Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is seriously almost done...

My sister asked me to knit her a coffee cup cozy, but I'm not sure I'll be able to.  I whipped one up on the sewing machine...a 30 minute to one hour project.

I used insul bright in the middle for insulation and thin cotton batting on either side to protect her hands.  It is reversible, and.the inside is quilted (I quilted one side to all.the batting and then added the other side and turned it) . I just used a cardboard cup cozy as a pattern.

I hope she likes it!

Thanks Kevin for modeling.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final Christmas gift

And with this, Christmas presents are done.  Here is hoping we have good weather for the drive.

In other news, I am making a pencil skirt and the muslin looks like crap.  But I did do my first invisible zipper...just two misses before I got it right. (once I sewed through all the teeth and spent an hour unpicking threads. Then I sewed it to the outside of the skirt).

Are you done with your Christmas crafts?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two more down...

Gifts, that is.

Kevin made the older nephews a baseball wall bracket thing (pictures after our trip! They are neat) for Christmas, and they were going to be tough to wrap. I made both of the boys a pillow case, and the brackets fit in them nicely. Added bonus- new pillowcase!

As you can see, both boys are very into baseball right now! (The blue pillowcase is bent a little- the C isn't distorted...)

I had a difficult time hooping the pillowcases. Getting the hoop exactly centered was really rough. Then my machine decided to be a pain in the butt- despite the tension being less than 1 (I normally use 2 for embroidery) and the hole in the bobbin tail being threaded, the bobbin thread was STILL pulling up.

In the end, I did most of the satin stitch for the red by "hand" (machine, but me doing it) and all of the satin stitch for the burnt orange. My machine does a really nice satin stitch- but I still haven't figured out how to make corners look nice.

It is MUCH easier to let the machine put down guidelines to cut on, then try to trace and cut letters myself. That is my favorite part of machine embroidery!

As for school, I have everything turned in but my final self evaluation paper. I am about half done with it, and taking a break to embroider the very last of the Christmas presents (oh, and then I need to knit for Courtney...)

Rylee is getting an appliqued Minky pillow. (Can you tell I like applique. It is so much cooler than regular embroidery.) And- today, my machine is behaving just fine. I used colored isacord in the bobbin rather than the seraline I usually use, just in case it pulled up, but then none of it did! Go figure... The applique is done, so now I need to make up the pillow- but I have to write that paper first! Pictures later this week.

Did I mention I started knitting a sock? I can't remember the last time I did that! I miss knitting- it's fun!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


The statistics class has definetly been my hardest one yet. I'm still doing well in it, but I'm feeling overwhelmed. For reasons I don't understand the last week is also always the busiest. I'm kind of going crazy.

I'm also not sleeping well, which doesn't really help the stressed feeling.

Then, I have Christmas presents to finish up. Need to make R's gift, 2 pillowcases to wrap the Cs's gifts, and hopefully at least two more kitchen towels.

I'm looking forward to seeing family for Christmas, but wish we weren't going to Austin. I'm so worried about the weather for the drive (17 hours is a long drive- now imagine it with snow...), and upset that I won't get to spend ANY of my vacation from school sewing. If you've been keeping track of the fabric purchases, I clearly have some projects planned. Going home is so tiring- I need a vacation from vacation.

I do have to say, I'm super glad I went with the sewing machine with embroidery (I've been having some buyer's remorse and wondering if I should have gone for the top of the line Brother rather than the mid range Bernina). Here are some kitchen towels I've made. All designs are from

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fabric Mart Order

I got my Fabric Mart order in (I actually started this post a week ago... but never got the picture uploaded). I have to say, I’m disappointed. More than I’ve been with any other online fabric order. Perhaps it is because I branched out to try new things… Before I’ve always stuck with quilting cotton and stretch knits. I am thinking about joining their swatch club. Maybe it would be a good idea just to learn what fabrics ARE. More than anything, I was surprised by that!

