Sunday, August 18, 2019

Classes are done!!!

Yesterday was the final day of three days of classes. I love teaching and because the embroidery machines are somewhat new to me - I'm learning loads. Exactly the same way it was when I started to teach quilting. I'm dying to get home and fire up the machines and explore a whole lot of other things. Samples to make and options to try. Different ways of showing different features. So much!!! I'm super excited about what I do and can't wait to do it again.

The classes the last two days were hands-on which can be a bit tricky because there are a lot of variables that you have no control over. (Day one was lecture/demo)  Like, do NOT leave your scissors on the bed of the sewing machine when there is an active hoop. And there are times when you're doing a demo and well - it just doesn't work as well as it could. All in all, I'm quite happy with the end results and all the students were able to finish the projects on all the days!!!  That's HUGE. Thankfully we didn't have 10 people in the class because that's just crazy.

I was tired of talking when it was over. We were in the new classroom which is beautiful and bright but the walls are bare at the moment (the store JUST moved) and so talking over the embroidery machines can be a challenge and nothing to absorb the noise. It all worked out and that much more experience tucked under my belt.

I do have a couple of events locally to me in September. I'll provide more info when I'm back but they should be loads of fun.

It's about 1 1/2 hour drive to the store from my brother's place so I had to get up early so I could arrive at the store around 8 AM to get things set up. The temperature here is fresh!! It was 8 degrees Celcius in the morning and I see that it's even a bit cooler this morning. Yikes! I like the cool, but that's pretty drastic! And for some reason, I could NOT get the heater to crank out tons of heat. I survived and all is good.

I plugged my audiobook into the car and away I went. It's one of the Sue Grafton books - I'm on U is for Undertow and soon, I'll be finished the series. I'll be sad to see Y is for Yesterday as they are pretty neat books. Not the usual high graphic crime but a fun read with lots of side plots and twists. I arrived at the store, not quite finished the chapter. I parked in a different parking lot so I could finish the chapter. How bad is that???  I was deeply engrossed in the book all the way home as well. Not able to finish the chapter so I hope to find my earbuds and do that this morning while everyone is still asleep.

I arrived at my parents to have a huge family dinner. One of my aunt and uncles who lives near here were there for dinner along with M, my parents, my brother, and SIL. Oh and my aunt from out west. It was positively loads of fun!!!! It's a shame that we can't (or don't) get together more often. It really is quite simple. You buy a ticket, get on a plane and VOILA - in a few hours everyone is together. I've made it back home at least once (mostly just once) a year for years. As Mom and Dad are getting up in years, it would be nice to make it back twice a year and hopefully by working in a teaching engagement for one of the trips, that will happen.

I have to figure out a better way to travel with my big suitcase. I was in a bit of a hurry when I left the class, so things did get thrown in and several times during the day, I had to dig through the suitcase to find something. It's a disaster!!!  Thankfully we have Ziploc bags. But I need to go through it before I go home and try to sort it a wee bit. I also know more things I want to try to get (and stay) better organized for classes. It's easy when you do one class in your local area, but to do six events away from home - well that's a different story. It's all a learning experience.

Now that the work part of the trip is done, I can relax and enjoy the last couple of days that we have here. As nice as it is to get away, it'll be nice to get home, although I get home to an extremely busy week so I'm not sure that's going to be a whole lot of fun!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. I need to finish that chapter!!

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Perfect timing

It was another great day! When you’re an optimist, every day is a great day! I was at The Sewing Machine Store bright and early and got all my stuff organized for the classes.

We had loads of fun making cards with the sewing machine. I know it sounds like a silly thing to make, but it was a great way to learn different aspects of the sewing machine. We used a lot of different stitches, we learned how to program sequences of stitches, how to mirror the stitches and inserting various commands and where best to use them. And a whole lot as we made three different cards.

Then we moved onto embroidery in the afternoon where we did a small embroidery for the pocket of a reading pillow which used different stitches in the assembly.

I took pictures of the cards and posted them on social media, but I completely forgot about taking pictures of the bags in the second class. DUH!

I cleaned up stuff and then I was off to the airport to pick up M. I finished my class at 4:45 and I think her plane landed at 4:46 or something like that. The store isn’t far from the airport so I drove right over and didn’t wait long until she had arrived at the front with her luggage.

Oh my - so nice to see your kid!!!  Big hugs! We had to make a couple of stops before we headed out. One of them was to put gas in the car. I pulled up to the Co-op gas station and got out, only to be greeted by the attendant who proceeded to put gas in the car and clean our windshield. Well, that’s nice service. But then we didn't realize that you have to go in to pay so we sat there for a few minutes before I got out and asked. Oh - so popped in to pay.

