Thursday, November 9, 2023

Quilt retreat woes

Yesterday, I was up early and got some sample-making done. Everything was bagged and ready to be sewn later on at the retreat. Dogs walked, clothes packed, and it was time to pack the car. 

Look who slipped by the closed door. She did NOT want to get out of the car. 

Murphy -- you can't stay in the car!

She's not often in the car, as she barks like mad, so it's stressful for anyone. But she is feeling left out. In the same way that Little Bear likes to be right there, Murphy is the same. Although she's a bit large to fit into the suitcase, she hates to be left behind. Poor thing -- if I could bring her, I would. But alas, she has to stay home. Lexi? She couldn't care less! 

I managed to get all the retreat stuff into the car and had plenty of room to spare! There are a few things that won't be coming home with me. It's time to do some cleaning, and since I don't see everyone often, it's the perfect time to make that happen. 

Car packed for retreat

See? The front seat is clear! I could still pack a lot, but I'm trying to be very good about how much I bring to a retreat. 

Plenty of room still

It's only one hour from my house to the retreat, so it's a nice drive. EXCEPT for the tailgaters. I set my cruise control to 20 KM over the speed limit on the main highways. There are two construction zones, so lanes get narrower, and there's a lot of transport truck traffic on this road. 

I'm in the left lane because there are two lanes of trucks, and I have a car in front of me. My cruise control keeps my car a certain distance from the car in front of me. It's not a huge distance, but enough that I have room to stop if they need to brake suddenly. 

There are some EXTREMELy aggressive drivers on the road. I had a white Volvo on my tail. I can't move over because of the truck traffic. The cruise slowed the car down to match the speed of the cars ahead of me. But this man or woman was on my bumper. Seriously? Why? So you can ride the bumper of the person ahead of me? 

I know I did a bad thing, but I braked suddenly because I was ticked off. Well, they almost hit me and had to swerve to avoid me. Too bad -- that's why there should be a distance between us. I did it about 5 times because they would not back off. They finally did back off - slightly. But at this point, I could tell they were fuming! Yep -- so was I! I would have gladly moved, but I couldn't. 

At last, the traffic opened up, and they were able to pass. There were a lot of "gestures" happening between both vehicles. He passed me on the right and then proceeded to cut me off. I knew he was going to do that, so I was prepared. Like -- get a life buddy! Then, he proceeded to speed up and tailgate the next person. I moved to the right lane, and life goes on. 

I will tell you that using that adaptive speed control is a lesson in patience! We want to go faster, but then the gap between the car in front is going to get closed! So --- wouldn't it be nice if our cars all had adaptive speed control and everyone used it? Patience, people -- there is zero hurry to get anyway. Or if you plan properly, there should be no issue. 

I HATE people who drive fast and insist on filling in the gaps between cars, switching lanes like mad to pass a car. It's terrible at the best of times, but when we are in a traffic pattern like yesterday with nowhere to go -- back the h*** off my bumper!!!!!! Sigh.

So I was trying to be good and bring only the necessities, but in the same way that I bring stuff for people, people bring stuff for me! A jigsaw advent puzzle!! This is one that I can actually do each day with zero issues. Those EXIT game ones scare me! But I CAN DO IT!!!!

Jigsaw advent calendar

I also got a stack of books to read! Yeah!!!! 

Books to read

And then everything got unpacked, and I got ready to sew. EXCEPT -- I realized I forgot my sewing machine's power cord. ACK!!!!!!! OK -- so no need to panic -- let's see what else I brought. 

I had to do some work on today's presentation on the Husqvarna Viking DESIGNER EPIC 3. Remember, I'm at Hamilton Sewing today!! I'm super excited!!

So, the presentation was done. Then it was time to help someone finish their tuffet. By the way -- my spellcheck on the phone autocorrects that word to TAFFETA. Shoot -- we needed a hammer to get the LONG needle through the foam to make the tuffet with a fabric-covered button. 

The retreat house is on a working farm, so before we knew it, we had a hammer. 

Sewing the button onto the tuffet

Then we "begged" them for a stapler, and well, they kind of did the stapling. My hands are NOT strong enough to handle those heavy-duty staplers, so we got them to do it. And the tuffet is done!!! It looks fantastic, and getting that out of the way was excellent. I knew we were going to finish it, but I wasn't planning on doing it yesterday, but it's done. 

The tuffet

That was from one of the kits that I sold a while back. I wonder how the others are doing on completing their tuffets? I have one more at home -- it's a square one, and I should really finish it. 

