Friday, August 31, 2018

It’s a Small World Afterall. (Part Three)

In the past when I’ve come here (which is usually once a year), I have a routine. I get my rental car and then I visit the quilt shops. This time, since I had been here just a few months ago, I decided to forego the quilt shops and hit the used books shops instead. So using Google Maps on my phone (in my air vent holder), I found my way to two used book stores.

It’s an adventure to hit any used book store because the way the books are filed differently in every store. Just when you think that you’re not going to find something, you find another section. I’ve seen books filed by genre which makes sense and not everything I’m looking for is in the same - some are classified as thrillers, some as suspense, some as murder mystery. And yesterday, the books were filed by Male - suspense and Female - suspense. And then general category of thrillers. That was weird. Anyway, I managed to find ONE book in each store that had been eluding me for a while. WOW - that made me super happy and it was worth it to hit each of the book stores. There are a couple of novellas that I’m just going to buy online because I’ll never find them. And then I should update that list because as I read one book in a series, the next one needs to be identified whether its at the library or not. I tell you - managing my book lists is serious business.

I’m going to put out a couple of books and if you’re in the Toronto area, let me know if you have these books that I could borrow or buy from you. I will eventually find these or I’ll buy them online but the thrill of searching out in the book stores is loads of fun. There is one big store in Parry Sound that I need to hit as well and then I must get to that store in Chatham. There is always the option of leaving the list at a book store and if they happen to receive one of the books, they will contact you. I might just do that as well, but will only do that at one store as I would forget.

Exit Lines by Reginald Hill
Every Dead Thing by John Connolly
Absolution by Murder by Peter Tremayne
Wedding Ring by Emilie Richards (quilt related book)
The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman

One of the used book stores was on the university campus and I think they did a booming business in text books, but also had a small section in novels. I did find two quilt books at the other store. Yep - two new stops on future trips!

In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m back at my parents where we hope to make a few more inroads in getting rid of stuff. It isn’t easy. The one thing I’ve learned is that you MUST MUST MUST verify the stories. What one person says isn’t always true. I think that happens every time we’re here. And while my Mom’s heart is in the right place to get rid of stuff, she doesn’t really appreciate the magnitude of what she is asking. She gets things misconstrued and frankly, when she says something I don’t trust her mind. So I call the person in question and ask. I’m learning lots.

Oh - could you pack up all those glasses in the cabinet so if someone wants them, they are ready to go? Well - it’s a wee bit difficult for someone to see them if they’re packed up. They need to be donated and that’s that. I had to dish out some tough love yesterday and she gave in. OK - so here’s an example. I’m almost embarrassed to write this. In the bathroom is a cupboard filled with sheets, blankets and other table linens. There are MANY (no idea how many) packages of brand new sheets. OH - she wanted me to keep some and bring them in for her so she could give them away as wedding or shower gifts.  MOM - NO. First off - how many weddings or showers would you go to and you are NOT giving away a 50 year old sheet set. NO NO and NO. Those items are being packed up today and will be donated. So - heart in the right place, but no sense of reality.

The weather looks decent and it’s cool here - what has happened to the heat? It’s like a switch - on or off, but nothing in between.

On that note, I’m out of here.

Have a super day!!!!


It’s a Small World Afterall....... Part Two

I get it that things need to be safe, but really - the waste in electrical stuff is unbelievable. Based on the broken light switches, I think that many of the broken ones have been broken or on their way to broken for quite some time. But all is good now and I hope we’re good for electrical stuff for quite a a while.

So I hopped on a plane yesterday morning. I have no idea why Air Canada keeps giving me a window seat when my profile says aisle. When I was checking in on my computer because the app had just crashed and needed a new password and because of my luck with technology, that wasn’t going to happen quickly. I noticed that there were empty seats at the back of the plane. I don’t mind sitting at the back so I chose a window seat with no one beside me. It was glorious.

As the flight attendants went up and down the aisle serving beverages, I thought to myself that I recognized one of them. It wasn’t until two hours into the flight and I heard her talking that I realized that it was our neighbour from our previous house (we moved 15 years ago). As I said something to her, she said something to me. So when she had a few minutes, she came back to chat. She’s been a flight attendant for 30 years. Her kids are all grown up, she remembered M’s name. Wow - anyway - it was super fun to chat. She was on her way back home on the return flight. I remember as a kid that we all thought that flight attendants (or stewardess as they were called then) would be a fun job but it’s a tough job! Hello to Chantal!!!!

