Monday, October 30, 2017

Quilt Market - Day Two

Hmm - I must have been very tired last night.  When I went to bed, the score in the baseball game was 7-4 for the Dodgers. I wake up this morning to find that Houston won 13-12?????   Seriously?  the crowds must have been wild and I heard NOTHING.  I didn't even wake up and fall back asleep - I heard NOTHING!  No earplugs, no alcohol - just plain old tired!  I'm glad actually to know that I can sleep that well!

I guess things will calm down in the city somewhat, but I'm sure that security will remain high as the stadium will likely be open for people to come and watch on the large screen. Next thing you know there will be holographic baseball where one can "watch" the game even though it's in another stadium. Wouldn't that be cool!

But I've never seen so much orange and blue!  T-shirt vendors, I believe you can't get an Astros hat if your life depended on it.  Snipers on hotels (including ours), cops and more cops. Homeland Security. In the evening there are always several tables of cops in the restaurant.  I guess I don't get out much.

This was projected onto the side of one of the hotels.

Projected onto the side of a hotel

I believe that is the Marriott and that huge wall (probably their ballroom floors) is an amazing screen. And how do they get that projection on the wall???  The projector is in the parking lot across the street on a Skyjack or whatever they call those scissor lift things!

Enough about baseball! Let's talk about quilting!

I'm afraid that I don't have a lot to report about quilting. I was in the booth almost the entire day chatting to people.  I had appointments almost the entire day and so I wasn't able to wander far from the booth.

The day started with our Take n Teach class.  We were making a bag - oh shoot - the least I can do is show you the bag. I'll take a picture later today as I have one of the bags with me and the other one is at the booth.  I spent countless hours prepping these bags - countless!!  I ended up making 20 kits and we had 19 in the class so all but one were taken.  I'm giving the last one to one of our sales reps who is a quilter so I know the tote will get finished.

It was crazy to have 19 in a tote bag class, but EVERYONE finished the bag and they look awesome. I think we got pictures of most of the folks, but I had no time for taking pictures. Thankfully that is done and while I might be persuaded to do a Take n Teach again, we shall be giving some serious thought to the project!   But it is fun to see the ladies parade through our booth with their bags.  A HUGE HUGE thank you to the Motivational Monday group for all their help!  It was much appreciated.

I was also part of the Demo Alley for one and a half hours.  I was showing the Bold Basics by Northcott. We actually have an amazing selection of Basics and I've been working to make a number of quilts using only the basics.  Which is easy to do so I tried to not get carried away. 

Oh, shoot - I need to upload a couple of other photos for you!  But no time this morning. Speaking of photos, I'm thrilled to have uploaded the latest version of Photoshop Elements.  Nice to be able to edit photos. I know nothing about it except to crop and resize.  I'll have to learn the rest when I get home and I'll be loading that software onto my "NEW" home computer and trying to wean myself off of that laptop which is so slow.

The rest of the day was a blur as I met with various editors and other people that I wanted to touch base with.  I forgot the show is closing early today as it's already the last day!  I'm making up a list this morning of those that I must get out and get to their booth. So much I would like to see, but there is no time.  But I figure if I can forward five new contacts that is better than getting 20 leads that go nowhere.  I have so much to do when I get home!   But it's all fun stuff so I can't wait!

I think it was about 5 o'clock before I realized that I hadn't eaten all day at the show. I managed to get a soup and half a sandwich before we headed off to a cocktail party. I'm just not into having any alcohol while I'm here.  I'm so dehydrated that I can't afford to have any.  I have water with me but don't remember to have a drink.  Yep - I'm like a kid in a candy store and I'm networking my heart out!  Don't worry - it's all fun.  Oh yes - I'm having a blast. And there are some super exciting things to talk about - but not now!  I promise to take better care of myself today, but this is normal for me at any trade show.

It's great to get back to Market and see all the friends/acquaintances that I've made over the last two years.   I'm a happy camper, to say the least.

Here are some close-ups of some of the quilts in the booth.  I promise to take pictures of the rest today.  I can't believe I haven't had time to do that.  Although if you search on Northcott Facebook, I'm sure they have posted pictures.

By Robin Long
 My brain has turned to mush.  I think this one above is called Colorful Sunshine Garden. The background is Northcott ColorWorks and the flowers are made with Shimmer - Northcott's metallic collection. I need to get to Robin's booth today to chat about her technique.  Isn't that a cool quilt?

And here is a full shot of my favorite - Wolfgang.  You can find more of Yanicka's work at this website.  Including the pattern for the wolf.


When I was wandering back from the cocktail party, I saw this amazing sculpture. It's actually a water fountain and all those parts move.  It's very beautiful.

Water fountain sculpture

I'm sorry that I'm not showing you all kinds of shots of new stuff as I haven't even had a chance to see much myself.  As I scoot around to my last appointments, I'll try to take some pictures.  I'm off to finalize the list of those that I MUST see today. 

Have a great day!!!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Quilt Market - Day One

Yesterday was a terrible day.  Well not terrible in a bad way, but I (and many others) received some very sad news.  Our beloved local quilt shop will be closing.  Yes, Ruti's Needlebed will be closing at the end of the year. I know that we lament everytime we hear of a quilt shop closing, but this was my GO TO shop.  I was there twice this past week to get emergency supplies.  It is 8 minutes from my house.  What am I going to do???? 

DH says I should buy it as it will likely be less work than I'm currently doing!   I won't be buying the quilt shop, but this is very sad news.  I'm happy for Ruthi as she will be able to spend way more time with her family, but sad for me!

There was another baseball game last night, but the fans were a tad more subdued when they left the stadium as the Astros did not win.  In a way that's a good thing as if there was a chance that they could win the World Series tonight, the town would be wild.  As it is, there's heavy security EVERYWHERE.   There are helicopters flying overhead, snipers on rooftops, cops EVERYWHERE, streets are blocked off. I guess we should feel safe!