On the way to North Battleford, the skies were amazing. Lots of cloud formation that were constantly changing so M was in the passenger seat and taking pictures. Something I want to do every time I come but a tad hard to take pictures and drive at the same time. Thanks M!!

First time to have this many family members together in quite a few years and it was nice. Could I live that close to that much family all the time? I’m not sure!!!!

I have a feeling when I get home that I’m going to sleep for a week. What about my early bedtime?? Totally thrown out the window and I’m on a different time zone- I’m ready for bed at dinner time (they call it supper here). Oh well - I’ll manage.

I’m up early this morning and will be out of the house shortly as I have to be back in Saskatoon for the last day of events. We’re making some very cute projects today so I’ll try to remember to take pictures.

Have a super day!!!


Friday, August 16, 2019

A busy day

A super busy day! I finished the stitching on the fall wall hanging for Mom including the label and dropped it off in the morning. I had enough time to stitch the label on the winter wall hanging which was made years ago and never got a label. That means three of the four wall hangings are DONE and there's one left that hasn't been started. It's the summer one and I have 10 months to get it done before summer comes next year. It's on my list of projects to work on over the next couple of months.

I spent the day at The Sewing Machine Store with two events. The first was a demonstration of sewing machine feet for both brands - Husqvarna Viking and PFAFF. I had a suitcase packed with samples and sewing machine feet and a couple of quilts. This brings back so many memories of when I first started to teach quilting. You would go to class prepared or so you thought, but when you are presenting you come up with all kinds of other ideas that would be better representations for the stitches or the feet or whatever.

I need to make a few notes on how I could make a few improvements for some of the feet samples. I'll be working on that when I get back home. I'm excited because there are so many different feet to play with and I've got some great ideas. Not enough time!!!!

I had been experimenting with the various binding feet including the new Quilt Binder. I was a wee bit hesitant about that foot because I haven't had a whole lot of time to play with it. Thanks to Emily and our quick Facetime lesson at the airport, my demonstration was pretty near perfect! I wasn't sure that I was going to like the darn thing, but it's pretty slick when you learn the few tricks and it even makes mitered corners!!!  I know! and mitered corners that I'd be happy with.

After my visit with Susan, I see a lot more binding that I want to experiment with. I need to get home NOW!!!!!  That'll have to wait for a couple of weeks when I'm back home and have cleared up some stuff. And of course, there are a couple of things that need immediate attention when I get back home.

The ladies were all quite happy with the information passed along and we had loads of fun.

There was an event on the fabric frame in the event. That was my first time demoing the frame and again, there were learning moments!  Oh boy - the learning just never ends. It would be nice to get my hands on a frame so I could really test it out because there's so much that one can do with it and boy oh boy - it's slick to whip that machine around the frame and not have to move the project.

I think the biggest thing to remember about a fabric frame is that it is NOT a long arm. Think of these frames as giant hoops where you hoop your fabric, do your stitching, then rehoop it. And it's not just for quilting - anything you can hoop - you can put on the frame. Again, the possibilities are endless and I need to make myself a list of samples I'd like to make, then find me a frame to borrow and get them made up!

So much to demonstrate and so little time to make samples!

I did manage to get something to eat between those two events. We had a full house for both which was very exciting. At the end of the day, my suitcase was a disaster. I literally just threw everything back in - that was after I had straightened everything out before I went off in the morning. I need to straighten the suitcase out before I head off to class this morning.

I stayed in Saskatoon last night so I wouldn't have to make the trek all the way to North Battleford last night and then back out early this morning. I was tired and needed a good sleep which I got. So I'm all fired up for the two events that we have today.

And I have to get my computer ready for the presentations for today and the files ready for embroidery, etc.

On that note, I'd better get myself organized and get ready for today.

Have a super day!


Thursday, August 15, 2019

I’m not interested in quilts - Part Two

I need to get my laptop fired up but keep forgetting to get the password to connect to the internet so I’m stuck on the iPad and having to do two posts. I’m not sure I’d manage on the farm with all that technology!

Cam said the hardest part of the combine was NOT touching the steering wheel when it was in operation as that would stop the GPS from driving. I guess you could have a wee nap until you got to the end of the field when the system alerts you that you’re getting close and you’d better be awake so you can turn the steering wheel and go back the other direction. Totally air conditioned, with radio and two refridgerated compares, a jump seat for someone to ride along. And the cab was HUGE so you could have easily put a sewing machine in there!!!

Then back to town. The highways are so darn straight here. I plugged in an audiobook and enjoyed the view. Where they live is a bit flatter from where we are and from their house, you can see for MILES. At least 20 which is incredible.

