Sunday, 22 May 2011

Where did May go to?

Wow that month just flew past didn't it? I've also realised this is my 100th post on the blog. Note to self: keep up the good work!

I've slowed down in my finish it up frenzy, but I've still been busy. This time, it's been commission work, getting paid for my hobby, which is always good! I've been sensible and after speaking to the Taxman last year. I'm keeping notes of money in and out. First of all I was asked to make a baby boy quilt, which I did last weekend, but unfortunately, the battery died in the camera, so you'll have to make do with this rubbish photo from my phone instead. It's really not your eyes, it IS the photo!

I just went with juvenile prints, sashed with cream , backed and bound in blue batik. It was quilted in a large meander in a cream cotton. Cute enough, and worth every penny I got for it!

This weekend was Quilts UK in Malvern, but as there were notices everywhere asking visitors not to post photos to websites, I feel I should comply, so no pretty pictures. I have to admit I was slightly disappointed with the overall winner, and preferred the second place quilt, but fully understand this is a personal view that not everyone agrees with, certainly not the judges, and they're the ones who count in this instance. Maybe I should think about entering next year as I'm such an "expert".

I brought back plenty of goodies, everything on my list and only threads as extra impulse purchases. Two 7500 yard cops of piecing thread...a bit linty, but it's what I use for everything when I'm piecing. I bought the same offer in Birmingham about 6 years ago, and have around 1/4 of a cop left...I used to use it for thread basting, so amazing value in there. I also got some pink and cream FQs (no pictures, I've used most of them already), some purple sparkly thread (that was a freebie for leaving my name & address with a stand holder), border stencil design with scoopy swirls and hearts, to be featured in a Very Important Quilt very soon. I got a tiny brass stencil which I'm going to use in my labels from now on with fabric ink as a mini logo. It's 4 hearts surrounded by leaves, and I can stamp the ink right on it to make a colourful logo. Might need a practice first!

The best purchase was a bag of 50 reels of rayon thread for less than 50p each! I shared a "Two bags for £45" offer with a friend. She was the smart one and bought a thread box to store them in!

The other news I can share is I've been asked to make a pink & white/cream quilt for someone, in additional to the existing pink & cream commission. I think I've got a design picked out for that one. The previous commission has been cut out and awaits me starting to piece it. I can't say anything about the other Very Important Quilt, except I can't wait to start on it...or I could even say finish it as I pieced the top some time ago.

My lips are sealed until it's complete.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

final tally

Ooops missed my self declared deadline for finishes, but I've been working hard at the sewing machine. So, who's ready to see the big reveal and final tally?

I'm declaring 4 more finishes, with another one which will be done tonight.

Finish 1: Sashiko sampler. I bought this at my first trip to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, in about 2003. I started working on it straight away, did the green outer border and inner dividing lines and the top left square, then stuck it in a drawer. I kept looking at it and working another thread's worth of stitching, then back to the drawer it went. I'm really not a fan of handwork! When I set myself this mini challenge, I rediscovered this piece, and got it finished in an evening. I had to cobble the mount together as there were no square frames in my budget, but it;s not too bad, and even better, it's only pritt sticked together, so if I find a nicer frame I can remove it and re-frame it.

Finish 2: I'd not even started this piece this time last week, but was browsing through some old magazines and saw the cockerel pattern as part of a larger wall hanging in an Australian magazine. I've got a friend going through a rough time right now, and as she and her husband rescue ex-bettery chickens, thought (hoped) this would raise a smile. It's bondawebbed and machine button hole stitched, with small swirl quilting and a looped hanger. I've checked my visitors' locations, and haven't spotted hers in there yet, so think I'm safe in posting it here before I've posted it to her!

Finish 3 is my Basket of Logs quilt, the Guide trip fundraiser. All labelled and ready for taking up to them tonight. I've written a little note with some facts about it that they might consider as fundraising long it took, how many different fabrics, how many individual pieces of fabric. Of course, however they choose to use it is fine by me!

Finish 4 is that I sewed some binding onto the sample quilting piece for the Basket of Logs and am using it as a hot pad on the kitchen counter.

This will be finished within a couple of weeks, but that's all I can say about it, except for any Sound Stitchers group members...what are they and when would see more of them than any other flower? ;-)

This will be finished after the's half a sock from the Frome yarn. I'm not sure when its mate will arrive!

