Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Quilter on the edge!

Gosh - I should have told you this before and I forgot. By the time some of you read this - it will be too late.

I'm doing a lecture on binding today at Sew n Serge in Brampton. There are two sessions - one from 10 AM - 12 Noon and the other is from 7 PM - 9 PM. It's going to be EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about binding. I mean EVERYTHING.  Loads of samples and because it's Halloween, it's going to be fun and candy!!  There are sales on products so be sure to call the store and get yourself on that list.

I MUST get better at announcing my events. I really need a web page so I can put everything up and make it easy to find. I'll add that to the list of things I must learn!

I did learn something yesterday but at the moment, it escapes me. Maybe I didn't learn anything after all. I can't remember. I'm in a bit of a bind at the moment. And it's all because I'm an idiot. I have deadlines - I know that but I got lazy and I wasn't respecting those deadlines and now EVERYTHING is due and almost all at the same time.  I have SIX quilts to get done before the end of the year. No big deal, but a few of them are DUE now and one of them has to be ready to be shipped by tonight. And I'm teaching two different classes today.

We're NOT going to panic because that won't help the situation. Nope, we're going to FOCUS.

Let me tell you about something else before I get into that quilt situation.

Here's another situation. I had a customer ask me if I could quilt a quilt for her - no big deal. She had originally quilted the quilt a while back. She was learning and well, the quilt didn't survive the wash very well. So the binding came off and I agreed to redo the quilting on it for her. We decided to NOT remove the original quilting. I would just load it and then quilt it. A challenge, but after some of the quilting "stunt's" that I've done - well, I didn't think it would be too big of a deal.

The first line of business was to add a leader to the top and bottom of the quilt. I had the quilt laid out here so I could measure my strips of fabric that I keep on hand for this very reason. While this is the first time I've done this, it's not the first time that I've added strips to some part of a quilt. I've had to add strips to a backing because it wasn't quite wide enough.

Prepping the quilt
Here I am serging the fabric strip to the top and bottom of the quilt. I don't use my serger often, but boy, I'd be lost without it. While this isn't my normal brand of machine, it's the BEST serger around. But don't quote me on that - I'll deny it all. There are NO tension discs, it's air threading and honestly - it makes serging FUN.

Serging the fabric strips to the top and bottom of the quilt

To make life easier for myself, I could have serged some fabric to the sides as well, but why? I like a challenge.

So the quilt got loaded, I choose a loose pattern and I was off. I did have to babysit those edges because there was NOTHING for the machine to over stitch onto. It would have been easier with the fabric attached to the sides.

Stitching out the design

Then BAM - in the middle of the second row, the machine stopped working. Then I went through the whole issue of the blown fuse. I got the fuses back into the machine and everything was good. I even figured out how to get the SAME pattern back (I had saved the design for the quilt). But I got back to the same place where the long arm had stopped. That required a bit of finagling but I managed. 

I need to really understand how to do the repositioning so I can get faster at it. Got to figure that out.

Here's a look at the edges of the quilt. See that the clamps are RIGHT on the edge of the quilt. Using the computer program, the stitching always goes slightly over the edge so I really had to be careful or I would have had a mess on my hands. If I were doing it manually (with no computer), I'd have had no choice but to put fabric on all four sides.

Clamps are right on the edge of the quilt

Clamps are right at the edge of the quilt
And here's the last row. I was very happy to see the end of the quilt. It stitched right to the serged edge and that was as far as it went. Yeah!!! 

The last row
 Here's the quilt after it came off the long arm. I need to trim all four sides now which I'll do later and then get it back to the customer so she can rebind the quilt. She came to one of my binding lectures so she's much better prepared to reattach the binding.

Customer quilt - DONE!!!!

As you know, I've been making quilts for magazines for the last couple of years. While I've received some of them back, there are still many that haven't been returned to me. I got one back yesterday!!!  I think I know which one this is. No time to open the box. Heck, I made a messenger bag for Quilter's Connection a while back and that one is still in the box somewhere in the office. NO time to unpack.

A quilt has been returned to me!

After I took the customer quilt off the machine, I immediately loaded the urgent magazine quilt. It has been a bit of a challenge to quilt it as it's quilted with straight lines. I used the channel lock on the long arm. I also had to do a bit of stitch in the ditch. Let's just say that the lines are not bad - not perfect, but not bad. I have about ONE hour of quilting left. Then it has to come off, some more work done and then back on the machine. The binding is made and so is the sleeve. It's going to be very tight to get that thing done. I was working until 10 PM last night and I see another late night tonight.

I taught a private class last night. A dad and his nine-year-old daughter who is making a dress. Isn't that just the greatest??  It was so much fun. They've been practicing sewing at home. When she sewed the first seam and I said to cut the threads with the scissors, she said - "there's a thread cutter on the machine, can I use that?"  OH - sure!!!!!   She's a very bright nine year old. With a little bit of practice, she's going to be a superstar. Extremely polite and very well mannered. If you know someone who needs a private class for ANYTHING, give Oh Look Fabric a call and it can be arranged. I guess you could always get in touch with me directly - I'm not cheap, but I'm very good!

