I can’t claim that I completed all that I had hoped to achieve last week but I did get a lot done – I did not start an irrelevant project and I even decided on the design of the quilt that I plan to make for the Bernina stand at FOQ.
In addition, I had a Longarm pupil one day, assisted Ann to quilt 4 “Eye-Spy” quilts using Quilt Path and I quilted a shot-cottons customer quilt in EVERY single ditch then every horizontal and vertical line. It had to be done just like the example in the book, which was very time consuming. There was also meant to be a ribbon motif in all of the navy squares but my mind wandered and instead I quilted weird shapes that look rather like lips and tongues!
Despite all of these goings-on, I managed to get some editing done on the Ebook. I decided on a fairly low-tech method. I have checked for typos and marked them in pencil on the draft print-outs. I have cut out thumbnail sized pictures and I am going to sellotape each one next to the relevant paragraph. This means that I can keep documents and pictures separately on a USB stick, yet show my editor where they belong on a hard copy. We still need to film the how-to video clips but the end may actually be in sight at last!
Once again, I was asked to upload a lot of pictures into Dropbox and share them but my internet connection struggled. It took almost 2 whole days and I wondered whether to go to the public library to get faster broadband. I tried to watch “Outlander” via streaming with my 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime but it dropped out and got stuck after 5 minutes. It is frustrating when the internet chugs along or fails to load when we have all come to expect instant searches, uploads, downloads and streaming. If I can’t get the internet to go any faster I may not continue with Prime after the free trial, although Amazon’s free, fast postage is handy.
One thing I did not manage to do was measure up for a new Garden Yurt cover. It would be great to get that job done over Easter so we can enjoy using it again. I have just one week to make sketches and talk to sail makers if that is going to happen…
Leaving home very early, I flew to London to launch the Bernina Q24 longarm machine to the UK dealers. It is always exciting to experience the hustle and bustle of the Capital. I love travelling on the Tube, even during rush hour. I chuckled and thought of Paddington Bear when I read a sign on the Underground, “Dogs Must Be Carried”. I don’t suppose I would actually want to live there though. Driving a Landrover and avoiding pedestrians, bikes and London cabbies on all sides would provide an adrenalin rush every day.
The Q24 boxes were delivered to the basement of The Hilton at Woburn Place and immediately the Technician and I started to assemble the frame. We took our time, having never done this before and located all of the bits and pieces correctly. After tidying up the packing boxes and hanging some quilts, the machine looked splendid in the middle of the room. The rollers are configured differently to my APQS machine so I was a little worried at first that I had got things back to front. All was well and the red fabric looked really enticing. The machine was switched on, threaded up and stitched beautifully without the need for any adjustments. I got to grips with the functions quickly – it is possible to programme personal preferences into the toggle switches on the handles depending on whether you are left or right handed.
I gave 4 presentations on the Q24 with a brief demonstration and then offered a hands-on session to a large number of UK Bernina dealers. I was so involved that I forgot to take any photos! They were very impressed with the handling of the machine so hopefully it will make good sales in the UK. I am now waiting impatiently for the machine that is coming to my studio so I can make something to show off at FOQ. It probably will not arrive in time to make a competition quilt but I can at least make something to display on the Bernina stand. If there is not enough room then I think I need to make something to wear;)
I am definitely experiencing sewing withdrawal symptoms. Apart from constantly being asked what I am working on, I feel the need to have some sewing on the go. I deliberately decided not to start any major pieces while the Ebook reaches the final editing stages and up until now have preoccupied myself with sorting beads, updating endless paperwork and reorganising computer folders. However, I think I might cut some large pieces of linen just in case the fancy takes me to rustle up an everyday sort of quilt.
