Sunday, July 12, 2020

Fireside Retreat - Day Four

Sadly, today is the last day here at Fireside Retreat. But who cares about that - it's what happened yesterday that counts.

There was no bike ride and minimal walking as we had a rainy day. No one complained about the rain. Everything has been so hot and dry around here that it was a pleasure to get the rain. I did go for a short walk after dinner, and it was nice to get out and stretch the legs. I did NOT make my 10K steps for the day, and I'm OK with that.

I do have another flower photo, but I didn't download it, so you get a snail instead.

Snail on the road

The moment I stepped close to take his picture, he retreated to the safety of his shell.

I did get a few pictures of what some of the others were working on. Here are a few of them.

Ronda seemed to be in bag making mode the entire weekend, although she's now working on some machine embroidery, and I think I saw that she completed another sports quilt.

The Crafty Tote

You can check out the FREE pattern at AllPeopleQuilt. And if you want the exact same panel that I used in the original, you can find that at Lens Mills in Cambridge.

Then onto a couple of A Little Duff'll Do It. Hmm - with that fabric, I wonder who these are for?

Little duffle bags

And lastly, a couple of zippered pouches.

Zippered pouches

Laura also finished off a Crafty Tote. This one had been sitting around for more than three years. It doesn't matter - it's done, and that's all that counts!! 

Laura's Crafty Tote

Claudette was hard at work on her Professional Tote. However, that bag, as I mentioned yesterday, is loaded with detail - pockets, trims, snaps, and who knows what else. This is one of the sides of the bag.

One side of the Professional Tote

One of the hardest, NOT the hardest, but one of the challenging feats of making this kind of a bag is getting all the supplies assembled, cutting and prepping the pieces. And don't forget to label them all, or you are in BIG trouble.

Pieces of the Professional Tote

Time for me to get something done! I pulled out the yoga bag so I could at least get that done. I wasn't going to be able to finish the backpack, so that went back in the laundry basket.

After I sewed the straps onto the yoga bag, they needed to be secured. I was going to turn this giant piece of fabric to create an X and then remembered that I had an 8-way stitch on my Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2. I used that stitch and stitched, left, right, backward and forward, and diagonally from left to right and right to left. It was super easy.

The 8-way stitch on the Designer EPIC 2

I had to deal with a LOT of thicknesses.

Stitching out the 8-way stitch

This is the reinforcement that I stitched on the handle. I love it. The stitches are a wee bit small, but I have a feeling that's due to the MANY layers of fabric. I'll have to practice that a bit. Using the 8-way stitch was way easier than rotating that large piece of the bag.

The reinforced handle
 The zipper got put in, but not without a wee bit of difficulty. It's a long zipper, and between Ronda and me, we had no issue putting the zipper pull on. It was the topstitching along the LONG tube of the bag that became a problem, but I got it done.

I had to laugh at one point - each of the clips on my sewing machine skirt represents a piece of bag part that got sewn into a bag. Thankfully, I had those clips with me as they became very handy when sewing the rest of the yoga bag together.

Clips attached on the sewing machine skirt

I'm chatting about the photos in the order they appear today. I'm too lazy to move them around. We've been talking about our Junque journals and what we could put in them. We NEEDED a date stamp. So a couple of us were off to Michael's to see what we could find. The store is small here and did not have date stamps, so we popped over to Staples, which was next door.

We found this display of Crayola crayons. Buy the tin and fill with 24 of your favorite colors - what a great idea.

Fill your tin with your favorite Crayola crayons

And these were the colors you got to choose from. I didn't buy any as I have several boxes of 96 crayons at home that are brand new—no need to add to the supplies when I don't need them.

Crayons to fill the box

It started to pour rain when we were in the store, so we had to make a dash to the car.  Then we were back at the retreat house and ready to get to work.

While most of us have been somewhat productive, we've also been very relaxed. Coffee (or tea) and chatting on the deck in the afternoon, although we didn't get a chance to do that yesterday with the rain.

