Sunday, July 30, 2017

An apple a day....

Yesterday was a glorious day! OK - most days are glorious, but yesterday was super glorious.  I took a class and I actually got something done!

I confess, I'm not super motivated to get this last deadline quilt done. I may or may not proceed with it for the deadline. I may end up doing something just for me with the fabrics. I'll see how today goes cause I still haven't started and I had a design SNAFU thought that came to me the moment I woke up.  I'm OK if it doesn't get done.  And life really is all about having fun and I've met a ton of deadlines lately - I deserve a break.

Anyway - got to the quilt show (Quilts at the Creek - at Black Creek Pioneer Village).  Oh my - the quilts are GORGEOUS flapping in the breeze.  It was super exciting to see them all hanging. I quickly snapped a picture of my two as they were on the way to the lecture and posted them to Instagram/Facebook.  I've got to keep up with my friends Peggy and Tish on the Instagram thing. I'm not going to post pictures of those today as the red/white one needs better pictures with close ups for you to understand it.

The lecture was with Tamara Kate. She was at Quilt Canada but to be honest, I didn't know who she was - tsk tsk on my part!  And well, I have enough fabric. Turns out she's a designer for Michael Miller (GASP! - although I did know that before I signed up for the lecture).  I have to say that I do like the estectic of her prints - not all of them, but overall they are very fun, funky and I'd put them in the modern category.  If you go to the link above, you'll see some of her quilts that she's designed with her collections and you'll see the collection that I HAD to buy.  Oh god - what's the matter with me?  I was soft - I was weak and my credit card just jumped out of my bag and into the shop owner's machine!  I also bought something else which I'll reveal in a bit - you'll be shocked. I'm shocked, but it's something I've been thinking about for a while and well, I couldn't stop myself. There is a clue on that same page.

It's always interesting to hear someone else's story. Hers was no exception as she is a graphic designer first who fell into quilting and has now become a quilter!  I did snap some pictures of her quilts, but I'm not going to post them.  Instead I'm going to tell you about the class which was taught by Tamara Kate.

It would appear that I didn't take a picture of the apple quilt.  Seriously???  I had a phone and a camera with me and NO picture of the apple quilt?  Good grief - I'm slipping.  Did anyone get a picture of the apple quilt? Well never mind because soon I'll have my own apple quilt!

I actually knew a good number of the people in the class so that was fun.  Got to catch up on summer stuff and what's happening - whose is doing what for the fall, etc.

So I did mention that I was prepped for the class.  I had cut some red squares, I had brought some other red/white/pink fabrics that I wasn't sure I would use and I brought some green fabrics to cut up.  I did take the background just for moral support.

BUT - I think some people were way more organized than I was. Have a look.

Now that's organisation!
Alas - that was not my little stash.  But that's OK.  Once we got going, I had to cut a few squares of the red/white/pink fabrics that I brought because an idea came to me and then I was off.  Some people chose to use 2" squares instead of 1 1/2".  No big deal - it'll just change the size of the finished quilt. At the end of the three hour class, here are some of the results.

Finished "blocks"

I say blocks because this quilt isn't really about blocks, but if you want to break it down and sew in sections, then the sections become blocks.  There is a very subtle heart in the apple quilt but I chose to make it defined in mine. And that's where I used those red/white/pinkish prints. Can you tell above which one is mine?  although You can very easily see the heart in all of them. Notice that Jennifer was a keener and had TWO sections done!  There is only one heart!

It was only when my block was on the wall with the others that I realized that OOPS - I had goofed with the top section.

A squashed heart!

However I was on a roll and decided to fix it this morning and now the heart is just fine.

Now it looks better

Now here is where the insane part of my brain comes into play.  I love little squares, but I have an issue with the pressing. If you sew in rows, you can press one row to the left and one to the right and the seams are nested. But when you go to sew the rows together, you have to go left or right (or up or down). So I decided to twirl the seams. ACK!!!!!  I can't help myself - but my piece is FLAT and that is why I take the time to do stupid fiddly little things like twirling the seams.

Seams all twirled on the back
It doesn't make a difference, but it does to me!

I have no idea how many squares we need. I know that Peggy calculated the numbers. Something like 1,048 for the background, 4?? for the red and 1??  of the green?  I'm just going to make it up as I go along.  Too much figuring and too much time wasted deciding if I have enough squares. If I run out, I'll throw something else in there. Who knows!

I did notice that a lot of the others used much busier prints than I did especially for their red part.  I chose to keep the apple red and the lighter apple parts will be red/white.  I did throw a few tiny prints in with a bit of color, but this is red!

What's funny is that I like to eat GREEN apples, not red ones!

Instead of being good and working on my next deadline project, I decided to read last night. And this morning I decided to do this.

Nothing like getting some of those background squares cut. After seeing Tamara Kate's verion, I decided to go with black on white. And I put my background moral support fabric away for another day. I grabbed the black/white scrapbox and started cutting.

Cutting the background squares
 And when I stopped this morning, I had sorted out all the black on white that was suitable.

Fabrics are sorted

I'm not sure how many I will get from the pile of fabrics on the left. But it's enough to get me started and should I run out, well, I've got a whole stash bucket of white on blacks.  But for starters - we're going with the scrap bins.  That's what I love about quilting. I love the scraps more than I love the stash!

I was contemplating going for a bike ride this morning, but got plowed down by a dog at the park and I think I'll give my knee a break. That means I have no choice - I HAVE to work on my deadline project. Darn dogs - making up my mind. It wasn't even one of my dogs!  And it's not the knee I had surgery on - it's the other one!

Here is a picture of a dress that Tamara Kate made with one of her fabric collections.  Is this not adorable???  The pattern is Made by Rae which is funny as I have a couple of her patterns, but didn't associate the name!

Pattern by Made by Rae
 I hope that's right as I couldn't find the pattern on her web site.

