Sunday, June 30, 2019

North Stars - Willa Walrus

Today is the last day for the North Stars show and tell. Until September when we have our next class.

It's all about Willa the Walrus. These blocks are just cute!!!  There's no way to get around it. They're adorable. Matter of fact, I have a couple of favorite designers and Elizabeth Hartman is one of them. I love pretty much anything that she puts out. But wait until the end of the blog - there's something very cute!!!

Here's a walrus block - got a couple of missing bits, but it's mostly completed. Love the mottled fabric used for the walrus body.

Great fabric for the body

Here's Willa made up with Northcott Toscana. Prints on fabric are nice, but not necessary to get a great looking block.

The block is made with Toscana

Love the colors in this one and look at that fabric used for the body! Yes - this walrus needs a wee operation on his head. He isn't supposed to have ears!

Great choice of blue for the outer bits

The block with the tan background. They used directional fabric for the body, but HEY - you can't tell. Yep - it's time to get over the directional print thing. OK - there are times when it's important. But not in this block. The top and bottom need to be added. Looking great so far.

Tan background and directional fabrics

Love the colorway for this block. I want to mention something about color. I chose some FQs from a different line of fabric (Not Elizabeth's) as the reference points for my blocks. They are somewhat similar to the fabrics in the original quilt. My goal was to find matching fabrics in my stash. There's just enough variance in the tints, tones, and shades that it's very hard to match up these colors. That's how they get us to keep buying fabric! Cause we have nothing in our stash to match. I did NOT buy anything other than those initial FQs for my version of the quilt.

Look at the stripe used in the flying geese

Some of the fabrics in this block are from the kit and some are not. These blocks are a bit tricky to sew as there are a LOT of stitch and flip seams to deal with. Also lots of seams so if the seam allowance is a wee bit off, it can affect the size of the bits to sew together. Not for the faint-hearted, but I think the group is doing amazingly well with their homework.

Some fabrics from the original kit

This block is all made with batiks. It's hard to tell from the photo, but most if not all the fabrics have some sort of dot theme going on. The entire quilt is like that!!!  I LOVE the walrus fabric.

Willa goes dotty!!!

I think this block is made from the fabrics in the kit. Kits are great and sometimes end up costing way less than if you went out to shop for all the fabrics. However, because you need so little of some of the fabrics, this was a great one to raid the stash.

Block made from the kit fabrics
Another great block. Love the seagull fabric in the bottom of the block. 

Seagull fabric into the block
Love the walrus fabric!!!

Great fabric for the walrus!

Here's a closeup of little otters that are in the bottom row. Who designs this stuff??? 

Otter fabric
 I think we have four people out of 21 that are using the kit. Several others are using bits from the kit and the rest - well - anything goes!!!

These next two blocks are made from the kit fabrics. Notice how different lighting affects the colors of the blocks!

Block made from the kit

Another block made from the kit

I know that some of the group - well at least one, that is only making four blocks but I think most of the others are making the entire quilt. That's all the pictures I have of Willa. I hope everyone is up to date!!!

Now for pictures of the homework that I gave them for the summer. There are THREE blocks to do, but since we're not meeting until September, that's one block a month. They don't take that long!!!  And guess what? I managed to get all three blocks completed for the class. Remember that I was missing a block that I had made??? Well, this is the missing block. I'm so glad I found it in time for the class.

This is Patty Polar Bear.

Patty Polar Bear
 I think the otters are my favorite block!!!  They are just adorable.

Olive and Oswald Otter
And then we have the owl. This was a wee bit more challenging than the others. Didn't help that there were a few glitches in the pattern, but that's why we take classes so someone (like me) finds the errors. And thanks to Rosemary who spotted one that I missed!!!

Owen the Owl

Ready for some total cuteness???  Now that I have access to my design wall again, I thought I'd put all my blocks (so far) on the wall.  I'm in LOVE with this quilt and definitely worth all the work. Can't wait to get to work on the last two blocks!!!  But a few other priorities before then.

North Stars quilt - so far!

Cute, cute, cute!!!!!  And only two blocks left! I feel super good about that. I don't have the space to keep all these UFOs so I need to finish them. And the amount of fabric that gets tied up in a UFO? Crazy. The nice thing about this quilt is that the fabrics are used for ONE block and with the exception of the background, you get different colors for the next one. The entire project (including the backing) fits nicely into a drawer in Studio U. I'll have to share that with you at a later date!!!

