Monday, April 30, 2018

Motivational Monday update

The first four months of the year are almost over and I was having a look at my Task Master. Hmm - we have had quite the chat over the last couple of days. I have my UFO list from 2017 and there are still some outstanding projects on that list. And then there is the list for 2018. Still lots of projects on that list. It's time for some action here!

I've been getting oodles of stuff done - just not what I wanted to get done. Not that it matters because there is no deadline for these projects, but wouldn't it feel great to get them out of the way? Don't get me wrong - I'm not upset because I haven't been working on those UFOs, but I like setting goals and checking things off. I just get distracted - easily! I already have 30 completely finished items for this year - not too shabby and there are a number of items that just need binding and they will be added to that list.

It's time to focus and get some of those UFOs DONE!!  Because there is a whole pile more waiting to be worked on. Plus adding some new stuff as well. 

So this is what I've been working on.......

This project is on the list for 2018. It's called Night Sky by JayBird Quilts. It was a class a long, long time ago.

The pattern for Night Sky by Jaybird Quilts

I actually took this to the retreat with me. When I opened up the box, there was a huge chunk of black, some uncut strips of the blue (four of them), some strips of orange and some strips of purple.

Fabric that still needs to be cut
There was ONE green block (two halves) completed and lots of bits and pieces of the green that needed to be assembled. I really hate finding a project in this state because I had to spend a bit of time figuring out where I needed to start. But once I got going, I got a lot done on the last day of the retreat. A LOT!

But back home and there's a sit n sew day. I might as well keep working on this and let's try to get it done!!!!

I sewed all day yesterday with the sewing ladies. I took pictures and will share them later. After they left, I had two blocks left to sew. I was tempted to leave them for today, but then it was like I was at the retreat. Set those goals. Just a few more seams and VOILA - I was completely finished with the purple and the green.

Purple and green half blocks - DONE
Here is one of the purple blocks which is made up of two block halves.

One of the purple blocks

Those blocks in the photo above are actually two block halves folded together to make one block. If you count, there are more green than purple?  I'm not sure why that happened and I had to piece two of the diamonds in order to finish the green blocks. I'm OK with that.

I need 40 block halves in total in order to make a lap size quilt. You know me - I think there will enough of the blocks to make two quilts. Why or why do I do that???

Rose almost died yesterday when she saw me pressing the blocks. Yep - those seams are pressed OPEN!!!
Seams pressed open
I know, but it's going to make everything lie a bit flatter with all those points. Every once in a while, I listen to the pattern designer.

When I was taking a break from sewing last night, I decided that this would be the perfect project to bring to Monday. So the black got cut. Not sure if I will need more, but I sub-cut all the strips that were already cut.

Black is cut
 Then I needed some color so all the orange got cut.

Orange is cut
 And this is what I'll be sewing today. After I get my 150 Canadian Women blocks sewn which I cut out this morning.

The orange blocks are ready for sewing today

I feel very accomplished and really, if I focus a wee bit more, I should be able to whip through some of those UFOs pretty quickly. I was working on another one early in the morning and it's almost done so I'll show you that when it's done. It's in the Task Master to get done this week, along with the tasks for the Night Sky pattern.

I mentioned that I had to clear the tables for the sit n sew day. What to do with all that stuff? Shove it in the corner - that's what!!!

A tad untidy!

The rest of the space is in good shape so I don't feel too bad and some of this is just unpacking from the classes and retreat. I'm going to chisel away at it this week after I'm tired of sewing on that Night Sky project.

How is everyone else making out with their UFOs? I know some haven't made a list, but are whittling away at the mental list they have made. It doesn't matter - as long as we are trying to get those UFOs done. I know I have to make a physical list because I'll forget and it's easy to push them out of our mind! I'm determined to get them done - both last year and this year! It's going to happen.

Remember it's your progress and if that's only one UFO for the entire year, that's OK. No need to be crazy about all this - sewing is supposed to be our hobby, not our nightmare. I just don't want my hobby (mess) to become someone else's nightmare when I'm gone.

On that note, I'm out of here. Got to get ready for another day of sewing and then it's back to work tomorrow. Paperwork and learning the computer on the long arm. That should be fun!!!

Have a great day!!!


Sunday, April 29, 2018

There's so much and so little time

We had a super fun day yesterday. Loads of show n tell in the table runner class and then Farm Girl Vintage. And topped it off with a finishing class for tuffets. Whew!! I was glad to get home.

My car was stuffed to the top with tuffet and other class supplies and after I picked up a few things along the way, it was stuffed when I got home. It's all empty now and ready to take the girls to the park this morning. But what's with the snow???  It was snowing when I got up! It has stopped now, but this isn't funny anymore!

I'm on my own for two whole weeks. So after I cooked myself a real dinner, I decided that with nothing rush (for the moment) that I could read a bit. I started this psychological thriller last week, but I had a dread of reading it. The main character is going to get in trouble, she knows she shouldn't do what she is about to do, but things progress way beyond that trouble. There are twists in this one pretty much right to the end. Yikes! Yes - I read and read and read and it was getting creepier and creepier. I couldn't stop. I'm about 40 pages away from the finish when YES - I just literally fell asleep. Woke up and went to bed where I proceeded to finish the book. I read 3/4 of the darn thing last night!!! BUT  - the subject matter is very disturbing because it's very current, it's very plausible that it could happen and well - in a matter of a very short period of time, a lot of lives are involved!

The book?  It's the second book (called Second Life) by S. J. Watson. The author of that other book I read - "Before I Go to Sleep" which was also a page-turner. I'm not sure this author's background, but boy - he has quite the imagination and the knack for writing a page-turner. Anyway, if you're into a page-turner thriller, I thought it was a great book.

