of the piecing was totally different from my original plans and when I put the two blocks together. Well..................

Hmm - this doesn't look right at all
I was disappointed as the nine patches looked too clunky beside the more delicate feel of the kaleidoscope block.    ACK - there is NO time to regroup here.  

What if I try a red on white print for the alternative blocks?

Use red on white fabric???

I didn't like that either.  Instead, I took the same print that I fussy cut the nine-patch center from and I used that as the alternate blocks. I had to sash those pieces with a small strip of white to make them the same size as the nine-patches. 

This looks better

It was only after I got this up on the wall that I noticed that there was a definite line running through the corners of those nine patches. Not realizing this when I was sewing them together, I had to take some of them apart so I could get that diagonal line in the correct orientation. ACK!!!!!

The borders had to be fussy cut as well and not having any specific reference lines was a big issue. 

Fussy cutting the border with NO reference lines

However, it did get DONE and on time!

Here it is hanging at Quilts at the Creek on Day One. 

Hanging at Quilts at the Creek on Day One
It had quilt buddies on this day. On Day Two (don't forget that everything comes down at night and back up the next day!), it was hung off the railing of a building. 

On Day Two
Here's a better picture (taken in my studio), so you can see that diagonal line (in the fabric) in the corners of the nine patch. It only went one way, but that's OK - I at least, got them all going in the same direction. 

It's an Illusion

I did an OK job matching up the mitered corners - they're not perfect, but not bad considering that I basically had to eye ball cutting that fabric.

If you look close, there is one small odd ball thing that happened with the quilt. The only reason that I found it was when I was quilting it.  It's not a big deal and you may or may not find it, but it's there!  What surprises me is that it only happened once as I was totally unaware of the issue when I was piecing!

And what about those leftover blocks that I started with???  I think they would make an awesome quilt in this design.

One more quilt to make!

And just like that - there is another quilt to make!!!!

I'm happy with this - I may or may not put more quilting on it, but I have ONE more red/white quilt to add to my collection!

Well, that's partially how I design quilts. I just wing it for the most part and let the fabrics tell me what doesn't work.

Have a great day!!!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Motivational Monday - progress report

It was a whirlwind weekend and so nice to work WITHOUT a pressing deadline.  That's what happens when you plan. Or more likely there just weren't any major deadlines happening at this time.

It was another instance where that comperized long arm should would have come in handy as at one point, I had the long arm, the embroidery machine and the sewing  machine going at the same time. The embroidery machine was quite fine to run on it's own, but a little difficult to sew and quilt at the same time!

So what did I get done?

I got another one of the Ronald McDonald quilts done!  I counted and there are a few more to do, but they are small and if I focus in this temporary lull, I should get a few more done. The batting is ready for the next one as it had to be joined.

Ronald McDonald quilt - done!

I did get the blocks completed for the next deadline quilt. Well almost. I ran out of fabric!  I had some of this fabric at home - did NOT calculate how much was needed and well, I'm short ONE strip 2 1/2"!  And with today being a holiday, I won't get more until tomorrow. Doesn't matter - the blocks are done, I can sew most of the quilt top together and hope to do that later today.

While piecing the blocks, I was working on my next block for the pixelated apple. Notice all those black/white prints. Yes - I'm using a very busy background. Normally I don't do that as I hate busy background.  No - I don't hate them, I only dislike them when there's not enough contrast to really see the main focus of the quilt. In this case, the main focus is a big red apple - I think the busy background is OK!

One more pixelated block - almost done!
Those blocks are very time consuming, but when you only use them as enders and leaders - it takes a long time. No worries and I went through the black/white stash basket (having exhausted what was available in the black/white scrap basket) and have several more prints picked out to cut into teeny tiny squares.  Now if I were as smart as Peggy, I would know how many I need and I would have it cut and counted. Not going to happen. I'll cut a bunch and if I run out, I'll cut more.

The embroidery machine ran non-stop for two days. Well pretty much non-stop. I was on a roll and figured that if I was quilting/sewing, I could babysit the embrodiery machine. You see, I want to get that Halloween project done.  I have a few other embroidery projects that I want to do BUT I'm not starting anything new untiil this Halloween quilt is done!

Totally random thought here - did we not at one point spell Hallowe'en  with an apostrophe?  Or is that my imagination?

Embroidery machine - slaving away

This quilt uses a lot of black thread. I had purchased a large spool, but you can see that it is getting used up. I checked my thread boxes and found not one, not two, not three, but FOUR spools of the same black.  Why???   NO idea and if you look at them closely, you can see that three of them have been used. Why not use up the smallest one before moving to the next?  NO idea.

Lots of spool of black thread!

All those spools are now in the project box for this Halloween quilt.   I've made a list of what I'm running low. Black is definitely on the list!