Here's one thing I have about cotton and clothing.  First off - it doesn't stretch so it's not super comfortable unless the pattern has ease built in. But how much ease is too much and still be flattering and not look like you're wearing a pillowcase with a slit in the top? And then there's the issue of ironing.  While this little dress is super cute, would I iron it before I put it on a child?  NO!   And then pretty little dresses like this - would they stay clean? Where would the child wear it?  That didn't happen in our house. So I guess my kid would be running around in a wrinkled dress, covered in mud, but happy as a clam?  Probably!

On that note, I'm out of here as I have work to do and I'm back to the quilt show around lunch time.

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pairing down................

I'm super excited!  Today is the first day of the quilt show at Quilts at the Creek.  This is an outdoor quilt show that is held at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto.  Check out this link for ALL the details - there are other workshops - indigo dying and more (shopping!)!  We have the FIRST weekend of the summer with no threat of rain (I'm almost afraid to write that!).  I dropped my two quilts off at the venue yesterday (a mere 10 minute drive from work) and there were quilts everywhere!  And of course ALL the volunteers who received the quilts, transported the quilts and will hang the quilts.  I'll be helping to take down, although I might go a bit early to help set up?  Extra hands are always welcome.

There are lectures and workshops and I'm taking one of each today. Then off to one more event tomorrow. I can't wait. It's going to be loads of fun.

So what is the class I'm taking?  You can check it out here.   I'm not very good with classes so I figured that I could manage this one - it's only three hours long.  That is a lot of little squares - right up my alley and the technique is one that I've wanted to experiment with for a while.  Pixel quilts.  One of my big issues for getting to class is what to prepare. You know - you're not sure so you take a LOT!  Well have a look because I AM prepared.

It's a bit surprising that I'm prepared because when I got home yesterday, I sat in the backyard and I finished my Dalziel and Pascoe book.  Oh my - those characters are very naughty! It was published by a  British author written in 1983. Let's just say - it's not very politically correct.  And there are passages which I have to read several times in order to understand what exactly they are saying.  A HUGE thanks to Helen for introducing me to this series!  I love it.  I do believe Reginald Hill has passed away (Yes - Januayr 12, 2012) so once I'm finished reading the last book in this series - it's over!  There are 24 books in the series, I just read number 7 so I don't think I'll be finishing the series anytime soon!  I see he wrote another series so may pick that up afterwards.

Anyway - I digress from telling you about my prep.  Oh not before I started a new book in the Jack Reacher series. I LOVE those books.  I'm reading the one that was published in 2008 ad there are 10 more waiting. Again - I won't be hitting the end of that series very soon.  There is no danger of me binge reading any author. Two in a row is about all I can handle - they are repetitive in a weird sort of way.

OK - back to the prep.   I needed a lot of little red squares so I got out my scrap box and I sorted through what I thought would be good for the project. I cut, I sorted and I have a few that are maybes. Little scraps that are maybes!  The squares are 1 1/2" by the way.

Cutting scraps
And once I was done - this is ALL the fabric that I'm taking to class.

My class fabrics!

I did throw in a two yard piece for the background which we aren't required to take, but I have. Tamara is going to discuss the background in the class.  I may get brave and instead of using one piece - I'll be using MANY pieces (like the original), but I just needed to have EXTRA fabric with me!  

That means I won't be diddling around trying to decide which fabrics to use - they are cut and ready to go.

So all this reading and prep stuff means that I DID not get started on the next deadline quilt. Hey - I needed a break. And I was tired and half falling asleep in my chair in the backyard while the dogs wrestled and chewed their rawhide bones.

So - did you pick a quilt book off your shelf to read?  Did you???   I caved and decided that the introduction to the NEW Color Play book by Joen Wolfrom was too enticing so I bought it and waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime, I have a blogging magazine that I'm reading as my "quilt" book to get through.

Well on that note, I see the girls are waiting. Tap tap tap - pant pant pant. Let's go!

Have a super day!!!!!   (and hope to see you at Quilts at the Creek!!!!)


Friday, July 28, 2017

Tempting fate!

Why or why do I do this to myself?  I have my lists, I have my deadlines, so why was I up at 4:30 to put a binding on a quilt?  Because I decided it was better to do errands, read my book and have dinner out last night!

But there are no worries - the quilt just needs to have the sleeve hand stitched down and I'm good to go.  I started to quilt the darn thing at 7:30 last night.  I could do a wee bit more in parts of it, but it will have to do.  I'm happy with the end result given the timeline I was working with. And there is one teeny little creative design element that I noticed while quilting.  I wonder if anyone will be able to pick up on that small detail.  I totally shocked now that the quilt is together that it only happened once.  Oh - I know why - I planned it that way!!!  Right?  I did - didn't I??

By the way, I hear the weather this weekend is supposed to be the BEST of all the weekends so far this summer.  SO - if you don't have plans and even if you do -  you SHOULD come to QUILTS AT THE CREEK.  It's going to be an amazing show. Some great speakers, workshops, I'll let Valerie tell you all about it.    I can't wait to go - and I'll be there both days.

I'm dropping my quilts off this morning right after I get that sleeve stitched on.  BTW - I'm loving those little labels that insert into the binding.  I think I've used three now and I'm super excited about them.  So was the editor of one of the magazines.  Perhaps Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts has started a trend???   If you want to order your own, check out Ikaprint.

I made a cover for my deadline book which I'll show you on Monday. Super cute!  And I NEED to remember to use Instagram.  I always forget - I forget to post and I forget to see what's happening.  It's not like I want to spend a ton of time on social media - who has time for that, but I do need to keep in the loop.

Today is the last day for this week of QUILTsocial. Be sure to check out the projects I made with my embroidery stitch-outs and there is some insight into my haphazard design process.