The good thing is Fabric Mart is really inexpensive. Not cheap- most people rave about the quality (and quality isn’t really what I have a problem with). So it was a good lesson, and while I might not buy from Fabric Mart again in the near future, I will likely sew with at least some of what I bought.
Here is the run down. I got 2 yards of everything, except the last thing.I paid $8 in shipping.
Stretch Poplin (Brown) $1.49/yard Stretch Poplin (Purple) $0.74/yard I didn’t really know what Poplin was, but a pattern recommended it for shorts. I got the purple (cheap) for a muslin and the brown (well, still cheap) for the actual shorts. This material is really thin. Not sure how these are going to look. I expect something a little heftier. I’m kind of disappointed.
Trendy Cotton Bold Paisley $2.25/yard In the picture this looked like a cute print. In real life it looks like a grandmother’s couch. YUCK. Muslin material for sure. It also has the hand of quilting cotton, not something I think of for clothes.
Flocked and checks cotton $2.63/yard I underestimated the “checks” of this fabric. It looked nearly solid in one of the photos, and was the fabric I was most excited about. In real life, it looks like gingham and feels like quilters cotton. Not sure if I’ll get a nice skirt out of this or not. Major bummer.
Polyester Charmeuse $1.88/yard So I guess I didn’t know what Charmeuse is, but I didn’t expect it to just look like lining… Maybe this will make a nice blouse, but I’m not sure. It sure is shiny!
Crinkle Chiffon $1.49/yd This is a sheer material, and I hope to use it to make a peasant blouse to wear over a tank top. This one is good.
Polyester Lining $1.49/yd (2 colors, so 4 yards total) Yep, this is poly lining. I’m happy with this.
Trendy Knit Animal Print $1.49/yd. This material is exactly what I wanted- 4-way stretch, nice hand. Problem is, I ordered the wrong thing. This is an ugly as sin multi-animal print. I meant to get solid black. Oops. BUT I am going to use this to make a muslin of a wrap dress I’ve wanted to use expensive fabric I got a few years ago, but have been scared to try. So really, it works out fine.
Quilting Cotton $1.49/yd I saw this and thought “I got orange? I thought I got pink…” But sure enough, I did get orange. This will be just fine for a quilt back. That’s why I got 3 yards. I’m quite happy here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Sewing...

Got some towels embroidered and made Kevin a Kindle cover. I was testing this pattern to make as a Christmas Gift. It's a fun one!

Here is my Pattern Review. This used up 3 of the fat quarters I just bought. Yay for actually using stuff. Also, I love my walking foot. It makes me so happy.

Kindle cover

Now, I really need to get to homework and laundry folding!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Connecting Threads!

My Cyber-Sunday order FINALLY arrived! (I'm spoiled by Amazon shipping. I guess 1 week really isn't that bad- remember the days of 6 to 8 weeks?)

I got 4 sets of 12 fat quarters each, 1 10" stack of 24 Christmas fabrics, and then 2 packs of thread for quilting.

I am in love! The fat quarters I got are fabulous. Kevin picked out which ones will be his Kindle cover, and I have some for my Mom's. (Need to get on that! Christmas approaches!)

I embroidered my Dad's Christmas gift today. I need to get going on the things for everyone else. Oh, and do my Stat. project...

Also- internet karma has circled back to me :) Recently, I sent off an envelope of selvages to a blogger making a selvage quilt, sent a book about serging to a woman on ravelry, and mailed off some of my unloved stash yarn to some people on ravelry. Well- I was posting on pattern review asking questions about the Bernina Invisible Zipper foot. A woman offered to mail me hers to "try out"! She said if I liked it I can pay half retail and keep it. Wow! That is really nice.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Plenty of TV...

Got lots of dvds in the mail (and animaniacs in the mail...) Cost well less than a month of cable :) and will rot our brains just the same (well, maybe not quite as well as TLC would)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stashing away...

I am really trying to NOT become a hoarder. As such, I am going to be transparent about my purchases (Kevin reads the blog...) One of my favorite blogs posts pictures along with prices of her stash. I'm copying her.

This is my order from I got an additional 20% off the prices listed, and did not pay shipping. I actually ordered everything with a project in mind.

The Bengaline for a skirt, the gray suiting for a jacket, the crepe for a skirt, the seersucker for shorts, and the whites because I am collecting whites to make a pictorial quilt of Elsa (my dog).

I got half a yard each of the white quilting cottons, 1 yard of the seersucker, 1.5 yards of each of the purple suitings (the blue looking one is really more purple), and 2.5 yards of the gray. I now wish I had gotten the Bengaline for a jacket, and the gray for pants. I might use the gray for pants anyway- it is a gorgeous fabric, nice soft hand. Definetly my favorite.

The seersucker is the only thing I'm disappointed in. Maybe this is basic fabric knowledge, but seersucker is all kinds of bumpy/puckery. The pattern suggests it, but I can't imagine shorts made out of this. Not sure what I will do with it instead...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Really cool!

I think I mentioned Kevin recently got a lathe. He made his first pen tonight. It is pretty awesome. Sometimes I wish I was good at everything I try like he is...he is really really talented at most things he does. Maybe he just picks all the right things to try.

Only problem with the new hobby: our pen drawers are already over flowing... But really the pen is very nice! So cool.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday...

So did you buy anything in the sales? said they were having a great sale, but it was a pretty big dud. Same with Fabric Mart. Good thing- as I have orders from both coming already!

We did buy some DVDs off Amazon. DVD watching is essential for us when we are cable-less. We got the first season of Arrested Development (thought about getting all 3, but we decided we'd rather have variety), the second season of Modern Family, the 5th season of the Flintstones and the 2nd season of Animaniacs. All for $50!

And Kevin's pajama pants are officially done! I had to hem them another two inches from this picture. I really don't like hemming, but I used my #10 edge stitch foot, and it made it it so perfect. Well, assuming I measured and pressed perfectly, the hem is perfect- haha. I basted the hem for Kevin to try on in the #11 needle position, then sewed it one position to the left, and the lines never crossed each other. I love that precision! So while the hem may not be perfectly even, it is perfectly even with my pressing.

