Saturday, December 21, 2013

Last quilt of the year…coming soon!

I’m well on my way to the toe on my second Fuzzy Feet felted slipper, then on to learning how to Kitchener stitch.   But more importantly, I’m almost done with my last customer quilt of the year…and it’s GORGEOUS!

Yes, I like the quilting design I’m putting on it, and yes, I picked something that took way longer than it probably needed to,  but when I first saw this quilt…well, I fell in love.  It’s just so peaceful.

I love bright colors.  I’m animated. I’m always on the go.  This quilt is none of that.  I’ll be finishing up the border tonight, while my husband is at work.  As much as I’m dying to, I’m not going to post a sneak peak of the quilting, but you’ll know what I mean when you see it.

Once this quilt is finished, then I can focus on my own projects:

  • Finishing the Fuzzy Feet felted slippers
  • Finishing a surprise quilt for a friend
  • Finishing the last round of my Pass-the-Bag project
  • Replacing the sponge in the HK-100 knitting machine
  • Making at least 6 hats on the knitting machine
  • Replacing the electrical plug on the Passap
  • Cleaning up the Passap
  • More knitting projects…check out my Ravelry queue!
  • Spending time at my LYS
  • New Year’s Day spinning
  • Today, though, we need to go car shopping.  Last week my husband’s 20 year old van broke down, the one he uses for his side jobs doing drywall.  It’s been very enlightening having only one vehicle, and truly emphasizes the lack of bus service in Boise!

    I’ve drawn a line in the sand on spending anymore money for repairs; there’s over 194,000 miles on it!  We’ve already put in more money than we should have, trying to get it to last until Spring.  For the most part it’s been a good vehicle, but it’s time to replace it.  Terrible timing, though.

    Oh, and my mom is coming to visit at the end of the week, after Christmas, so we’ll have our own celebration then.

    For those of you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy the festive atmosphere of this holiday season.  For those of you who do, Merry Christmas!

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    Sock Knitting!

    fuzzyfeetThis is my first "sock"!

    About 3 years ago, someone suggested that I use the Fuzzy Feet felted slipper pattern from to learn how to make socks and I finally got up the courage to start it!

    I'm using a double strand of Fisherman's wool where I took the ends from the middle pull and paired it with the end of the ball, and because I'd wound the skein into two, somewhat similar sized balls, when I got to the toe of this first sock and was running out of yarn from the first ball, I figured I should make a design decision and finish it up with another color.  What's showing as green in the photo is actually brown in person.

    Yes, it's gigantic, but it's supposed to be so that it will shrink to the appropriate size when felted.  It's a top down sock and now I need to learn how to do the Kitchener stitch to close up the toe.

    I've even cast on the second sock (no second sock syndrome for me)!  Last night I got the 2nd cuff done and I'm ready to start the heel flap.  I'm really getting excited to learn how to make some everyday socks now!  After learning the Kitchener stitch, I'll learn how to make toe up socks.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    You do quilt, right?

    Considering how I’m a quilter, you’d think I’d be posting more about quilting projects, right?

    Well, I’ve certainly been finishing my backlog of customer quilts, trying to get caught up after my machine had been down for so long.  In fact, I’ve been in such a hurry to return them that I’ve forgotten to take pictures of TWO of them before giving them back to my customers!  I never do that!

    Remember that I taught a Foundational Quilting Skills class last January through Continuing Education?  I used a Rail Fence pattern with sashing to talk about color value, contrast,  and practice consistent straight 1/4” seams.

    Two of my students asked me to quilt them after they were completed.  Both of them liked my freehand swirl design (I’m getting pretty good at that one!) and even picked the same exact thread color…but they look really different from each other, don’t you think?




    Lorraine’s purple, green and white quilt color combination was inspired by her frog border fabric.  She was so careful to make sure the directional borders were placed all the same way and re-sewed a few of the blocks when they didn’t line up like she wanted them to.  She chose a cotton/poly batting and it’ll make a lovely gift for one of her nieces.