And on that exciting note - I'm off to do some hand stitching!

Have a super day!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

I had chocolate for dinner!

Yep - I had chocolate for dinner last night. Well technically I had chocolate and a salad!  That's healthy - right?  Now why did I have chocolate? Well my cook has disappeared for a couple of days and I've had to fend for myself. God forbid if he sees that I ate chocolate for dinner. But I was working and I didn't really want to stop to make something to eat. I happen to have a chocolate stash in the studio and that was good enough for me.

He's back today so I even tidied up the kitchen, emptied the dish washer, reloaded it and vacuumed up the dog hair.  All those domestic things that I don't normally do. I even took the running shoes off the kitchen table!!  That's a whole other story for another day!

I noticed that the quote of the day yesterday is "Living the Dream".  Yep - that's pretty much my life at this moment. I mean - I got to sew all day yesterday for work (HEY - I had to test one of my patterns and I ended up making a number of changes to make it easier to understand) and then I got to sew all evening for myself! A bit of reading tossed in (those Dalziel and Pascoe books are addictive), a few e-mails and phone calls about some upcoming super exciting projects, chocolate for dinner, fabric arrived in the mail from a personal shopper  - see what I mean?  It doesn't get better than that!

I finished the bag pattern that I was testing. It's sitting in the graphics department waiting for them to pretty it up and then it will be available for you to download for free.  It's super cute. I won't tell you which one until the pattern is available cause you'll all want it. But the moment it was made, I decided that I could have fun with this project and already going to rejig the pattern in a different size for a very specific reason. Just wait and see. I already pulled fabric for it!  Can't wait to get that made!

I'm pretty fast at sewing stuff, but when you have to write instructions so someone else can follow along, that slows me down a LOT.

Then the day was over and it was time to do my personal sewing.  Yep - the top is done, the backing is done and well both pieces are loaded on the long arm ready for me to quilt tonight.  Yes - I think I just might make that deadline tomorrow!  But not before, I decided to fussy cut the TWO borders on the quilt and miter the corners. Just wait until you see - it's a bit of a nightmare and NOT something I would write a pattern for. It isn't perfect and you'll see why, but I'm over that perfection thing!

I made good progress on the design (in my head) for the next deadline quilt. That's a good thing since I don't have a lot of time to get it completed. All the supplies are now assembled and ready to go. That process will start tomorrow evening.  Thankfully this one just needs pictures - the quilt doesn't need to be there.

Don't forget, today is the fourth day of QUILTsocial with machine embroidery. Some more great ideas and tips for machine embroidery or just check out what I'm up to!

On that note - I'm out of here.  A super busy day planned.  I'm making extremely good progress on getting things caught up and organised which makes me even more organised as I have more time.

Have a super day!!!!


PS - if you're going to be in the Toronto area this weekend, make sure you plan to come to Black Creek Pioneer Village.  It will be the location of Quilts at the Creek - a GORGEOUS outdoor quilt show.  I will have TWO quilts hanging in the show. There's going to be an amazing display of red/white quilts for Canada's 150th, gorgeous quilts for Quilts of Valor, my Sesquicentennial quilt will be there so you can see it in person if you missed it at Quilt Canada.  The pattern is available for free download on the Northcott web site.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Facebook rocks!!!!

What a day!  I spent a good part of the day organizing the next round of deadline quilts.  I'm not done yet but let's just say that there will be a few. Thankfully they are spaced out and they are WRITTEN down in my little micro binder so I know exactly what my time line will be.  There are more coming, but still working on the details. The system is amazing (for me) for prioritizing - a simple thing like writing a list, but it's NOT a list. It's a flexible list and that's different!

And yes - I did get the sleeve sewn on and that other quilt is gone.

Sometimes I hear people talk about Facebook.  Oh  - what's the point of it?  Well, let me tell you - I would be lost without Facebook.  It's a super way to stay in touch with people that you don't really need (or want) to talk to.  But it allows you to stay in tune with their lives (at least from a distance). I stay in touch with my distant cousins, aunts and uncles and friends who have moved away. I belong to interest groups and I love seeing what everyone is making.

But here is the BEST.  I desparately needed a fabric - a specific color from a specific manufacturer.  I put out a note on one of my quilting groups.  Got an answer back very quickly that a fairly local store to me carried this product.  As I mulled over the information, I remembered that another person that I met through my blog lived in that area. A message to her and VOILA - my fabric should arrive today!!!  Yeah!!!!!   Thanks to the Canadian Quilters group and thanks to Shelly and thanks to The Cotton Harvest Quilt Shop in Seaforth!!!

I was working on my next deadline project last night and hit a stumbling block. The first set of blocks were done. I thought they looked rather neat. When I started making the secondary blocks - the project fell flat.  Seriously????   I'll take pictures to show you.  Now what?  We don't have a lot of time here.  Back to the drawing board and I came up with something else that I think will work. Is it perfect?  Nope - nothing ever is.  But it works better together.  It's almost all cut out. And I realized that parts of what I had already done would be better if the fabrics were slightly repositioned. That's a job for tonight. AND I had an issue with the iron. For some reason, it leaked and put an ugly brown stain on my WHITE fabric.  So I daringly ran to the sink and immersed my red and white fabrics in cold water. Will those reds run?  Of course NOT!  Everything looks great!

I was browsing through some magazines the other day and came across this interesting tidbit. The magazine is American Patchwork and Quilting (October 2016).  The entire magazine is about vintage quilts - how to make them (or reproduce them) and on the editorial page there is a comment by Darlene Zimmerman.  Essentially she says that if you have (or buy or see) a vintage quilt or vintage quilt blocks -- if they are NOT museum quality - you can do whatever you want with them!  Now how freeing is that!

