Saturday, July 31, 2021

Singing in the choir

While I loved being away at the quilt retreat, it's always nice to get back home! And yes - I switched pillows last night. It's too early to tell, but my neck does feel a bit better this morning. It's also that lunatic dog of mine that doesn't help! Walking Murphy is like getting mini-whiplash! She's so much better, but I bet that hasn't helped the situation. 

I couldn't help myself; I contacted Paula's daughter to tell her the quilt top was done! She LOVES it. And so she should - her Mom chose gorgeous colors. So I decided that we must get this quilt done sooner rather than later. When I got the Double wedding ring project, I also was given a large tub of fabrics that MIGHT work with the double wedding ring quilt. I dug around and found enough of this fabric for the backing. 

Backing fabric for the double wedding ring quilt

Oh boy -- that picture doesn't do justice to the color. It's a nice purple that blends beautifully with the quilt top. I also found a dark purple that will work for the binding. And there's more that can be used for the backing and binding of the second quilt. The rest of the fabric in that tub goes to the community project side of Studio B. But not quite yet. 

I also found this fabric which I remembered I had set aside. Paula was a larger-than-life person, and she sang in a choir. She regaled us with her stories when she came to Monday sewing, and well - she was such a wonderful person. So what should I do with this fabric? 

Choir fabric

I thought about putting it on the back of the quilt - there's about one meter, but it's dark, and well, I don't think that's the best use. I think I might make a tote bag for the daughter. I'm not sure she'll use it, but I think she will. Gosh -- some people make king-sized quilts as gifts for people, and how can you be sure the recipients will use them? And I'm worried about a tote bag? I'll make the tote bag and use some of the other fabrics as trim and the lining. OH -- that purple I've got for the backing would make great handles and trim. DONE!

I'll quilt it this week. I had a list of quilts to be done in July, and while I made great progress, there are still a few that I need to get done. And it's still July today! I really want to start fresh in September. And if you want a quilt quilted, there are a few slots left in September; otherwise, we're into October! And I have a few of my own quilts that need to be quilted. Looks like I'll be quilting all through August! Plus, I have a TON of community projects quilts that need to be done. So yep -- that long arm will be busy, and that's OK. 

Speaking of quilting quilts, I got this customer quilt done yesterday. 

Customer quilt - DONE

I love the back as they used the extra blocks to make the back. 

The back of the quilt

And they must have loved this fabric because even the scraps were used to do this small project. 

Customer quilt 

I have two more small quilts for the same person, which will get done today! And so I won't have many that get carried over to August! Yeah, and if I hadn't gone away, I probably could be all caught up. Not bad! I'm trying very hard to stay up-to-date on stuff. 

I have some homework assignments that need to be written, and I'll work on those later today as well. 

So I did a lot of puttering and such yesterday, but I didn't accomplish much in the sewing department. I got ONE block done for the Bonnie and Camille quilt. The homework for the past month was to make seven of these blocks. I had made one! WAIT -- I had actually made two. What drives me nuts is the instructions in the book call for this block to have BIAS edges on all four sides. Now can you tell me why??? There's no need whatsoever. 

Block for Bonnie and Camille

I very easily rewrote the instructions so there would be no bias edges. That's the thing I hate about quilt designers today. They don't think about pressing plans; they don't think about bias edges; they just make it. While technically, everything will work, there was a lot of waste to make this block; it couldn't be chain pieced and bias edges. Why? 

While I was at the retreat, I had to find a new ender/leader project, and I found this bag of trimmed half-square triangles. 

Pinwheels from scrappy half-square triangles

I'm making pinwheels from them, and this is what I have so far. I still have many half-square triangles to make into pinwheels, so that'll keep me busy for a while. What will I do with them? I have to wait until I'm done to see how many there are. Should I sew them together? The seams are twirled, so it'll be a snap. Should I put sashing in? We'll just have to wait and see. 

More units to sew together

And my MIL is asking for more work to do. Oh boy -- I'm going to have to bite the bullet and go through my fabrics to find stuff so she can make the last forty pillowcases so that can be gone from the house. I have three small quilts lined up that need to be quilted, and then she can bind them. And what else?? I'll try to find something. Maybe I could get her to bind the double wedding ring quilt? That would be awesome!

