Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Sustainability in the sewing world

ACK!!!  So my perfect system? I FORGOT ONE THING! I forgot about my Dirty Dozen projects - my UFOs!!!  I've been so focused on everything else that I forgot them. Well sort of - I'm still plugging away at that Gingerbread quilt which is on the list.

And here I am wondering what the heck I'm going to sew tomorrow. I'm such a dolt!  OK - I'm not sure where all those projects are but I'm going to try and find one for tomorrow. And I'm going to put ONE of them on my wire rack. So I don't forget the UFOs. Holy - I just get so dang focused that if I don't have lists - well - I'm toast!!!

There's been a series of articles in the Sew News magazine (borrowed from the library in case you're thinking I'm still adding to that stack of magazines!) about sustainability in the sewing world. I think I've shared one or two of them with you. There's a third article in the June/July issue.

It's really quite an interesting topic. Many of us think that cotton and other natural fibers are better than the man-made ones, but are they? You have to look at the entire process - how the fibre was made or grown, then the processing of it and finally what happens to it when we're done with it. All of these steps impact the environment in some way.

There's no right or wrong answer as to what is best. But I love this quote which came from Vivienne Westwood, "buy less, choose well, make it last."  That goes for fabrics, clothes and anything else that we should choose to buy. We've become a throw-away society and it's a very bad image that we leave for our children. I know - I'm as guilty as the next person.

I'm trying to do my part. I have no issues repairing things and there I was the other day with my super glue fixing my earbuds and my rice cooker. So far, so good. Yep - I could have thrown them away, but why would I?

There's another article in that same magazine that talks about the impacts of our crafting and sewing. Should you make your clothes, should you buy them??? Should you keep them and mend them???  All very interesting questions. That second article was written by Katrina Rodabaugh. She has several books on the market including Mending Matters.

Again, there is NO right or wrong in how we do this, but the important is to be MINDFUL. Do you really need that item? Are you going to use it once and then throw it away? Are you going to stash it away??

I do have one regret in life. I wish that I had this mindset when M was little. I know that we bought so much because it was "fun". And as I survey stuff in the basement, I see many craft items that were NEVER used. Still with price tags on them. I will be packing up all the craft stuff and finding a good home for that. Not sure what all that entails at the moment.

I'm not a granola girl. I think it's just my country roots showing through. I still have (and wear) clothes that I wore 30 years ago. OK - so they are my run around the house shorts, but still. I hardly buy new clothes and if I do, I try to make sure that it's something classic that I'll get a lot of wear out of.

Oh dear - I do sound like a granola girl. But honestly, I hate to see waste and there's so much waste in this world. Waste of money (government), waste of time (screen and social media), waste of resources (doing things over and over by the same people). and I could go on and on. But I won't. I think you get the picture.

On that note, I'm out of here. I've got a busy day and I'm not sure how I'm going to get everything done. But I'll do my best.

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A perfect system

After many, many years of sewing and many different iterations of keeping track of things, I've stumbled across a tracking system that I'm in love with. The process has evolved, and it's finally PERFECT!

I have a lot of deadlines in my quilts and it was hard for me to keep track of them. I started by writing the deadlines in a tiny binder. Each (removable) looseleaf page has one item with the deadline written on it. But the binder sat in a drawer and sometimes, things snuck up on me if I wasn't diligent.  I also had the TaskMaster which helped to break down the larger tasks. So those lists worked but they were lacking invisibility as I'm a very visual person.

The deadline binder

Then when I was cleaning, I stumbled across this great piece of wall art that used to be M's.

Wall art turned functional

At the beginning of each month, I review the pages in the little binder. What deadlines do I have for this month? It easy since each page has the item name and the deadline date. So for July, I removed the pages relevant to the deadlines this month and hung them on the frame using clothespins. What you see above are the pages for last month. This month there are TEN "projects" hanging on the frame. YES - the month is half over and those ten pages are still hanging there.

This hangs right by my sewing machine in Studio U so I can review it each morning. What needs to be worked on that day. Some of the projects need to be quilted and because of the mess in Studio B, that wasn't possible. However, things are looking up. More on that in a minute.

Case in point - I have a magazine quilt that is due to be in the US on July 30. I finished the top this morning, made the backing, the binding is cut and it's going on the long arm this afternoon. Now how the heck did that happen???? It's not done far in advance, but at least, it's not down to the wire like I am normally.

I think this system is a keeper for me. It's highly visual and - well - the system just works. I couldn't ask for anything better. It's not for everyone, but that's the beauty of being flexible. We need to work out a system that works for us. This one evolved.

For the rest of my things that have no deadline, there's a table upstairs and the next in line projects that I want to work on for me are laid out. I was wondering what I could sew over the next couple of days as I have THREE sit n sew days. I was going to grab a kit or something and then I said NO. Pick something from that table and then you can add to the table if necessary. Yep - finally a system that works. That took all of 20 years!!!

