Monday, July 24, 2017

Motivational Monday - progress report

Good morning everyone!  What a super productive weekend. Although the summer is rapidly passing and I'm not getting out on my bike as much as I would like.  The dog park is making a mess of those plans. And having deadlines - hopefully the month of August will be a little quieter.

Oh my --- I have to say that my "keeping me on track tools" are working!  This is going to appear to be so obvious that you'll be shaking your head at me and saying "Why?".   I've had a big problem with focusing on the right projects.  I'm busy - I'll always be busy. I could be sitting in a chair and I'm busy. But am I getting things done when they need to be done without stressing myself to death?  The big answer was NO.

And why was that?  Because I didn't know what needed to be done. Isn't that the most ridiculous thing in the world?  You know how it is - if it isn't written down - it's easy to ignore!

By writing the deadlines for each new project in my little book, I'm able to review them when I write in The Task Master. See what I mean?  Simple?  Yet I wasn't doing that and I was always in trouble. I may still leave things to the last minute, but at least I know what needs to be done and can schedule it accordingly. And I love that the pages in the micro binder can be shuffled around if I need to insert a new deadline.

And on a happy note at this point in time, each of the next two projects are significantly smaller than what I've been working on so that's a good thing.

I did some checking yesterday and I think I might actually get the next two projects completed. They are for me so if they don't get done - no big deal, but I want them to get done. That's incentive.

Here's the thing - remember yesterday when I said - oh it would be nice to have a computer for the long arm? Well what was I thinking?  That time that I spend quilting is my quiet time to contemplate new designs for the next quilt and yesterday was no exception. I've been mulling over a problem for weeks and the answer came to me yesterday while I was quilting. I guess that rules out the computer!  Look at what I gained!

I don't even remember what I did since last Monday, but I do remember what I got done this weekend.

I had that rather large customer quilt that needed to be done - and now it's done and just needs to be trimmed.

Customer quilt - DONE

And here's the other end

Here's another quilt that needed to be done for a customer (a work customer).
Another quilt - DONE
 This is a quilt from the Northcott Artisan Spirit Shimmer Flight of Fancy collection. Comes in three colorways - this one was the most popular.

I trimmed the quilt last night and got half of the binding on.  Finished the other half this morning and made the sleeve. Will sew that sleeve on when I visit with the Monday group this morning. I'll put a label on it at work and it'll be winging its way in a box by the end of the day.

Sleeve is on and ready for hand stitching
 I quilted one more quilt as well, but since that one is destined for a magazine, you'll have to wait to see it. Technically it needs to be at its destination on Friday so I didn't push to get it done. I'll do that tonight and get it out tomorrow.

But even though I know better, did I do the most critical one first?  Oh no - I did the quilt that has a Friday deliver first. Then a customer quilt that can be picked up anytime and lastly I did the one that HAS to leave today. But by doing that, there was no way I could delay on the other two and now all three are done!

I did pop out for a few errands yesterday and to pick this up from Sonia who picked this Row by Row kit up for me on her vacation.   I love this row and it looks awesome. Thanks Sonia!

Row by Row

Well hopefully you're all figuring out how to best work for you in getting your projects done!  Remember it's summer  - normal people don't quilt much in the summer.  Some day!

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, July 23, 2017

A sobering thought

Yesterday was a super productive day.  I'm surprising even myself at how focused I can be.

We had a great time at the dog park. I've been told - "Mom - it's OK if you can't do everything, BUT you HAVE to take us to the dog park on the weekends."  It's a good change of pace for sure.

Finished off my book and then got one of my quilts quilted that needed to be done. I wasn't as fast at it as I thought I would be.  No - I thought I would have it done by lunch, but it was later in the day. No big deal - it's done.

I had some errands to run so made a list and got them all done in a very short time. One thing I noticed - I hardly ever do errands and if so I try to get out later in the day. I only had three places to go - all within 1 KM of my house, but couldn't take the bike as some stuff I needed was big.  The drivers in parking lots are maniacs!  It's a free for all and speeding?  No one respects speed bumps or the speed limits. I hate shopping!

Now here's the best part of the errands - you know how you buy something and it takes forever to do something with what you bought?  Not yesterday. I needed a new light for my long arm.  The darn thing went out a couple of quilts ago and just never had time to go buy a new one.  Well - it's installed on the long arm. What a difference - I can actually see what I'm quilting!