Of course, then I was wide awake and couldn't go back to sleep so I started another book! I must finish the remaining books I have from the library and not get more until I read a few from my shelf.

I've loads of pictures to share with you, but I don't have time to edit them this morning and while I could have done that last night, I was busy (reading my book). This morning, I had to get the studio ready for a sit n sew day. I must say that it looks rather untidy. I literally just tossed everything onto the floor in the corner. I haven't even unpacked from the retreat or the FIVE classes from last weekend and yesterday. It will be fun to go through all that later today when everyone leaves.

But I'm going to leave you with two very interesting articles that have been sitting in the pending file. One of them is about NOT making your craft a business. So for anyone who thinks they may want to go into business (for quilting, knitting, or whatever), it's a good read. The second one is about knitting - BUT, while the author is a knitter, it's about making mistakes and should they be fixed. It's very interesting! Something we should all read. I'm going to go back and read it in more detail later today. I have loads more links in my draft blogs to share with you on days like today!

I have a few more things to tidy up before the sewists arrive today and I've got to get to the dog park with the girls. And Murphy says that I had better bring her ball today because it's very boring at the park without it!

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Back to reality

On the last day of any retreat, we're always allowed to stay until 3:00 PM. That's the check-out time, but without fail, many of the participants are out of the house by 10 AM, having packed up the night before. Gosh - that's an entire day of sewing they are missing. Who cares about laundry? And how long does it take to do laundry anyway?

However, I'm happy to report that this time? Oh no - we took total advantage of the day and the four of us left didn't get out of there until 3 PM. Technically we had one more day, but we did have to get home. One by one, the four of us packed up depending on what other things we had to do (Ronda had some real work to do so she did pack up a bit early). Shelly and Vivenda were working away until well after lunch and I packed up at 3 PM. It was awesome!!  I accomplished a whole lot on the last day so I was very glad for that.

Tidied up, took out the garbage and packed up the car. Let's just say that I'm glad that the extra sewing machine wasn't in the car because I don't know if everything would have fit inside!

Ronda and I stopped at a quilt store on the way home as I had to pick up a quilt of mine that they had borrowed. All the kits are now sold so the quilt can come home to me. This is a picture of the quilt and if you're interested and have all those Sesquicentennial panels at home, here's a link to the free pattern. 

Coast to Coast to Coast

Now here's a wee bit of sticker shock. I bought three meters of fabric, one half-meter, and two FQs. With tax, it was $90!!!!! That's insane, but the price per meter is $19.98.  All adds up very quickly these days which means that we just have to become smarter about what we buy. The half-meter and FQs are RED and I have several more projects to work on that need RED fabric. Two of the meters were for a kit that I bought at the CreativFestival and wasn't quite big enough for me so I'm going to add a border (probably should have only bought one meter - oh well!) and the last meter was just because!

I'll show you pictures of everything over the coming week. I don't have time today to do many pictures.

After our shopping expedition, Ronda and I stopped for a burger (and ice cream - more on the eating thing later this week) and then we went our separate ways. I got home, the girls were happy to see me. Not because they missed me as their Mom, but because I'm the person that takes them for walks and to the dog park.

I had a wee bit of work to finish prepping for today's THREE classes, but I also had to make a trip to Home Depot for some tuffet supplies. Got those and got the remaining three upholstery hoods made for the tuffet class. I was supposed to work on THREE blocks that I goofed on, but only had time to fix one. No worries - it'll all work out.

I'll have lots of pictures to share with you!

Oh, I did unpack somewhat this morning and I took this picture to share with you. It's DONE. The pixelated apple quilt top is DONE!!!!!

Pixelated apple quilt

I'm thrilled to bits. I never thought this would get completed, but I LOVE IT!!!!  I want to do another one.   I have stories about two more of these quilts, but no time this morning.

Now I have to find some cool backing fabric preferably with apples on it. I must check the stash, there could be something there. I think I'll bind it with red? white? (NO) black? green?  That's not important at this point, but I love those black on white prints for the background. And I definitely want to do another pixel quilt. But I have something else in mind first and I'll share that with you later this week as well.

On that note, I'm out of here. We're off to the dog park and then repack the car for today's tuffet class.

Have a great day!!!


Had a good chat with my Dad last night - 85 years young and still going strong. He's a tinkerer and loves building/repairing motors and building parts for vintage tractors that can no longer be bought. I hope I'm like him when I'm that old in about 50 years!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Forest Road Retreat - Day Five

This is the longest sewing retreat I’ve been too and I’m taking complete advantage of the situation. We’re leaving today, but not until much later in the day. I mean - what will I do at home? Sew of course and so I might as well sew here with company!!!

I do have to pick up a quilt that belongs to me that has never actually been in my house even though I made it a year ago. It’s been on display at a quilt shop and they just sold the last kit so it’s coming home!!!  I’m going to hang it up. You’ll recognize the quilt - Coast to Coast to Coast. If you do a Google search, it may come up.

I got so much done yesterday it was ridiculous. I finished the pixelated apple quilt. It’s gorgeous and I can’t wait to get it quilted. It’s going to be at Quilts at the Creek later this summer. I finished the mini quilt for the show in May - more details once I get the details on where the quilt will hang. It even has a label (a crudely hand written one) and a sleeve. It’s done!!!!  It was only 12 inches square so not a huge deal.

I finished a whole whack of pinwheel blocks yesterday. We get these goals in our heads - tonight, I’ll finish this and it’s becomes a chore, but sure feels nice when it’s all done. One more person left yesterday so we’re only four. We went out to the local restaurant last night for dinner. I had cabbage rolls and they were great. But I could only eat one of them. The other will be my lunch today.