In the cleaning process, I came upon a basket filled with DVDs. I think I have watched ONE of the DVDs. Some are still in their original shrink wrap. I was able to borrow a portable DVD player from Katheleen as I have NOTHING in my house that'll play DVDs unless I watch it on TV which is just not my thing. Confined to the couch???  I can't remember the last time I even sat on our couch in the family room.

I have the first three seasons of The Quilt Show hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims. Apparently, the show is still being taped. The first season is from 2007. Yikes, a lot of changes since then but the demos and the discussions with the quilters are very interesting.

Watching The Quilt Show on the portable DVD player

The DVD for the first season of The Quilt Show. The DVDs have been spoken for and they will get moved along once I've finished watching them. No point in keeping a DVD that I can't watch. So watch and pass along!!

First Season of The Quilt Show

But what was interesting was the discussion with Vikki Pignatelli. I have her book - (of course I have her book!). Anyway, Ricky and Alex were asking her about something - I don't even remember what the question was, but I remember the answer. Her answer was PASSION. She feels that to excel in quilting or to become a quilt artist, you have to have PASSION. Oh yes - I got passion. I got loads of passion. Of course - you can sew without passion - this was her way of describing herself.

When we were packing up Studio B, I came across this plaque. It was hanging on a white wall so you couldn't really see it, but now it's in Studio U with those hot pink walls and it really stands out! And yes - I've got a passion for quilting in case you hadn't figured that out.

Passion - need I say more

My last gingerbread block is progressing slowly. This is the photo from last week. I worked a bit more on it yesterday and then I realized that I needed my lightbox which is at home. So I'm going to get the final prep done on the block and then it's going to need to be stitched in place. Yeah!!!! Last block.

Preparation in progress on gingerbread block

This is the importance of designating homes for everything. When cleaning, I came across this pile of cutoffs from making various borders for quilts. Yes - I save them! I have a whole tin of the pieces like this and I have a tin of the finished blocks I'm making with them. I've put these away, but I see the tin is full so might be time to dig it out and do some work. I may soon have enough to make a quilt out of the leftover bits.

Cut off bits from making quilt borders

So I had unearthed the long arm last week and it was time to get to work as I have some quilts that need to be done. I needed to get a picture of this quilt (finished) as it's a class sample so I loaded the quilt on the long arm on Sunday. Turned on the machine, went to the controls and the needle function is dead! This is the same problem as I've had in the past.

Zipped around to the back of the machine, tweaked the loose machine covers to try and move that loose wire into place and nothing. Needless to say, I was a tad ticked off. I tried everything - well not everything obviously since I couldn't get it to work.

So back upstairs and fired off an email to the support team. They did respond to me yesterday. When I got home from Monday sewing, I decided to give it a go and see what happened. Well, I wiggled that back cover once again, heard the big THUNK and guess what? Yep - that stupid needle function worked like a charm.

I was back in business. I got this quilt quilted yesterday and it just needs to be trimmed and the binding put on. Not a single issue once I got started.

One of my quilts quilted

I must really, really like this pattern. When Ronda and I were going through my kits, I found a kit for the quilt. It did not have the black and white in it. I substituted those fabrics in as I felt the quilt was going to be too busy with the fabrics included in the kit. The kit had a pattern with it. I bought the pattern a while back, not remembering that I already had the pattern with the kit. That second pattern was given away. Then when I was sorting through some patterns the other night - guess what? Yep - I found a THIRD pattern. Really????  Anyway - I just threw that one back into the pattern box and I'll deal with it later.

This is a class sample. I'm teaching the class at The Hobby Horse on September 14 - from 1 PM - 4 PM.  Call the store if you're interested in signing up. It's a great pattern and I have a super way to deal with directional prints on this one.

My class samples are NOT on those sheets of paper. I guess I should include them as I need to get to work on the next class sample!

Now that the long arm is back in business - oh and I unpacked the boxes of thread that I have found so far. I've found half! So that means, I have to be selective about what color quilts I quilt! I've got purple, red, and all the neutrals in the thread. I think I'm good for the next couple of quilts that were on the list. I'd love to keep that machine running all the time just to get caught up with some of my own stuff. It's nice to have the long arm running and I can putter a bit and put some stuff away. The studio is looking not bad in preparation for our Sit n Sew on Thursday. A wee bit more work to make room for the six of us!

Have a super day!!!! 


Monday, July 15, 2019

Ultimate Quilt Block Part 3

Today is the last day of the show n tell from the Ultimate Quilt Block class at The Hobby Horse. Make that the last post from the June class. We don't normally have classes in the summer, but to make up for a couple of classes that we missed because of inclement weather, we have a class in July and August. So we'll have more show n tell soon!

Ultimate Quilt Block Collection by Lynne Goldsworthy

The theme for the last month was small piecing. You already saw the blocks that the group put together from the book. The blocks today are their own creations.

We start off by viewing a quilt that we did in this ongoing class several years ago. It was called Snow Days by Crabapple Hill.    The photo below is the original quilt. I didn't get a picture of Susie's quilt that is finished!!!  There's loads of piecing and embroidery in the quilt.

