Thursday, March 31, 2022

The transition from Zoom to in-person


We've all been waiting for this moment -- getting back to in-person events. Well, we must be careful what we wish for! 

In-person events require getting in the car and traveling! It's a challenge to go from ZERO traveling by car to spending THREE hours commuting -- that's 1 1/2 hours each way, and I have one more day to do that. It's not that it's a big deal, but I paid almost $80 to fill the car the other day -- I wouldn't have had to do that if I were doing an in-person event. My butt was sore and stiff after spending that much time in the car, and I could have accomplished a lot in THREE hours. 

Then we need to worry about the weather. Have you noticed that we're all checking the weather app these days, or is that just because we are older? And there's a weather advisory every day, or so, it seems! Yesterday it was freezing rain and today it's high winds. I lucked out yesterday -- the drive to the city was absolutely dry. We got some freezing precipitation while I was there, and there was some rain on the way home. When I arrived at the house, the cars and the house's windows were covered with ice.

Ice on the windows of the house

More ice

And let's not forget the issue of getting dressed. It was so easy to grab a sweater and a scarf, run a brush through your hair, and you were good to go. Hmm -- now we have to add pants and shoes to that mix. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about clothes not fitting as I kept an eye on that during the pandemic. 

But I had a good laugh yesterday. I try not to turn on the lights when I leave -- I'm pretty good at knowing where everything is. I left my shoes in the porch, and I put my socks and running shoes on so I'd be ready for my walk when I arrived at the hotel. Then I switched to my day shoes and went in. 

I thought my shoes felt a bit weird several times, but I didn't think anything of it. Then I was at the front of the room, and I glanced down. OH -- I have my indoor shoes/slippers on! Not my dress shoes which were still under the bench in the porch!  

My indoor/slippers

Not that they were very noticeable as slippers, but I had a good laugh. Thankfully, they weren't pink or something outlandish. The joy of being totally conservative with clothing choices! 

What was even funnier is the day before, we had talked about doing the event in our PJs!! 

Other things to consider as we transition from Zoom to in-person. You can't have a nap when you want -- sometimes, I sneak a 20-minute nap between calls, but that would have been a challenge unless I crawled under a table at the back and had a snooze!! And eating -- you have to eat what they put out for you and eat when they put it out! So if you wanted an apple, you'd better have brought it! 

The whole in-person thing requires a lot more time and planning. Hmmm --- do I really want this? I was really having fun with the Zoom thing. OH -- and the girls were never alone. Well, it's fun to be in-person, don't get me wrong, but it involves a WHOLE lot of things that we aren't used to. 

Let's say that I was EXHAUSTED when I got back to the retreat house last night. I slept like a log. 

Our sixth person didn't arrive as she now has COVID, so good thing she checked before she came. And now I have a permanent spot for me to sew.

I LOVE having a retreat with a small group of people in a house because we all sat around the table at dinner and talked and talked for hours! We couldn't or wouldn't do that with a large group in a hotel!!!

I did manage to get a bit of sewing done before I had to crash. I'm working on scrappy quilts again. Will I ever use yardage again? 

Scraps for another quilt

I'm making some little blocks with the scraps -- I need 49 blocks that measure 3 1/2", and I've got 14 more to complete. I'll sew them together, and then you'll have to wait to see what I will do with them. 

My scrappy green blocks

This is the retreat where I've had to move my sewing spot the most. I set up the sewing machine, then took it down to take it with me. Then I used the serger and then took that with me. Now I have the sewing machine back, and look what I get to sew on!!! I've got rid of four sewing machines, so I will only have to load one machine back into the car at the end! There was a LOT of packing and unpacking happening at this retreat, but all is good now. 

The PFAFF creative icon 2

YES --- this is the NEW PFAFF creative icon 2

The creative icon 2

It's a gorgeous sewing machine and does embroidery as well. And look at all the incredible technology incorporated into the creative icon 2. The way it sews is a dream! It's powerful!!

Technology in the PFAFF creative icon 2

I love my little portable office setup. The Bluetooth speaker runs off my phone and uses data to stream the live radio! I'm using the phone also as a hotspot to run my laptop on the internet. It's' just like being at home!! Thankfully, I've learned how to do all that stuff. So much more to learn, but hey!!! What would life be like if we weren't learning something new every day? 

I have so many samples that I want to make with the creative icon 2 -- I need to get that machine fired up when I get home and have it running 24/7 to get everything that I want to stitch actually stitched out. 

The other nice thing about the in-person event was that we got to chat with the shop owners. What is going on in their world of in-person versus zoom? Do people want to return to in-person events? Who wants to teach via Zoom? What is the future of educating the consumer? So that was a good thing. There's a different group of people today, so those conversations will be new!

So for those anxious to get back out in the real world of in-person events or work, be careful what you wish for!! It's a massive change, and while some parts are good, it's a significant change! The biggest issue is the "wasted" time in the car! I've always resented travel time, and doing that three days in a row -- that's a total of NINE hours in the car when I could have been doing something else!!!

