Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Motivational Monday - practise makes perfect

I see from the Facebook page that many of you are up to date. Got your February project done and moving onto March.  I'm so excited for everyone. I'm excited for myself as well as even though I'm technically NOT quite finished with the January project, because of this group, those projects are up front and I'm getting them done.  I have half the backing to complete for that One Block Wonder and that project will be done and perhaps will get in the line to get machine quilted.  

The good news is that my next trade show isn't for about 6 or 7 weeks so that gives me a bit of time to play catch up. 

Sadly, my February project is still in bits and pieces. Lots of bits and pieces.  But I'm OK with that. This one will become a good ender and leader project and I'll be working on that this month and now I get to choose something for March as well. I haven't given that a lot of thought, but I'll go back to my master list and try to pick a smaller one so that I can get caught up. Although I do have TWO five-day retreats between now and my next trade show. I can get oodles done in that time. 

Here is the state of my February project as we see it this morning!

My February project in a state of unfinishedness

And the box of stuff to go with the February project
As I was getting ready to leave last week, I had a last minute project to get completed and then I was on the plane. As a result, my cutting table was a tad messy and this is what I faced this morning when I went down to the studio.

Messy cutting table
And this is what it looked like when I left this morning. Already for me to come back and get back to work on the next project.

And now it looks like this!

My sewing table was a tad messy as I was again working on a project for the trade show. But this too is all cleaned up.

Now it's cleaned up!

What is the moral of today's post?  Well, as you can see, I'm behind in my monthly tasks, I'm also behind in my weekly tasks.  And when you're away from home, you think - I'm in pretty good shape.  Then on the way home, I remembered that I have a class I'm teaching this weekend and I have blog posts to write which are due next Monday.  Ooops - I guess I know what I'll be working on this week!   BUT that doesn't mean that I'm failing at the Task Master.  Oh no - if I didn't have that Task Master to keep me on track (by having things written down), I would never have gotten that One Block Wonder done. And I certainly wouldn't be working on the Half Log Cabin.

Writing things down, the lists, the tasks are reminders of things that I have made a priority. It's easy to forget things in the flurry of life. And I think that some of you are seeing that as well. The written lists help to prioritize your time and what you will do.  Afterall, you were the one that wrote the list so it must include things that you wanted to work on. And by not rewriting the tasks, we're not wasting time.

I'm very happy so far and I'm hoping to get completely caught up while I'm on one or both of the retreats.  As long as those projects fit in that darn laundry basket!!!  

Here is an article that I came across this morning and this is the absolute truth. If you want to learn how to perfect your machine quilting, you must practice. Remember that saying that it takes 10,000 hours to become a professional. Well, that's the same with machine quilting. Check out the article by Dawn Cavanaugh from APQS. It's a method that I preach to my students and here it is confirmed by Dawn.

Don't forget to post your finished projects on Facebook and if you want to join, check out the Facebook page and ask to be added.

Have a super day!!!


Monday, February 27, 2017

QuiltCon Day Four

I'm postponing the Motivational Monday post until tomorrow. I haven't been that super productive since I've been away. But today is a travel day and back to work and the routine tomorrow. The nice thing is that I don't think there is anything urgent to work on so that means I get to work on my February UFO - I'm going to be behind again, but that's OK. At least, I'm making progress with stuff, keeping the Task Master happy and it doesn't get any better than that.

I was back at the convention center bright and early yesterday and got to walk through all the quilts. Wow - there were some very spectacular quilts and some that were ho-hum. There were loads of different styles and techniques. There seemed to be a theme of solids this year - lots and lots of solids, but then there was also a lot of very busy prints, but I would say that solids were more dominant. I did take pictures and I hope to download them over the next bit and put some up.  Here is a link to all the winning quilts.  Sorry - I should have put that up sooner.

As for the quilting, there was a lot of straight line quilting (or variations of straight line quilting) very similar to last year. The beauty of this combination of solids and straight line quilting is that really anyone can make a modern quilt. When you see something quilted with heavy free motion style, it sticks out!  Just like last year!  Because it's not very common in the modern quilt world.

But what makes an award winning quilt? I don't agree with the judges' choice in all categories, but in others, I wholeheartedly agree. There are multiple quilts by the same person. They received 2000 entries and accepted 300. That's pretty exciting. So how do you get your quilt into QuiltCon?   Initially, I would say unique but we saw some quilts that were made from commercial patterns (I don't think they should be here, but that's my personal opinion), we saw quilts that were variations of the same theme or traditional block.  Bright contrast?  Nope - we saw some pale washed out quilts. I guess it's just a combination of a lot of things - can't even say good workmanship gets you in because - well I won't go there.

You can't even say that good pictures get you into Quiltcon because if you look at the prize-winning pictures, some of them are not that great.  Hmm - that is a puzzling question - what does it take to get your quilt in the show????

It was very quiet yesterday afternoon so that meant we had loads of time to wander around. We were tearing down the booth when I realized that I had NOT seen the charity quilts.  DUH!!!!  How did that happen?

If you scroll to the bottom of that link for the winning quilts, I think you have access to all the episodes of Fresh Quilting which is the PBS show for the Modern Quilt Guild. Check out the sponsor!

I did make a few purchases while I was here and all of it is packed away in the crate so I don't have to carry any of it home. Yeah - travel light!

