Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Handel sound effect
I am feeling so much relief at this moment. If you clicked on the link above you know what music is playing in my head. My son completed his Eagle project and finished all the paperwork and got all the proper signatures in the proper places on the proper forms and dropped it off at the Scout office by noon today. He still has to go before the Eagle committee for his board of review which itself is stressful but I was so nervous that something would go wrong and we would run out of time. His 18th birthday is Sunday and  in scouting that means you are now adult.
I think an Eagle quilt  would be a nice gift. Stay tuned.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I am not stressed she said as her left eye twitched spastically....

I am trying to finish up my Christmas shopping today so I can start my holiday baking. I also want to clean up the house before Thursday so no quilting going on at this time. Hopefully you are all done and just chillin' out (yeah right!). I'll be back soon....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yesterday was one of those intense, mentally draining days. But when it was over three things were accomplished. My son finished work on two merit badges he needs for his Eagle award. In order to recieve an Eagle award one of the requirements is to earn 21 merit badges. You also have to plan and carry out a service project. All the requirements must be finished completely before your eighteenth birthday, which for my son is in 18 days!  Procrastination has led to just a wee bit of stress and testiness on the scout and his mother and father.

The other project finished yesterday was the binding on my brother's quilt. I gave him this quilt for Christmas 2007! I had too many projects going that year and was unable to finish. If you have been following along you know about my cantankerous Singer. Well half way through the machine quilting with nylon thread the Singer decides it does not like Mr. Nylon thread (and still doesn't) so the quilt was stashed for awhile. To make a long story short I finally finished the quilting using So Fine. I am usually a perfectionist but this quilt is far, far from perfect but I forged ahead and tonight it is on his bed! The pattern is Judy Martin's Shakespeare in the Park from The Creative Pattern Book. And its on sale now for $9.95!
The third to-do done is the heel on my son's Christmas stocking. I had to take a break from knitting and I don't know if I was rusty or if the directions were a little vague but after ripping it out 3 times I finally figured it out. The foot part is a piece of cake so he should have it by Christmas Eve. (fingers crossed). I'll post a pic when I get a chance meanwhile check it out here Annie's Woolens.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nuts and Bolts

"Generalised anger and frustration is something that gets you in the studio, and gets you to work - though it's not necessarily evident in anything that's finished. "
Bruce Nauman

I spent over an hour and a half playing around with my old Singer machine last night. I even opened her up and cleaned the underside!

Normally after trying a couple of things I would give up in frustration and go look at Berninas on the internet. But last night I stayed calm and just kept trying different things. I ended up changing from the Superior titanium coated topstitch #80 needle to a Shmetz microtex sharp #90. I tweaked the tension to be a little looser and  I was very happy with the stitches. No more shredded thread or skipped stitches. My Singer doesn't have a tension dial because the tension is supposed to adjust automatically but it does have a slider to tighten or loosen the tension.
 Now I need to work on my McTavishing. I guess I should have practised on paper first but as you can see I didn't get very far on the border so I don't think it will show to much.

Well I am off to do some more Christmas shopping so the sewing will have to wait until later.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some days are better than others

Ten days till Christmas Eve! At least this year I am not trying to finish quilts. My granddaughter's quilt top was finished a few weeks ago and I might have tried to finish it but  the batik I used for the sashing discharged color all over the quilt top when I wet it to remove the papers from the applique. I usually wash all my fabrics but I suppose this one slipped by. Once it is quilted it may not look as bad but for now I can't stand to look at it.

Saturday I finished quilting the blocks in Molly's Meadow and started ditch quilting around the applique. Because the border is red I chose a red 50 weight thread by Superior (John Flynn) and used a 50 weight cotton in the bobbin in beige. Lets just say the sewing session did not go well. The top thread started to shred and skip stitches. I tried all the usual: new needle, adust tension, clean the bobbin case, switched to a different red thread (sigh). Today I will try using the single hole throat plate, but I have had problems in the past using that. I'll let you know how it goes.
I have also been working on some new designs but I will save those for a another day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Popcorn and a Movie

I just received two of Karen McTavish's books The Secrets of Elemental Quilting and Mastering the Art of McTavishing and watched the DVD's last night.I think I like DVDs. Karen shows how she marks and demonstrates McTavishing on the long arm. She also interviews a hand quilter and a domestic machine quilter.The Secrets of Elemental Quilting is about choosing designs and placement for trapunto and whole cloth quilts.I enjoyed both and will use some of the techniques. Definitely worth the money.

After ChristmasI think I'll order some DVDs from Patsy Thompson Designs . Has anyone watched her DVDs?
I have almost finished machine quilting the center on my Molly's Meadow quilt by Kim Diehl . I am using Bottom Line thread in the bobbin and in the top and the new Titanium coated needles from Superior Threads. Sweet! One of these days I'll tell you about my struggles with my 25 year old Singer!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cheap sewing table

I have to thank Marguerita McManus for her video on building a cheap sewing table.

I had become so frustrated trying to machine quilt at the kitchen table with a pile of books and a homemade plexiglass table. The table was too high the books slid around and the quilt got caught on the edge of the plexiglass.

I found Marguerita's video and was determined to make my own. I found my tables at BJ's Wholesale for $45 each ( I bought 2) and the insulation foam at Lowe's for $35. The vinyl I found a Walmart before they went "super" and got rid of half their stuff. So altogether I spent about $131.

The table works perfectly! It is the right height and size. The vinyl is nice and slick. My quilts slide so easy. No more pulling and wrestling. No more broken needles. Thank you Marguerita.