Shelly and I walked there and we stopped to check out real estate prices on the way home. WOW!!!!  Totally out of whack. Huge prices for little properties and houses that really need to be torn down and rebuilt. We saw houses at almost 2 million dollars!!!!  The cheapest was about $300K. Rental prices go from $2K per week to $5K per week.  Yikes!!!!

I have some pictures to share with you as to why we would NEVER live here.

Oh - I also finished all the tuffet hoods that I brought with me so I’m leisurely working on two projects and it’s great.

On that note, the buffer on the iPad will soon fill so that’s it for today.

Have a great day!!!


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Forest Road Retreat - Day Four

It was a gloomy rainy day all day yesterday which made it a perfect day at the retreat. I didn’t get out of my PJs and I was quite comfy all day.

I managed to get a ton of stuff done. I’m currently working on the LAST half block of the pixelated apple quilt. The other blocks are together, seams are twirled and pressed. I can’t wait!!

I’m making a small block for a show of just the heart. I was so excited - got all the squares cut out. SEwed them together and was doing the reveal when I realized that there was a problem. I HUGE problem. Then as I reviewed a bit more, I realized that there were a few more issues with the block. It meant taking about 1/3 of it apart and sewing it back together. A huge waste, but what could I do!!  Happy to report that it’s back together now and all is good. I’m going to quilt it later today and make a mini quilt from it.

We all seemed to have some issues yesterday - not sure if it’s because we’ve been sewing too long? But I also got a couple of table runners (from years ago) done. Well one is missing two pieces of fabric so it’s as together as it can be. I have a lot of little fixes to do when I get home with miscut fabrics or missing fabrics. Might spend the entire day on Sunday doing that and then these will be waiting for quilting. I need to find backings for some and bindings for a couple.

NO danger of running out of things to do here, but I’m really happy with my progress to date.

I sewed quite late last night as I wanted to get the table runners completed. So I ran up the stairs to play my turn at Scrabble and then back down to sew where Shelly and Vivenda kept me company. Shelly finished her project before we did, but we finished about the same time. OH yes, let’s not forget the hockey game. We didn’t even need to be watching to know what was going on - the noise from the living room was excessive!!!

On that note, the sun is out and it looks like it’s going to be a perfect day for a walk. I’m deep in the midst of another project and I have more tuffet hoods to sew - got 5 more to make before we leave and quilt and bind that little project. The rest is just gravy.

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Forest Road Retreat - Day Three

Another successful day at the quilting retreat. I got a whole bunch of projects completed yesterday. Lots of little stuff that has been hanging around for a while - well not a long while, but a while. Slowly, one by one they are getting completed. I also had made a commitment to entering a mini quilt into a show and that quilt is due by the end of the month. I had to start from scratch, cut all the pieces, but I’m happy to report that the top is together. It’s only 12 inches square but I’m happy with it. Just a few seams to twirl and I’m good to start quilting it.

As usual, we’re eating like queens and I have to get back on track when I get home, although I’ve been pretty good. There was just a lot of fun food, but there was a big bag of jujubes sitting on the kitchen all day yesterday and I was tempted several times, but then I told myself that I did NOT need them and I didn’t touch them. I’m quite proud of myself for that.

Sacha and I took a walk yesterday after we had been to Midland for a shopping trip. Someone gooped up the iron and I ended up running vinegar though it and then I needed iron cleaner to clean the bottom. Let’s just say that my sinuses got a good cleaning as well. When cleaning the iron with vinegar, do NOT stand over it as it steams!!

Anyway, we took a walk along the beach where I learned that one of my rubber boots has a hole in it. Not just a little hole, but a huge rip along the sole. I was going to buy some new ones at Marks the other day, but couldn’t find my size. Then I thought I did not need new boots, but now I do.

I’ve got loads of projects to take pictures of when I get home. And there are a few things where I could only go so far and had to stop for whatever reason. I will try to catch up on those things on the sit n sew on Sunday at my house.

That’s it for today - short and sweet. It’s raining outside so it’s a perfect day to stay in and sew.

Have a great day!!!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Forest Road Retreat - Day Two - Part Two

Make sure you read the Part One post first. I accidentally hit Publish instead of saving and I wanted to put this one first.

A yummy dinner was waiting for me when I got back to the house. Even though the traffic was a bit of a bear leaving the city, it wasn’t that bad and it isn’t that far so I made good time.

After eating, we tried to finish our Scrabble game. It was Ronda who realized we had a major problem with the game. It turns out that there were tiles for TWO games in the bag!!!! Oh god. - well I guess we “forfeit” that game, but technically I won!!!  We’ve started a new game after the extra letters were removed. We haven’t gotten too far along because the big entertainment of the evening was the hockey game. I think even the non-hockey fans were watching. It was pretty exciting and I did pop up from time to time to watch. The girls were decked out in their hockey gear (hats) with thei cool beverages.

Needless to say that we have to go though this excitement again on Wednesday night. The series has taken an exciting turn to say the least.

Even though I only sewed after dinner, I did manage to get some stuff completed. I have the last big block for the pixelated apple done!  It will get joined today and I’m working on the first of the half blocks now. Yeah!!!!  I got all the flying geese prepped for one of the table runners. I wish it could have been more, but that’s OK.

I’ve had breakfast and I’m off to sew all day and have that long, long walk as well.

Have a super day!!!!


Forest Road Retreat - Day Two Part One

So technically I wasn’t here for Day Two although I arrived back at the house just as they were to eat dinner.

I was up early and on my way back to the city with a two hour drive. Right into morning traffic which wasn’t all that bad, but it still bogged down. I had a little chuckle to myself as I passed the exit where I used to work. Good morning to all my former co-workers! Have a great day!

Then it was off to my meeting for my freelance gig. First off, the room where the meeting was held was freezing. I’m not just talking cold, I’m talking freezing!!  Finally around lunchtime, the temperature was fixed but seriously - why do they turn on the A/C in April. I get it that it was warm outside and that there were bodies in the room, but that was a wee bit too cold for my liking.