We did discuss the future of teaching and how to keep a social aspect to the entire thing. If anyone has suggestions -- be sure to pass them along! 

Good grief -- I just asked Alexa to turn off the radio again! She's NOT here with me! 

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Jelly roll quilts with a serger

 Well, this is undoubtedly a different retreat. As much as I missed the group sewing yesterday, it was certainly worth it for me to go to the training. 

What's the training all about? Well, it is the brand new PFAFF creative icon 2. Yes --- there is a new top-of-the-line PFAFF on the market. It's an embroidery and sewing machine, and it's impressive. they've added artificial intelligence, projection abilities for sewing and embroidery, and you can set up specific tasks via Alexa! (Yes -- I know Alexa is tied to that dreaded online company!) New stitches and so many things have been improved. Yes --- it's certainly exciting to sew on that. 

I was the assistant, so I got to help out when the attendees got stuck, and I also got to play. So that was all good. But the best part of all the training is that I finally got to meet a lot of dealers that I had only previously met via Zoom! No introductions were needed as we all knew each other! 

It took a little longer than an hour to get there and the same thing coming back, although I had to stop for gas on the way home. The sun was in my eyes, and I missed the exit and had to make a detour to get to the hotel. Oh well -- today, I'll be more alert! I took a different way home, but both routes were filled with many cars. 

When buying a new house, we all have requirements -- three bedrooms, garage, etc. One of mine is proximity to a major highway. At home, I'm at most 10 minutes from two major highways, depending on the lights. And if I go in the other direction, it's about 15. Here??? I'm miles and miles from the major highway. So that takes a lot of time. 

But I did get there in time to take a walk. I was down by a couple of KM from my usual distance, which is fine, but we're at the finish line, or very close to the end of our cross Canada walk. We have 66 KM to go. I don't think we'll make it by the end of the month, but we should arrive on April 1st. 

66 KM from the finish line

It's a tight race to the finish line, and we have no idea what position we'll be in. But that doesn't matter -- what matters is that we will accomplish this great task together!!! 

I got rid of three of the five sewing machines/sergers I had brought. I wanted to make a project on one of the sergers, but I had forgotten the Allen key required to change the needles. Grr!!! But one of my trusty colleagues brought one for me, and I was able to change the needle position, and I got to work last night after dinner. 

This was the jelly roll that I cut before leaving. I have a whole pile of the Oh Canada fabric collections (Northcott), and it is all going to Diane to make quilts for Quilts of Valour. Before it went, I wanted to make this jelly roll quilt. 

I started by sewing all the strips end to end. You have to love working with a serger because it cut all the selvages off as I went. 

Serging the end of the strips together

Sewing that initial seam is a killer. The strips were puddled at my feet, and I serged, and I serged, and I serged. Then I had to press it. 

The strips are together

Here's the new PFAFF serger/cover stitch machine - The Admire Air 7000. It's a dream to use  -- air threading, of course, so who cares if you run out of thread? It takes seconds to switch from cover stitch to overlock, change needles and thread it. That's the thing that people hate the most about a serger, but this one is a breeze. I even switched it from cover stitch to overlock without the manual, and I'm NOT a big serger person! 

The PFAFF Admire Air 7000

All of the 26 stitch techniques are built into the computer. So tensions, needle positions, etc., are indicated on the screen, making it easy to use. I was even able to explain all this in French to a group. I know all the terms for sergers -- French and English, and it seems like only yesterday that I had no idea how to even use one! 

The screen on the PFAFF Admire Air 7000

I have to say that when I got back to the retreat house and checked in with the group to see what amount of work got done, they were not very productive at all! They went shopping! But here's the thing -- we are all here on vacation, so if we do absolutely nothing and we are happy? Then it's a success!!!

Sewing into the night

And me? I have my tunes on my Bluetooth speaker, and well, I'm good. Paula is coming today, so I've moved all my stuff, and we'll make it work on Saturday when all six of us are here and need that sixth spot to sew. 

My Bluetooth speaker

Oh -- so you want to know about my jelly roll quilt. Did I finish it last night? Of course, I did!! I didn't bring the border fabric, but I got the strips together. I forgot to take a picture last night, so let me do that right now. And when this quilt was done, I went to bed and heard NOTHING until my alarm went off this morning. 

My jelly roll quilt

OK -- got the picture and made breakfast. Some of my strips were short, so I threw in an extra one or two. It's a bit square, but it'll be just fine when I add borders. I LOVE it. And what a great way to showcase all the Oh Canada collections. 

And I love the serged seams on the inside. So if you have a quilt that is simple to sew together and you have fabric that may fray a bit more than you would like, this is the perfect opportunity to get your serger out!!!

The serged seams on the inside

I have to see if I can find a drugstore this morning. I forgot to bring a nail file, and I broke a nail yesterday, and I left my lip balm at home. Grrr!!! But all things that are easy to remedy!

