Tuesday, June 9, 2020

It's almost summer!

What's with this crazy weather? One day it's freezing cold, and the next day it's hot! We're fortunate that our house is cool. Even though it can be hot outside unless we've had several days of very hot temperature and humidity, it's cool in the house. I was in Studio B yesterday and almost made a hot chocolate I was so cold. I really must get those sweatpants made!

Part of our yard is shaded as well, and with all those trees, it stays pretty cool. Then I go out the front for a walk, and it's hot. Oh well - I'm not complaining - it's just weird. But let's get cracking on those sweatpants!

No sweatpants making yesterday, but I did make enormous progress on a project. We had our Zoom call yesterday with the Monday sewing group. Having the laptop sitting beside the sewing machine and sewing while chatting with the group is ALMOST as good as the real thing. It's weird, but I'm getting used to it! The bonus? We don't' have to set up the tables, and we don't have to pack up stuff or take time off to travel there, although it's not far away! Hey - this could be a new thing!

What did I get done? Have a look. My Mom would be proud! Or maybe she would say, "it's about time!"

I finished off the last three sections of paper piecing of the summer mini quilt. Then I got busy and chose some fabric for the sashing and the border. The paper was removed from the sections, and the top is DONE. Now that's worth a big cheer!!! I choose that border print because it made me think of the trees in our backyard.

The summer mini-quilt

This little paper piecing station has been hanging around in Studio B for a long time, waiting for me to finish those blocks. If you're into paper piecing, then you should make yourself a little station like this. It works like a charm. That's a purchased TV tray, with a folding Omnigrid cutting mat and pressing surface. Add a small travel iron and, of course, your tools for paper piecing. It doesn't get any easier than that!!!

The paper piecing station

I'm not ready to put the stuff away as I have TWO more paper piecing projects that are now urgent or will be very soon. I plan on getting to one of them later today.

Once the top was assembled, it was time to dig out some buttons. And well, as you can imagine, I have buttons. There are boxes and boxes of buttons. BUT - they are all together in one spot, so it's easy to go through them all.

A tin of buttons
I have no idea why I've bought so many over the years. I have tons of snowmen noses, snowflakes, colored buttons. It's totally crazy.

A large container of buttons

Wait - before you go crazy with the size of that container, it's filled with smaller containers, so there's a LOT of air in that box.

A smaller container for the buttons

I found all kinds of stuff in the box. A bag of Vintage Buttons. Why would I buy a bag of Vintage buttons when I have a glass jar filled with the darn things?

A bag of vintage buttons

And why would I buy a bag of these kinds of buttons??

A bag of ordinary buttons

I've no idea where my head was all those years ago. I found a bag of these giant buttons that I've used on tote bags for decoration. Why did I buy a bag of them? No idea.

A bag of big red buttons

However, in the very last container, I finally found some flower buttons. I guess I'm not into florals much. I LOVE the button on the right - the pink one. But I only have two, and they are very dimensional. I didn't want the sunflowers - they are more for fall. I also found this bag of smiley face flower buttons.

Flower head buttons

I like the scale of the pink button better than the smiley face flower buttons, BUT - there's NO need to go shopping to try and find slightly larger buttons. We're using what I have in the stash. That's it - end of discussion.  Use up the stash!!!

Smiley face flower head buttons
 What's even worse is that I found TWO packs of those buttons. Two? Oh - just shoot me now.

Two packs of smiley face flower buttons

The binding is made, the backing is cut, the small hanger is ready to sew on, and all the embellishments are with the top. All that remains is to quilt it. Technically, that won't take long at all as it's mostly going to be stitch in the ditch. So...................... get it done!!!

The mini-quilt ready to quilt!

All of the cutoff triangles from the Christmas Fig project are sewn and trimmed. I'm not sure how many there are and not sure how many more there will be, but these are done! Waiting for the next step. Yeah!!!!

Little half square triangles - ready to be made into something

I got a customer quilt done! It was a large one, but it quilted up beautifully. I now have a couple of quilts that need to be trimmed. Perhaps later today.

Customer quilt - DONE

It's always a bit of a crapshoot to get the pattern to fit exactly on the quilt. Yes - there's a computer to do the calculation, but a bit of shifting occurs as the quilt is rolled on the long arm. You wouldn't notice it, but it happens. It's hard to see in this photo, but there was only an extra ¼". That's very good! Yeah!!!

The quilting pattern just fits onto the quilt

So - it appears that our real retreat is a go. The restrictions have been lifted, although we still need to practice social distancing. There's room for us to spread out in the house - it's going to be hilarious as we do that, but I'm going! We're also fewer people than usual, so that helps with the distancing as well. I only have three projects prepped in my laundry basket, so I decided to get one more ready. I pulled out the tumbling blocks box that I shared with you a couple of weeks ago.