Well, on that note, it's time to get the day started. I have a huge mound of paperwork sitting on the floor, on the chair, and a few pieces on the desk, so I MUST try and get some of that cleared up. 

I have to tell you this funny story from the retreat. On the last day, I was focused on getting those blocks done. Because each block had many pieces and the colors had to be in the right spot, I worked on ONE block at a time. I had a small design board that I used to transport the block. 

The quilt was laid out in the quiet room at the opposite end of the house from the sewing room. I did NOT go for a walk outside, but by the time the quilt was done, I had walked just over 2 KM!!!  I had a good chuckle about that. So even if you are in your house, you can get a lot of walking done! Just get up and do it!!! 

And what's with the temperature? I had to put long pants on! Not complaining! I don't mind the cooler weather in the morning as long as it warms up somewhat for the afternoon. 

There should be one more post for QUILTsocial. I had so much fun making things - check this one out. Hard to believe what I embroidered on!

Well, it's a busy day ahead, and I'd better get a move on! 

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, July 30, 2021

Curves and more curves

 Hmm -- I discovered something this morning when I woke up. I've had a wee issue with some muscles in my neck, and I noticed that they were significantly less when I was at the retreat, even though I was sewing a lot. Could it be my pillow? My pillow isn't as thick and fluffy as the one at the retreat house - perhaps I need to try a new pillow. But I was off to the gym this morning! There are so few people at 5:30 AM. 

Well, yesterday was a great day! In the morning, I had commented that I would leave at 2:00 PM or whenever I finished my quilt top, whichever came first. In case are you're wondering, I left the driveway at 2:12. 

Before I let you see what happened, let's take a wee journey on sewing those curves. I see all kinds of aids in sewing curves. There was a PRESSER foot designed to help sew curves. Seriously????  Why??? All you need is a REGULAR quarter-inch presser foot. 

Now I see the trend is to GLUE those curves before you sew them. WHY????  Why would you go to all that extra work when it's so not necessary. I used TWO things that every quilter should have on hand to sew those curves, and that's all I used. I get it that everyone wants their two minutes of Instagram fame or whatever is the current social platform, but people - - we are losing the ability to do things SIMPLY just because someone thinks glue is a good idea. 

Sewing the curves

Find the center of the two sections and use ONE PIN to hold them in place at that point. Then I used my stiletto to ease everything in IF I needed to do that. I mostly used my fingers and lined the two pieces up and sewed. No muss, no fuss. 

Using the stiletto to sew curves

Keep in mind that I was sewing on a project that someone else partially sewed, so their seams might not have been accurate. This quilt will NOT win any awards for matching of seams - simply because of that. And some of the papers were starched to death, so they were tough to sew and remove. 

The papers were starched, so they resemble fabric

I used up three partial spools of thread that I found in my toolbox. 

Three empty spools

I decided to REMOVE all the paper as I went. Every section of this quilt was paper pieced. So there was a lot of paper. Some of it had to be removed before you could sew the seams, and some could be removed after the seam was sewed. But as I went along, I removed the paper. What a nasty job. I had the big garbage can right beside me. 

The garbage bin for paper removal

And it had a LOT of paper in it when I was done. 

Lots of paper from the paper pieced project

I'm checking the clock and checking my pieces. Can I get this thing done by 2:00 PM??? Check-out wasn't until 4:00 PM, but I had to get home as I had work to do. 

And then all of a sudden (well, not really!), I was on the LAST SEAM - the longest since the quilt was sewn on the diagonal. 

The last seam

And OH MY -- the floor is empty!!!!

Where's my quilt?

And here it is - the double wedding ring quilt is DONE!!!! Well, the top is done! I made it five rings across and six rings down, which works out to a generous lap quilt. I wasn't sure I would like all those crazy fabrics Paula chose for the background - one would have been better, but not my quilt. It turned out very nice. I'm sure the daughter is going to be very excited to get this quilt. 

The finished quilt top!!!!

And these are the components that I have left. I was discouraged because there was a LOT of that one component, but not the equivalent of the other side of the "melon," and there is NO more fabric for the melons. 

