Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Committed? or is that a commitment?

It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. Oh, having a deadline also helps. It's the third year I've run the UFO club, and the amount of work I've completed is insane. I can vouch for everyone in the two clubs when it's been a godsend in getting some of those old projects done. I'm shocked actually because there isn't anyone policing us; however, there is that $10 per month that we could lose. 

And who wants to always miss the deadline in front of your peers? Not me! 

Well, the same thing is happening in some of the other clubs. This year I also started the MANY blocks projects. These are the quilt with many blocks, like Dear Jane, the 365 Quilt, and Town and Country, to name a few. 

There's no money involved in that club, but it's the PEER pressure. I don't want to let the group down, and I certainly do not want to let myself down. 

Here's an update on the 365 Quilt. These are the blocks that I finished while at the retreat. 

And to appreciate how small those 3½" blocks (unfinished) are, look at this flying geese unit. Now that's small!!!!

Teeny tiny flying geese units

Feb 21

Feb 22

Feb 23

A component of that block is wonky, but in the scheme of things, it'll work out just fine. 

And then the remainder of the month got easy. 

February 24

February 25

February 26

February 27

Can you believe it? I completed my homework this month, and I still have loads of time left. So I forged ahead to get February completely done. 

When this quilt came out, it was a leap year, and the assignment for Feb 28 and 29 was to make the center block. I cut out Part I of the center block. 

Part I of the center block is cut

I managed to get it partially sewn. I'll finish that off today and work on Part 2. 

Partially sewn together

That will leave the bonus block for February 14 (waiting on the pattern to come), and there is also a bonus block for your birthday, which I might as well do now. It came in the preamble stuff on the 365-day quilt website. If you go into the TEACHABLE version of this quilt, there is all kinds of information and a checklist to help you remember what you have read and not read. I LIKE lists. 

Yes -- I'm trying to follow along with the website, although the patterns are only released that day. So today, the pattern for January 31 will be released, and I'm ahead. But I'm still going to make it happen. I need to figure out how to create an icon on my iPad for a specific website. I know you can do it --- I must search that out. Just found it -- now I have to do it when I get back from the walk. 

Let's go back to February 1. I thought I had changed up the block, but upon further study, I realized that I used ONE extra color than the designer, which changed the look of the block. 

The pattern

She used the SAME fabric for A and B, and I used two different colors. Get over it! Besides, someone mentioned that February 1 is their birthday, and they are a rebel, so this will stay to remind me it's OK if it's not 100% by the book. 

My version

And when I started to cut the center block, I had to dig out the second main color for this quilt - cream. 

The cream scrap box

I am upping my homework assignment to not only complete the blocks up to February 27, but I want those two bonus blocks and the center block done. I'll be ahead of the game, and then instead of waiting for next month for the "next" assignment, I'm going to keep plugging away at it. The more ahead I stay, the more likely I'll be to get it complete. 

And getting all the blocks done this year would be HUGE. Let's see how it goes. 

So onto the next commitment, which was for the Remedial Jen Kingwell class, for anyone working on a Jen Kingwell and fell behind. I wanted to enlarge the BOHO Heart quilt and finish blocks and that applique border for Green Tea, plus quilt all of them, including Wanderer's Wife and Long Time Gone, so I've got a lot of work to do. 

But I made significant progress, and my homework this month was to add the border to the top and both sides of the BOHO heart quilt. What happened? 

After finding a substitute fabric for the missing one (I dare you to find it!), I got the top border on. I opened up lots of seams to make that happen, but it was worth it -- I LOVE the floating effect. However, it looks out of proportion this way. And my intent always was to add to the sides as well. 

The top border is complete

Well, here it is!!! DONE. Well, the top, at least. Adding to the sides was super easy, and adding to the top was a pain. But now that it's done -- I'm thrilled that I went through that exercise, and I'm sorry I didn't think of it at the beginning of the class for the others. Sorry!

BOHO Heart quilt top - DONE

I have to make the bias binding from my striped fabric and use the continuous binding method. The strip is cut and waiting to be pressed. Then this one will be ready for quilting!! WOW!!!!! I'm super excited!!!

So this happened yesterday as well. Someone asked me for something, and while I knew where it was, there were seven tubs it could be in. I searched the first tub, and it wasn't there. 

Searching through a tub of things

So I dug out the rest of the tubs from under the long arm, and while they were mostly sorted, a little arranging needed to be done, so I did that. 

Tubs to sort through

The tubs are now properly sorted AND labeled and back under the long arm. 

OH -- I did find what I was looking for, so that was good. 

I still have that first tub to finish going through. It's sort of a junky tub with samples of stitching and embroidery. A good part of it could go, but I need a bit more time to figure stuff out. 