OK -- so what can I do now? I remember unplugging that power cord but then never took it off the table. Thankfully, I threw in my Green Tea and Sweat Beans (Jen Kingwell) quilt. I had ONE more block to make, and it's applique. I needed some supplies to turn the edges under, and I had thrown all that in my bag. 

So I started making clamshells. 

Making clamshells

And before I went to bed, the entire block was done!!! You don't know how exciting that was. Now, I need to stitch it in place, and then I can sew that section together. I think there's a little bit more fused applique to finish before I can get the entire top together. But I will have progress to show at our next Jen Kingwell remedial class. My plan was to complete one section! I didn't think it was going to happen. 

The clamshell block

My goal was to finish (quilted and bound) all four of the Jen Kingwell quilts this year. And you know what? I might be able to do that! Three of them are completely done! So, with some time on my hands, I now have all the bias strips prepared for the border. YES -- I am going to do that border as well. 

I have to go home this morning to get that power cord, and I now have a huge list of other (small) things to bring. Thread to stitch this applique in place and a few other things. 

If I could get the border bias strips in place and FINISH the inside part of the quilt top this weekend, that would be amazing!!!! And so, if the quilt wasn't quilted for our final Jen Kingwell in December, it could be getting close to that point. YES -- I might make a push because it would be awesome to have this thing done. 

I'm going to do fused applique on the border - I thought about machine embroidery, and I might still go there now that I have access to a VERY long hoop. I might be able to do each border with three hoopings. Hmmm --- that sounds like a plan, and with the NEW tools on the DESIGNER EPIC 3 -- it would be amazing, and everything would be EXACTLY where I want it. Hmm -- I might just contemplate that. I'll use the mySewnet embroidery software to create the shapes and use the digital cutter to cut everything. Yep --- I'm going to do it!!!

It'll be a good experiment and shouldn't be difficult to do!! I have the tools, and I have the know-how!

This morning, I finished rejigging the fabric requirements for our Tequila Lime quilt. I have not calculated how much fabric I saved by rejigging how the quilt gets cut. WAIT -- I just calculated it. The original pattern called for 12.875 yards of fabric. We really only need 8. Seriously???? Yep, FIVE extra yards of fabric in the requirements because of how they cut the pieces. That's a HUGE issue as far as I'm concerned, but now everyone in the group knows how to regroup and save money. I'll be sending them an e-mail when I stop at home. I can't access my group distribution lists when I'm away. 

Yes -- there is a bit of work to make that happen, but I'd rather have large pieces of scrap or no scrap than five yards of little pieces that I can't use for anything. That's like taking $100 CDN, cutting it up with the rotary cutter, and throwing it away. I'd rather take a bit of time and save the money. It's more environmentally friendly as well!

On that note, I'm off to find something else to do by hand before I leave to go home and then head out to Hamilton!

Have a super day!!!



  1. That "waste" is outrageous! Quite the marketing scam to sell her fabrics which I doubt are ever on sale. Grrrrrrr........

    Happy retreating :-)

    1. Yep --- it's always been like that. I made one of her quilts years ago and was shocked. Every time I teach it - I rework the requirements. NOTHING has changed over the years.

  2. I remember both my mother and grandmother telling me the clothing pattern companies always try to make you buy too much fabric. So 60 years ago, this was an issue! By the way, I still never buy what the instructions say to buy for clothing. I have probably saved a fortune in fabric costs!

    1. YES --- that is true! Although I might like to have "more" fabric for garment making in the event I screw up the cutting. At least with quilting, I can hobble pieces together! I guess they are compensating for people making errors. But too much waste is too much and it sounds like it's been around FOREVER!!!

  3. I got to the point that I couldn't squeeze that manual heavy duty stapler either. I bought myself an electric model. OH MY!!! I love it. So easy to use. I definitely recommend getting one if you have a need for a heavy duty stapler. And it wasn't that expensive, at least here in the US.

    1. I "acquired" an electric stapler when we were making loads of tuffets years ago. And I had it with me. But I remember the darn thing jammed, so I "cheated" and asked the property owner to help. HEY -- they have a massive shop here with every tool imaginable, so I figured they would have a pneumatic stapler. Then he brings out a heavy duty stapler and proceeded to staple like it was nothing. YES -- I was that "weak" female who asked a man for help. And I had no issues with that! I should retry the electric one to see if I can prevent it from jamming. Thanks for the nudge!