Leftover components

However, when I got home, I realized that I had MORE of those missing components in the containers. There are still THREE Containers related to this quilt. One is filled with components, and I counted them last night. There are enough rings to make a  second quilt, that is 6 rings by 6 rings!!!  

There are still THREE boxes related to the double wedding ring quilt

I'll have a better look later, but it means a LOT more sewing as I prep the rest of the components needed to make the second quilt. There is extra background fabric in the containers and all the paper pieces needed to make the second quilt. The second quilt is NOT being given to the daughter. It will be donated. I know -- what a quilt to donate! Does anyone want to volunteer to sew it? I'm kidding - I would not hand that off to someone. 

It took me 3½ days of pretty intense sewing (OK -- we talked a LOT), and this new one is slightly larger, so that's going to take a good four days to sew together once the remainder of the components gets made. Divide and conquer - it will get done! It's on the current projects table, and it would be awesome to get that done this year!

I could have taken only that container, and I would have been fine for sewing at the retreat! But I did very well, with only one container, which was mostly filled with small projects. Thanks to Tish for bringing that lesson home! 

When I got home, I emptied the stuff that needed to be out, and this is what I didn't work on, which for me is excellent. Mostly enders and leader projects or things that needed to be trimmed. Small stuff. I'm so learning how to pack for retreat. 

What didn't get touched in the retreat basket

Despite the lesson on packing, this is what I had to bring into the house. My one project box and the bag of finished stuff. Clothes, food, and portable office. But there's the other stuff -- the coffee maker, the tripod to take the requisite retreat photo, and the extra lights in case we needed them as we had never been to this house before. 


We didn't need the extra lights. As a matter of fact, there were times when I thought I might need to get my sunglasses to sew! The lighting is amazing. The house is well equipped and well - I'd go back in a heartbeat. Also, it took one hour and 4 minutes to drive home, which was good because I had work to do when I got home. Now that's awesome. 

I also cleaned out my travel sewing kit. There were a few extra things in there that didn't need to be there. Before I leave for the next retreat, I'll double-check that everything I need is in here. 

Travel sewing kit

I had two baby quilts that needed to be quilted. Here's the first one. 

Customer quilt - DONE

And here's the second one. I need to get them packaged up as the customer is coming this morning. 

Customer quilt -- DONE

I said I would never go to a four-day retreat ever again, but never say never. That was one of the best retreats ever! Close to home, great company - I can't wait to go again! But that's not for several months so I'll have to wait!

Of course, the girls were thrilled beyond words to see me. They are so funny - when I sat out in the back after dinner, I had to play ball with Murphy and brush Lexi. I didn't offer - they asked for that. It's their special thing to do! Silly girls!!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. I've got to play catch up on e-mails that I ignored this past couple of days, and I've got a few more quilts that I want to get out of the way before I take a quilting hiatus - at least from customer quilts! 

Don't forget to check out QUILTsocial this morning. It's all about making an embroidered postcard that I sent to someone. It's so cool. 

Have a super day!!!!


Thursday, July 29, 2021

A tea party

 It's raining this morning, and I'm NOT going for a walk in the rain. So no walk this morning. Perhaps later today. It's been fun walking, and last evening, we clocked the length of the driveway. It's about 300 steps one-way and takes about 2 minutes 20 seconds. So if we did that every hour, that would be a great little pick me up. 

When I booked this place because our other retreat house was sold, we weren't sure. It's someplace new. You have to learn where everything is. Will the house be big enough? Will it be the same atmosphere? What is the sewing room like? All kinds of questions. Well, we've been chatting a LOT while we've been here, and we've come to the conclusion that we LOVE this place! We think it'll be very squishy above a certain number, and we're just fine with that. Oh, by fine - I mean we'll be fine with fewer people on the retreats in the future. 

I might even go so far as to say that this has been my favorite retreat so far!! Seriously????  Yep!!!

We've been totally entertained by Spotify, and thanks to Susan for bringing that along. Now we're making playlists and learning new songs, and well, I'm excited to get home and create my own playlists. Yep -- since I've had access to Spotify for a long time at home (I even have an account), I could have done it years ago, but no incentive. Now I see how useful (and easy) it can be! 