More visiting and then off to bed. I’m off to work today but not until after lunch, but since it’s just over an hour’s drive and I want to get there with a bit of extra time, I’ll be leaving mid morning. I’ve got to get my stuff organized so it’ll be a busy morning.

Oh - I have to tell you about this book that I’m reading. The Complete book of Machine Embroidery. Even though it was written in 1986, it kind of fascinating because it’s providing a bit of history into how designs and techniques have evolved. There are excellent diagrams in it that are still relevant today. But I’m seeing a few things here and there that are intriguing and I want to try when I get home. So far, I wouldn’t really call it machine embroidery - it’s more appliqué and embellishment. Perhaps the machine embroidery will come later in the book. Remember - embroidery machines didn’t exist when the book was written.

When I did get back, my Aunt and I took a quick walk around where my parents live. As if the the combine wasn’t enough technology, we saw this thing scooting around someone’s back yard. What the heck is that? Oh my god - it’s a lawnmower. Very similar concept to the Rumba vacuums for your house. This thing just bounced from one side to the other - we couldn’t hear it although we were super close. I wonder how well it cuts the grass??? So much technology!!!!

Anyway, my FitBit was happy with the walk, but I’m NOT walking, moving nearly as much as I do.

My parents live in an apartment building that requires you to get buzzed in. The other day, someone was trying to solicit the tenants and get into the building. I’ll call it religious solicitation. Of course, that caused an uproar. After some investigation, there appears to be two young men going around the country (they are based in New York) trying to find people of Jewish faith. They are called the Roving Rabbis. Which would explain the car with the giant Menorah on it that I had spotted the day I arrived. We’re not sure that it was these two men - my Dad says it was not them. So there were several groups (of different religions) soliciting around the town on the same day.

On that note - I’m out of here.

Have a super day!


I’m not interested in quilts

WHAT??????  Apparently I said that!  When M was just a baby, my brother and and SIL came to visit. For those back home, do you remember that quilt show (and agricultural show) in Milton???? I can’t remember the name of the place. My SIL’s mother was a quilter, my brother worked for the Museum, it was a perfect fit for an outing.

So while my SIL went to visit the quilts to get a few pictures for her mother, I said I wasn’t interested and stayed outside!!!  HOLY!!!  What was I thinking? Then a year and a half later - the flood gates opened and the rest is history! Perhaps that was the event that that triggered my interest because when M was 2, I made her a quilt for her bed - OK - I started it (it is done now, but it never went on her bed).

Yikes - maybe these trips down memory lane aren’t good! I got a good chuckle out of that.

I popped down to visit my friend Susan on their farm which is about 1 1/2 hours from where my parents live. I met Susan because of a barn quilt that she had made and displayed on one of their buildings years ago. Through a twist of fate, I ended up meeting Susan after mentioning the quilt to the ladies at The Quilt Patch (now closed) in Moose Jaw. We met up at an event hosted by the store and the rest is history!!!

Have you ever bought a foot for your sewing machine and then not been able to master it?? Susan has  a Bernina. She had purchased a binding foot a while back and had not mastered it. She dug it out in April and thought she better make use of it since it wasn’t cheap. I would say she’s mastered that foot quite nicely and had used it to bind several quilts and placemats and who knows what else. I was very impressed. Now just so you don’t go all crazy - the binding is narrow and single fold, but that’s OK and it honestly looked very neat on her projects. I took a picture to share with you later. I wouldn’t bind all my quilts with this, but it looked great and the binding was very neat and consistent. It really added a whole different look to the quilts.

I did a wee bit of sewing on the Bernina. A nice sewing machine, but I LOVE my machines better. I had to use the knee lift to raise the presser foot and well, I’m just not used to that kind of coordination since the Husqvarna Vikings and the PFAFF lift the foot automatically. I’m just spoiled I guess since there are loads of machines that aren’t able to lift the presser foot period!

We managed to get a bit of sewing in, took some pictures and then I got to play on the farm equipment. They have a fair amount of acres to farm -  they are classified as a medium sized farm. But they have this massive combine (and other massive equipment as well) . For those of you who don’t know what that is - it’s a huge piece of machinery that cuts the crops and separates the grain from the stalks/pods or whatever it is based on what they are harvesting. This combine is 50 feet wide! Well, the front part that harvests the grain. FIFTY FEET - that’s huge considering when my Dad farmed, those headers were maybe 10?? I’m not sure the width, but they were NOT wide.