Speaking of organizing, I did a bit of work in Studio B yesterday. Not as much as I would have liked, but it's a start. I feel a little bit better and as some of you have mentioned, start with one box and go from there.

I know that this doesn't look like much, but this is stuff that I found that is going in the recycling. Boxes and fabric bolt boards that I saved???  For what??

Stuff for the recycling

My goal for yesterday was to get the cutting table back in working condition. The two cupboards on either side were easy - they were basically sitting a few feet from where they were going. I had to unwrap them from the bubble wrap that they had been packed in. For the most part, the stuff in those cupboards is pretty much organized and it didn't get removed for the move. There are some stabilizers in one door that needs to be addressed.

The cutting table is back in commission

Ah, but it wasn't without a wee complication. The two side cabinets were easy. The three rolling drawers - also easy. Although I did dust them off before they went back. The top? Well, I had to move a bunch of boxes and a couple of tables in order to get to the top. The table top went on - it just sits there somewhat secured by a couple of pieces of shelf liner. Now, where is that measuring tape that is glued to one side? Yep - that's on the side that is facing the wall. No problem, let's turn that tabletop around. Only to discover that it was also upside down!!!  Of course, it was!!! But now it's in the right position cause we're going to use that today!!!

I've got a helper coming today and our goal is to measure the backings and label them. I put some of the backings on the table. There are two big plastic totes and another pile on a chair that also has to be measured. Hmmm - I wonder if she reads my blog and sees the mess - will she still come? Hey - I'm making grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch!!!  Norma - - I want to see a picture of what you did with your backings!!!  Check out what Norma is doing with her backings in yesterday's blog post.

While it looks like there is a lot of stuff (OK - there's a lot of stuff), a lot of those book boxes are only half full! Some of them have been crushed from the weight of each other. I unpacked a couple yesterday. I'm going to try and put all the books in one half of the bookcase wall and the other half will be for the magazines. DO NOT judge me. I know it's an issue.

I've got a plan. But I also like the comment from Elle as to how she whittled out her books. YES - I need to do that because I'm sure there are some books that I'll never use. Check out the comment on yesterday's blog post to see how Elle whittles her books. And if I EVER borrow another quilting book from the library - just shoot me!!!  There is NO NEED to ever borrow another quilting book.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions. We are all in this mess together! We need to get our acts together and SOON. I really can't imagine leaving this mess to anyone. Not even another quilter. I created the problem and it's my issue to fix it!

We all have issues. Hoarders don't want to get rid of anything. I'm OK with getting rid of things, BUT for some reason, I want to read everything FIRST. God forbid if I just threw a box of paper away - NO - I have to check each and every piece. I have to read the entire magazine. I have to read all the words in a book. Why???  I've no idea, but I blame my mother for that! I've said this before on my blog, but when I was a kid, I had this dream (silly girl) of reading all the books in the world. I lived a VERY sheltered and isolated life until Grade 6 and had no idea of what went on in the real world!!

I will get over that - I have to. I'm better, but not great. But at least I recognize that and will try to move on. But isn't it interesting how our view of the world and how we relate to it get formed when we are little???

My goal in all this is to try and put all the "like" items together. Once I know what's there (and what doesn't fit), then I'll deal with the culling process. Unless it's something so obvious that I'll get rid of it immediately. The biggest thing is that I spent good money to buy all this stuff. If I don't get a little bit of enjoyment out of it before it goes, I'll be very disappointed. So I've got a plan!

The exciting news is that once that other bookcase goes up, there is room for Sit n Sew. That's all I care about. Well, not really - I wish I could find my quilting threads so I could get started on the long arm as well. I will find them!!! But I think I'm going to have to unpack all the books before I find them.

On that note, I'm off for a busy day of measuring and folding! Yeah! How exciting.

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, June 29, 2019

North Stars - Neville the Narwhal

I'm not sure why this happens, but I could use a good admin assistant to help schedule things. Can you tell me why I would book a class on Friday night of a long weekend?? Well, two people signed up so we had a class. It was all about free motion quilting. I'm going to toot my own horn here a wee bit, but if you've never taken a free motion quilting class with me - you're missing out! Big time. I do a mean free motion quilting class and we have loads of fun. Free motion isn't hard if you know what you're doing. The students were in their glory when they left.