Other things I've got on the machine or sewing table just now include a siggy quilt for my daughter, a baby quilt for my cousin's daughter (needs to be done by Friday morning, but only needs the binding slip stitching down and labelling), I need to work up some designs for a kingsize quilt with hearts in for a commission, and also a commissioned baby quilt to make by the end of May.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter finish it up weekend progress report...

I'm declaring 4 finishes this weekend.

Finish 1: skinny quilt for the BQL challenge. Techincally I finished this twice. I got it quilted and bound, then decided I really didn't like the way the setting triangles "bled" into the binding. There was no definiate edge to the on point blocks. I slept on it overnight and oddly dreamt how to tweak it. Next morning, I carefully took the binding off, appliqued the mauve strips over the egdes to look like a slim border, then re-applied the binding. much better!

Finishes 2 and 3 were mini Christmas table runners/counter covers.

I'd totally forgotten about these as they were over the top bannister with another UFO covering them! I thought about a Christmas bauble theme quilting, but, to be honest, I just wanted them finished and out of the UFO pile, so in the end I straight stitched in the centre of each strip in a selection of metallic threads. I bound each of them with some leftover binding from the sweetie jar, and machined in the ditch on the front to finish the binding off. Not my best work by a long way, but a kill's a kill.

Finish 4 had already been in a show, but I realised I wanted to add in the ditch quilting around each siggy square. This was the quilt which was hiding the Christmas runners on the bannister. I'd done all the in the ditching, just had to bury the ends...139 squares, one pass round each one, front and back thread...that's a lot of ends  to bury. I poured myself a big glass of wine, took a deep breath and just got on with it. It was done in two sessions, and the quilt is now folded and back inthe store cupboard. I bring it out to use as an example of a siggy quilt. My favourite thing about it, apart from the collection of signatures from around the world is the rainbow shading of the patches.

The final picture isn't a finish...yet. It's a trial to see how my planned quilting design will look on the Guide quilt. Cunningly, I also used two of my less favourite fat quarters...the orange top one is nothing compared to the multi-coloured monstrosity that lies beneath!

Tea break over, I'm about to start work on the Guide quilt...I've had best part of a month to do it, and need it for tomorrow evening! Just as well I'm off work, and apart from a blood test and returning a top to the shop, have a clear sewing day.

I'll report in on Wednesday on how I've done with it.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

2 more past the finish post.

This is going to be a very quick post, life's suddenly got incredibly busy, but I wanted to share my latest two finishes with everyone.

Finish One is my Kingfisher which I started in a workshop with Anya Townrow:

 I'm thrilled with how he's turned out! I'm especially pleased with the shading on his back, and with how well the quilting went. I was aiming for a watery feel to it, and used a YLI blue/multi thread. I'll be using this one again for Hannah's Guide quilt.

 Finish two is Candy Boxes, a commissioned bed quilt. Nice gentle loopy quilting with free motion hearts interspersed throughout it in a pale pink Robison Anton thread. This should be off to its new home tomorrow.

And just because it's nearly Easter, here's a chocolate cake that Hannah made and iced herself. Not so much of it left now!

I'm on leave from work next week and with a combination of Easter and the Royal Wedding, I'm using 4 days' leave and having 11 away from work. I've decided that during my time off I'll be trying to finish as many projects as possible. I'm aiming for a finish per day but not all of them will be full sized quilts. I've got a couple which just need threads burying, 2 which need to be layered and quilted, 1 to be quilted, and at least 1 to finish piecing. I'd quite like to get a head start on my sample pieces for Sound Stitchers Christmas in June 4-Corners evening, and also make up a couple of notebook covers from the pattern I bought at Anya Townrow's workshop.

We'll see how the finishes line up, I'll count up in the afternoon of May Day Bank Holiday.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Being Charming

Last night was the April meeting of Sound Stitchers, Helen was leading us in ideas to use up your charm know those packs of precut fabrics that all go together, that tempt us at shows and in shops.
Yup, there I go...easily tempted! So last night, armed with a plain pack and print pack in an autumnal clourway from Strawberry Fayre and my machine, off I set. We explored HSTs in all their different settings, quarter square triangles to use as sashing cornerstones, and disappearing nine, four and sixteen patches.