I'm not having to rush this morning as our flight is at 12:30.  But I'm packed and after breakfast, I may just take a walk around for an hour or so.  It's not all that warm here and I only have my trusty fleece jacket, but it's enough for here.

My legs are somewhat better this morning, but very painful to stand up and have the blood rush to my feet. Yikes, I don't think I've ever had such a bad reaction to bug bites, but there are many many bug bites. Fortunately, my neck isn't quite as itchy, but the bites are on my hairline, in my hair, my arms, and my ankles which got the brunt of the attack! One of my ankles is swollen because of the darn bites. I need to get some antihistamine but I think I'm over the worst of it.

On that note, I'm out of here and back to reality tomorrow. We had a super time here at QuiltCon. Made new friends, reconnected with some old friends and contacts and generallly had a great time. Of course, I do have a list of things that I'd like to work on both for work and for pleasure. The question now will be to schedule those things into the mix so I can get them done and still work on my UFOs. It's a never ending process, but I'm having fun!

The good news?  No trade show in March, but I have a feeling there is a retreat or two happening in there. I'm super excited and I think I've got a couple of great projects lines up and YES - they will fit in that laundry basket!

Oh yes, there is a noise in my hotel room. At first I thought it was an amorous couple in the room next door. Nope it wasn't that. But I have no idea where it's coming from and it's sporadic. It's a squeaking noise - very weird. They do say that Savannah is the most haunted city in the US. Could that be a ghost squeaking? I think it's the pipes or something. Very weird.

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

QuiltCon Day Three

Another super exciting day at QuiltCon in Savannah.

I was up early and caught the ferry to the convention center across the river. I arrived slightly before 8 when the floor officially opens to the vendors and since no one was at the door, I popped right in!  It's getting harder to get around without bumping into other people and chatting and as a result, I've not seen all the quilts yet, nor have I started to look at the charity quilts.  Haven't been out to scout out the vendors much either so today is going to be a busy day!

Did you notice that I haven't mentioned the weather once unlike when we were at Road to California? It hasn't been that bad. Not too hot, not too sunny, no rain.  It was a bit muggy one day, but really quite uneventful.  HOWEVER, those darn little bugs. It was confirmed to me - these littler buggers are no-see-ums and they are a menace!  I was chatting to Carol who lives down here in the winter and her and her husband discuss who gets to go out to BBQ because of the bug issue.  Personally, I'll take the cold back home. My ankles are the worst and they are a mess. I would love to be sitting in a bath of oatmeal. The back of my head feels like a cauliflower.  I'll survive!

Got to chat with a lot of people yesterday and I got to talk about this year's Best of Show and also last year's Best of Show. So that was a good thing. It's interesting to look at the quilts and try to wonder why the judges choose a particular quilt over another as a winner. Some are easy to see, others not so much and it's interesting that technique amongst the modern quilters is NOT a necessity. I think the quality is getting better but really we need to stop beating ourselves up with our work.  I was looking at some quilts that belonged to a very famous machine quilter and OK - I have nothing to worry about. Lots of little booboos on those quilts.

I had nothing official going on yesterday, but the number of people that have come up and said they enjoyed the panel on Stash Management - well there have been loads. That's always fun. I have one more demo today and I believe it will be live streamed as well so watch for that on Northcott Facebook.

I had decided a while back to take a class while I was here. There was a limited number of classes that were in the evening and I signed up for Binding by Machine. For those of you who know me, I'm NOT a good student. I was tired last night and I had had a great conversation with a woman who had taken this same class two nights previous. I was tempted not to go after chatting with her but decided to not blow off the class fee entirely so I went. A good sign was when I walked in the room and they are using the Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 965Q which is the sewing machine that I'm currently reviewing.   Yeah!!!

So the instructor started her spiel. Oh god - I'm in trouble as I knew I wasn't going to learn much in the class. I won't go into detail.  She makes bias binding and I'm OK with that, but I didn't like ANY of her methods.  Holy cow - I appreciate that people want to learn to quilt, but seriously, these modern quilters need to learn the tried and true techniques and then go modern with it. My way of making bias is so much faster than what I saw last night - it was painful to watch. I didn't say a word. She talked and demoed for the first part of the class and then there we had 1 1/2 hours to play with the samples. I had to leave. First, I was falling asleep I was so tired and second, I don't need someone to hand hold me while I attempt her method. I will go home and try modifying a couple of her things to fit my way.  Personally, my way is so much better, so much faster and I think way neater and no danger of missing any part of the binding when sewing. At least I went!

I think that is one of the reasons I'm such a bad student. I've spent hours and hours experimenting and perfecting many techiques. I'm going home to play with my samples a bit more and I need to put a demo out there on how to easily make bias binding and sew it on by machine.  But I want to play with my samples of bias and cross grain binding.   OK - lots to do when I get home.

I was going to catch up with the others as they were just getting seated for dinner about the time I got back to the hotel, but I decided that I wasn't up to dinner. I had a bowl of soup at the hotel and that was it. I went to bed but not before slathering myself in AfterBite!

It's the last day of QuiltCon today and I've got loads to do. Hopefully, I can sneak in that room 10 minutes early and get to all the quilts before the show opens.

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

QuiltCon Day Two

I think I have one of the best jobs in the entire world! How lucky to be employed in the same field as your passion. Trust me, I'm very thankful every day!

