Monday, October 25, 2021

Vitual Retreat

It was another successful Virtual Retreat! So many people stopped in to say hello. We had people from Germany, the US, Western Canada, and all over Ontario! So nice to see a few new faces join us and to see the regulars! I left at 9 PM both nights, and they were still sewing and chatting! 

I didn't end up taking a nap yesterday, but I did take a long walk, and I slept like a log last night. I'm feeling good this morning, and all fired up to get to spin class. 

Well, I don't have a super clean cutting table to show off this morning. Nor can I say that I worked on that magazine quilt, and I can't say that I did anything of mine! I trimmed and bound quilts for customers all day! Of course, I'm slow at it, but that's OK. 

OH -- this is what I did the day before. See - I totally cleaned up my workspace and shifted all the current paperwork to the table. Now I can only bring out the couple of bits I need to work on, and I have space. In an ideal world, I'd have room on BOTH sides of the keyboard to work, but I manage. I should show you a picture of that keyboard, as many popular keys no longer have writing on them! Not so good for someone not familiar with the keyboard!

My clean workspace

Here's a couple of nature shots to start the day. I spotted these colorful flowers in a neighbors' front yard. We haven't had a frost yet - advisories, but no frost. 

Flowers in the neighborhood

And the forest is so pretty. None of the leaves have really turned red -- it's still all yellow and green. But so peaceful and quiet. 

The forest

For those with a long arm, there's always the question: Do you float or pin? I've been a pinner since I started quilting, and I will confess that I love it! But my leaders are pretty much done in. They've worn out in certain spots, and it's time to get new ones. I'll be ordering some goodies for the long arm this week. 

I had no choice to float this project since it's a bit difficult to pin a circle in place. This is a large tree skirt. 

Setting up to quilt a large circle

See how the quilt is floating off the top. Usually, I have it pinned securely in place. It was challenging to ensure it lay flat, and I started with the opening at the top. Next time, I think I'd do it with the opening at the bottom. Oh well -- it's all one big learning curve. 

Floating the top

And I was able to start the pattern partway in, so I didn't have to quilt the excess batting. 

No need to start right at the left edge

I also stopped it once it had cleared the edge. Oh - clever me! Not really, the computer did most of the work. Well, that's not true - we worked together. 

Stop the computer once it clears the project

And there's the bottom of it as I quilted the end. Yep -- it worked like a charm!

The last row of the tree skirt

There's the quilted tree skirt. Plenty of time to get that quilted before Christmas. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Speaking of getting the project bound for Christmas, let's not forget Halloween. This quilt got quilted yesterday, the customer picked it up last night, and the binding is on, and she is busy hand stitching it in place. Just in time for Halloween this coming weekend. 

Customer quilt - DONE

This is the back of the quilt! A great way to use a panel that otherwise may never get used!

The back of the customer quilt

So, in addition to quilting that quilt, I trimmed seven quilts. Yikes -- that scrap box is overflowing yet again! I better get another pet mat filled. 

The aftermath of a quilt trimming session

I fixed the hole on that one that had the issue. This is the hole before it was fixed. 

The back of a quilt with a wee hole

I realized that I had not taken a picture after it was fixed, and it took me FIVE minutes to find the repair on the back of the quilt. That's excellent news since I know it's there, and it still took me that long to find it. I will let the owner know what happened as they will have to put a tiny patch on the front. It looks pretty good, but there are broken fiber ends, and it should have a patch. 

The top of the quilt after the repair

Here's the back - can you spot the repair?? Nope -- I couldn't either. 

The back of the quilt

But here it is -- one tiny patch on the back of the quilt. 

The repair on the quilt

In case you missed this episode, the hole occurred because of an OPEN seam on the front, and the foot of the long arm got caught. That would have happened whether I was operating the computer or doing it manually. So be sure to close ALL seams when piecing your quilts!

And now the quilt staging area for quilts to be trimmed is empty. It won't be for long - I still have a push on as there are 10 quilts in that pile to be quilted before the end of this month. I'll get as many done as I can - my goal is one a day! I was aiming for the end of this month to get them all completed, but I don't think that will happen with the prep work I need to do for next week.

This is where the quilts waiting to be trimmed sit, and it's empty!

After all the trimming, I needed to get binding on some of the customer quilts. I have one customer who just loves when I put the binding on! So quilt number one got trimmed and bound. 

A quilt that got bound

And quilt number two got trimmed and bound as well. 

The second binding

And now she has her daughter quilting and has shown her how easy it is to sew the binding on by cash. So this was the third quilt -- all trimmed and bound. 