It's like we have a quilt union here. We shut down for lunch, where we sit around the table and talk for hours. Then it's time for afternoon tea in the garden! Thanks to Susan (a wonderful hostess) for setting this up! We have apple crisp (thanks, Lynn) with ice cream with our tea. 

Our tea party

Another long dinner around the table. Yep --- it's been a great retreat. I forgot to mention that we did zip into town the previous day and visited Cobwebs and Caviar, the local quilt shop. And we stopped at Wool & Silk, the local wool shop where we met the owner of the retreat house and I bought something very cool which I'll share another day. 

Ronda, who lives not that far away, stopped in for a visit the other day. A bit of FOMO, perhaps???

But did I get any sewing done? You bet I did!!!!

I was using these little table toppers as my enders and leaders. They were strips leftover from a magazine quilt I made years ago.  I would make one long runner and then decided that it would be better as two shorter ones. Now I need to find some Northcott Canvas black to make a border and binding. 

Two small table runners

Once that was finished, I needed to work on another ender and leader project. I made these little half-square triangles a while back. They are trimmed and ready to go. So I started to make little pinwheel blocks. 

Small pinwheel blocks

But what about the double wedding ring quilt? Super progress has been made!!  And it's looking pretty amazing. 

The double wedding ring quilt

It's going to be easy to transport home. No, it's not all in one place at the moment. And I'll keep plugging away at the blocks today. I have 11 more to make, and not sure I can get them all sewn together. I'm also removing the paper as I go, which is a challenge as Paula had fun gluing some of those papers in place. It doesn't matter  - it's going to be done soon. Then to quilt and bind it. 

I've still got a lot of components to play with. I'm sure there isn't enough to make another quilt, and I've got lots of one and not much of another, so definitely not equal. 

More components for the double wedding ring quilt

But let's just get this one done as that's the one I promised to make for Paula. 

And can you believe I'm staying up LATE. I think it was well after 10 PM last night when we collectively shut the lights off and went to bed. There's so much space here and so easy to get away on your own if you want, but there's no time for getting away - that quilt needs to be done11!!

But this is my workstation before I went to bed. Super clean and tidy!!!!

My clean workstation

Lynn even stayed up late, which is very unusual and even more unusual, she left her workstation in a disaster!!! 

Lynn's workstation

As I mentioned, it's raining today, and today we go home. It's one day shorter than our other retreats, but you know what? I'm ready to go home. Not that I want to get away from the others, but it's been super relaxing on this retreat that I'm actually ready to go home. We did NOT go out excessively, but we spent some quality time catching up and learning about ourselves. It's been awesome!!!!

Don't forget to check out QUILTsocial today. There are some super tips to make REVERSIBLE embroidered items. 

In case you want to check out the retreat house, it's called Retreat at the Farm

And on that note, it's time to hit the sewing machine again!!!

Have a super day!1!1


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The aliens have landed!

 Another super day at Retreat at the Farm. I have learned to be very focused when at quilt retreats. You'll see what I mean in a minute. 

But while at quilt retreat, one must keep active! So Susan and I headed out in the morning to locate a geocache that was nearby. We had to walk 1.9 KM to find it, and it was an easy find. 

The geocache

I like to think of myself as observant, but I was NOT very observant on the first day of walking. Susan spotted so many things - well, I was on the phone for part of my walk. The rest - I must have been in a daze! But that's OK. 

We do get a spectacular sunset from the sewing room. And the sun was glowing red from the smoke in the air. Not a good reason to have a nice sunset, and this picture does NOT do justice to the color of the sun. It's a bit bright in the room, but I'm OK with that. I'd rather have bright light than none at all. 

The sunset

This morning when I came down bright and early, I noticed something about the sewing table. I was the second to last to shut off my sewing machine. YES -- I'm staying up past my bedtime. But what I saw this morning made me laugh. Susan literally shut her machine off with a project still attached. 

Susan's machine

Katheleen shut her machine off with a project still attached. 

Katheleen's sewing machine

Lynn did not. 

Lynn's machine

I had nothing under my needle as I shut it down last night. Maybe they were in a hurry? I'm trying to keep my sewing space tidy, and I'm doing an excellent job. 

Look at our container for sharps! I love it, and I really should be changing my needle today. I'm going through some thick layers, and I need a really sharp needle to do that. 