And I got to participate in something that I have wanted to do for a long time. Well either be a witness to or participate in. That's a flash mob!  Yep - us Canadians did a flash mob yesterday. Initially it was to be a photo shoot right at 1:00 PM.  I had a demo at 1:15 so not a lot of time in between. As some of the Canadians were milling about, someone took charge and said - let's head to the staircase for the photo. As we got ourselves on the steps, I stood by the front so I could make a quick exit. Someone had been commandeered to take photos and I gave them my cell phone. In the mist of the photo someone in the group started to sing Oh Canada. Now you know how us meek and mild Canadians sing Oh Canada. We sing into our chests, we fumble for the words. NO - we did our National Anthem proud. We sang loud and proud.  There is a video clip of the last bit and I'll try to share that with you.  It was an awe inspiring moment and I'm so glad I was part of that.

I got to the convention center early in the morning for a photo op with Katherine Jones, the winner of the Best in Show. She is such a wonderful lady, so forthcoming with her methods for making the quilt.  A true winner and I'm so excited for her. I do have pictures of that also and will try to post. Too many pictures and not enough time to post everything!

Once that was done, I was able to wander around and look at the quilts. There were a few more people on the floor at this time, than last year, but no worries. It was still very much like a private tour. I got through one side of the quilts and looked at Angela Walters' display of quilting, the small quilts, the group quilts, the applique quilts. Some very interesting techniques, some very interesting styles and I'm so inspired to go home and sew. But there just isn't a lot of time to work on my own stuff. And let's not forget that The Task Master will be waiting for me when I get home.

If any of you watched the video with the video on Facebook with my Improv presentation - you'll see The Task Master.  Well, not exactly. I brought the book cover, NOT the book. Too afraid of losing it and besides, who wants to bring HER along with me on a fun trip!

Yes I did a presentation yesterday on Free form piecing or improv.  It was live streamed on Facebook so that was a new one for me. And then the video stays so you can share?  Well, I'm not up on all the technology so lucky that someone in our group is able to do that!

Improv is something that is so much fun and yet people are so afraid of doing it.  OK - so let's book some classes at guilds back home - we're going to do improv!!

Yesterday was a much quieter day than the previous days. But we knew that and it's possible that today might be a bit busier as it looks like people came for two days and then a new contingent of people are coming for the last two days. I love these shows as last night in the hotel lobby, we ran into two people that I've met over the last couple of years and they had just arrived.

Just in case you think it's all fun and games, it's not!  Remember those little bugs I told you about as we waited for the ferry???  I HAD to get some AfterBite last night. I'm in agony from the MANY, I won't say hundreds, but the MANY bites that I got. It's insane. I have two anklets of red bites, bites in my hair, around my neck and a few other places and I'm itchy like crazy!  We stopped at the Five and Dime after our dinner last night and yep - they had AfterBite.  While it's helping, I'm still itching like mad.

I bought some papers for hexagons yesterdays and so in the afternoon when it was a bit quiet, I made a couple of hexagons. Then we got talking to people and well, I think I only made five. But I hope to start sewing them together later today. I'm using GLUE.  So much faster. Each to their own on that one. I think I've figured out what "kit" of papers that I'm going to get tomorrow.

I did manage to get out a bit and chat to some people. I got to thank the APQS people in person for the quick response that I got when my long arm was in desperate need of a fix.  Met a couple of designer friends and met a couple of new ones. I haven't really walked the floor much. This morning I'm off early again to get two hours before the show to browse the quilts, look at the booths and where I want to go back.

I've gotten a LOT of comments on my tote bag that I'm carrying around. The one that is on AllPeopleQuilt.   They were searching for it on the ferry yesterday and then trying to share the link.  That was a nice moment.

Well I got to get out of here!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, February 24, 2017

Quilt Con Day One

It's Day One of Quilt Con 2017.

It's pretty important to have a good breakfast before these events.  You're not sure what kind of food you're gong to get and at what price.  I bring a muffin with me which is usually my lunch along with some snacks we have in the booth.  Some people don't have breakfast and they must be nearly famished by the time dinner rolls around.

Anyway, the first agenda item yesterday was the awards ceremony.   All I can say is WOW.  the quilts are stunning. And even better news, TWO of my friends won prizes.  I'm not going to get the categories straight, but Marilyn won first place for piecing for her quilt - I'll get the name and post a picture on Facebook.  It's an amazing amount of work and I'm thrilled for her. Jeanie also won a prize - second place, but I can't remember that category.  So I belong to TWO modern guilds and one member from each won a prize. Another member has a quilt in the Quiltcon magazine and well, I'm sure there are loads of other quilts that I will recognize the maker of - I'm going over to the convention center early to start my "private" tour of the floor.

BUT the most amazing quilt of all was The Best in Show.  This quilt is spectacular and the pictures don't do justice to it.  I got to present the award to the winner. It was super exciting and we're back early this morning for a photo op!  She is all the way from Australia. Her 98" square quilt represents a Princess cut diamond and it really and truly looks like a diamond!

Then the show started at 10 AM and we were busy in our booth the entire day. It was crazy.  Patti had a demo right at the beginning of the day and we wondered if the attendance would be good.  Nope - she had a packed audience for her demo so that was good. I have a demo today so hopefully, there will be as many people show up!