    Carol, of mouse nest fame, brightly colored quilt is very much out of her comfort zone, she normally goes for earth tones, but she plans to keep it for herself.  She chose a washable wool batting which shows the definition of the stitches, and it feels like a lighter weight quilt, although it will work really well for all seasons.  She’s a bit of an over achiever, and was the first one done with her quilt, even before the end of the class!

    She’s was also taking a class on how to make half square triangles at the same time and also made this quilt for her dog:DSCF7510









    Personally, I think it’s too nice for the dog, I’d hang it on the wall!

    I’ve got more to show next week.  I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving holiday!

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    More Knitting Obsession!

    Kato-cowlYesterday I finished a very warm, beautiful cowl made out of  Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grand Hand Dye 002. The pattern is called Kato Cowl, by Rae Ann Vandeputte.  Her pattern is shown with some beautiful buttons, but I think I’ll be getting some shawl pins, or using some of my scarf pins, to add to the cowl.  I got the yarn during a visit to Seattle for a family funeral this summer and found Main Street Yarns in Everett, WA.  Unfortunately for them, it was the first day of their going out of business sale.  However, I took advantage of the sale and got 4 great skeins of yarn and a set of Kollage knitting needles.

    This alpaca yarn is quite squishy and soft, but once I got it worked up and sewn into the cowl so I could try it on, I found it a little bit itchy.  I'm going to get some wool wash and see if that makes an improvement.  Otherwise, I’ll be wearing it with a turtleneck!

    I can't believe I actually used something out of my stash in the same year I purchased it!  This knitted up so quickly, I think it's the fastest I've ever done a project!  I might have to make these for Christmas gifts!

    I started a top down felted slipper pattern yesterday to keep me busy on the bus.  I’m having trouble with it, though, I’ve ripped it out about 5 times now; the right side is supposed to be on the OUTSIDE!

    Sigh.  I’ll get it, though.

    Monday, November 18, 2013

    I Finished!

    Since I've been riding the bus, I've been taking my knitting with me. I started a hat for my husband and I finally finished it!
    I'm really a pretty basic knitter, I haven't done too much fancy stuff, although I absolutely adore yarn and and am quite fascinated by all things fiber.  I've even started up a yarn stash again, much to my chagrin. I certainly don't need more collections!
    I found this pattern on Ravelry called the Big Man hat.  For once I actually checked my gauge, and I decided to go with a size 8 instead of the size 6 this pattern called for. Now that it's finished, I really think I should have used the size 6 ...its huge!
    Rather than ripping it out again, yes again,  (I started this last year with a different pattern, and it was way too big) I decided that a little roomie is ok and I finished it up just in time for the cold weather.
    I'm considering making him another hat with a different pattern, or redo this one using smaller needles, as I really would like it to fit a little more snugly. But I may have to put that off for now, I have lots of other projects in the queue; I hope I can find the right size needle.

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Accidentally, On Purpose


    Well, what do you know?  I’m now the  proud owner of a Singer Featherweight….accidentally, on purpose, that is!

    So, I was trolling, like I’m prone to do, and I saw a listing for a 1940’s Featherweight…with a scroll plate, no less!!…. no power cord or foot control, no case, but a few accessories with a very low price.  So, I bid on it.  That happens a lot. Disappointed smile

    I got curious because I got outbid each time, and I wasn’t bidding scroll-faceplatea whole lot higher than the listed price.  But it was still a low price, and I was hooked, like the rat pressing the button for more treats, I wanted to know the high bid…I don’t know why, because, hey, I wasn’t going to buy it anyway, right?

    Well, the 3rd time was the charm and I was now the high bidder.  And there was still about 3 hours left before the end of the auction.  No problem, I’m heading to bed and I KNOW someone will come in and scoop this up ahead of me while I’m in dreamland.