So when I went to bed on Saturday night, this is what my design wall looked like.

Halloween blocks

That may mean nothing to you, but I did FOUR of those blocks in one day.  That's the equivalent of almost 200,000 stitches.  I'm not sure the speed of my machine, but there are lots of thread changes, placing fabric for the applique and trimming.  I average about 3 hours per block.

I managed to get a customer quilt done.  A HUGE customer quilt.

One half of the customer quilt

And the other half
 I bought a new camera lens a while back (NO MORE ISSUES with the camera), but the angle is different and I can't get back far enough to take one picture of these big quilts. The next customer quilt is loaded on the long arm and ready for tonight.

Let's see - oh yes - busy at the embroidery machine on Sunday as well and now look at the blocks.

Halloween blocks
 Yep - I was able to get THREE more blocks done yesterday. I could have gotten a fourth one in, but I had to drive my personal chef to the airport and we had dinner out and that killed my embroidery time. Looks like I might be having chocolate for dinner this week!

Let's see - oh yes - I did get some work done on one of my UFOs. I have a wee bit of work to get caught up on those.  I'm making progress. But instead of using it as enders and leaders, I'm going to have to dedicate a day to getting it done!

Blocks trimmed and ready for the next stage. 

Next piece to add on

But while I was watching a movie, I managed to get all the next little triangle pieces cut and marked.

So how is everyone doing on their list of UFOs. Me - I'm not doing great.  I MUST get focused and get those two that I'm currently working on DONE!   I'm off to a sewing day today and I'm taking the project above and hope to make great progresson it. NOT as an ender and leader, but as the darn project of the day. Hmmm - I was going to take my small sewing machine, but I need speed - going to swap out for the bigger one.

It's a holiday here so I get to spend the day with the Monday group!  Can't wait, but first, the girls and I are off to the dog park.

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, August 5, 2017

What's with the weather?

I feel compelled to chat about the weather this morning. For the last couple of days, the temperature in the house has been warm, not unbearable that we need the A/C on, but warm. This morning, I have a sweatshirt on!

But not only that, I was driving to work on Thursday morning. The sun is out and it looks like a beautiful day. I'm driving east more or less. The highway takes a turn to the north and IMMEDIATELY I remarked to myself -"who turned out the lights".  Literally in a span of a few seconds, we went from a sunny day to low fog. It was pretty weird as I hadn't noticed the fog ahead of me.

Yesterday I'm driving to work along the same stretch of road and it's raining quite heavily, yet to my right I can see the sun blazing.

It's very weird. The weather is very patchy and everyday is a new adventure. I'm sure that regardless of where you're reading this, that you're experiencing the same kind of bizarre weather that we're having here. The other thing I noticed that if we have thunderstomrs or hot weather, it's echoed right across the country. And there's nothing we can do about the weather which is a bit freaky.  But enough doom and gloom!

We had a visitor at work yesterday. One of the staff came in and said, there's a coyote across the street. No way!   Yep - a look out the window and there was the darn thing sitting by a tree waiting for a squirrel. The squirrel was freaking out. Of course we went out for better pictures and turns out - it was a fox. With it's big bushy tail which you couldn't see when he was sitting beside a different tree.   We are in an industrial park, but we're NOT in the country. We're not even in the outskirts.

Fox waiting for breakfast

 Eventually he went away and we went back to work.

I might as well get all the wildlife pictures out of my system today.  Here's one that I snapped on my way to work a couple of weeks ago.  It's hard to see, but there's a coyote just hanging around in the middle of the soccor field close to my house. It's about 6:30 AM.  It's probably safer to walk in the forest because they never seem to be in the forest these days.

Coyote hanging out in the soccor field

Guess what today is?  It's the first day of a long weekend and I have NOTHING to do. Well - I mean I have nowhere to go, no commitments, NO urgent quilt to be done (I mean like it has to be done on Tuesay). I've already been sewing away last night and this morning on the next quilt that is due.   At a very relaxed pace and it's quite enjoyable!

The task master has a list of things that it would like me to do and she and I have already talked and I think we're good!  The biggest problem is not trying to get everything done because it isn't going to happen!

I do have some paperwork that is sorely overdue and I need to get that done this weekend.

On that note, I'm off to enjoy the day!

Have a super day!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Bobbin along!

Yesterday's post was so exciting.  The quilt is back on the wall of the library.  I sent a note to all the parties involved in the process to THANK them for making it happen.  It would appear that the library manager was instrumental in the process!

Without an imminent deadline, I feel like a ship lost at sea!  I know I should be taking advantage of the downtime and get working on the next project, but there is no sense of urgency.  I'm started to work on the next project as I did cut out part of what I need for the next deadline quilt, but there is zero urgency! Wait until next week!  Actually, my plan is to work on that quilt, a quilt for work and one of my UFO projects this weekend BUT ONLY after the dogs have been to the park and I've been out on my bike!