It's never fun when you hear of a local store closing. Late last night, we got word that a local sewing machine/quilt shop is closing its doors by the end of November. Sew Etc. in Burlington. Here's a video from Nic, one of the owners. And if you want more details, here's a web page they put together. Wow - no one saw that coming. I wish them luck in whatever their next endeavor is. I didn't frequent that store - I don't frequent any store for that matter as I literally do not have time.

On that note, I'd better go and finish packing for my trunk show/lecture this morning. If you get this in time and can get out to the binding lectures - you should. If you can't and you're local, let me know - I'd love to do the binding lecture/demo at your guild, or your local quilt shop, or we can arrange something. It's a great lecture - you'll learn tons!

Have a super day!!!!   Happy Halloween!!!


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Every day is a learning experience

Seriously - there isn't a day goes by that I don't learn something. Whether it's from the ladies I sew with, my own stupidity that forces me to get out of sticky situations or whatever.

I had not one but TWO AHA moments yesterday. Both were valuable lessons, but both were necessary and I'm SO HAPPY the two situations came up. I'll get to those in a minute.

I'm making good progress on the magazine quilt. It HAS to be in a box tomorrow. The top is currently in four pieces and then there's some applique that has to be prepared and stuck on. Then the whole thing needs to be quilted. There's time - it's going to be tight, but there's time.

I thought I'd share what my sewing station looks like these days. It looks awesome. I had this hard plastic container that I use for threads when I'm sewing. It used to sit on the right-hand side of the workstation, but it made the table look junky with everything else that was there.  Now look - the coral colored little bucket is tucked right beside the machine and sits on the same table as the sewing machine. It's PERFECT. Lots of room for my pin cushion. The little orange dish has extra bobbins - my five bobbins before I need to clean the machine. And my ender/leader project which is almost finished unless I cut more fabric. A pin cushion you ask? Every seam in this quilt needs to be pinned - just the way it was designed. No big deal. Only three seams left!

My workstation - nice and tidy
 I have to say one thing about having this tidy of a workstation - you actually feel very motivated to sew. When I had Sit n Sew last week (Thursday), the table was a mess and I had no motivation to sew. But that was actually a good thing because I got all those other things repaired.

I want to share with you my latest finished project for the year. This is number 66. Yes - Diane is in the 70's. Am I worried? Not in the least. My list and my goal is exactly that - MINE. I set the rules and I set the goal. Not sure that I'm going to get to 100 for the year, but I'll give it a good shot.

Anyway - here's my snowflake pillow. The applique shape was cut using the Accuquilt. The snowflake had embroidery designs that you can purchase to do the outline stitching (in several different stitches) on the embroidery machine instead of doing the applique yourself. Well since I've got embroidery machines coming out my ears at the moment, I bought and downloaded the embroidery design. It's adorable and it took no time at all to make. I was going to sew up the seam on the inside using the sewing machine and then I looked at those other machines on the table and said - there's my serger - ready to go. So I turned it on and serged the pillow together.

My snowflake pillow

This is going to be a class at Oh Look Fabric. No you won't be using a serger and no you won't be using an embroidery machine, but you'll get a chance to cut your snowflake (or more than one if you're prepared) on the Accuquilt cutter.

The pillow is a great project for a beginner so if you're not interested, but you know someone who is - call the shop to book the date. It's in the evening on November 20.

I know that I resisted the Accuquilt for years, and I'm still not convinced that I want to use it to cut quilt pieces for a project. Unless they are totally weird shapes (like apple core or tumbler) - then it would be quite useful. But for stuff like this - I LOVE it. I did something else with those snowflakes (there are three different ones on the die) and you'll see those in a magazine sometime soon.

I have another new toy. I'm not big into gadgets, but I do like a tool that will save me time. It's mostly time that I'm worried about these days. So this is a set of rulers for trimming embroidery. Since I'm doing a ton of embroidery these days, I thought it would be helpful. They are from Kimberbell and called - Orange Pop Rulers.    And I have a TON of Kimberbell embroidery that I want to do.
Orange Pop Rulers from Kimberbell
 The rulers come apart as you can see below. The 4 ½" square is perfect for the project that I'm working on. I tried it - hmm - this is weird because you mostly eyeball the placement of the design rather than placing a regular ruler on top and then measuring on the top/bottom and side to side.

I set the ruler aside thinking I had just wasted a bunch of money. But my regular ruler rocks on top of the embroidery and it can shift. So I dug out the orange pop rulers again and you know what? It's not bad. I actually like them. I found that I can cut out my embroidery blocks without rotating the block, but you have to be very careful since on two sides you're cutting with the rotary cutter on the opposite side of the ruler you would normally cut.  It's not a big deal.  As Kim mentions in the video, there's also a rectangle set and - what the heck, I might just as well buy that one too.

Here's the 4 ½" ruler that I'm using.

Ruler for trimming embroidery blocks

I'm doing OK on the embroidered blocks. It's going to take a wee bit of time, but well worth it - the end result is EXACTLY what I was looking for. As I stitch the designs out, they are being trimmed down to size so that's a good thing.