    But wait.  What’s this?  An email from  I’m the what?  High bidder?  No way!  Uhh….I was only curious, I didn’t really mean to buy it…. Smile

    After about a week long wait, the box arrived and I….couldn’t open it.  I had to put in some overtime on the night it arrived, and I KNEW I wouldn’t want to open it and then walk away from it.  So, it was just easier to leave this big box next to the couch, unopened.  It was killing my friend, Julie, that I didn’t open it.  That was even more incentive to wait!  Hee hee, I’m such a stinker! Angel

    bubble-wrapI’d emailed to ask about how it was going to be packed because I’ve heard lots of stories of machines broken on arrival.  They replied that they would take extra care with it, and it arrived protected with a whole bunch of air filled packing bags.

    I could tell it had quite a trip from Florida because the outside of the box was gouged in a few places, and I was a bit nervous about top-askewit when I first saw everything; as I removed the bags I found the top panel to the machine, where the thread holder attaches, was askew, but ultimately everything came out just fine.   I’ve purchased 3 machines from,  so far, located all over the country, and they’ve all arrived in great condition, so I feel very lucky.  


    bed-scratchesSo, last Friday night I turned off my phone and just enjoyed getting to know her.  She was bone dry, needed both grease and oil, and a good rub down.  I even removed a couple of pieces of thread that had wrapped themselves around the shaft behind the bobbin case.  I’m suspecting those threads were the culprits behind the overall good condition of the machine, if someone didn’t know how tostuck-thread find them to remove them.  There are a few deep scratches in the bed of the machine, but the decals are in absolutely wonderful condition.

    I contacted my OSMG, Jerry, at Treasure Valley Sew n Vac, and he has the power cord for my machine, he just didn’t have the button control foot for it.  I asked him to wire in a regular clam shell control instead; I’m really not a fan of the button controls and at this point I’m not looking to sell it so it doesn’t need to be in “original” condition.I’ve been patient so far, but now I’m really getting excited to sew on her and find out what so many people like about the Featherweight. 

    bone-dryI tried to set the tension on it, but moving the hand wheel by hand just wasn’t working for me, so I’ll have to wait until I get the power cord.

    I haven’t looked inside the motor yet, either; I’ve never serviced a motor before and I’m just a tad worried about what I might find.   I’ll get over that once I’ve reviewed all of the wonderful documentation I know exists on the multitude of forums out there, though.

    And, since it’s 73 years old, I’m sure it will need to be re-wired; I’m just hoping it’s in good enough condition right now so I can play with it for awhile before I have to take on that project.   That’s another thing I haven’t done before.

    I’ve been patient so far, but now I’m really getting excited to sew on her and find out what so many people like about the Featherweight.  And, that’s the story of how Josephine, my 1940’s Singer Featherweight came to live at my house.

    Sunday, November 3, 2013

    You Never Know What You’re Gonna Find….

    Singer-Ultralock-14My customer, Carol, came over yesterday to revisit her thread choices for her quilting projects.  She also brought along  3 sewing machines she had been gifted, as she knows I collect vintage sewing machines, and had asked if I’d be interested in taking a look at them.

    After we confirmed her thread and batting choices, we took the machines out.  One was a Singer Ultralock 14 serger with lots of rust and the area next to the throat plate was missing, so it would be impossible to sew on it without replacing that part.  She’s not looking for a rehab project, so we moved on to the next one.

    A Singer Touch & Sew 758 was revealed when we removed the protective plastic bag she had used during transport.  The Touch & Sew line, especially in the 700 series, doesn’t have a good reputation.  The owners had so much trouble sewing with them, even after taking them to the repair shop several times, they got set in the back of a closet, never to be seen again.  They weren’t cheap machines, either.Singer-TS-758

    At first glace, it didn’t look too bad, a bit of corrosion on the throat plate, a bit of light rust on the needle bar, but those are easily corrected.  I was interested to open the top and take a peek.  Once I removed the top, I could see more rust, but really, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Still, I was certain I didn’t want to take on this project!

    Carol said she’d plugged it in and tested it out when she got it and it sounded terrible.  Well, no machine is going to be happy after sitting in a garage for a long time, and it certainly needed some TLC.