Kevin is pretty happy with the pants. He doesn't gush about how wonderful they are and how marvelously talented I am like I think he should, but he seems to appreciate them. The fly worked on the second try- I think I followed the (incredibly confusing) directions wrong on the muslin, when I sewed the fly shut. I still think that the fly is too high- on his boxers, it is closer to the seam where the backs/fronts/sides meet. When I cut off 3" from the waist, I did move it down a little, but I didn't want to mess up the crotch curve, but now I just think the curve is too long.

(back view so you can see fit...sort of. These are clearly too long- this is with a 4" hem. This pattern is drafted for a high waisted giant.)

Oh well, he rarely wears pajama pants anyway- he sleeps in shorts because he gets too hot (which doesn't make sense as he is always complaining he is cold...) But for when he needs them, these are better than the pair from last year.

BTW- are you wondering how the change from the muslin went? This picture illustrates pretty well how WAY too high the waist was.

Do you think the fabric is too girly? We decided to call it "regal" but really, it's just fabric I had in my stash. Seemed using up what I had made more sense than buying new when it is just a pair of rarely to be worn pants. (Honestly though, I think they are awesome and he should wear them daily!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I love it!

Look what Kevin made me! A 90 spool thread rack! We worked out that with a coupon I might as well have bought it, but everytime I look at it I am going to smile because my husband made it for me.  It will be wall mounted because I have no space. I told him he should probably start another because I really hope to get embroidery thread for christmas, and have more quilting thread on the way.

What kind of thread do people use for garment.sewing? O mostly have dual duty, but the Bernina people tell you not to use it (I do anyway, at least until it is gone...)

Kevin's pajama pants turned out well, will post once I get a photo shoot, but he is busy cooking tonight.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Well, that's what a muslin is for...

Kevin wants a new pair of pajama pants. The last pair did not feature a fly. So I found Simplicity 4381 which does.

The waist to crotch of the pattern looked huge, so I used some scraps to mock up a pair of shorts. Well, I was right. Kevin tried them on and the two of us were ROLLING in laughter. I mean, if you wear the waist at the waist (or just below) these pants are for a man with a package the size of an elephant! I'm going to remove 3" in length.

The other problem discovered, when the directions are followed exactly, the fly is a mock fly! It gets sewn shut, but I figured out easily how to fix that.

Tomorrow, the real thing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Feet for sale...

I bought this 4 foot quilting set for $40, the open toe darning foot has been used, the walking foot (with guide bar) gently used, and the open toe foot and stitch in the ditch foot have not been used at all.

They are for Kenmore machines with horizontal bobbins. This foot set revolutionized my sewing, as it started me really quilting, but they do not work for my current machine.

I'm hoping to get $25 including shipping in the US.  Interested?

Black Friday...

So, did you wake up at o'dark thirty this morning? I did, but not for shopping- to watch figure skating! I was up a little before 5:00 a.m. to watch the Rostlecom Cup ladies competition. I skipped pairs (will watch it recorded later) and took a nap, and woke up for the 8:00 men's competition. Both were well worth the lost sleep, but man have I been tired today.

To do my part for the economy I went up to North Liberty to Common Threads Quilt Shop (I refuse to write Shoppe- I hate that, it almost makes me not want to shop there) where she was having a 20% off sale. I wanted a Quilting Celebrations magazine, but she was already all out. I ended up getting Patrick Lose's "Poster Quilts", which was an expensive book, and I'm kind of thinking I shouldn't have gotten it, but I hate leaving a little store like that empty handed. I also bought a kindle cover pattern. I have so many Christmas gifts to sew now!

On the way home, I went to Walmart. It was DESERTED. No one to be seen. I bought some towels and pillowcases to embroider.

I also stopped at Hobby Lobby (there were more people there then Walmart, but not by much) and got a Fons and Porter Half and Quarter triangle ruler. I'm excited!

I haven't placed the order yet, but I plan on taking advantage of Planet Applique's awesome sale too. 70 cent appliques and $3.40 alphabets!

Why in the world do stores open so late at night? Is it so we can get our shopping done in time to watch football games? I drove by the mall last night, just to see the line, and the line for best buy circled all the way around outside almost to the Children's Museum (that means nothing to you if you haven't seen our mall...). Whatever deal they have- there is no way 3/4 of those people were getting what they were hoping for! Heck, even if everyone just wanted 1 DVD I doubt they have enough! Target also had an insane line. What's the point?

This year, I skipped Joann's flannel sale. Skating was just more important, and I am looking forward to Connecting Threads and's Cyber Monday sale (CT's starts Sunday...) I promised Kevin new pajama pants though. I have some "regal" purple flannel from last year, and he said that was okay. It's not manly, but he isn't wearing them outside the house.

Right now I'm quilting guild charity quilts. When I finish this one up it is time to start Christmas gifts! Oh, and do a little more homework...

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The first annual we have no friends game day has begun!  Unfortunately all of our friends have moved, or traveled out of town to visit family, and we cannot travel.this thanksgiving, so it is just Kevin and I today.  We are enjoying each others company, and are thankful for many things, though we miss our family and friends!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Really oreo?