I made a couple of broken dishes set HSTs and chain pieced another four pairs ready for pressing and trimming. No matter how carefully I piece, I simply can't get my seams dead on for making identical pairs, so rather than struggle and rip seams out time and again, I relax, press the block and square it up before piecing them together. Sure I end up with blocks a tiny smidge smaller, but they all fit together and I don't end up with a wonky quilt.

I took lots of projects along to show and tell...I'd been to a workshop, promised a fundraiser quilt and been asked to make one for someone since our last meeting. I've finally made the piece for the BQL Challenge as well. Most of these quilts will be on their way to new owners before the next meeting, so I wanted to show them off to my friends

 BQL skinny challenge. Needs to be quilted, and trimmed to size. Not 100% sure how to do it, but I need to hurry up, it has to be posted on the group by next weekend.

 Candy Boxes commissioned quilt. Just need to finish slip stitching the binding down and add a label.

.Guide fundraiser. Hannah's not back at Guides until after Easter, so I've got 2 weeks to work on it. I'll bind it in the blue batik I used for backing. My excuse is I didn't have enough of any other fabric used on the front. I have no excuses or explanation for the expression in the photo! 

I got home from the meeting to find a letter from hospital "asking" me to my six monthly check up and blood tests in mid May. Fingers crossed they all come back as they have in the rest of the year since my last op.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mothers' Day

It's Mother's day here in the UK (You know I'm never 100% sure where the apostrophe goes...Is it a day for all Mothers in which case after the S, or is my personal Day, in which case, before. I've written it both ways here, just to annoy any pedant reading). Anyway, I choose to spend my Day by quilting and sewing. I finished piecing the Guide Fundraiser top last night, and am really pleased with how it turned out. I'm especially pleased with the coloured log cabin border. Less pleased that it was only as I laid the blocks out ready to assemble that I realised I can't count and needed to whip up another 4! Still all done now.

I've pieced the backing, a blue batik, and put the wadding aside ready for sandwiching this afternoon. I decided to wash the backing, which I don't generally do these days, as it's a deep blue batik, and just "felt" that it had excess dye still in it. With there being so many neutral strips on the front, and it being a fundraiser quilt, the last thing I wanted is its new owner washing it and having blobs of blue run through. Naturally I didn't have enough of the mauve basket fabric to bind it, and the substitute mauve I found was too short as well. I'll be using strips from the backing fabric instead.

The other quilt I'm working on today is the pink and white one which I was commissioned to make for a former work colleague's step daughter.

It's currently sandwiched and waiting for me to close the pins and put the straight line quilting on it. Once that's done, I'll be using apale pink thread to free motion swirls and loops with hearts all over it.

The stash busting is looking good this week, as I decided not to count what I use until I'm at the actual quiltng stage of a piece. So two quilts ready for the machine, 16 yards of fabric used up!! Again, I calculated the yardage of the tops by weighing them. Smidge over 4 yards for the pink and white one, smidge under for the yellow and blue one. 4 yards each for backing.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

My stash busting is so busted!

It's never a good idea to visit a quilt show the day after payday, but I did it today! My local show is an hour's drive away, and Mr Kwilter volunteered to be driver and bag carrier, so not wanting to refuse an offer like this, I ordered a roll of wadding from Lady Sew and Sew...expensive, but no postage to pay, and the roll will last me a good year to 18 months. I'd planned to browse the exhibits, pick up my wadding and a new cutting board, then head home...How wrong I was!!

First some eye candy:

Just a few of my favourites in the show. The standard's definitely getting higher each time I visit. South West Quilters had their recruitments stand, They'd put an appeal out for banners to decorate the outside of their drapes, and our new group decided we needed to get our name out there, so made a banner:

I love it!! Jan B pieced the background, I appliqued the lighthouse and words, and Helen quilted it. Our name and contact details are on the back, so if people attend the show and would like to join us, the info's all right there. We'll get it back after the AGM in mid April, but the Guild would like to have them each year for their stand. I think the general group agreement is that we'll be making another one to hang at our own meetings, coffee mornings and shows.

Naturally, I did a fair bit of stash enhancement...numbers to follow in the side bar, but first pictures.