    That was as far as I was going to take my inspection, but, at Carol’s urging, Carol-mouse-nestwe took the bottom cover off to look inside.

    As soon as the cover started to come away from the base, I immediately recognized that we were invading someone’s home.  And he was still there.  In skeleton form.  Graphic images warning: if you want to view the corpse, click on the photo and zoom in to the lower right section of the sewing machine case.

    The interior was packed with shredded plastic bags and bits of sparkly yarn from Christmas past.  Not surprisingly, we also found that the wiring had been chewed.  No wonder this machine sounded terrible!  It’s a wonder the whole mess didn’t catch on fire!

    I was sure glad I’d put down some newspaper before I opened it up!  Gloves were immediately donned, and after I cleaned up the mess, I made sure to use several disinfectant wipes on the table and all of my tools, too!

    Carol’s last machine turned out to be a Singer Quantum LE from the early 1990’s.  It was in pretty nice shape, although it needs a new power cord.  Of course, after the mouse nest, I completely forgot to take photos of the nice machine!  Ha!

    Carol’s going to take all of them to my OSMG (Old Sewing Machine Guy), Jerry, at Treasure Valley Sew n Vac.  He used to work for the Singer Sewing Machine Co, and he specializes in vintage sewing machines.  He can use the first two machines for parts, and he’ll service the Singer Quantum LE so Carol can use it for regular sewing while her new embroidery machine is hard at work.  Jerry doesn’t work on the computerized parts of a machine, but he said he’s never had to on the Quantum, so I’m confident he’ll get it fixed up and sewing perfectly.

    If you’re in the Boise area and have a machine you want serviced, call Jerry, he does a great job.  His phone number is 208-870-8148.  He’s a vendor at the Idaho Indoor Community Farmer’s Market at 4983 N. Glenwood, which is at the corner of Glenwood and Chinden.  Several of the vendors there just moved from the Boise Flea Market at Cole and Barrister.  The new venue has a lot more space, some new vendors and a different feel to the place.

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Quilting again!



    Well, it seems that my machine is fixed, at least well enough to quilt with.  It still has a couple of quirks to it; I can’t quite put the action into words so haven’t called tech support about it yet.  I’m just glad I was able to complete a quilt without any trouble!

    Of course, I was so excited to get it to my customer, Lorraine, that I forgot to take photos!  This is the sneak preview I sent her, so you’ll just have to wait until I get a photo of the full quilt from her.

    This is one of the Rail Fence quilting that came from my Foundational Quilting Skills class I taught last winter through Continuing Ed.  I’m planning to invite Lorraine back to spend some time re-learning how to attach the binding because it’s been awhile since she’s been able to sew and wants to do a good job on it.  Not only was it fun to teach the class, I also made a new friend!

    In the meantime, tonight I tried my hand at free motion quilting on my Singer 201-2 tonight.  It wasn’t the smoothest experience; it seems the lever wasn't "hopping" with the foot and I was getting large runs of skipped stitches.  I even swapped out the all metal hopping foot with another one I had that had a plastic stem.  It's possible, though, that I tried something too thick so I’ll try a different project another time.

    Tonight’s project was a bag of scraps that will be donated to the Humane Society for crate beds.  Lots of quilters here in the Treasure Valley are making the beds but aren’t quilting them.  I think they’ll get all lumpy when washed so I wanted to add a bit of quilting and this was a perfect opportunity to try out one of my vintage machines.

    It was fun, too, because I learned how to drop the feed dogs on this machine, and I’ve been wanting to figure this out for awhile.  Still, I think I prefer the longarm!

    Enjoy your Halloween!

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    It’s Been a Busy Two Weeks!

    Customer quilt complete!

    DSCF7279I finally finished my customer’s 112” x 112” Double Irish Chain quilt!

    She provided a Hobb’s washable wool batting and I quilted an overall meander in the chains, a freehand boxy leaf pattern in the inner white border and a piano key on the outer border.  I used a DSCF7300continuous line stencil pattern for the design in each of the setting blocks, tracing it from a printout of the stencil using the laser light on the back of the machine.  It turned out great, and my customer really likes it!