So I've never been a fan of oreos, but Kevin got some recently and they were yummy. While shopping I saw mint oreos that are yummier. I checked the calorie count on them and it was slightly lower.

BUT they having a serving size of 2. Regular oreos have a serving size of 3.

That is just plain annoying.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kevin does the grocery shopping...

So yesterday, I went to Hyvee. This was my grocery list:

4 things of coke ($11, plus deposit)
A gallon of milk (about $3)
15 powerades ($10)
2 cans diced tomatoes (about $3)
Frozen Corn ($2.50)
Peppers (70 cents)
Onion (70 cents)

And yet, my bill came to about $100.

This is why I should not grocery shop. I also got:
3 packages of frozen stir fry vegetables
Pasta sauce
Fruit Roll Ups
2 cans Tomato Sauce
6 kool aid packages
Pasta Shells
Tikki Masala Sauce
Mango Salsa
2 cans of Wolf Chili

These things were not on my list. But all very yummy. And really, only the Nutella and croutons were things I shouldn't have bought...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Finishing quilting...

And turning the quilt over to see this stinks!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stress free weekend?

Oh man, I hate week 4 and 8!

You see, in every class, in Week 4 and Week 8 I have to write a self-assessment paper. I would much rather write a test. Or a paper about a topic of the class. But a paper about my own learning, so not something I like to do.

I have been putting it off ALL day. In fact, my general process for writing these is to sit and stare for about 5 hours, then spend 2-3 writing. Well, my sit and staring process has gone on for more than 5 hours now.

Fortunately, I have something great to stare at. The Grand Prix of Figure Skating is going on right now and while I got to watch a little bit of it yesterday at work, today, I watched a lot! I woke up at 6:30 this morning to watch the men's freeskate (a disaster), then missed the pairs while I went and skated myself (knee is bothering me, but it was good ice), then came home, determined to write, but watched ladies instead. I skipped the first group of dance, but watched the second. For the past four years, I haven't had an icenetwork subscription, but instead just read play-by-play posts on FSU. Now, for men's and ladies, I really like writing PBP. I'm so not good at calling jumps, especially when half asleep (I did much better later in the afternoon). I like to compare to the protocols to see how I did. I do better with clockwise jumpers too.

Only then did I write my paper. I now have everything but the introduction and the conclusion, but what am I doing? Watching America's Next Top Model...

I have no discipline! I need to get it done today, or else I won't get to quilt tomorrow. Weekends shouldn't be for homework.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I give up...

I missed blotting yesterday and have nothing to say to day. I am a blog post writing month failure.

Failing at blog writing sucks less than I imagine failing at novel writing would. Glad I didn't try that.

I am so looking forward to next week and a long weekend of sewing. This week has sucked, and this weekend is shaping up to be sewing free :(

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last of the Halloween candy...

Is this a respectable amount of time through November?

Monday, November 14, 2011

So tired...

Tonight is the monthly quilt guild meeting, but I am so tired I don't think I will enjoy it at all.  This makes me mad because I wait all month for things like this.  Why am I always so tired?

Don't say low iron. Last time I tried to give blood, my iron was fine!

Edit: I'm glad I went. It was a good program, I picked up 3 charity quilts that need quilting, and I won 2 fat quarters as a door prize. The program was "naked quilting" which is the next short cut from strip quilting. It was all about taking traditional construction and reducing seams. I've been doing this for years, if only because I didn't know the traditional way. Turns out my laziness is a technique. (I don't think it always works though. Sometimes missing seems changes the look of a quilt. Maybe not from a moving horse, but when is that ever how we really view these things?)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Curly hair day...

When my hair is long, I always wear it up. It is just a pain to have it down. I just never know how it will dry...puffy? Frizzy? Triangular? But too be different today I wore my hair down. Kevin says he like it better than when I wear it up. What do you think?

(sadly, it is impractical for took 3 hours to dry)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kevin has a new toy...

He got a lathe. I have no idea why! But he turned this nifty little Christmas ornament.

That's all for today. I am so unbelievably tired.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Embroidery Trick!

This hoop was filled with sticky stabilizer, and the design has already been pulled off.

The large hoop that came with my embroidery machine is indeed large. I'd like to get a smaller one so I don't have to waste so much stabilizer. Stabilizer is expensive- but honestly, so are hoops!

Joann's has Sulky stabilizer on the notions wall, and recently it was half off. Before I buy the OESD stuff the dealer recommends (WAY expensive) I wanted to try this stuff. So far, I really like it.

I bought 8 1/4" width, because my hoop is just slightly smaller than that. But I didn't take into account the over hang needed. Uh-oh. 8 1/4" is just a little too small.

But I found a way to make it work. Tape a line of packaging tape to the edge (about 1/2" in) of the stabilizer. Turn it over and tape down another strip to de-sticky the tape.