Snow Days by Crabapple Hill

So why are we viewing this quilt? Because Susie saved (and USED) the little cut-offs from the flying geese blocks. And this is what she made with them. A girl after my own heart - she saved those cut-off pieces!!!!  I know - not everyone is crazy but some of us are!

She also likes embroidery so after making the center with the half-square triangles, she added some embroidery to the middle border. I LOVE it - very creative and uses up some scraps. I've forgotten how big those finished half square triangles are, but they are fairly small. I believe they are less than one inch finished.

Susie's piece made from scraps

Shoot - I've forgotten whose piece this belongs to. Those little squares are one inch finished. That's small - much smaller than most people want to work with. I love the variety of greens but looks like there's only one pink. Notice how the different colors and values change what pops in each block. It's actually a very interesting color study!

Color study in green and pink

Mary went crazy!!!!  Look at all those half square triangles and she does NOT do small. But look at those colors!!!!  I believe the half square triangles finish at ½". Yep - that's small. Way to go Mary! This will make a super mini-quilt when she finishes it off.

Mary's small piecing piece

I believe this is from the other Mary in the class. She didn't have anything specific for the small piecing. Hers is an on-going project. There's her little tin of half square triangles that she's made from cast-off pieces. And she's started to make pinwheel blocks with them. This is an ender/leader project.

Mary's half square triangle project

More of Mary's small piecing project

It's so exciting to see how creative the group is. We are all at different stages of our creative journey. I think everyone in the class wants to move forward, otherwise, they wouldn't have signed up!. It doesn't matter where any of us are on our creative journey. For me, the important thing is to keep moving forward. Some will go slow, some will go faster and some of us will take a pit stop along the way.

After 20+ years as a quilter, I'm feeling much more confident in what I make. I've been doing some reading on the subject and it appears that almost all of us suffer from lack of confidence in our work at some point. I'm not always happy with what I make but I try to learn from those pieces to figure out how I could have done it differently.

While I'm a maker, I want to make things that I'm proud of. If something gets made and I don't like it (like my Prince challenge from yesterday), how can I change it so that I will like it? I think I have a couple of ideas. Yep - I'm going to resurrect that piece.

I've got a lot of work to do this week and we have Sit n Sew on Thursday. Still a lot of work to get prepped for that day and I have to find something to sew!!! I'm looking forward to the day!

On that note - it's Monday sewing. I've got to get ready for that!

Have a super day!!!!!


Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Cherrywood Challenge

Are you familiar with the Cherrywood Challenge? Let's start right back at the beginning - do you know who Cherrywood is?

Cherrywood Fabrics company has been around for years. I remember buying hand-dyed Cherrywood fabrics at The Hobby Horse years ago. They had assembled kits for two different vests. Yes - I think I have a kit and it's still not done!

In 2015, I was at the fall Quilt Festival and I saw some amazing quilts in the Cherrywood booth. Hmm - what are these black and green quilts? Oh - they are from a challenge and the theme was Wicked (the musical). The fabrics chosen for the challenge were three graduated greens and a black. A fat quarter of each. 

Here's a link to the Wicked Challenge. I only saw a few pieces from this show, but they were amazing. That first year, they received 114 quilts and 27 were chosen as Finalists. 

Then at fall Quilt Market in 2016, I had the good fortune to view the entire display of that year's challenge which was based on The Lion King. That year, the kit included 3 different shades of gold fabric and a black. They received 304 entries from which 138 were selected as Finalists. I believe that 120 of those finalists were included in the traveling show. But all 138 were included in the book that's available for purchase. I don't think I've unpacked my books yet but I have them all so far and they are amazing to look through.

There were some very impressive quilts at Quilt Market, but the Cherrywood challenge display was so enthralling and beautiful that I went back again and again to view the quilts. I caught up with Alex Anderson one day also admiring the beautiful quilts. Here's a link so you can view part of the display. The pictures do NOT do justice to the quilts. They were stunning.

I decided that I wanted to be part of this show. So when the theme for the following year was announced, and I had the opportunity, I bought a kit. The theme was Vincent Van Gogh.

I made a quilt and submitted the pictures by the deadline. Alas, the piece was not accepted, but you know what? That was OK. I am thrilled with my quilt. I love it. Even better - it turned out just how I had envisioned it in my head. The fabric in the kit was graduated blues and a black.

My Cherrywood challenge om 2017

They had 465 entries that year. The demand for venues to display this show was huge and as a result, two traveling exhibits were put together. I think there were 75 quilts in each exhibit. I don't think I got to see any of those quilts except online. Here's the link so you can take a peek yourself. 

There is a lot of suspense leading up to the announcement of the new theme and color. That announcement happens at Quilt Festival in the fall. In 2018, the theme was Prince and the color was purple. How appropriate. Well, I left my piece until the last minute and after having some technical issues, it remains in an unfinished state. I'm going to check it out later and see if it can be rescued.

