Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Monday - creating order

I knew Monday evening was going to be busy, as we were having a family dinner at my daughter's to celebrate Zoey's actual birthday (Happy 7th birthday, Zoey!).  So I spent my lunch hour at work creating an Excel spreadsheet of what projects I have on the go and started prioritizing them.


It's hard to read here, but if you click on the picture you should be able to see a close-up of the format I've used.

My headings are:
START DATE (if I can remember)
NAME (of project)
TYPE (Quilt, Wallhanging, Bag, etc.)
PRIORITY (see below for explanation how I have prioritized)
FOR (recipient)
FABRICS CHOSEN (this will help find fabrics for other projects if it's stuck in a bag)
CUT (check mark if fully cut out, copyright symbol if in progress, blank if not started)
PIECED (into blocks, same as above)
ASSEMBLED (flimsy assembled, ")
BACKING (assembled, ")
BASTED (")
QUILTED (")
BINDING (")
FINISHED DATE (")

The last column contains a GLOSSARY of symbols and acronyms used, which will probably grow. Currently, it has the following:
© - Ongoing
10/100 - number of blocks completed/total
🗸 - Done !
LA - quilt by Longarmer
BG - Background fabric
SAL - Sew-along

Once I started creating the list, I realized I needed categories. The part of the list you see above is my priority category, in other projects that have to get done (or before I work on other things. The other categories are: 

CHRISTMAS
NO DEADLINE
WISH LIST

Now, how I prioritize.  Years ago, I did a course on Time Management when my employer started us all on the Franklin-Covey day planners. I need to start using that system all over again, it was a life-saver at the time.  We were taught to prioritize by A, B, C and numbering each of the items in those categories. We're supposed to have no more than 3 in A, 5 in B and I've forgotten how many in C.  On my list I have 4 A's,  4 B's and 9 C's. At least I have the same total number in A & B! I can live with these figures for now. 



In Category A are gifts I have promised but failed to deliver - these are my number one priority! All of them are at the quilting stage - pretty much where I fail. A1 is a gift I promised a year ago, which the baby will outgrow soon. It is adapted from Pat Sloan's Winter Solstice challenge last year. I had started the challenge, but quickly realized I was in too deep with other projects so I finished it off as a baby quilt.


I'm still going to finish it and deliver it, because it is perfect for in the car or travelling, but I am also going to follow up with one of my signature I-Spy quilts. 

Apparently, I need to update my photos as I don't even have one of the completed top. I'll update more of the list this week!

I've spent 1 hour putting the list together, and another hour writing the post, so I have overachieved my 15 minute goal on Monday!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Sunday's 15 minutes

Today's 15 minutes of cleaning was gathering together all my free-motion quilting templates and feet into a single container. My friend, Kim, bought a new sewing machine and we are going to learn and practice together, so I needed everything in one place so that I can easily bring it back and forth.

Then I pulled out an old project and assessed where I was at. I started Pat Sloan's Splendid Sampler Block Party and my last report was February 19, 2017 where I left off here:


I did make 8 new blocks in January, but forgot to take pictures of them. I'm still working on embroidering some of the blocks above.


I'm finishing these in quilt-as-you-go method, and started one block at a time. Because my sashing is 3 1" strips, finishing at 1.5", it has taken a bit of figuring out how best to attach them. When I made my first ones, I realized I can't really add the full sashing on all sides. Once I figured that out, I've started to sew the blocks together, by sewing machine on the front and hand-stitching the blocks together on the back. I did sew 3 pairs together before the project got put aside.


 Today I sewed two of those sets together by machine-stitching the sashing together. I had two pieces of the sashing on the right-hand side of the second block in the row above, and one piece on the left-hand side of the third block, and by holding the batting and backing back, I was able to sew the 1/4" seam. Next I'll trim the batting, fuse it together with a narrow strip of one-sided fusible, and then hand-sew the seam of the backing. I'll share that in another post this week.


I then decided I could probably sew two blocks together before quilting them. These are some of my new blocks. You can see here where I have attached the side sashings in pieces. I've also only added a single row of sashing top and bottom, as this row will be designed to fit as the second row. The backing has been added to this piece and I seamed it as individual blocks to be consistent with the first row. If this is successful, I might branch to 4-block units.

In between creating the sashing pieces and sewing the pieces together, I settled on a Leader & Ender project to do. More on that tomorrow!

Sunday's time in the room: 15 minutes cleaning, 2 hours sewing and playing with fabric.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A new beginning

All I can say is Depression Sucks. I've spent the last 3 months working, or vegging on the couch playing stupid computer games. Enough of that!

Yesterday, I finally did a recon in my sewing room and made a mental commitment to spend at least 15 minutes a day in there cleaning, and then if I can manage it, another 15 sewing.  First thing I did was to take "before" pictures:

From the door (looking south):


Better view of the south-east corner:


East wall (not really my happy place right now:


North wall (beside door):


West wall:



My room is on the small side - about 11.5' x 12', with an 8' x 2' closet with a 6' opening. Currently it has carpet but I eventually want to put in vinyl planking for ease of cleanup.