Well, that's it for me! I want to try and get 10 KM in today. I've got less stuff to load in the car, so I can get out of here earlier, and I will NOT miss the exit on the highway today! That'll give me enough time to get in an extra K or two. And then I'll just have to walk more at the meeting. 

Good grief -- I just asked Alexa to turn off the radio. I don't have Alexa here -- I'm using my phone and the IHeartRaAdio app. Habits!!!!

Have a super day!!!


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

On retreat!!

 There's nothing like going to a retreat and spending quality time with friends! And yep -- I'm at my second retreat for the year. And it's definitely NOT my last. We're staying for an ENTIRE week, which is a luxury, but I've found that staying in a small group at a house, rather than a large group in a hotel, is much more cost-effective. The total per person for the week is often less than at a hotel for a couple of days. 

Lunch is a very casual affair with sandwiches that we each make. One person brings the fixings, and we split the cost. Very practical and we don't overeat -- a problem with meals in a hotel. Breakfast is very causal -- we do our own thing, which again means we eat like we would at home, and there is no danger of overeating. Then we each make one dinner, and that is also very cost-effective. Nothing fancy - but we eat well. I've drilled it into everyone that we do NOT need a ton of baked goods or whatever, and this group has listened well. It's nothing to prep the meals like that. I would rather make a meal and a sandwich and have a LOT more retreat days than pay for a hotel meal. 

And yes -- it's a luxury to be away for such a long time, but it's also my vacation, and I'm worth a week away. However, this one is slightly different as I have to travel to the city for three days to attend a training session. I could have gotten out of it, but since we are here for a week and I'm close enough to drive back and forth - I'll "suffer" through it! I really wanted to hear the subject matter, but more importantly, I will meet some of the people I've been running Zoom presentations with. I get to meet them in the flesh! That's worth the cost of three days of sewing at the retreat. 

If I were home, I would have the same commute to the training session, so it's not really a big deal, and the next three nights, my dinner should be ready or almost ready as if I were home. And I can unwind with friends -- that sounds good to me!!

So on the coldest day we've had in a while, I crammed everything into the car. You can't see the front seat, but it was also full of stuff. 

Packed and ready to go

The day didn't start out as planned as I wanted to make a sample using one of the sergers. Only to discover that I had left the toolbox at home and the needles were in the wrong position, and I had no tools to change the needle position. OK -- let's move on to plan B! I'll be taking that machine home with me so I can make the sample. Oh well -- I have lots of other stuff to work on. 

And I did putter and got a bit of sewing done. Then it was time for that afternoon walk. A look at the weather app almost made me stay indoors. Minus 19 with the windchill. Yikes! But I came prepared, and so out I went. 

Out for a chilly walk

I was hoping the road would be more protected once I got onto the road. The house is situated on a small hill in a wide-open space and walking to the road is always cool. No -- I had to face the wind, and there was really no break. I really needed a walk as I ended up walking TWO concessions and back for a total of 10 KM, more or less. It was actually a glorious walk, and once you got outside, it really wasn't a big deal. 

On the way home, the sun came out, the wind was at my back, and I actually had to unzip my jacket and take my hat off! It was a crazy walk, but it was nice to get out. I think my total walk for the day was 18.2 KM or something ridiculous like that. 

But I'm on a mission. We are closing in on the finish line for our cross Canada walk, and we are neck and neck with two other teams that are racing to the finish line. 

Racing to the finish line

We have 131 KM left to walk, and well, which of those three teams will get there first? I won't have much time today to walk, but I'm going for a walk. I'll be leaving here before the crack of dawn, so I hope to beat some of the traffic into the city, and then I'll be doing my urban walk thing before the meeting. And I might get out at lunch to "wake" me up. I won't be anywhere near what I usually do, but I'm going to try! 

We are about three days away from the finish line, so we'll have to wait and see if we finish in the 65th spot, 66th, or 67th!!! Can you believe me??? I'm a nut case, but walking is very important to my mental and physical health, and I will always find time to do it. Besides, I put dress pants on this morning, and they fit beautifully, so that is why I walk every day!

Here's a view of the house from the road as I got back to the house yesterday. We are staying at the Retreat at the Farm, and it's a lovely house. There is lots of room for five for sewing, squishy for six, but we'll manage when our sixth person arrives. I won't need table space for the next three days, and I'll figure out where to sew on Friday when I'm back!

The house from the road

I'll be working on scraps again as it's an excellent place to do mindless sewing. No worries if you make a mistake because there are no mistakes! But look what Kathleen is working with!

A beautiful FQ bundle

This is a gorgeous fat quarter bundle, and I got to look at it all day!!!! I love it!

Anyway --- lots of stuff to sew and lots to do while we are here, and even though I have to be away for three days, it will be fun! I really needed the mental break, which will completely kick in on Friday!!!

