Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nose to the Grindstone

I've been shopping and planning and sewing!  Too hard to stop and post but I should have pictures of my latest effort tomorrow.  Can I just say again how much I'm loving my Juki sewing machine?!!!

Tonight I stopped sewing just long enough to make a great pot of Potato Leek Soup -- fantastic on a cool Fall day.  Now I know what I'll be having for lunch tomorrow.  :*)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sewing Mojo has Returned

I feel like I'm on a creative roll lately.  My sewing mojo is back, full time, and I really want to create again.  I went through a dry spell in more ways than one but I feel like my purchase of the Juki quilting machine has restored my creative juices.  Here is a picture of my new 'baby':
I'm am positively in L-U-V love with this machine.  I had absolutely no trouble with machine quilting my latest quilt.  I had a little bit too much weight to the left hand side of the machine but I can rectify that by adding another table on the left.  I can't even tell you how pleasurable this was.  I have always dreaded the machine quilting part of quilting.  I've said it before -- I'd swear like a sailor and clear out the house.  Not any more -- I didn't whine one single solitary bit. 

I used the new Premo Soft thread from Fil Tec that I bought last Saturday and it was great.  I had very little lint after about 4 hours of quilting.  Once again I had used Fusi-Boo batting and it was wonderful to quilt through and has washed up so nicely.

Who's the quilt for????  Not a clue but I'll be ready when the need arises for a change.

I'm even using the knee lift -- something I haven't been able to do with my Bernina due to height issues.

Here's my finished quilt, made from a bunch of $1.75 fat quarters and a few discount yardage pieces from Cristina's Quilt Shoppe in Rochester.

And the pieced backing:
I was able to eek out enough of that pink fabric for the binding - phew!  The quilt size is about 46" x 60".

I figured out that when I can't read the needle size stamped on my sewing machine needles I just need to take a picture and use the digital zoom to see the numbers!
My mother would call that a 'Suzy Smart' moment.  Sometimes she would say it as a compliment and other times - uh, not so much.  I thought I was pretty slick this time, though!

Monday, September 24, 2012

More Quilt Show Stuff

Here are a few more of the great quilts I saw at the Quilting with Machines Show on Saturday.

I always have to take a picture of a Chicken quilt!

This next quilt was so large I couldn't get a full picture.  The rows of quilts were just too close together!

Sue said this quilt reminded her of our quilting friend Lee.

Sue loved this small quilt:

Isn't this quilt precious?!!!

These next three quilts were part of the Ohio Star exhibit from the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild.

This last quilt reminded me of a tile floor pattern in a fancy hotel or museum.  I loved it!

After the quilt show Sue and I headed over to the Door Mouse Quilt Shop in Kansas, OH.  Their mailing address is Bettsville but their GPS address is Kansas - very confusing!
It was packed to the rafters, literally, with fabric.  Lucky for us a busload of about 50 people had just come and gone.  Thank goodness they left some fabric for us!  While we were in the store the sky opened up and there was a torrential downpour, including hail.  Didn't deter us, we kept on shopping.  There was a wonderful rainbow out on our way home -- I think the pot of gold was at the Door Mouse!

Here's my stash from both the quilt show and the Door Mouse:
I've got a large variety of thread to try on my new Juki, lots of fabric and a boatload of needles (see Wednesday's post).  Now I just need to knuckle down and crank out some quilts!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quilting with Machines Show

Yesterday my Chicken friend Sue and I headed down to Huron, OH, for the Quilting with Machines Show.  Most of it was geared toward longarm quilters but there were still a lot of things being sold by the vendors for DSM (domestic sewing machine) folks like us.  We both did our best to help the local economy.

One of the things I really appreciated at this show was that each quilt tag listed the batting and thread used -- so good to know!  It was a chance for us to see how each thread worked up and then, of course, which threads we HAD to buy!

Here are a few of my favorite quilts on display:

I happened to be near Sarah Bistline as she was describing her creative process.  Much stress was in her life at the time, as her husband had just suffered a heart attack and she was running out of time to complete this beautiful whole cloth design in time for the show.

I don't know for sure, but I bet the color choices for this one were a result of the great button in the center of the star.

