Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I’ve Been SEW busy!!

Too busy, in fact!!

I just completed a “go live” system conversion at work.

I’m implementing a “go live” conversion of the quilt guild website.

I’m teaching a volunteer quilting class through Community Education.

I have 4, count ‘em, four, customer quilts to complete, and the thread is breaking (cutting) every few inches now that I’ve changed to So Fine thread, and I’m thinking I need to re-time my long arm.  I’ve done it before, but it just takes time!

Improved Hackett's BeautyI need to celebrate my 15th wedding anniversary, work on taxes, work on my own quilts, clean up at least 3 more machines that have joined the sewing machine farm, and just take a breath.

So, here’s the latest one.  She’s so unusual!  I’m considering calling DSCF6567her “Belle” because this badged National and/or Eldredge is called Hackett’s Improved Beauty.  Get it?  Beauty and the Beast?  And yet, I’m just not sure…this one is so unusual, and I want something spectacular!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Playing Catch Up, Bindings and Bamboo

Well, I’ve been down with the flu this week, I hope everyone else out there is either avoiding others or has gotten their flu shot.  Me, I’m allergic to the preservative in the shot and I’m frontaverse to live, even though attenuated, viruses going up my nose.  So, I’ve never gotten a vaccination, but I will next year.  I lost 3 days of work and I’m still fighting this bug.

Before I got sick, though, I’d been working on trying to finish up some samples to show customers how different battings will work up.  It seems that even though I’ve used Winline’s 100% bamboo batting in a lot of my projects, I don’t have anything to show anyone!  How can I explain why I like it so much if I don’t have any samples?  So, I started with a panel, some flannel, and some bamboo batting, then started experimenting with some quilt designs using Superior’s King Tut on the top and So Fine! in the bobbin, and voilá, a sample is born.

I think that’s my all time favorite quilting combination for variegated thread.  Aurifil is my all time favorite piecing thread, but I’ve used it for quilting, too, and it’s absolutely beautiful.  I only have one weight of it, so it’s not a fair comparison between King Tut, though.  For some reason I tend to “save” the Aurifil because I regard it as special.  There I go again, “saving” the special stuff!  But, I digress!

I also wanted to experiment with my left-homed Kenmore to see if I could use it as my go-to binding machine.  I really dislike binding quilts, I want to get back to the fun part!  So, I backthought that if I can come up with a no-brainer method that will  make the process more fun, like using a vintage sewing machine, I would stop dreading that step.  No, I don’t hand sew my bindings unless it’s a very special quilt.

I tend to use 2 1/2” binding because it’s easy to cut.  I’ve recently read that skinny binding, being somewhat desirable, is cut at 2 1/4”, but then, the quilt police don’t live at my house.  The default setting on the Kenmore is a 3/8'” seam so I just sewed away.  You know, going for that no-brainer method.  It worked pretty well, too, hiding most of the seam on the back in the ditch, which is the best looking, or on the binding itself, but I don’t think I sewed my best seam (or something) because I got a lot of seam showing on the back.  I was probably rushing, and no, I didn’t do any pre-testing.  Hey, it’s binding, after all!

jungle-panel-back-binding1The quilt is now all washed and it’s very soft and cuddly!  And no one is really looking at the back of the binding, either.  That was also part of my experiment.  How much of it would disappear from sight once I stop inspecting it so closely?

I have another sample ready for binding, too, but it will have to wait until I have more time…March, maybe?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sewing Machine Farm

A friend of mine recently asked me if I’m starting a sewing machine farm.  Umm…yeah!

DSCF6425I got this Necchi Supernova BU last week, including the cabinet…for $50!!  This is one of the smoothest, quietest machines I’ve ever used!  I’ve heard it said that using this machine is like driving a Ferrari, and I can see why.DSCF6444

Notice that throat plate?  It’s round and rotates in place so you can change according to your project; no need for separate plates!

The sewing machine folds down into the cabinet when not in use.  The cabinet has a mechanism that helps lift the machine up out of the lying position, making it almost effortless to lift the machine.

DSCF6449I’m still playing around with the tension, though, it’s not as perfect as I’d like.  It seems very touchy to any adjustment I make, which indicates to me that I probably have it threaded incorrectly or am missing some obvious, but vital, step.  I need to try a couple more adjustments before I’d take it to an experienced sewing machine repairman for service, but I think it will ultimately stitch to my satisfaction.

This is a high shank machine and uses cams for decorative stitching.  It came with the Necchi-buttonhole-cambuttonhole cam, which, strangely, has the handle permanently attached.  I picked up some generic high shank feet on Saturday and now I’m on the lookout for additional decorative cams.


I’ve never seen a check spring shaped with room for two threads, but this one has it, probably to accommodate using a twin needle.

The eye of the needle faces left so it’s threaded from left DSCF6447to right.

At this point I’m literally out of places to put new machines…that come with cabinets, anyway!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lynda’s Basket Quilt


This basket quilt is my latest customer quilt finish, and I’m really proud of how it turned out.

These baskets were made by Lynda's grandmother in the LyndaJ-baskets341990's, if I remember correctly.  Her mom had been saying for years that she should do something with them.

So, Lynda and her daughter snuck them out of the house during a recent visit and surprised her mom by making them into a table topper quilt.

I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to serve dinner on this one!

LyndaJ-baskets27It's quilted using a varietyLyndaJ-baskets45 of free motion quilting designs with Superior's Omni thread, Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting.

I really wanted to make sure that the baskets were emphasized and Lynda didn’t want feathers so I used on overall leaf pattern in the light green areas.  The thread color matched so perfectly I had a hard time seeing where I had actually already sewn! 

I’m always amazed at how the back of the quilt shows off the designs!

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