The meeting itself was pretty interesting and it just makes me realize that I know so little about all these sewing machines. That’s not entirely true as I do know a fair amount and my creativity adds quite a bit, but wow - the things that you can do. I’m very excited about the whole thing and got a couple of great ideas on how to make some cool stuff. Can’t wait to get home and try it out. I didn’t have to bring the big sewing machine back with me so the car is now pretty empty. Yeah!!

Let’s just say that the eating thing for yesterday - well it wasn’t a great day and that is the first day since I started all this. I can live with one day, but goes to show you that if you have bad food with you, you’ll eat it. And there are times (like in a meeting) when you’re needing something to keep you busy and food becomes the focal point. LUnch was huge and dinner was huge and I ate a fair number of bread items - I felt awful last night. Stuffed and I haven’t felt that way in a long, long time. Lots of water required today and a long walk to flush it all out.

I’m going to write one more post to finish the day off as I know my iPad buffer is going to kick in any minute.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Forest Road Retreat - Day One

This is going to be short and sweet this morning. I’m on my iPad because it’s handy and I have to leave in a few minutes to go to a meeting today. It was “funny” (NOT!) that I have had two events for my freelance educator gig and both of them fell during my scheduled retreats. So today, I’m off to the city for a meeting and then back tonight. Thankfully there is NO danger of an ice storm.

Everyone arrived safely yesterday and lots of fun to catch up with everyone and see what they are working on.

I worked on my 150 Canadian Women since I wouldn’t be able to do that today (Monday sewing). I got all six blocks completed so that was every exciting. I’ll post pictures when I get home. It’s just easier but I do have to figure something out to post while I’m away.

Then I moved onto the next project that I brought with me. The blocks for Farm Girl Vintage that I need for homework this coming weekend. I managed to finish most of the blocks, but wait. I didn’t get one done because I miscut the fabric. I couldn’t finish another because I didn’t cut one piece of fabric and I couldn’t finish one more because I miscut one of the pieces after I sewed it. There’s a lot of stitch and flip in these blocks. Shoot - I should have time to rework those blocks on Friday evening so I’m good. I’m trying very had to keep everything up to date!!!

As I sewed those fussy little blocks, I almost completed the last of the big blocks for the pixel apple quilt (as my elder and leader). I could have finished it last night, but I was tired. I also got two of the “hoods” for the turrets sewn. And imagine that there are four of the nine people in the tuffet class right here. So as I sew the hoods (from upholstery batting), it’s going to one of the four and they can take them home and be responsible for bringing them on the weekend to class. Just a bit more stuff that doesn’t have to go in the car.

On that note, I see it’s time for my two (hopefully) hour drive. I’d better get the garbage/recycling to the curb and get going.

Have a great day!!!


And while we didn’t frolic on the beach, we did take a quick picture of me waving my arms as I stood on a rock. It was a gorgeous day and lots of people were milling about.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Frolicking on the beach

I was up early yesterday and managed to get most of what I wanted to cut - cut. That was a relief and now the big thing was to get it all into the car. There were bags and bags of stuff. Thank goodness for a hatchback car - it's amazing what can go in there. Not only did I have stuff for the retreat, but I had my two classes and a few bags of stuff for a meeting that I'm going to later this week.

We had great classes on paper piecing and double wedding ring. They are two part classes. I did take pictures and I'll try to find a way to post them. Ronda very conveniently brought a laptop for me to blog on so I'm not going to have to mess with the tablets. Yeah Ronda!!!  I tell you there is no comparison between the keyboard on a laptop and my crappy desktop keyboard. I hate it, but I'm not sure that you can get a laptop style keyboard for a desktop. There is a totally different feel between the two. I notice she doesn't have Grammarly installed on it so I'm on my own (well besides spell check) for the corrections.

Immediately after class, I was in the car for the drive to the retreat. Because I was leaving from the store, it took me almost an hour to reach the major highway. The weather was awesome, the traffic was great and I made it in two hours. Ronda had arrived shortly before me.

We unloaded the cars. I left half of the stuff in my car as I need it later this week.

While this is the second time I've been at this house there were a few things that we had questions about. Like the password to the WiFi. Which was prominently displayed on the wall beside the TV, but we missed that! DUH!!!

My sewing machine is all set up and ready to go this morning. Last night we went to the little restaurant in the beach area. By the way - there is NO ice on the lake. All clear and ready for frolicking. I was going to go down there after our yummy meal last night, but then I forgot. I'll go today. It looks like it's going to be a gorgeous day - the sky is clear and the weather is above zero. Oops - it's just below zero, but it will be above later.

The Surf restaurant was packed when we arrived. Must be all the locals here and they were hungry. I did celebrate by having a beer - the first one in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Then we were back to the house where Ronda was watching the hockey game. We played Scrabble although we're finishing the game this morning. I was exhausted and was clipping a rag quilt while we played. Next thing I'm asleep in my chair. Finally at 11 PM, it was time for bed. I was tired.

I"m sleeping in the basement. There is a big room with three beds, but I've claimed it for myself as there is room for the others upstairs. I unpacked all my stuff - my huge project bag and all the tuffet stuff to sew and it's all over the floor. I'm happy!!!

Now we had to figure out our way around the kitchen. Where's the measuring cup? How does the microwave work? I ended up cooking my oatmeal on the stove - no big deal. It cooked up just fine. Then Ronda figured out how the microwave works. Oh well - there's always tomorrow.

We've eaten, we're moving the Scrabble board downstairs so we can complete our game and now we're off to sew while we wait for the others to arrive.