And can anyone tell me why the overhead bins were filled when the plane was not? I really think that Air Canada (or any of the airlines) need to be cracking down on this.  OH - I did have a bag to check as I had it filled with quilts which all arrived safely. Did you know that the baggage drop off area is totally automated now??  Well, not quite - you need your boarding pass scanned and the baggage ticket scanned while you’re in the line to drop off your bags. Then you put it on this huge scanner thing and your name pops up on the screen and tells you that things are OK and away you can go to the departure gate. However, instead of having 4 or 5 attendants at the baggage drop stations, there were 4 or 5 running up and down the line scanning the tags. Not sure how that saves money or time????  But one more thing to “learn”.

The second thing was even weirder. I arrived at my parents and was sitting there chatting - OK - so I was writing a list of what needed to be done this time. The list just doesn’t end and I’m hoping to make that stop this trip. Wish me luck - I think I’m going to need a lot of luck. I get a message on my phone. WHOA? What’s this?  It was from Kathy who follows my blog and we’re friends on Facebook and perhaps Instagram. They were just here in North Battleford for the big event at the local museum  (Western Development) Those Were the Days. They used to live here, but have retired out west. Turns out that Dale (her husband) knows my Dad and my brother really really well and they used to work together on gas and steam engines. The funny thing? They haven’t seen each other for about 10 years and a chance comment about quilting, got them talking and sure enough - the Toronto quilter who cycles was the same one that they both knew about!!!!  How wild is that!!!!  Hi to Kathy and Dale!!!  It’s a small, small world!!!

Well- I’m going to move to Part Three just in case I don’t have room for my third and final topic for today.

It's a small world after all........ (Part One)

Ever been to Disney and went on the Small World ride? Then you can’t get that song out of your head? Well - it’s a small world for sure. Two things happened yesterday that were weird.

First let me tell you about my light bulb story and then I’ll tell you the weird things. I’m away again and I still haven’t got this iPad buffer thing looked after. I’ll try again when I’m home to figure it out with the Apple store people.

We’ve had a number of electrical issues around our house. We are NOT into fixing or repairing anything electrical. Granted, we do change light bulbs. But the rest of it - we call the electrician. The list had been growing and I finally got around to calling the electrician to come and fix all the stuff. Broken lights, broken light switches and installing a new light.

In light of his coming, I needed to buy some new light bulbs for the outdoor lights which seem to burn out at an incredible rate. Have you recently purchased light bulbs? It used to be that you could go to the store and EASILY identify the kind you wanted and buy them. If you wanted outdoor, it was marked on the box in big letters. Well, I had to search and search to figure out which ones to buy for a regular light socket and that were good for outdoors.

It’s written in teeny tiny letters In a box on the side of the packaging with a whole pile of other DO’s and mostly DON’Ts about the light bulbs. As an “older” person, I’m supposed to read that fine print? Seriously???  I could just make out that the temperature range was from -40 degrees C to + 40 degrees C. But it wasn’t easy. Now how stupid is that? Make that darn packaging easy for people to read. Otherwise, I see a lot of dead light bulbs and wasted packaging - or perhaps that’s what is supposed to happen???  There’s also a sign in the light bulb section that tells you how to buy the light bulbs. First identify the type of socket you need, then it was something else (maybe the wattage) and a couple of other things. I think there were five steps - NONE of which was the temperature in which the bulb was to be used in. Good grief - people don’t know that there are indoor and outdoor light bulbs.

Here’s the other thing about light fixtures. I wanted a new light installed in one of the bedrooms to replace the kiddie fixture that has been there since we bought the house 15 years ago. I bought an inexpensive light fixture. Oh yes - that was one other thing - many of the bulbs said that they were NOT to be used in a closed fixture. The fixture I had purchased was a closed fixture. I explained to the electrician that I didn’t think I had the correct bulbs for that fixture. Guess what? The light fixture has a BUILT IN light. When the light dies, you need a whole new fixture. Seriously????  I mean - that’s insane. The light fixture was only $20 and it’s supposed to last thousands of hours. Since it’s in a room that doesn’t get used often, that won’t be in our life time at that house. But seriously - that’s very bizarre.

