Saturday, October 3, 2015

Prep day!

Remember the title of my post yesterday????   "Can't get it out of my system..........."    Well after the marathon I had yesterday - I may want to revisit my statement!!!!

Before I get into that - here is a very interesting situation. I now work amongst a group of NON-quilters who all work for a fabric company. A couple of the ladies do sew, some are into crafts and one of the ladies does a LOT of sewing for Northcott. But none of them are dedicated quilters.

I do believe I am experiencing a bit of a stereotype situation at work - the perception of what and who a quilter is. I think my group believes that quilters (including me prior to coming to work at Northcott) sit at a sewing machine all day and sew. Quilters have no deadlines, they have no pressure - it is just fun and games to sit at home and sew all day. And because I haven't technically "had a job" for the last 17 years, I feel sometimes that the group thinks I have sat around and quilted for 17 years.  The fact that I (and many of my friends in various instances) have setup and tore down more trade shows than I care to count, that I have organized and set up and tore down way too many quilt shows to count, that I have tirelessly day and night prepped classes for teaching, then taught the class, do follow up with the students, do long arm quilting for customers and at least two per month for community projects, make custom designed quilts for customers, do a TON of prep work for the QUILTSocial blog, including filming my own videos, writing my own text and taking and editing my own photos. I have no idea the number of sewing days and fund raising days that I have organized and ran. When I have free time - I do work on my own stuff.  So yes - I am a quilter - but I certainly do not just sit and sew all day. There are MANY days when I don't even make it to the sewing machine.

I just have to laugh because of a situation that happened yesterday and I have the feeling that there was some serious doubt about my capabilites!  They don't know me very well.

Here is what happened. I was working on a quilt for Market that I did not want to quilt. We have a couple of long arm quilters that quilt quilts for us. I was going to quilt one, but I decided not to. But I could piece a top or two. One of the quilters was coming to the office at 10 AM (on Friday) to pick up some tops including the one that I was working on.  This particular top was slow progress as there were half square triangles, pinwheels and loads of applique. And it had a diagonal set with sashing and cornerstones.  No one else offered to make it so I did. It was a very time comsuming top to make.  I have been doing the prep work on it for the last couple of days.  I finished prepping the applique pieces on Wednesday night and stitched them all down on Thursday while still trying to get other things prepped in the office and helping others or discussing some upcoming events.

By the end of Thursday - half of the center part was together. Oh did I mention that the quilt was 71 by 86 or something like that so it was a decent size.  So when I left (and I had a guild meeting that night), I SAID that the quilt would be ready by 10 AM when the quilter came to pick it up. I know - do the math!!!!!

After the guild meeting, I came home and had everything preppedd - all the pieces were cut, they were laid out in order of sewing and I set the alarm for a very early hour and I was up and sewing.  I sewed for FIVE straight hours.  One thing you have to keep in mind is that these patterns we are working from have NEVER been made before. The designer has written them, often in haste to meet our deadline and so they are NOT tested.  Once the center was done - it was way faster to sew the second half at home - that took ONE hour. Then onto the borders (top and bottom only) that had the pinwheels.  Whoa - I made way too many, but that is what the pattern said (feedback to go back to the designer). Then I sewed the pinwheels together - crap - the border is too long.  Do a couple of quick adjustments - more comments to the designer and whipped those two borders on top and bottom - that process took two hours. Phew - I might just make that  10 AM deadline.  Next up - a skinny little border - that was easy. Then onto the last border which had pieced corners and WHOA - I cut the first strip and that doesn't seem like the right size. Nope - checked and the sewing instructions were right - cutting instructions were wrong. More feedback to the designer. The last border was done at 9:00  AM.  

I ran upstairs to throw on some clothes and hopped in the car. After stopping at Tim's for tea, I arrived at the office at 9:50 AM to find the quilter was already there and was getting ready to leave as she had already been given other quilts.  Seriously??????   The last thing I said when I left the day before was that I would be back at 10 AM with a finished top. That was a marathon of sewing that I hope to NEVER repeat. I loved doing it - I LOVE the quilt, although it isn't my favorite of those we are displaying, but the way the fabrics work together is pretty spectacular.  

Let's just say that I was NOT happy when I arrived and I VOICED my concern and it was not because of the way my morning went. Bottom line - the quilt that I worked on went with the long armer!!!!

Sorry - no pictures - I will show you when it comes back from the quilters.  Literally there was NO time for pictures.

Yes - I still love my job - but it all goes back to the credibility thing that I talked about at the beginning.  Just because I am a quilter, doesn't mean I don't know how to meet a deadline, you think I don't know about pressure????   Every day is a new deadline for me - I work under pressure each and every day!!!!  I thrive on it - if I don't have pressure - I do NOTHING.  I guess it will take time for the team to learn how I operate. In the meantime - bring on the pressure!!!!!  They don't know that a usual day for me involves quilting or some variation of it for about 16 of 24 hours in a day unless I am on my bike which is't often enough.

Now I do owe a pattern to our marketing team that is WAY over due and before I send it to them, I wanted to make the quilt because I think there are a couple of areas that need to be fudged. It is one thing to design a quilt, but it is completely another to take a PICTURE and a few measurements and make a quilt.  When I or any of our other designers design quilts they do NOT have fabric. They can only use scans of the fabric (which are pretty darn accurate) but if you are a quilter - we LOVE to see and touch the real thing.   So if there are mistakes in the pattern - you can see why they happen, but I do NOT want any of those in my pattern.  Hence I am making the pattern so I can understand a few things about this particular line and then write the fudge factor into the pattern.   Does that make sense??????   Some people criticize when mistakes get in the patterns, but I can see where and how it happens.  We had some new preprinted products and unless you are familiar with them - it can be a challenge to design and then sew them.