Bundle of 8 neutral FQs (stash replenishment) bundle of 8 dark FQs (because they were 2 bundles for £20). Metre of golf print fabric (stash enhancement, but possibly for a bag for a work colleague who's a golfer and going through a rough time right now) 4 sets of Moda charm squares. No excuse at all for these...not even the "Use Your Charms" meeting coming up at Sound Stitchers next month. But, they were only £5 each...I saw other ranges priced at £9.50 today, so total bargain. I've got plans for these involving the yo-yo maker I bought last month, and a bag pattern. Mini bolt of blue batik, backing for Hannah's Guide quilt

This pic shows a metre of calico for labels and hanging sleeves, a bobbin of fine thread to use in my bottom bobbin, 3 new rotary blades, essential replacement, a skein of sashiko thread to go with some blue batik to make a slouch bag with. (not the blue batik above, some I bought in Bovey Tracy). Diane Gaudinski machine quilting guide, I bought this for my former quilt group, and loved it so much, I wanted my own copy. The cutting board everything's lined up on is new as well, my old one was getting just too warn and warped.

Finally, the roll of wadding, not very glamorous, but certainly essential equipment.

Numbers going on the sidebar now

Monday, 21 March 2011

Another past the finish line.

Way back last summer, my boss announced she was going to be a grandma. Straight away, I pieced a cute baby quilt top for her daughter. I used leftover squares from a previous quilt, log cabin-ed round them with some stash cream, sashed them all with some lovely bright green, then came to a screaming halt. I think it was the long deadline that meant it kept getting pushed to the back of my to do queue. Either that or pure idleness!

I decided I wanted to try something different for the final border, and finally picked that scallops could be the finish I was looking for. I'd not done a scalloped oouter border since a quilt I gave to my parents in law several years ago, where the final border formed the scallops without any re-drawing or maths. This one was going to be different. I only had a small amount of matching cream left, so knew I wouldn't be able to make any mistakes.

A couple of weeks ago, I was looking on Amazon for a family history book, and treated myself to a book called "The Quilter's Edge" by Darlene Zimmerman, which explains how to draw scallops with the minimum of fuss, so this weekend, off I set with a pencil, pieces of paper and the baby quilt.

You know what? I'm really pleased with the final favourite part is the way I've got the binding to sweep right next to the bright green at the corners.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

What a difference a year makes.

Thank you to Mr C and Mr M, surgeons; Dr G, nuclear physician; and Nurse R, nurse specialist in thyroid cancer.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Breaking my workshop duck

This weekend, it was the regional day of the Quilters' Guild UK. Three of us from Sound Stitchers were able to get to both days events. Saturday morning saw us eagerly listening to a talk by Linda Chilton a spectacularly talented embroiderer, and after lunch was Anja Townrow talking about her quilting journey. I don't know how the organisers had managed to book two such excellent speakers, but I'm really pleased that they did!

Linda showed us some of her pictures, and passed around samples of painted felt, her children's Christening gown, and sample pieces of her work. She told us how she layers up chiffon to produce a misty effect, and kept us entertained with her exploits at craft fairs around the country. After her talk, we had the chance to watch her work on a piece, so we could see close up how she works. To see some examples of her work, do click the link to her website, it's well worth a visit....make yourself a cuppa first as there's plenty to see on there.

Lunchtime gave the chance to shop with Step by Step and Villavin Crafts...and I shopped! I didn't get a chance to get a photo of my first purchase, it was a roll of 9 neutral strips 5 inches wide. I needed them for a commission quilt, so they're all chopped ready for sewing later today. My other buys were 4 half metre peices of Japanese fabrics, and a gadget for making yo-yos...never even thought about buying one before, but it was half price, so why not. My friend Sandra bought the smaller size, so we can mix and match. I also picked up a few FQs of kingfisher coloured fabrics, ready for the workshop on Sunday.

Anja spoke in the afternoon on her quilting journey "From Tulips to Triangles", and kept us all entertained and amazed in turn. She's an enthusiastic speaker, and very self deprecating. Not what you might have expected from such a known "name", there were no airs and she was more than willing to point out mistakes and fudging in her award winning quilts. I'm so glad it's not just us mere mortals who do that!