We had a light fixture under our cabinet that had stopped working. Was it a bulb - there were several small ones. There was a loose wire somewhere, but his recommendation? The next time something happens - replace them all - there are much better ones on the market today. They are NOT that old. I’m seeing a terrible waste here and let me tell you abou the plugs. I found a bag of wall plugs and I said since we had them, they might as well install them. Well, he could do that, but just so I know that these plugs (the square decora ones) are NO LONGER up to code. The NEW ones have some tamper proof thing in them. So the old plugs are going to the recycling depot and I got three of the new tamper proof for the kitchen counter. And we finally have a new door bell!

Used book sale

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Crazy is not an option!

There's a reason that the title of this blog has the word CRAZY in it.

Here I am getting ready to get on a plane in a couple of hours. What am I doing? Well - it's very early in the morning and I'm writing my blog because we can't miss a day of blogging! We can't miss a day of entertainment for you and me. Have I packed? NO! But at least I did some laundry last night.

There isn't a single time that I leave when I'm not running around like mad trying to finish something up late and then getting up very early the next morning to finish things off. Never fails!

Yesterday was another intense day. The issue with the long arm put me behind and I'm trying desperately to get caught up. I had three quilts that NEED to be on the plane with me. I'm happy to report that I finished them off last night.....late.   Technically, I could have taken the last one with me and finished it while I was away as it only needed handwork, but I wanted them done last night.

Over the last two days, I got these two quilts done. Of course, both of them were bigger than a lap, but that's OK. The long arm hasn't given me a hiccup since I got back from the bike trip. Now, why is that? It's going to be time to start reassembling that thing when I'm back.

Customer quilt - DONE
 And here's the second customer quilt - DONE!!

Customer quilt - DONE

When I saw the fabric, I thought of this pattern. This kind of pattern (and the soccer one) are one of the reasons I bought the computer for the long arm. There is NO WAY that you could do this same pattern by hand. You just can't. I love it and can't wait to stitch it on another quilt.

Bubblicious long arm pattern

So now both quilts are trimmed and packed in a duffle for the flight. First time in a long time that I check luggage, but there is no way that both of those big quilts will fit in my carryon. However, guess what I found when I was digging out the duffle bag? I have two duffle bags and I could feel something in one of them. Yep - there's a water bottle in there. My MISSING water bottle. I think I remember accusing my family of using it and losing it. Oh dear - sorry M.

The third quilt that I finished is a wall hanging. It's been sitting around here for a couple of years. No sleeve, no label. I made a real label for this one and finished the hand stitching last night. That makes number FIFTY-TWO for the year. Yeah!!!  That's pretty exciting. This was originally made for a Schoolhouse session at Quilt Market. My intention as to add sunflowers spilling out the bottom of the right-hand side. That never happened, but I still think it would be cute. Anyway, this was a panel from Northcott - Heartland Home collection. Just a different way to add borders to a panel. Now it's going to a good home and one more quilt out of my house.

Wall hanging - finish number 52 for the year

Not only did I finish number fifty-two yesterday, but I had to complete Number fifty-one as well. I wasn't sure that I was going to get that one done and get it to the UPS office in time to be shipped yesterday, but it got done and it's in the system to be delivered next week. I made it to the UPS office on the way to my class (yes - I had to teach a class last night!) See what I mean about crazy? Anyway, thankfully number 51 was small and it's gone. The sleeve even got sewn on that one as well.  It's for a magazine so you don't get to see that one yet.

There's so many more things that have to be finished. Some with deadlines, some without. Focus, focus, focus! They will get done - I know they will!

I still have some paperwork that has to be completed this morning and that I can't do while I'm away. Only one teeny thing so I'm off to get that done now.

This will be a quick trip that I'm jamming in between classes. Normally, I don't teach in the summer. Summer being July and August. But it just worked out this way. We started a four part class last night on how to make a quilt. There are 4 enthusiastic quilters in the class who all learned to rotary cut with very little difficulty. They're going to be star students for sure.

I also learned something lst night. Something cool and I'm going to share it with you but just not yet. There's no time. But if you have one of those digital cutters - I found the PERFECT use for it.

I can just hear my mother saying - you should manage your time better and then you wouldn't have to be up so late. Well, she doesn't need to know that I got a little less sleep than normal last night. I'll sleep on the plane.