Speaking of pictures - here are some pictures from the last couple of days.

This was all the stuff I loaded into the car on Thursday morning. I had a different sewing machine and I was glad that I took the big one for all those lumpy corners of the pinwheels. Having two different inserts for the little sewing table means that I can wing any of my machines into the table and it works like a charm.  Honestly I can't say enough about that little table. Best investment I have made in a long time in the quilting world. So happy that it fits into my office.  My office is definitely a happy place for me!

All of this went into my car
 Yes - there were quilts to be delivered to people, sewing machine to sew on and accessories. Project bags, lunch - you name it - my car is always full of stuff!!!!

We had a fabulous guild meeting - Elizabeth Dillinger was the speaker and I am sorry that I cannot attend her class today.  But another time perhaps or I just get out the sewing machine and experiment.  I know how she does what she does so technically I could save some time and money and just do it!!!!   Matter of fact - I just signed up for a new project that would be perfect to experiment with.  Hmmm - yes - must do that.

During show n tell, one lady had this to show.  This is the Block of the Month (Chunk of the month) that I designed a couple of years ago.  There was another quilt on the back so I don't know which was the front or the back, but it is a two sided quilt.  Looks beautiful!!!!!   Technically it is sideways in this picture. Yes - one day I will actually finish piecing mine.

Block of the month designed by me!

Here is the new block of the month for this year.  It is a Canadian theme - there are going to be a variety of blocks that we can use so not all the quilts will be the same. I was hoping to use ONLY the Northcott Stonehenge OH Canada, but there isn't going to be enough variety in it to make this design sparkle. Nope as I was looking at these pictures this morning - I know exactly what I am going to use and it will be amazing. Now the big thing will be to keep up!

Mary's quilt

Linda's quilt
 They are fun and funky and well - it is going to fun to find fabrics to make it work.

Since I am the program person, I get to help the guest speaker load and unload the car. And I get to see everything up close and personal. Well Elizabeth's husband was there to help her and look at the amazing case that she carries her quilts in.

Super case for carrying quilts
 It is a case for shipping golf clubs and if ANYONE has one - I WANT it.   He said he has tried to find another, but no go.  I am thinking that map cases might look like this - cases for architecture drawings?????   There has to be something.  It has a lid and wheels  - how brilliant.  Then the quilts do NOT get folded.  I want one for storage of my trunk show at home.   YES - I want one of these.

After the long armer left on Friday morning, what did the rest of my day look like????   Well I had to design two quilts and write up the fabric requirements.  Now that is not easy - OK - write two patterns with THESE fabrics - GO!  I managed to produce two patterns that I think are nice additions to the collection and they are going on the front of the shade cards to stores!

And at some point in the day - the fabric arrived from Asia.  Talk about being HOT off the press!!!!!   Here it is  - all laid out and Hania spent a good part of the afternoon cutting for the next six quilts that need to be finished and in a crate that leaves the warehouse on October 16.  Yes - that is NOT a typo.  Thankfully I have a few friends who have volunteered (for a price) to help out with the sewing.

Hot off the press fabric

The six quilts that need to be sewn - actually there are only five here. 
 One of them is being shipped on Monday to someone else to sew.

Rose - this is for you!!!!   Look at what is on my cutting table.  YES - I have a T-shirt quilt for a customer that has to be completed by Oct 15 - ah yes - all in a day's work!!!!!

T-shirts for a T-shirt quilt
 Guess what I will be cutting and sewing later today.  If I can put that other one together in 5 hours - this one will be a snap.  The biggest part will be cutting up the T-shirts, stabilizing them and designing the quilt. Once that is done - the rest will take NO time at all to put together.

And I am in the process of prepping for TWO classes today and I have to find the pattern for the one I am teaching tomorrow.   Thankfully the classes today are only 1 hour each, but then I have to deliver those other quilts to be sewn, stop off to see my MIL who is sewing clothing for me that has to be done and in three weeks from today - we will be madly in the midst of QUILTMarket.

Prepping for today's class

Speaking of Market - here is the fun part - I am setting up appointments with the Editors of magazines!!!!   Or the managing editors or whatever their titles may be.  But this is FUN STUFF!!!!!   Again - this is not something that the group will ever understand but going to Market for a quilter - well - don't expect me to sleep the entire time we are there!!!!!   Sent in registration form for some early morning classes and let's not forget Schoolhouse!

By the way - I heard a rumor at the guild meeting the other night which I did NOT believe. However a bit of web surfing yesterday and a phone call and it was CONFIRMED.  The theme for 2016 row by row WILL BE ANNOUNCED on Friday, October 9. I was certain they were going to wait until Market to make the announcement, but NO it is next week. OH MY GOD -    NO NO NO - I am NOT going to get hooked again.  I can't afford it!!!!   I was chatting with Pat at the meeting and she says she has 102 license plates.  Oh boy - I am NOT even going to count. It is better that way.

On that note - I can't wait to get the day started. Ooops - my day started about four hours ago.  OK - can't wait to keep going!!!!!!

Hvae a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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