One tub that still needs a LOT of sorting

And for some reason, that precipitated another search. I spotted this drawer in the cabinets beneath my cutting table. Oh yes -- it was clearly labeled what was inside the drawer, and I knew it was there. But yesterday, I questioned why it was there. Why do I need these novelty prints? What was I going to do with them? 

A drawer of novelty prints cut into squares

I opened up the drawer and discovered that it resulted from several exchanges I had done over the years. WHY or why did I think that was a good idea? There were bags from people all over the place. I still have SIX boxes of novelty prints, so I think I can let these go. They are now in a bag for Diane to make children's quilts. HA --- you thought I was going to offer that up! Well, NO fabric will be up for grabs -- it all goes to Diane to sew! 

Bags of novelty print squares

There is a scrap box of novelty prints on the scrap box shelf, and I need more room on that shelf, so I moved that container of scraps to the drawer and swapped the labels. 

A box of I Spy fabric scraps

There are some decent-sized pieces, but not as large as 4". That'll be another project for a retreat one day. Or when I retire and downsize --- I will have LOADS to keep me busy, but none of it will take a lot of room!

And I got a call from someone who gets the scraps from what Diane sews and she is coming to pick up two bags, which is good because my staging area is overflowing with stuff on its way out the door. There is more stuff now than when I took the photo, and it'll look better on Friday! 

The staging area 

 A couple of years ago, I would have cringed at the thought of donating those novelty squares. Yesterday? I didn't even consider keeping them. How I have changed, and as I keep saying -- there is NOTHING sacred in that fabric stash any longer. I'm free!!! I can't wait to start seeing empty spots on the shelves so I can consolidate stuff even more. The day will come when those shelves will be empty or close to it, but we've got a long, long way to go. 

How I wish someone would have had a serious talk with me years ago. The amount of money I spend, the time I've "wasted" managing it, and now having to deal with it. What the heck was I thinking? I don't want to be the other extreme and only buy and do one project at a time. That would be too boring for me, but MANY at the same time? And buying just for the sake of buying? How silly I was. 

I'm older and wise,r and if there is ANY advice I could pass along to a new quilter --- DO NOT OVERBUY and do NOT overcommit on what you want to do. Just because others are doing it -- doesn't mean you have to. Those projects will still be available to buy when you are ready. New ones might be out that you will like better. Work on what you have and enjoy the process. DO NOT try to do what everyone else is doing -- you'll drive yourself MAD.

Today, it's all about the embroidery machine and the long arm. I also have an urgent quilt to make, so I'll be busy. 

While I enjoyed walking in the country at the retreat, it was WONDERFUL to talk on bare and non-slippery sidewalks! I got in my distance yesterday and made a trip to the mall. 

Bare sidewalks!

I decided I needed a reliable phone for my landline (yes -- I was going to get rid of it, but thankfully I didn't since I can't use my cell phone in the house). This is my new phone. I had to laugh as I tried to listen to all the crappy voicemail on the old one, and I couldn't even get through all the messages before the battery died! Yep -- it was time for a new shiny phone. 

My new phone

While at the mall, I checked out the guys at the Bell store again. I keep hoping to meet someone who says, "oh yes, this is what is happening," but I'm a dreamer. Although he said there could be a problem with the towers switching from 4G to 5G service, I'm not getting a clear path. I'll call technical support again and see what happens. 

So I finished my 2022 Virtual Challenge, and the medal was supposed to have shipped on January 4, but I have yet to see it. So I contacted customer support (do you see how much time we spend on follow-up stuff?), and I got the tracking information. That parcel sat somewhere for over three weeks in limbo land. Now it's in Chicago, so hopefully, it'll be here soon. 

I finished the day off by watching some videos on digital cutters. Yep --- there are classes this weekend, and I need to prep for them! And I have to laugh -- where do people think I learn stuff from? I certainly don't have the knowledge off the top of my head. Nope -- I get out the manual, watch tutorials, or whatever, and I PRACTISE. I've learned tons over the years, but I still have LOADS to learn. 

Well, I'm off and running!

Have a super day!!!


Monday, January 30, 2023

Home sweet home

Well, I'm back home, and it feels great. We have Monday sewing as a distraction today, and then it will be heads-down while I get some work done, and there's a lot to do. 

But let's look at what happened yesterday. OH -- we had a lot of snow overnight, and it was still snowing into the morning. Which wasn't a bad thing. I acquired my steps by shoveling the front step TWICE, shoveling around some of the cars, and a path to the cars! How nice I am! The laneway was a bit deep, but I followed in the tracks of those with the bigger cars, and I made it out with no problem. 