Hoop up the stabilizer! The packaging tape works as the over hang. In most cases, it doesn't even get into the "free" area of the hoop, instead being below the upper hoop, but if it hangs over at all, it is just barely- so as long as you aren't planning on embroidering all the way to the edge of the hoop, it works.

This is going to save me a bundle, because wider stabilizer would be more expensive, and create more waste, but packaging tape is cheap.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I actually did some knitting today. This sock has been stuck at row 1 of the gusset since April, and now it is on row 10. Metal needles hurt my hands. I have no idea why I am using them. Are all my wood 1.5s taken?

Kevin just got a lathe. Maybe he can turn me new ones...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why is Internet so expensive...

...and why do they insist on playing games with price.

Our bundle deal ran out so we canceled our cable and phone, but intended to keep the internet. The price quoted by mediacom was about $70. No way. Kevin called a few times to try to get some other deal (even if it meant we had to get cable) but no dice.
After the frustrating experience of trying to find century link's prices, we finally went with them (no additional phone required, like quest used to). Kevin calls mediacom and they offer us about the same as century little to late guys!

So now Kevin is trying to get our old modem to work. Thankfully I finished homework early, so if Kevin needs to mess up the internet he can.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 8: I've got nothing today

I am busy doing homework. I am taking statistics this session, and it is a weird class. The course load is really light for two weeks, then insane, then light again. We get homework for 3 weeks at a time, which you would think would allow me to work ahead, but you need all 3 weeks worth of information to complete the homework, so you basically HAVE to wait until last minute to do it.

In other news, my knee is not good right now. I've made it almost all year without going to PT, so I hope it just gets better, but I have my doubts. I did NOTHING to it. I have no idea why it hurts so badly. But it does... I can't walk on stairs, sit cross legged, stand up out of my car, or jump in ice skating. The only thing I can think of is that my knee is allergic to the Bronze freestyle test, and it knew I was getting close to meeting the passing standard :(

Oh well, off to homework.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 7: another cool embroidery thing...

Quilting in the hoop.

No stabilizer required. Just place the quilt sandwich into the hoop and get your quilting design started. the bottom looks as good as the top. I am loving this for quilts I want a really nice look on, since my FMQing is still not fantastic. They say you can do really large quilts too. I plan to try a twin (the top I finished ages ago) when my CD of designs comes in. I had to get my second choice CD first choice was download only so it wouldn't count towards all the awesome promotions they were running.

I did a trial run of one of my Christmas presents last night. Hope to make it this weekend. Applique letters!

(Edit to add: wow, that is an awful picture. Sorry folks!)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 6: Applique

Okay, back off the machine embroidery again, I'll have more to show tomorrow (I think there are 2 more projects left). This is a 12" x 12" applique quilt I made yesterday. This design caught my eyes months ago, it is from the magazine "Quilting Celebrations" and I just love the designer, Patrick Lose (he designed the fabrics too!).

I finally had the guts to make it. This is my second satin stitch applique project, you might remember the "let it snow" mug rug. I can't believe how much better I did this time around.

This quilt was so easy to make, and I think it looks amazing (oh, and the walking foot really does make binding so much easier- I can't believe the difference). I made this little wall hanging yesterday afternoon, just a few hours!

I'm going to hang it up at work next to my Coneflower wall hanging (I'll be the crazy quilt lady in no time!)

In other news, I had a 25% my entire purchase coupon at Joann's so I went to go see if they had stabilizer. Not only do they, it is part of the notions wall, which is always 50% off!!! So I got it 62.5% off with both discounts combined :) I bought the sticky kind and the wash-away kind so I can make towels, and also bought some tear away for other projects. It was SO much less expensive than what the quilting store sells, so I am excited to play. I only have a large hoop, so there is a bit of waste, but at this price, it makes more sense than buying a smaller hoop (expensive).

But first, laundry....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 5: Cool Embroidery Thing #2

This is an embroidered towel, but even more than that, it is an appliqued towel! The fish is made with super soft Minky fabric.

The embroidery machine can do applique, but I need better scissors to do it well. You do not precut the shape- the machine sews an outline of it, you place your fabric on top of the outline, the machine does another outline, and then you clip the fabric as close to that line as possible. You may be able to see some yellow past the outline stitching- that is because I did not clip enough. After clipping, you put it back into the machine, and it does all the embellishment.

This was a really cool technique. And if I can ever afford stabilizer, one I see myself using more in the future.

One website I found: has adorable alphabets and designs, so I will probably make some holiday towels as a Christmas present.

I need more thread!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 4

...and already I have nothing to say. I have more embroidery to show, but I am so tired I have not taken pictures yet.

I listened to the Book of Mormon musical today. Most of the songs were really good. I imagine the show has some great dance numbers, based on the music. I definetly want to see it. One song, which had a great beat, was so vulgar I nearly turned it off. Unfortunate because it may have been one of the best songs otherwise.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 3: Cool Embroidery Thing #1

Apparently one of the things that can be done with my embroidery machine is free standing lace.