The more that I chat with everyone about my plans for classes going forward, the more it's solidified in my head, and the more that I know it will work and it's going to be great! We have a LOT of technology to learn in this industry, and I want to make the most of it. I want to learn so much, and I'm not really taking the time to do that these days. That is going to be a priority going forward, so if you are into learning the technology side of this industry, you are in for a treat. 

Please do NOT have FOMO when I say this -- you are either into the technology, or you are not. There'll be something for you if you're not, but don't rush out and buy stuff just to be part of the group. That is NOT allowed. 

By technology, I mean using digital cutters, embroidery machines, and all the software options that go with those things. It's a ton of learning, and like I said, you are either in or not. You can't force yourself to enjoy that stuff -- I envision a few frustrations along the way!! And you can be sure of many blog posts as I go through that learning curve. 

I'll be keeping the UFO clubs in place as those are super essential and HUGE motivators for people! I don't know if anyone will give up their spot for 2023, but I'll be sure to let you all know if they do. 

On that happy note, I'm off to grab a bite to eat before I leave and then pack the car (quietly!) and get on the road. 

Have a super day!!!


Monday, March 28, 2022

We are NOT alone!

Thanks for all the comments from yesterday. I'm rushed this morning, and my priority is to get the blog written before I leave! Someone suggested I do it last night, but after I finished packing up everything, there just wasn't time. 

I'm taking five machines. All of them but one will come home with me, and I hope to juggle the machines so I will always have one available to me for sewing at the retreat. I have to work three days that I'm at the retreat. Anyway -- you'll see this week. 

But here's the good news -- the week that I"m back is wide open, and I will be making good use of that to get everything done before it's due. And even better, ALL the homework assignments are out the door. That is amazing -- I pushed to make that happen, and it's done! 

So the future is looking a lot better, but that doesn't mean that I'm out of the woods, as those due dates come quicker than I can envision!

And I'm working out my plan for going forward. As we went through the UFO clubs yesterday, we all agreed that we have over-extended ourselves. Just like the kid in the candy store -- we want it all. That's due to Zoom and class passes, both of which are good things -- it's just that we didn't know how to control ourselves! 

Someone mentioned that there's no time for "fun" sewing. While I consider my current sewing projects fun, there's a reason why that project is being worked on, and I'm not just doing something for the sake of doing something! So yes -- I agree -- not enough time for fun sewing. 

For those in the crunch, let's all just take it day by day - we WILL get through it, and then we have a breather over the summer, and I hope to have my schedule out there before, so you have all summer NOT to sign up! Or should I say, you have all summer to contemplate your schedules and see what you want to work on, and hopefully, that includes some fun sewing and not taking a class, just because it's there! 

The one thing that we do NOT want to happen is to lose touch! Although many of us have never met, I see many friendships blossoming, and it's exciting to see everyone when I open the calls. So I'm going to see how to work that into the schedule. So instead of a class, we need some way to stay connected. I'm open to suggestions -- I do have the Virtual Retreat, which helps, and I have a new idea - but the rules to get in will be extremely strict, and it's very narrowly focused, so that won't work for everyone. 

But maybe we have a weekly show and tell of the "fun" sewing. That might be a neat way to stay connected. I think social time is so important, and I would hate to see that aspect go away as it's AMAZING how much we all have in common. Scary sometimes as I see we are all married to the same husband, have the same children, and the same in-laws and parents! Knowing that you're NOT ALONE in any situation is therapy! It makes me feel so much better about myself that I'm not alone in this journey we call life!

We had a great time at the Virtual Retreat, even though I had to bow out a couple of times to get some e-mails answered. I'm still behind on those e-mails, but I hope to take some time at the retreat to get them answered. 

At one point, I had to laugh. This is how my sewing machine ended up on my table. Look how far away it is from the edge! I must need lots of room to work! 

The machine sitting far back on the table

Here's my show and tell from the UFO club. WOW -- there is so much getting done between the two groups. It's so fun to see what everyone is pulling out of the closet. We have projects from MANY years ago. Someone mentioned their project was from over 20 years ago, or maybe that was even longer now. But quilts are getting quilted, tops are getting done, and we've seen several sewing rooms come together, which will make the sewing so much more fun!\

I got the binding on my Halloween quilt. Yeah!!!

The binding on my Halloween quilt

It just needs a sleeve which will go on soon, and it'll be ready for Halloween!!!

The Halloween quilt

This small quilt was quilted, and it needs the binding attached. That is half done and will get finished when I'm back. I used the long arm computer and some free-hand quilting to get it done. Parts of it are so busy that it didn't make sense to do anything fancy for quilting - just get it done! 

The chopped up panel wall hanging

And there's the Farmer's Wife quilt top, minus the borders. I had hoped to get the borders on, but I ran out of time. 
Farmer's Wife quilt top minus the borders

I'm not taking any of those to the retreat. Instead, I grabbed some other things I want/need to work on, including a jelly roll quilt. Wait for that one! I had to cut it out yesterday as I made my own jelly roll, and it's ready to go when we arrive! I can't wait to get started and have a "FUN" day of sewing. 