I sat on a lecture panel yesterday.  I got to do one last year and it was so much fun.  I was super excited to be able to do that again this year.  The theme for this year was Stash Management.  Oh my god.  We had to share photos of our stash and talk about how we manage our stash.  I think a slight bit of tidying went on before some of those photos were taken. There is NO way that I could function in those too neat, too pretty stash rooms. I think the audience appreciated our comments and we all certainly got a lot of laughs and that's what it's all about. My photos which I will post when I get home were raw photos!

After I got back to the booth, it was much quieter, but we still had a steady stream of people until almost the end. I had ONE last public speaking task yesterday and that was to say a few words for the launch party of Fresh Quilts. This is a PBS show about Modern Quilting and we sponsored Season One.

Next up, we went out for dinner.  Marilyn, Nancy, Peggy and I. Oh let's not forget Karen. Who is Karen?  Well, you have to understand Nancy. She will pick up stray puppies, stray women - whatever!  We're standing at the ferry dock waiting for the ferry that we just missed. That meant a20-minutee wait with the no-see-ums driving us crazy. I have bites EVERYWHERE.  We started to chat to the women beside us and next thing you know, Karen is coming with us for dinner. We had a super good time.

It's a long story, but Peggy was staying in a hotel, but ended up staying with a local quilter and it was through her contact that we got a recommendation for a restaurant for dinner.  We went to Savannah Seafood which was amazing. I had the Low Country Boil, which was filled with beef sausage, corn on the cob, potatoes and loads and loads of shrimp.  It came to the table all sealed in a large plastic bag. Yikes!!  But it was good, it was spicey and it was super messy to eat.   A perfect dinner.

During the dinner conversation, the subject of tattos came up. Around the table - do you have a tattoo? Well I couldn't lie.  Karen said that I looked like someone who would have a tattoo.  Seriously????   I asked why and she said look at the shoes that I was wearing (my $16 red Target sneakers!) compared to what the rest of them had on.  Wow - Karen knows her people!!!!  It was pretty funny!

Then back to the hotel a bit earlier than the previous night which was good as I was tired. I got all the stuff sorted out for today and off to bed.

I expect today and each successive day will get a littler quieter as usually happens with any consumer show. I might even get some hand sewing done!  I'm dying to start  making hexies with some scrap fabric that ended up in our booth.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a su

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Quilt Con - set up day!

Ah - my favorite day of any quilt show.  The setup day.  Of course, I'm kidding here! It's always a long day. But we get to meet up with friends and well, it's not all that bad.

There is a beautiful breakfast buffet at the hotel and we got to sit by the window. We can see the Convention Center across the river. Yes - we have to take a small foot ferry across or we could drive. I've done both - the ferry is fun, but you have to know the schedule or wait - maximum is 20 minutes.

Thankfully the dock is not far from the hotel as let's just say that the waiter had to chase us down because no one signed the bill for breakfast.  Oops!!!  That was pretty funny, but everyone here is so friendly and so helpful.  And we had joked with this particular waiter so everything was good.

We walked into the convention center and the quilts were hung.  I ran into Peggy from one of my guilds back home and Peggy had been on the hanging committee and she said that was a very interesting experience.  Everything is well planned, well organized and it was a piece of cake to hang the show.  So if anyone is ever planning on coming to a show, why not volunteer - you get to see each and every quilt up close and personal and there are ZERO people around to get in the way.

Our crate was waiting for us, but we were missing a few other things that were stuck in transit.  Normally the first thing you put down is the floor, but we didn't have our floor yet so we did everything else and then when the floor came, much later in the day, we just whipped those pieces under the legs of our structure and it worked like a charm.  You just get creative when life throws you a curve!!!

Everyone seemed so relaxed yesterday.  While we thought we took a long time to set up, everyone was casually setting up as well.  Our "competitors" were also just lounging the day away and it seemed to take forever for everyone to get set up.

I'll be posting pictures on Facebook throughout the day since we have Wi-Fi at the convention center and it seems to be very stable.

Despite an invitation to visit with some of the other Canadians here, I was tired so some of our team went out for dinner.  What restaurant to choose?  We walked along the waterfront and then we picked a tavern.  Who do we find inside???  Linda from back home.  She was with a group of friends and we just said hello and onto an amazing dinner.  The jerk shrimp were to die for!

While sitting at the window which overlooked the river, we saw numerous small boats go by. A big old paddleboat and then OH MY - what is that?????   A MASSIVE container ship. It was dark and we couldn't really get pictures, but I hope we see one in the daytime.  I'm not talking some little boat here - this was a full blown container ship laden high with containers.  What a sight to see down the middle of the river!!!

The Savannah Candy Factory was just below the tavern so of course, we had to stop.  There was candy of every conceivable kind and shape in that shop. Some of us got ice cream. We seemed to spend a lot of time there and the number of videos, snap chats and pictures - well I guess the staff is used to that by now.

Strolling back to the hotel, we stopped in at the Five and Dime.  Nothing cost a nickel or a dime in the store, but it literally had everything in this shop.  Lots of kitschy souvenirs, shirts, clothes, you name it - it was in this shop. We finally made it back to the hotel and one more stop in the bar where I had water.  My body won't survive these shows with all the food and drink!  Mind you, we didn't really have lunch!

I'm all organized for today.  It's the first day of the show and the first thing bright and early at 8 AM is the awards ceremony.  I get to represent Northcott as the sponsor of the Best in Show.  What quilt won?????   I'll post that later.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Greetings from Savannah

We arrived!  It was a long day as I had to go to work to get some last minute things done. Then home to get some even more last minute things done. BUT I'm happy and I actually sat around for about 1/2 hour as I waited for my ride.