When I pulled onto my street, DH was in the driveway, just finishing clearing the snow (how fortuitous was my timing?) The garage door was open, so I backed the car in and unpacked. And this is ALL The stuff that I had to unpack. Good grief -- I swear I would come home with less than I went with, but that wasn't the case. I dropped off a sewing machine and its accessories but picked up five quilts to quilt!

All the stuff to unpack and sort

Thankfully, I had packed the car as the week went along, so there wasn't much to put in the car yesterday. But there was enough. 

I love the unpacking process. I get to put things away or set them aside to be processed later. And I do it bag by bag. The first bag I grabbed was the Boho Heart bag. I knew I had to find some fabrics, so I pulled out the basket of black and white. 

Searching for missing fabric

I laid out the quilt to see what was missing, and I needed three fabrics. I found two, but not the third, so I'll go back to the scrap box to see it there, and I may have to find a substitute scrap. Who will notice? I left this project out as it needs to be done as my homework for the remedial Jen Kingwell class. 

Boho Heart

Then I did the same thing with the Kansas Troubles improv blocks. I was looking for a sashing fabric and pulled out the basket of material to see what I could find. 

Searching for Kansas Trouble fabric

I wanted a lighter color, and I auditioned a couple and picked one. I put the fabric in the bag, and I'm still determining when I'll get to this one. 

Kansas Troubles improv blocks

I was on a roll, so I pulled out the blue basket to find the missing fabric for the Tumbling block quilt. I was almost done with the blue fabrics, so I remembered it was NOT in that pile but in a project box. 

Searching through the blue fabrics

While searching, I found this bundle of three one-yard pieces I passed over MULTIPLE Times. Guess where it went? Yep -- in the queue for Diane. I told you - NOTHING is sacred as far as the fabric goes. I found another piece that will work nicely with these; I will never make anything, so why keep it? 

Fabric in the donation pile 

Then I went and pulled the Tumbling Blocks project box off the shelf. There's all the missing fabric, and there is still a LOT of it. I will NOT use up all the fabric, but I will only let it go once this top is done. 

The fabric for the Tumbling block quilt

I also found three pieces that have been assembled. In addition, I finished two table mats made for the nightstands, which got used. 

Partially assembled sections of tumbling blocks

For some reason, I trimmed that one on the left. I will remove the trimmed bits and add enough to all three, so they can be sewn together to make the top larger and use up all those darn diamonds. Yes -- I know it'll take a long time, but I don't care. I would like to say it is done, and that's that. The pioneer in me, and in keeping with the "true" nature of the original or quilting, I want to use up the bits and get this done. 

Extra white and some medium scraps went into the bag with the diamonds. I'll work on it at a retreat, so this project can go back into the retreat box. 

Oh, how I laugh when I see this ruler. Remember, this is the FIRST serious quilt project I undertook, and there was this EASY SIX ruler to cut diamonds. I NEEDED that ruler and searched far and wide to get it. 

The Easy Six ruler

Now I simply use my Omnigrid 6" by 12" ruler. There's no need for specialty rulers, but what did I know back then? 

Did you notice something above? Yes --- I have a room filled with fabric, yet I'm happy as a clam working with the scraps -- improv blocks, small diamonds cut years ago, and I'm quite excited to give away those yardage pieces. I have to laugh -- I know where my heart lies! 

Oh dear -- this is what happened to the Boho Heart quilt when it was on the floor. 

What happened to Boho Heart

You can guess what happened. Murphy came with her ball and plunked herself on the quilt, and when she got up IN A HURRY, the quilt got scooched around. It's now lying on the cutting table. 

Mom -- thank goodness you are home! 

The cutting table got crammed with stuff and then bit by bit (and bag by bag), it all got put away. It's clear as ever and waiting for me to do some cutting today. There's only one thing that needs to be taken downstairs, and there are a few things at the bottom that needs to come up. But for the most part -- all is good. 

I was exhausted, and my only walk of the day was to take both girls on one walk. I did not walk at the retreat as there was too much snow for my short boots, although Helen Anne went out. I still walked almost 12 KM. That resulted from shoveling, packing, and unpacking cars and putting things away!

OK -- that's all I have time for this morning as I must get off to spin class. 

Have a super day!!!


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Itty bitty blocks

It's that bittersweet day of any retreat -- it's time to go home! And we have a snowstorm today! Yippee!!! It's happened before, and I'm going to wait until about 1 PM to head out. The plows will have been out by then, and the heaviest snowfall is forecast to be over. I got snow tires, and we are Canadians, and it's not the first winter we've driven home in the snow. 

I had two Zoom sessions yesterday morning, which cut into the sewing time a wee bit, but that's OK. It's nice to stay in touch, and I did not want to reschedule - that's just too much trouble. 