The garbage needle container

Here's one of the things that I love about the retreat. I learn stuff all the time. So the big learning lesson yesterday was all about Spotify. Yes - we have an account, but I never use it, which is a shame. Although others in my household do use it, so the subscription isn't going to waste. 

Well, we've always had trouble with the radio at the retreats. Bad reception during part of the day, which is very annoying. 

Thanks to Susan, we now have a Quilt Retreat Playlist that she could share with us! Now, how cool is that? We've been adding to it, so she might have to share it again!!!

But then it came to the question of speakers. Susan has this great little BOSE speaker. It has great sound and is so easy to use; however, you need to watch because once it's connected to your phone via Bluetooth, everything you listen to on your phone comes through. Like when I wanted to watch the Tula Pink update on The Butterfly Quilt pattern. It looks like we should have this pattern for January when I'm going to host a sew along!!!!  Watch the blog for more details on that. 

Susan's Bluetooth speaker 

This was because as we went out or used our phones for another task (like a phone call), it was easy to connect to the speaker and take over the playlist. 

Katheleen also has a Bluetooth speaker - hers is a bit different, but can you tell how to turn it up or down?  Don't look too hard!!!!

Katheleen's Bluetooth speaker

So now that I've got this playlist thing under my belt, I want a speaker as well. I have my headphones, but I like the headphones for an audiobook where I don't want to miss anything, and I think the speaker would be great for the music, where it doesn't matter if I miss something. Yep - I NEED one of those speakers!!!!

I was up bright and early this morning, and it was very misty outside. One of the reasons I like this house is that it's large and so if you want to sew late into the night or early in the morning, you will NOT disturb the others. The sewing room is on the side of the house. I even switched bedrooms. I initially took the large room and then realized it was at the back of the house and I'd have to pass all the other rooms. Now I'm in the small room at the top of the stairs - easy!!!   And for future retreats, that's MY room, and it's a single!!! I get a room to myself!!!

As I was sitting here with the lights ablaze in that room, I could hear something outside. Something BIG and it was coming towards the house. What the heck???  I know we are in farm country, and my first thought was some equipment coming up the long driveway. Then I saw lights in the field to the left. What the heck???  OH -- they are out spraying the fields of potatoes. The field apparently circles the house because, not long afterward, the tractor was in front of me. With the mist - that looked a bit creepy!

The aliens have landed!!!

How is the double wedding ring quilt coming along? You'll see in a minute. I can't do enders and leaders on all the seams because of the curves, but I managed to finish this group of half-square triangles! I'll trim them another time. 

Half-square triangles

I've moved onto this checkerboard thing as my next ender/leader project. I should be able to finish that today. 

Checkerboard project

Oh - before I get to the quilt, let's have a quick chat about different thread brands. I didn't bring a big sewing machine with me this time. I grabbed my Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby deLuxe. It sews just fine, and there was a spool of thread on the machine as well as a bobbin. Well, this thread is NOT my normal brand of thread, and oh my -- what a difference compared to the thread I've been using. It's hard to see in this photo, but the old thread feels and sews like coarse rope!!!!!  The thread that I usually sew with is Aurifil. I was happy when I finished the bobbin and the spool!

Differences between thread

Here are the components that I'm working with for the double wedding ring quilt. When I started to layout the blocks yesterday, I wasn't sure that I would have enough to make two quilts, but now? Well, I know that I'll have enough. I haven't counted yet, and I don't know that I have enough of all the components, so we'll have to see how it goes. 

Components for the double wedding ring quilt

But here is the quilt!!!!!   OH MY  - I love it, and it looks awesome. The best news?  That diagonal center section is completely sewn together in ONE PIECE. I'm working on assembling the blocks in the top right, and since I took this picture, I've laid most of the components in the bottom left. 

I've decided that I'll keep plugging away at it and just get it done! I may even brave the elements and continue to work on the second quilt. We'll see how it goes. 

I did go for an extra walk yesterday afternoon, and I went to Tim's! I told people that it was a walkable distance, and so off I went. It was 2.2 KM to walk there and then 2.2 KM to walk back. That's a normal afternoon walk for me! I decided to get a cookie, and when I arrived, they had NO cookies!!! What?????  So I had a donut instead!