I took a picture while walking in the forest the other day. There's absolutely nothing special about this picture, but I have to say that I could literally feel myself go into slow motion mode the moment I walked in. It's totally uncanny how nature can do that to us. This is my quiet space, and I love to walk there. I know I've said this many times before, but the forest was the selling point when we looked at our house. I LOVE the house, and I love our location, but the forest clinched it! 

The calming forest near our house

Murphy loves it because there are squirrels and mud. Lexi just loves everything. 

Well, it's time to get rolling. I've got a ton of stuff to put in the car, and two girls who are saying -- DON'T forget we need to be walked before you go! And it's COLD outside today, but unlike last time, there is no snow!!

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, March 27, 2022

Wonderful Woodland show and tell

I had a first yesterday -- I got mad on a Zoom call. I apologize to everyone on the call, but I've had it up to here!

I was doing a demo of new tools for The Hobby Horse. At the beginning of the session, I mentioned the store name and thanked them for hosting the FREE event to the attendees. Every one of my slides has the store logo (very well known in my area) in the corner. 

At one point (near the beginning), someone asked the price of a product, and I didn't have that information and said that. The next thing I know, someone posts in the chat that the product is available at that *&&^%^%T online website for X price. I lost it and said I would ban anyone who mentions that name when I am doing a presentation hosted by a local brick and mortar store that PAYS me to do this. 

I HATE with a passion when someone comes to classes, demos, or whatever, gets the information, and then goes and buys it online because it's cheaper. Does that online store offer you free demos? Is there someone there to answer your questions? People seem to forget that we PAY for customer service, which includes asking questions, chatting with the employees, etc. I just don't get it. 

To be fair to the person, she did apologize and say she was out of line. So I thank her for that. 

I had a customer years ago, and she was notorious for that. She came to all the FREE demos, asked many questions, took up a lot of time, and then NEVER bought anything at that store. I wanted to -- well, I won't say it, but you can't call her out on it. You can't ban her -- she didn't do anything wrong or inappropriate -- I just thought it was very cheeky. 

I'm not sorry I had a little moment yesterday because I think people need to be aware of what they are saying and WHERE. It's the HELPFUL ones who drive me crazy. You are NOT helping me when you say you can buy Product X at an online store or another store. I know you are trying to be helpful, but you are NOT. It totally undermines what I'm saying and promoting.

If you want to buy at another shop or online, I have zero problems -- that's your choice, but don't mention it during my class hosted by a specific shop!! 

I know people are afraid to mention that particular site to me, but I don't mind, and I have purchased from them myself - BUT only if I have no other alternative. But here's the thing -- that site is BAD for us, bad for our environment, created HUGE BAD buying habits, and a lot more. 

As a matter of fact, there's a book written about it. It's called How to Resist Amazon and why? First off -- have you thought about it -- the CEO is the RICHEST man in the world (or one of the richest), and he can afford to build a rocket that will take him to space. How much do you think his warehouse employees earn or the drivers that come to your house?? Not much! So every time you buy something from them, remember that you are filling the pockets of the richest man in the world and the little shop owner around the corner? He gets nothing! 

I will buy local every chance I get. I don't care if it costs me a couple of dollars extra, and I don't care if I have to wait an extra day for the product to be delivered, or god forbid - actually get out of my house to go and get it. 

Enough said.  

I would like to buy time -- I need 12 hours today-- an extra 12 hours! I'm getting ready to go away for a week, and we have Virtual Retreat today, and well -- I'm so not prepared to leave. I have so much to take care of today - e-mails to answer, stuff to get ready, that I will have to bow out of the retreat for an hour or so to clear up some stuff. 

And yes, when the summer comes, that will end the total craziness that happened with the classes. I have no one to blame but myself. I'm not sure what the future will bring for classes, but I see TWO sew alongs -- just TWO, maybe three since one will be a repeat of what I'm doing now. And then I envision CLUBS  -- where we are learning to use the tools we have purchased or UFO clubs to help people finish stuff. I'm also contemplating a troubleshooting session. If you need help -- you come and ask your question, and you go. 

The only problem with this is FOMO (fear of missing out). People will want to attend every session to learn. And that's NOT the point of it -- you have a problem, come and get help, and then leave. That's how our Monday sewing group started years ago. It was initially intended as a session for people to get help for the classes I taught. How many years later? The sewing group is going strong! 

How to cure people of FOMO? I've got to work on this because it's a HUGE issue, and Zoom (I LOVE Zoom) has made it so much more accessible to everyone that we WANT to do it all, and we CANNOT. I feel slightly guilty that so many people got hooked on sew alongs and want to be part of everything. This might be the catalyst to STOP me from getting involved in so much!  

OK -- I learned something about my Alexa last night. I didn't want to say her name out loud because she would ask me for something. So I whispered her name, and she whispered back to me!!! Who knew!!!!!