    Longarm machine update

    Two weekends ago I spent a full day with tech support again and we adjusted the electronics on my machine.  It seems to be sewing a lot better, but I’m taking it slow because I don’t want to create yet another problem with the customer quilt I have on the frame.  Once I get the off of there, I can put on a test piece and quilt the way I usually do.  If it works, I’ll be back in business.  If it doesn’t, then ABM is going to see if they can route a technician through Boise to get this resolved once and for all.

    What’s New

    This past week my mom came to visit because we got tickets to go to the Gordon Lightfoot concert!  We had a great time and even though I couldn’t take any time off work I was able to work from home.  That was awesome!

    The Boise Basin Quilters quilt show was this weekend, too.  Mom isn’t a quilter and wouldn’t have had as much fun as I do when I go, so instead we went to the Farmer’s Market before her flight back home.  After I dropped her off I went to the trunk show lecture that our featured artist, Marsha McCloskey, gave.

    It was raining on Sunday and with all of the activity of the busy week, I didn't want to go out, even to the quilt show!   I went, though, because I'd ordered some batting from the Winline Textiles vendor.  I knew I'd enjoy myself after I got there, and I did.  It was a really good show and I got lots of photos so I could refer to the quilting later for some ideas.  I even got to talk to my friend, Julie, afterwards.  All in all, I enjoyed the day but I got absolutely nothing done this weekend.

    I've come down with a sore throat, which started yesterday, so I'm working from home today with a colleague and trying to rest a bit, too.

    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    Serenity Now!!

    Sharon-Lone-StarForgive me, Readers, for today is exactly two months since I’ve last written a blog post.

    It’s not that I’ve forgotten about the blog, in fact I’ve had lots of things I’ve wanted to share with you.  It’s just been a matter of time to sit down and actually type out events as they happen.  For. Two. Months.  In between all of the mechanical work I’ve been doing on my long arm quilting machine, and all of the quilt repair that goes hand in hand with a broken quilting machine.

    I’ve been battling tension and timing issues all year.  The thread won’t lay properly, it sits on top of the fabric, the thread constantly breaks, and it takes forever to adjust.  Then, in the middle of the project, it needs more adjustments.  Again.  I even replaced the tension assembly with a new “upgraded” version.  Not only has it been aggravating, time consuming and expensive,  it’s happened on the two largest projects I’ve had all year.  It even caused me to have to skin a quilt.20130614_195351

    What’s skinning a quilt, you ask?  It’s when you have to remove all of the stitching from a quilt so that it is no longer a quilt, taken back to being only a quilt top.  I had planned on only removing two rows of stitching because the stitches were bad, but in the process, I put a hole in the customer’s backing fabric.  I was horrified!  So instead of removing two rows of stitching, I ended up taking all of the stitches out and replacing the batting and backing fabric.  This is NOT the conversation a quilter wants to have with her customer!

    BigQuiltLoadedOn July 20th I loaded the double Irish Chain, aka “The Big Quilt”.   This quilt measures 112” x 112” and takes all of the space I have on my frame; I barely have any room to change the bobbin.

    You guessed it.  During that project, tech support determined that the timing belt on my machine needed to be replaced and I had to send the front nose piece back to the factory in Houston, TX to be rebuilt.  Bad that the machine is down, but you’d think it wouldn’t be such a bad 20130804_195101situation, overall, right?

    Except.  I couldn’t remove the part.  It turns out that the shaft that the ball bearing sits on was slightly out of spec and I ended up renting a gear puller to get it off.

    And later?  I had to use an emery cloth to sand the shaft down so I could reinstall it.  How did we determine that?  My husband had pressed on the  nose piece so hard that the 20130827_212234new bearing popped out of the machined area where it sits in the nose piece.  To reinstall it, I had to remove the entire hook assembly and position finger in order to re-install the bearing back into the nose piece using a 3/4” socket and a mallet, all the while hoping I wouldn’t break the seal on the new bearing.  Of course, timing the machine followed.