Well, I see the others are up, and it's time to get back to work on that quilt! I have about 20 more blocks to sew together and then finish sewing the blocks to make the quilt! It can be DONE!!!!!

Don't forget to check out the QUILTsocial blog this morning. I made a super cool item that has been received by the recipient. Check it out!!  Shoot -- this is the link from yesterday! 

OH   --- one more thing. I'm going to host a two-day IN-PERSON retreat. It will take place at K&A Quilt Studio in Ingersoll. You can come for one day or for both. If you don't live in the area and want to stay for both days, it's up to you to find accommodations. I'm NOT doing that for you.  The dates are Friday, August 27 (10 - 5) and Saturday, August 28 (10 - 4).  The cost per day is $10.  If you are interested, send me an e-mail  ( Currently, we have room for about 11 people, and if the province opens up a bit more, that number can be higher, but probably no more than 15. We will NOT be wearing masks in the sewing room, so you MUST be comfortable about that. 

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Double wedding ring quilts

 So here we are at Retreat at the Farm. It's a LOVELY house and much larger than I expected. There are only four of us for the next couple of days which is just fine - we each get our own bedroom. Sometimes, it's a good thing to pay a little more and get more space than intended. I love it!!

It was an easy drive to get here - the traffic was great, and the traffic lights were synced, so slightly over one hour of travel time. I love that as well. 

And I'm happy to report that my car was NOT full, not by a long shot. 

My car packed for retreat

I was good - I just have the one container with projects, but I doubt I will get past the big one I brought. More on that in a second. I did bring a few extra things, like our coffee maker, a few extra lights in case we needed them (we won't). You just don't know when you come to a new spot if you might need something. 

The house seems to have pretty much everything that we want. It's dead quiet and dark here at night as well. The beds are soft, the area is shaded by trees, and a very nice place. We'll come back. As a matter of fact, we have another date booked much later in the year. 

I decided to bite the bullet and get to work on that double wedding ring quilt. As I looked at the mess of components in the box, I decided the only way to make this happen was to lay it out. So I took over the floor in the "quiet room," which is just a random extra room. And then there's the bowling alley room as well. We're not even using that. 

Starting to layout the double wedding ring quilt

Paula had selected and cut three different background fabrics - different values of yellow and white and I wasn't sure how that would work, but it's going to be just fine. 

I had a couple of blocks made, and I laid those out and then laid out some components for more blocks. Thankfully, I put one of my small mini-design boards into my bag. So I load up ONE block at a time and walk to the opposite end of the house to sew and press the block. This is good for FITBIT steps!!

And this morning, this is what the quilt looks like. I'm aiming for five rings across the width and six down. 

The double wedding ring quilt this morning

And my components are laid out on this random bed in the quiet room. For whatever reason, I thought there would be enough components for two quilts. But I'm not sure. I'll just keep sewing the blocks together, and I hope to get at least half of the quilt sewn together here. Slow and steady, and I've got great companions to keep my brain occupied. 

The components of the double wedding ring

Speaking of good company, look at what they bought me!

My new water bottle

Personalized just for me! I love it -- and it's HUGE, so my goal is to drink at least one full container per day. I'm bad with drinking water. I certainly do not drink nearly enough. 
Personalized water bottle

OH --- here's what the sewing room looks like. So much light coming in those windows. It's awesome and has good lights overhead. There was one point in the afternoon where the sun was a bit troublesome. I almost needed sunglasses to sew! But I can live with that. 

The sewing room

I did go for a walk yesterday afternoon. It was a bit hot, but not much traffic on the road past the house, which is gravel! So when a car goes by, turn your head and keep your mouth shut!

We are super healthy. NO junk food - I'm so proud of everyone! 

Well, everyone is up now, and I've got a LOT of work to do today. We're going into town to visit the local quilt shop, which is about 5 KM away. And I might walk to the Tim's (about 2.2 KM away) just for the sake of going for a walk. I need (my personal goal) is 11.5 KM each day, and well, that requires at least two walks. 

Don't forget there's a new QUILTsocial post today. Shoot -- I can't find the exact link, so I'll post that tomorrow. 

Have a super day!!!!  It feels GREAT to be on vacation with no worries!!!