On that note, don't forget to get yourself organized. Set proper deadlines, set false deadlines - I guess that's what I'm going to have to do. I still have three more trips before the end of the year and this last minute thing is going to kill me so I had better look at the deadlines because there are MORE deadlines.

When I'm back, I have a crazy schedule for the remainder of the week, but I'll be back on track for quilting customer quilts - just in case you're reading this and wondering why your quilt isn't getting quilted. I should be back on track in a week. No more quilts need to jump the queue for any reason.

OK - I'm out of here.

Have a great day!!!


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

There's nothing like being prepped.............

I did a stupid thing yesterday. I was walking Miss Lexi in the forest and I see that some enterprising kids are building themselves a mountain bike trail. Not cool. So I dismantled their handiwork and in doing so, I picked up a big log or something that hit me right in the lower back. I paid for that move all day. Even painkillers didn't kill the pain. GRR!  Much better today, but stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

Anyway - enough about that - let's see what I got done at Monday sewing. Remember - my focus is on those UFOs. There is no deviating from that agenda. Those projects need to be done.

The first project I worked on was Vintage Moments. I taught this class TWICE and still never finished my quilt. I got the last piece of the sawtooth border sewn on. Then it was time to make a decision for the last border. That monochromatic green or the striped fabric I used to make the stars. A mutual decision was the dark green. The borders were cut and two of the four border pieces got sewn on.

The last border is almost on
This is what the project box looked like. A LOT of stuff in there including THREAD. 

Stuff in the project box
 I pulled out all the fabric. Yikes - once I get all my UFOs completed (HA HA HA), I imagine I'll have a LOT more fabric and thread and tools. Anyway  - all the fabric except the strip which is needed for the binding was put away.

Fabrics have been refiled in the stash
I found some bits and pieces of leftover blocks. Obviously, counting is not my strong suit. And there was one border that I had to recut a second time as it didn't fit well the first time around. 

Leftover bits of blocks
Then it was time to deal with the backing. Oh, I should mention that I put the borders on at Monday sewing, but when I got home, I decided I needed to get myself prepped for the following Monday. So I went through the Monday sewing bag. When I got to the Vintage Moments, I thought it was time to get this in order.

I had dug through the stash and found a bolt of this green/yellow flannel. Yes - there is plenty for the backing so it went into the wash. I like to wash my flannel backings if the top is NOT flannel.
Ready for the washer

This is how it came out of the dryer. Looks like a swaddled baby. And it still looks like that. I haven't had time to unroll it. That's OK - the backing is going to have to wait for another day.

The quilt backing after being in the dryer
Obviously, the pattern for the Vintage Moments quilt was in the project box, but I found another pattern as well. Probably given to me by someone???  No idea.

Two patterns in the project box - one belonged, the other did not

Remember those bits of blocks? I forged ahead and applied the centers to all the fans. Why not? If I didn't do it then, it was just going to become clutter hanging around the studio. So the centers got applied to all 11 blocks. Seven of those blocks are extra. I cut the corner piece as well and sewed that on. Hey - I was on a roll. But they are DONE and that feels great. I think my "prepping/cleaning up" took three hours once I arrived home. But three well spent hours.

Seven fan blocks - DONE
 Four of the eleven blocks are for the corners of that last border and I didn't want the square corner on them so they only had to have the center appliqued in place.

Corner blocks for the last border

Now there are just two border strips to sew on the quilt and the quilt top will be done. The binding and backing need to be made and it's ready to be checked off the list. I was hoping to get it done by this weekend, but I won't be able to. Doesn't matter - I'm very happy with the progress and this one is almost done.

The thread, the orphan blocks and all the fabric are now resting in their respective (and proper) homes.

While at Monday, I did work on The Farmer's Wife project. I got 5 more blocks completed including one dreaded paper pieced block.

Five blocks for The Farmer's Wife project
 When I got home, I put those blocks away and made sure that everything was prepped for the next Monday sewing day. I had to cut a couple of missing triangles. There are 21 blocks left (of 111). I'm super excited about that. The goal - I should be finished the blocks by the end of September and then I have to figure out what to do with them.

I used up all the red squares for my ender/leader project so I cut more of the red squares when I got home. Those two stacks look pretty equal so hopefully, I won't have to cut more, but if I do, the red fabric is in the bag. Nothing is going to stop my productivity.