    20130916_204619Last night I also had to adjust the take up lever position.  This involves removing all of the covers from the machine, loosening the motor mount and adjusting the belts and position of the pulley.  I got out the biggest screwdriver we have to leverage the motor back into place.  I like the big screwdriver, it made the process effortless!  Tonight, I get to put this setting to the test.

    So, this is only part of what I’ve been doing this summer.  And now I have a pretty large queue of quilts to complete.  I sure hope I don’t run into any other problems!

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    Thinning the herd!

    I talked to a local woodworker last night who is going to help me fix and refurbish two of the sewing machine cabinets I’ve been storing in the garage.  We determined that the wood on the third cabinet is beyond repair.

    DSCF5326So, the cabinet for the Anker went home with him to fix the area that needs to support the sewing machine and in the meantime I need to start stripping the veneer off the cabinet for the Davis VF and trying to figure out how it comes apart.

    Part of the deal is that I’m going to throw in the Red Eye treadle head and irons that go with it; most of the wood is rotten and can only serve as a pattern for a replacement top.  The irons need to be washed, brushed with a wire brush and repainted back to their previous glory, but the treadle action is spot on!DSCF7231

    While I haven’t gotten to sew on the Red Eye, which is always my goal, I know it’s a very nice machine; when I bought it I was able to turn the handle by hand to get it to sew and have been excited to get it up and running.  Ironically, I thought this one would be the easiest and fastest one to get working.  Once he gets the cabinet built, which will take him hours, it will be an awesome piece.  Of course I’ll go over it and make sure it’s cleaned, oiled and ready to take on a new project.

    The upside is I’ll have two working machines that are high on my priority list,  I get to clear out some space in my garage, keeping my husband happier with less clutter, and someone else will get to share this machine.  That’s a winning situation all the way around!

    Saturday, July 13, 2013

    Handspun Yarn!

    20130713_182527Today I met with the Emmett Spinners at the Triangle Restaurant in Sweet, Idaho and my friend, Cheri, showed me how to ply singles.

    The pink is from Fiber Train 2012 and the dark brown is from Fiber Train 2013, held over Memorial Day weekend in Nampa, Idaho.  The photo of the yarn on the bobbin looks black, but it’s really a wonderful color of  dark brown that has a tint of cherry to it.

    I only have standard sized bobbins so I had to break it a part and ply them on 2 different bobbins to use up all of the brown singles.  That means I don’t have one long hank of yarn and I joined the ends with knots.  I chose knots for now, because I have no idea what this is going to become and I just want it held together all in one skein.20130713_185318  Oh, wait, I still have more of the pink to ply with brown before I will be completely finished.

    I also got instruction from Rhonda on how to set the twist on the yarn.  I was so excited about having come this far I didn’t want to stop, so after I left the get together I went to Puffy Mondaes and bought a PVC pipe niddy noddy.

    20130713_182919During the winding process some of the twist came out of the yarn.  Eventually I cut that part out and re-worked it and then added it back in with another knot.  Purposely adding knots isn’t ideal, but it was either that or lose out on precious yardage.  It only weighs in at 3.8 oz.

    Also, I was on the phone with my brother and didn’t have the patience to wait until after the call to research the problem on YouTube or post to the forums.  I really don’t have any patience, despite what I hear when people look at my quilting!20130713_204652

    And now I have yarn hanging in my bathroom!

    I had planned to spin more of the brown roving tonight, as I didn’t have the same amount of brown singles as I did pink singles when I started today but I’d forgotten my bag of goodies at the restaurant that included the very item I needed to accomplish this task.  So, it’ll have to wait for another time because I have a lot of quilting to do tomorrow!

    I can’t believe I finally plied something!