I have two things for you today - two assignments!  One of them is to read my QUILTsocial blog post for today. It's all about machine embroidery and even if you're not into embroidery - check it out anyway to see what it's all about. Maybe you have a friend who has a machine and you can get them to do something for you.

Day Three - QUILTsocial

OK - so that was cool.  I absolutely love doing those blog posts.  And I've learned a ton from all the research I've had to do.

Speaking of research - I'm off on another tangent with a different style of quilt. I have a ton of books and while I've gone through a few of them, there are many that - well sad to say - the book has never even been opened once I bought it. As I was searching on the internet, I came across three books. One I could get from the library - already put a hold on it, one I don't have (going to order it today) and the third one - I do have. There is a second edition of this book, but seriously - how different can it possibly be?

I got the information that I needed from the book, but here's the thing - there is a lot of cool information in this book - Color Play by Joen Wolfrom.   Seriously?  Why haven't I read this entire book?   So I'm going to make it part of my daily routine.  READ those darn quilting books and then get rid of them if I don't need/want them anymore.   OH GOD - I just read that link I posted about the book - I WANT the new book.  I'm wondering if I didn't already buy that one?

Here's my assignment to you.  Take ONE book from your quilting book shelf - it can be a project book, it can be a color theory book, it can be a technique book or a historical book.  I don't care. But pick ONE.  Then I want you to read it from cover to cover or evaluate it - do I even want to read this book?  Then find a home for it if you don't want it! Or once you've read it - pick a project to make or find a way to incorporate the information into an existing project. If I were ever to read those books I have, I'd be - well I'd be the most read quilter in the world!  And I'd probably know a LOT! (more than I already do anyway!)

Did you see that Kat (Next Step Quilt Designs) mentioned me and my blog on her post yesterday for 150 Canadian Women?  I love Kat's designs, she's a sweetie and well - it's a small world!

I have located TWO new quilters who from time to time will be given the option for a fabric bundle from me. I hope to offer them both something in the near future. I have one bundle ready to go and will be sending one of them a note. I'm super excited about this as I really can't use all I have, but I have to be absolutely certain that I'm done with the collection. In this case, I've already made two quilts - two is enough. Time to move on!  Thanks to the two who have responded!  You know who you are!

I have more to tell, but that will have to wait for tomorrow. Sorry - no pictures today!

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Can you repeat this???

I'm starting to sound like a broken record.  Here's another quilt with the binding on (did part last night and the rest this morning). Made the sleeve, notice that little label in there. I'm putting that little label on those quilts that belong to me but not on the ones that don't belong to me!   I made the sleeve this morning and it just needs to be hand sewn on!

Quilt is almost done!

What I'm amazed at is how much I'm actually getting done.  When did I ever get this much FINISHED before?  I have so many that are partially completed, but these deadlines are forcing me to get these ones done!  I hope to continue the momentum with some of those that are lacking labels or sleeves and get them done. That would be amazing and it would help to clear out some space.

I have almost forgotten that this week is my week to blog on QUILTsocial. I'm taking a whirl at some machine embroidery.   So check out yesterday's post and today's posts.  The links are below.

Here is the link to Day One of QUILTsocial.

Here is the link to Day Two of QUILTsocial.

If you EQ7 and no idea how it works - check out this new online class.  10 minutes a day for 2 weeks and you'll know the basics.  Check out the details here!  It`s so worth it - you will NOT regret these 10 minutes.

And on that note - I'm out of here!  Got lots to get done and having fun tidying up loose ends of a lot of things.  I LOVE that.

Have a super day!


Monday, July 24, 2017

Motivational Monday - progress report

Good morning everyone!  What a super productive weekend. Although the summer is rapidly passing and I'm not getting out on my bike as much as I would like.  The dog park is making a mess of those plans. And having deadlines - hopefully the month of August will be a little quieter.

Oh my --- I have to say that my "keeping me on track tools" are working!  This is going to appear to be so obvious that you'll be shaking your head at me and saying "Why?".   I've had a big problem with focusing on the right projects.  I'm busy - I'll always be busy. I could be sitting in a chair and I'm busy. But am I getting things done when they need to be done without stressing myself to death?  The big answer was NO.

And why was that?  Because I didn't know what needed to be done. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing in the world?  You know how it is - if it isn't written down - it's easy to ignore!

By writing the deadlines for each new project in my little book, I'm able to review them when I write in The Task Master. See what I mean?  Simple?  Yet I wasn't doing that and I was always in trouble. I may still leave things to the last minute, but at least I know what needs to be done and can schedule it accordingly. And I love that the pages in the micro binder can be shuffled around if I need to insert a new deadline.

And on a happy note at this point in time, each of the next two projects are significantly smaller than what I've been working on so that's a good thing.

I did some checking yesterday and I think I might actually get the next two projects completed. They are for me so if they don't get done - no big deal, but I want them to get done. That's incentive.

Here's the thing - remember yesterday when I said - oh it would be nice to have a computer for the long arm? Well what was I thinking?  That time that I spend quilting is my quiet time to contemplate new designs for the next quilt and yesterday was no exception. I've been mulling over a problem for weeks and the answer came to me yesterday while I was quilting. I guess that rules out the computer!  Look at what I gained!

I don't even remember what I did since last Monday, but I do remember what I got done this weekend.

I had that rather large customer quilt that needed to be done - and now it's done and just needs to be trimmed.

Customer quilt - DONE

And here's the other end

Here's another quilt that needed to be done for a customer (a work customer).
Another quilt - DONE
 This is a quilt from the Northcott Artisan Spirit Shimmer Flight of Fancy collection. Comes in three colorways - this one was the most popular.

I trimmed the quilt last night and got half of the binding on.  Finished the other half this morning and made the sleeve. Will sew that sleeve on when I visit with the Monday group this morning. I'll put a label on it at work and it'll be winging its way in a box by the end of the day.