Now here's the thing - I was dreading attempting to get the long arm going so I delayed as long as I could. I was afraid that it wasn't going to work! Last night was the test. I had bought new fuses but I was confused because I had two different fuse amperages. I inserted the higher amp fuse into the machine. Nothing - dead as a doornail. Then I tried the new fuses - the machine was still dead as a doornail. I even tried a different extension cord - I checked the electrical panel in the event that I had tripped a fuse there.

By the way - for those who suggested that I might have an electrical problem. This is the FIRST fuse that's blown on the machine EVER. We have not one, but TWO electrical panels to handle all the circuits in our house  - we had extensive electrical work done when we moved in. That is NOT the issue.

I tripped the breaker anyway just in case. Well, that caused another problem which I'll tell you in a minute. The long arm is still dead. I had a wee bit of a panic attack and then I said to myself - get a grip. Let's look at this thing. Oh NO - seriously?????  There was some discussion that the CDN machines had TWO fuses, not one. I looked at the machine and then it hit me - I need to use TWO fuses, not just one. DUH!!!  How stupid can you be? Especially when it's written right on the side of the  machine.

There's a little fuse tray which has room for one fuse (the main fuse and the one that uses the higher amperage) and there's room in the tray for one spare fuse. Hence - that's why I had two fuses of the higher amperage. Both are good as they were just tested. I replaced those two in the little tray. Then in another little round tray, there's a fuse for the motor. That's the one that blew. So I replaced that with the new fuses I bought and BAM - I had lights - I had a motor. OH MY GOD!!!!!!

In the photo below, the arrows are showing where it's written right on the side of the machine which fuse goes where. But it's all hard to see with the cords and what not. The little round button holds a fuse in there and the little box (it appears as an outline under the plug) holds the second fuse. I was aware of both of them, but I wasn't really. But now my fuses are tested - I have spares of both sizes and I'm good to go.

This is where the fuses go

So that was a very valuable learning experience and I'm glad it happened. Hopefully, this won't happen again, but we'll see. At least the troubleshooting will be easier next time. It's funny that all these issues are happening AFTER the machine was sent into the manufacturer for servicing. The problem the first time was a loose wire inside the machine (as best as I can tell).

What was the second lesson? At the moment that I flipped the breaker in the electrical box, my embroidery machine wasn't working because I was in the process of changing the bobbin. The moment I flipped the switch, I heard the machine shut off. ACK!!!  When I turned the machine back on - it asked me if I wanted to resume my embroidery. Of course, I said yes, but I noticed that for some reason, it wasn't quite in the right spot. Not sure how that happened. But I learned very quickly how to reposition the design on the embroidery machine to match what was in the hoop.  I've been meaning to learn that for a while because I have something else to fix. Now I know!!!!

I must say that I'm learning so much about technology! Not sure if I mentioned, but there was something that I needed to change on my embroidery designs. I got out the laptop with the software on it. The manuals are on the iPad and both were sitting side by side on the table. I was in the process of writing an SOS e-mail to one of my fellow freelance educators when I discovered what to do. The e-mail never got sent and I learned something. By learning it myself, I will never forget it.

I've been meaning to take this picture for the last couple of weeks. This is on the street next to me. Look at those trees. They are gorgeous. The picture doesn't do justice to the color which is brilliant.

Fall colors

There we have it - so many learning experiences. I'm going to be so knowledgeable it's going to be crazy. I love it - and I can see from what's happening that there's going to be many, many more learning experiences.

Yesterday, I had to make an emergency fabric pickup. There are several quilts that I"m working on for the magazines and I was slightly short of fabric for three of them. A quick trip and I'm back in business. Now I see that I'm running out of embroidery thread so it's going to be another emergency trip today for thread and hopefully I can get another small hoop so I can get two embroidery machines working.

On that note, I'd better get myself organized for the day. It's going to be intense and I have a class to teach later in the day. Nothing like having deadlines!!!!

OH -- I should direct you to the Ruby Star Society website. Big news there. Remember these are the ladies that founded Cotton + Steel. I have a feeling that after what happened to them when they were "ousted" (that's my opinion) from RJR - that they are going to come back with a vengeance if for no other reason than to prove a point. Watch out!!!!  In case you don't catch it - they have signed up and working with MODA!!!   Yes - that HUGE company called MODA.

OK - now I'm out of here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Motivational Monday - and it's all good!!!

Yesterday was a Sit n Sew day. It was probably the MOST productive Sit n Sew day EVER! I was so focused that while I remember that there were four other people in the room with me, I don't think for the life of me I could tell you what they were working on. Well, that's not quite true. I know Elaine was working on some July Shop Hop blocks and France was working on Quilts of Valor blocks. But Lynn and Diane? If I dug deep, I might remember, but I don't think I even paid attention so digging deep wouldn't help!

So what got done? I've been mentioning that there is a LOT of stuff that is very close to being finished - well that was my focus. Here's what happened.

Let's start by looking at that messy table. I mean really - how can this be a help to me? It's full of stuff.