I actually didn't get to make this one in the class, but everyone with fancy machines did. Those of us with Aurora's that connect through laptops weren't able to. They uploaded the designs to our machines using a *gasp* non-Bernina USB stick. Oddly enough, it made a difference. The design would not transfer to our machines. Once they got a Bernina USB and retransfered, it worked fine, but this design takes about 40 minutes to stitch out, and there wasn't time left.

I made it as soon as I got home, and it worked perfectly.

I mentioned that I got some free Christmas collections, and I didn't take any of the lace ones. I didn't think it was something I'd want to do at all. However, now that I have my bookmark- I think this is SO COOL. I wish I had been able to stitch it at the class, I may have made different decisions for my freebies.

For those who have no idea how this is done, you use a water soluable stabilizer - 2 pieces for strength, there are A LOT of stitches in this, almost 20,000- and sew the design onto it. Then you wash it away and all you have left is the lace.

You can make three-dimensional things by joining together the lace (like Christmas ornaments) or use these to adorn clothes (like a lace applique on a skirt). This is a bookmark.

The yellow piece is some fabric that is sewn into the lace using the applique technique we learned. I actually don't like that part very much, but the bookmark is cool, and the Isacord thread is a beautiful color and sheen.

In other news, I got home yesterday and had a check in the mail from Bernina. Apparently my machine had a $100 rebate on it. So I take back all the mean things about yesterday being too expensive. Apparently, they covered it :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 2: Bernina Mastery Class

It's November 2nd and I'm still doing National Blog Post Writing month! Woo, that's commitment.

Today I spent the day in Cedar Rapids learning how to use the embroidery module on my Aurora 430. Let me tell you- this thing is COOL.

When you buy a Bernina, one of the selling points is lifetime "free" mastery classes. Pine Needles kind of sells this in an off putting way. They tell you "all your classes will be free". But they don't mean all the classes they offer, just the Bernina Mastery series- and many of them (heirloom sewing, garment sewing, home decor) are rarely offered. The "Meet My New Bernina", the embroidery class, and the class for the Bernina Stitch Regulator (which I don't have) seem to be the most common.

Anyhow- after waiting a few months for the embroidery class to show up on a Saturday, I gave in and took the day off work to take it. Of course, the calendar for November was put out yesterday and the weekend after Thanksgiving, the class is offered on Saturday- sigh.

So, they tell you that these classes are free. And yes, the classes are free ($75 if you bought your machine elsewhere). The supplies, are not. Which is to be expected, but they are EXPENSIVE. The kits for the class (you need 3) are 8.95, 12.95, and 5.95. The bonus is that if you got your machine at Pine Needles, then it is 20% off. Okay- so $22.28 plus tax for kits- I can totally stomach that.

But unlike the Meet Your New Bernina class, this class's kits didn't come with thread or needles. So I bought Isacord thread online to save money- I got an assortment, as required, but I only used 3 today, so that's another $12 (more if you bought them in store, plus you have to use Seraline bobbin thread and that is $9.95 . Then the needles are $5.25 for a pack of 10 Organ brand embroidery sharps (only need 1). So now the kit price is up to $49.30, plus tax. Still- reasonable for an all day class, I think. (The kicker: we never even used one of the kits! Ran out of time and got sent home with instructions!)

But here is what has me annoyed. They never mentioned when telling me the price of kits that I'd also have to buy a CD of embroidery designs specifically for the class (which means they aren't ones I necessarily care for). The price: $55! Fifty-five dollars for 10 designs, of which we used 4, and have instructions to use another 1. The software that comes with the machine comes pre-loaded with designs! Why not use those?

So now my class is over $100!!! Over $100 for materials for a single class is just too much!

But, I actually spent twice that, and I'm pretty well over the cost of the embroidery designs due to a deal they were running. They had all their embroidery packs on buy 2 get 1 free, and our class kit counted as 1. Then, all their premium packs were $30 off.

So, I got an adorable set of Current Calendar designs (99 designs) for $100, and a set of quilting designs (you can quilt in the hoop!) for free ($55 value). But they also had a deal where every $60 you spent you got a pack of 13 Christmas designs for free. and for some reason they gave me credit for buying the free pack, so I got three sets. Two of the three are actually really cute designs, so I'm pretty pleased with the value. (They are marked $89, $79, and $25)

All told, my day at my free class cost me $200, but I came home with a lot of designs,

So, now I have a ton of embroidery designs, but no money to buy stabilizer, and a quilting design CD on order- and that one I could actually use- you don't have to stabilize quilts to embroider.

I bet you want to see pictures of everything, but, well, I have a lot of blog posts to write this month, so you will just have to wait.

Also- if you hear me talking about buying ANYTHING else this month, yell at me. I need to start saving money again!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

National Blog Post Writing Month...

So I think the entire internet has heard of NoNoWriMi, or however you abbreviate it. But I'm not about to write a novel this month, I have no time for that, and no ideas.

But I did read a few blogs that plan to post everyday this month- I don't think I'll be able to do it, but might as well try to get Day 1 done!

Right now I am putting off homework that I should have done last night anyway- but Halloween was a really good reason to put off homework!