Old bulb - gone!

The ten bags of mulch are spread in the garden - need to make room for those girls in the back of the car!

The cap feet will be used later this weekend for a project - well might be more like tomorrow, but that's OK. And the plastic tubing - well that's been used as well. More on that tomorrow. Library books returned, money from the bank - and all my errands got done and items got used. Now I have two more errands today.  Hopefully the parking lots will be quieter?

Remember yesterday when I said that I don't procrastinate nearly as much as I used to? Well, there is one thing that I procrastinate about. Loading LARGE quilts on the long arm. This poor quilt has been in the queue for a while and each time I'm ready to quilt it, I bypass it.  NO LONGER - today is the day. It's huge - 93" by 112". BUT - it's loaded and partially quilted. I was hoping to have had it completed yesterday, but I ran out of time. No worries - it'll happen today and then there is a smaller one to load and get done tonight.

HUGE quilt loaded on the long arm
 I have to admit that yesterday I was thinking that a computer on the long arm would be a good thing. I had some cutting and trimming to do and it would have been nice to load that quilt and hit GO and I could go and do my work. Oh well - better start saving my pennies. I don't do enough customer work any more to justify paying for it.

I finished fussy cutting that other project that I need to work on.  It's mostly fussy cut - just the borders (which also have to be fussy cut).  About 1/3 or maybe just 1/4 of the blocks are done.  If you want to see this quilt - better come to Quilts at the Creek this coming weekend because the quilt will be hanging in that show. It's only 40 inches square or thereabouts, so shouldn't be a problem to get it finished. I know - NO pressure!   I need to check when the quilts need to be delivered - I will have to drop it off there - I think the store drop off date has already passed.  No worries - it'll happen!  I have two quilts in the show - the other one is done, but needs to be picked up as it's currently on display in a quilt shop.

I'm feeling in really good shape these days - quilt-wise that is. I've got my urgent list - well deadline list is more like it. There are tons of other things that need to be done, but the deadline list is a way of prioritising for me. That has always been my biggest issue - I can sew all day, but am I sewing on the right things?  I'm much better now.

So here is my sobering thought for the day. When we were doing our road trip last weekend, I spotted a kit in a shop.  Oh - it's for a travel jewelry case. I'm not a big wearer of jewelry - mostly because  - well - it's not all in one spot. I have boxes here and boxes there and well - it's an issue. But I'm going to change that. One of the other issues is that I have to remember to put the jewelry in my gym bag.  Of course - I could make a pretty little case which would make things a whole lot easier? Right?

This kit is perfect. The price is marked down - hm - is that $15? Which is an excellent price considering the pattern is in the kit, the fabric, the zippers, the foam for the lining.  EVERYTHING - well worth $15.

The jewelry kit
 I took it to the cash and asked the lady if that was $15?  Yes and she said she would mark it down to $10 if I paid cash whereupon I whipped out a $10 bill faster than the speed of lightening. Apparently this kit (it was amongst a bunch of others) was part of an estate sale.  YES - someone passed on and the family or friends are trying to get rid of her stuff.  That is sobering!   Because one day that is going to happen to me!  NO!  I can do it all in my life time!  Can't I???   Oh god - That's all I can say!

Which is another reason why I want to find NEW quilters to pass stuff along to - not the established quilters because they already have a ton of stuff. I need a new quilter to pass on some of my scraps. Who is new out there and local to me that wants the leftovers from my projects?  I'm not talking scraps - I'm talking the rest of a collection when I'm finished with it???   OH - I think I know someone. But if there is anyone out there who knows a young quilter or a new quilter who is local - I don't want to ship this stuff, but I need to start moving some of it and I don't want it sitting in someone else's stash. I want it used or I'm not getting rid of it.

I wasn't sure if I was going to use the fabric in the kit, but it's not bad.  I might get started on this later today as I'm feeling in good shape to get everything done. I'll see as I do have two patterns for work that I'm supposed to be testing and those are priorities!

Fabric in the kit

On that sobering note, I'm off to the dog park and then back to get some more stuff cleaned up and finished. And OH GOD - I started a new book and already 100 pages into it!

Have a great day!


Saturday, July 22, 2017

A tight bind!