The three of us were back again on Sunday for Anja's workshop "Pondlife". We had a choice of pattern, and she guided us through foundation piecing, bonding the finished piece to a background and applique. Hugely enjoyable, and though I've done foundation piecing before, I still picked up quite a few tips. We were also encouraged to sample some of Anja's thread collection on a sample applique piece to get a feel for her methods.

Here's my kingfisher,all ready to be appliqued down, trimmed to size and have his borders attached. I'm so pleased with how it turned out. I even got all the tree pieces from one piece of fabric left over from the fist bundle of bits that I bought when I first started quilting! The majority of the orange is my own hand dyed fabric, with just the narrow strip on his under belly borrowed from Sandra.

Monday, 28 February 2011

I'm going slightly...crazy?

Way back in November, Sound Stitchers had our first meeting. While chatting about what we all wanted from our group, Janet B showed us some of her beautiful crazy quilt blocks. We decided that we'd all like to have a go at a crazy block, and to make it a Round Robin Challenge. Janet showed us in January how to piece the foundation, brought some more amazing blocks, and inspired us all over again. We've got to bring our completed foundation back on Friday, with one seam and one patch embellished.

Now, I don't know about you, but faced with a 2 month deadline, of  course, I realised I might have other things happen so I completed my block that same weekend, and had it embellished by the following Tuesday.

Yeah right!!

See up there ^^^ where I said "Friday". Look closer...look REALLY close. Yes, that's this Friday. As in 4 days' time...eeekkk! Where have those two months gone? I pieced the block last weekend, and started working on a piece of tattnig to use a a seam embellishment, then prioritised a pair of fingerless mitts that I won't wear till next winter.

Finally got the tatting done, sketched in what I wanted to do on the patch, and delegated dinner cooking duties to my 16 year old son so I could embroider the design.

Here's what I came up with:

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Another non-UFO

February Lady cardigan. It's been on my needles for nearly 12 months! My first attempt at knitting top down, but it was straightforward enough. It's also knit in one piece, with picked up stitches for the sleeves which are also knit in the round. Loved making it, I loved the colour, the yarn (alpaca) the swing, all of it!

Yes, I know it clashes horribly with my top, but I couldn't wait to change to try it on. The buttons are hand made ones I bought at a quilt show, and are flower shaped. Each one's a different colour.

I've also made a couple of project rolls, after a demo from Sandra at Sound Stitchers, but haven't had chance to photgraph them yet. I've subtracted 2 yards from my stash though ;-)

Off to Truro Record Office tomorrow to hunt through the archives for long dead miners.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Enthusiasm overflowing!

I don't know if it's haveing counted and weighed the stash or not, or the side effect of having seen lots of fabrics I'd forgotten about, but I've been busy sewing this weekend. Before I forget, here's part of the weigh in:

3.5 yards of 45" wide fabric weigh about 1lb. To weigh the scrap stash, I stuffed a poly bag until it balanced the scales, recorded it, then tipped it into a box. Rinse and repeat!

I finally finished knitting Hannah's ballet cardigan this weekend, and celebrated by crocheting a dishcloth. Not much of a celebration I'll admit, but I would like to improve my crochet work, and who cares if your dishcloth is a bit wonky? 
I've also finally finished the extra quilting on my Dear Jane siggy quilt. No photo of this one until I've buried the ends, but it makes the siggy blocks pop out a lot more. My final finish is from the 2009 BQL Perpetual Calendar Challenge. I'd kept up with the rest of the year's blocks, but didn't get November done in time, so didn't qualify to get December. I posted on BQL to say I'd finished but too late, and Kandy who had organised the Challenge kindly sent me the December instructions anyway. I didn't get around to doing it straight away, fact I didn't get around to doing it until I found the instruction sheet in one of the many stash drawers. So today between finishing Dear Jane and starting cooking dinner, I whipped this up:

I loved making it, very quick to do and I love the effect. Even the zig zag edges worked pretty well. Imagine a little block like this with snippets of your latest quilt or as a trial to see how well different fabrics work together.

Off back to the kitchen now, to carry on working on my HST madness quilt.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Admitting it.


The stash that I bought at the weekend has led to a question from a non-quilting friend on a forum I spend a lot of time on. I mentioned I needed to put it away, she suggested I could use the bottom of my wardrobe. Now, I don't know about you out there, but my stash would almost fill my wardrobe if I ever got it all in one place.