The extra space table is crammed with stuff

I grabbed the first project which was a finished quilt top. The backing was also done. The binding strips were cut. They just needed to be sewn together. Now the binding is made and this one is ready to go into the "to be quilted" pile.

Binding, backing and the top - ready to be quilted

Onto the next project. The top was completed and nothing else. I had to choose some backing and cut the binding. Now the binding is made and the backing is as well. Another one to add to the "to be quilted" pile.
Backing, binding, and top - ready to be quilted

Hey - this focusing is FUN!!!!

Then onto the next one. This is Vintage Moments. The final two side borders were cut and they were even pinned onto the quilt. They are now sewn onto the quilt.

Vintage Moments - the top is FINALLY finished

The flannel backing had been washed and was literally rolled in a big ball. It's now nicely pressed and pieced. The bias binding was made and this quilt is ready for the "to be quilted" pile.

Binding, backing, and the top - ready to be quilted
I don't know about you, but I see a problem here. We already know that the "to be quilted" pile is HUGE. And I just added three more. But wait - I'm not done!!!

I grabbed the next one. The top was made. I'm really wanting to get this fabric used up so I took all the leftovers and joined them to make the backing. Yes - those two fabrics aren't the best match. I don't think someone will mind on a cold winter night. 

Scrappy backing
 I had to make the binding as well and so here's one more to add to the "to be quilted" pile.

One more to add to the "to be quilted" pile

In case you're wondering, I did NOT fire up the long arm yesterday to check the fuse situation. I'm doing that today. I had a lengthy chat with my Dad about the fuses and I feel that I'm a wee bit more knowledgeable in that department. 

But the day wasn't over. So I dug out the double wedding ring quilt. The first of the two lap quilts is already in the "to be quilted" pile.

When I pulled this one out, I thought there were a lot of those curved seams to sew. But NOPE - it didn't take long and this one was done. The binding and the backing were already made - isn't that a bonus when we realize how quick it is to finish something because we did some extra work one other day?

Another backing, binding, and top to be added to the "to be quilted" ile

What needed to be done? I had to add two melons! That's it and this one was finished. How silly for me to set it aside.

Two melons had to be added

The day wasn't over yet! And I wasn't stopping for anything! So I forged ahead with the remaining four blocks from the double wedding ring project. I had to piece four arcs and then attach them to the melon and then sew all the bits together.

It was while I was sewing this piece that the others left. Then I fired up the embroidery machine and it worked steadily for hours. I made progress but not fast enough for what I need to do. Since I do have four embroidery machines available to me at the moment, I may consider getting more than one going. I need another small hoop. I could use a larger hoop, but I'm liking the small hoop. More on that another day.

The LAST of the double wedding ring projects - DONE

This is going to be my practice piece when it comes time to machine quilt the quilts. I'm putting this one on my UFO list for next year. Yes - there are three quilts, but they only need to be quilted and bound. No piecing. That's going to be great. But I have a learning curve ahead of me in order to use the computer to quilt them. That's for another day. My learning curve was last night figuring out how to modify my embroidery design. And I did it!!!

One more project added to the "to be quilted" pile

By my count, that was SIX projects that got finished yesterday. Well, not finished enough to put on my finished list, but they got moved to the next round. Am I thrilled???  I'm ecstatic!!  I did actually make a cushion cover last night as well and that one will go on the FINISHED list. I don't have time for a picture this morning.

The studio space is quite messy at the moment, but it's all a work in progress as I attempt to finish that embroidery and sew a quilt top together. I think I got close to 14,000 steps yesterday and that was a Sit n Sew day!!!  That's totally crazy. I've learned over the years - be VERY efficient with your movements. Think ahead and anticipate what needs to be done so you can "multi-task." And don't make mistakes!!!   Test - test  - test!!!!!

I'll share more of that with you another day. I don't have time this morning.

But have a look at that extra table beside my sewing machine. What a difference a day makes.

Look at the sewing table!!!!

There is one more big project on that table. A tuffet that needs to be finished. I really should get off my butt and get it done.  Then I would have room to store the "next in line" projects and still have some room to work.

So I'm crossing things off in my Task Master book. I'm adding things to one list as they go off another. It's all very exciting and so nice to see the number of things that have gotten accomplished over the year.

I hope that everyone else is getting things done. The end of the year is fast approaching.

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Mom - there's nothing to eat!

We're all familiar with that phrase. Except that my kid is gone. That was me who said that this morning as I glanced into the refrigerator this morning. I got a text from DH yesterday asking if I could stop and pick up groceries. Ah - since I left the house about 8 AM and wasn't planning to be back until about 9 PM, I don't think that's going to happen. I come home to find that he ordered pizza for dinner and there is NOTHING - I mean NOTHING to eat in that fridge or the cupboards. No bacon, no bananas for breakfast. No soup - pretty slim pickings. Good grief - you think he could have gone to the grocery store. Oh well........

Yesterday was a bit of a crazy day (as usual). I had three classes to teach and then zipped off to a meeting and then dinner. I'll share the homework from two of the classes with you this coming week.