Oh doesn't that title sound so dramatic?  Well there are no tight binds at my house, but there is a lot of BINDING happening.

I got home yesterday and sat out in the backyard with the girls. I was on my own for dinner (OK - I never have to cook), but no one was making me dinner so I had to forage for myself.  Such a hardship especially when there were leftovers in the fridge. Well, I think I mentioned at one point that I was struggling to get through one of the earlier Jennifer Chiaverini (Elm Creek Quilts) books.  I'm reading the Cross Country Quilters (her third book) and so engrossed that before I knew it, it was 7 PM.  Yikes - I still have a phone call to make and I've a lot of work to do!  Jennifer has veered away from the Elm Creek series and is taking a different route with her books, focusing on historical settings but still to do with textiles - like Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker.

One thing I will say about Jennifer's Elm Creek series - they hit the nail on the head. How we buy our stash, how we interact with each other, how we learn, how we teach - the real deal.  But this particular one is about a group that meets at quilt camp and there's drama (when is there not drama in a quilter's life?).  It's great, but there I am last night (reading before bed) with 21 pages left to finish the book and I couldn't read another page. I'll finish it off this morning.

But after my phone call, I got to work and between last night and this morning, this is what I got done.

Two bindings - done!
 Granted, the strips were cut and pinned together, but not sewn. Now they are done and they NEED to be on finished quilts and in FED EX boxes on Monday.

I emptied my way over flowing scrap basket and was able to finish off one more pet mat.

Pet mat  -  DONE!

I measured and cut two pieces of yardage for the backing for this quilt. The backing is now sewn together and this quilt is ready to be quilted. There's no rush - it's mine.
Backing done !

I sewed strips and strips and strips of this brown fabric together. The strips were cut and pinned. They are the borders for those constructions quilts.  Hopefully there is enough here for all the borders. I do have more strips cut because that fabric will also be the binding for all four quilts.  This is one of my UFOs (February I think). I haven't forgotten those UFOs and if it kills me - I will get them all done by the end of the year. But I had better start hussling!

Border strips - joined!
 Then I had another quilt top that was sitting there.  I had leftover fabric, none large enough on their own to make the backing for the quilt. BUT, I joined the leftover blocks and the different leftover pieces and got a great backing for this quilt.  It's also ready for quilting. No rush on this one.

Another quilt ready to be quilted
I had a little quilt sitting on the cutting table and it needed a backing. There was a piece of this fabric leftover that was the perfect size - now this little quilt is also ready for quilting.  I hope to show you more of this little quilt tomorrow.

Another small quilt ready to be quilted

Out of this fabric collection (Silent Night) by Northcott, I made two quilts. One went to a magazine, the prototype is the one with the funky pieced backing above. I also made a small table runner and you'll get to see that on QUILTsocial this coming week.  I'll be posting the links - there are some great tips and ideas regardless of whether you're in the market for a sewing machine!  The background ,the binding and now the backing for that small quilt are also from the leftovers.

And this is all that's officially leftover!


There will be more leftovers once the three items remaining to be quilted get quilted, but these leftovers went in the blue scrap box! DONE!

I didn't get the batting made for the quilt that I need to quilt this morning, but I have the four pieces picked out and will be sewing them together shortly. And I have to load the backing and the top.

That was a productive couple of hours!  I've said it before, but I used to procrastinate at so many of these steps - making the binding, sewing the binding on or loading on the long arm. Why?  No idea - it's not like it's hard. But the more that I do, I don't even contemplate that ironing that binding is a pain. Nope - I just do it.

I did notice the other day when I was finishing up another quilt that once it's quilted, it's still a long way from completion.  You have to trim the quilt, sew on the binding (make it if you haven't already). Make and attach the sleeve and sew on a label.  All of that is piddly boreing stuff, but has to be done. I'm getting better at it - most of what I work on these days gets completed (except maybe a business card attached instead of an acutal sewn on label), but there are a lot  of quilts in my studio that just need the sleeve to be finished sewn down or the label (that's already made) to be sewn down.  I'm hoping to get back to that kind of thing at my brief visit with the Monday ladies. It would be nice to get these off the UFO list and into the finished list!

On that note, I've a few errands to do today, finish my book, a TON of quilting to do. But I have NO commitments. I don't have to be anywhere, I don't have appointments - it's a "free" weekend. Yeah!!!!