My Cherrywood challenge for 2018

That year there were 388 submissions. They choose 165 Finalists to travel in three different shows. Two large ones of 75 quilts each and a small one of 15. Carol was a finalist in the Prince challenge. By the way -- ONE of those bigger shows will be on display at Quilts at the Creek at the end of THIS MONTH.  (July 27 and 28).  If you get a chance, you MUST get yourself to this show. It's going to be amazing. And FYI - this is the LAST year for the Quilts at the Creek show. 

Check out this link to know more about this challenge. 

Cherrywood changed it up this year and instead of choosing ONE color, they went with a color palette and the theme was Bob Ross. Don't know who Bob is???  Well, after some research, this guy is HUGE. He's super famous and yet he died years ago (July 4, 1995 - he was 52!). He used to be the host of a TV show. The show still airs today! It's called The Joy of Painting. And here's a very interesting video (thanks Tish) about Bob.

Not to be deterred by the last couple of experiences, I wanted to give the challenge a whirl yet again. Thanks to Shelly, I acquired the kit for the Bob Ross challenge. It was a mix of landscape fabrics, including greens, browns, blue and yellow. Hmm - what to do with all that????

Of course, I left it until close to the deadline of July 1st. Now you did NOT have to copy a Bob Ross painting or even make a landscape. You had to be INSPIRED by Bob Ross. I watched a few videos and I did some research. Then I drew a sketch. I'm NOT an artist, but I needed something to start with.

Here's my preliminary sketch.

My preliminary sketch

I had recently quilted a stained glass quilt and I thought I could translate my sketch into the stained glass technique. So pretty darn quickly (see how all that doodling and exposure to art paid off), I drew out this stained glass picture.

My pattern for the piece

Now there was NO black this year and I couldn't add black. Fortunately, one of the fabrics was a deep, dark brown so after piecing it, I had the based for the grout. Then some cutting and pasting and I added the fabrics to get this.

My 2019 Cherrywood challenge

Of course, my piece is quilted to death  - just the way I like it. I used a lot of different colors of thread. I should have used a wee bit of paint on my clouds to make them a bit whiter, but I didn't.

I even did the binding by hand! Then I took pictures and it was impossible to take pictures without lint or dog hair on it!!!! I managed, but I had to take the pictures over and over again!

The notification e-mails were to come out yesterday. I noticed that Tish, who also made a challenge piece, posted on Friday night that she was a Finalist!!!  I checked my e-mail. Nothing. Oh well - I guess they'll send out the reject e-mails on Saturday. I wasn't too upset as I was very happy with my piece and I look at all challenges as learning experiences.

Then yesterday, when we're zipping around the state of NY, I get a text from Shelly who asked why I didn't post that I was a Finalist???  I am????  No way???  Sure enough - we checked my e-mail spam and guess what I found????? Yep - that happy e-mail went to SPAM!!!!

Well, that was certainly icing on the cake of a great day!!!!

I've no idea where my quilt will be displayed - they're working on the details. I do know it's going to Houston in the fall. For now, it needs to be packed up and sent in a box very quickly!

But we had to laugh because since this challenge was announced, we've seen Bob Ross stuff everywhere. We were at a museum in Nashville and there was Bob all over the gift shop!!! We didn't buy anything, but we should have. And if you watch that video about Bob Ross, he's a HUGE icon.

Here's the link to the Bob Ross Challenge so you can see the fabrics. I thought someone said they received 407 quilts. Needless to say, I'm honored to be included in this extremely prestigious challenge. Despite the fact of getting accepted, it was the fact that I actually drew the landscape myself and finished the piece that gives me GREAT satisfaction. Thanks to Cherrywood Fabrics for an amazing experience.

And thanks to The Cotton Harvest Quilt Shop in Seaforth, Ontario which is the ONLY shop in Canada (that I'm aware of where you can buy Cherrywood Fabrics). 

What a hoot!!!!

Anyway, I should be out on my bike, but I also have a ton of quilting to do today. I'll see how I feel after I walk the girls.

Have a super day!!!!!


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Ultimate Quilt Block Part 2

ACK -- my light that I use at my computer was getting dimmer and dimmer and I didn't have a chance to get a new bulb. Now the bulb is gone completely. But no time today to get a new one - I'm on a road trip today so it's very early in the morning so I can get the blog done - in the dark! At least the bulb is out and in my errand bag so when I pop into the hardware store, I'll know which one to buy.

It's funny how my brain is resisting going into Studio B to tidy up. I just hate the thought of the mess. Like last night. The last thing I wanted to do was go down there and face the mess. But I forced myself to go down and do a wee bit. Next thing you know, several hours had passed and I made some great accomplishments. I'm happy to push myself - if I don't, who will? And nothing would get done.

I'll share what I've accomplished tomorrow. I'm quite happy with the progress in both Studios - one where I'm actually sewing and the other where major tidying, sorting, and cleaning is happening. And you know what? I might actually find a home for everything without it going back on the floor. I also have a good system going to shuffle things back and forth between the two places.

Today, it's all about the second block that we choose to work on from the Ultimate Quilt Block Collection book. 