But I've been up for hours this morning and I've been pretty productive already. Well, most of it was prepping for today which is another Sit n Sew. I've got bindings, I've got backings, I've got embroidery - everything is prepped and ready to hit START. I'll be sharing all that with you in the near future!

I started off this morning by getting out the hot glue gun. I've been known to hot glue embellishments to some of my projects. In this case, I had three quilts that needed a bit of repair. All is done, but well - some of these pieces are damaged just from being carted to trunk shows. No worries - I'll find time to stitch/fix them up at a later date. But for the moment, the bits that were hanging around are now back on the proper pieces.

Hot gluing embellishments to the quilts

Here's MY set up for today. I've got a serger and two machines ready to go, plus I have another machine to the right of that. You can just see my orange stool at the bottom of the photo. Actually, there are three embroidery machines so technically I could get them all working at once since I do have a LOT to embroidery - Hmm - that's a thought!  But that would be too noisy with others in the room. Mind you, we're only going to be five today. But still. It'll be bad enough with one machine going.

MY sewing station for Sit n Sew

I dug out my Halloween quilts and hung them up on the design wall this morning. So cute! It's hard to remember to hang them. Isn't that bad?

Halloween quilts

Shoot - I have about three lap quilts with a Halloween theme. They are hanging around the house - well not hanging up, but around. And then there's my embroidered Halloween quilt. See that one block is still missing? I have some repair work to do on it. And I'll share that with you when I get to that point.

Halloween quilt

Notice that there is only ONE fabric hanging there for the outer border. The last Sit n Sew group nixed the purple border that was there. I think that was a wise choice. Now to pick a fabric for the cornerstones and get those embroidered so I can get this thing together. I might have some time to work on it today????  I've got BIG plans for today and there's only so much that can be done.

Here's that table I was talking about yesterday. My sewing machine is to the bottom right of that picture. It's a portable sewing table so it's not overly huge and this table was supposed to give me room to work on large quilts. Well, that's not happening. It became a dumping ground for things that needed to be sewn. So given that today is a dedicated sewing day and there's quite a bit of space to work, I might just get some of this done!!!  And that would get rid of a few UFOs as well.

Table of STUFF to finish up!

I'm so excited that I'm so prepped I can hardly wait for 8:30 to arrive.  And I'm super ready for the upcoming retreat. I was bustling around doing something the other day and I quickly pulled some projects (those Dirty Dozen UFOs from 2017 and 2018) and they are in the retreat bag. One HUGE IKEA bag. To heck with trying to fit it all in a laundry basket.

Oh -- someone had asked me the size of my main studio room. I measured this morning. It's 22 feet by 24 feet. And there's a darn pillar right in the middle of it. I would love to get rid of it, but then the house would fall in so that's not an option. I knew someone who had their house jacked up and inserted a massive steel support beam beneath the house so they could get rid of that post in their family room. Obviously, they had money to burn. You could buy a lot of fabric and probably a new sewing machine for the cost of doing that! Not happening at my house!

Anyway - there are seven 6 foot banquet tables set up at any given time. There's a cutting table which is also 6 feet (it's an IKEA table with storage underneath), there's the Reliable ironing board and then in the corner, the one with that messy table, there's my big sewing cabinet that's fully extended at all times, my small portable sewing table (which I use all the time) and a 4 foot table. In a pinch, I can add one more 4 foot table beside this grouping. And if I move my crap off that 4-foot table, we can fit 11 people in to sew. I have a long section of bookshelves in this room as well that's tucked along one of the walls which I would LOVE to extend. I need to extend it as there are way too many books on the floor.

Keep in mind that my projects and fabric are NOT in this room. There are storage rooms for that stuff. And the long arm is in the other side of the basement. Yes - I'm lucky! Very lucky - it didn't come without a lot of complaints from someone else in the house. But seriously if he can't even get out to do the groceries? Well - I digress.

Here's an interesting article about textile waste and what to do with it. It's from Quilter's Connection blog and talks about Vancouver, but we should all look to see if there aren't similar programs in our area. I used to make pet mats from my scraps, but now I give them to Diane who makes pet mats. And I keep the small scraps. Oh - I have a very cool idea to share with you later this week about what to do with scraps. If you live in the Region of Peel, they have an excellent website that you can search for almost ANYTHING and you'll get information on how to get rid of stuff that still has a life. 

I really, really need to schedule some days (in the spring) where I focus on getting rid of the excess stuff from our house. Just two days would make a huge difference. You know what - I just popped over to my calendar and scheduled two days in March and I marked them in HUGE letters and also added a note to NOT RESCHEDULE those days. I'm pretty good at respecting a commitment if it's written down.

One last story to share with you before I go. As you know, the long arm died the other day. I found an electrical supply store and was there at 8 AM yesterday when they opened. I had to wait a few minutes as the man was late, but that's OK. I was very patient. He tested all three fuses that I have. Yes - the one that was in the machine is DEAD. It was black and I suspected it had blown. It's the FIRST fuse ever to blow on the machine and it isn't that uncommon. The other two were fine. BUT upon investigation, the amperage of the other two are different. There are two different fuses used on some machines. I'm suspecting that those extra fuses are NOT the right ones for the machine, hence it wouldn't work when I inserted them. I've got a pack of 5 of the same one the blew and I'll try it later today. I'm hoping it works and I can't bear the let down if it doesn't. Total denial!!!!  I'm going to call my Dad later today to ask what is the difference between them and why one would work and the other doesn't - all that technical stuff. But I like to know this stuff.