My goal is to have it completely cleaned and reorganized with a month. This also involves new shelving in the closet.

I spent about 2 hours in here on Saturday, about 1/2 hour making enough room on my ironing/cutting board:


I do the majority of my cutting on this table, as I mostly make scrappy quilts or cut from fat quarters. If I need more space, I use my dining room table. 

Once I did that, I cleared my sewing machines - I have two that I use, a 1947 Singer Featherweight 221 for piecing and straight stitching, and a Kenmore for zigzag and quilting. Now I can do my 15 minutes of sewing after 15 minutes of cleaning! I actually managed about 1 1/2 hours today!


First thing I sewed was a T-shirt dress for my oldest granddaughter, Zoey! She is turning 7 tomorrow.


I make these from youth-sized t-shirts by cutting the sleeves off, finishing the edge with a simple turnover of the hem, cutting about 4-6 inches off the t-shirt, and adding a cotton skirt of about 21". She lives in these all summer long.  This one has dinosaur footprints for my dinosaur-loving girl!  I had to leave before she got to open my gift, but apparently she was absolutely giddy when she saw it.

Check in tomorrow to see how I did on Sunday, and later in the week for a recap of Quilt Canada 2018!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Branching out

I've tried something new this year - sewing with knits! I found a great sewing pattern website, Love Notions, which offered a couple of free patterns for the kids.  I've now purchased a few, picked up some knits and started playing.


This is the Trendy Tunic, Size 5 and Size 7, for Mya and Zoey.  The patterns are a .pdf download, and I love that I can easily just print one size at a time, without having to sort through multiple lines.


Zoey loves to wear patterns! Sometimes she's head-to-toe cheetah print!  Mya was in twirly mood that day, so wouldn't wear hers.

I've always been intimidated by knits before, I'm not sure why now! They were so easy to make, and I even learned how to use the twin needle on my machine. My sister has now given me mom's old serger, so I can learn something else!

I got hit with that terrible flu just after my last post, so I haven't been sewing much. I hope now that I have fully recovered, I can get my mojo back.



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

18 things in 2018


I find that if I have accountability check in times, I'm more likely to get something done.

In the spirit of 2018, here are 18 things I want to do this year, not all quilting related:

#1 - Focus on my health. I need to lose about 60 lbs, and tone up, as well as deal better with my depression issues. As I approach the dreaded 60, I realize that now is the time to get in shape so I can have a healthy retirement.

#2 - Declutter. A couple of years ago, I split my house into a quasi-up-and-down duplex, and lost 1000 sq. ft of storage (but gained my daughter, son-in-law and grandson in the suite!). I'm still eliminating what I don't need and trying to find suitable storage for what is left. This year I want to get it done. 

#3 - Finish 12 quilting projects. I have so many UFOS, I declare 2018 the year of the finish. I've already packaged up several quilts to go the long-arm quilter. 

#4 - Say no more often. I pledge not to join any new QAL, BOM, or challenges this coming year and instead finish the ones I've started. 

#5 - Empty the overflowing scrap bin. I use Bonnie Hunter's Scrap-User's system but need to get cracking on the stack of fabric that didn't get done this year.

#6 - Learn something new. This year I'm going to learn how to quilt with rulers. I bought a starter kit last year, but never got around to using it. This is the year!

#7 - Use my planner. Last year I discovered the Passion Planner, and it works well for me (when I remember to use it). This year, I hope to manage to use it more regularly.

#8 - Come up with a Word of the Year. In the past I have chosen Joy, Nuture, Focus. I need something that combines all of those!

#9 - Stay current with my scrapbooking - starting with yesterday's walk!

#10 - Do more scrapbooking of my backlog of pictures (use up all my pre-designed pages).

#11 - Complete one Christmas project every month. 

#12 - Plan a trip to somewhere warm.

#13 - Spend more time with family (sometimes I have a habit of cocooning myself).

#14 - Rekindle some old friendships.

#15 - Pay off all non-mortgage debt.

#16 - Deal with the paper dragon. I struggle with organizing paper - this year I have to come up with a better solution (research digitizing and organizing)

#17 - Start researching new vehicles. It's time to retire the Bug after almost 15 years of ownership.

#18 - Complete the decorating of the main living area (after the big declutter).



Sunday, December 17, 2017

Head space


2017 was a tough year for me mentally, but outside of that all was well. My finances are finally in order, I have a retirement plan, my kids and grandkids are close and doing well, and overall I shouldn't have any problems.  Inside, my head has been playing games with me again, particularly in the last couple of months due to the Harvey Weinstein fallout hitting a little too close to home and bringing up issues that I thought were long dealt with.  Right now, all I can say is #metoo.

Although I know my sewing room is my happy place, I'm having a hard time getting in there. I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks trying to get my focus and make a fresh start in 2018.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Day 2, 31 days of blogging

New record - 2 days in a row! Made a run to Hamels today to pick up some "melon" fabrics, and also got some chocolates for my version of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt. Also found my Christmas decorations in the storage unit, after the kids said they weren't there. Think they were looking with blinders on!