The third quilt I bound

As I was sewing yesterday and looking at my room in the camera on Zoom, I noticed this behind me. I had two partial quilt tops draped over the current project table. Gosh -- it looks like a quilt on a casket! 

Quilts draped on the current project table

And of course, I had help. Murphy loves to sit under the table so she can lick my feet. And then it becomes a challenge to sew. She rested her head on the foot pedal, and the sewing machine was slowly sewing. I should have put some fabric under the needle so Miss Murphy could start making a quilt for herself! Silly girl!!!

The helper

And this is her new post in the backyard. The backdoor is closed because of the weather, and the squirrels know the girls are not outside all the time. As a result, the squirrels seem to be staging an invasion. I've seen as many as four in that bush on the right. So Murphy feels she must spend at much time outside as possible. And where she's sitting, she has a full view of the entire space, and she can ward them off! OK -- she doesn't want to ward them off; she wants to get her teeth on them! 
The sentinel

So while I didn't get done what I had hoped to yesterday, I still did things that needed to be done, and I'm perfectly OK with that. Today is Monday sewing, and I'll be working on my magazine quilt. Cleaning off the cutting table may just have to wait a bit, and that's the story of my life! 

A HUGE thank you to everyone who attended the Virtual Retreat. It was loads of fun and always so sad to shut the computer off. The room just feels so empty! In case you missed it, the next one is scheduled for November 27 and 28. See you then!!

Well, I'm off to spin class. Yipppeee!!! Not really, but it makes me feel good to get my heart rate up there!

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Schoolgirl Sampler Show and Tell


We're down to the last month for all of the ongoing classes for 2021. And in an ideal world, all my quilt tops would be done! But alas, that's not happening, but I am close! 

We had loads of fun at the Virtual REtreat last night, but I never even turned my sewing machine on! I was busy trimming quilts, and I have a few more to do today. I'd like to get them done as another group needs to be quilted this coming week. But I'm close to the end of the September/October batch, and a few are scheduled for November. I think that's what I'll focus on today - getting those quilts done!

Let's have a look at the Schoolgirl Sampler quilt this morning. 

Here's the book in case you're not familiar with the quilt. 

It's a beautiful quilt with lots of little four-inch blocks, which gave the group some challenge, and the center was applique! That was a first for some of them, so I think a Study in Applique class will be coming in the new year!

Anne's top is together and now the last part - to add the borders. A beautiful soft feel to this one. 

Anne's quilt

This is Barb's first attempt at applique, and she did a super job! Now to get the rest of the quilt together and add those borders!

Barb's center block

Cathy is working on her applique and has started to sew the blocks together. Do you see her unusual choice of sashing fabric? I love how the coloring in her blocks radiates from light to dark. 


This is Lucy's center block. I know she did something different with her block last night after the class, but I can't share it with you! Next month! 


Margot has her top together, except for the borders. I love that little pop of color in the cornerstones. The coloring in the center really pulls your eye in, and she used WOOL for the applique.


Ruth has a dark sashing compared to the other with light cornerstones. It just goes to show that either way works and produces a totally different effect. 


Sharon has started to sew her rows together, which will take no time! I love the scrappy look with the reproduction fabrics. 

Sharon's quilt

And here's her center block. 

Sharon's center block

This is Zildi's center block. She was the ONLY who was happy about the applique! Her top is also together, and knowing Zildi - the borders are on. Notice how she didn't show the entire quilt!

Zildi's center

We are missing a couple of quilts from the show and tell, and hopefully, we'll see them next month. Or parts of them. 

So what does mine look like? 

Here's my center applique block. 

My center block

Here's a close-up of the stitching. I'm pretty happy with the results. Applique is NOT my favorite quilting style, but I'm pretty good at it when I apply myself. I turned the edges under using starch and then used bobbin weight thread and invisible thread with an elongated zigzag to stitch everything in place. There's a tutorial on my blog for this if you're interested. 

A detail of the stitching

As you can see, I went with a totally different colorway. Like Ruth, I used a dark sashing with light cornerstones, and I loved it so much that I carried that sashing to the outer edge of the blocks and surrounded the center block. I try to mix it up a bit each time I choose a new quilt to make.  

My quilt top with all the sashing in place

And I decided to NOT do the borders as per the book - of course! Instead, I chose two borders that I felt were better with a more modern quilt version. 

The borders on my quilt

I can't wait to see how the others finish off their quilts! And now, I have a couple more writing assignments to finish, which I hope to do tomorrow. There was just other stuff going on yesterday that didn't allow that to happen.

Don't forget that we have Virtual Retreat all day. So be sure to stop by and say hi!!  You never know what topics of conversation will pop up! I went to bed at 10, and there were still some diehards on the call! I think I'll be ducking out at some point for a wee nap as it was not a good night for sleep. But that's OK -- this happens from time to time. 