Pam mentioned that the girls would be happy to see me. Well, not exactly. The Princess will take one look, put her nose in the air, and say, "what's the big deal - I didn't miss you at all; I snuggled on the sofa with Dad." Now, if I had a leash in my hand -- she'd be happy. Murphy will have her one minute of craziness and then off to do something naughty. 

I'll be glad to get back home. One week of constant sewing is pretty intense, and it'll be nice to get some other things done, and well, one week is enough. I would book a sewing retreat for at most seven days. I love my friends, but one week is enough! 

I'm kidding! We all get along perfectly. No, I'm excited to get home and unpack. There is stuff to prep for the next retreat, finish up, put away, or whatever. I LOVE unpacking from the retreat. Plus, there is a crushing workload of quilts to quilt, embroidery to do, and classes to prep. 

If I can remember, I'll share the work the others worked on here, but I'm sharing it with the Monday group first. This was the MOST productive retreat ever!

So what did I work on yesterday? The 365-day quilt, of course! I started it in 2016 when the quilt first appeared. I did a few blocks and then abandoned it as it's a big commitment to do one block daily. I know several people who finished it, and it's a stunning quilt. I made a few more blocks, and then it got abandoned again. Now that we have a group focused on these many-block projects, I WILL finish it. I'm not just committed to myself but to them. 

I think I mentioned the setback I had -- I was short ten blocks or something like that. But after the Zoom and the walk, I settled down to see what I could do. Let's have a peek. 

Here's the scrap basket that I'm working from. Yikes -- I remember that this basket got wet during one of our basement mishaps. The entire thing went into the dryer, so it's all tangled. Yeah!!!

My scrap basket

As the strips and bits get used, they are pressed and put into this container. 

The neat container

They will not all fit into that container. Where did I get so many green bits from? I don't have a lot of green quilts. But I have discovered a few strips I can use in another project at home, so those got pulled. You never know what treasures you'll find. But I would now like to go through the entire basket and press all the pieces, so I can have a smaller container. 

These blocks are 3" finished, and you will NOT appreciate the size until you see them in person. But this might help. These are components to make four patches, and they are TEENY. 

Four-patch components

And here are some half-square triangles that are also teeny!!

Teeny half-square triangles

And here's one on the ironing board waiting to be pressed. TEENY! Sorry -- that's ONE component, not a block. 

They don't take up much space on the ironing board

I'm holding one of the blocks in my hand to better reference the size. 

3 1/2" unfinished blocks

OK -- Let's see how many blocks I completed. My goal for this month was to complete the work from Feb 20 to Feb 27. However, I had to start on Feb 9 and wait; I did the 9th the day before. So this block is for Feb 10. 

Feb 10

Feb 11

Feb 12

Feb 13 - EASY

Feb 14 - Not so easy

Feb 15

Feb 16

Feb 17

Feb 18

Feb 19

Feb 20

Can you believe that? And that included a lot of fussing with fabrics and making a few sewing mistakes, but I made excellent progress, and number 21 is almost complete. That leaves SIX to get my homework completed. And I'm going to power on. I'm going to try and keep up with the program online. Thanks to a friend who made the quilt, I have all the patterns printed out. I know there will be times when I won't be able to make a block (s) a day, but if I bring it to all the retreats this year, I might just be able to stay on track. That would be amazing. 

Let's see how it goes and not get too excited yet! I'll only have 2 of 12 months complete by tomorrow. 

Here's my next bag of scraps to sort through and make improv blocks. That's a fair-sized bag, so sorting will be super important. It's all the leftovers from the O Canada fabric, and once that is done, I never want to see that fabric again! I'm done! 

Oh, Canada fabric for improv blocks

I also managed to walk 15 KM. Thanks to Helen Anne, who walks with me. It's nice to have company, and we walk at the same pace and distance, so that's a treat on the retreat! Thanks, Helen Anne!

We've also done something different at this retreat. We've NOT had dessert every night. Wow --- I have to say that I love it. Not everyone will agree with me, but most of us don't miss it, and we certainly do NOT need it. I will NOT implement a rule for that, but I will strongly encourage people to think about not bringing dessert. 

Compared to previous retreats, where there was dessert for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and snacks on the table all the time, this has been a tame retreat. One could almost say that we are starving, but I'm OK with that. The minute I eat anything sugary, it goes to my muffin top, and I hate it. I have a wee bit of chocolate with me, which I have a nibble if I'm so inclined, and that's my treat. 

Well, it's time to go -- I have a few more blocks to sew. Dare I say I will NOT leave until those last blocks are done? We'll see how the day goes. 

Have a super day!!!