I did get a lot done yesterday as I hosted three Zoom sessions, and we had Virtual Retreat. 

Here's the homework from Wonderful Woodland. 

There are nine blocks in the quilt, and we have completed four of them now. I don't know how many pieces are in the moose block, but there are quite a few. This is what the design board looked like after I completed the cutting. 

Cutting is done

And here's the moose block. It's so fun to see these animals come to life. I"m not in total agreement with the pattern as there have been a few changes I make to each block. Just better and more efficient ways of cutting and sewing. But you have to be part of my class to get that information! 

This guy is HUGE at 24 ½" UNFINISHED. 

The completed moose block

And here are my blocks so far. 

It's so cute!!!!

Here are some of the class pictures. 




Ooops -- this one is sideways!






There are a few more, but I need to download them from Facebook! 

That is so cool, and I can't wait to see these quilts finished!!!!

Can you believe that I have almost completed the handouts for the homework for all three classes this weekend? Just one more to proofread, and then it can go. That HAS to be done today. 

Well, it's going to be a busy day with packing (I think I have 6 sewing machines to pack in the car -- don't ask!) I'll take a picture -- thank goodness I'm going by myself as I won't have a spare inch of space, and I need to decide what to bring to work on. 

Don't forget that the Virtual REtreat starts at NOON today as we have UFO club this morning. 

Sunday, March 27 -- Starts at NOON

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

And here's the list of upcoming quilt shows, so make sure you get these on your calendar. I have a couple to add but no time to deal with it today. 

Here are the quilt shows that I'm aware of in my area. 

The Textile Show at the Gerrard Art Space (Toronto)  --- show runs until April 3!!! (better hurry on that one!)

Colour with a U  -- a quilt show at the Orillia Museum of Art & History -- runs until April 9 

Common Thread Quilt Guild Ottawa) is hosting its show on May 6,7,8. 

Hamilton Quilt Guild -- June 3, 4

And YES -- I know that Goodreads is owned by Amazon. I think I have found a substitute -- now to migrate everyone I know off of Goodreads and to the new platform! 

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, March 26, 2022

Calm like a duck

Quack! Quack!!

No -- I haven't seen the pair of ducks that usually visit our pond each spring. Perhaps they have decided to bypass us this year. 

No - I started with all the quacking because that's exactly how I feel - calm, cool, and collected on the outside (the part you can see) and going like mad on the inside (the part you can't see). Just like a duck on the water -- we don't see their little legs going like mad to get somewhere. 

I'm still prepping the homework for THIS MORNING. And I'm still sewing - well, not right now, of course! But even if I don't finish the block, I've got enough for the group to get the gist of what we're doing. And there really wasn't time to get it done before. I could have eeked out a half-hour somewhere; perhaps I shouldn't have watched one of the baking shows! But there is only so much work that my brain and body can process in one day.

AH -- I'm not going to worry about it. It'll all work out. I have great faith and confidence in myself. 

So lots of sewing going on, but none that I can share with you yet! And there's the virtual retreat this weekend -- TONIGHT and I always have high hopes of sewing something for me. Alas, that won't be the case, yet again. I'll be sewing to catch up, and I have a bit of work on my UFOs that need to be done, as well as quilts to trim. 

ONE DAY -- I will be caught up! 

So I took my car to the garage to get the brakes fixed. As we all know, brakes and batteries took a big hit during the pandemic, and us not driving them. What I want to know -- well, I know, and it irks me. Why didn't the car manufacturers tell us that we need to get our cars out more often or put them in the garage where it's dry? Did anyone tell us that? They did, but only after it was too late, and the brakes were rusted. 

But what irks me, even more is that I was told that there was uneven wear on the tires, and they needed to be rotated and balanced. So I did. Then I got the tire report yesterday, and the wear is CONSISTENT on all four tires -- so why did that need to be done? I will contact them, but one more thing to add to the list of things to deal with. They were already taking a ton of cash from me, so why add this on? Sigh............

I know the brakes needed to be done -- I could feel them pulsating as I used them, which is not a good sign. 

No more ghost sightings in Studio B, but something bizarre happened. 

If you've been following along, you know that several light bulbs need to be replaced. In this row of lights, three of six bulbs need to be replaced.

Half the bulbs are burned out

Two of six need to be replaced in this bank, and I'm expecting one more to go any day. 

Two of six bulbs are toast

The middle bank of lights was fine - all the bulbs were intact -- they were the last to be installed years ago. TWICE yesterday, the lights dimmed as if we had a brownout. Then all of a sudden, I realized that something was not right. 

An ENTIRE light fixture just stopped working (right at the top of this picture). 

A light fixture just stopped working!

We've had enough issues with the light bulb prematurely burning out in our house that we had the hydro folks here years ago to check. Yes, there are spikes at our house, but nothing to be alarmed about. 

