Monday, May 30, 2016

The Sewing Room Re-Design

Stay away from Kijji.  Never look up sewing machines for sale.  Too late for this warning to do any good for me!  Last week I ended up purchasing an Elna Grasshopper.  But I'm really happy with it.  It is such a sweet machine!

The Elna Grasshopper's case turns into the table that the machine fits into.  Threading is so easy.  Drop in bobbin.  No need to loosen the flywheel when winding a bobbin.  Pop the bobbin on the bobbin winder and the flywheel disengages automatically.  The stitch is perfect!  Other than a good clean and oiling, all that needed to be done to the machine, was to change the protective pads at the bottom of both the carrying case and the machine.  Time had damaged the original rubber feet.

My friend Joan picked Mom up and the two of them came over to play with the Grasshopper.   It got rave reviews from both.  I had to watch carefully to make sure the machine didn't leave with them!

But Mom did mention that it would be a good idea if I could figure out a way to have more of my machines set up in my sewing room.  Now that's a great challenge for a rainy day.  And today it's raining.

First I had to put the sewing room contents  temporarily into the living room.  That "temporary" word always worries DH as he knows it can quickly become a permanent resident.  And I had what to move:

Back in the sewing room, no matter what I did with the sewing tables I ran out of walls to put them against.  So my solution was to move the sewing tables into the middle of the room.  Time will tell how well this will work out.  Most likely everything will be pushed against walls again the first time I stub my toe on a furniture leg.  Here's my "sewing island". 

The ironing/cutting table stayed where it was (I did move it to clear out all the threads, bits of fabric and pins that had fallen.  The book shelf that supports the thread/ruler stand stayed in place as well.

The living room is now back together, ready for company.  All the boxes and bins of quilting supplies are stashed under the sewing tables and in the closet.

And I have over 10,000 steps on my FitBit just by walking from one room to another all day.  Think this would be considered exercise by anyone else?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gadgets and the "Sewing Buggy"

You never know when you will have that "I didn't know that" moment.  It's like making a wonderful discovery, but then you feel silly that you didn't know about it before.

I was watching a free Craftsy video the other day with my friend Joan.  We both had that moment.  The instructor was using a machine needle thread-er to remove the sewing machine needle.  We did a double take!  Why didn't we notice the little hole in the handle. There is always the worry that the needle may fall into the sewing machine when loosening the needle bar screw. 

Then we were totally blown away when we watched the instructor use that same needle threader to insert a new needle and hold it in place while tightening the needle bar screw.

Note the small hole at the end of the needle threader.  Pause the video, check the tool boxes for each of my machines.  And sure enough.  There is the hole for inserting the needle.  On one of my threaders there is a flat side so you can control the direction of the needle so it goes in correctly.  Beats using your fingers to hold it in place.

When checking my threaders for hand sewing needles we found that this little gadget has another use.  In the handle is a thread cutter.  I've had these threaders for years and never noticed.

The moral of this story is....check your gadgets.  You never know what else they can be used for.

Now on to the Sewing Buggy.  A while back my DH purchased a Feather Weight sewing machine for me.  It's small and light for taking to volunteer sewing.  But it's still too heavy to carry all that way.  Being the intelligent man he is, DH purchased a used jogging stroller for my new to me machine.

Well I'm not one to just walk the 18 blocks to my local quilt shop pushing a plain stroller.  Not when I can have some fun.  There was weeks where I could have worked on the cover.  But naturally I waited until the day before I was going to use the "Sewing Buggy"  But even with the time crunch I think it turned out quite well.  And it's so easy to go up and down curbs.  The timing won't be out on the machine because of a rough ride!

Off to check some more gadgets to see what else they can be used for!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I got to test another pattern!

Eileen Hoheisel, Pine Rose Designs (Quilter In The Pines) asked for volunteers to test one of her new patterns.  Since I really enjoy Eileen's designs and instructions I was one of the first to raise a virtual hand.

As expected the only problem with this quilt top was sewer's error.  I put an entire block in going the wrong direction.  Eileen caught the error and let me know where I went wrong.  And the result is here:

I have yet to quilt this top.  I may just add a few more borders to increase the size.  We are needing quilts to go out to Fort McMurray and I think this quilt will be heading there once residents are allowed back home.

Speaking of Fort McMurray....Sew Divine (my favourite LQS) is collecting quilts to be sent to the evacuee centres.  I have a few friends that pop over to play with fabric  Between us we had 3 quilts to drop off at Sew Divine.  These quilts were utility quilts, made for rough use and to be passed on for the dog's bed. 

We're now working on quilts to welcome residents back home (like the one above).  Our way of giving hugs.  And a reminder that they are in our thoughts.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The fun and the not so much fun

First the not fun.  The fire in Fort McMurray.  Praying for everyone's safety.  And praise for how well this emergency is being handled.  From first responders to those who are helping in so many ways.  People at their best!

On the quilt front:  I have received so many e-mails and phone calls from quilters across North America wanting to know where they can send quilts.  Especially for the kids.   I know a number of the local quilt shops will be collecting the quilts.  But not yet.  Those that are in the business of helping others will let us know when.

That said, quilts do not get made in a day. (Sorry Eleanor, I had to do it).  So a lot of us are getting started.  I'll be making pocket quilts.  Little ones who lost their favourite dolls and bears will appreciate being able to stick their soft toys in the pockets each night to keep them close.  Of course there will be a few that will decide to stick Lego and toy cars into the pockets.  Rolling over on those items in the middle of the night will be a (excuse me) wake up.

Now for the fun part.  A while back DH bought a used jogging stroller to carry my Featherweight to volunteer sewing.  If I'm going to be the "crazy little old lady" that's pushing a sewing machine in a stroller, I'm going to have fun with it.  Time to turn that stroller into a sewing machine buggy.  Lots of work still to be done.  But the head lights have been found.

It's a fan that fold up into the little case shown above.  I purchased three.  One to keep in my back pack and two to use on the sewing machine buggy.  It's a start.  Hopefully I'll get motivated to work on this project now that the ideas are flowing.

The weekend goal setting produced another finished quilt.  It's amazing what I find when I clean up around my quilt frame.  This is a scrappy jelly roll.  Always fun to make.  And now it's done!