I've also been dealing with the aftermath of that last batch of rushed projects. Sorting the scraps and putting away. The cutting table is looking positively clear. Well - better than usual. 

I thought I would follow up on the bobbin situation.  I heard back from several people and there were two main ideas for keeping the bobbin threads tidy. One was to use those small hair elastics - you know the colored fuzzy ones. Something like these ones. 

I was certain that I have some around the house, but no idea where.  Then as I'm sitting here writing, I realize that YES I do have some of these elastics and I know exactly where they are.  However, I found this picture on the internet so that will have to do. 

So that is one solution. The other solution was to use plastic tubing.  Hm -  I had to make a trip to the hardware store shortly after I posted the bobbin issue.  I scoped out the plastic tubing section and came up with a suitable piece. 

I cut a section of the tubing and then cut a slit on the side. Actually, I cut a small length of tubing, then sliced it open. I opened it up, lay it flat on the mat and used my rotary cutter to cut the circles. 

Bobbin holder
They work really well with full bobbins and even the partially filled bobbins. I think I might cut a few more as some of the ones I cut were a teeny bit thin and don't always do the job properly.  I just eyeballed the cutting.  I'm going to do it again, but using a ruler to get it the exact width of the space around the bobbin. But they are slick. They do take a bit of extra space around the outside of the full bobbins, but not much.

There is only one draw back to this solution.  I had to buy a long piece of plastic tubing!

Leftover tubing!

The thought did cross my mind to cut a piece off in the store  (OH GOD - what was I thinking!), but I did not. I bought the entire piece. It wasn't that expensive. So should anyone want a small piece of plastic tubing - I got lots!  It's always awesome to find a solution to a problem.   I want to thank everyone for their suggestions.  This was inexpensive (The entire piece of tubing was less than $10 and if I sell it to quilters by the inch - well I could easily get my money back!  I'm kidding - if anyone wants a piece, just let me know.

One more area of my sewing is neat and tidy. Someday the entire place will be tidy!

There is only draw back to the plastic tubing.  I did find that if the bobbin wasn't completely full, that little piece of plastic wrapped around so snug that it was hard to grasp it to pull it off.  I think I could have used the point of my awl or seam ripper to help me.

By the way - if you have young children in your life - check out my latest free download!  It's a teepee.  Very cute.  Made with Northcott's Tiny Treasures Fox and Friends collection.  I made M one when she was a kid. It was ORANGE and blue!   Long gone, but now I have a new one.

Teepee pattern  - free download

On that note - it's Friday before the long weekend!  YEAH!!!!!!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Fire proof

Gosh -- my mind is all over the place and almost forgot to blog this morning.

Remember a while back that I talked about the quilt at the library.    That was way back in January of this year.

There was a beautiful quilt that hung on the wall of the library and one day it was gone.  After some investigation, it was discovered that the quilt was removed while they repainted the walls and since it wasn't fire proof, it wasn't going to be hung back up.

After several e-mails with the city and some investigation, I did receive an e-mail a couple of weeks ago advising me that the quilt was BACK in the library.   OH MY GOD.  And I was there this past week and snapped a photo.

Library quilt

And you'll be happy to note that I was able to get that off my phone!   Ronda  - do you hear me???   I did it all by myself!

Apparently the quilt has been fire retarded or whatever they do and is now back up.  But seriously - look at the carpet, look at the thousands of books and magazines. The plastic chairs - I don't get it.

On that note - it just seems that the flood gates have opened and I can't get ANYTHING done. So I best crawl back to my desk to get to work!

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017


It was with a great deal of flourish that I hit the "confirm submission" button last night.  The pictures were taken and edited and the artist statement written. Everything went smoothly and I still had HOURS to spare before the midnight deadline!  AH - what a nice feeling!

I did have to finish an item for work that will be a free download and should be on the web site before the end of the week. But the pace was relaxed, the mood was joyous and I got to enjoy my little art piece while I was madly bustling around. 

However you know that your studio is dire need of attention when this happens...............

The scrap bucket overflowed
I know - that's pretty anticlimactic!   Just a few scraps spilled out of the basket onto the floor.   It's tidy up time!

I swear, I could clear that cutting table often and I do and within hours (or so it seems) it's jammed up with stuff again.  

BUT the good news - things are getting completed.  NOTHING is getting set aside until later.  I'm super happy about that. Well except maybe a label or two, but I love those little sew in labels that I'm using.  

I was going to take more pictures, but I didn't have time so I'll do that tonight when I have NOTHING urgent to do.  The next deadline is almost 12 days away!  I do have loads to get done in the meantime, but nice to have a relaxed pace for a change. 

And here's a picture of the messy cutting table.  That will be the job for tonight. 