I am irritated when the same items keep appearing on my To-Do List each week and really must do something about finishing those tasks. “Yurt canvas replacement” has been on there for months, I want to make a set of rip-stop nylon storage bags for the Totems and the overdue Ebook edits are beyond a joke. I took the printed draft to London to proof-read during the evening but brought it back to Scotland without having looked at it. The pages are now in a box file with scissors, pencil and sellotape so I will take it everywhere I go this week until I have read every line and checked the labels on every photo. I also have to fit in 2 quilting pupils and a customer quilt so I must try not to get distracted by events such as eclipses…
I was delighted to offer Tania a strong jug of coffee in exchange for help to wrap and store the Henge Totems. It took ages to put everything back where it belonged and to scrub the acrylic paint off the printing blocks that were used in my class at the SECC. Once the studio was squared up again I felt that I could get on with my List…
Deciding to take a break from quilting and catch up with myself this week, I plucked up the courage to cut out a simple dress using a cardboard pattern from Merchant & Mills. It took me a while to understand why facings are necessary and I actually cut out too many pattern pieces. As usual, I struggled to comprehend the instructions which I am sure were perfectly adequate. I made no attempt to pattern-match the funky fine needle-cord fabric and I added rectangular pockets which are just a little on the small size for my hands to rummage around but it fits! I am a little anxious that the fabric might shrink if I wash it because despite its generous cut, the sleeves are a bit “nippit”. I would like to have a crack at a tartan version and will need to try and match up the lines. It really made me appreciate how complex garment sewing really is – my dress was not even lined.
Almost a whole day was spent on my computer working on my presentation for the Bernina Q24 dealer launch in London next week and then converting all of my Ebook drafts into an old version of Microsoft Word. I had decided to get a local printer to run off all of the rough text and thumbnails of all of the pictures so I could proof-read and edit more easily. I had to wait a few days for the job to get done but it only cost me £11 which I reckon was cheaper than using my printer ink at home and besides, I don’t even know how to run off batches of thumbnails.
I already wasted a lot of time trying to decide whether to install Windows onto my Macbook so I could access some sewing related software using Bootcamp. I showed my old Windows laptop to a computer expert who advised that if I just cleared the excess “junk” files from it I would easily be able to use it to run the Bernina simulator program and access my Quilt Path files without any further faffing around with USB sticks, new software and hours spent on YouTube trying to follow geeky instructions.
Feeling vaguely technologically-minded, I upgraded my mobile phone to an iPhone 6. The Apple Store staff thought my 4 year old phone was an antique. I found it amazing that all of the stuff on my original phone was on “The Cloud” so when I switched on the new phone EVERYTHING was there, like Magic. I have already noticed that it is much faster and hopefully I will benefit from a much improved signal. Sometimes the old phone would hold onto messages for days or just not ring at all.
I started a fantastically boring but therapeutic job which was to sort out all of the beads that I had haphazardly chucked into plastic boxes while working on my Totems. I purchased a 60 compartment box at the SECC last week and it was oddly satisfying to segregate all of the different colours and sizes.
On the way home from the girls’ piano lesson I spotted a large, empty cable reel in a ditch and to their horror I stopped to retrieve it. I had to climb a fence and roll it until I found a gate but with their help I loaded it into the Landy. I have always hankered after a cable reel as a garden table. I might even wrap some rope around it to make it look like a giant bobbin.
All in all, it was another week in which I dealt with “stuff”, grappled with mind boggling technology then started all over again making a new list for next week…
Monday was spent figuratively girding my loins and preparing for the trip to SECC Glasgow with the Yurt, Coracle and Henge. Freya looked disgusted that the totems had all been taken off their shelves and she dreads putting them all back again next week.
The whole family travelled to Dunfermline in Fife for my Uncle’s funeral on Tuesday. Despite it being a sad occasion, it was nice to reconnect with long-lost family and friends. My folks will be relieved to return to their own lives after a few difficult weeks.
Sat-Nav lady shouted at me after I had ignored her for several junctions and navigated me to the SECC via the East End of Glasgow in my huge white van. I was given 3 helpful but clueless guys to help me set up the Yurt. Two rafters got broken and mended but the structure was eventually made sound, although a touch wonky. No wonder it has only been erected a handful of times since 2010!