Hmm, this is the third whole cloth quilt I photographed -- I've always admired a well executed effort.

This amazing piece was created by Cathy Wiggins.  Be sure to read the story in the third shot below.  A different quilt of hers had one a 1st Prize ribbon at the AQS Grand Rapids show last month.

I loved this piece below even though I wasn't very fond of the border fabric.  I like how the quilter used a different filler design for each of the sections.  I think I'll try that on a quilt soon.

More pictures coming tomorrow plus our adventure to an amazing quilt shop!!

Friday, September 21, 2012


Many of you will be aghast, as was I, when I tell you how my son in law wiped up a water spill from the hot water spigot onto the garage floor with this:

He told his mother, who had left the spigot on and then rightly protested, that it was okay, he'd just throw it in the washer later.  It's the quilt I made for Holly when she graduated from high school.  OK, so it's 11 years old -- no matter!!  He left it on the railing to dry.  Poor, sad quilt.  My eyes just about bugged out of my head when I saw what he was doing but I was a good little mother in law and held my tongue.  I'll have to think hard about making him a quilt after that episode!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Needle Bargains

Are you looking for sewing machine needles?  OK, so you already have a bunch.  I'm going to bet that you paid a pretty penny for them.  I discovered a website that has needles so darn cheap I bought them in nearly every size they offered. carries the Organ brand needles that I need for my new Juki sewing machine.  My Chicken friends Diane and Joyce also own Jukis and were all too happy to go in with me on the needles.  The price for a 4 pack of Organ needles in the store where I bought my machine was $4.99 - ouch!  Believe it or not - are you sitting down? - CTSUSA has 100 needles for $11.95 with free shipping!!!  How could I possibly pass that up??  I may be dumb but I'm not stupid!

Even after divvying them up with Diane and Joyce I expect that I'll be set for quite a while with needles.  Makes me want to try different kinds of sewing projects so I can try out the various needles -- size 65 - 100.  It used to be that I'd keep a needle in a machine until it broke or I needed another size and absolutely had to change it.  Now I know that needles are good sharp for about 8 hours of sewing and will have absolutely no qualms about changing them out.

By the way, I keep an empty prescription drug bottle near my sewing machine so I can deposit the spent needles safely.  Last week when I was taking out the trash I 'found' a hand sewing needle sticking out of the trash bag -- owwww.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Clean, clean, clean!

Will it ever end!!!  Can you ever really be done with cleaning?  It's time for Fall cleaning in my house.  Serious purging is commencing as we speak.  Rest assured anything of any value whatsoever is being donated to the local Salvation Army.  Bags and bags are flying out the door.

I have a leather coat that used to belong to my father that my mother gave to my roommate.  The sleeves were altered to fit my dad and no one else on God's green Earth.  Rather than give it to the Army where no one else could possibly wear it, I'm thinking of deconstructing it and making some sort of stuffed animal.  What do you think?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Stash Reduction Yard Sale #2

If you're anywhere in the Detroit area tomorrow, you simply MUST come by my place for my second Yarn/Yard Sale of the year.  I'm clearing out *quality* sweater quantity yarn plus a whole lot more.  Can you believe I will have close to 150 books for sale????  Patterns galore!  Plus some fabulous hand-painted Folk Art wooden folding chairs!  Daaaahling you simply MUST be there!!!  9 am - 4 pm on September 15th -- leave me a comment if you need directions!!  

Be there or be square!!!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Thursday!

I'm crazy busy getting ready for quilt guild tonight.  It's the first meeting of the GLHQ guild year and I'm in charge of programs for the year.  I've packed the year with lots of great speakers, workshops, and surprises!  I'd love to see the guild really grow this year.  Tonight's speaker will be Sharon Miner, an Accuquilt dealer who will show us all how her product line will make piecing faster and easier, with less waste.  We're also having a scissors sharpener come in -- something we all forget to take care of.  

If you live in the Detroit area, check out our guild's website,, for times, locations, and other details.

For now I'll leave you with a few more pictures from Denver's birthday party:

I love this shot of my nephew Paul holding Denver.  Check out the reflection in Paul's sunglasses!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

1 Year Old

Amazingly enough, my grandson is now one year old.  Time flies faster the older you get, doesn't it??!!