And did I mention the weather?  We are in Houston. Houston is south. South is supposed to be warm. Well, it's NOT warm here. I saw people walking around with parkas (well winter type coats with hoods) yesterday.  I have a sweatshirt!  I do have a nicer jacket, but it doesn't go with everything I brought with me. Thankfully I packed a couple of scarves - they are a godsend to staying warm. But yikes - it's cool!

Yesterday was a crazy busy day.  I met with a number of editors from magazines and got things set up for moving forward. They are a fun bunch and we had some great laughs. I sat in on a couple of sales meetings and I learned which is always exciting.  How does a quilt shop owner buy fabric?  Well - that depends.  It's just very interesting and I was able to help out on several calls so that was exciting.  I barely left the booth all day. I did pop out once to the washroom where I spent a few moments chatting up the APQS (American Professional Quilt System - the long arm guys) because I want something!  Something big and well I'm not ready to talk about it just yet.  But oh my!   That darn Marilyn - it's all her fault!!!

Here are a couple of photos that I snapped of our booth.  Good grief, there isn't even time to take pictures.  This is the Bold Beautiful Basics side of the booth.   I'll take close-ups of the quilts today.  I might actually take my camera so I'll remember?  I doubt it.

Northcott booth - Bold Beautiful Basics
 All the quilts on this side were made with Northcott basic collections.  Stonehenge, Toscana, Colorworks, and Shimmer.  It's very exciting to work with these basics. No dangers of not being able to get more.  But this one below is my FAVORITE --   I met the designer at Quilt Canada and she designed and made this quilt.  It's stunning in real life. And Marilyn quilted it.  I'll show you more another day!

Wolfgang  and Salvadore Dali
 Those eyes are very piercing.  It's a pattern that you can buy online.  I don't have all the info with me, but I'll put it up tomorrow.  Anyone want a class???

Speaking of classes, I started the day out with a mini-class. They are called Take n Teach.  I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the class that I signed up for.  It was about an interesting topic, but there were issues.  I wanted to stop by our booth before attending the class. Can't into the booth area until 8 AM and the class starts at 8 AM.  I thought, oh boy - I'll be late - well that's OK.  By the time that I arrived - about 8:15, the instructor was just starting.  And then she muddled through a power point presentation.  About 1/3 of the class left which isn't a good thing.  I fiddled with my phone, did my nails but I stayed.  It did get better but was a wee bit disappointing.
I had appointments booked all day. When someone doesn't show, you can't say "oh I now have a free hour". Because what if they do arrive and then you could be meeting with them. But then I got involved in the sales calls so that was OK.  Will try to reschedule those appointments. 

Often times it's a question of the right time, wrong day.  Anyway - it's not a big deal.  Nothing life or death and it allowed me to get involved and meet a few more people that I wouldn't normally have done.

Here's something I learned.  When you make appointments for meetings in another time zone, you should include the time zone in the meeting set up.  Otherwise, the times are all wrong when you get to the new time zone.  It appears that you can't change that - it has to be done while you set up the appointment or I suppose you could edit each appointment, but you can't just change a setting on your phone.  Who knew!    I have a print out on paper so it doesn't matter about the time zone on my phone. I just look at the paper!

I went to the Modern Quilt Guild meet up last night after having dinner with a customer and some of our crew.  It was great and I got to meet up with some friends that I know and made new friends.  we're all becoming one big happy family. With the designers, with the competitors, and with the shops.

I hope to get out and walk the floor at some point. I did make a list of several booths that I'd like to pop by and visit.  Sometimes that is way easier than just walking the floor. 

Here are a couple of shots of the floor that I took last night on my way to the Modern Guild meet and greet. I was on the third floor of the convention center looking down.

Trade floor

Another area of the trade floor

While it's loads of fun to be here, you wouldn't want to have my job.  I didn't have lunch, realized at the end of the day that I hadn't even drunk any water all day, had to be "on" for almost 12 hours (except for one hour before dinner when I went back to the hotel after pulling my wagon with all the supplies for today's class so it could be sorted properly) and here it is early again so I can do the same thing all over again! 

I hope to make it to the quilt displays and I hope to walk the floor. But if I don't, well that's OK because sometimes your brain goes into overload and it's just not fun to do either of those things!

Don't get me wrong - I'm having fun!  It's just not the same when you're working versus visiting!

On that note, I'm out of here to get prepped for the day.

Have a  super day!!!!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Quilt Market - Schoolhouse

 I'm running late. But I sacrificed a wee bit of time to edit two pictures for you!!

There was more set up yesterday.  And there was Schoolhouse. I had a lot of show and tell for Schoolhouse so I loaded up my wagon and away I went.

Loaded for Schoolhouse
There were more quilts that this but the others brought them. I did a Schoolhouse on all the Northcott basics which when I have more time I can explain.  And you have to see the quilt top that I made in two days instead of months!  I must be crazy.    Shoot I should have edited pictures last night when I couldn't sleep.  I had a hot chocolate just before I went to bed. Must have been the caffeine or it could have been all the noise from outside. I think it was a combination of both! 

I'll try to post some of the quilts that I showed in Schoolhouse so you can pretend that you were there.  The other collection I showed was Maplewood which is on the Northcott website.  It's absolutely stunning.  I'll take pictures of the booth today - should have done that yesterday when no one was around.  My brain is working in slow motion these days.

Needless to say, I'm a bit tired this morning.  Drat - I hate waking up tired. But once I get going, I'll be fine. 

I did manage to sit in on a few other Schoolhouses as well - I was tired by the last one and had trouble staying awake!

Popped out for a quick dinner and then back for Sample Spree. It was a zoo.  But here's the thing - why do they crowd everyone.  Sample Spree was held in a large open space, yet everyone was crowded into the middle?  That didn't make sense at all. So of course, you're tripping over each other and stumbling just to get down the middle of the aisles - never mind getting close to a table.