Anyway, the late hour at which I went to bed did NOT help me from waking up at my "new" ridiculous time. After lounging in bed for a bit, I got up and accomplished a whole lot! I'm not sharing yet. Today is all about the show and tell from our classes last weekend. I'm determined to not only keep up with the sewing part of these projects but with the show and tell as well.

In case you think it's an easy task to load the pictures, it's not. Most of the pictures are on my phone (which I'm using more and more instead of my expensive digital camera - go figure!!). But sometimes I'm somewhere and someone can't make the class and they show me their blocks. I take pictures. I have to remember that I took those pictures and then remember to add them to the others. Some people send me their pictures by e-mail and I have to remember to add those. So if you've sent me a picture and I don't have it - well, send it again. I think I've got all the blocks that were shown to me from the last class.

Today, it's all about Neville the Norwhale. All of these blocks are super cute and I'm so amazed at how realistic they look from piecing. By my calculation, there are about 10 blocks missing from the rest of the students who didn't show up to class.

Here we go.  There was a slight issue for some with the contrast of the tusk of the narwhale. Some of us will have to use thread during the quilting process or markers or something to make that tusk contrast a wee bit more to the background. This block is done in the Northcott Toscana.

Block done in Toscana
Look at the difference between these two blocks. See how the star on one pops out and not on the other? As I mentioned yesterday, there is NO right or wrong to this. It's what you want to show up more. Although, I will admit that with this quilt, it's a tad challenging to figure out what goes where. Despite that little issue, the class is doing very well in choosing colors. 

The star is more subtle in this block

Lots of contrast in this block and look at that fabric for the narwhale. The star really stands out with those bright blues.

Bright blues create amazing contrast

Lots of contrast in this block but a totally different take on the blue. And look at that swirly fabric. Very cool.

Look at the different blues!

Here's that block with the super busy background!!  Very cool!!

Busy print for the background

While you can't see it, the grey fabric used for the narwhale is GORGEOUS. Unfortunately, Lynn didn't know where she got it. But I loved it!!!! It looked like a linen, but not sure if it was. Anyway - nice fabric.

Great grey used for this narwhal

I believe this is one that was made from the kit. Notice that the flying geese are very prominent, but the star is not.

Prominent flying geese
Here's one with a medium blue background so you can really see the tusk on the narwhale. I didn't take a closeup but there are seagulls on those flying geese in the bottom left corner. 

Nice contrast on all the block parts

Here's the one with the tan background. Again - great contrast on everything. I didn't take a closeup, but those bigger squares on the bottom? If I remember correctly, that was Beatrix Potter fabric!!!

Tan background

I remember Kathi lamenting at the beginning of the project that she didn't know what fabrics to use. Well, she's been very successful at finding just the right fabrics. Can you believe she found narwhale fabric???? Seriously!!!!

Narwhale fabric
 And here's her block using the fabric. How cool is that!!!!

Narwhale fabric 

These last two blocks were made with the fabric from the kit.

Block made from the kit 

Another block made from the kit

Isn't that exciting???  My block isn't there, but it's made. I'll show you my blocks tomorrow.

I have one more day of the show and tell from the North Stars quilt. I still have more show and tell from various classes. Never mind, showing you what I've been working on and what's going on at my house with Studio B.

But here's one picture I'll share with you. Yesterday was a LONG, LONG day at my house. The painter showed up at 9 AM to paint all the baseboards in the basement. I meant to wash them all down before he came, but it totally slipped my mind. He washed them all and was just in the process of starting when the moving crew arrived. YIKES!!!! First - I want to know how professional painters can paint so fast and so accurate without taping????

The big question then was what to do with the moving crew of 4???  So we devised a plan of where to put stuff and they started to haul everything back in the house. Yikes - my idea of trying to keep things contained - well that didn't work. Let's just say that the entire basement looks like a sea of boxes pile about 5 feet deep. Let's not forget about the bookcase guys who came back to install the bookcases. One is up, one was missing some parts. That'll be finished on Tuesday.

They reinstalled the shelving in the stash room and then I had to quickly move things out of the way so they could lay the bookcases on the floor. So much for a "slow" move in. I put some things back in the stash room, but my goal is to remove it once again and go through it before it goes back on the shelves.