It's going to be an exciting week - and we mustn't forget to frolic on the beach!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, April 21, 2018

On your mark, get set - IRON!

I hosted a sit and sew at my house this past week. The numbers were few, but that's OK. We still got lots of work done. 

I'm a wee bit pressed for time this morning so I'll share what happened to me in another post. It will have to wait until next week as I can't upload pictures on that darn iPad. I'm going to take another tablet with me (not an iPad) and see if that works. I should also throw my teeny computer/tablet in my bag, but I'm not sure where the power cord is. If I can find that - I might throw that in the bag as well. Going loaded with technology! 

Let's just say that it's been a crazy busy week. I taught three classes in the evening - all of them were super fun, especially last night! More on that another day. I have two classes to teach today. Then we're off to retreat for a week and then I have three classes the day after I come back. All of them needed some prep work. And let's not forget my meeting that I have to attend on Monday. It's been a challenge, to say the least. BUT as long as everything fits in my car, I'm good. It might be a wee challenge to make that happen - I have this massive sewing machine box and the embroidery unit to put in the car as well as my wagon to carry everything. I'll be sure to take pictures and post on social media.

Speaking of social media, did you know that for a lot of people, blogging is passe?  Yep - people can't be bothered to write (or read) blog posts so they go for Instagram pictures or Facebook pictures. That is so damn boring and how will everyone keep up their language skills if they don't read and write? Are we going back to kindergarten? Well, I don't care - I love to blog and will continue to do so for as long as I can!!!

Diane was working on a project that I hope to make someday.It's called Oh My Gosh. I've forgotten who the pattern is by. But those little blocks - well they are little and there are some nine-patches as well. I was hoping to snag a few, but that didn't happen. I guess I just have to cut and sew my own. But not right now!

Oh My Gosh project

Pat was assembling some hand embroidered blocks into a quilt top. There were a few design modification along the way (yes - ripping out), but she got the top together. It looks awesome and the colors she chose were perfect.

Pat's elf quilt
 The blocks are super cute. The pattern is by Unseen Hands.   There are a couple of really really nice barn embroidery quilts on her website. Hmm - those would be nice to do. Barns with quilts on them.

Elf block from Unseen Hands
 Ruth was working on her blocks from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler (Elm Creek). I didn't get a picture of her blocks.

I have to share this story with you about the iron. I'm currently using one of the Reliable irons - the model 50. The orange one. I need to read the instruction manual to learn how to set it up so that it doesn't shut off, especially on days of sit n sew. It has a couple of quirks which means the steam will turn itself on when it reaches a certain temperature. I like it, you just have to be careful using it. Once I read the manual, I'm sure that problem will go away.

To make life easier for the people coming to sew, I purchased a small iron a month ago. Last week was the first time using it. I plugged it in and we were ready to sew. But as with all shut-off irons, this one shut off. We gave it a nudge and nothing seemed to happen. Then it was stone cold and leaking water which happens when you turn a cold iron face down. Hmm  - what could be the problem?

The box says that it has a 45-minute timed shut-off. Should be OK. After much puzzlement, I read the instructions. Oh - it has a 45-minute timer all right!  After 45 minutes, the iron shuts completely down and the only way to restart it?  You guessed it - you have to unplug and replug it in!!! 

Iron with a timer!!!

While this may be a great feature for the forgetful husband or teenager in your house, it's not really the most practical iron for the sewer/quilter out there. I'm not taking it back, but if ever you see TIMER on the iron box, be suspicious. Very suspicious. It probably shuts down completely after that time. I've heard of this from another friend years ago, but never realized what the wording meant on the box.  Oh well - having to unplug and replug is better than having the steam going off by itself. But we got a good chuckle over that one.

I managed to get the customer quilt done yesterday. It's off the machine, trimmed and ready for pick-up. I love the quilt - she replicated the family bookcase!!!!

Customer quilt - DONE

Someone once told me that you can "read" a person by the kind of books they have on their shelves. Hm - there was quite a variety of books on this shelf as the maker had put names on the spines of a lot of the books. 

I finished listening to my audiobook as well which was good because yesterday was the last day to listen to it. I plugged headphones in and quilted away. I like to hear the sound of the long arm so the book wasn't too loud. It worked perfectly. 

On that note, I'm out of here. I'm off to the dog park and then back home to pack the car and then speed off to class. 

If you're local - enjoy the warm weather. I got home around 10 PM last night and NO coat. That felt great!!!  However we're heading north for the retreat so the weather won't be quite as warm as here, but who knows - we may be found frolicking on the beach?? 

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, April 20, 2018

You need an engineering degree for this

So the long arm was disassembled and sent away for its upgrade and spa treatment. It almost didn't get the upgrade, but all that got worked out. Then it was supposed to be delivered on Friday last week, but arrived on Monday instead right in the aftermath of the ice storm!

Two big boxes arrived. I waited two hours before I had the courage to open them up. I knew that it was going to take some time to get the machine back up and running as I had set it up by myself when I first got the long arm. I have to say that every time, I've done some work on the long arm (upgrading the carriage/wheel system and the initial set up) that the installation manuals have been absolutely impeccable. Lots of illustrations and instructions. Never had much of an issue.  I was hoping that this time would be the same.

I managed to get the two boxes downstairs so I could unpack them.

The boxes are in the basement
 Within the two boxes were lots of smaller boxes and bags filled with various bits and pieces.

Lots of smaller boxes within the big boxes

The long arm table was still covered with bits that I had removed before the machine went in for servicing.

Bits of the machine and my tools still lying around from when the machine was disassembled

Here's the instruction manual. Scary at over 60 pages!!!   And it took a wee bit of time to figure out where to start. There have been different upgrades and different features on the Millennium over the years so you had to pay attention to what version/features that were on your own machine. But lots of pictures so that helped.