Ultimate Quilt Block Collection by Lynne Goldsworthy

So here's the thing about this book. It's a sampler book. The blocks were designed to be used as a single block with sashing between the block and the next one. It would be a challenge to take some of the blocks, make multiples of them and sew them together to make a quilt.

This block is a very good example of that situation. I LOVE this block. I just love all the little pieces in the sashing. But can you imagine what would happen when you joined this block to another one like it? While you would have those pretty little nine patches in the center, the edges where one block meets another would be awful. So that's the other kind of thing that we chat about in the class. How to take one block and make it into a quilt.

I'm not going to share that with you - that's for the class! I also didn't like the way the block was assembled in the book and so that's another thing we chat about in class. How to change the directions to make more sense for assembly.

Look at this first block. The green and white (very high contrast) make the pattern pop off the block. Those center green squares are something like 3" finished. Yikes - that's tiny!  But the lesson that month was all about small piecing.

Great contrast in this block

This next block is very pretty, but the contrast isn't nearly as defined as for the previous block. However, you can still see the pattern. When working with two fabrics and both of them share the same color (in this case white), the fabrics might end up "bleeding" into each other. The values of these two are fairly similar as well.

A more subtle combination
Back to the high contrast. This is the classic red and white. I just love it but then, I'm a lover of anything red and white.

Very classic look with red and white

Here's an interesting comparison. Remember the block above with the blue/white fabric in the center squares and how subtle the contrast was?  Well, this block uses fabric that has the same color as the sashing, yet it doesn't affect the contrast. Why is that? Because the values of the two fabrics are quite different and the amount of orange in the main fabric is very small. The values (and the colors) in the previous block were quite similar. So yes - you can use two fabrics that both have the same color, but make sure there is plenty of contrast. There's really no right or wrong to this - it's what is the final look that you want.

Block uses two colors with loads of high contrast

This person will be making their block larger as they didn't want to cut off those nine-patches at the edge of the block. This is going to require that more sashings be made and larger triangles must be used for the corners and much larger squares (or a big triangle) used for the center edge of each side. But what a pretty block!

Can't cut off those nine-patches along the edge

It's so interesting to see all these color combinations and hopefully, the class (and you) get an idea of what fabric combinations work well together. Both value and color can make a huge difference.

On that note, I'd better get myself together. My ride arrives in 30 minutes and I need to assemble snacks as there is ZERO time to eat on this road trip and I haven't had breakfast yet.

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, July 12, 2019

Moving a mountain

I know I promised more Ultimate Blocks today - but you're getting a Studio B update instead. I'll get back to the Ultimate Blocks tomorrow.

I swear that there's never a dull day in my life. Between the girls, the fish in the pond, the Studios, the deadlines, and just life in general, there's always something crazy going on!

For the moment, that excitement is the basement. I swear I feel like an archeologist and I'm on a major dig. Not sure what I'm looking for, but let's get this dig site tidied up!

To top it off, I was at the gym the other morning. I'm laying flat on my stomach doing some stretches and I felt the muscle just above the bottom of my rib cage ripple. I know - that can't be good. Not sure what happened there, but I was a little worried based on what I'm involved in at the moment. Thankfully, it doesn't affect lifting whatsoever, but it's a pain when I move. Good grief!

After spending the morning at the computer, the afternoon at the sewing machine, napping and reading, it was time to hit Studio B to see what could be done.

Oh - first I should show you this.

I made the backing and the binding for the Quilts of Valour quilt. I also emptied the bolt of that maple leaf fabric. There's enough fabric left for one more binding - that's for the next quilt.

Quilts of Valour quilt - ready to be quilted

I also got the backing and the binding made for this quilt. This was one of the kits that I pulled and sewed at the retreat. It was completely cut and took no time to sew together. The backing and the binding are done as well - so - it goes into the "to be quilted" pile.

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

Let's not forget this one for my Mom. I found a nice border for it. The border is on, the binding is made and I pulled some fabric for the backing last night. So this also goes in the "to be quilted" pile.

Autumn mini quilt - ready to be quilted

So you do you see a theme here? Yes - that pile of "to be quilted" is increasing at an alarming rate and the long arm is buried in a mountain of stuff. It's time to start digging.

For the most part, I'm a pretty positive person, but when I see the mess down there, it's disheartening. I have only myself to blame for the mess. I turn the radio on and then I start with one box and then another. Slow and steady and as someone mentioned - it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

The problem is that they completely locked the long arm in with boxes on ALL four sides.

The long arm is locked in by boxes
I started off by crawling under the machine as I was going to shove a couple of boxes under the machine and get them out that way. Once I had crawled under and tried to stand up, I couldn't turn around. That's how packed it was. While I'm not the smallest person around, I'm not that big either. I literally couldn't turn!!!!

Wait - I need to show what I had to do so I would have a place to put those boxes that were behind the long arm.

Remember that little hidey-hole I was unearthing the other day??? I managed to get this cabinet in place way back in the corner. That's good - it gets it out of the sewing area.