Imagine the number of rounds that are saved by those 50 feet. The combine runs on a GPS so basically once you get it to the field, you don’t need to steer it. You do have to turn the corner, but on some you can program it so you don’t even have to do that. There are so many bells and whistles on that combine, it would put many of our cars to shame. Not only do they have GPS in the combine, but the sprayer, the tractors and many other pieces of equipment.

Think of the cost???  Yep - these machines are NOT cheap - the average house price in Toronto is about $750,000 (I think) and yes - that’s how much ONE of these combines costs. Let’s not forget the monitoring system you can now install in your grain bins to monitor the temperature and grain levels and well - we just touched the surface on how technology has changed farming.

If you have a SmartHome system in your house, that’s peanuts compared to the technology that helps run a farm these days. It was a fascinating tour and I thank Susan and Cam for their time in a very busy season. They’ll start combining in a few days - shoot - I’ll be gone by then, but at least I got to actually see inside the combine.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Thanks Bonnie!!!

Oh my - Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville mentioned my Halloween quilt and my Designer Spotlight (from Quiltmaker magazine) on her blog yesterday. Thanks so much Bonnie!!! You can click on the link to see her blog post.

One thing about these family visits. Our immediate family is spread out across the country. It’s kind of weird because we don’t spend much time with cousins, mostly aunts and uncles (three of five are now gone). Anyway - we don’t spend much time together unlike some families who live very close and whose conversations probably concern daily matters.

Since we don’t meet often, our conversations (especially since my Dad’s sister and Dad are together for the first time in 10 years), the chat is about days gone by. It’s very fascinating to hear all the stories and wish we could be recording the entire thing.

However, one must also realize that when this generation is gone, the younger generation will have no concern for them. It’s kind of sad, but that’s just the way of life. What matters dearly to us now won’t be given a second thought when we’re gone and that includes our stuff!!!

My brother, aunt and myself took a drive out to the farm and we ended up driving around the country, visiting a cemetery and had a grand time checking out stuff. We ran into a cousin of mine and had a wee chat with him as well.

This is the kind of thing that I never thought I’d be interested in and now it’s a fascinating subject.

I managed to get the label on one of the quilts that I brought with me. I started to sew the binding on that small wall hanging. It’s about half done. I should have no problem getting all the labels and sleeves sewn on before I leave. Let’s just say that it has to happen.

The one thing about being here- I’m NOT active at all. My FitBit almost went into cardiac arrest yesterday from lack of use!! I MUST take a walk today.

Have a great day!!!


And that’s about it for today.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Travel Day - Part Two

Oh - and the suitcase issue?? It wasn’t too heavy but I had split up the weight between the two suitcases. I hope to consolidate that into one checked bag for the way home. 

Did I learn a lesson? Yep - with checked bags, I MUST allow a few more minutes as I don’t want to repeat that episode. And if I hear of a MAJOR accident (two people were killed and three injured and three vehicles barely anything left) I must do a bit more investigating especially if I’m going somewhere. Bottom line, someone didn’t want me on that first flight and it all worked out. 

Made it to the apartment to have a visit with Mom and Dad and then my brother, SIL and my aunt whom I haven’t seen in many years came for dinner which was very yummy with fresh potatoes (from the farm) and fresh yellow beans. That’s so reminds me of when I was a kid. It was great. 

Lots of good memories about when we were kids and about my grandparents - this aunt is my Dad’s sister. It was great for everyone to be together - it’s been a long time. That’s the only problem with people living at opposite ends of the country. You only get to see them once in a while and that sucks. But that is life. 

As I was shelving the last of the books the previous night, I came across a book called “The complete book of machine embroidery:.  Hmm - this could be a fun read for the plane. The book was written in 1986. Embroidery machines weren’t even invented at the time!!!!  It was written by Robbie and Tony Fanning who were quite in the know in their day. And I love that they are talking about “new” products - stabilizers were new, fusible products were new. However (and this is the reason why I like older books), most of the information is just as relevant today as it was then. The book is very clearly written and I have a couple of things I want to try when I get back home. 

Some of those things they talk about would be fun to program into the embroidery hoop -so one doesn’t have to do the “manual” work. Hey - I might just try that and I can do it in the embroidery software and have the files ready to stitch out when I get home. I don’t have time to be on vacation!!!!

Some of the things mentioned, well, we’ve moved beyond that, but a lot would still work. And I learned that thread is 20% water????  I wonder if that is still true? That’s why when thread is old and dries up - it breaks. I think I need a highlighter as there is some stuff that I want to remember. 

Things like how to prevent fabric from puckering or threads from breaking - that information has NOT changed. It’s a fun read and I’m learning some cool things!  It’s a pretty comprehensive book. 

On that note, I’ve some time to kill before the others get up so I might go and read another chapter. 

Have a super day!!!!