The manual!
 And then there was this very scary box!  There was this massive huge cable in there. What to do with that?  I'll get to that box when I get to it. Let's not worry about that now.

Box with one huge scary mess of wires/cables

Once I got my bearings with the manual, it was time to get out the wrenches and see what we could. First thing was to remove a couple of bolts. That was easy! Well, not exactly because the nuts for these bolts was "hidden" within a channel on the leg. So some gymnastics was involved to get an angle to view them.

Removing some bolts was step one
 Then a new piece of equipment was attached to that area and new bolts were inserted. Again, not that difficult, but tightening up those bolts was a bit of a hassle.

New piece added and bolted in place

Then more bits were added. I did struggle at one point where I was looking for holes in the carriage that slides along the table when I should have looked for the holes on the bottom of the machine head. Oh boy - I did send photos to the support team, but I ended up calling them to get the information I needed. I felt a wee bit silly that I mixed up HEAD and CARRIAGE. I know what the parts are - I was just confused.

At last, the head of the long arm was replaced onto the frame and the heavy bars were put back in place. I had help for that step because it's a bit impossible to be at both ends of a 14-foot table at the same time.

The head is back on the table
 There were a few parts that were removed from the machine or exchanged and were not to be reused. But I also had this box of bits and pieces that I still had to deal with.

More bits to deal with
 A lot of this was what I had taken off the machine before it left. I had extra spool holders, the laser for doing pantographs and some other stuff.

AHA - now it's time to get the tablet installed on the machine. This is weird because when I'm quilting on the other side, I can see my reflection on the tablet screen. Oops - you forgot to brush your hair today!

Tablet is installed
 It was when I went to install the handles on the rear of the machine that I had a wee bit of a heart attack. You see there are lots of connectors all over the place. When I put the handle on the back end of the machine (where you operate the machine to do hand guided pantographs), I was trying to figure out why the plug from the handle was NOT connected to anything. Why is that? and how will I get it to work?

Then when I read the instructions to install the handle on this side that I realized why. OH NO - this means that when the computer is installed, the rear handles (those that are used to do pantographs) do NOT work. WHAT?????   I was hoping to do some manual pantographs and then some by computer. To switch from one to the other, I would have to remove the handles and switch around some wires. Not a very time-consuming job, but a pain to say the least. I never thought to ask the question of how easy it was to switch from computer to manual for pantographs. However, I've decided that NO more hand guided pantographs. I paid a lot of money for that computer and well - I'm just going to have to learn how to use it!

Hooking up the left side handle on the rear of the machine
 I think I got all that accomplished in two days. It was hard to stick with it as there was so much technical stuff and I didn't have tons of time, but I had a deadline that the machine had to get up and running.

Next, I tackled this mass of cords. Actually, it's one big octopus type of cording. Everything is connected and it was brilliantly laid out by the APQS tech team. It went amazingly smooth to get everything connected.

The umbilical cord
That cord essentially plugs everything into everything else and runs the computer. I'm scared of it!

And here's the long arm, pretty much ready to go.

Almost ready
OH -- I had two more cords to connect and then plug in the power cord.

Three cords to go

Surprisingly, I plugged the long arm in and it worked!  Then I loaded a small table runner that I could try stitch in the ditch. That's what my customer wants on her quilt. The table runner was a perfect example to experiment on. The feel of the long arm is completely different than it was before. It sounds quieter and seems to run smoother. I love the new interchangeable feet that I had installed.

I loaded the customer quilt and things are going great.  I need to get that quilt finished today so that is on the agenda as well as completing the prep for my two classes tomorrow and three classes next week although I can take some of the prep with me to the retreat. I can't say how many times, I've gone for retreat and had so much to do prior to leaving. The timing of this retreat (from weekend to weekend) is NOT good for me. I prefer that it be on a weekend with no classes. Will watch for that in the future.

On that note, I'm out of here. Yesterday was sit n sew and well - some pretty funny things happened - I'll share that tomorrow!!!

Have a great day!!!


A HUGE shout out to all the team at APQS (American Professional Quilting Systems) for making the upgrade so seamless!!!! 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

One more treasure to share

Of course, you realize when I say SHARE, I mean share visually with you. Of course, I'm not sharing this project with you! 

I seem to be a magnet for UFOs. And I don't mind. It does depend on the UFO of course and while I was prepping for that presentation on log cabin quilts, I came across another treasure that I had forgotten about. This one was donated to me by someone in one of my guilds. I don't think I purchased it. So yes (and NO JUDGING HERE), if you have a cool project that is languishing in your closet and you no longer want it and want to get rid of it (for free - I don't buy these things), then e-mail me and tell me about it. I love scrap quilts, log cabins. I don't need or want any of the current or modern stuff - I have plenty of that. Just saying!

This treasure is also a log cabin quilt called Log Cabin in the Round. I do believe I have a pattern for it in my book collection, but you can tell that this one was started a few years back when those teeny calico prints were in.

I haven't really taken inventory of the box, but there is a lot of strips already cut.

Box of strips for the log cabin in the round quilt
There are some completed blocks - notice that ALL of the seams are on a curve. This is a very unusual pattern.

Some of the blocks for the log cabin in the round

Actually, most of the blocks are done in the courthouse steps setting.

How was the marking done?  There is a muslin foundation for all the blocks and it looks like it was marked with a heat transfer pen.

One of the muslin foundations for the blocks

So you see, there are many projects hidden away in several nooks and crannies. It's obscene. I really need to be working on the ones that I would like to own and enjoy rather than off to do a bunch of other stuff. But I want to do it ALL!!!!

Obviously, that isn't going to happen, but I'm going to have fun while I can.