Sample Spree

I did manage to pick up a few things that were interesting. A pattern - a really cool pattern that might make a class. Two tile packs of fabric and a FQ bundle.  Hey - it was all fairly inexpensive - I do believe I spent less than $100. I found some other great patterns that would be awesome for a class or just to make.  But they were in huge bundles and I didn't want 16 patterns of the same style so I'll see if I can get an individual one today.

Oh, the eye candy that is here will knock your socks off.  It's like being a kid in a candy store, to say the least.  Thankfully I have a lot of meetings and won't necessarily get to walk the floor a whole lot.

My mornings prior to the show are booked up with classes as well although that is a super opportunity to walk the floor when no one is around.  That's what I do at consumer shows when there is no small class before the show.  I'm a sucker for punishment for sure!

As we left the convention center last night (before Sample Spree), the traffic was crazy as people were coming in for the baseball game. Why they wouldn't use public transit is beyond me as there was the train right by the stadium.  They had huge metal barriers in place near the hotel, valet parking was making a killing and the regular parking lot was something like $50.  It was insane.

Our hotel lobby which is normally the quietest spot around was jam-packed with people.  We did manage to snag two seats in the restaurant.  Then once the game started things quieted down, except that I could literally hear cheering from the stadium in my room. As I sit here and look out the window, I see the stadium on the next block.

The crowd in the bar went crazy and I could very clearly hear them as there is an open atrium up through the center of the hotel.  Then once the game got out, everyone walked down the street right under my window.  It was insane.  Once the main part of the crowd went away, it was quieter and I must have fallen asleep!

Oh - I have to run.  I need to get breakfast before my class starts at 8 AM and I still have to walk over there.

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, October 27, 2017

And so it begins......

Look -- there are PICTURES in the blog and I'm away from home!   Now isn't that exciting!  I brought my camera (small one) and my phone so I'll be able to edit anything.  Ronda will be so happy to know that these pictures are from my phone and I just plugged my phone into the computer in order to get them!!!  Now isn't that just the coolest!!!   Just remember to hit ALLOW on the phone. 

I did sleep in yesterday which doesn't surprise me considering the odd times I've been going to bed and getting up the last couple of days and the fact that it was so late when we got to bed.  We had a good breakfast and got to the booth where some of our stuff had arrived but not the main part of our stuff. I walked to the loading docks at the back and soon spotted a trunk from Ontario and caught a picture of the guy backing into the loading dock!!! 

Yep - that's our stuff in those big crates!!!

Stuff arriving at the load docks
 For those of you who do not get to enjoy the experience that we call set-up day, here is a shot from the floor early on in the day. As the various crews arrived and the crates and boxes got opened, it became almost impossible to wander around.  The aisles were blocked with stuff. Total mayhem.

On the floor before most of the total chaos begins

When I was hanging out at the loading dock, I overheard one person say to her friend, those fabric companies take up all the aisles with their stuff.  And it's true - the fabric companies are the ones (mostly) with the huge crates. But there are loads of pattern designers, long arm companies, thread companies - you name it - they are here.  Celebrity spotting yesterday included Alex Anderson and Marti Michell. Actually had a good conversation with Marti who remembers me so that's always a good thing!

It was a long long day but we were kicked out at 6 PM so that was good - at least there is an end to the setup day.  There's still a lot of work to be done today, but I'm hoping to attend a couple of schoolhouses as well as give my schoolhouse presentation.

I'll take some pictures of the area outside the convention center. It's beautiful.  They've been working on it forever. This is my third show here and each year it gets a wee bit more finished. Now I think they are finished.  Looks nice and lots of artwork and a whole lot of restaurants in the area.  Previously there were none.

This is a happening town to be sure.  Not only are there thousands of quilters in town for Quilt Market and then Quilt Festival, but the Houston Astros have got themselves into the World Series.
They won the first game a night or two ago and the people around here were going crazy - horns honking, crowds cheering. 

Let's put this scene into perspective for you.  In the picture below is our quiet hotel on the left.  It's not one of the much larger hotels that are affiliated with Quilt Market.  We like it quiet!  That's the Westin in case you are wondering.  On the right in the picture is the Minute Maid Baseball Stadium.  And behind me is the convention center. So you think it's going to get crazy???   Oh yes!!!

Hotel on the left, baseball stadium on the right and convention center behind me

Now let me tell you what's going on right at this moment.  It's now 6 AM here. The church bells just ran 6 AM. Actually, I don't think it was to announce 6 AM, but some church service???  And it would appear that there is a movie being filmed???   Yesterday I saw a big truck full of AV equipment driving around and a guy on the street said - Oh that's for me, drive around the block to that corner to drop it off?.  Never thought anything more about it.  Then this morning around 5:20, I could hear cheering. I'm thinking that it's a wee bit early for the baseball fans to be cheering.  But what the heck - they could be enthusiastic. But when I hear the drums, I had to get up to see.  It looked like a mini protest?  Oh, now they are cheering again!  But it's not ongoing so that's why I'm thinking it's a film shoot.  What weird timing!

I have to laugh when we come to these events. We have two camps - the ones that eat dinner right after the event closes for the day and those that are just going out when we are finished. I'm in the early camp for sure.  I'm exhausted enough without staying up to all hours of the night. 

My legs were super tired yesterday - oops - there goes the drums again!  I can see them from my window.  Doesn't look like a film shoot - no cameras or such.  I've no idea what's going on!!!

Anyway, my legs were super tired last night. I checked my Fitbit - only 17,700 steps. No wonder!!!

On that note, I'm out of here as I have to get ready for the day. We have a meeting and then back to the convention center to finish setting up and it's Schoolhouse today!!!!   More on that tomorrow.

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

By the skin of my teeth!