Have a super day!!!!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Tidying up!

OH SHOOT --- the links to McCall's were not working yesterday.  Thanks Trixie for the alert.  They ARE WORKING today.  So sorry for that.

There are no pictures today.  That just didn't happen.  (and thanks to all who sent me tips about the bobbins - I'll be recapping on the weekend - I hope!)

As I was sewing last night, I noticed that my cutting table was once again piled high with stuff. How does that happen?  I clean it off so I can work and then POOF - it's full again.

It was piled high with the next couple of projects that I have to work on and a few projects that are temporarily on hold.  I put the fabric for each in a plastic bag and placed it on a small stool beside the cutting table.  Now I had space to work again.

Tonight will be a tidy up night.  I got that one quilt in a FedEx box and on it's way to the US. It should have arrived yesterday.  I realised that the next one isn't due until the end of the month, so I was able to ease up on that one a bit. BUT the top was completed last night, the backing is made and the binding is waiting to be sewn together.  I'll get it loaded on the long arm tonight.

I have bindings for three quilts - all cut and pinned together that need to be sewn together and pressed. That's a job for tonight as well. There is also the border strips for those construction quilts - they are cut and pinned together - just need to sewn and pressed.  Hopefully that will happen tonight as well.  I might even get one more top completed?

I counted - there are FIVE deadline quilts left to be done by September 1.  Plus a couple of quilts that need to be quilted.  So I'm in pretty good shape that way.  Remember, the quilts I make are not complicated - no one wants a pattern for a complicated quilt!  It makes such a difference to have stuff written down - either in The Task Master or the Deadline Book.  BOTH have been a huge help. I don't think I've ever been this productive in my life!

There is one group of fabric that I've been struggling over for months trying to find a design to make.  NOTHING came to mind.  Well the deadline is looming fast and I need something. I've been experimenting and haven't come up with anything that makes me super happy.  Last night, I was messing around with EQ7 and came up with something that is OK.  No more time to waste on the design - tonight will be cutting and stitching to try and get that one done by Monday so it can be delivered on time.

Once September hits, it's going to be totally crazy as we start to prep for the fall shows - I need to get all this other stuff out of the way.

I love these summer days. I get home from work at a decent hour because I get to work early.  I take my book and relax in the backyard. As much as one can when there are two very needy dogs demanding attention. And if you won't give them any attention, they start to do cute stuff so you have no choice but to watch them!

Life is good!

On that note, I'm trying to get a lot of stuff cleaned off my desk this morning.  Better get at it!

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

I'm officially published (McCall's)

I was so excited to see my quilt in the September/October issue of McCall's.   Here are the official pictures that I can share with you.

McCall's Quilting - September/October 2017

And do you want to see a picture of the quilt?  Here's a flat shot of the quilt that I call UP.


And here's the stylised shot which I love!  I think it's fabulous that the quilt is hanging on a staircase which of course will take you UP and see how the flying geese are pointing to the top right hand of the photo.

Fabulous shot of UP

After doing a couple of photo shoots with quilts myself, I can appreciate how hard it is to get a great shot of any quilt.  Whoever did the photography did an amazing job.

And if you haven't seen the magazine yet, here's the scoop -

Follow this link to check out the current issue of McCall's.

Here's the link if you want to check out my quilt specifically.    You can buy a digital copy of the quilt pattern.

Check out the spread in the actual magazine though because the editors tweaked my design for a couple of alternate looks and they really are fun!

And if you want to get the magazine, here's the information.

Subscription issues began shipping July 11, 2017. By July 25, 2017 the issue will be available on newsstands, as well as in print or digital download format on Quilt and Sew Shop

I'm thrilled to have my quilt appear in McCall's. The editors were fabulous to work with.  Thanks McCall's. 

The fabrics that I used in the collection are from Northcott.  The black background is Toscana 99.  The geese were made using Artisan Spirit Shimmer. There are multiple color ways available and a huge range of values/textures within each color way that it was easy to gradate the geese. 

I can't wait to get the quilt back to hang in my office. 

Have a super day!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tag - you're it!

I love my job. I love my hobby. When the two of them revolve around the same theme - well it makes for some long days!