    Saturday, July 6, 2013

    A Perfect Day

    A friend asked me recently to describe what a “perfect day” would look like so I could recognize one when it came along.  Here’s what I came up with:

    1. Spend time with my husband
    2. Start the day off with coffee over email and Facebook.
           Note to self:  that doesn’t mean spend the entire day on the computer!
    3. Walk the dogs – this isn’t really exercise because they are Shih Tzu and have very short legs and can only walk about a mile!
    4. Exercise for me
    5. Work on a personal sewing, knitting, or spinning project
    6. Spend time talking to a friend

    It’s interesting that as I started making the list more and more items came to mind and any combination of these things could make a perfect day.  It’s very empowering to recognize and acknowledge that I have so many blessings and opportunities.  Truly, our mindset makes a difference whether we see our blessings or only our troubles.

    However,  I didn’t add more to my list above only because lately I’ve been over-crowding my days and over-committing my time and I’m tired and stressed.  It’s my own fault, of course.  I’ve been challenged with this balancing act ever since I was a teenager, but it’s also up to me to change this if I want a different quality of life.  I’m taking steps, tiny as they may be, towards this goal.

    Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    Round Robin–Part 2

    Every January one of my small groups gets together for a sew day.  There’s always show and tell with projects, sewing machines, and new hair styles, catching up on the latest news and events, food and, of course, the gift exchange where stealing is part of the fun and  I look forward to spending the day with this great group of ladies.

    Most of the time a Pass The Bag project is part of the show and tell.  This year, in the glow of the moment, I volunteered to participate.  What was I thinking??

    Don’t get me wrong, the level of craftsmanship, materials and group dynamics are great.  It’s my lack of ideas!   I’ve been stumped on both of the last 2 projects.   And, of course, I always plan to complete the project right when I receive it but end up doing it at the last minute.  And now mine is late.  Talk about stressful!

    20130625_201022I’ve been agonizing over what to add for my round and last night I finally decided on flying geese to complement the previous round.  I picked out and ironed my fabrics, leaving a mound of discarded fabrics in my wake, and got out my handy-dandy Lazy Girl Designs No Math Flying Geese ruler.

    Then I decided I needed to review the instructions and watched the YouTube video only to realize I cut my fabrics out “backwards”; the light color I wanted in the sky was actually going to be the goose.  Darn.  Big sigh.  What do do?  I continued watching the video and realize there’s a chance to salvage what I’ve already started and make half square triangles for use in the half-quarter square block (if that’s the official name for it…I’ll have to find a photo of the block and post it).  Awesome, I’ve got a plan!

    I’ve been working on the Rocketeer with my last project, which is 20130625_203003about 3/4 completed, but I just cleaned up the Kenmore 158.950  that I’ve had for over 2 months and wanted to give it a go.

    The video reminded me that I should draw lines on my light colored squares, and now that I’ve switched my project mid-stream, and I detest drawing those lines, I decided that I needed to use my handy Clearly Perfect Angles cling template to just get on with the sewing.

    If you’re unfamiliar with this tool, it’s a static cling with printed lines that you can lay down on the bed of your machine and use to guide your seams without having to draw lines.  I’ve used this template 20130625_210517with my dear Pfaff Tiptronic 2030 in the past with no problems, so if you look at the seam allowances on these triangles, don’t hold the results against the template!

    The foot controller on the Kenmore was rather touchy and it was hard to control at an even pace, giving me less than perfectly spaced seams; the stitches, however, are wonderful!  I decided to continue anyway, not only so I could get through it, but because there’s always a learning curve when you are on a new-to-you machine.

    Fast forward to cutting and trimming the half square triangles, and something tells me that this is still not turning out the way I intended.  They’re way too small for the intended design and I have to fix several of them as well.  So, now I either have to figure out a way to use the triangles in yet another manner or I have to start over.  THIS is why I should schedule my sewing time better!

    The project isn’t supposed  to be seen by the final participant until January so I can’t post a photo, but I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    What’s your favorite method of creating half square triangles?

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013

    Marian Drain Presenting at Boise Basin Quilters Guild!

    MarianDrainI’ve been so excited about the presenter at our guild this coming Thursday evening that I forgot to post a blog entry about it!

    I met Marian Drain at Innovations in 2010 and we’ve been fast friends ever since.  She’s an amazing longarm quilter and teacher who’s developed a style that brings home awards!