Here's the link for today. 

Sunday, October 24, From 10 AM - 9 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 872 4663 5892 Passcode: 440473

On that note, I'm out of here!

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, October 23, 2021

Tidy up time!

Thanks to a couple of US-based friends who offered to receive that Cherrywood Challenge book and forward it on. I also got a lead on another option which will have the package forwarded close to me for a wee extra fee. So I'm going to investigate that one first. Thanks, Laura!!!

Hmm -- we may have to turn the furnace on soon. It's getting a little bit chilly in the mornings. But then, when you get moving, you don't notice the cold. I really notice the cold with my hands the most. 

I'm happy to report that I got one of my writing assignments done yesterday. That was a follow-up to a class, and well - I'm of the mindset that if I'm going to write something, it needs to be done well. So I had a bit of extra research I wanted to do. AND OMG -- I found something that I hadn't remembered I had until I saw it on the internet during my research! I think the class will be pleased that they had to wait.

AH -- that would be the Pellon Retail Guide. I remember getting it when I went to Quilt Market one year, along with BOLTS of their product that they didn't want to ship back, so they were giving them away free. Yes, I've used some of the products, but most of the bolts were more obscure products, but I hope to get into other types of sewing soon, and they may come in handy. 

The Pellon Retail Guide

But inside the guide is a description and a swatch of all their products. If you want to see it, I'm sure your local quilt store has a copy. Perhaps they would let you look at it. It might be helpful if you have products that you're trying to identify!

Inside the Retail Guide

And where was it? Well, I have this little cubby on my desk, and when I used to use swatch books a lot more than I currently do, I placed all that kind of stuff in that cubby. My brain got triggered by the photo on the website and VOILA. 

Storage for swatch books

I have a drawer with all my stabilizer and interfacing samples, along with all the pertinent reference material. This will now be added to that drawer. See -- it's all about putting ALL things related to the same topic in one place. The materials were organized; they were just not together. 

I have been through the swatch books and may go through them again to see what can be tossed. I used to COVET those lookbooks from fabric companies, but it can all be seen online now. It seems a waste to get a hard copy of them. So I may find a bit more room in that area of my desk!

OMG -- I just pulled all that stuff out of that cubby and found a SECOND one of those guides!!! How did that happen?? Well, I don't want to give it away, but I could lend the second one if anyone would like to look at it. It's a bit challenging to lend things these days! Hmm -- I'm sure I'll find a worthy home for the second one as I surely don't need two of them. 

Speaking of organizing, I decided to bite the bullet, and this is what happened. 

The table is wiped clean - almost

There were a couple of empty spots on the bookcases, so I filled them with stuff. And I found homes for the rest of the stuff. Everything except ONE tray filled with paper. 

Then I took everything that was on the floor and moved it to the table. This is all the CURRENT stuff that I'm trying to deal with. At least, I now have some room to lay it out, select what I need for that day, and the rest is out of the way. 

The current paperwork situation

And none of it will get muddy pawprints over it as Miss Murphy feels she must stamp everything with her signature! I guess she's trying to help with the paperwork! "Hey Mom, this is approved! Now come play with me!"  Yep -- I'm sure that goes through her head all day long! 

So hopefully, that move will help keep my current stuff a bit more organized and encourage me to get it done and filed or pitched or whatever needs to be done with it!

I'm in the same boat with the cutting table. I NEED an active workspace, whether that's in the office or the sewing room. The important thing is to use it as an ACTIVE workspace, NOT as a storage place or a place where items with no home take up residence. That's when it becomes BAD. I don't think I've ever thought of that for the office. DUH!!! I've wanted that but never thought of it in the sense of active workspace. My computer desk does NOT allow for that functional space. It's not large enough. 

So this is the cutting table this morning. Looking pretty good, I have to say. The project on the left is one that I cut borders for this morning, and I'm not done with that fabric, so it's still sitting there. But everything else for this project is now filed in the stash room, scraps, and yardage - all gone!

The cutting table

I have to say that it feels incredible to have that wide-open space. I wish I had been more prolific with picture taking before when I had a 12" corner of the cutting table to work on! Yep -- I used to be like that!

This is the other half of the cutting table. I could move these to the current projects table (the "table in waiting"!), but I really want to get these things finished. Most could be cleared up in a short timeframe. So nothing that needs to be filed - just finished and then filed! I'm keeping it here for the moment because I'm determined to get this cleared up! And cleared up BEFORE anything else goes on there. 

