Thursday, March 19, 2020

Progress reports all around

For those people who work outside of the house, this work at home/self-isolation thing must be very challenging. For our household, it's business as usual as both DH and I work at home all the time. Technically, our lives haven't changed a whole lot and we still haven't bought any TP. I just heard that even though Costco is bringing in up to 1,000 packages every day, the stock is still getting wiped out by the end of the day.

It's time to do some updates today. On my virtual challenges? Great progress. On my walk across Canada, I'm now in Alberta and heading to Jasper today. I love looking at my position on the map. I'll be passing by the Jasper Sky Tram today. When I was riding my bike out that way a couple of years ago, we took the Sky Tram on one of our rest days. I didn't want to go, but I'm so glad I did. The view from the top is amazing. It was a very memorable and thoroughly enjoyable day.

On my walk from Chicago to LA on Route 66? I'm 25% of the way there!! That's very exciting - I'm a few days away from passing through Kansas. Since I'm missing that extra walk at the gym in the morning, my progress has slowed down a wee bit. And I haven't found the time for an extra walk during the day. Well, I'm using that extra time to get more quilt related stuff done.

The girls and I did take a detour to the mall yesterday. Hey - I have to check up on the progress at the mall as I hadn't been there for a while. Yep - they've ripped quite a bit down but they seem to be done ripping down. It's very hard to tell in the photo, but they've ripped out part of the second story as well. Part of the floor is gone.

The progress at the mall

All the rubble is sorted in piles and the excavators were working on the rubble piles. I took other photos, I'll see if one of them gives you a better perspective than this one.

I'm keeping on track with my quilting. Here's the quilt that got finished yesterday. This is for Quilts of Valour. I don't have to put the binding on this one, but I'll trim it so it's ready to have the binding put on. The next quilt is loaded. I do have to piece the batting so I'll get to that later today.

Quilts of Valour quilt - DONE

I thought I'd take a few minutes and play with those boxes of orange scraps. I decided to add white and more white than I originally expected. This is what happened. I managed to get two blocks completed. I'm liking it so I'm going to go ahead and make more blocks. This is going to be my Corona quilt.

Two blocks of my new scrappy quilt

I listen to a lot of audiobooks, but I was using a small set of earbuds with a cord. The cord would get caught on things and I hated to turn the volume up too loud, but then I would miss parts of the book. I decided to splurge and buy myself a good pair of over the ear headphones. They are Bluetooth or wireless I guess. Anyway - I LOVE THEM!!!!!

New Wireless headphones
I'm thrilled with them and I don't have to crank up the volume. They are perfect for the gym and I wear them while working. I can just hear the machines in the background, but not nearly as noisy as it used to be. However, there is one slight problem. I was working away yesterday and was sitting at a sewing machine with my back was to the stairs.

All of a sudden, DH pops into my peripheral vision.  YIKES - he scared me to death!!!!

As happens, I have four books in my audiobook app. One minute you have none and then you have four. But that's OK. With the new headphones, I think I'm listening more! I'm currently reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. When I opened the book, I almost died. 32 hours??  32????  No that is not a typo. How big is this book??? (771 pages)  I'm at 18% after two days of listening so I think I can finish before it needs to go back. I wonder how big the other three are?

So how is everyone else coping with this self-isolation? Our Monday sewing group set up Whatsapp so we can now stay in touch with each other. I love it!!!  It's just nice to know that your friends are not far away and it's a group chat. Plus we can send pictures so that makes it even more exciting. It appears that everyone is hunkered down and sewing.

I did venture out in the car twice yesterday. One to pick up some batting that was left outside so I could pick it up. And the second trip was to Fabricland to pick up some thread. I know - it could have waited, but I wanted to finish the project and that required more thread. I was in and out in a matter of minutes. There's no dawdling with any errands these days.

It's amazing how subdued everything is. While there is traffic and people are going places, it's so darn quiet. I wonder how they are going to ramp up once this isolation is over? Is a switch going to turn on and everything is back to normal? I don't think so. It's going to be interesting and I'm so glad I'm not one of the people that need to deal with the planning.

So many things are canceled. The Paducah quilt show is canceled, as are many other things everywhere! It appears that things into May are being canceled. What about June? I guess we wait a couple of weeks and see what happens. I have events planned for June - it's still way too early to tell.

Elle was in the mountains quilting up a storm and sent me two finishes.  Isn't this first one just amazing? She had the print with the large flowers and added the two colors for the sashing! It's stunning and makes me feel like spring is coming. WAIT - it's the first day of spring today!!!!

Elle's quilt with big flowers

She also made this patriotic quilt in red/white/blue from half-square triangles. I love seeing finished quilt tops especially at this time when we're all hunkered down.

Elle's patriotic quilt

I had to laugh as someone, somewhere mentioned that the long arm quilters are going to be super busy after all this self-isolation!  HEY -- even though I'm a long arm quilter, I strongly encourage people to quilt their own quilts. I got an e-mail from someone yesterday thanking me for encouraging her to quilt her own quilt. She did it and she was thrilled!!! Seriously - while it can be a challenge for some especially with the big quilts, but for some of the smaller stuff? We need to learn how to do this ourselves!!!

If you don't follow QUILTsocial, I've written quite a few blog posts on quilting. I've listed them all below so you can check them out. Feel free to copy those links and put them into a word document or bookmark the pages or share them on social media or with your friends. This is a lot of good information and you'll learn so much. Pick one a day and then go practice it. Quilting yourself is NOT hard. Yes - I'm using a specific brand (Husqvarna Viking) of sewing machine, but the information can be translated to pretty much any machine.

Here's one more thing. You do NOT need a machine with a stitch regulator. You just do not. When I've looked at the quality of the stitch, I do NOT find it consistent and it's a pain to deal with the regulator. I find it very restrictive. A couple of quick exercises and you can learn how to get consistent stitches (or consistent enough) on your own. The problem? People don't want to do those exercises. I'll share them with you - maybe tomorrow - if I can remember.

QUILTsocial Tutorials for Machine Quilting by Elaine Theriault

      Tools that will help the machine quilting process

          Tips for awesome free motion quilting

Quilting a machine embroidered wall hanging

Free motion quilting tips

      Various feet to use for free-motion quilting

      Tips for using the walking foot and using the right needle/thread combination
      All you needed to know about threading your sewing machine for quilting

 More tips on free motion quilting

Two styles of free motion quilting – following a pattern and off the cuff

Thread tension

Walking foot quilting
      Stitch in the ditch and other general information

On that note, I'm out of here. I've got a lot of computer and sewing machine work today. Oh - the last progress check-in - the office. I threw two brochures out of the box last night, but that's all I managed to get done. I was just too tired. That's OK. It's still a bit of progress even though it was small. There's a plan and that's all I care about.

Have a great day!!!!



  1. Every step forward matters. Absolutely, quilt your own. From my experience, I encourage you have 4-5 smallish tops ready to go. Then quilt one after the other. Why? I would just get into the groove quilting, and behold, I was done. I felt like I just started and started and started without getting any comfort level at all.

    Let us all go forth and quilt!

    It's sweet to see my quilt tops posted. Thank you for your kind words.

    1. Elle -- such wise words of wisdom on the quilting. You are so right. And we definitely need to leave the quilt police at the door. I think for many people, it's the "I'm not good enough" that makes it easy to procrastinate!!! Thanks for sharing your quilts - I LOVE them and anytime - I'd be happy to share more!! Have a great day!!!