Anyway, the man at the electrical supply store was very helpful and he asked me what machine I was using the fuses in. I told him, but I think he had no clue what I was talking about. I should carry a picture of the long arm with me so people can see it!

On that note, I'm out of here. I'm debating taking the girls to the park. It's wet and they're going to get filthy. I think we might just go for a walk.

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, October 27, 2018

What I did at Sit n Sew.............

So I'm having a great day yesterday. I'm working on a weird quilt on the long arm which I'll share with you when it's done. It requires some serious babysitting and I happened to be standing right there when the long arm STOPPED. The computer didn't, but the long arm did. And of course, it always stops with the needle DOWN. The quilt wasn't damaged but it's still on the frame and I was going to deliver it this morning. I'm a wee bit ticked.

I walked away, not having the patience to deal with it. OK - that's not true - I did tinker with the wires in the back since the covers hadn't been screwed back on since the last episode. Nothing. The machine is totally dead. I have to laugh because I had just put all the tools back in the toolbox the morning before. Of course!!!

Later in the day, I got to thinking about the machine. Hm - what about those fuses???  I pulled out the fuse - BLACK. So I'm hoping it's the fuse. I have two others, but I have a feeling those are dead (from the last time) and did anyone think to buy NEW fuses when everything was working? The local hardware store doesn't have that kind of fuse so I'm off to the electrical supply store this morning. Let's just say that I'm buying LOTS of fuses. I wonder why the fuses are going now when I never had an issue before????

Let's just hope that it's only the fuse. I need to get quilts done!

Despite the fact that I was a wee bit cramped for space at the Sit n Sew, I did manage to get a lot done. I have a spare table beside my sewing machine and it's piled HIGH with projects. I need to get those off that table so that I would have room on a Sit n Sew day. I think there are two or three projects on the table that are on the UFO list and none of them would require a whole lot of work. Perhaps at tomorrow's Sit n Sew, I should get them done and out of the way.  That would be the logical thing to do. We're only six tomorrow so I might just do that. It would be good to clear that space.

Anyway - here's what happened. I have these two small wall hangings that I made for my Mom years ago. The date on the back of these pieces is 2001. I'm talking years. So she did hang the winter one up where it got full sun for part of the day and never took the darn thing down. That went on for a couple of years and then it got taken down and never seen the light of day again. Now she wants the summer and fall ones made so they can hang the wall hangings on the door of their apartment. I'm OK with that. I won't go into details but there appears to be an URGENCY for her to get these despite the fact that they languished in a box buried in stuff for years. But I digress.

I promised to make the fall and summer one and fix the sleeve on the existing two so they would all be the same and would be easy to hang.

For the winter one (which had a single sleeve the length of the piece), I unpicked the binding stitches across the top and halfway down both sides. Yep - you could see where the blue border/binding fabric had faded a lot from the binding inside. No worries, not going to change it even though I think I still have some of that fabric. The fabric is all through the piece.

Winter wall hanging
And here's the new hanging system on the back. I made two triangles by folding a 4" square. Sewed them to the top two corners of the quilt and then restitched up the binding (by hand) on the back.

A small dowel slips in those two triangles and yet the dowel won't easily come out. Does that make sense??  I even bought the little 3M hanger thing that they can use on their door.

The back of the winter wall hanging

These little wall hangings are about 14" square.

Then it was onto the spring wall hanging. I did the same thing, but when I really looked at it, I decided that the binding was way too big for the piece evident by the pointy corners!

Spring wall hanging

I didn't take a picture of the piece before I started, but needless to say, I ripped the entire binding off the wall hanging. Of course, I had a helper!

The binding is completely off the wall hanging

Then I made the hanging triangles on the back so the pieces are the same.

The back of the sping wall hanging

This is how much binding I removed from the original binding. It's not huge, but enough to make wonky corners. It probably didn't help that I literally RIPPED that binding off. I didn't use a seam ripper. But it looks much better now.

The piece of binding that was removed

 Here's the pattern for the winter and spring.

Patter for Winter and Spring
All I have to do is get those two in the mail so they arrive before December 21 (the official start of winter - I think) and then I'm off the hook until June 21 when summer starts. I spoke to my Mom yesterday and she says - "oh - you should get them done now so they're off your back!"  It's more like getting her off my back!  I've started the fall one so I'd better keep plugging away at it and get it done. It's in my Monday sewing bag.

I'm counting those two as ONE finished project for the year. Hey - it's my list and I can set my own rules as to what I put on it. This was something that had to be done and now it's done. I did resew the binding onto the spring wall hanging by hand so it would be the same as the other one. Besides, I was listening to my audiobook so I didn't mind. I did the hand stitching in the evening after the others had left.

