Sunday, March 29, 2020

Everyone needs a dog

Every morning, I have a few websites that I check. One is my progress on the Virtual Challenges to make sure that my steps got uploaded overnight. And now I can say "Toto - we're not in Kansas anymore!". I'm now in Oklahoma on Route 66. It's pretty exciting - a total of 629 MILES since the beginning of the year. Is anyone else signed up for any of them?? Some are short - like 26.2 miles. But no - we have to pick the longest one! And you know what? I'm OK with that.

I have to admit that there are times when I go for a walk, not because the girls expect it or that I feel like it. I go because of that damn challenge. When I'm out walking and I think I'd like to head back home now, I look at my steps for the day and realize that if I want to keep up with my pace that I need to keep walking.

But this is how I operate. When I ride my bike on a touring trip - there's no stopping until you get to the end of the route for the day! You just do it! No questions. Sometimes you have to dig deep and you just do it! I WILL walk Route 66 this year and I WILL do it in less time than planned. It's just that simple.

I also check the world stats on the current situation. The numbers grow in leaps and bounds every day which makes the entire thing pretty scary. How realistic are those numbers and what's going to happen when they say it's OK to come out of physical distancing?? It's going to take a long time after the all-clear for people to feel comfortable close to others.

I know that we are shut-down until the reassessment on April 7??. I hear some states just got shut down for THIRTY days starting now. I feel confident that we're going to be shut down for longer than April 7. More time to sew!

As a coincidence, I'm reading a book called After the Flood by Kassandra Montag. It's set in the future (100 years +) after the earth was flooded and there's very little remaining land. This morning, it was revealed that one of the survival tactics of the remaining people on earth was to release a plague, kill off a good part of the population and then take over their countries. Yeesh - not a good thing to be reading at this point in time.

I have to confess that we don't have hand sanitizer or wipes in our house and we have no intention of buying them. We are just not that kind of a household. By all accounts of the rigorous cleaning that one should be doing, the two of us should be dead by now. Hand washing and physical isolation - that's our strategy.

If you live in France (or at least in this one area), you're not allowed to walk outside without a dog. Imagine!!!!

Only allowed walking if you have a dog in Saint-Jean-de-Luz (France)

That's pretty scary. We decided to take a drive yesterday. We only stopped at a drive-thru for a treat when we got close to home. I was actually very surprised at HOW MUCH traffic was on the highways. We went from our house and drove around Toronto - 401, 404, Gardner, QEW and back home. It took ONE HOUR!!!  Normally that drive would take HOURS. So while traffic is significantly less, there were still lots of people on the roads. Where are they going to????

I accomplished a lot yesterday and I don't even have time this morning to share it all with you. But after my walk, I got down to business with that basket of red fabric. I dumped the entire contents on the table and sorted through the fabrics looking for something that would work for the border on that small quilt. Well, the blocks that need to be sewn into a quilt.

Shopping Chez Elaine

The reds vary from orangey-red to pinky reds to corally reds. It's hard to get it all super organized by color, but this is how I shop and this is likely how I would find these fabrics in a quilt store. It all works. Lots of rejects and lots of prints that I wonder where I'll ever use them. No worries - they are NOT up for grabs at this point. I have a lot of other stuff to worry about before I start to downsize these baskets. For the moment, ALL the fabric stays where it is.

A variety of fabrics in the red basket

I found THREE fabrics that'll work. I tucked all three into the project bag and once the quilt top is together, I'll decide which of the three works the best. I hope there will be enough for the border and binding and so that's why all three got tucked in the bag as they are different sizes. This project went into the retreat basket.

Three reds were chosen for the borders and binding

I also needed some white for the inner border. I don't have loads of white with a print on them. Got loads of SOLID white, but not much with prints. But I found something and it's also in the project bag.

White fabric for the red/white quilt
Then I was onto the next project that I want to prep for the retreat. This quilt(s) is on my 2017 List of UFOs to finish. It's also on my current UFO homework for this month, meaning that the top has to be together for our April meeting or I cough up $10. Now that's an incentive. Although, I'm not so sure that it's the $10 that is motivating me. It's more likely the shame of admitting to the group that I failed to get my (own assigned) homework complete.