The biggest question is where the heck to start? There's so much - it'll blow your mind when I post pictures of the entire mess. My mind is totally blown. It's a bit overwhelming and the burning question is "where do I even start?" The furniture is all over the place, boxes are in the way to move the furniture. Don't worry - that is NOT the fault of the company - I asked them to leave it that way. There's no way they could unpack all that stuff.

I've decided that today, I'm going to get the cutting table back in position. I see the two pedestals are very close to where they should be. The top is another story as its buried deep on the other side of the room. But I'm persistent - I'll get it out!

Then tomorrow's job is going to take all the (not on the bolt) backings and measure them and write on them how many inches/yards are in that bundle. Then when I'm looking for backing, it'll be super easy to find the right color and the right yardage. I do that with my batting so why not with the backings?

Speaking of backings, I also have a stash of bolts of fabric. They were on a bottom shelf in the stash room and yes - there was stuff piled up against them. I did use those bolts, but not on a super regular basis. I suppose partly because I had no idea what was there.

As I put the bolts back on the shelf, I sorted them. One pile is flannel, one pile is seasonal, three piles are basics and stabilizers, the rest are sort of sorted by color. How many bolts of orange fabric does one person need??

This is what the bottom shelf (the fabric bolt shelf) looks like. Any idea of how many bolts are there? Over 100!!!!  Now how the heck did that happen???

Bolts of fabric

I did find some skinny bolts that weren't big enough for backings any longer. A white one got put in the white bin. Same for a cream. And I found LOADS of cream, white, and black. No need to buy basics for a LONG, LONG time. Now that I know what's there and it will REMAIN open in front of the bolts so I can see what I have, those bolts will get used for backings. No need to give any of that away. There's a need for backings.

Susan found me some more pattern boxes at Fabricland (on sale for $2) so extra patterns will get sorted and put in those boxes. That's a job for another day. I need a work surface to work on. Hence the priority on the cutting table!

I'm scheduling Sit n Sew days and we'll just work around the mess! My goal is to try and get the stash room back together. NO CLUTTER on the floor. Then I can see what doesn't fit - that will go into the other storage area which may or may not have a floor. Still waiting on that one.

I was hoping to get to the long arm this weekend. Hmm - I got the machine back in place. Not a lot of room around it and where or where are my threads????

If I can manage to get the books back onto that one bookcase, that will eliminate some boxes and make room to work. I may not get a chance to get the books sorted as I would have liked, but doesn't matter. I can (and will) do it later this summer. I'm determined to get this mess into a useable situation!

You should read Rosyquilter's comment from yesterday's blog. Interesting - especially about the books. What do you do with them???  A few of mine are reference books that I want to keep forever, but the magazines will be slowly culled. The books as well, but it's still hard for me to part with those. That comes directly from my MOTHER!!!!  But like myself, she has accumulated (too much) and now it's time to use it up. It's not time to give it away - yet.

I'm still working on those two projects that are due July 1. So that's going to be my focus today. It was a tad hard to focus with all the uproar in the house. It's going to be super quiet today and my hallway on the main floor is like a superhighway now. It's HUGE! with no boxes sitting in it.

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, June 28, 2019

North Stars - Lucille the Seal

I had a great nap after the carpenter left yesterday, but that didn't help the waking up way before the crack of dawn. But I get so much done in that couple of hours - I'm not complaining. I'll just nap again this afternoon. I got half of a quilt top cut and sewn together.

While I cannot complain about the scheduling that the restoration company put together, I'm not sure where their heads are. Every work crew that has arrived has NO KNOWLEDGE of the scope of the work. Yesterday, the carpenter arrived with many feet of baseboard because he thought he was replacing baseboard in the entire space. NOPE - that would be about a hundred feet of baseboard and LOTS of shoe molding.

Today, they are apparently coming to paint the baseboards. Hmm - that's not on the schedule. Today, they're supposed to be putting everything back. Seriously???  There's still stuff all over the floor from the stash room. It's going to be an interesting day, to say the least.

While that was happening in the basement, I got a LOT done yesterday. I dug out a couple of kits to take to the retreat with me. Not only did I dig them out, but I cut TWO kits. Both quilt tops are fairly simple and not huge so that shouldn't take long to put together. See - I WANT to use that all up. Since I'm not buying much anymore, I should be able to see the stack go down!! I found some thread to match some of the projects for the retreat. Oh yes - bring on the retreat!!!

I love Elle's comment from yesterday. She mostly buys the 3 B's. Backing, binding, and borders. Yep - I'm kind of in the same situation. I going to run short on white in the near future and my plan is to buy ONE white. That will become my staple for white. Same for black and cream. I don't need loads of each color.