The other half of the cutting table

Then there's the stack of stuff sitting by the sewing machine that is waiting to be sewn. There's a Virtual Retreat tonight and all day tomorrow. My plan is to make significant progress in both areas. But I do know that everything takes way longer than we anticipate it will. So we'll see how it goes. Actually, that box on the cutting table contains the fabric for the next magazine quilt, and since that deadline is approaching fast, that's probably what I'll work on this retreat! One must be realistic!

Projects ready to sew

I got one more quilt quilted yesterday. I love the colors of this one - bright orange and grey! No issues!

Customer quilt - DONE

You have to love the Wi-Fi-enabled sewing machines. This morning, I found loads of Halloween projects in there. Most with a decorative stitch or an embroidery file that I can download to work with. That's pretty cool! 

New Halloween projects in the mySewnet blog

New decorative applique stitches to download!

We also can give our machines a nickname that you can program right into the machine. I've never given any of my possessions a name. Not my car, not my sewing machine. Weird, but it works better for me. Can you imagine explaining to my customers why I'm sending a file to "Bessy" instead of my Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC 2?? 

OK -- so we had a great class last night with the Urbanalogie group. OK -- so we were only three people, but we chatted for an hour, and we chatted about new classes. That's a very dangerous topic, but Maria offered up the most fantastic class idea ever!!!! It was a super interesting conversation. Hey -- that's an idea -- why not invite a few people to a brainstorming session on different classes? That would be awesome. Well, maybe we can do that during the Virtual Retreat. 

I've got a couple things to confirm, but I hope to put out a list of my classes for 2022 by the end of next week. Don't worry - there'll be loads of room for everyone. But I think you'll be pleased with the offering! So if you have an idea for a class, this weekend is the time to get it to me! E-mail me or pop by the Virtual Retreat to let me know your thoughts. 

OH -- I can't wait! Seriously?? I'm still working on finishing up stuff for this year! However, I will say that I'm in EXCELLENT shape for finishing the FIVE quilts that we did this year. Most of them just need the final border(s) put on, and then I'm done!! So that's pretty impressive. No UFO status for those projects. 

Don't forget that it's Virtual Retreat weekend. That would be tonight and all day tomorrow. Here are the links and the hours. I hope to see you! Stop by to say hi for a bit, set up your sewing machine, or get some handwork and sit and sew. We talk about everything and anything. It's a lot of fun and sure beats sewing by yourself! Plus, we solve world issues, but more importantly, we solve sewing issues that we may encounter! 

Saturday, October 23   From 6 PM - 9 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, October 24, From 10 AM - 9 PM)

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 872 4663 5892 Passcode: 440473

I'm pretty much ready for my two classes this morning, a meeting this afternoon, and then SEWING!!!!

Well, it's time to get out and walk the girls. Gosh -- it's still pretty dark outside, and it's already 7 AM!!! But I don't mind!

Have a super day!!!


Friday, October 22, 2021

Are you superstitious?

 I am not a superstitious person per se. However, I think about all those things that you are not supposed to do, like walking under ladders, what to do if a black cat crosses your path, and everything to do with the number 13! I don't avoid that kind of stuff, but it crosses my mind. More on that in a minute. 

I had a very bizarre presentation yesterday. It was on Zoom, all the participants were in the store, and they never opened the camera link, so I had ZERO connection with any of them, including the store owner. We had to wait as they had a technical glitch, and with a number of them talking in the background, it was tough to hear, and let's not forget that it was in French. 

No questions, no feedback whatsoever! I need to have a chat with the shopowner today to see if we can fix that! It made me nervous, and I stumbled with my French. It was very unnerving, and I may have ended up talking to myself for an hour! Sigh.................

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Facebook? I don't get a chance to post every day -- I try, but some days, well, it just doesn't happen. But what I love the most are the groups! Not only do I get to stay in touch with the groups that I have created for my classes, but it's a learning tool! 

I've got a couple of unusual quilts that need to be quilted, and I had no idea how to do that. Well, I asked my Facebook group, and I got answers. I don't have enough experience with unusual stuff on the long arm to know these tricks, but I'm learning, and the people in the group have been amazing and patient!

People are posting educational stuff in one group, and I need to carve out some time to learn it.! My long arm can do so much, and I have only skimmed the surface of that software! I have a whole pile of my quilts to experiment on! 

I sorted samples that had been strewn around Studio B, and they were put away. More samples need to be made, so there is loads of stuff to embroider hanging around, but if I put it away, I'll forget it! I spent some time doing paperwork, and I almost have the urgent stuff out of the way, but I need to spend this morning at the computer to get a couple more things done. 

I'm also cleaning up the work tables as I need the space to put up more machines. All in a day's work! 