Cabinet tucked in a corner

Behind that cabinet is a whole other stack of boxes. Right where I need to put the tubs with the "to be quilted" pile. So the previous night, I dug out enough space to put the tubs.

The home for the "to be quilted" tubs

This was filled with two rows of boxes about five high with books, magazines, and other stuff. The books and magazines got loaded onto the shelving and the other boxes just got moved. I can only deal with so much at once. My goal is to free the long arm and to have the sewing area clear. The rest can wait.

After I crawled under the long arm a couple of times, I thought I'd better free up one of the ends and work that way. So I managed to clear one of the ends of the long arm. Of course, it was the furthest from where the boxes needed to go.

A clear path to the back of the long arm

That made it much easier to work and box by box, I managed to clear the space behind the long arm. None of the boxes had to be unpacked - just moved.

The space behind the long arm is mostly free
Once that was done, it was time to tackle the other end - now that I could get to it. Those boxes are just there temporarily. I'm OK with that - there's loads of room to work.

Then I worked on clearing the other side of the long arm. Yahoo--- the long arm is free!!!

The long arm is free

I'll have to wait until Sunday to plug it in and fire it up. But let's hope that everything is working fine. I need to have that thing running every day next week as I've got a lot of quilts that need to be finished. Both for me and for customers. I've only found three boxes of thread so that could be an issue, but I'll start in the area where I found the other three boxes. The only problem? The cabinet where the thread is stored has shelves. Where are the shelves???

That was a huge relief to get that done and some of you have mentioned - one box at a time. Not sure how much weight in total I moved, but let's say that it was a lot. Thank goodness my pulled muscle didn't deter me from that. I'd have been in big trouble if I couldn't lift. Yes - lift with the legs, not the back!!!!!

Not only was it lifting, but stepping over boxes while doing it. I know - dangerous, but I'm super careful. Don't nag me!!! It's done!

I also did some work on the other side. I need to get the stash room in order which will help to clear the mess that's in the main sewing area because technically NOTHING gets stored in that main sewing room, except for the books and magazines. I made decent progress. I know I'll be able to quickly "hide" everything that's on the floor so we have room to sew.

Phew - that's a relief to know that I can soon get back to work and then pick away at those boxes at a slower rate.

I did find a couple of things that are on the giveaway pile this morning. Is anyone into making teddy bears??  There's a beautiful piece of teddy bear fabric, the pattern, and the joints (he is jointed). I see that I made the two ears and that was it. Why????  No idea. There was also a bunch of other fleecy material in the box that would be good to make stuff animals or teddy bears. That's free to a good home. I have to say that I super impressed by you all. I'm not getting wild requests for stuff - people are taking what I'm pretty sure they will use. Way to go!!!!  Anyway - e-mail me if you want the teddy bear fabric and pattern.

Teddy bear pattern, fabric, and joint kit up for grabs
I also found a box of wool. There are various yardages in the box and various colors. I've made something with one of the pieces and now it's time to move on. I probably won't make anything else with it. The entire box is up for grabs - it's free.  E-mail me if you want it.

A box of wool

Now here's something else. So you know that plastic bags do not break down in the landfill. However, there are SOME bags that will if they've been made that way and I'm not sure how you tell the difference. Except to see the silly bag disintegrate before your eyes. I opened up this bag of bags to discover four bags that were in the process of breaking down. Needless to say, it's made a huge mess in the bag.

Some of the bags are made with biodegradable plastic

 That's quite interesting and I wouldn't have seen that if I didn't keep the bags!!! 

I pulled out a bunch of other stuff that was stored in the stash room and I'm working my way through that. I'll keep you up to date if there's anything else free.

On that note, it's time to get moving.

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Ultimate Quilt Block Collection - Part One

The basement clean up is taking a backseat this morning. Well at least as far as blog material goes. Oh - I've been working. Although at one point yesterday, I just couldn't face the mess. I had to leave and I was totally discouraged. How am I ever going to unearth that long arm? I need to get some quilts done.

After having dinner, I went back with a new perspective and - well - it's going to happen. I hope to be quilting by Sunday. And guess what? I found two boxes of thread! Not even sure what colors I found, but I have two boxes!

From this mess and my many years of experience, I've learned several things that I wish people had told me when I was first starting out as quilter.

  1. You're going to get hooked on the quilting - do NOT invest in any other hobbies. 
  2. Finish the projects that you start - do NOT leave UFOs. 
  3. Find a home for everything - do NOT let those oddball things collect - they create clutter.
  4. Keep your workspaces clear - the ironing board, the cutting mat, the sewing table - do NOT let a mess get started. It only wastes your time. 
  5. Stay focused - do NOT let other things sidetrack your work, especially your friends!
  6. Buy ONLY what you need - do NOT get enticed into something that you'll likely never use. 
  7. Buy what you WANT - do NOT buy a project just because your friend is making it. 

I'm a Virgo - following those rules should have been super easy. We're supposed to be very organized. But something happened to my brain after M was born. My brain went to mush and just couldn't grasp those concepts. As a result - well - we have a bit of a mess.