Ender/leaders prepped for Monday sewing
I still had the entire afternoon ahead of me at Monday sewing, so I pulled out the next project. I had started to work on this one a while back. It's also on the UFO list. What's funny is that this was supposed to be one big quilt when I started it, but well - I don't do big quilts anymore. And yes - there are enough blocks made to make THREE quilts. This is becoming a common thing!!!  I guess I can keep one for my scrap quilt trunk show and give two away. That's perfect. 

Fall Leaves scrappy quilt

One of the tops is almost together - I think it just needs one side border of sashing. And this is what I completed for the second top. It's almost together. Yes - that's my helper again.

Second scrappy leaves quilt top - almost together
I needed to cut more sashing strips so that got prepped as well. 

More sashing is cut

I'm super ready for Monday. The Vintage Moments likely won't go back - I can easily finish that off here. But The Farmer's Wife and the Scrappy leaf are in the Monday sewing box. I figured I was going to need something else as well, so I dug out blocks for Winter Wonderland (also on the UFO list). That's the redwork embroidery one that I'm working on. I have the blocks for the outer border all cut out, so that's in the Monday sewing box. The embroidery is on the kitchen table to be packed into my backpack so when I'm on the plane tomorrow (yes - going away again!), I'll listen to my audiobook on the plane and do some stitching.

Now if that isn't focused, I don't know what is. But I swear - it's all about the prep. The more prep you can do for your sewing days, the more progress you'll make. And it's way easier to do the prep at home in the event you are missing something than arrive at the sewing day and not have enough fabric or whatever. Prepping is key to successful sewing.

I've got THREE urgent things that need to be done TODAY so that's going to be my focus. Thankfully my back is feeling better. There is nothing worse than trying to work through the pain. I had no choice - I just sucked it up. I was going to walk to the library to get some books, but decided that I would take the car instead. Well, as I walked from the car to the library, my back liked that. Great - I should have walked the entire way!

On that note, it's time to get to work!!

Have a great day!!!!


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

When it's your birthday!

Yep - yesterday was my birthday. While I'm NOT going to mention how old I am, I don't mind mentioning the fact that it was my birthday. I think if no other day in the year that you write a diary for, you should write one for your birthdays. It would be super fun to look back and remember what you did on your other birthdays. I probably mention this every year, but I distinctly remember my 13th birthday. No idea why. I remember what I wore, what we had for dinner and what I did (made a birdhouse). It was weird. Then I remember a few others - I finished up a bike trip in Beddeck, NB on my birthday. I was about to board the ferry to Newfoundland to finish up my trek across Canada on another. And still, another was spent on a dude ranch somewhere in the mid-USA for a business trip. But wouldn't it be cool to know what you did on each of your birthdays???

Anyway - I'll share with you tomorrow what I did on my birthday. Well - you get to see part of what happened yesterday and it's NOT pretty. Today, I'm going to share with you what we did on the Sunday Sit n Sew.

I started the day off by putting the binding on a customer quilt so she could take it home and I got the other customer's quilt trimmed so she could take that one home. Done and done!

Binding on a customer quilt

Then I worked on the binding for the apple quilt which you saw yesterday. I love that quilt and I love the whole idea of the pixelated pictures. Got to do more of that.

I was able to get the second (of three) scrappy quilt tops put together. I took this picture this morning and YES I had a helper. Even though she is NOT supposed to be down there, I do allow her down from time to time especially when it's hot. She didn't stay long this morning. I certainly didn't let her lounge on the quilt like I would Sammy because Murphy is a bit of a slobbery dog and she drools everywhere. A quick picture and the quilt was off the floor.

Second scrappy quilt

The third scrappy quilt got put on the design wall and all the missing blocks for the border were made. That's what I got accomplished at Sunday Sit n Sew.

Ronda was working on some key fobs (by Lazy Girl) - is that what they are called? The pattern is called Fobio. Anyway, this version is made with zippers and are very cute.

Key fobs made with zippers
Ronda also got this table runner basted (my way - with no basting spray) and she started to quilt it. She has come a long way in the quilting department. I didn't even have to tell her to stitch in the ditch between the rows to stabilize it. She came up with that. And she also came up with the quilting design. Yeah, Ronda!!!!!

Ronda's table runner in the quilting process
It's a bit difficult to see the quilting motif, but she used one of her Westalee rulers and a thread that blended in. I really like the motif she chose and how she added that loop to get from one to the other. Way to go Ronda!!!!