Between sample making, and learning which goes hand in hand, I could be busy 24/7!!

I did get some sewing done, which was great, but I can't share it with you. The students get to see it first, and then I'll have show and tell this weekend. 

But I did work on the border of one of my quilts. 

The border for All in a Row

This border is for my All in a Row quilt. The top and bottom borders are on the quilt, and I've meant to lay out the side borders forever! Now that I had plenty of space, it was easy to lay out the quilt to measure it and get the correct length. Then super easy to layout and glue these pieces in place. 

I made significant progress on that cutting table this week, and I hope to continue this afternoon. I have three classes this weekend, plus the Virtual Retreat. So I feel that I can make excellent progress on clearing up some stuff and get that table 100% clear. Wish me luck!!

Never mind the enormous stack of paper that's on the floor beside me that needs to be dealt with! Yes -- I know I have my little storage shelf, but well -- I need lots of room to spread out, and to do that in the office, I need to completely clear the table or the second desk. There are too many things to do to make that happen! I could pile the stuff into a box and deal with it later? I may just do that, so I can get a better handle on the day-to-day stuff. 

Or I'll just try to get back into spending the morning in the office and the afternoon downstairs. That's hard to do with my presentations, as those take priority regardless of the time of day. Oh boy-- I'd better enjoy the downtime right now because I just realized that starting November 1, I have TEN presentations in one week. Yikes -- how did that happen??? 

That means that for all of November, I'll be doing TEN per week. Thank goodness, I'm at the end of the ongoing classes, so I'll focus on the presentations. And thankfully, the prep work for most of them is complete!

OK -- so back to the superstitions. I was quilting another quilt yesterday. I'm trying to get that pile done. As of yesterday morning, there were 13 quilts left to quilt. One per day - in less than two weeks, that can be cleared up! Right? So the 13th quilt was on the long arm. I'm at the sewing machine, and I can hear a BAD noise. Oh no - I dropped everything and ran. And this is what I found. 


This is NOT good. Thankfully, I was close by, but there was an open seam in the quilt, and the foot just happened to be going in the opposite direction. It was jammed very tight, even though I got there pretty quick. The machine doesn't know that there's a problem, so it just keeps on trying to quilt. I released the long arm and got out the seam ripper. This wasn't even a question of ripping out the stitches; it was trying to delicately slice the stitches out of the quilt without creating a lot of damage to the quilt. 

After I freed the machine, I looked at the damage. Sigh............  I was able to fix the top so that if you didn't know what had happened, it would take a lot of searching to find this. That open seam will have to be hand-stitched in place. There's a small hole in the top - it's more like the fabric fibers have separated rather than a hole. But there's a hole in the back. I'll applique some of the extra backing fabric over that hole. Unsewn seams are NOT my responsibility. 

The damaged area

This has only happened twice in my longarm career. The first time, I happened to be standing at the machine waiting for the bobbin to run out and caught the machine pretty much right away, but there was still a hole created in that quilt. So if you are taking your quilt to a long arm quilter, or even one that you are quilting yourself, make sure that you close all the seams up when you are fixing a problem! I know it happens. This quilt will survive in the grand scheme of things, and no one will be the wiser that this happened. I do have to laugh because when this happens, it's always with a backing that is light in color and monochromatic, so a patch will show more than if the print was busy! 

And it just so happened that the pattern I used was a bit denser than I usually choose! Of course, it was! But the quilt turned out beautifully! Now to get trimming!!

Customer Quilt - DONE

Oh shoot -- I went to order the Cherrywood Challenge book - Diana, and they are NOT shipping to Canada. DRAT!!!!  I need to find someone to whom I can send the book, so they can, in turn, ship it to me. Yes - I know the shipping to Canada will be expensive, but the store that sells the Cherrywood challenges is NOT ordering the books. If only I were going to the Quilt Festival, which I wouldn't dream of at the moment! Of course, I'll pay for the shipping to Canada!

Anyway - it's time to get the day started. I must NOT try to learn something new before going to bed as that keeps me awake, and then I get up late!

Don't forget the Virtual REtreat is this weekend. Here are the links. 

Saturday, October 23   From 6 PM - 9 PM

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 892 5423 3911 Passcode: 982797

Sunday, October 24, From 10 AM - 9 PM)

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 872 4663 5892 Passcode: 440473


Oh -- has anyone used the link at the top of the blog to get the blog via e-mail? Someone was having trouble with it, and I must confess that I don't know much about it. There are other ways to get the blog. You can use Bloglovin, which will e-mail you the blog every day. You've got to indicate which blogs you want to follow, and it sends you a daily e-mail. 

Have a super day!!!