I know that there are some of you who like to live vicariously through my blog.  However, there are times when perhaps that wouldn't be such a good idea!

Like getting ready for Market which as you know has been a teeny bit stressful. It's not really the sewing and the quilting that has been the issue, it's been the sheer volume of stuff and never mind that those three magazine quilts go into the mix. 

So I finished the last quilt top that I wanted to get done. I didn't need it to be quilted so that was good because there was zero time to get quilted. BUT I had one other tiny project that I thought would be fun so I was merrily working on that last night.  Hey - my plane doesn't leave until late so I've loads of time.

DH was away but would be home in time to take me to the airport.  I heard him come home and then I got a text on my phone stating that there was a gate change for my flight that was leaving in   ONE HOUR and SEVENTEEN MINUTES!!!   WHAT?????   Oh god - what I thought was 11 PM was in fact 9 PM.  How did I mix up 20:55?????   I hate that 24-hour clock - drive me nuts as I can never figure it out. We were to arrive at 23:11 which I knew was 11 PM.  I must have looked at that time and that's what stuck in my head! 

Needless to say that a tiny little panic went through me as I scooped up the project that was on the cutting mat, threw it into a plastic bag and shoved it into my backpack. Thankfully I was all packed. I ran up the stairs and said: "we need to leave NOW!"  It was like I was having a baby and there was NO time to wait!!!

Thankfully I don't live that far from the airport and I made it in plenty of time.  No issues to get through security and they hadn't even started boarding the plane when I arrived.  No problem!!!!   However, I wouldn't recommend that for the faint of heart!

Regardless of the fact that we were flying out two hours earlier than I had expected, it was still a late night by the time we got to the hotel. I was glad to arrive and get into bed.

Now here's the situation around here.  The Minute Maid stadium is a mere couple of minutes walk away.  Guess what has happened?  Yep - the Houston Astros are in the World Series!     They won the first game last night and people went crazy around here even though the team was playing back east.  Imagine what it will be like tomorrow with thousands and thousands of people here to see the game in real life.  It's deadly quiet right now - tomorrow it will be a zoo.

And the cost of the hotel rooms??? More than QUADRUPLED!!!!  I bet they are not happy that the rooms are full of quilters who booked months ago at cheaper rates.
I'm going to try and install the photo editing software that I got a trial for so I'll be able to post some pictures in the next couple of days - well while I'm here at the show. 

I'll tell you all about today - tomorrow. 

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

And they said it couldn't be done!

Oh boy -- another incredibly long day.  I'm not sure how I manage to keep going although I do find Nanaimo bars are quite handy to have on hand!  I have no craving to eat food when I'm at work or even on a normal day but put me on a deadline and I want FOOD!!!   But then we have nothing in our house and I'm too busy to go upstairs to get it (if we had it) so that is a good thing!  Then my mind wanders off and I forget!

After another insane day, this is what my cutting table looks like this morning. One pair of shorts that needs a button sewn on. They're not for me, but I guess with everything DH does around the house, it's the least I can do for him.  Let's not mention that they've been there for over a month!  A small item to be quilted which I had no idea how I was going to fit in the day, but then got news that it doesn't have to be quilted until after I'm back!  Now that was good news.

The stack on the right is the "would be nice" and at this point, it isn't going to happen!

Cutting mat this morning

A cool quote and I think it's one that I've been living by for the last couple of days!!!   Although I don't know about the SHOULD part!  I SHOULD learn to say NO!  or I SHOULD learn to schedule things better.

So what did I actually get done yesterday?   I got the quilt top and the backing sewed together. Loaded them on the long arm and realized that I did not have WHITE batting to quilt it with.  So off to the quilt store where I bought white batting and this!   Can you imagine that a 25 FQ bundle is an impulse buy!   I must be mad! As if I need more fabric!!!!!   I was just so happy that major progress was being made - I didn't care!

My impulse purchase

The quilt got quilted and I LOVE IT!!!   I have to say that it's one of my favorites so far.  Very cool and it took hours to custom quilt it, but I think it's worth it!   It's off for a photo shoot as soon as I hand stitch the sleeve on.

I got the tote bags completely done!!!!    I can't believe that as that was a long process, but the pieces are done and should take each recipient a minimal amount of time to sew them together! 

I have two other projects (no quilting involved) that I would like to get finished before I get on a plane later (much later) tonight. One is big and all cut out and about 1/2 sewn together and the other is small, and not cut out. 

I have some paperwork that has to be done this morning and then I'm back to the sewing machine to attempt the impossible!

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why sewing is like riding a bike!

Prepping for this Quilt Market reminds me of when I rode my bike across Canada in 2013. Along the way, we stopped in lots of places and chatted with a lot of people. When we were on the west coast of Canada and we told people that we were riding to St. John's in Newfoundland, people looked at us like we had lost our minds. As we moved closer to our destination, the attitudes of those we chatted with changed. They went from - "are you crazy?" to "WOW - you're almost there!"

It took 10 weeks to ride those almost 8,000 KM.  Well - I feel like I've been sewing for 10 weeks and I'm sure that I've sewed more than 8,000 KM of seams!!!

There is one major difference - I did NOT reveal to anyone exactly how much had to be done.  I'm an idiot, but I'm not that much of an idiot.  I know what people's reaction would be.  Can't be done, you're crazy, etc.

I leave tomorrow evening - late.  While I'm not out of the woods yet, I'm making excellent progress and you know, I might just get it all done.  There is zero time for mistakes, well major ones anyway.  I'm not even sure if I'll remember everything that I did - it's all a blur as I was sewing like mad!

This is what my cutting table looks like this morning.  Actually, I think absolutely everything that still needs to be done is on the table.  I have to finish putting the binding on that big quilt and hand stitch the sleeve. I'm thinking that it will get tacked on which I hate to do, but there is no time for hand stitching unless I have a few moments tomorrow before it goes into a box.