The project got put on hold for TWO reasons. One - I needed some black fabric for the sashing and I didn't have enough. Now we all know that black is NOT black. I dug out my bolt of black fabric. Hmm - it does NOT match. My fabric from the quilt is in the lower right-hand corner.

The black fabrics do not match

I then dug out my basket of solid fabrics and dug through it to find all the pieces of black fabric. 

Basket of solid fabrics

My camera does crazy things to the color, but these are all technically BLACK. I found three pieces that were fairly close in color and I said - who cares - just cut them up!! Obviously - I did NOT use that one in the top right!

All black fabric is not created equal
It doesn't matter - the pieces are NOW cut and ready to sew. Yes - not just the strips cut, but the strips are sub-cut as well. I'm making it a goal to get to this retreat with NOTHING to cut (maybe some trimming), but EVERYTHING will be prepped. I'm trying to be good about picking threads and having bobbins wound as well. Oh shoot - I never thought to throw some black thread in with this project.

The project is ready for the retreat

I'll throw in some black thread when I go downstairs later. Actually, I need to practice creating a supply bin to take with me. Rather than madly throwing all kinds of stuff in like I normally do and then when I go to find something, I can't remember which bag it's in. If I have a supply bag for tools and such, then it would be easy to find what I'm looking for. It's also just as easy to slip the required threads and such into the project bag, then it's all together. I'll see how it goes. The bottom line - I do not want to have to "SHOP" for anything.

The funny thing about this is that it's a virtual retreat. So if I'm missing anything, I can just walk to the shelf to get it. That's not the point!

Now here's the problem with this project. To make the project, you cut strips of the solid bright fabrics and not one to leave things alone, I cut all that I could from each strip. I no longer make big quilts so I had enough blocks for one quilt (and the blocks are all sewn together), but I also had 17 extra blocks (I need 20 blocks for one quilt). What to do?? I didn't have any of the fabrics left or did I??

20 blocks for one quilt on the left, 17 blocks for the second quilt on the right

I dug out another container of solid fabrics.

Another container of solid fabrics

Darn it - there is no more fabric to match the existing scraps. And that's the second reason the project got stalled. Well - I didn't care. I picked new fabrics to make the remaining three blocks. I mean - how hard is that???

I had to remember how to use the Super Sidekick ruler again to cut the last three blocks. But that was easy.

Cutting the last three blocks using the Super Sidekick ruler

And there you have it - the last three blocks for the second quilt are cut and ready to sew together. I  mean - how hard was that? I'm such an idiot for setting some of these projects aside for silly reasons. This got packaged up and is also in the retreat basket. I think there are now 7 projects - completely prepped and ready to sew. I'll have to deal with the black sashing fabric once these blocks are together. I think I'm going to have no choice but to use what's on the bolt. It's different, but it's going to be OK. I bet once it's all quilted up - no one is going to notice.

Three more blocks

Only three more sleeps until the retreat. I can hardly wait!!!

It was time to say good-bye to an old friend yesterday. At our last sewing day, the crazy iron with the 45-minute timer went cold. I thought it might just need a rest, but alas - after trying it several more times, it just doesn't want to work. The heating element appears to be toast. Well, it doesn't owe me anything since I've used that iron for several years and it cost less than $20. No worries - I still have four other irons - I'm good.

Say good-bye to the iron

I've been getting some other stuff cleaned up and put away in Studio B. That makes me feel good. I'm energized and ready to work!!!

We all have strange habits and one thing that I seem to be very good at is cleaning up. OK - that's a total farce. Here's what happens. I set out a few things on the cutting table so I can deal with those. Then days later, those same things are still on the cutting table. Then I have to move them to the other side so I can cut. Then I move them around some more. And maybe, days later, I finally deal with them. As space gets cleared on the cutting table, I add more stuff. Why is that???

Well, I've got loads more to show you on what I've been doing but I don't have time this morning. I see it's pouring rain and as much as I love the girls and I need steps (I've already done almost 1,800 before 6 AM - but we won't go there), I'm not going out in the pouring rain. I'll pray that it's going to slow down in a bit and then we'll go. Or we'll go for a short walk and then go for a long walk later.

On that note, I'm off. I've got e-mails to answer, projects to cut and sew and quilt.

Have a super day!!!!


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