Sleeve is on and ready for hand stitching
 I quilted one more quilt as well, but since that one is destined for a magazine, you'll have to wait to see it. Technically it needs to be at its destination on Friday so I didn't push to get it done. I'll do that tonight and get it out tomorrow.

But even though I know better, did I do the most critical one first?  Oh no - I did the quilt that has a Friday deliver first. Then a customer quilt that can be picked up anytime and lastly I did the one that HAS to leave today. But by doing that, there was no way I could delay on the other two and now all three are done!

I did pop out for a few errands yesterday and to pick this up from Sonia who picked this Row by Row kit up for me on her vacation.   I love this row and it looks awesome. Thanks Sonia!

Row by Row

Well hopefully you're all figuring out how to best work for you in getting your projects done!  Remember it's summer  - normal people don't quilt much in the summer.  Some day!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

A sobering thought

Yesterday was a super productive day.  I'm surprising even myself at how focused I can be.

We had a great time at the dog park. I've been told - "Mom - it's OK if you can't do everything, BUT you HAVE to take us to the dog park on the weekends."  It's a good change of pace for sure.

Finished off my book and then got one of my quilts quilted that needed to be done. I wasn't as fast at it as I thought I would be.  No - I thought I would have it done by lunch, but it was later in the day. No big deal - it's done.

I had some errands to run so made a list and got them all done in a very short time. One thing I noticed - I hardly ever do errands and if so I try to get out later in the day. I only had three places to go - all within 1 KM of my house, but couldn't take the bike as some stuff I needed was big.  The drivers in parking lots are maniacs!  It's a free for all and speeding?  No one respects speed bumps or the speed limits. I hate shopping!

Now here's the best part of the errands - you know how you buy something and it takes forever to do something with what you bought?  Not yesterday. I needed a new light for my long arm.  The darn thing went out a couple of quilts ago and just never had time to go buy a new one.  Well - it's installed on the long arm. What a difference - I can actually see what I'm quilting!

Old bulb - gone!

The ten bags of mulch are spread in the garden - need to make room for those girls in the back of the car!

The cap feet will be used later this weekend for a project - well might be more like tomorrow, but that's OK. And the plastic tubing - well that's been used as well. More on that tomorrow. Library books returned, money from the bank - and all my errands got done and items got used. Now I have two more errands today.  Hopefully the parking lots will be quieter?

Remember yesterday when I said that I don't procrastinate nearly as much as I used to? Well, there is one thing that I procrastinate about. Loading LARGE quilts on the long arm. This poor quilt has been in the queue for a while and each time I'm ready to quilt it, I bypass it.  NO LONGER - today is the day. It's huge - 93" by 112". BUT - it's loaded and partially quilted. I was hoping to have had it completed yesterday, but I ran out of time. No worries - it'll happen today and then there is a smaller one to load and get done tonight.

HUGE quilt loaded on the long arm
 I have to admit that yesterday I was thinking that a computer on the long arm would be a good thing. I had some cutting and trimming to do and it would have been nice to load that quilt and hit GO and I could go and do my work. Oh well - better start saving my pennies. I don't do enough customer work any more to justify paying for it.

I finished fussy cutting that other project that I need to work on.  It's mostly fussy cut - just the borders (which also have to be fussy cut).  About 1/3 or maybe just 1/4 of the blocks are done.  If you want to see this quilt - better come to Quilts at the Creek this coming weekend because the quilt will be hanging in that show. It's only 40 inches square or thereabouts, so shouldn't be a problem to get it finished. I know - NO pressure!   I need to check when the quilts need to be delivered - I will have to drop it off there - I think the store drop off date has already passed.  No worries - it'll happen!  I have two quilts in the show - the other one is done, but needs to be picked up as it's currently on display in a quilt shop.

I'm feeling in really good shape these days - quilt-wise that is. I've got my urgent list - well deadline list is more like it. There are tons of other things that need to be done, but the deadline list is a way of prioritising for me. That has always been my biggest issue - I can sew all day, but am I sewing on the right things?  I'm much better now.

So here is my sobering thought for the day. When we were doing our road trip last weekend, I spotted a kit in a shop.  Oh - it's for a travel jewelry case. I'm not a big wearer of jewelry - mostly because  - well - it's not all in one spot. I have boxes here and boxes there and well - it's an issue. But I'm going to change that. One of the other issues is that I have to remember to put the jewelry in my gym bag.  Of course - I could make a pretty little case which would make things a whole lot easier? Right?

This kit is perfect. The price is marked down - hm - is that $15? Which is an excellent price considering the pattern is in the kit, the fabric, the zippers, the foam for the lining.  EVERYTHING - well worth $15.

The jewelry kit
 I took it to the cash and asked the lady if that was $15?  Yes and she said she would mark it down to $10 if I paid cash whereupon I whipped out a $10 bill faster than the speed of lightening. Apparently this kit (it was amongst a bunch of others) was part of an estate sale.  YES - someone passed on and the family or friends are trying to get rid of her stuff.  That is sobering!   Because one day that is going to happen to me!  NO!  I can do it all in my life time!  Can't I???   Oh god - That's all I can say!

Which is another reason why I want to find NEW quilters to pass stuff along to - not the established quilters because they already have a ton of stuff. I need a new quilter to pass on some of my scraps. Who is new out there and local to me that wants the leftovers from my projects?  I'm not talking scraps - I'm talking the rest of a collection when I'm finished with it???   OH - I think I know someone. But if there is anyone out there who knows a young quilter or a new quilter who is local - I don't want to ship this stuff, but I need to start moving some of it and I don't want it sitting in someone else's stash. I want it used or I'm not getting rid of it.

I wasn't sure if I was going to use the fabric in the kit, but it's not bad.  I might get started on this later today as I'm feeling in good shape to get everything done. I'll see as I do have two patterns for work that I'm supposed to be testing and those are priorities!