Cutting table

I had ONE more quilt for a magazine that was due by the end of the month. Since I'll be away, I had to rush to get these three (yes THREE) quilts done this month for the magazines.  The last one is all cut. There are 30 blocks in total, 4 of which are completely assembled, 10 which are plain squares of fabric and the rest just need two seams each and they are done.  I can't put them on the design wall as there is something else on there.  Yes - ONE MORE QUILT.  This one doesn't need to be quilted.  Has 18 blocks in it. When I arrived home last night, three blocks were already pieced, everything else (except one block) was cut.   Now there are four blocks left and then to sew in the pieced background which is also cut!

I still have those darn tote bags to finish up - the handles, the bottoms and the pocket lining.

Oh yes - almost had a major SNAFU yesterday. I got home a bit earlier than usual and realized that I didn't have enough of the background for this next magazine quilt. Thankfully Ruti's Needlebed, which is eight minutes away, had the fabric and I was over there and back in 20 minutes!  Last night, I realized that I had forgotten to buy WHITE batting.  I think I'll be making one more trip to the quilt store this morning as soon as it opens.

So there is still loads of work to be done but I'm sequestered in my studio today and I'll be attacking that sewing machine.  It won't know what hit it!

On that note, I'm out of here so I can get to work.

Have a super day!!!


By the way, I think Miss Lexi has something to say this morning.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The real reason I need a leaf blower

Yes - I know it's Motivational Monday and I'll get to that in a second. 

Let's just say that I found an excellent use for the leaf blower.  You do remember me mentioning the leaf blower (still in the box) that's currently sitting in my kitchen.

Brand new leaf blower in the kitchen

Let's say that a certain someone needs a haircut. No - that's NOT me.  But a certain someone who LOVES to roll in the leaves, run through the leaves and lie down in the leaves and then has the nasty habit of bringing those leaves into the house because her fur is COVERED with leaves!

Leaves in the kitchen

And more leaf bits
I'm thinking that instead of a broom, I could just get the leaf blower out and blow the leaves out the door?

Yesterday was another sewing MARATHON.  Seriously, I've never had this kind of focus at the sewing machine in my life! I got home from class on Saturday and furiously worked on piecing the blocks and did so for five hours.

Then up early on Sunday morning and back to the sewing machine.  I had set goals for myself.  Mental ones as there is ZERO time to be writing them in The Task Master.  This component of the blocks needs to be done by 9 AM. This component needs to be done by 10 AM - that sort of thing.  So technically, it's like the taskmaster, but in my head and there is NO DANGER of forgetting. 

As I was piecing the blocks, I also starting to assemble the rows of the quilt.  So by the time I finished piecing the blocks, the entire quilt was almost together.  I did have to make two extra blocks as I had miscounted on a couple of the components.  No worries, it all went together very nicely.

I have NOT worked on a big quilt in a while and I was finding it cumbersome to work on as I did the last part. But not to worry, there is no time to complain - just keep sewing! 

I had cut the backing a couple of days prior and so I whipped those pieces together and went to load on the long arm. Now I was really hoping to be loading the quilt around noon, but you all know how realistic that is.  I think I ended up loading it around 3 PM.  No big deal.  EXCEPT!!!!!  When I went to measure the top, it was FIVE whole inches larger than I had anticipated.  Why? Because I had taken the measurement off of my diagram and NOT the quilt (because it wasn't together then).  Then I realized that the diagram had used 1" sashing and in fact, it was supposed to be 2". 

Oh boy - this is going to cause some problems.  So I "stretched" that backing a wee bit and I didn't have much room on either side as you can see below.

Less than 1" along one side of the backing

The backing was made with three lengths of fabric and I knew when I joined two of them that one piece was a wee bit smaller than the others and sure enough, the backing was short in the corner! 

Missing a wee bit of backing
I knew this was going to be a problem, but the backing was already on the long arm.  Let's see how bad it is.  When I saw that it was only this little corner, I finished the quilt.  Trimmed it and now I've added a small applique piece over that corner and no one will be the wiser that there was an issue.

To recap, I started to sew this quilt (it was all cut and marked) at 5 PM on Saturday.  There are 36 blocks in the quilt - each block has 17 pieces in it. Lots of trimming for each block, each block had two partial seams and required squaring up twice. The quilt is done!  I finished it last night and was sewing the bias binding on, but I had to stop around 9:30 as my neck was killing me. Well - it wasn't that bad, but I knew I had to stop.  The sleeve is almost ready to hand stitch on.  I need about one-half hour to finish the binding which I'll do tonight.

BTW - did I mention that the quilt is 87 inches square?   I'm an idiot!!!  There is no other way to say it!

But I'm not done - there are still three full days before we leave for Market and I've got a few things yet to complete.   I did manage to rejig the wonky handles for the tote bag and no one will be the wiser about that!   They just need to be stitched. 

This is my cutting mat this morning.  I'm rather loving having all this space on that mat and will aim to keep it clear like this going forward. 

Cutting mat this morning

There is a wee bit of cutting on the next project and I hope to make some major progress on that one tonight. 

On that note, I'm out of here to clear up some paperwork so I can hit the sewing machine running!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, October 22, 2017

This is why we have a design wall (and why things go missing)

Yesterday was a fun day!   It was time for the classes (Quilter's Garden Patch and Kaleidoscope) to check in.  I think there's going to be some pretty amazing show n tell in November.  I can hardly wait for that!  I will attempt to post some of the pictures later this week.

Then machine quilting.  It's one of my favorite classes to teach. It's such a great feeling when you see the students have that AHA moment, especially with free motion quilting. They all think it's something unattainable, but then they see how easy it is and well - it's great.  But it's a busy class and no downtime at all.