Since I was on a roll, I had this small piece that also needed some hand stitching on the binding. It's now done. I have a similar small piece that I had attached the binding by machine. These two are going in my sample box for my binding demo/class.

Binding hand stitched in place
And it felt really good to get those little projects done. It's stuff like that that's almost finished and would require a minimal amount of time that clutter up the place. I need to keep on a roll with that. Never mind that chair that's still heaped with quilts to be bound. As soon as I get one bound, I quilt another! I'm not getting ahead!

Then I had another little "repair" job to do. I had made this little basket but was never happy with it. It was too high for the width and I just didn't like it. So I took the entire basket apart.

The disassembled pieces for a basket

I was going to add pieces to it to make it one square longer, but I decided that it would be better to make the basket shallower so I removed the top row of fabric squares. That was very easy to do. Now I just have to cut down the lining and resew it together. Originally, it had handles, but those handles are too big for this basket so I might make another one to use up the handles. Now, how silly is that????  But the best news is that the basket is apart and it won't take long to reassemble it and I can put it beside my sewing machine to hold junk. Not junk, but there are a few things I like to leave by the sewing machine and they can go in this basket. Getting that thing apart was another great task to accomplish.

I think that's all I did on the Sit n Sew day. It doesn't appear like much, it was all fiddly things that I tended to ignore. Since it didn't require any space to rip, I was good!!!

As promised, here is the black/white block for my ender/leader project.

Black/white block for ender/leader project
I think I calculated that I need 120 blocks. 60 of them will have white on the inside and 60 will have black on the inside. I believe there are 27 blocks in total that I'm working on. And now I need to find more red for the centers. And I have to cut a LOT more of the black on white and white on black. No worries, I've got tons of fabric. And I still have to look for strips. I'm sure I used them up, but I'm going to have a quick peek to see if I can find anything.

Here's the orphan block that I found as well. I'm going to rip this apart and cut up the scraps and use them in this quilt. Might as well.  I know it sounds crazy, but I absolutely find this "repair" process very satisfying. Seriously????  Yep - it's just great knowing that I found a purpose for stuff. That's the pioneer blood in me.

Orphan block to be incorporated into the ender/leader project

Thanks to Helen Anne who lent me some of the books that I was missing on my list.

A couple of books that I was looking for

I do NOT need to borrow another book from the library. I do not need to search out another book - I have a HUGE stack to read. At the end of the year, I like to take a picture of that bookcase to show that I'm reducing the number of novels that I own. Unless I read very fast, that isn't going to happen this year. That shelf is a wee bit full at the moment.

Helen Anne also guessed that my issue with the audiobook the other day was that it hadn't downloaded properly. You know - you're downloading, you think you got it all, but maybe a text came in or something and interrupted the download process. I think that makes sense.

On that note, I see that it's raining outside. I'm NOT going to the park in the rain. I guess we might have to go for a walk in the rain. ICK!! At least it's not too cold out.

I'm all packed for a busy day of classes. The studio is all tidied up and ready for the group tomorrow. I've got my machines out and ready for some machine embroidery and binding and finishing up tomorrow. While each person in the group gets ONE table, I'm taking four tomorrow. But I have some embroidery to do and that can stitch out while I sew on the other machine. And hopefully, those fuses will make my long arm work. I've got to get to that store at 8 AM.

I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!


Friday, October 26, 2018

Sit n Sew aftermath

I LOVE Sit n Sew days. It's a day spent sewing, it's a day spent with friends, it's a day with much laughter! Yesterday was another fun-filled day! We were a full house and I was a tad bit cramped - Hey - when you usually have the run of the entire place and now have to share with 9 other people - you see what I mean. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. And it forced me to do some stuff that I've been putting off. I'm going to share with you tomorrow what I did.

Today - it's all about what the others did.

I'll start with Diane. She loves to make rugs on my sewing table and I don't blame her. It's perfect with all that extra room. She came prepared as Diane always does. Here are her two rolls of batting and the strips already joined and presented in a nice roll. Gosh - she's awfully neat.

Jelly roll rug supplies
 Then she cranked out those strips after a few minor glitches to get started.

Strips for the jelly roll rug

See how nice it is to work with all that space. There is ZERO drag on that rug as you rotate it around.

Rag rug - almost done

 Here's the final rug! It's gorgeous. It's amazing how different the rugs feel depending on what batting you use. Diane used the batting rolls for hers and I used batting scraps. I have to say that my rug is much heavier. The lighter batting is easier to keep flat, but I managed just fine with my scrappy batting rug.

The fabric she used is a jelly roll of French General which will match the Border Creek Mystery that she's signed up for.
Diane's finished rug

Pat is a lover of all things Halloween.  A HUGE thanks to Pat for hand stitching the binding on my Halloween quilt. More on that another day. Pat has already made several Halloween quilts (you can never have too many!) and with the leftovers, she made half-hexie shapes and was sewing them in rows. I don't think she quite finished before she left, but she made great progress.

Pat's scrappy half-hexie Halloween quilt

Liz was working on Road Trip. This is a pattern by McKenna Ryan. Her designs are to die for, but they're a tremendous amount of work. I believe that Liz is getting close to the end and was working on the top and bottom rows.