You know what the problem with my blog is- not enough pictures. Anyone have content ideas for the next month? I'll write about any good ideas commented. Want a tutorial on any of my sewing things? Except the pictorial quilts, because I can't give away someone's class, I'll make one.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My first pictorial quilt!

Here is the finished Coneflower quilt...

The fabrics in the picture are just various things from my stash (for pictorial quilting, you really need tons to choose from). The border is a Robert Kauffman (I think) print that I got in my grab bag. I was iffy about it when I first put it on, but I really love it now. The only things I had to buy for this quilt was the decor bond (a fusible that you put behind the glue-basted picture before you start sewing), clear thread, and gold thread.

The clear thread was surprisingly easy to use. I've heard horror stories, but my machine didn't have any problems with it. I used it in the bobbin for the quilting with the metallic thread, and also in the top/bobbin when doing the zig zag applique of the shapes.

The only thing I do not like about this quilt is how lumpy the decor bond got when quilting. There is no way to not manipulate the quilt a lot- it has to be rolled up or folded to get through the machine. And this is a tiny quilt- it would be even more so if you made a larger one. I think putting all the pieces together like a puzzle using traditional applique techniques would be extremely difficult so the decor bond might just be something I have to live with, but this reminds me I want to go on craftsy and ask about it...

As for craftsy- if you can get the Pictorial Quilting class at $30, I HIGHLY recommend it. Completely worth the money to learn this technique and have the ability to ask questions. However, I don't think it is worth it at full price...

Up next: learning to use my embroidery module. I have an all day class on Wednesday at Pine Needles in Cedar Rapids. I'm a little annoyed about it- the supply list, before purchasing the kits, is a mile long. Then you have to purchase the fabric/stabilizer kits. I have heard that embroidery is a money sucker, so it looks like that is true. But at least this will teach me what I've got, and then I can figure out where to go from there.

I am collecting fabric for the dog quilt. It will be awhile, as I need like 20 different whites...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All glue basted...

This is the back. The next step requires clear thread, so I need to wait to go to the quilt store.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pictorial quilt...

Here is my pattern! I'm going to have to collect a lot of whit and gray fabrics!

The coneflower is now glued.together. I need to pick blue fabric for the sky, and buy clear thread before proceeding...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Start of next quilt...

I'm taking a pictorial quilting class on We are making a coneflower quilt.

She provided the pattern, but the class teaches you how to make your own from pictures. Step one- line drawing, cut it out on freezer paper, and then iron to the TOP of the fabric.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quilt for Acorn...

This is the weekend of all done! This weekend I finished up two classes (a new one starts tomorrow) and finishing those classes bumps me over the halfway mark for my Master's degree- wah hoo!

To celebrate, I finish piecing the baby quilt I've been working on and spent this morning (I woke up ridiculously early) basting the quilt. I've learned a basting lesson - STARCH!!! I've had a lot of problems with loose backing, puckers in the top and the bottom, and OMG- starch fixes it all. Thank you to all the bloggers who mentioned it. (I also taped the backing to the floor- I actually read a quilt teacher recently who says not to do that, but it worked for me.)

This is also the first time I've used Hobb's cotton batting. The fabric hugged it nicely, making it easier to baste than the cheap battings I've used. It is almost TOO thin for a baby quilt- you want something cushy for babies, but thin quilts seem to be in right now.

Once again- STARCH!!! Do it!

This quilt was inspired by a Fons and Porter TV show the pattern was called Twirling Triangles, and I had to get a Pyramid ruler to do it. I didn't get the pattern, because it was from an old magazine, so I made up the measurements myself (they don't tell them in the show- want you to buy the magazine). The pattern is actually very simple, but I had no idea what a challenge equilateral triangles would be. Please don't look too closesly.
(you should be able to click for a bigger picture if you want to see the quilting)
My quilting plan was to stipple in the hexagons and then put a picture or filler into the purple triangles. This is actually my first time just stippling- it is quite fun. My tip to anyone trying this- have an exit plan. I connected the hexagons together in quadrants, and everytime I entered a new one, it was important for me to pinpoint where I was going to get out of the hexagon- this kept me from ever quilting into corners, and since I always ended off the quilt, it minimized ends.

The fillers I decided on were a flower (easy), a triangle spiral (straight lines are hard, but I think I did okay), and an acorn. It looks like an acorn right? The parents have nicknamed the baby Acorn for now, and are decorating in a woodland theme (hence the back of the quilt).

This quilt is all from - fabric, batting, and thread. Very nice quality, and while quilts are expensive no matter what, I got good prices I think. It is 36 x 38, so on the small side, but can be tucked into a stroller (I hope). I've washed it, so wrinkly quilt photos will come later, probably. (I love the wrinkly look.) For those wondering how the cotton batting shrinks- it started at 39 x 42 (cut down a bit from where it was before I squared it with Kevin's that thing!).