I got home around five and the real meat of the day began. I was cutting and trimming and sewing and cutting and trimming and sewing. I did that for 5 hours!  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get any of the trimming done during the day so it all had to be done last night.  That would be 576 little trims and let's not forget the pressing. Yikes!!!  Let's sew the first piece on, which was a partial seam - that's a pain to be sure when you're in a hurry! Only 36 of those.  In total, I managed to get all the centers together - 36 of them.  Round two also involved a partial seam. Twelve of 36 blocks are done and on the design wall.  The remaining 24 blocks are in various stages of completion.

I'm thinking I might have to make a couple more of the trimmed components as I have a few pieces left over. I haven't counted yet and will wait to see how many completed blocks I have.  It won't take to make the two missing components and sew those last two blocks together if, in fact, that's what I'm missing.

Now here's the thing. Last night I put two completed blocks on the design wall with a wee bit of white space between them so the sashing could be added later.  Hmmm - I'm liking it with the white sashing, but alas that is NOT what I submitted.  I had brought home two fabrics - the original choice and another one which I thought blended better. I put both of them up last night, took pictures. When I went down this morning, I'm NOT liking the new one that I thought would work and it took me forever to choose that one!   So I'm back to the original one that was submitted on the design.  Do I like the white better?  I'm not sure, but this sashing sure livens up the quilt!  

Here's the thing - it's Sunday. No access to any different fabric, can't use my stash and I have enough of the original one so let's stick with Plan A!   I think it will look just fine.  But without a design wall, it would be very hard to see exactly what is happening.  This quilt makes me happy!   So after we're back from the dog park, I'm hoping one more hour?  will be enough to finish the remaining block even with that nasty partial seam. Then cut the sashing and load on the long arm!  This one is getting an overall design so I hope to be done this afternoon so I can move onto the next one!   Yikes!  No pressure!

Always trying to think ahead, as I came home yesterday from class and sort of unpacked, I decided that I need to sort of pack for the retreat as I will not have any time (or much time) to do so when I get back.  I grabbed my laundry basket and what do you think?  Is this allowed???

Laundry basket of retreat projects

I literally grabbed stuff that was hanging around!   Some of it needs to be prepped. I don't think any of it is on the UFO list for this year!  But I think I'm going to be wanting to work on mindless projects. Stuff that doesn't matter especially after the run that I've had lately!

I'll probably throw some other stuff in as well, but at least I'll have something to sew while I'm away!  Or at the very least, it'll get prepped while I'm at the retreat for the next retreat!

Now, this is how things go missing in your house.  I went to put the girls outside this morning and noticed this at the back door.
AHA - a camera randomly placed
It would appear that I was taking photos yesterday and now I remember why which Lexi will explain in the next day or so.  But apparently, I randomly set the camera on the leaf blower - yes - there is a brand new leaf blower sitting in my kitchen and has been for - well a while!  Who has time to blow the leaves away?  And besides, the girls don't leave any leaves unturned so not really much to blow away!   The idea was to blow the leaves off the deck and since that hasn't happened in a while, I can't imagine that I'm going to get it done this season either.   But I could move the leaf blower to the shed at least!

Now for those of you who know the story about me and the tractor quilts, here's something for a good laugh. And if you don't know about the tractor quilts, you can check out the tractor tag on the right-hand side of the blog - you have to scroll down - it's in alphabetical order.  Believe it or not, there are 17 posts about the tractor quilts!!!   You can take the girl off the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the girl!

So thanks to Marilyn and Lois who thought of me on their trip out west and brought home this lovely souvenir for me!!!   It's a tray for dip and chips (or veggies), but I'm thinking it could be used for chocolate and other goodies!      Thanks for the dish.  I love it!!!   And who would imagine that such a thing exists???  when is the next potluck???   Guess what I'm taking?   This tray will be the talk of the table and no one will dispute which dish is mine!

John Deere chip and dip platter

On that note, I''m out of here.  The whining and crying is getting very annoying. I think the girls are trying to tell me something!They are so impatient!!!

Have a great day!!!!


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Great Expectations

No - I have not succumbed to watching TV, although there I am last night with the iPad propped up on a photo frame doing more research!  Let me tell you that it's super distracting and I'll be glad when the research part of this project is over!  I don't have a case for the iPad that doubles as a stand - that's a pain but I'm not about to break down and buy one.

I made good progress on stuff yesterday.  Now it's onto the handles for those tote bags. There are forty of them. It took a long time to press them yesterday on my new pressing station as I'm getting tired of working on these and I was easily distracted?   A couple of them have to be repressed later today and then all of them have to be stitched. Thankfully, I'm working on a super fast sewing machine at the moment so hopefully one hour to repress a few handles and one hour to stitch them and I'll be done?  That's my goal.

I'm also working on the next magazine quilt that I hope to have in a FedEx box on Monday. It's big. Everything is cut and marked. There are 8 pieces (X 72) that had to be marked before being sewn onto the background.  Half of those are sewn on - I hope today between classes to get them all trimmed and pressed so I can sew the other half on before dinner and then hopefully assemble the blocks tonight. Problem is there are TWO partial seams in EACH of 36 blocks so that will slow me down a bit.  There will be NO research happening tonight as I attempt to make that happen.

As we wind down the year (I know - there are still two months), but people will be thinking about how they will change themselves in the new year. They'll be thinking about buying Christmas presents. BEFORE you buy anyone one of those page-a-day calendars, I want you to go back and read my blog post about the page-a-day calendars.

I think since I wrote that post, I managed to unearth one or two more of them.  While I did make some progress in a couple of the calendars this year - for gosh sakes - the darn things sit on my desk in PLAIN view!  The only one that I`m able to keep up with is the Quote a day! There is no mental math, there is nothing to make, nothing to color - I just have to read it.  If I like it, I hang onto the quote so I can take a picture or hang it on my inspiration board. The rest get used as scrap paper!  