Fabric in the kit

On that sobering note, I'm off to the dog park and then back to get some more stuff cleaned up and finished. And OH GOD - I started a new book and already 100 pages into it!

Have a great day!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

A tight bind!

Oh doesn't that title sound so dramatic?  Well there are no tight binds at my house, but there is a lot of BINDING happening.

I got home yesterday and sat out in the backyard with the girls. I was on my own for dinner (OK - I never have to cook), but no one was making me dinner so I had to forage for myself.  Such a hardship especially when there were leftovers in the fridge. Well, I think I mentioned at one point that I was struggling to get through one of the earlier Jennifer Chiaverini (Elm Creek Quilts) books.  I'm reading the Cross Country Quilters (her third book) and so engrossed that before I knew it, it was 7 PM.  Yikes - I still have a phone call to make and I've a lot of work to do!  Jennifer has veered away from the Elm Creek series and is taking a different route with her books, focusing on historical settings but still to do with textiles - like Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

One thing I will say about Jennifer's Elm Creek series - they hit the nail on the head. How we buy our stash, how we interact with each other, how we learn, how we teach - the real deal.  But this particular one is about a group that meets at quilt camp and there's drama (when is there not drama in a quilter's life?).  It's great, but there I am last night (reading before bed) with 21 pages left to finish the book and I couldn't read another page. I'll finish it off this morning.

But after my phone call, I got to work and between last night and this morning, this is what I got done.

Two bindings - done!
 Granted, the strips were cut and pinned together, but not sewn. Now they are done and they NEED to be on finished quilts and in FED EX boxes on Monday.

I emptied my way over flowing scrap basket and was able to finish off one more pet mat.

Pet mat  -  DONE!

I measured and cut two pieces of yardage for the backing for this quilt. The backing is now sewn together and this quilt is ready to be quilted. There's no rush - it's mine.
Backing done !

I sewed strips and strips and strips of this brown fabric together. The strips were cut and pinned. They are the borders for those constructions quilts.  Hopefully there is enough here for all the borders. I do have more strips cut because that fabric will also be the binding for all four quilts.  This is one of my UFOs (February I think). I haven't forgotten those UFOs and if it kills me - I will get them all done by the end of the year. But I had better start hussling!

Border strips - joined!
 Then I had another quilt top that was sitting there.  I had leftover fabric, none large enough on their own to make the backing for the quilt. BUT, I joined the leftover blocks and the different leftover pieces and got a great backing for this quilt.  It's also ready for quilting. No rush on this one.

Another quilt ready to be quilted
I had a little quilt sitting on the cutting table and it needed a backing. There was a piece of this fabric leftover that was the perfect size - now this little quilt is also ready for quilting.  I hope to show you more of this little quilt tomorrow.

Another small quilt ready to be quilted

Out of this fabric collection (Silent Night) by Northcott, I made two quilts. One went to a magazine, the prototype is the one with the funky pieced backing above. I also made a small table runner and you'll get to see that on QUILTsocial this coming week.  I'll be posting the links - there are some great tips and ideas regardless of whether you're in the market for a sewing machine!  The background ,the binding and now the backing for that small quilt are also from the leftovers.

And this is all that's officially leftover!


There will be more leftovers once the three items remaining to be quilted get quilted, but these leftovers went in the blue scrap box! DONE!

I didn't get the batting made for the quilt that I need to quilt this morning, but I have the four pieces picked out and will be sewing them together shortly. And I have to load the backing and the top.

That was a productive couple of hours!  I've said it before, but I used to procrastinate at so many of these steps - making the binding, sewing the binding on or loading on the long arm. Why?  No idea - it's not like it's hard. But the more that I do, I don't even contemplate that ironing that binding is a pain. Nope - I just do it.

I did notice the other day when I was finishing up another quilt that once it's quilted, it's still a long way from completion.  You have to trim the quilt, sew on the binding (make it if you haven't already). Make and attach the sleeve and sew on a label.  All of that is piddly boreing stuff, but has to be done. I'm getting better at it - most of what I work on these days gets completed (except maybe a business card attached instead of an acutal sewn on label), but there are a lot  of quilts in my studio that just need the sleeve to be finished sewn down or the label (that's already made) to be sewn down.  I'm hoping to get back to that kind of thing at my brief visit with the Monday ladies. It would be nice to get these off the UFO list and into the finished list!

On that note, I've a few errands to do today, finish my book, a TON of quilting to do. But I have NO commitments. I don't have to be anywhere, I don't have appointments - it's a "free" weekend. Yeah!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Tidying up!

OH SHOOT --- the links to McCall's were not working yesterday.  Thanks Trixie for the alert.  They ARE WORKING today.  So sorry for that.

There are no pictures today.  That just didn't happen.  (and thanks to all who sent me tips about the bobbins - I'll be recapping on the weekend - I hope!)

As I was sewing last night, I noticed that my cutting table was once again piled high with stuff. How does that happen?  I clean it off so I can work and then POOF - it's full again.

It was piled high with the next couple of projects that I have to work on and a few projects that are temporarily on hold.  I put the fabric for each in a plastic bag and placed it on a small stool beside the cutting table.  Now I had space to work again.

Tonight will be a tidy up night.  I got that one quilt in a FedEx box and on it's way to the US. It should have arrived yesterday.  I realised that the next one isn't due until the end of the month, so I was able to ease up on that one a bit. BUT the top was completed last night, the backing is made and the binding is waiting to be sewn together.  I'll get it loaded on the long arm tonight.

I have bindings for three quilts - all cut and pinned together that need to be sewn together and pressed. That's a job for tonight as well. There is also the border strips for those construction quilts - they are cut and pinned together - just need to sewn and pressed.  Hopefully that will happen tonight as well.  I might even get one more top completed?