Road Trip by McKenna Ryan

Here's the pattern for the fish. Yep - that's all fusible and it takes a lot of time to trace, sort colors and keep everything organized. I can't wait to see the finished project.

Tracing the fish

Linda also had a Halloween wallhanging that she was finishing up some stitching and I didn't get a picture of it. But it was super cute. Then Linda has this project which she brings only to the Sit n Sew days to work on. She is making progress!!! The main block is a nine patch (but each section is pieced). I do believe that she has ONE of the nine blocks completed. I see a few more Sit n Sews in her future.

Linda's sit n sew project
 Linda also brought us her Town and Country quilt to see. I think she's added one more row since the last time we saw the quilt. And you can't see it in this picture, but she's added some bling to it. I do want to work on this quilt as well, but I've got BIG plans for how to do it and I'm just not quite there .......yet!!!!!  Don't forget I have some play dates for myself booked in the near future and well - you never know what will happen.
Linda's version of the Town and Country quilt 
Ruth is working on Sylvia's Bridal Sampler and she's getting closer to getting the quilt finished. That's super exciting! I think she had a lot of pressing to do when she got home and a couple more Sit n Sews and she'll be done!!!!

Ruth's Sylvia's Bridal Sampler
 Tish was working on her Kaffe Fassett mystery. We've all decided that's it not that big of a mystery since ALL the blocks are either checkerboard or snowball. And that blue dot print is in every block. Oh well - it's a "color" mystery. A little detective work and I saw the finished quilt in another color. Anyway - that's enough about this mystery. She did get more than one block done!

One of Tish's blocks for the Kaffe Fassett Mystery

Claudette is slowly getting through all the blocks for the Stepping Stones quilt by Judy Niemeyer. These blocks are paper pieced and they do take a lot of time to do. I think she's getting close to the end. She always says - "I need to count them". Good grief - I'd know EXACTLY how many blocks I'd done and had left to do!!!  I'd need that information to slog through them.

Claudettes' Stepping Stones paper pieced blocks

Helen Anne was working on this quilt that was designed by Patti Carey. It's a great pattern and we all agree that it would look amazing with a different fabric in the center. There are some cool panels on the market these days. Anyway, Helen Anne made excellent progress and I think there are 6 rows left to insert.

Quilt top designed by Patti Carey

Pauline was working on a small baby quilt and got the top almost completed. Just two more outer rows to add. It's super cute.

Pauline's baby quilt
 It's amazing what you can get done in a day when you're not distracted by things in your house. Me - I get distracted on these sit n sew days. But that's OK. I did accomplish a lot which you'll see tomorrow.

I like to carry the sewing machines up and down the stairs for everyone. As I was picking up Helen Anne's sewing machine, I saw this.  WAIT A MINUTE! What's this???  Her cords are wrapped in TOILET PAPER rolls.

Those cords are wrapped in toilet paper rolls

I blogged about this a while back. I had read it somewhere or someone had told me about it and I poopooed the idea. I did get a note from Patti C that she uses the empty TP rolls for her cords. Seriously????  I guess so.

Here's a better view of the cords wrapped up.

Cord keepers AKA empty TP rolls

OK - so I have a lot of machines hanging out downstairs and they often need to be moved which means doing something with the cords. I tend to wind them up and then they unwind when I set them down. Guess who will be saving TP rolls in this house. Shoot - I think we just got rid of a few rolls yesterday as it was garbage day. Well, I'll have a few more soon enough.

Oh my - who would have thought. Patti - I should NEVER have doubted you!!!

Yesterday was a very bizarre day. Nine people showed up - two without ANY thread. Now how could that be? Then one person didn't have a cutting mat for their paper piecing. And a fourth showed up with no electrical cord or foot pedal for the machine. Fortunately, I was able to fix everyone up and they all got quickly to sewing.

Now here's an instance where you should ALWAYS trust your gut. I was making that quilt for the magazine. It's from a strip pack and when I designed the quilt, I didn't put all 40 colors into the electronic design. So I was praying that the final quilt would somewhat resemble the picture that I had submitted to the magazine.

I had made one block and put it on the wall and to my dismay, there was a color in the wrong place. I was working with a very limited palette and fabric quantity. Two identical strip packs. I replaced the color and then I was good to go. The blocks looked OK. I wasn't sure there was going to be enough contrast, but let's just keep our fingers crossed.

I mentioned yesterday that I really felt the quilt needed to be custom quilted in two different thread colors to help punch out the contrast, but there was no time for that. So a neutral color was used in an all over pattern. I got the sleeve hand stitched on yesterday. I hung it up for a photo after everyone left.

The verdict???  The quilt looked exactly like it was supposed to and there was enough contrast. I was a happy camper as I drove the quilt to the UPS office where it's merrily winging it's way to Colorado.

That's one quilt down and only six more to be finished by the beginning of December. I know - we just won't go there. But I got one more mostly cut out this morning.

On that note, I'd better get myself geared up for today. As usual, it's going to be busy and I still about one hour and a half on that audiobook. Oh - what a thriller!!!!!

Have a super day!!!!