I love this one and based on what has been happening in the last while, I have BIG EXPECTATIONS about myself.  I call it delusional doability.  And it CAN BE DONE!!!!    Just watch me as I attempt to make not one, not two, but THREE quilts before I leave on Wednesday night!  All are cut, NONE are wall hangings.  I'm an idiot!!!!    Thankfully one is for work so I can actually sew that at work which is a lifesaver!   And only two have to be quilted. There are still bits of those bags to finish off and I have to teach today!

From time to time, I come across items or articles that I think you might be interested in.   I`m one of those people who has NEVER watched Game of Thrones. I have no idea what genre of show it is, I don`t know any of the characters names. I know absolutely zero about it, except that some people are absolutely taken with the show!  It's nice to see this article showing that the "makers"  (that's us) have a way to do stuff about anything!   It helps to raise awareness about the arts and crafts movement of which we're all a part of.

Check out this link to see the project.   Or if that link doesn't work, just search for Game of Thrones tapestry and you'll find loads of information!  It's pretty cool, even for a non-watcher of the show!

On that note, I'm out of here.  I have two very impatient girls hovering by my chair  (is it time?  is it time?  Mom - IS IT TIME?)  NO - it's not time to go to the park yet!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, October 20, 2017

The calm..................

Everything just seems a whole lot calmer today!  I still have a lot of sewing to do.  I'll be making handles for my tote bags today, but it's a whole lot calmer!

And let me tell you how distracting TV is!  Now I know why I don't watch it anymore.  I'm doing some research and it requires a wee bit of TV watching. Fortunately, I found the show I want on Youtube. I downloaded an episode onto the iPad and placed the iPad on my cutting mat while I was cutting this morning. Then I moved the iPad to the ironing board and then back to the cutting table, not wanting to miss a single moment!  See why I don't watch TV????   I was NOT able to get nearly as much cutting done as I normally would.  Drat ---   and I have to watch more than one episode!  Oh well - it happens to be something that I used to watch and I like it so that helps! 

Once I was finished the meager amount of cutting that I did today, this is what my cutting mat looks like.

Cutting mat looks awesome!
 Yes - the cutting mat looks awesome.  I'm almost 100% done all the cutting required. Now there's a LOT of sewing to do, but it's doable.  At least I think it's doable!!   The stack on the end - that's the WOULD BE AWESOME to get done, but not necessary.  Yep - I'm good!

I got the sleeve sewn on the last quilt last night.  This is Jeweled Tiles - the free download that I showed you earlier this week.  Here is the backing.  I had 10 squares left over (as per the cutting instructions) and so I just whacked them right in the center of the backing!  I love it and no leftovers! Those fabrics are BRIGHT!!!   They belong to Northcott's Essence collection.  Use the Product Finder in the top right-hand corner to find a shop near you that sells them.

The backing of Jeweled Tiles

I have a ton of e-mails to catch up on and a lot of paperwork but let's just see what we can get done!

Oh yes - and did you notice, there is a new category at the top of the blog.  CONTACT ME  - so if you're looking to get ahold of me and don't want to leave a comment on my blog or don't already have my e-mail - you can get my e-mail in that tab!  DUH - how many years have I been blogging and never did this before?   There are a lot more changes coming, but baby steps!!!

And the apple didn't fall too far from the tree at our house!   Have a look at this link - a story about flooding in Vancouver.  Check out the photo credit on some of the photos!!!!   That's crazy to have that much flooding on a regular rainy day!  Good thing, I live here and she lives there!  Good job M!!

On that note, I've got a load of stuff to do today. 

Have a great day!!!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

And now for the quilting marathon!

Well, I had every intention of getting to the blog earlier, but that didn't happen!  Now a few minutes of downtime and to catch up on what's happening. 

When I got home last night, it was to the long arm where I had a lap sized quilt that needed to be in the FedEx box TODAY.  Of course, I wanted to do some custom quilting on it - I think it warranted it, but not tons of time to do anything super fancy!  But I'm super happy with the way it turned out.  This is just a peek from the back. The front looks much better.  And I had to load the quilt AND I had to join the batting because the only piece of white batting wasn't quite wide enough!

I had a lot of fun doing it despite the fact that there was zero room for error and zero time to take a break and zero time to say, oh, that's it for the night.   I got most of it done last night before going to bed. Then up bright and early to finish it off.  I got it trimmed, then whisked it in the car and off to work.

Normally, I can whip a binding on a quilt by machine in no time, but I've had oodles of trouble with the last two quilts. One I couldn't even do on the machine I was using at home.  So I got to work and more problems.  What is going on???   I had to take the walking foot off the machine and use an ordinary presser foot.  Let's just say that the binding on those two is not super pretty. 

As I was nearing the end of the second binding a thought came to me. I'm going to test it out and I'll let you know what happens.  Frustrating to say the least!!

I think I posted this new set up in my office. I moved the Reliable ironing board in and the NEW (to me) Reliable iron. Yes - there are two of them in the picture.  One is to use on a daily basis, the other is the "show" iron.  Anyway, that iron saved my bacon.  You all know how much fun it is to fuse Decor-Bond to the fabric.  But that iron did the job nicely.   And there's my sewing machine right beside the ironing board. I'm set - just have to figure out how to get a cutting table in the office and I'll be good to go.

I was contemplating getting my very old Reliable iron fixed, but I'm really really liking this one. Seems to be hotter and more efficient use of steam.  I think I might check it out when I'm back.

Ironing station set up

Now in addition to having the 40 outside piece for the 20 tote bags done, the 40 linings are done as well.

The tote bag linings - yes there are FORTY pieces

And for those that asked, here is the outside of the tote bags.  The color is a bit off in the photo. Let's just say that I'll be glad when all the rest of the components are completed!

The outside of the tote bags

I got the seams pressed open on the pocket section.  So 20 of those are now done.  That leaves the handles and the bottom insert!  I'll make it - but it will be tight!

As I was sewing on the binding for the magazine quilt, I realized that I still needed to make a sleeve. Let's just say that that got pinned on.  No time for hand sewing today!