Loading up those cheeks just a bit, eh?

Loves his trucks and tractors:
A John Deere, just like Daddy's.  Lights up and has the back up noise too!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Handy Dandy Tips

I found a great blog post with tips on sewing machine needles.  If you've ever wondered which needle is the right needle for your project and why, here is the site for you.

I think I'll print it out and save it with my sewing supply box.

Next I found this tutorial on making your very own mini ironing station.  I KNOW I need to make this one too!  I just need to find that crazy staple gun and stash of staples -- they're never in the same place at the same time!

And finally, I re-found this great tutorial on making a magnetic pin dish -- must. make. this. one.  Thank goodness I found it again.  I knew I needed that E6000 glue but couldn't remember why!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Denver's Birthday Quilt

I've been totally absorbed the past several days with finishing the quilt for my grandson Denver so I could give it to him at his 1st Birthday party today.  Nose to the grindstone, head down, whatever you want to call it.  

I drove to Grandville, MI, on Wednesday to 'look' at the Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine at Family Sewing.  I won't lie -- I fully expected to drive home with it and I did.  It would have been a shame to drive 2+ hours each way and come home empty handed right?  I don't have a proper picture of it yet but will post one soon.  

In the mean time here's the quilt for Denver:

I began the quilt top before I even knew what the baby's sex was because Holly & Mike didn't want people to know until after the baby shower.  I pieced the center of it at Mystery Quilt Day in 2011 but set it aside to get back to knitting for my shows.  Once I couldn't knit any more I dug out the project and cranked it out for a 1st Birthday gift instead.  I got the last of the borders on last weekend and very quickly decided I could not possibly quilt it on my existing machines.  It's not huge, 56" x 74", but bigger than the baby quilts I've been able to manage thus far.

Machine quilting has always been a chore for me, full of expletives (enough to make me close my windows and scare off my children), lots of sweat, and much anxiety.  I liked the idea of it -- I just couldn't manage the pushing and shoving of the fabric in the narrow little harps of my current sewing machines.  My Chicken friends Diane and Joyce both have Jukis so I sought out opinions from them, soon realizing it was made for me as well.

I'm very pleased at how the new quilt turned out.  I need to play around with the Juki to get a better understanding of tension adjustments but overall it was great.  I even received applause today at his birthday party from the other guests!

All of the fabrics were purchased at Guildcrafters last year except for the backing, which my Chicken friend Kathy helped me pick out and it's absolutely perfect for my truck-loving grandson.  The pattern, Just Snowballs, is from Judy Laquidara's book, Weekend Quilts.  Don't laugh -- Judy doesn't say you have to finish the quilt in a weekend!  Judy's blog, Patchwork Times, is in my blog roll on the left.  She leads a very interesting life!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hot Pursuit

I'm in hot pursuit of a Juki TL-2010Q quilting machine.  I've searched nearby dealers, even all the way to Cleveland, with no luck.  Seems it's a hot ticket item and no one has any in stock near me.  But.  I.  Have.  Not.  Given.  Up.  Yet.

Now I could get one from a dealer in Mississippi and they could over-night it to me for an extra $200+ !!  Uh, don't need it that badly.  I could always break out my Bernina (I know - poor me!) to get the job done and I still may need to, but it would be so much easier for me to use a Juki.  No chance of using my Featherweight -- Denver's quilt is just too big for the harp.

Tomorrow I'm putting in one last call to a dealer on the west side of the state and I'll haul myself over there tout suite if they've got one.  I sure wish I'd had this brilliant idea BEFORE I went to the AQS show in Grand Rapids back last month.  I'm sure I could have take one home that day if I'd known I wanted it.  That's the trouble with brilliant ideas - you don't always get them at the perfect time!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

More Quilts from the AQS Show

Here are a few of the magnificent quilts I saw at last week's AQS show in Grand Rapids.  They were made by American artists and included in the Tentmakers of Cairo quilt display.  The  pieces that were made by Egyptian quilt makers were lovely, too, but to me they were not technically quilts as we refer to them since they did not have our traditional batting and were not quilted.  They were for sale and many had sold.

I got to see one Egyptian artist demonstrate his applique technique - very interesting!