But the good news is that I've stopped buying. I'm focused. I've got lists to keep me organized. I've got homes for almost everything (so far) and well - life is good. And I'm giving myself 10 years to enjoy those things I bought. At some point, I'll have to downsize - but for the moment, I'm going to enjoy what I have.

Pictures of Studio B will happen tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who has offered to take stuff off my hands. It's hilarious because, for each item, I've had ONE person send me a request. All except those two balls of chunky red yarn. I guess those will go in the thrift store pile.

Chunky red yarn - up for grabs

And I'm amassing MORE of the cloth reusable bags. Seriously??? I already gave Jane two huge bags - well, I've got more.

I got my hair trimmed the other day so it's just at that length that it doesn't really work in a ponytail but it's humid today. OK - so there will be no pictures of this, but I made two ponytails. Nope - I'll leave that up to your imagination.

Besides having a nap in the gazebo, I did a lot of sewing, editing, and writing for the blog posts so making good progress on that.

I have some pictures of the homework from the Ultimate Quilt Block Collection that I want to share with you. Actually, there are three different groups of blocks - I'll share one each day over the next three days.

Ultimate Quilt Block Collection by Lynne Goldsworthy

The focus for the blocks that month was small pieces. Each of the small squares is 2" unfinished. These blocks are the SAME!!  It's how the colors and values have been positioned that make the blocks appear totally different.

OK - so the maker of this first one took a bit of creative license with the design in one corner, but the rest is the same. There's loads of contrast in this one and those four center squares really pop out.

Teal colorway

Here's a more subtle version of the same block. When the bits are aligned, it makes that center "square" really pop out.
Beige colorway

This is the same block - the colors are reversed. Hard to believe but it does provide a totally different look. That's the beauty of this class - we get to see so many options.

Beige colorway - values are swapped

WOW - this is the same block, but the person used a solid and a very busy print. The square is not as dominate in this block. Can you guess why? That's because while there is color contrast between the orange and the floral print, the values of the two prints are very similar so the contrast is not quite as strong. Nothing wrong - just something to think about.

Orange and a floral print

This next one is the opposite of the block above. Opposite in the sense that the values are in different positions. Ooops - I see a little blip in the top left corner. Notice that the contrast is much more pronounced. Why? The floral fabric is considerably lighter in value than the pink solid. ACK -- why are there so many things to consider when choosing fabric???  By the way - I'll be doing a demo at The Hobby Horse in September on choosing colors and how value can affect your block. Watch for the details on that.

Pink with a light floral fabric

Hard to believe, but this is the same block, although the maker changed it up slightly. Can you see the two differences? One - they used only half-square triangles to get those shapes instead of the flying geese, and the "square in a square" units that were used in the previous blocks. Also - the center square has been made with half-square triangles instead of a solid square. And there were a few extra bits left over to make a couple of pinwheel blocks.

A slightly different version

I love reviewing the pictures here on the blog. There are many things that I don't see in the class. I'm often looking at the block sideways and it's hard to see all the details as we're sometimes pressed for time.

Wow--- isn't that interesting to see those variations? The class was given several options as to which block they wanted to make. I've got two more blocks to share with you tomorrow and the next day.

By the way  - there is an OPEN sewing class at The Hobby Horse on Saturday, July 20th - from 11 - 5 PM. The cost is $10.  If anyone is interesting, send me an e-mail. I'll be there sewing, but if anyone has issues with a project, it's a great time to come and I'll help you sort it out. I won't teach you anything new, but if you need help on a project, I'd be happy to help you out.

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a great day!!!


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The clean-up continues

I spent a good part of the day sewing in Studio U. It was a glorious day. I had the windows open and there was a beautiful breeze. It did get slighter hotter in the afternoon when the sun moved around but it wasn't bad. I ended up putting up a small fan, but that was only because I had had a cool beverage and I was flushed because of that!  Thankfully, the sun is high in the sky at this time of year and there is very little direct sunlight comes in that room. I love the space. Thanks, M for moving out and letting me move in!

I spent the morning trying to finish a bobbin. Amazing how when you want the bobbin to run out that it takes forever and when you're in a hurry, the bobbin runs out all the time! But I'm madly working on my blog posts for QUILTsocial. I got a lot done and I think you're going to find the topics very interesting. I'll let you know when they are up.

I won't say more than that because I'm excited about what happened in Studio U yesterday.

Here are a couple of other things that I can share with you.

I worked on this at the retreat. It's the mini wall hanging for my Mom. It's the fall one in case you didn't guess. I had to trim the blocks and sew in the sashing. Then I removed all the paper (the blocks are paper pieced) at the retreat. A fun job!  I had fabric with me for the border, but I ended up not liking it when I went to put it on. I was rooting around in the stash room last night and found a couple that I'll audition later today.

Mini fall wall hanging for Mom

I have one more wall hanging to do once this one gets done. For now, this one is my priority. At least the other two that I made are being used. Originally Mom was going to put the wall hanging on the outside of their apartment door but then decided to hand it on the inside so she can enjoy it. I'm good with that. As long as they are being used!