I can have a wee bit of a breather tonight, but not by much as the next quilt needs to be pieced ASAP and it's big!

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What a day!!!

If you read my blog yesterday, you know that I was sequestered at home in my studio with a pile of sewing and pressing.  I started at my normal time of 5 AM or shortly thereafter. It was a LONG, LONG day. Probably the most intense sewing day in my life!  

It would have been one of those days when a camera that periodically takes shots would have been fun. Instead, I grabbed the camera and took a couple of shots. 

This is what the sewing table looked like when I went for breakfast. 

A few things to sew
And the cutting table looked like this.

Cutting table is a tad messy but functional
I had visions that the fronts of the bags would be done by lunch.  HA HA HA HA !!!!!   What an optimist I am!!!

Sewing table at lunchtime
Cut, press, trim, cut, press, trim......................
Oh god - are you kidding me????   How long is all this going to take?????

This is what the table looked like at dinner

AT LAST   - the last one got done about 8 PM.   There were 40 covers in total to do!  And all of them got done. Some parts were together, some were not. So not only did I have to fuse the fusible fleece on the bags, but I had to sew some part of all 40 of them. Perhaps a wee bit more planning was in order! Once the fleece was on, they all had to be trimmed to size.

At last - all done!

40 covers for the tote bag

Then I got out the AccuQuilt and started cutting something else.  While I had never used an AccuQuilt, I've not been a fan, but I have to say that it was very slick to cut what I wanted!!  I'm not sure I would want to cut blocks with it - but who knows.  The applique worked like a charm.

AccuQuilt - worked like a charm for cutting!

Cutting table is in not so bad of shape
There was a lot of trimming so I had to move the garbage right to the cutting table!!!

BIG garbage for all the trimming

I was up early again this morning and got the next project lined up for sewing!

Next project
And the cutting table is looking real good at this point.

The cutting table is in good shape!

I'm not sure how I remained focused for the entire day. But I did.  I managed to sneak outside for a few minutes to soak up a bit of the sun and see that the girls were up to.  But it was an intense day!  Thankfully it's done and onto today!

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a great day!!!!


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hidden camera

I've survived another day!  The number of days of insanity is getting fewer with each sleep - does that even make sense?

As long as progress is being made, I don't really care.  I didn't get a whole lot done yesterday in the sewing department as I was at work getting last minute paper stuff organized - labels, patterns, etc.  And in the evening, I was the guest speaker at the Port Perry Quilter's Guild.  I know what you're thinking - why did you book not one, but TWO speaking engagements so close to Market.  I don't know - but I'm booking my entire October calendar off next year!   It's not a big deal - it's just this massive project for the bags. If I didn't have that, I'd be fine!

I did my lecture on organizing and it's such good fun to give that lecture.  It's something that we can all relate to!  And what a super creative group of quilters they are.  They were showcasing their Sesquicentennial challenge.  For their theme, they were each given ONE of the trivia questions on the Northcott Sesquicentennial fabric.  What a clever idea!!!

I helped to pick the winning quilts which was a VERY HARD task as there were so many good ones. Heck, they were all good. Just the fact that people came up with something so creative - that's a winning quilt!

Today I'm sequestered with my Reliable ironing board and iron and the sewing machine.  (I should have sprung for the super deluxe garment steamer!)  The bags have to be done before I go to bed tonight.  Well, mostly done.  There is a lot to be finished, not many completed.  But I can get a lot done when I'm focused!

I uploaded the pictures from my photo shoot and some of them are not half bad!  I really must learn to use my camera better.  It's a great camera, super lens, but I'm not the best with the settings.  I should make that a goal for 2018.  And then there's my "friend" Marilyn, who, without saying a word, has me almost convinced that I NEED this massive amount of technology for quilting. A wee bit of research is required before I undertake that effort.  I'll be checking it out at Market.

Guess what else happened yesterday.  Oh yes - I received one more quilt - I think it was the last one that we were to receive.  Guess what?  Oh yes - it had a sleeve, but only one half was stitched in place. I got the fun task of doing the second side. Which actually worked out OK.  I had arrived at my destination last night with some time to spare. Just happened to have hand sewing stuff in the car so I sat in the car and stitched the sleeve in place. I may now whip out this afternoon and take a picture or two.

When I was getting ready to leave for Missouri Star a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to take my little camera with me, but alas, it was nowhere to be found. I didn't even mention it because I didn't have time and I thought of what you would think of me to lose a camera and not be able to find it.  So I said nothing. Then when I was getting ready for my class this past weekend, guess what I found in the project box!  Thank goodness, this was a two-part class or it may have been a long, long time before I found that camera.  Thankfully it was the little one and not the big one. I might have panicked then!

Hidden camera!

This is the best picture I have of the quilt that I finished the other night. I cut it on Saturday (I think), pieced the six-inch blocks on Saturday night.  Sew the top together on Sunday morning, except the last border. Came home from class, sewed on that last border, made the backing and quilted it. You need to see the backing because it's kind of cool.  I'll take pictures today.

I was going to take a better picture than this, but the battery died right after this picture. I don't have a spare battery for this camera - I must get one. It's very handy!   The binding needs to be put on as my machine just didn't like my invisible thread combo.

Jewelled Tiles

This is a free pattern on the Northcott web site. The fabric collection is called Essence which is just gorgeous. My pattern has another colorway  - a more modern version which I think I might have to make. I'm thrilled with how it turned out.   If you check out the link, you can see the other colorway.  If you make this quilt or any of my other free stuff - send me a picture, I'd love to post it!

On that note, I can hear the iron calling my name!  I get the FUN job of fusing Decor-Bond and Fusible Fleece today.  Yeah - if you've ever worked with those products, you know that it can be a wee bit of a challenge. High heat and LOTS of steam!

Have a super day!!!!