But the way this light went suddenly makes me think it might be toast. I can still see perfectly fine, but this light is right over the cutting table, and it's a tad dark!!!

I'd better investigate and get the lights back in good working order. I hope I don't need to call an electrician to replace that fixture -- I DO NOT do electrical. And they are so busy -- it could be a while to get it fixed. Let's hope it was just the bulbs that went. 

But how weird --- ghost? or brownout? or something else? 

I'm happy to report that I got an e-mail from Cherrywood to alert me that my second book had arrived at the warehouse in NY. They don't know that; they just know it arrived at its destination. The SAME day, I got an e-mail from Cross Border Pickups to alert me that a package had arrived. This was on March 22, I think. Yesterday, I paid $10 plus tax to have the package shipped to me. And as easy as that, the package is on its way. This super slick system works like a charm to get stuff across the border at reasonable prices. At least, it works for Laura, and now it works for me!!! Thanks again, Laura. 

My package is on its way

I went shopping yesterday -- big stuff like dog food that NO ONE in their right mind would get on foot, although I could have taken my wagon. NO -- not going there. But this repair bill and the fact that DH's car is getting on in years makes me ponder the need to have two cars. If we don't get a chance to use both cars regularly, do we need two cars? 

If he didn't have to do errands for his mother, he wouldn't drive much. Well, until golf season hits. Speaking of cars (again), my manual transmission seemed to be the talk of the dealership. Is that a manual transmission? I had several people ask me and look inside to check. It's hilarious! 

But I did stop at Micheal's and get some yarn that I needed. More about that another day. Yarn is on sale this week -- 30% off for anyone who needs to know. I didn't go crazy - I bought three balls. But I need to find that PINK CHENILLE yarn that I have here. That's the one I want!!

Then off to the library to drop off and pick up some books. OK -- if I didn't go for that walk, all my homework would be done. BUT, I have my priorities straight -- my daily walks are more important than prepping for homework. I can talk myself through a homework assignment without props, but I can't add steps if I don't go out. 

This sign was at the front door. 

In the last couple of days, I've read this sentiment in many e-mails and in other stores. What is happening to our world that we need to post this sign? Are people really this rude? I think some of them need to be shipped to a war-torn country to see what's it like to not be able to buy groceries at the store or have a roof over your head. We are a nation of UNGRATEFUL people. It's a nation where people feel ENTITLED to do what they want, and it's sad. It's just very sad. Thankfully, not everyone is like that, but I find this disturbing. And I've seen it from QUILT SHOPS. What happened to the happy, friendly quilters that we used to be? 

I see that the crazy rains we've had the last couple of days have started to erode the path in the forest yet again. They need to bring in heavy equipment and compact this piece, so it's like concrete. Otherwise, they'll be back after every rain to fix it. 

Lexi checked out the path

Now, this is a bit ridiculous. We all know of the downward dog position in yoga, which I've never found that comfortable, but apparently, Murphy thinks it's OK, especially when Mom just gave her a treat and she's eating it this way? Oh, Murphy!!!

Eating a treat in downward dog position

DH comes home sometime today. He hasn't been away from home this long for a long, long time. The house has been so quiet! I threw all the dishes in the dishwasher, but if I had left them on the counter, he would know that I actually cooked while he was away! The girls will be beyond themselves when he gets home, and Lexi can't wait for him to sit on the sofa, so she can join him. 

Well, that's it for today. Don't forget to check out the final post for QUILTsocial this week. I learned so much from my research and sample-making! 

And tonight and tomorrow is the Virtual Retreat. I need to talk less and sew more!

Saturday, March 26   -- Starts at 6 PM

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

Sunday, March 27 -- Starts at NOON

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

And here's the list of upcoming quilt shows, so make sure you get these on your calendar. I have a couple to add but no time to deal with it today. 

Here are the quilt shows that I'm aware of in my area. 

The Textile Show at the Gerrard Art Space (Toronto)  --- show runs until April 3!!!  (better hurry on that one!)

Colour with a U  -- a quilt show at the Orillia Museum of Art & History -- runs until April 9 

Common Thread Quilt Guild Ottawa) is hosting its show on May 6,7,8. 

Hamilton Quilt Guild -- June 3, 4

Didn't even get to e-mail. I'm hoping today after I finish my lecture and before the Virtual Retreat, I'll get to answer a few of them. 

Have a super day, and see you tonight!!! If you're new to Virtual Retreats, just stop by to say hi or get your sewing machine fired up and sew along. It's really an open house via Zoom. 



Friday, March 25, 2022

A HAT trick

Where is the time going? It's almost the end of March! It seems like it was January 1 just a few days ago! 

So, I didn't get to answer e-mails yesterday. Oh, I think I may have responded to one or two, but hopefully, today is the day. Well, that's a lie because I'm madly prepping for the three classes and one lecture this weekend. 