Stuff to put away

I swear that I'm becoming positively domesticated!  I had to cook dinner for myself last night and can you imagine that I vacuumed the floors before leaving for work this morning?  I must be coming down with something!  By the way - I did cook - I did NOT eat chocolate. And since there are ZERO snacks in the house, when I wanted just a little something sweet after dinner, I went without!  My waistline thanks me!

On that note - have a super day!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Motivational Monday - on Tuesday again!

I missed a day of blogging!  I couldn't help it.  There was much to be done and zero time for blogging.

Well - guess what?   I had all those deadlines?  And I MADE THEM ALL!!!   Wait a minute!  There is one more - tonight at midnight, but the quilt is done. The binding is ALMOST hand stitched in place. All that remains is to take three photos and submit. How hard can that be?  I hope to do that before noon today in the event there is a glitch!   How the heck did all that happen?

This has NEVER happened before.  I'm super excited about it.  And I attribute it all to having a list, setting the priorities and then buckling down.    The next deadline is two weeks away and I hope to sneak in a couple of my UFOs in the meantime.

I have to share this story with you about this last project.  Unfortunately I can't share the project with you yet.  It's for a challenge.  I had a year to do the quilt, but nothing was coming to me about the design. Zero inspiration. Then as the deadline approached, it was on my mind more and more.

I like to read and somewhere I read a quote that happened to fit into this theme. As I was quilting another urgent quilt, I got to thinking about the project again and that quote came to mind. STOP the long arm.  A teeny bit of research and my mind was racing again with design inspirations.

A shout out to a Facebook group for desperately needed fabric (which I received in short order from Shelley) and I was good to go.  I had TWO different techniques in mind.  More thoughts - choose one, then the one, then back to the other one. I waffled several times as to whether I would actually get going on this.

Sunday dawned glorious and sunny.  Hmm -  I could ride my bike, but then a darn dog hit me and knocked me down in the dark park and my knee - well it didn't feel so good.  I stayed home and started to work on this project.  Yes - that was this past Sunday - a mere two days ago!   I'm so glad that the dog made the decision for me.   I wasn't sure how to proceed with project, but after digging out a book, the author said "don't hesitate, just go for it and soon you'll be enjoying yourself".  So that's what I did!   It really and truly was so much fun.  And as one problem arose, I quickly problem solved and moved on. It was almost effortless.

I'm not sure how but I finished the top on Sunday night.  Remember it's only little - 20 inches square.  Then last night, I did some last minute prep work on the top, loaded it on the long arm. Very tentatively started to quilt it and then went for the gusto and got it quilted and trimmed last night.

I have to say that this project is one that I'm really excited about. The colors excite me, the message excites me, the end result excites me.  If the quilt doesn't get accepted into the challenge, I couldn't care less, although I would be very happy.  I'm going to hang it up in my office after I take pictures.

So what did I learn from this?   I learned a new technique, I learned a new style, but more important, I think this helped me to grow as an artist. Both on the long arm and in design. There was a lot of finagling to get the final design in a logical pattern.  I've always said in all my lectures that the only projects that have pushed me are the challenges.  I can practically piece with my eyes shut.  I need a challenge to make my mind grow.  The challenges do it.  They are my most special quilts of anything I've ever done.

Bottom line - if you have a chance to work on a challenge  (and by challenge, I mean a quilt that has to meet certain guidelines - use a specific fabric, or be a certain size or have a specific theme),  then I would most certainly do that.

I remember standing in my lecture at Quilt Canada and saying that I had TWO challenges that had to be done by August 1. I remember saying that the only person I would disappoint if they didn't get done would be myself.  That thought kept running through my head for the last 6 weeks.  And you know what - I succeeded.   I'm thrilled beyond words!!!!!   Just getting them done and being happy with them is satisfaction enough.

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures today to share with you.  The backing of the challenge is awesome. I used a teal blue thread on a BLACK background.  Oh boy --- it looks GORGEOUS.  The back is almost as nice as the front.  Time to crank out those contrasting threads and quilt, quilt, quilt!

I do have something to share with you today though.  And that is a new free download.  This is a super cute messenger bag that I designed and wrote the pattern for.   Follow that link or go to the Resource section on Northcott's website.

Messenger Bag

I've tested that pattern and reread it a thousand times.  Hopefully it makes sense to you as well. The fabric is from the Pony Express collection which is available in the US and will be shipping to all shops in December.  However in September, there is a shop hop in the 8 states through which the Pony Express trail went.  Check that out here.  There are super cute collector pins as well.   HOWEVER, the bag can be made from any fabric and I want to remake it now in something else.  I love the bag - it's so darn practical - no hands!!!!

The bag has pockets on the inside as well and let's not forget that plasticore bag bottom!

OK -- got to run.

Have a super day!!!!!