Quilting motifs on the table runner
 Just a note here - don't second guess yourself. This is for Ronda and everyone else out there who is learning to machine quilt. Make sure you do the homework before you start to quilt. If you have several ideas - draw them out on paper to see which one flows the best and which you like the best. Practice both on scrap quilt sandwiches. Then choose one and GO FOR IT. Do NOT second guess yourself. You can always take that second design and use it on the next quilt. That's part of the learning process and we chalk that up to experience. I think she's done a great job and NO ripping is allowed!!!!

France was working on some nine patch blocks. This was the original project she started months ago when we first started up the Sit n Sews. She got sidetracked with a few projects but is back on track now.

Nine patch blocks
 Sharon had SHOW n TELL at last. She's been working on a Border Creek Mystery and if you've done one, you know that at least half of the clues involve making LOTS of components. Then you start sewing things together. This is the center of one of nine blocks. But at least - there's show n tell!!

Sharon's block center (one of nine!)
Here's the rest of her baggies with all the other components in there waiting for the next Sit n Sew.

Rest of the Border Creek mystery components

Pam was working on a quilt top which I'll get a picture of at the next Sit n Sew when it's complete.

So yesterday was my birthday. I'll tell you the birthday stuff today. Tomorrow you get to hear what I DID. I'm still in disblief! Or exhausted is more like it. My aunt also shares the same birthday as me. Happy Birthday, Auntie Yvonne!!!!  We had a good chat yesterday.

I got a beautiful card from the girls. Of course, they couldn't decide whose name should be first. Lexi and Murphy or Murphy and Lexi. Those girls. They just can't agree. But they are cute and I love them to death.

This package has been sitting on my shelf for months. I had almost forgotten about it, but remembered it after I sent M a care package this past week. It was filled with some awesome goodies - some she hand made espeically for me which is really sweet.

The birthday present

Here is one of the things that were in the box. A book in the shape of an E.

With blank pages. Now, what can I put in there???  It's kind of weird with those two sections missing. But it can be a fun doodle book.

Blank pages
There were lots of other little goodies in the box as well. Thanks, M!!!!!  Love you kiddo!

So yesterday was Monday sewing and it was a great day spent with great friends. Lots of laughs as usual and just such a beautiful way to spend any day. In the morning, I had a craving for ice cream. I never buy ice cream and I have NO idea why I wanted ice cream. On the way home, I remembered that there was a huge watermelon in the fridge and instead of ice cream, I had better eat that watermelon.

Home to cut the watermelon in half. Hm, something appears to be wrong when it started leaking way more than a watermelon leaks. Yikes - it was pretty much in half when I decided it should be in the sink and as I picked it up to carry it, it literally shot watermelon juice from a hole in the side all the way to the sink. ACK!!!!  I threw it in the sink and it opened up and this is what it looked like inside. I've never had that happen to a watermelon before. I had only just bought the darn thing three days ago.

 Needless to say, I didn't have watermelon. I was on my own for dinner and I didn't want leftovers so I popped to the grocery store to get a salad. How boring but that's what I wanted. However, I did get that ice cream. And it was YUMMY. No guilt - I didn't even read the label. I saw the little blue cow so it was real ice cream and who cares how many calories or how much fat was in there. It was my birthday and that's what I wanted.
Ice cream!!!
I can't remember the last time I bought a carton of ice cream. We just don't eat it in our house. But now for a few days, we'll be eating ice cream. I could have had ice cream for breakfast. I might have it as a morning snack.

Oh - I thought I would share a couple of pictures of what the girls do when there is a Sit n Sew at our house. Lexi likes to lounge by the door, keeping a close eye on who is coming and going.

Murphy likes to sit at the top of the stairs, praying that no one will see if she slithers down the steps one at a time.

On that note, I'm out of here. Got another busy day and I had betterr get started.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, August 27, 2018

Motivational Monday - checking in

It's a super day today. It's Monday. That means Monday sewing and time to check in for an update on what I've been doing and how my projects are coming along.

I set a goal last year to complete 12 (plus one bonus) UFO projects. Sadly there are still 7 UNFINISHED items on that list. Then I decided to forge ahead and put another 12 projects on the UFO list for 2018.

So how am I doing? Not so good it would appear. There are still SEVENTEEN projects not completed between the two lists. OH - that is NOT good at all.

The goal was to complete one project per month. Obviously, my goal setting skills are a little rusty.