I decided to take a break and work on something else. I pulled out those tumbling blocks. Yikes - all those Y seams - it sure does take a long time to work on these. But that's OK. The retreat is the perfect place.

14 tumbling blocks - DONE

The bad news about these blocks is that even though the blocks might be together, sewing them to each other is still a royal pain! But I want to get it done, and if I do a little bit each retreat or each day at home, it'll happen.

I see that I'm going to have some cutting to do as I have quite a few more dark diamonds than I do of the light and medium. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

The pile of diamonds still to sew together

Then it was time to tackle the yoga bag once more. The ends had to be stitched into the bag. I tried this way with the bottom next to the needle. That wasn't fun at all.

Sewing the ends in the yoga bag

I flipped it (and I should know this by now) so that the end of the bag was on the bottom, and I was stitching on the side pieces. That worked much better, but still, it was NOT a fun seam to sew. While the corners of the bag were rounded, it was challenging to get the bag to match to the ends. I would NOT recommend this pattern to anyone unless you are a very experienced sewist.

Sewing with the end of the bag on the bottom

I can see Shelly rolling her eyes right now, saying - everyone should know that this is the way to go. And it makes sense, and I teach it all the time in any class with curved seams. The fuller side of any curved seam should always be UP so you can control the excess fabric. I don't care - the seams are done! However, I do have to finish off those seams with bias binding, which I don't have with me.

See how handy those clips were. I can't imagine pinning those two pieces together, and the bag is very long (tall), and that made it cumbersome to sew.

Using clips to secure the two pieces

And here is the yoga bag!!!  I need to add a tab at both ends of the long zipper. There were none in the pattern, and I didn't think to add them. The moment I went to close the zipper, I thought - OH shoot - no zipper tabs. I'll do that when I get home, along with the seam binding.

I used batting in the bag and was a bit concerned that it would be limp and not keep its shape. However, with the pockets down one side and the squarish ends, it has loads of shape. I'm happy with it, but not ready to cross it off the UFO list yet. Close, but not yet.

The side of the yoga bag with all the pockets

The other side of the yoga bag with one pocket.

The other side of the yoga bag

Now that I think of it, I have a couple of projects on those Task Master UFO lists that are almost done. I really need to focus and get those crossed off the list. It would be great to create a new list for next year and have the other lists completely done. That's not going to happen, but I'm making good progress, and that's all I care about.

However, for the next retreat, I think I'm going to bring quilt blocks - super easy quilt blocks!!!! I don't think complicated bag projects are the right projects to bring to the retreat.

I snapped a photo of the rain pouring off the roof during the afternoon, right about the time that we would be out for our afternoon tea. As I mentioned, we did NOT complain as it was so refreshing to get the rain.

The afternoon downpour
 We needed to watch the rest of the movie we had started the night before. We decided to bring our movie screen into the sewing room as it was still raining, and the rain on the tin roof was going to drown out the sound. A couple of books to hold the sheet in place on the ceiling beam, and we were good to go.

Movie night

After that movie was done, another movie got put on, but it was past my bedtime, and so I went to bed as did a couple of the others.

So here's the thing about the food. We've done very well over the past couple of years to reduce the number of treats that we bring. We eat enough at the meals that we technically don't need treats. However, there seemed to be lots of treats, and we narrowed down the source. Hmmm - next time, those treats need to be hidden - well hidden within that person's private sewing space.

They sat on the table during movie time last night, and I did NOT touch one treat. The previous night was a totally different story. Too much is too much!!!!

On that note, that's it for today. I'm not riding my bike today. I never do on the last day. I'm going to finish up a zipper pouch, a mask, and I have a couple of other small projects to work on. I touched almost everything in the laundry basket. That system works!!!! But you must have your projects well-prepped - or at least not forget any of the supplies at home. I did very well this time.

Have a super day!!!!


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