I counted - there are FIVE deadline quilts left to be done by September 1.  Plus a couple of quilts that need to be quilted.  So I'm in pretty good shape that way.  Remember, the quilts I make are not complicated - no one wants a pattern for a complicated quilt!  It makes such a difference to have stuff written down - either in The Task Master or the Deadline Book.  BOTH have been a huge help. I don't think I've ever been this productive in my life!

There is one group of fabric that I've been struggling over for months trying to find a design to make.  NOTHING came to mind.  Well the deadline is looming fast and I need something. I've been experimenting and haven't come up with anything that makes me super happy.  Last night, I was messing around with EQ7 and came up with something that is OK.  No more time to waste on the design - tonight will be cutting and stitching to try and get that one done by Monday so it can be delivered on time.

Once September hits, it's going to be totally crazy as we start to prep for the fall shows - I need to get all this other stuff out of the way.

I love these summer days. I get home from work at a decent hour because I get to work early.  I take my book and relax in the backyard. As much as one can when there are two very needy dogs demanding attention. And if you won't give them any attention, they start to do cute stuff so you have no choice but to watch them!

Life is good!

On that note, I'm trying to get a lot of stuff cleaned off my desk this morning.  Better get at it!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

I'm officially published (McCall's)

I was so excited to see my quilt in the September/October issue of McCall's.   Here are the official pictures that I can share with you.

McCall's Quilting - September/October 2017

And do you want to see a picture of the quilt?  Here's a flat shot of the quilt that I call UP.


And here's the stylised shot which I love!  I think it's fabulous that the quilt is hanging on a staircase which of course will take you UP and see how the flying geese are pointing to the top right hand of the photo.

Fabulous shot of UP

After doing a couple of photo shoots with quilts myself, I can appreciate how hard it is to get a great shot of any quilt.  Whoever did the photography did an amazing job.

And if you haven't seen the magazine yet, here's the scoop -

Follow this link to check out the current issue of McCall's.

Here's the link if you want to check out my quilt specifically.    You can buy a digital copy of the quilt pattern.

Check out the spread in the actual magazine though because the editors tweaked my design for a couple of alternate looks and they really are fun!

And if you want to get the magazine, here's the information.

Subscription issues began shipping July 11, 2017. By July 25, 2017 the issue will be available on newsstands, as well as in print or digital download format on Quilt and Sew Shop

I'm thrilled to have my quilt appear in McCall's. The editors were fabulous to work with.  Thanks McCall's. 

The fabrics that I used in the collection are from Northcott.  The black background is Toscana 99.  The geese were made using Artisan Spirit Shimmer. There are multiple color ways available and a huge range of values/textures within each color way that it was easy to gradate the geese. 

I can't wait to get the quilt back to hang in my office. 

Have a super day!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tag - you're it!

I love my job. I love my hobby. When the two of them revolve around the same theme - well it makes for some long days!

I had a super productive day yesterday. I got loads of stuff written - needs to be proofed, but that's OK.  There was a bit of designing involved as well. If I'm going to make a free pattern, I get to make it how I want!  I hate leftovers so I managed to get this one design just right and no leftover blocks.

And when that part of the day was over, then it was time to load a quilt and get that quilted.  BUT WAIT - not before I sat out in the gazebo with the girls and read for an hour. That was the equivalent of my commute time since I worked from home yesterday!

The quilt on the machine is mine but has a deadline and I decided to join the batting.  I found three pieces that were perfect and pieced them together.  As I got to the end, I realised that I was about 4 inches short.  Great - math sometimes is not my strong point.  So I found another piece in the scrap bag of batting and was able to finish that quilt off. 

I made the binding and trimmed the quilt and left it for this morning. BUT not before I found those little labels to be inserted. 

I was up early this morning and got the binding sewn on both sides. The sleeve is made and I'll hand stitch that on later today. It should be in a box by 3 PM and out the door. 

But I'm super excited.  Look at that label!!  

This is the side that is visible

My name and phone number are on the underside

I'm super happy with those labels. They are perfect for an item when you don't want to put a big label on, but you want it to have some form of ID.  Now I realise that someone could just cut that label off and they might. But that's OK.  I know that Lorna's labels are narrower and longer than mine and I might consider that for the next batch, but I really like the logo!

Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts would be so proud of me for using the label!  And I used her style of quilting for this quilt.  It was PERFECT and easy. I found myself quilting with one hand, the other in my pocket as I walked back and forth beside the long arm.  Super simple!  I will do this style again!

On that note, I'm out of here.  A super busy day and I still have another quilt top to finish tonight and quilt as it needs to be gone by tomorrow!.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wear Sunscreen

I'm not big on traditions, but there are some things that you just have to stick with. Case in point - our retreats.  From day one, the owner placed a wooden quilt block on one side of the house. Well that's a photo op waiting to happen!

I do believe that she has changed that block every year.  This year being Canada's 150th - what other block would you have, but the maple leaf!

Maple Leaf block

And since we want everyone to be in the picture, I use the timer on my camera and get a group shot usually on the last day. In the past, I've not taken or forgotten to take a tri-pod. Hm - what to do? what to do?  I find that the ironing board is perfect. So yes, I'm outside with the ironing board getting it set to the perfect height and then call the team out and we get our shot. I did use the tri-pod this time!  (And I think we did the same thing with our other retreat house in Bracebridge which is now closed, but the photo was inside)

Group shot

If you check out the Fireside Retreat website, there is another one of our group shots from the very first time we were there.

I laugh when I see this second photo.  I'm the one who is kneeling on one knee.  I'm not sure that I could do that now!  Bloody knees - need to do more leg strengthening to get them back in shape!

Yesterday at spin class, one of the songs they played was the sunscreen song. Here's a link so you can hear the song if you're not familiar with it.     Honestly - I think we should all listen to this song every morning.  It's so inspiring, so uplifting and he says "be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone!"    OH GOD -- I can so relate although mine are not nearly in as bad as shape as some people I know.   But seriously - listen to that song.  It's such amazing advice!