    I’ve been privileged to host Marian this week and we’ve been having a great time together.  Marian's had me busy with learning some new techniques, working on a new collaboration, and I've taken her to a few of the local quilt shops.

    Without further adieu, here’s the link for the meeting information:

    Saturday, June 15, 2013

    Happy Ending–The Final Chapter

    DSCF7104So, you might be wondering how the story, uh, quilt, ended after I found the binding fabric for the Lone Star graduation quilt.

    The answer is…Wonderfully!

    Here it is, all 98” x 98”, in all its glory, shown on a king sized bed.

    I wanted to give DSCF7113it a lot of texture, but I didn’t want it to be “boring”, aka, too old fashioned, considering this is going to be used by an 18 year old high school graduate, who is off to college.

    I used double layers of batting to take up the DSCF7117fullness and prevent the dark backing from showing through to the front.  Hobbs 80/20 was the bottom layer and I put the highest loft poly I could find on top of that.  I have to say, there was still a lot of fullness, and quite a challenge in some areas, even with the additional batting, but I probably would have been bald if I’d not taken those additional steps.

    I used Aurfil thread to stabilize the quilt, then changed to Omni thread on the cream colored sections, Glide on the stars, and even used some King Tut variegated thread on the center star.

    DSCF7114My goal was to highlight the star and minimize any attention to imperfect piecing, and I think I accomplished this goal.  I’m quite proud of how this turned out!

    I’m sure the graduate will cherish her grandmother’s quilt and I think it will stand the test of time.

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Improved Hackett’s Beauty–Update

    I’ve been working with a fellow Onion (that is, a Treadle On member) from Michigan to get a shuttle that will fit the Improved Hackett’s Beauty treadle I bought last summer.  We finally found a shuttle and bobbin, and I’m really excited!  It turned out that the Eldredge E shuttle was the perfect fit.

    DSCF7160I borrowed a treadle belt tool and got the belt installed, but the machine was really noisy, like something wasn’t right.  I was pretty sure the clangy sound was coming from the foot pedal, and as I was playing with last weekend, the pedal "fell off" the machine!  That wasn’t too surprising, as the bolts that were holding it in were at an angle, instead of holding everything in straight.  So, I cleaned up the metal bar underneath the pedal, got some Triflow in there to loosen it up (I’ll add grease later) and put it back together and now only a little clangy noise left!

    I tried to adjust a bolt on the pitman (I'm not sure if that's the term or not) to get rid of the rest of the noise, but it won’t tighten up any further so that’s probably just how it is. DSCF7162

    It was so fun to see that it was actually treadling.  However, there was an intermittent rubbing sound and I realized that I’d installed the belt incorrectly; it was winding through one of the supports underneath.  I disconnected the belt, re-threaded it, tightened it up and re-connected it, and, no surprise here, the rubbing sound disappeared.

    I also made a shuttle cover out of an old credit card, which is pretty nifty, so still need to keep my eye out for a real one.

    DSCF7164I also found some help threading it!  You can see from this side view that it’s not exactly intuitive!  I realized that I’m missing the bobbin winder finger, but I was able to wind a little bit of thread on the bobbin.  I’ve had to work on getting the tension right, and it’s making stitches, but they’re not as good as I’d like so I’ll have to continue to work on that.

    The next thing I need to address is that the machine doesn't lift up flush with the rest of the cabinet.  I discovered that when I push up on a bar underneath that is connected to the chain in the back it will sit flush, so now I have to figure out if the mechanism simply needs to be tightened, or if the chain needs to be adjusted.  I can't imagine how to adjust the chain!!

    I also found a 15x1 needle and got that installed, however, it’s not the size of needle the machine calls for.  I was able to make it work by moving the needle down in the needle holder so that the shuttle could catch the thread.  That could also affect the stitches so I’ll have to see if I can find a longer needle. 

    I am SO close to having it all put together!!  And I couldn't have done it without help from my new friend in Michigan.  I love the internet!

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