It is so gratifying to hear the wonder and amazement of quilt show visitors who cannot believe the scale and audacity of The Quilted Yurt. It was wonderful to have enough space to display the Henge and Coracle next to it. I just wish that a museum would offer to curate the entire collection so it does not have to be stored in bubble-warp in my garage most of the time.
I met up with Ellen and enjoyed a wonderful curry in Glasgow’s South Side. We had intended to trawl the sari shops but forget that they would close early for Friday prayers. I set her the task of tracking down some family history as she is a bit of a genealogy whizz. It was fascinating to find out more about my Grandfather who lived in the Gorbals of Glasgow in the 1920’s.
My non-machine quilting classes at the show seemed to go down well. They were more like a stand-up comedy routine. I kept telling my pupils that there are no rules and they could just do whatever took their fancy. This show looks like it could grow and develop at the SECC. It should double in size next year and I think it is a really good venue. My hotel overlooking the Clyde was lovely and if I had been more on the ball I could have booked tickets for all sorts of music events at The Hydro.
“Bifrost” did not win a prize at the show. It was well lit and looked pretty good but was overlooked in favour of simpler, less complicated pieces. Ellen has given me “permission” not to work on a major project this year. I need to concentrate on completing the Ebook and work on some samples for Bernina. I had good intentions to work on book edits in the hotel each evening but I was so tired that I just watched a bit of inane telly then fell asleep.
On a busy final day the visitors continued to be very complimentary about all of my pieces and wondered why I had not managed to find a museum home for them. I managed to tear down the yurt quickly with the help of a couple of porters and drove the van away at 6pm, completing my drive north in 3 hours. I spent the whole of the next day tidying everything away and was delighted to get help from Tania in exchange for a couple of strong mugs of coffee. Now to crack on with one of my lengthy To-Do lists…
With a postal deadline looming, I could only add glassy beads to the main circular section of “Bifrost Bridges”. I will decide later if it needs to be totally encrusted but the main thing was that it was finished, bound, blocked, labelled and therefore as good as it was going to get before being sent to Glasgow.
Facebook notifications informed me that other quilters had received the good news that their entries had been successfully juried into AQS Paducah. I was disappointed that “Dunes Duet” was not selected – I know it has been successful elsewhere but I had really wanted to see it hanging there when I visit the show in April. Philosophically, I know that “you can’t win them all”. Now I feel that I need something bold and fresh to work on to rekindle my excitement. I have a few ideas but can’t decide which to run with. I am frustrated that I have all sorts of pieces just sitting bubble-wrapped up in my workshop because they are too bulky to ship or just don’t suit most quilt show categories.
I travelled to Falkirk and back in one day to give a talk with a Powerpoint presentation followed by Show & Tell. I could not remember whether I had ever properly tested the digital projector that I bought on Ebay and I faffed around all morning before I left trying to get it to connect to my laptop without any instructions. Luckily, I have another neat one that does the job but the higher-spec one was meant to provide a bigger picture and sound. I think I will challenge Fergus to see if he can get it to work;)
I cut out 40 kits for my classes at ICHF Glasgow then spent far more time than I should have making up a sample. The classes will only be around 1 hour long and the students will not have access to sewing machines so I doubt whether anyone will complete their project. The finished cover has a simple zigzagged outer edge that any basic sewing machine should manage to do. I wanted to check the fit because the Pink Pig notebooks have a much larger wire spiral binding than the Red and Blacks that I normally use.
My Google history for last week informs me that I spent some time browsing goose-down jackets, violin cases, flights to London, electronic scanner/cutters, projector instructions, and that I took an online quiz confirming that my head is full of useless information.
I spent a couple of days catching up with my folks. My Mother has been in Scotland for several weeks nursing her brother in the final stages of cancer. Sadly, he passed away last weekend so we will be attending his funeral next week.
Later that evening, I will pick up a hired van to load it up with the Yurt, Coracle and Totems ready for the exhibition at the SECC in Glasgow. I dread the exhibition setup and tear-down afterwards but I always enjoy talking to the visitors. In the evenings I hope to catch up with Ellen and get on with some more of my Ebook edits. I am keen to reach the point where the only part left to complete is the videography…