There was NO ONE at the airport.  However, that doesn't mean that there aren't a few stories to tell.  I head into the NEXUS line for security. I open up my boarding pass on my phone. The guy at the door can't scan it. No worries - go on in he says. So I do. ZERO line at the security machine - well not counting the one man in front of me. The check point guy says I'm showing him my connecting flight boarding pass, NOT the first leg of the trip. At least someone was on the ball.

My stuff goes through (including the rotary cutter that I threw in).  GASP!!!!  I put in a small one just in case. I was prepared to ditch the blade and keep the handle, having to replace just the blade if need be.  NOPE - that sailed through no problem. However, I was asked, "what's in that little box?"  AH - that's a sewing kit with scissors (regulation length blade) but it was my two Roxanne's heavy thimbles that had them guessing. Then I was shocked to hear that juice boxes can't go through the line. DUH!  I know that, but I don't have juice boxes in my backpack.  "Yes - you do!"  I'm madly thinking - ah - I have bundles and bundles of small cards that are part of our giveaway.  Yep - those looked like juice boxes on the scanner!!!!!

When I arrived last night, I thought "oh shoot" I forgot my toothpaste. But after searching through the luggage this morning, I did bring toothpaste.  A BIG tube - 130 ml. That went through no problem and I NEVER put any of my stuff in a Ziploc bag. EVER.  Mind you I don't carry much stuff with me - just a small carry on and my backpack. I travel very LIGHT!!!

And my fingers were so dry, they wouldn't register on the NEXUS machine so the guy had to get me some hand sanitizer.  Then we used too much.  And I had started off in the non-Nexus line as there were ZERO people in this area.  I got straightened out and through everything in mere minutes!!!

Met up with my colleagues who were already there.  Bought a sandwich and a small bottle of water for almost $20.   That's outrageous!!!!

The flights were pretty uneventful although we did have a bit of turbulence just before getting into Savannah.  We were at the back of the plane and you can see the clouds moving over those long, delicate-looking wings.  I don't like that part!!!!

Our other colleague had arrived earlier and was waiting to pick us up.  Let's just say there was a small detail with the hotel we were staying at and thankfully that was fixed before we left. But all my packages were now sent to the wrong hotel.  I was worried that they wouldn't be waiting for me.  However, the good news is that all 7 packages had arrived!!!!!  Although we did have to wait a LONG LONG time for them to retrieve the packages.

We're at the Marriott and the front desk man was very happy to greet us even though it was after midnight at this point.

I won't go into a lot of detail, but have you ever noticed that hotel bathrooms are NOT happy places.  Why do that have that giant mirror over the sink which, well, I'm not going to say more than that!!!!

It's time to head out for breakfast. Grab the ferry across the river and start setting up the booth.

Oh - I should say the silliness starts. Ran into Cheryl Arkinson at the airport.  A nice lady and told her how much we appreciated her allowing all the groups to use her slab block pattern for those blocks for the CQA quilting bee.  It's going to be a name-dropping kind of place!!!!   I don't care - I have no shame.
Have a super, super day!!!!


We're at QUILTCON!!!!!!    Yahoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Seeing red?

I had a super fun day with the sewing group yesterday.  It was so great to be back (even for just one day) despite the fact that I had a ton of stuff to do so I didn't get to chat a whole lot. Besides, I'm used to working heads down by myself so it was almost overwhelming a bit!

I got HALF of the backing done for my One Block wonder quilt.  Then I realized I was going to run out of time, so I put it aside. It was the hardest half so that is good to have that out of the way. It will have to wait until I get back to finish.  I also got the binding done.

I got a whole pile of flying geese done for a pieced border for another quilt. I needed that border on for 9 AM this morning and I'm happy to say that I'm right on target with that.

Then I needed a sample for our booth. Something small (thankfully) and I whipped that up last night and bound it this morning. Is it my best work?  No - but it's all improv stuff and well, there's so much to learn from improv.  I'll show it later and give you the blow by blow on what went well and what didn't.

I see I have a couple of pictures in my photo editor that I haven't shown yet so here they are.

Radiant Light
 The top is together, but the pattern still needs a bit of work. Yikes - there are a LOT of seams in this one.

And I got the next two patterns for The Canadian Sampler at Sew Sisters.

Next two blocks

Here's an interesting thought. I spoke to Judy the other day about popping in to get some red fabric to start making these blocks.  Nope she says, red is very hard to find this year. OK, so I checked at Hobby Horse and there were NO suitable reds either. Lots of reds with designs in them, reds that are orange/red but NO deep rich monochromatic reds. And I don't have any in my stash either!

So what's going on?  Because it's Canada's Sesquicentennial, has everyone been buying up the reds?

Well red fabric is now on my shopping list. It's so much better to go to a quilt show with SOMETHING on the list. It helps to avoid buying willy nilly!

On that note, I'm out of here.   I've a few things to get done before my plane leaves tonight at 6 PM.

Have a super day!!!


Monday, February 20, 2017

Motivational Monday MIRACLE!

It's Motivational Monday again. A very exciting day. Many people are not that fond of Monday - it's the end of the weekend, it's back to work. For me, Monday has been a very exciting day for many years as that is my sewing day. Well now that I work full time, it's not technically a full sewing day, but it's all about sewing as I do get to spend a bit of time first thing in the morning with the sewing group and then off to work which is always exciting.