I've got a sit n sew today and I just had to move everything off the work tables and into one corner of the room. I was hoping that more of it would be dealt with, but that just didn't happen.  But I'm making progress and not too many new things are being added.

It's been a crazy busy week. Not only was I getting the long arm back in business, but I had two evening classes to teach and one more on Friday. These are classes at the new quilt shop in Milton - Oh Look Fabric. Some of the store clientele are new to sewing and new to quilting so the classes are geared as such. That seems to be a bit of a trend for modern quilt shops - people who have never sewed before are coming in to learn.  Let's say that it's exciting to teach someone who has never used a rotary cutter - can you imagine that? or someone who has never used a sewing machine. It's exciting because we may have a new quilter on our hands! But it's also very "scary" - you don't want anyone to injure themselves with the cutter and will they get the cutting, sewing, etc.

The first night we did a table runner. Only one student was able to attend that night which was lucky for her. She got a private class. Never touched a rotary cutter before and in three hours, she had most of the top done. Granted, she was familiar with her sewing machine as she was a garment sewist. There was a lot to learn - chain piecing, strip piecing, but she managed just fine.

Table runner - the top is ALMOST completed

Last night, I taught a couple of people how to make a pillowcase. No experience with rotary cutters or sewing machines!!!  Both of them finished their pillowcase!!!   There's a good chance that if you're reading this blog, that you have some experience with the rotary cutter and sewing machine, but if you know someone who wants to learn to sew and lives in the area - I'm open to teaching anything!!

I had both ends of the spectrum last night from the very easy to the challenging. This was the easy pillowcase. No band, no directional fabric. The pictures don't do justice to the projects, but she did a great job and it looked awesome.

One finished pillowcase
 The second person - same thing - no rotary cutting or sewing machine experience. AT ALL - NONE.  And wouldn't you know it, she brought directional fabric. Not just directional fabric for the body of the pillowcase, but directional for the band as well. Plus she wanted trim on hers.

Two directional prints on the pillowcase

And the directional print for the band and the fabric for the trim were both not long enough so they had to be cut and sewed together!  Oh yes - a few challenges along the way, BUT the pillowcase got done just as the time was up!!!

Pillowcase - DONE with TWO directional prints

 I have written instructions for making the pillowcase using directional fabric (but not for the band - those instructions happened on the fly last night) and making the pillowcase using nondirectional fabric. You can download the directional print for the body only instructions from the Northcott website. If you want the one using nondirectional fabric, perhaps you can get in touch with me and I'll forward to you. The only difference is the cutting instructions. Or you can sign up for the class and make the pillowcase in the class.

It's super exciting to see the students have those lightbulb moments, especially with the way this pillowcase goes together. A lot of fun, but today is a fun day for me. Well of sorts as while I'll be spending the day sewing with friends, I'll be working on stuff for my classes on the weekend.

I'm teaching the double wedding ring on Saturday morning at The Hobby Horse. In the afternoon, I'll be teaching a paper pieced pillow, also at The Hobby Horse. I've got a few new tricks up my sleeve for paper piecing that is going to make things a whole lot easier!! Of course, I'm not going to share them with you here. You'll have to take the class!!!  And then there is the Friday night paper piecing class at Oh Look Fabric but that class is full. Crazy busy - but I love to teach! It's in my blood.

I have one other thing to share with you and that's about Libby. Libby is the app that you can download to manage (and read or listen) to audiobooks/e-books from your local library. I was messing around with my iPad one night and thought I would install the app on that device in addition to my phone. Well, if you use the app from the phone to get a code for the app on the iPad (or another device you're using), the darn things SYNC with each other. So if you're reading/listening on the iPad and then you switch to the phone - it knows exactly where you were. How cool is that!!!!   I learned that one all by myself. And I figured it out all by myself as well. Just make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi when you SYNC - otherwise it won't sync over the cellular network. My phone wouldn't sync until it was connected - there may be a setting to change that.

And on a very happy note, I'd like to say that I figured out how to put that long arm back together again. I'll share the entire story with you tomorrow???  It was a challenge and took several days because my brain just couldn't cope with all those bits. I quilted a small table runner yesterday to check out the basic freehand side of the machine. I have a customer quilt that is urgent to get done. It's loaded and partially completed. Then I'll play with the computer to see how that works. But I'll share the whole story later!!!

Hae a super day!!!!


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How did this happen???

I might as well get some of these other pictures that I have posted up for you to look at.  A couple of weeks ago when I was prepping for a presentation on log cabin quilts, I was rifling through all my UFOs to find examples of quilts.

I did find what I was looking for but I also unearthed a horrible situation. A stack - a huge stack of UFOs that are almost, but not quite completed. Why do we do this to ourselves??? Now before you judge me - DON'T because you're probably in the same boat as me!  We're all in this together!!!

The first quilt I unearthed was this one called Stonehenge meets Jamestown (Marti Michell). It was a class I taught several years ago. The alternate block in this quilt is a log cabin which is why I dug it out. All the blocks are made (except one) and all the rows are together except the last one. Why isn't that last block together? Because I lost the block. I swear I had made the block, but I can't find it so the quilt sits there unfinished. Seriously???  I need to give myself a boot on this one! It would take ONE day at the minimum to finish it off. That's the kind of project I should be choosing for my UFOs!!!!

Stonehenge meets Jamestown
I love it when I search for something on Google and the first link that pops up is my blog!!  Here's the link to the final reveal of the quilts from the class.  I just peeked at the pictures - I remember that we did the reveal at my house!!!

I ended up NOT using this for my presentation as one of the students was able to bring in a finished quilt. Thanks, Tish!!!!

