Monday, September 26, 2016

Sometimes you don't know what you know!

     I'm taking a detour from writing about quilting for a minute. I love a reality competition show--I can't deny it! I was introduced to one called the Great British Sewing Bee.
Home sewers compete to be the best home sewer in Britain. As I'm watching I'm blown away by what these people don't know and they're on the telly!  Zippers? Never done one? Patch pocket? What's that? Silk? Never tried sewing it? Collar? How? I'm feeling very smart right now! I hardly ever sew clothes any more but I must have had a lot of experience in my past lives because these things are as common to me as 1/4" seams, stitch-in-the ditch, applique, and all the quilting techniques we use every day.
      Thought I'd share one of my more recent garment projects. It was a cosplay costume for Emma. She designed it and I had to alter and change a pattern to get the right look. Turned out pretty cool. She says the character is called Grell and honestly that's all I know!
Houndstooth vest and giant red trenchcoat. Wish I had
 a picture of the back of the coat. It has a huge pleat
and a giant black bow.

The entire get-up complete with chain saw made
by Emma.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

My latest quilt project didn't involve any sewing but it's pretty cool anyway

I just wanted to share my latest addition to my quilting "stuff". My dad and I made a portable ironing board/cutting board. I got the idea in a shop in Vermont,but I like mine better because of the cutting board. It was quite a project. My 83 year old dad isn't as with it as he used to be! I got the unique fabric at Hattie's Quilt Shop in Spokane with my cousins, Cathy and Dawn. Looks like this will be my souvenir from my summer vacation.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mini Adventure comes to an end

    When you live alone you just have to make your own fun. If you don't you end up old, cranky, and unhappy and I have no intention of doing that! So I create my own fun!
    Last week I had to go up to Burlington,VT to pick up Emma after her trip to Japan. I decided to go up Weds. afternoon, spend Thursday visiting quilt shops, and come back Friday afternoon (Oh, and pick up Emma somewhere in there.)
     On Weds. night I decided I was going to try different things so I went to a Vietnamese restaurant. I have no idea what this dish was called, but it was just chicken, steak, onions, lemongrass, and hot peppers. It was a different flavor, and looks pretty disgusting, but I ate every bite!

The next day I started at a shop I'd never been to before in Colchester, called Sunny Laurel Sisters. I was driving there and discovered an area I never knew existed up there. The village of Colchester is on Malletts Bay on Lake Champlain. I turned a corner and caught my first view of the water and teared up. I didn't realize I was so homesick for Cd'A lake until I saw the water! The shop was great and was my favorite of the day. The owner was really nice and I liked her collection of fabrics. I spent a bit there!  After I shopped I stopped at the Dick Mazza General Store. General Stores in Vermont are great places to pick up a picnic. A lot of them have delis or prepared food that are fresh and delicious. I picked up a snack and took it to this overlook for a picnic.

My next stop was the Yankee Pride Quilts in Essex Junction. I've been there a few times before. It has a different vibe than the others. I have to describe it as "old". The fabrics haven't changed, the set-up hasn't changed, the old ladies working there haven't changed. It is a more traditional shop. But I like old so of course I spent money there also!
Next shop was in Shelburne. The shop was next door to the Shelburne Country store so I was excited to visit both of them. I picked up some fun fabric and also some gifts for my parents so it was a winner! 
     That evening I picked up Emma and her friend Glynnis and we headed to Church Street for dinner. They wanted pizza BAD so we went to the good pizza place downtown. Only downside was the parking ticket I got because we couldn't figure out the fancy credit card meter. Oh well....
    Next day we had lunch at the Athens diner. I love diners and diner food. This one was Greek so I had a great gyro.Then we headed back out to Malletts Bay to the fabric store. I wanted fabric to make a messenger bag for myself and the building fabric is it. Then we picked up one of the most delicious apple pies I ever had. This will be a repeat visit for sure!
I have an almost obsession with text fabrics. Love them!
It was a fun mini adventure and I really enjoyed myself. Sadly, next year is Emma's senior year so there are only 2 more trips up there to look forward to.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Is it OK to mourn your sewing machine?

      I'm sitting here feeling kind of lost at the moment. My Bernina had a bad weekend and is in the shop for a while. I was free motion quilting and it started whistling. Not good. I googled "whistling sewing machine" and the best suggestion was to oil it. Well, Bernina users know that isn't possible except around the bobbin area so that's what I did. I took it apart, cleaned any visible lint and put a drop of oil. I ran the machine to spread the oil (that's what you're supposed to do) and then realized the thread had sucked in and was wrapped around the drive shaft thingy many many times. It was impossible to get it out. I ran it to see what would happen and now it whistles and clunks. So I had to stop immediately.
     To  make it worse I do have another machine that has been stored in Mitch's basement. Over the years I have looked for it and can't find it! Mitch is looking now also. But even if I do find it I will have to replace the foot pedal. It's electronic and has a problem--it has two speeds, off and zoom!
      There is another machine in my house. Emma's grandma gave it to her when she tried sewing but I tried to use it and it doesn't work. It's old and appears the major gear is shot so it is going bye-bye.
      And I may as well mention my Coeur d'Alene machine. It was a great machine and I'd use it when I was there. Last summer I packed up a project to work on and went to get the machine and it wasn't there. Mom said, "I must have given it away". Really?!!!! She has no memory of where my $500 machine went without asking me!
      I sent out an SOS to my quilt guild and a couple other friends and did get a referral to a guy who will come to your home but since I have been a very bad girl and haven't had it serviced in more years than I am willing to admit I felt it needed to go to the actual Bernina service center. That place is BUSY and it could be 2 weeks! I'm in mourning and wondering what to do with all my free time. I guess that binding will get done, huh? Or maybe I'll get more embroidery done on my crazy quilt? Or, heaven forbid, I might clean the house? (Nah...) or the crafting room?  So at the moment I sit and blog and pout. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day and the machine will get fixed sooner rather than later! I have a deadline looming...