Today is even more exciting as I'm going to spend the entire day with the sewing group. Normally on stat holidays, the sewing group doesn't meet, but today they are and so I get to join them.

BUT even more exciting is what I have to share with you this morning. The TOP of my January project is done!!!!  Yes - it's been almost 10 years since I started this project. I've tried to resurrect it several times and got bored?  But the top is DONE!!!!   I'm super excited about that and hope to get the binding (which is cut and ready to sew together) and the bits for the backing are in my sewing bag today. As I lay awake this morning, I had a vision of how to put the bits together for the backing! Perfect!!!!

Let's have a look at how the top got finished.

First, I wanted to share this fabulous quote with you.  How true!  Let's get these things done, but perfect?  Hardly. But what a huge weight I felt lift when I got this top done!!!  That's what we're aiming for!

There was ONE last seam to be sewn in order for this section to be finished.

One last seam and now the center is together

I was short by ONE hexagon when I put it together and I used a different green. You can see it in the top left corner and also near the bottom right hand corner.  I wasn't sure that I like that green so I tried another one.

Ah - I don't think so - this is hideous and stands out way more than the one that I orginally used.

I don't think that green works!!!!

So I tried yet another green and this time, I was much happier with it. I think what bothered me was the original fabric was ONLY green and there were no blocks that were solid green in the quilt.
The new fabric has some gold in it so it blends better.

Much better
 After the auditioning process was over, it was time to replace those bits. Thankfully, they were on the edge so wasn't too big of a deal to replace.

NOW the center part is complete
 Next up was to choose the borders. I tried the new green for the border, but it doesn't look as good as it could when placed directly against the pieced bits.

Color is good, but it looks weird
 That is even more jarring when the border is placed next to the orange/yellow bits.

The border is even more jarring!
 Let's try a smaller border in yellow/oranges which of course wasn't hard to find. I literally grabbed the first or second fabric from the orange basket and it works perfectly.

This is much better!!!
 I laughed at one point when I was working because the January project is pretty bright, while the February project which is on the left is pretty dull!

February project is dull compared to the January project
 Speaking of the February project, it's also in my bag for sewing today!!!

Let's get those points trimmed off!

Off with the points!
 And put on that first border.  There are many bias edges on this quilt and over the years of mistreatment, the pieces have been stretched. Thankfully the stretching wasn't too much of a problem. But this is a good example of why we need to make sure the top and bottom borders are the same length and that the two side borders are the same length.

First border on!
Audition the green again.  Much better!!!

Much better
 Now it was an easy process to add that final border - well almost. I decided that last border should be mitered.
Mitered corner
Here is the top - completely DONE!!!!!!

Top is DONE!!!!!!
 I never noticed this before, but I always had it on the wall in this orientation. Probably because the columns were easier to put on the wall. But the final size of this quilt is 63 by 72 which is pretty close to my general lap size so guess what, it's going to be a lap quilt, NOT a wall hanging and it will look like this!!!!

Now it's a lap quilt!

I'm super happy with it. I think I may keep this one for myself after all the agony of it.  BUT here's the thing - without this group, without The Task Master, this project would have gotten shelved yet again. I could see everyone posting their January projects and some are already finished their Feburary projects. Well I had to keep slogging.  I was even tempted to put it on the long arm and quilt it yesterday, but I had a customer quilt that had to be done and I have a few things to finish off before we leave for QuiltCon so those take priority. When I get back..................   well we'll see.

Customer quilt - DONE!!!!!

So a HUGE HUGE thank you to all of you who are posting your completed projects.  It's very motivating.

On that note, I have to finish getting ready for my sewing day!!!

Have a super day!!!


And if you want to join us on Facebook and post your finished projects, check out the group.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Size matters.................

Yesterday was an awesome day. I taught three classes and while I wasn't 100% completed what I would have like to have done, it was enough to get us going and thanks to Diane for having completed blocks.  I took loads of pictures and I'm going to try and get them all up this coming week.

But the best news was when I got home. I've been a busy little bee, I've updated The Task Master and while there are still a few things that need to be done from a few weeks ago, I don't feel too bad.

The even better news is that I have NOTHING to do today. I mean no appointments or commitments. I can sew all day, I can read, I can do whatever - well with the exception of having to quilt one customer quilt, but I hope to get that out of the way right away and still have loads of free time.  Yes - I'll probably be sewing and I'll take the girls for a walk later today, and I do have a couple of errands, but nice to not have any crushing deadlines!

I've been doing a lot of cutting over the past couple of weeks. My scrap basket on the table was overflowing and I didn't even have time to empty it. At one point, it got put on the floor and I aimed for it, but didn't actually hit it often.

The scrap basket
 At last a minute to empty the darn thing. I had to!

One pet mat full of scraps
 I had another bag of scraps sitting on the table and hadn`t had time to put that in a pet mat as well, so when I emptied it all, I had three bags full!!!
Three bags full!!
 Now to get the serger out and zip up the ends and those will be ready to go, along with the giant one I got yesterday. Thanks Shelly.  It`s still in the car so no photo of that one.

I managed to quilt a quilt this past week.  You`ll see a bit more of this quilt in the very near future and if you want the pattern, check out the link. The quilt is called STAX by Patti Carey of Northcott.  The fabric is by Patricia Ritter of Urban Elementz BASIX for Northcott.