I had a super productive day yesterday. I got loads of stuff written - needs to be proofed, but that's OK.  There was a bit of designing involved as well. If I'm going to make a free pattern, I get to make it how I want!  I hate leftovers so I managed to get this one design just right and no leftover blocks.

And when that part of the day was over, then it was time to load a quilt and get that quilted.  BUT WAIT - not before I sat out in the gazebo with the girls and read for an hour. That was the equivalent of my commute time since I worked from home yesterday!

The quilt on the machine is mine but has a deadline and I decided to join the batting.  I found three pieces that were perfect and pieced them together.  As I got to the end, I realised that I was about 4 inches short.  Great - math sometimes is not my strong point.  So I found another piece in the scrap bag of batting and was able to finish that quilt off. 

I made the binding and trimmed the quilt and left it for this morning. BUT not before I found those little labels to be inserted. 

I was up early this morning and got the binding sewn on both sides. The sleeve is made and I'll hand stitch that on later today. It should be in a box by 3 PM and out the door. 

But I'm super excited.  Look at that label!!  

This is the side that is visible

My name and phone number are on the underside

I'm super happy with those labels. They are perfect for an item when you don't want to put a big label on, but you want it to have some form of ID.  Now I realise that someone could just cut that label off and they might. But that's OK.  I know that Lorna's labels are narrower and longer than mine and I might consider that for the next batch, but I really like the logo!

Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts would be so proud of me for using the label!  And I used her style of quilting for this quilt.  It was PERFECT and easy. I found myself quilting with one hand, the other in my pocket as I walked back and forth beside the long arm.  Super simple!  I will do this style again!

On that note, I'm out of here.  A super busy day and I still have another quilt top to finish tonight and quilt as it needs to be gone by tomorrow!.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Wear Sunscreen

I'm not big on traditions, but there are some things that you just have to stick with. Case in point - our retreats.  From day one, the owner placed a wooden quilt block on one side of the house. Well that's a photo op waiting to happen!

I do believe that she has changed that block every year.  This year being Canada's 150th - what other block would you have, but the maple leaf!

Maple Leaf block

And since we want everyone to be in the picture, I use the timer on my camera and get a group shot usually on the last day. In the past, I've not taken or forgotten to take a tri-pod. Hm - what to do? what to do?  I find that the ironing board is perfect. So yes, I'm outside with the ironing board getting it set to the perfect height and then call the team out and we get our shot. I did use the tri-pod this time!  (And I think we did the same thing with our other retreat house in Bracebridge which is now closed, but the photo was inside)

Group shot

If you check out the Fireside Retreat website, there is another one of our group shots from the very first time we were there.

I laugh when I see this second photo.  I'm the one who is kneeling on one knee.  I'm not sure that I could do that now!  Bloody knees - need to do more leg strengthening to get them back in shape!

Yesterday at spin class, one of the songs they played was the sunscreen song. Here's a link so you can hear the song if you're not familiar with it.     Honestly - I think we should all listen to this song every morning.  It's so inspiring, so uplifting and he says "be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone!"    OH GOD -- I can so relate although mine are not nearly in as bad as shape as some people I know.   But seriously - listen to that song.  It's such amazing advice!

I'm making good progress on the two quilts that have to be shipped out later this week. One is ready for quilting after work tonight and the other one - well I think it's going to be a day late.  The first border is on.  The second border is 1/4 pieced and lots of bits of the rest are cut and partially assembled. The final border is easy and it's cut.  It's going together quite nicely and I'm really happy with it.

Today is going to be a day of pattern writing and testing a couple of them to see that everything is OK.  I'm OK with the measurements on quilts, although it's always a good idea to test or at least test the blocks, but this one pattern is a bag and while it's not my first bag pattern, I need to make sure that it's OK before it goes live on the internet.

I keep books of my patterns at work.  I have a book for the patterns that are free on the Northcott resouce page (on my second book already). I have a book for the patterns that appear in magazines and another book for the quilting tips and yet another for the articles (Tech Tips) that appeared in A Needle Pulling Thread.  I'm really excited about all this and it'll make a nice memory for me when I'm in the nursing home. I can see M coming to me with my books - "Hey Mom!   Remember when you made all that stuff for the magazines?"   I'll pat her hand and say "That's nice dear!"

On that note, I'm off to work.

Have a super day!!!!