I also managed to get quite a bit of paperwork done yesterday. I was super productive!!!

Today it's all about the North Stars quilt. This is the show and tell from our May class. It's the baby seal.

No - I'm not going to remember the names of those that made each block. I"m good, but not that good. As you go through the pictures, looks at how the values and colors of the pieces change the entire look of the block.

I love the greens/turquoise combination in this block!!! I love how the flying geese units help to frame the diamond.

Great coloring
The little seal pops off the grey background. Notice the directional fabric was cut to all go in the same direction. While I love directional fabric, I have a love/hate relationship with it.

Great use of directional fabrics

Don't you just love that fabric for the seal? It's the perfect coloring. The baby seals are white when they are babies - but not when they grow up! This is an older seal!

Great coloring for the seal
Another great use of "solid" fabrics from Northcott Toscana. It's nice to see that you don't need prints to have a successful block.

Great use of tone on tone fabrics
And then you look at this block with loads of print and it looks awesome as well.

Great choice of prints!
I know this is Sheila's block from the background fabric. It looks awesome, but see how it changes the total look of the block?? I know - those pink flowers in the background are distracting!

Busy background
Love the seal fabric. Some of these fabrics are from the kit. A good way to mix things up.

Love the mottled fabric for the seal

I believe this one is made completely from the fabrics in the kit. Looks great.

Block made from the kit

This one was also made from the kit, but the seal fabric was changed. He stands out much better. Notice how the choice of fabrics will highlight (or not) the diamond shape and the flying geese around the seal.

Seal mostly made with fabric from the kit

People were getting super creative with their fabric choices. This one looks great. And I have to say that I struggled with these colors. I don't have a lot of these colors in my stash.

Good choice of colors
 But look at this fabric she chose for the blocks.

Detail of one of the fabrics in the block

Notice in this one that the big squares don't have a lot of contrast from the points around it and that creates a totally different look. There's no right or wrong - it's about what you want. So neat to see all these blocks and compare to each other. Choose what you like and what you don't. Understand the difference and then use that as a learning experience.

The big blocks do not have great contrast from the points

Another close up of some of the fabrics used in this block.

Detail of fabric

Look - there are seals on that fabric used in the seal block!!! I love how creative people got when searching for their fabrics. This is after some of them were complaining that they didn't know what they were going to use!!!!

Detail of fabric used in the block

Hmm - I don't remember two people using that tan for their background, but this isn't the same block as above. Unless they changed something?  But it looks great.

Tan and a blue - nice combination

I LOVE this fabric she used in this block. Those are CARROTS!!!!   Why not???

Detail of fabric used in the seal blocks

See how those big squares really stand out in this color combination? Again - there's no right or wrong - it's all about fabric choices. Each has its own merits.

High contrast color combination
This one is much softer and you don't even see those big squares. Such a good learning experience.

A softer, more subtle version of the seal
This one was also made from the kit, but they used the white fabric for the seal. Go back if you don't believe me - this is NOT the same block as the previous kit.

Block made from the kit
Parts of this block were made from the kit. See how the diamond is very pronounced in this block and the squares recede.

Diamond is very prominent
Here's a blue version of the seal block.  The diamond stands out, but it's much more subtle.

Blue version of the seal block

I know that she wasn't pleased with the level of contrast between the seal and the background. It's tricky sometimes. You think you have contrast and then you sew it together and you don't. I'm in the same boat with my block. Heather used a darker thread and stitched around the outline of the seal.

Outlining the seal with darker thread

I think that is everyone's blocks that I have photos of. I know there are a couple of blocks missing from that line-up, but you get the idea. It's super fun to see how everyone chose different fabrics/colors and contrast to make their blocks their own.

The other thing and you probably can't really see it, but it looks like their piecing is bang on. I don't see uneven edges around the outside of the blocks. There are a lot of pieces in some of these blocks so that's a good thing!!!

I see Lexi has posted this morning. Probably getting into trouble - well at least her sister is.

On that note, I'm out of here. I never know what time the work crew is arriving. I aim to be ready (dogs walked) by 8 AM. This morning, I hope they get here early so we can start moving stuff back.

I've got two more days of the show and tell for this quilt. So watch for that tomorrow and the nexd day.

Have a super day!!!!