STAX - quilted
 I used one of Patricia`s pantographs (Urban Elementz) to quilt it.  Bubbles which is NOT easy to do on a hand-guided long arm. But it worked!!!

(Speaking of FREE patterns - if you missed my tote bag that was in Quilts and More, I heard yesterday that it's available on ALLPEOPLEQUILT as a free download.  Check it out!!!!!

Then I had a tiny project to quilt and I was on a roll, so I loaded the backing on the long arm.  Yes - this teeny tiny piece is the backing.

A teeny tiny backing loaded

I will share the mini-quilt at some point, but not now.

So there has been much discussion about how to pack for a retreat. Tish takes ONE laundry basket, I take MANY everyday totes and usually a few extra things.  I vowed that I would take ONE laundry basket to the next retreat. I would start by sweeping everything from those tables into the basket. Well, I have to face reality that not all that stuff will fit in one laundry basket and then I`m not sure it would keep me busy for a five day retreat.

When I was in Ontario, California at the Target (searching for shoes to keep my feet dry),  LOOK what I found.


It`s a combination between a laundry basket and a hamper.  Now that`s the kind of laundry basket that I WANT.  I wonder if we can buy them in Canada????   Of course, what happens if I fall in when I reach for that last project on the bottom?

If you search for the definition of a lamper on the internet, well there are many definitions, none of which describe it as a hamper/laundry basket combo.

You can even get something similiar on WHEELS.

Now here's the interesting thing, did you know that the capacity of a laundry basket is in bushels???  What does the average consumer know about bushels????   I notice that the basket on wheels has a capacity of 1.75 bushels, while a regular one has 2.0 bushels. I think I'll take the non-wheeled one because it's bigger!!! However if you live in Canada, the laundry baskets are measured in liters. One bushel = 35 liters. So a two bushel laundry basket is the equivalent of a 71 liter laundry basket.

But there is a square one at 2.1 bushels - I might aim for that one!!!  That extra .1 bushel - well I could put a lot in there.

Hmmmm - just checked the label of the lamper and the capacity is 2.0 bushels.  CRUDE!!!!  It's not bigger. Oh well, I tried!!!!

I'm just going to have to be very careful in packing - something I don't do. Everything will have to be vaccuum packed and only the actual pieces I will be sewing can be included. ACK!!!!

On that note, I'm out of here to enjoy my day!!!!

Have a super day!!!


BTW - Lexi tells me she posted something this morning and I need to read it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Tidy up time

When I took that trip down memory lane through my previous blog - well it seemed that ALL I talk about is tidying up my stuff.  Seriously????   I need a new train of thought.  

At dinner last night, we had a discussion - do we take the stuff (in the garage) to the dump ourselves or do we call 1-800-got-junk???  Come spring, there is going to be a massive tidy up - at least in the garage. Must schedule a day for that.  

I had to clean up my hand sewing box. I'll share the reason tomorrow. Am I done my homework for class today???  NO!  I've got most of it prepped and that's why there is a short blog this morning as I still have a bit more that I need to get done. Perhaps I'll finish all the blocks off tonight - a fun night of sewing instead of a night sewing things that have deadlines.

I've been doing a lot of hand stitching - mostly labels and sleeves. I'll be happy to get those out of the way, but it seems that there is an endless supply of quilts that need labels and sleeves. These are perfect to take to the Monday sewing group where I have 1 1/2 hours on Monday morning to spend with the few early birds who get there. Then I zip off to work.  

But the handstitching box was full of pins, thread, burred needles and well - too much stuff. 

Untidy hand stitch box
I put the pins back in the pincushion where I can use them. The snaps went in the fastener box, all the threads got wrapped with a strip of vinyl to prevent the threads from springing off and making a huge mess.

Vinyl wrapped around the spools of thread
I was wondering if I could file down the burrs on those two needles?  I'll attempt this weekend, otherwise, they are history!

And now I have a tidy box with a lid that shuts tight and SECURE!

Hand stitch box is tidied up!

I know that many of you (and I know) that the less amount of stuff you have, the easier it is to keep tidy. I tend not to deal with stuff right away (non-quilt) stuff or silly little things accummulate over the years.  The dining room/office is evidence of that.  I so want this room to be tidy - wish me luck. I keep saying that and it is happening so slowly that I don't see it happen.  I must schedule a day where this will happen.  The month of March is a pretty slow month for me so I'l going to schedule a day in there to just rip this place apart.  No that's not true - I'm going to deal with all the extraneous stuff that sitting on the floor. If that could be dealt with, I'd be happy.   Goals - another goal!

On that note, I'm back to the sewing machine to finish one more block for today.

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, February 17, 2017


That's one word that I would never use to describe myself!  I'm a far cry from preppy!  However, prepping - now that's more my style. I have three classes to teach this weekend and all of them still require prep work. The good news is that I've been prepping throughout this past week and so hopefully tonight won't be too insane. Normally, I would be prepping everything the night before or god forbid - the morning of the class.

I'm happy to say that everything is CUT.  Yes - all of the block pieces are cut. But I have a lot of blocks to sew - OK, let's be realistic - there are FIVE blocks at the most that need to be sewn. The blocks are cut?  Easy!!!!!

This is one of the classes

Fancy Forest quilt class
EVERYTHING must be labelled well and in bags for this one.  There are oodles and oodles of teeny tiny pieces.