What's the problem? It would appear that I'm good at finishing things. I have now completed FIFTY items this year. FIFTY - that's huge. In case you're wondering why the jump? I remembered two other projects that were sent to a magazine that I had forgotten to write down. I think I'm good now. See how easy it is to forget?  Very easy. I hope to post a picture of all the finished items at the end of the year. That will be hilarious!

Here's my latest finish. The apple quilt - it's DONE!!!!!

The apple quilt - DONE

Do you know what's nice about this finish? First off - it's number 50. Second, I started this quilt last summer at a workshop. There are tons of pieces in it and it's done! It never really languished as a UFO and technically it was because of that 50-hours a week gift that my ex-employer gave me that I got off my butt to get this finished. I'm super thrilled about it.

It was NOT on my list of things to get done yesterday. However, I had promised the quilt to someone so it could go in the Quilts at the Creek display that will be at Quilt X in September. I could have been scrambling at the last minute to get it delivered, but France was at the Sit n Sew yesterday and it would be easy for her to get it to its destination. So I put the binding on and hand stitched the sleeve. It's gone. Check it out at Quilt X in St. Marys.

Since I'm such a goal setter, here's my plan for the remainder of the year. There are 19 weeks left in the year. 17 projects - 19 weeks???  Oh yes - let's go for it. Those remaining 17 projects will be my SOLE (or almost) focus for the remainder of the year. I really really want to start the year with something fresh. I"m getting tired of seeing these UFOs on that list.

And I have a goal to finish ONE HUNDRED items by the end of the year. YES - ONE HUNDRED. It shouldn't be hard. There are 17 UFOs on the list and there are at least a dozen quilts that just need the binding attached - there's 30 right there. Throw in at least five for magazines and well - you can see that reaching one hundred won't be hard. These are mostly UFOs - the magazine stuff is new.

I know that some of those 17 will not get completed this year - some are heavy on applique and that will slow me down. But I have others that I've been working on and are very close to completion.

Take the scrappy quilts (remember - that was ONE UFO that became THREE quilts). I did get the second quilt top sewn together yesterday, but didn't get a picture - I'll have that for you tomorrow.

Here's the third one. As you can see, my math skills on the border blocks was a wee bit off. I was missing five blocks for the border.

Missing 5 border blocks for the third scrappy quilt

Those five blocks are now complete and this quilt top (it's one row longer than the other two) is ready to sew together. The binding is made, the backing is chosen.

Third scrappy quilt ready to sew together

I'm working on another quilt from the UFO list at Monday sewing. That quilt just needs one section of border sewn on and then the final border dealt with. I have chosen the backing and then the binding.

All the tasks to complete these two projects are in the Task Master for this week. It's going to be tight, but should be no reason why these two projects can't be taken off the UFO list by the end of the week. If not, then very early next week. I have several other UFOs that are very close to completion as well. It's all about FOCUS. I'm only going to let myself down if I don't get this mess cleaned up!

My question to you all is - how are you making out? We have 19 weeks left this year. Can you regroup? Can you tackle at least one or two of those UFOs and see what can be done? Remember - it's your list, but we make a list to help us focus. Hopefully, you're on track.

All my sewing days - both the Monday Sewing and the Sit Sews at my house are going to be devoted to getting these projects done. Yes - I might slip in my weekly block assignment (The Farmer's Wife) since I'm so close to getting that done, but the main focus will be those UFOs.

I'll share with you tomorrow what we were all working on at Monday sewing.

Have a great day!!!!


Sunday, August 26, 2018

How to increase productivity .........................

Yesterday was a pretty intense day. I accomplished quite a bit. How did that happen? At one time during the day, there were four machines on and three of them were working simultaneously for most of the day. It's not for the faint-hearted but if you can handle the pressure, then go for it!

I started the day bright and early by loading a customer quilt on the long arm. This is one that I had on the machine two weeks ago and I just couldn't get anything to happen. Let's say that it was with great trepidation that I started to quilt that quilt. The pattern was VERY intense and I was afraid if something happened - well - it wasn't going to be pretty.

Customer quilt on the long arm
 I stuck by that quilt for the first two rows of stitching. Everything seemed to be OK.

Look at the pattern - soccer balls and soccer nets. And if you look close there's a soccer ball right in the net. Not planned!