The next quilt that I dug up is Spring Beauty (Rabbit Factory). This is a pineapple quilt which is a version of the log cabin. Did you know that???  Anyway, in the box, I found ALL the completed blocks. This was done as an exchange with Linda and Mary YEARS ago. It's hard to see the pattern, but there is an applique border on the quilt and then a border of half square triangles. The colored squares are cut for the half square triangle border, but no white. I did take one of these blocks with me. But Mary had finished the quilt and so we got to see her quilt.  I was talking so I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it. She did NOT do the applique but did piano keys instead. So why don't I just do a white border and then the half square triangles? Or even just a regular border and leave the little squares for something else???

Spring Beauty quilt

I found a picture on the internet of what the border is supposed to look like.

Border on Spring Beauty by Rabbit Factory

I have a sewing day tomorrow and I could easily whip those blocks on the design wall and sew them together.  Wouldn't take long!!!!  Again - why isn't this kind of project in the UFO box instead of something that I've barely touched????

The next one that I unearthed is O Tannenbaum. This was a class from years ago and I love this quilt. I must get it finished. In total, there are 16 paper-pieced log cabin blocks  - I have 5 to go. Most of the other blocks are completed as well.  So why am I not working on this???  Because I'm working on 150 Canadian Women instead!!!

O Tannenbaum project box

Three different log cabin/court house steps blocks from O Tannenbaum

And if you want to see what we did in this class - have a look at this link from my blog. You have to scroll down to see the picture.

But I wasn't done. Oh no - not by a long shot. I found this log cabin block as well. It's from The Underground Railroad Quilt by Quilt in a Day.  The blocks are finished - they just need sashing and to be sewn together.

Log cabin blcok from the Underground Railroad quilt
 OH MY GOD  -- you need to go to this link on my blog and scroll right to the very end where I talk about this quilt.  That was SIX years ago!!!!   Why isn't this one on my UFO list????  From that comment, you can see why we have UFO lists!!!!  We forget about projects!!!

I also found this block. There's no pattern - it was just something that I found amusing to make using homespuns in different scale of checks. There are about 6 blocks completed and quite a few more blocks that need the last two rounds.  Why isn't that one on the UFO list???

Log cabin from homespuns

I found this version of a courthouse step block in the orphan block box. Thankfully the quilt top for this one is DONE and waiting to be quilted. This was the result of a black on white and white on black strip exchange that we did years ago.
A version of courthouse step block
 If you pop to this link on my blog, you'll see my version of the quilt on the design wall.   You have to scroll down to see it - the third picture.

And the last block I have is a log cabin - well the start of one mde with The Wave Edge Ruler. This is all that is done on this quilt and I probably shouldn't continue, but I like the concept and the least I could do is finish the block!!!

The start of a wavy log cabin using The Wave Edge Ruler

Now isn't that just silly that so many projects are in such a state of almost completion. I know there are many more that I didn't open because they didn't have anything to do with log cabin!!!

I have a couple of updates - not that you want to know about my pants situation, but small things amuse me so I'm going to write it down so I can remember when I'm old! I still haven't gone through the entire stack of pants. I counted them today - there are 33 pairs in total. Seriously?? Me - with 33 pairs of pants. Why??  I was going to plop them all in the giveaway pile, but I thought for my amusement that I would try them all on to make sure that I was good to give them away.

I found what used to be my favorite jeans - before Spandex was added to the denim. Boy - they are stiff, and while I used to have a nice comfortable fit, I was told that they were a wee bit too big so they are now in the pile to give away. So much for my favorite pants (which I haven't worn for years so technically there is no need to keep them). NO - I'm not going to cut them up and make some funky project out of them.

I did find two more pairs of pants that do fit so that is all good. I seem to be zeroing in on a single size (the same size on all pairs). At least I'm consistent that way. I'm about halfway through the pile - who knows, there could be one or two more pairs in there that will fit. Bottom line - there is NO NEED for anyone to have 33 pairs of pants. The current count is four that fit. What I really need is a pair of wind pants. The two pair that I have - well, I'd be afraid to walk in them for fear of them falling off.

Then it will be onto the shorts. Once that is done, I really should tackle the T-shirts and things hanging in my closet. That will come. For now - it's off with the pants and shorts.

I finally ventured out yesterday to do an errand which was successful and quite exciting, but the roads were terrible. Filled with potholes and in some areas, just slushy still. I was happy to get back home. I had to stop at the grocery store. One of the things on my list was Steel Cut Oats. They were on special and the shelf was EMPTY. Wow - who knew that everyone else was into those Steel Cut Oats like me. I LOVE them. In case you haven't seen them - here's a picture.  And here's a link to the Quaker page.  BUT, one of the staff unearthed some in the back so I got TWO containers.

Here's the thing - I tried to cook these oats at the retreat in the microwave. 50 percent power (critical) and at home, I can do 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Not so at the retreat house - my oatmeal boiled over. I cut back to 40 percent power and 2 minutes. That was better. So you have to experiment with your microwave. But throw in a little bit of fruit (strawberries, blueberries or banana) and WOW - a very yummy breakfast. With two slices of bacon for protein.

But while I was at the grocery store, I also saw this and so I decided to try it.

I had one for breakfast this morning with some blueberries. Hmm - a lot more fat in it than the steel cut oats. It was good, but I don't know that I would buy it again. It's easy enough to make your own overnight oats and I used almond milk (unsweetened) which gives it a great taste. Way better than regular milk.  OK  so my daughter was right and I ignored her advice for several years - too stubborn to try until I was the one that decided (because of the detox program) to try it. I won't drink it, but in cereal it's great. Did you hear that M???   You were right! I was wrong! - well, I was stubborn!!!

I have other stuff to share with you, but I've run out of time today. I'm trying to get the long arm back together. There's only so much plodding through the manual that I can take and yes - the service department did make those holes magically appear once I got the right piece of equipement in front of me!!!!

More on that whole story another day!!!

Have a super day!!!!