Organized fabric baggies
And in prepping for the upcoming retreats this year, I must make sure that everything is packed light and tight.  There'll be more on that retreat prep as the time gets closer which isn't that far away.

Everything for the quilt is in the basket
NO - it's not a laundry basket. That's one of the ones that I bought to control the visual Task Master.  Imagine what this would be like if I didn't have baskets - there would be bags everywhere!!!

One set of blocks all cut
Yes - there are EIGHT blocks in this baggie

more blocks prepped
And eight blocks in this baggie

I know that Joyce will be watching me tomorrow to see if I actually get those blocks pieced and well, I love a dare!!!  I told her they would be done and I'm going to make sure that they are!  Not all eight of the same block will be done. That would take a miracle, but one is enough of each type of block.

The other night, I couldn't sleep. Just a lot of stuff going on in my mind. Instead of just laying there, thinking about everything, I got up and started to sort paperwork.  I made it through several piles.  I know I say this all the time and then it gets crazy again.  I just want to sort and file whatever I can. The bits will go into a box. I want that dining room clear. It's just not conducive to work and I need a good clean space.

On that note, another exciting happy day.  Oh yes - I'll have to share this story at some point. Let's just say that I would NOT make a good travel agent. The stories I could tell about my hotel bookings would blow your mind!

Have a super day!!!!


PS - if you've never been on a retreat before or are looking to go on a retreat in the Orillia area, e-mail me if you might be interested. I have a spot or two open.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

When you in a hurry................

It doesn't pay to be in a hurry. As you know, big preparations for Quiltcon next week and other things going on for my classes this weekend, and other conferences later this year. 

And things niggle at the back of my mind. I must do this, I must do that.  So yesterday just before leaving work, I had some photos to send to someone.  I had edited the photos in the morning and just needed to send them via e-mail. Because they were kind of big, I decided to send the five photos individually.  I start to type the name of the recipient and their name pops up. Attach photo - SEND.  Second photo - SEND.  This is easy.  Then I got home and received an e-mail from a different person (same first name - different spelling) saying my photos were pretty but why were they getting them.  Oh, shoot - three went to the right person, two did not!!!!  And you would laugh if I told you who the photos ended up going to.  Someone high up in the Modern Quilt Guild - of which the photos had NOTHING to do!   I laughed about that. I`ll have to introduce myself to Jacquie and tell her I was the idiot that sent her the pictures!!!

I also needed to arrange for the delivery of one more quilt and sent a hurried e-mail only to get a response that I had already taken care of that detail!  DUH!!!!   So my brain is doing the work, but it`s not reminding that I`ve already done some of the stuff!!!!   

Recommendation - S L O W     D O W N

Here`s the rest of my day on Sunday.  After I quilted all of those quilts, they had to be trimmed and then THREE of them had to be bound. 

The customer was coming over on Sunday night. Now the weather was very bad that day but I thought - OK - she wants the quilts bad enough to come out in the storm, I`ll get them all done for her. 

I`m putting the binding on the first quilt - the Snowman one.  Notice how she wound that binding. I hate it this way as it twists when you sew it on. 

Sewing on the binding
Now here`s a blast from the past for my aunt. (who reads my blog!  - Hi, Aunt Irene!!!)   Years and years ago, she gave me a sewing machine in a cabinet. The sewing machine is no longer with us, but I`ve kept the cabinet and I LOVE it.  When I sew a binding on, I don`t have a lot of room on the left-hand side of my table and the quilt keeps falling off. I put the cabinet beside the table and it works like a charm!!!!

Cabinet beside the sewing table

Binding number one - DONE
I ran out of bobbin thread and that meant having to stop and clean the machine. I`m working on my own machine at the moment and it obviously hasn`t been cleaned in a while.

That`s a LOT of lint
Here is the beautifully wound binding for the second customer quilt.

Nicely wound binding -- Good job R!!!!
Second binding on the customer quilt -= DONE!!!!
Remember our Oh Canada quilt for the CQA sewing bee?  I didn't have enough binding?  Well, I volunteered the remainder of Ronda's binding to be added to our group project.

Remainder of binding from quilt one

Binding on the second Oh Canada quilt - DONE

Leftover over binding
I joined those two bits with my three bits to get this much binding.

Binding for the Oh Canada quilt for the sewing bee
I think I still need 80 inches, but I have a couple more Oh Canada quilts to make so I'm sure I will have enough before June when the quilt is due!!!!

So Ronda comes over after dinner to get her quilts. We go downstairs to chat.  I noticed that she had set two pieces of fabric on the table. Finally, she says, "shouldn't we do the embroidery?"   OH GOD - I had completely forgotten about it. We had chatted the week before that she wanted me to do some work for her, but even when she was in front of me, with her fabric, it was far from my mind!!!!

Thankfully it was a short and sweet job and she was on her way with her three finished (on my part) quilts. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!

I chatted about the labels the other day.  Here is a label that I washed and you can see that the writing is still very legible.  You MUST use brand name inks - the cheap stuff doesn't work.  Only BLACK ink are colorfast, color is NOT.  And I heat set the labels as I'm turning the edges under.  Hopefully, that will answer the question to those that asked.

Washed label is still legible
And I guess it's off to try and get something accomplished today. My brain is going 100 miles a minute at this point and I hate to keep writing things down.   But I may have to.

Have a super day!!!!