Sunday, April 10, 2016


I just got home from an interesting Sunday afternoon activity. The owner of the Aurofil thread company was in town for a presentation at Emma's Quilt Cupboard. I'm a sucker for anything that teaches how something is  made so I loved the video showing the factory and every step of the process. I will never take thread for granted again! I am definitely not a thread snob unless I am doing a decorative technique. I love my variegated threads for machine quilting and my fine threads for some machine quilting, but now I am wanting to upgrade! The trunk show of beautiful projects was so inspiring. I am briefly coveting an embroidery machine or longarm. Plus we all left with a sample pack of each weight of thread and a color card so now I will be dreaming of threads. Something tells me Aurofil will be on my wish list next Christmas!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You never know where inspiration will come from.

Nov. 15,2015 (That's the date  I started this entry).
#1 Diagonal
      You never know where inspiration will come from. The other day I was awakened at 6:25 by the phone. It was a town emergency call about a lost wandering elderly woman in my part of town. The call interrupted a strange dream in which I was designing a quilt. I woke up and immediately drew a diagram of the quilt I had dreamed up so I wouldn't forget it. My idea was a "rainbow" effect using different sampler blocks.  I have spent the week making a huge mess of a rainbow of colors of fabrics. I have dug into every tote, strip, triangle and square storage box digging out just the little pieces I need. This project has been a fun diversion from the other projects that were heading into "Boring Land".
       It is now four months later to the day (3-15-16). Many other projects have been started and finished, there are new UFO piles for later and I finally finished the blocks for this one. When I started I cut all the pieces for each block and pinned them together to sew later. I got to the end and had 2 yellow/yellow-orange blocks left over with no idea how they were supposed to go together! I took them to a Social night and had the girls play with them and they all threw up their hands too. Next morning I was brushing my teeth and BINGO a lightbulb went off. I ran out and drew the diagrams of the two blocks I came up with and got them sewn later in the day.
     Now I can't figure out which layout I like best. My original "dream" was basically a rainbow from yellow to green. Then I started playing around and can't decide so I took pictures of a few layouts and now I'm asking for opinions. So this is a plea for help from my talented quilter friends.
(For the life of me I can't figure out how to place the pictures in a logical arrangement!)
#2 Double yellow Diagonal
#3 Rotated, blues center
#6 straight rainbow

#4 Rotated. yellow middle
#5 Rotated red middle

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Needle--Does it make a difference?

    This weekend we had a workshop at our Runamok Modern Quilt Guild meeting. We were trying an improv technique and I brought my machine for a group to use. It was quite an interesting hour! I sew beautifully on my Bernina usually. It had a brand new needle in it and right off the bat the needle broke (my fault, I forgot to switch the needle back to the center after doing piping). The only spare needle in the room was a Schmetz universal size 80. That's the needle almost everyone uses and I put it in. (My usual needle is a Schmetz Jean size 80). The first person who sat at the machine was sewing really crooked. I'm thinking "wow, she does not sew very well". The next person was even more crooked, the stitches were different lengths, and she was freaked out because the machine was too fast. ( I slowed it down for her, but she was still freaking out). Stitches were different lengths and crooked. So I sat down and sewed and it was really strange. The machine was not acting like my machine at all. It almost felt like the fabric was swimming around under the presser foot. When I got home I realized I had broken  my last jeans 80 needle and all I had was a 70 which is good for piecing but not really heavy enough for machine quilting. I put it in to continue with the project and MAGIC it was back to normal!
     I had taken a workshop at one time that taught about different needles and what they are best for. My take-away was the knowledge that a jeans needle is awesome!
     There are a lot of different needles out there for different uses. The difference is the way they pierce the fabrics and it makes a difference in how the seam appears. A jeans needle is very sharp and pierces straight down plowing through everything, making a straight seam. A ball point has a rounded tip, which keeps the needle from snagging the knit or making a hole. A universal is in between. A ballpoint or universal tries to slip between the fibers, rather than piercing, so the seam is less straight.
Our group's improve section--not really my thing
but I'm sure the whole thing will be interesting
These are the ones in my collection and what they are used for:
     Universal: general sewing, mending, garments, wovens
      Jeans; piecing and quilting
      Quilting-also sharp and recommended for quilting
      Ball Point: knits
      Embroidery: using specialty threads
      Microtex: precise topstitching
This is a good site to compare needles

It is probably a good time to remind people that needles get dull quickly, so as soon as you feel it snagging or acting dull--change it! After this experience I will never piece with anything but a jeans or quilting needle again!

Now really--we're quilters! This seam was done
during the meeting. The seams at the top were
done by me at home.