This is what's in the box.

The tumbling blocks project box

These pieces are already together. Unfortunately, I cut the edges off that one piece. But I can easily add to the other two. My goal is to make a quilt as large as I can make with the pieces in the box.

Pieces of tumbling blocks already together

I also found not one, but TWO little embroidered labels. I have TWO of those table runners, so I'm going to stitch these labels to the backs of those two pieces. Why throw them away when they make a good memory where they are supposed to be?

Two hand-embroidered labels

Now here's a lesson for us all. This is why you should NEVER use cheap pins. Can you see that the one label has FOUR pins in it? I removed the pins to find rust. And there are big holes in the fabric. So - if you use pins, make sure they are good quality pins and try to NOT leave the pins in for any length of time. You have to remember that those pins have sat in that fabric for over 20 years.

Rust left by pins

This is what else I found in the box. There are almost 20 tumbling block units stitched together. And there are a bunch of diamonds already cut. There are way more of the dark blue than the medium blue and the white. And there is NO more white fabric in the box. I'm guessing that's why it got put on hold. So I'll dig through my stash to find some solid white. I'm NOT counting how many pieces I'm missing of the medium blue and the white. I'll sew together what I can and then start cutting in small batches and sew them together. Once these units are sewn up, then I'll evaluate how big the quilt would be and decide what's the next step.

The cut bits
I know that I won't get a HUGE anything from the few pieces that are cut. Let's just start and make it up as I go. That's how I work.

The pioneer spirit in my just cannot let those pieces go to waste. I know - I just can't help it. But rescuing these pieces just makes my heart sing, and that makes me happy. I could putter with bits of nothing for hours, and well - it'll be easy to keep me amused when I'm in the nursing home! Just give me some fabric squares to fondle! I'll be okay.

I also found a couple of half-square triangles. Those will get trimmed and put in the appropriate place. There sure isn't a lot of value contrast between the ones on the right. I may take those apart and mix them with something different, so they show up better. Nothing much goes to waste in my house.

Half square triangles

I also found some large triangles. These are leftovers from making the Ocean Waves quilt. Those will go in the box with the rest of the large triangles, and they will get sewn into hourglass units. I check through that box every once in a while, and when I can match up fabrics, then I make more of the hourglass units. I don't think there's quite enough to do that at the moment. I was through the box not that long ago and OH - I forgot, there's a bunch that had step one completed, but I need to do step two.

Large half square triangles

This is the yardage that's left. The dark blue was for the border of the small table runners I made. It went in the blue scrap box. The white looks like interfacing, and it's now sitting with the rest of the interfacings. But there's a LOT of that medium blue left. Yikes - what was I thinking???? I'm sure there's more of that fabric in the blue fabric bin. I'll dig it out and add it to this mess later today.

The yardage left in the tumbling block box

This will all get bagged and labeled later today and put into the retreat laundry basket. I may throw in one or two SMALL projects into the retreat basket, and I'll be ready to go. It's all about keeping it all in the laundry basket - ONE laundry basket.

There's nothing like a small bit of panic when you get an e-mail from the magazine editor to say that a package that I shipped hasn't arrived yet. NO - don't say that out loud. After a mad search for the tracking number, I got a notification that the package arrived yesterday. And then I got another notification that something is being shipped to me. I like getting stuff in the mail!!!! I know of others who are waiting on packages to be shipped or delivered. It appears that EVERYTHING is slow. I've got some very tight deadlines coming up - a quilt has to be in the US by July 7. As of yesterday, some, but not all of the fabric has been received at a US warehouse! It has to get to me, I have to make the quilt and then get it back! Oh, yes - fun and games!!!!

On my Walking across Canada Virtual Challenge, I'm now heading south to Regina. So you're spared pictures unless something interesting pops up on the screen. BUT on my Route 66 challenge - guess what?? I'm just west of Amarillo, Texas, and look at this!!!!!

While I'm not quite at 50% technically (I'll be making that distance later today), I'm halfway to Los Angeles!!! That's pretty darn exciting!!!

Don't forget the Virtual Retreat on Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14. It will take place on Zoom, and I'll be posting the links on Thursday.  The time runs from 9 AM EST to 8 PM EST on both days. Get yourself organized - it's going to be a load of fun. What I love is that I can still get lots done, but enjoy the company of people from all over the world. If you want, just stop in to say HI. No need to stay all day - come and go as you wish. There is NO CHARGE for you to attend the Virtual Retreat.

On that note, I'm out of here!!!

Have a super day!!!!


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