In here?
Which led to the question of how much I've actually got...I know there's 18.5 yards left from Saturday, I know I've got 2 FQ bags full, an ottoman full, boxes of scraps, bigger scraps in plastics boxes and assorted hessian bags with oddments in. much does it all come to?
2 Drawers and the left hand cupboards in here?

I'll make a start on measuring it this morning, and hopefully finish tonight. Anyone care to guess what my final tally will be? I'll start with 60 about a prize for anyone who posts the closest to my total?
2 boxes under here
A few baskets and boxes in here too

Saturday, 29 January 2011

S. E. X.

So, now I've grabbed your attention, confession time. I'm supposed to be stash busting, recession, credit crunch, call it what you will, I've got far too much fabric, too many patterns to make, and NO EXCUSE AT ALL TO BUY MORE.

Sorry for shouting, but I need to make this clear.

So why was it that this afternoon between 12:45 and 1:45, I was frantically scooping up armfulls of fabric and taking them to the cutting table with total abandon of all my stash busting pledges?
Stash Enhancement eXpedition is my only answer! The new quilt group is going from strength to strength, and today we were at a local market town for a talk by Caroline Hall, who specialises in producing the most beautiful devore fabrics from her own designs. She produces the original sketch and the silk screen for printing onto white silk velvet, then works the devore magic, and finally dyes the resulting design. These fabrics are made into scarves, jackets etc and are simply stunning. Can't find a link to her website right now, but she's based at Totnes, Devon, and if her talk is anything to judge by, her studio would be well worth visiting. She was also selling bags of scraps left from her own work. I bought this one for a very reasonable price and am planning to make a crazy patchwork bag (or two) out of it.

Prior to the talk, we'd all met at a cafe for lunch, then I went to Spin a Yarn for some knitting stash enhancement (4 balls of Noro Silk Garden and a pattern booklet), and then joined the other ladies at Serendipity for quilting stash enhancement. Sadly, the owners haven't been able to find a buyer for the business, and they're being forced to close on March 31st. Currently, the majority of their stock is £5 a yard (not metre!), with reductions off patterns, thread and other accessories.

So pictured here, I bought:

1 yard each of some turquoise and neutral. Lap quilt in the making I think.

1 yard each of green tone on tone, cream shirting and brown tone on tone. Purely for the stash. Nothing planned for these, but I liked them!

4 yards of mushroomy small print, for possible border use in a HST quilt that's in progress.

2 yards of brick red small print. Stash enhancement.

2 half yards of pink and green bright print, ear marked for a spring handbag.

3/4 yard blue batik. Stash replenishment, not enough blue in there!

Scrappy quilt pattern. Just because I liked it.

A FQ of owl fabric. I'm planning to whip this up into a knitting project bag this weekend. Rounded square base, rest of fabric as the side wall, lined, and with a drawstring fastener.

2 charm packs from Strawberry Fayre. There's something planned for these, but, for a change, I don't know what. How mysterious!!

The new group, Sound Stitchers was the voted-for name, is a very much "hands on" group. We've had three meetings so far. Inaugural one with a bit of meet and greet, and some show and tell, but mainly discussing what direction we want to go in.

Meeting 2 was our Christmas party and have a go at machine quilting evening, 2 new members joined and more importantly, joined in.

Meeting 3 saw us starting our own Crazy Patchwork block, and another new member. Most of us had been at a talk by Ani Catt in summer, but didn't get a chance to have a go ourselves. This was our opportunity. We've got until March to finish our base block, then we'll bring them back, and start embellishing them before swapping within the group and working in a Round Robin style on everyone's block.

February we'll be watching a demo of how to make a project roll, with worksheets and those who want will no doubt be making their own for future meetings. There's also going to be a bit of New Group account, and committee officers etc. We hope to move to a different night if at all possible as there's a couple more ladies would be able to join if we didn't meet on Friday.

In April, we're going to be making our charm pack quilts, led by Helen, who is working on her City and Guilds Patchwork Certificate. I'm looking forward to this a lot...hands up if you've been seduced by the call of a charm pack, but lost inspiration when it comes to using them? This meeting is going to be all about how to use these little beauties to best effect.