Soccer ball in the net!
 OK - I'm going to have to learn to trust this machine so I walked away. And turned on the embroidery machine - the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC. It's time to get some more of those sashings made for the Halloween quilt.

As I mentioned the other day, there's a feature which made it easier to do multiples of the same thing, which is good since I still have cornerstones to create. For those of you who think you can just turn on the embroidery machine and let it go, that's not the case, I still had to babysit depending on what step it was at.

After the outline for the batting was stitched onto the stabilizer, I had to put the batting in place. Then it was stitched down. Then the batting needed to be trimmed before moving onto the next step.

Batting is stitched in place

Then the fabric was positioned and once the three areas of the fabric were stitched in place to match the batting, I could let the machine go on its own. No more babysitting.

The fabric is being stitched in place

All of that is knowing the steps the machine has to do. And the STOP feature on the Designer EPIC made it all possible. I turned that button on and off depending at what stage I was in the process. Without that, well - it wasn't going to be fun. And this machine is super fast so it seemed like I was constantly doing something to advance it to the next stage. And if the bobbin ran out? I had a new bobbin ready to go. Once the machine was started, I could use the separate motor on the bobbin winder to wind a new bobbin and have it ready. I know - totally insane, but it was one of those days when the planets were aligned!

The STOP function is a great function on an embroidery machine

I also managed to cut out a small wall hanging and I was piecing that on one of my own machines.

Piecing the wall hanging
But the pioneer in me was also saving scraps of the batting (for the embroidered sashings) and joining them. Since I had an extra machine sitting around, I set that up and used it to join batting. I know - that's just totally ridiculous. It's decadent, but you know what? That's OK. I have space, I have the machines, I might as well make use of them. Then there was no switching of settings or feet. I just sat at whichever machine needed to be fed. Of course, these last two machines had to be operated manually - DRAT!

Joining batting scraps for the sashing

At one point, I needed to change the needle on the embroidery machine. I opened up the box of machine needles to find a HUGE mess. I knew it was like that, but I decided that it was time to fix that. The lid was struggling to stay on.

A huge mess in the machine needle box

Now the needles are sorted and bound together which will make searching for a new needle a snap.

Needles are sorted and back in the box
So in total what got done yesterday? The small wall hanging got sewn together. It just needs the border put on and needs to be quilted and in the mail by tomorrow. A job for later today. You can't see it as it's for a magazine.

This customer quilt got done. It's trimmed and I have to sew the binding on for the customer who is coming today to Sit n Sew so I'll do it while everyone is here. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Quilting pattern

Quilting pattern on the back
It's a challenge with some of these specialty designs to have even density over the entire surface. That's the way the pattern is created. Once the quilt is washed, no one is even going to notice that.

So if you want your quilt quilted with something special - (an overall design), I do that. Oh, should I say the computer does that? There is NO way that you could stitch this one by hand.

And I now have TEN stitch outs  (or technically 30 sashings) done. How did I manage that? I guess I did seven of them yesterday. 

30 sashings waiting to be cut apart
And here's the materials prepped for the next 30 (well almost everything is prepped). 

Materials for the next 30 sashings - prepped

I also got a second customer quilt quilted. Hey - I was on a roll and I was taking advantage of the machine working and the rainy day. This customer is also coming to Sit n Sew which is why this particular one got done. I say that because some customers are going to say - hey - where's my quilt?

Customer quilt - DONE

I was glad as one by one, I shut down those machines. It was a pretty intense day. I was going to go for a walk but we had a nice gentle rain and I was just as happy to stay inside.

So what was wrong with the long arm? I've no idea. One moment it wasn't working - I went on vacation and came back and everything is fine. I touched nothing except maybe put that wire in a better position??? I still have to walk to the hardware store for a better clip. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed and going to try and get as many done this coming week as time allows. That means I'm back to about 4 or 5 a week. It's going to be a short week for me as I'm away for the long weekend, but I'll do what I can. Then when I'm back, I'm hitting the machine full force to get caught up. Thankfully the backlog isn't too steep.

While I was working yesterday, I was thinking a lot about The Task Master and those UFOs. I was doing some math and well - I have a whole story to tell you about tomorrow. I'm determined to get those UFOs complete by the end of the year. I have a plan! Plan B.

On that note, I have to finish getting ready for the Sit n Sew. Can't wait - another fun day of sewing with great friends.

Have a super day!!!!