I'm making good progress on the two quilts that have to be shipped out later this week. One is ready for quilting after work tonight and the other one - well I think it's going to be a day late.  The first border is on.  The second border is 1/4 pieced and lots of bits of the rest are cut and partially assembled. The final border is easy and it's cut.  It's going together quite nicely and I'm really happy with it.

Today is going to be a day of pattern writing and testing a couple of them to see that everything is OK.  I'm OK with the measurements on quilts, although it's always a good idea to test or at least test the blocks, but this one pattern is a bag and while it's not my first bag pattern, I need to make sure that it's OK before it goes live on the internet.

I keep books of my patterns at work.  I have a book for the patterns that are free on the Northcott resouce page (on my second book already). I have a book for the patterns that appear in magazines and another book for the quilting tips and yet another for the articles (Tech Tips) that appeared in A Needle Pulling Thread.  I'm really excited about all this and it'll make a nice memory for me when I'm in the nursing home. I can see M coming to me with my books - "Hey Mom!   Remember when you made all that stuff for the magazines?"   I'll pat her hand and say "That's nice dear!"

On that note, I'm off to work.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Bobbing along...... (Motivational Monday)

Happy Monday morning!  How motivated are we all in this summer??  I'm getting loads done just not on those UFO projects - well only in bits and pieces.  But my little deadline book is working just great.  Now that I have a list, there is no need to panic - well at least not as much!

I haven't had a chance to unpack all my stuff from the great weekend adventure. But I did unpack a couple of things and one thing led to another and well - today is all about bobbins. You can get a whole lot more done if things are organised.  

By the way, I think my pictures have a fuzzy feel to them.  The graphics team was messing with my camera the other day and they must have changed a setting!  What setting?  Going to have to ask as I don't know.

Here's one items that I bought and this started a domino effect in my studio. These are called Spool Huggers.  I've seen them around, but never bought them.  They happened to be by the cash as I was checking out at one store and I grabbed a package.

Spool Huggers

The reason I bought them is because my spool box with my go to threads can be a mess sometimes. I have invisible threads and several colors of cotton, all on different type of spools. While some spools have little caps that open or notches or a slot to put the thread end in, some do not. I keep saying that I should clean up the box and from time to time I do, but then I never do anything about those loose thread and bingo - I'm back tidying up once again!

Spools with the spool huggers
 Hm - I think I like my way better. Here's how one of my spools in the thread box looks.

A different way to wrap the spools

I think my biggest problem in this thread box is the bobbins. There is no way to catch the threads on the bobbins and they can make a huge mess.  So I tried the Spool Huggers on the bobbins.

Spool Huggers on the bobbins

Everything in the thread box is neat and tidy!

Four long bobbin racks

OK - I'm liking these things a whole lot better on my bobbins, and hopefully it won't be a problem to see which color/type of thread is one each bobbin as the tops of the bobbins are clear plastic.

Oh god - here's where the domino effect happened. I decided that I wasn't happy with the Spool Huggers on my bobbins after all.  Remember, this is personal choice - there is nothing wrong with them. I'm just super picky!

 I wish I could get a short bobbin rack. I have the longer ones - about six inches, but a short one at 3 inches would be perfect to fit in my box. I know there are all kinds of other methods of holding those bobbins.

Let's side track back to my spool of thread.

Here's what I use for my thread wrappers.  I use a very lightweight vinyl tablecloth. You can buy it by the yard at chain fabric stores.  Cut it into strips about 1" by 7".  Then wrap around your spool, keeping a bit of tension on the vinyl so it sticks to itself. Voila - perfect and inexpensive thread wrap.  It's boring, but functional.
Lightweight vinyl table cloth
Since I was trying to clean up the box, that's what I did instead of finishing to unpack.  I cut a few more vinyl strips and wrapped each of the spools of thread that needed to be wrapped.  All of them are wrapped and neat and tidy in the thread box.

Threads are wrapped!

I also put the Spool Hugged bobbins in there. I do have a few other bobbins that need to be tamed, but no more Spool Huggers.

I love when things are neat and tidy. So much easier to grab things when they are not messy and tangled, etc.

I'm sorry, today's post is a bit disjointed as I attempted to write this the day before and I don't have a lot of time today.

Here is a photo of ONE of those bobbin holders which I wish was half this length.

Single bobbin holder
Then I dug out the drawer that holds all my bobbin supplies.

Bobbin supply drawer

I also found this bobbin container, but again it's too big for what I want.

One more bobbin container
I also found these things for keeping the bobbin with the specific spool of thread - which I never do.

Handi Bobs for keeping bobbins with a spool of thread
I decided to get creative and I remembered this little tin that I picked up at Market.

Gutermann tin from market
It was a freebie and came with a spool of thread which is now with the other threads.

Contents of the tin
I loaded up my loose bobbins that I'm using at the sewing machine and they fit perfectly into the tin.

Bobbins fit perfectly into the tin
Now my bobbins are in an enclosed tin. No more loose and tangled threads.  The spools have all been controlled with the vinyl. My thread/bobbin box by the sewing machine is super neat!!!  I'm happy!

Neat thread box!

We need to arrange a review. There are so many tips and tricks to this problem and so many solutions and I suppose each one has it merits and we all have our opinions.  Wouldn't that be cool.   So if you have a tip for taming spools of thread and bobbins, let me know and I'll try to assemble a post after reviewing these items. Cause you now know that there are several that I don't like!

So the Spool Huggers and the Handi Bobs went into my giveaway bag.  I'm of the mindset now that if I've tried something or found a solution that I like, there's no sense in keeping what I don't like!

More time for sewing with two less items to manage!

Have a super day!!!!