Remember that zippered pouch that I made at the retreat? The blue/tan one? Well - it matches one of my tote bags. So now the zippered pouch is in the tote bag. When I go to class or wherever with the tote bag, I can put the small things in the pouch and I'm good. No digging to find the small things.

Zippered pouch to match the tote bag
If you're inclined to make the tote bag, here's a link to QUILTsocial where you'll find my very detailed tutorial. And here's a link, also on QUILTsocial, where you'll find the zippered pouch tutorial. Remember, the sizes can be changed to make either item whatever size you wish!!!

I showed you this table runner a while back but now the binding is made. So it goes into the "to be quilted" pile. That is when I can find that pile! 

Table runner with top, binding, and backing ready to be quilted

I'm trying to be very good and put things away once I'm finished with them. There are also items that have been sitting around and need to be put into their proper home. However, with the mess downstairs, it's not always easy to find the proper home. I had a couple of bags of fabric to put in the Quilts of Valour box. Hmm - where did that box go???  No idea. Then this morning, guess what I found???? Might be hard to see in this picture, but there's a box - almost dead center with a bolt of Canada fabric standing up in it. That's the Quilts of Valour box!!!

Quilts of Valour box

After I got tired of sewing, I decided it was time to hit Studio B to see what could be done. I feel like I made good progress. And as I unpack each box, I'm trying to formulate a plan to speed up the process and find homes for everything. I'm a bit worried that the extra storage room is going to get filled very quickly. So far it's pretty empty. I didn't take a picture of it.

But I did empty a few boxes of books and magazines.

The bookcases - partially filled
As you can see, the shelves are still very empty. Yes - there's still a LOT of boxes. Each day, I'm trying to get DH to help me move one of the cabinets into the right spot. That will help when I find the stuff that goes into the cabinet. I made space for two cabinets last night.

If you were to come down the stairs, it would appear that NOTHING has been unpacked. However, I've been pulling the book boxes from a hidey-hole in behind.

The floor!!!

I'm going to continue my way in the depths of that space and soon, I'll be clearing space so I can put my "to be quilted" pile back together again. That's going to be good as I need to get that long arm back in business and some of the "to be quilted" totes are behind the long arm.

I'm happy with my progress. Hard to believe that I have ONE WEEK before the sewing group arrives. Nothing like a deadline to make things happen.

Besides those huge bookcases, there were three smaller ones. My goal is to consolidate all the books and magazines onto the big bookcases. The smaller bookcases will get used for something else or be removed. We'll have to wait for that one.

Thanks to Donna who is going to get the yard for the Project Linus. Guess what? I was feeling pretty good about the yarn only to discover ANOTHER tub of yarn this morning. Yikes!!!  So I found more yarn for Project Linus if she wants it. That feels good to get it out of my house. The two bags are in the car and I'll meet up with her next week.

Yarn for Project Linus

Any dishcloth knitters out there???  This is the yarn that I bought to knit the dishclothes. Seriously?? When am I going to do that? So if there's someone who wants to knit dishcloths (I don't care if you make the dishcloths and sell them) - I know that I likely will not make any. Email me if you want this. REMEMBER -- this is NOT to be put into your stash. Take it ONLY if you're actively making dishcloths. No sense it going from one mess to another. I'll be following up to make sure!!!

Dishcloth yarn

Also found a bag of baby yarn. That's also up for grabs if anyone wants it.

Baby yarn

And I found two balls of chunky yarn. Good for scarves???  Know any young knitters who could use this up?? Maybe make slippers???

Chunky yard
This next item is NOT up for grabs. I bought a full set of expensive circular needles. Do you think I could find the darn things a while back when I wanted to make something? Nope - but now I found them. I also found a set of small crochet hooks which I had also been trying to find. Both of those are going in the knitting needle/crochet hook home. 

Knitting needles - found!!!!

I know that some of this stuff is going back on the shelf without a whole lot of sorting, but that's the way it has to be at the moment. What stuff can't be dealt with is going in that hidey-hole that I made. There will be a mad push next week as the sewing day draws nearer!

I've decided that I also need to get the stash room back in order since that's the room that I use the most as I shop Chez Elaine. So I moved a few things from that room into the big room. Then I can deal with the stuff on the shelves and try and get it into some sort of order. I DO NOT want that room to become the junk room that it was. I might even give "tours" of that room! No one was allowed in before - that's because it was dangerous to move around in.

In moving some shelving in the stash room, I found a container of corks. Saved to make some cool and funky project I'm sure. Now they are all going back to the beer store to be recycled.

Corks to be returned to the beer store

I managed to acquire two spools of thread yesterday for the long arm. So my goal is that this afternoon when it gets a bit humid, is to get downstairs and load and quilt a quilt. Thankfully, I had set aside the bobbin winder, all the electrical cords and my scissors. I was just missing thread!!!

On that note, I"m out of here.

Have a super day!!!!!