If you're in one of my classes, you know about it and will get the Zoom link later today or tomorrow. The lecture is a free lecture on TOOLS -- quilting tools, of course! If you are on The Hobby Horse newsletter, you got the Zoom link in an e-mail yesterday. If not, go to their website and wait a few seconds; you'll get a pop-up message to join their mailing list. It might be too late for this month, but you'll be able to access that Zoom link for future demos. I have a whole box of interesting tools to chat about, so don't miss that. 

I have some IN-PERSON classes coming up at K&A Quilt Studio in Ingersol. So keep that in mind  -- they are fast approaching. There is a paper piecing class (including those pesky ANGLED pieces), a serger class geared to beginners (threading, tension, etc.), and an applique class using decorative stitches. So watch for that -- get on their newsletter list, and you'll get the list when it comes out. It's super easy to get on newsletter lists these days - -most websites have a pop-up message asking you to subscribe. 

There's also a HANDS-ON (virtual) software class for the mySewnet Embroidery Software (through K&A). If you do NOT have this software, you could always get a three-month subscription (well -- subscribe month to month for three months) to evaluate the software, and if you want -- you can continue your subscription. If you don't, then unsubscribe. This class is geared to new users of the software!

Check out the details on the website, which should be updated very soon -- my fault for being late!

I got lots of prep work done for the classes tomorrow, but I didn't get to where I wanted to be when I shut things down. I have to say that I LOVE having a space where I don't need to pack up. At 7 PM last night, I was done. I shut off the sewing machine, turned the lights off, and came upstairs to enjoy some cake! That makes life so much easier than having to pack stuff away. 

I would have gone mad years ago if I didn't have a little space carved out for myself. Even if I lived in a tiny apartment, some space would be devoted to sewing. I wouldn't care if I didn't have a couch (don't use the ones we have!), and that would be where my sewing stuff would go! HEY -- I have my priorities right!

Since I can't show you the homework I sewed yesterday, I can show you the quilts I quilted. It was all about the quilting yesterday, and this is what happened. 

I got this quilt quilted for a customer. It's a fairly large one at 85" square. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Here's what they did for the backing. A great way to use up the bits!! Pieced backings for the quilt can be a challenge, but this was not bad. A tip for the future -- cut the lengths of fabric all the same length and then sew them together! 

The backing of the quilt

As I was buzzing around and sewing and listening to my audiobook, I came to the long arm, saw the machine had finished the row, and started to advance the quilt. It was only then that I realized it had run out of bobbin thread a little way before it finished the row. ACK!!!!  Well, not to worry -- I'll just come back to it when I'm done. 

Thank goodness for positioning tools on the long arm computer and that I know how to use them. Well, I mostly know how to use them. The first row in this pattern had the top cropped off (the way it fit on the quilt), and I tried to use that row to do the repair. OH - DUH -- you need to advance to the correct row! After I got that straightened out, I was good. 

But with the tools  -- nudging, closest stitch, tracing -- you can literally get right on top of your previous stitching line. It's amazing!!! 

Design positioning tools on the long arm

And can you see where I matched up the pattern? If you look closely, you can see a double thread thickness, but it was bang on!! This is the kind of stuff that my dad loves -- the CNC aspect of it, and that is where life is going. The long arm, embroidery machines, anything that moves like that is all related to CNC  -- Computerized Numerical Control. I don't care HOW it works; I just know how to make it work. My Dad would know how it works, as he's a geek! 

A perfect match on the stitching

Once that one came off the long arm, I put this small one on, which didn't take too long. 

Customer quilt - DONE

And then I finished up with this small one. That was it for me with the long arm. The next quilt is lying on the machine, waiting to be loaded. I was hoping to get it quilted today, but I'm going to aim for loading it, and I'll quilt it tomorrow. I really need to finish prepping for the weekend. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Then I'm away all next week, and when I'm back, I need to be nose to the long arm and get the rest of the quilts done. I'm a wee bit behind -- not much, but behind. 

I see e-mails coming in with homework pictures and UFO pictures, so I must get those presentations together. All in a day's work. Nothing is ever normal or the same around here! 

On that note, I"m out of here. Lots to do, and I have to take my car back to the dealer today for the BIG repair on the brakes. Sigh...................

Don't forget to mark these dates on your calendar and that there's a Virtual Retreat this weekend. Yeah!!!!

Here are the quilt shows that I'm aware of in my area. 

The Textile Show at the Gerrard Art Space (Toronto)  --- show runs until April 3!!!  (better hurry on that one!)

Colour with a U  -- a quilt show at the Orillia Museum of Art & History -- runs until April 9 

Common Thread Quilt Guild Ottawa) is hosting its show on May 6,7,8. 

Hamilton Quilt Guild -- June 3, 4


Don't forget the Virtual Retreat this weekend. 

Saturday, March 26 --- starts at 6 PM. 

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

And Sunday, March 27 -- starts at NOON.

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 9371 7518 Passcode: 579285

And lastly, here's the link to another QUILTsocial post. Lots of great tips and information for everyone. 

Have a super day!!!