The only negative today: my walking foot was a disaster. I must be doing something wrong, but even after posting photos and a video to quiltingboards, I don't know what. Hopefully a friend will be able to help me Thursday, otherwise I have to drive up to the dealership. It is like the foot sits too far back, so the arm can't hold onto the needle bar. Kevin managed to get it on once (and it worked beautifully, but the needle was striking in the wrong place, then the arm fell off the needle bar, my needle broke, and neither of us can get it on again.) I was almost in tears over this... a $200 foot should not cause this amount of trouble! Thankfully, I finished the binding with my regular foot- it has a few puckers from stretching, but mostly okay. I do love how the Bernina can sew over hugely thick seams with no trouble at all.

In other news, I wanted to share a video. This is my FAVORITE (yes, I'm a simple person) feature on my new sewing machine. The bobbin winder turns itself off!

Breaking into Kevin's workshop...

Quilting rulers are not sufficient for.squaring quilts!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


The baby quilt is now in 4 strips of pinwheels. Look how nicely this one comes together :)
Unfortunately it is next to the worst aligned purple.triangles (so far, with 3 large seams left, there are plenty of mistakes to be made...)

It really surprised me how forgiving the pinwheel were in the alignment. Even the ones that are off look great. The purple triangles, however, are brutal. That is where the mistakes shown
Can't wait to be done piecing so I can quilt.

Once this is done I am going to volunteer to quilt tops made for charity through the guild. I like quilting best.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Peak inside my craftroom...

Making some progress on a quilt for the little acorn my SIL and BIL are expecting in February.

Only a few of the seams are sewn the "triplets". I have to say, triangles are HARD. I don't think many of these are going to be lining up... but the quilt should still be pretty.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mug Rug Swap

If you recall a little bit ago I posted the mug rug I sent out for a swap ("Let it Snow").
Here is the one I got in return.  The theme was fall or winter, and this person was so clever to do it double sided to be both!

Friday, October 7, 2011


The towels I wove a while ago are getting pretty dirty- we use them as our primar kitchen towels, so I wove up some new ones. I think I posted about warping them, but I finished them awhile ago. Since I have the new machine with the pretty decorative stitches, I decided to give them some borders (I mean, when else will I ever use those stitches?)

Aren't they pretty? One of them is already pretty dirty... apparently our kitchen is messy or something...

Here is a close up of the stitches. One nice think about my Bernina, the bobbin side stitches are just as pretty as the top side. My old (cheapo) machine was NOT like that.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Wave Quilt is done!

My quilt is finished!

The pattern is New Wave. It finished at about 47" x 55". (I lost a few inches while squaring it...). Cutting using the template was a PAIN, so using a tumbler ruler (or a die cut) would definitely be a better idea...

The main fabric is from a discontinued fat quarter set I got from Connecting Threads last Black Friday (I hope they do a half off precut sale again!), and the backing is Thin Ice Frost (which I love as a backing- although my back stitches are quite beautiful, if I do say so myself, they get lost in it and just the texture shows, which is SO pretty- there is a picture later on down. And it was on sale- under $3 a yard is awesome!) I used essential thread in white, about 3/4 of a spool!

The way I quilted this quilt was to stitch in the ditch all the white lines, and then do free motion filler designs in the colored areas. I had some major basting issues that resulted in insane amounts of shifting during the stitch in the ditch part, so I actually had to undo three lines and then re-baste. I should have undone another two and rebasted the orange middle section as well, as when I got to the free motion part, that part is kind of a disaster (the back is filled with pleats, the front, a few). For as much trouble as I had with it (when I decided it was too late to do anything about it), it looks pretty good once it was shrunk in the wash.

The picture I posted a few posts ago with the quilt shoved in the machine shows the way I did the FMQ, I don't roll the quilt, but accordion it together. Here is a picture of me doing stitch in the ditch, I rolled it up, and let it sit on my shoulder (I got the idea seeing someone do it in the documentary "Stitched"). Normally I would have turned it in the middle, but with all the shifting (and the hours of ripping because of it), I wanted everything shifting in the SAME direction. This worked GREAT except the one pin that decided to jab me in the face.

This quilt was a seam ripping nightmare (I have a blister from it.) I undid at least two full sections of free motion when I decided I didn't like how it turned out. First, the whole orange section when I didn't like the design I chose once it was translated to a large scale (and when I realized how badly it was puckering...the orange looks bad now, it looked HORRIBLE then), and then the pink section when rather than quilting across the long side of the quilt (see previous post with picture of entire quilt shoved into the machine) I decided to take a short cut and quilt shortways- well, turns out I can't do the zig-zag design the same from two directions, so that ripped out as well.

As readers of this blog know, I love Leah Day's designs. I've been practicing many of them, on a small scale (though not as small as she quilts). I wanted to try translating them to large scale (so the quilt doesn't stand up on its own), and well, it didn't go too great - I ended up going with "inspired by..." - but I'm happy with that. My original thought was a different design for each section, but in the end, I went with four designs, each used three times.

The first one I tried was Wiggly Woven lines. This is not on the finished quilt. (see above). This is my favorite filler design, and I wish I could have used it. On a smaller quilt, I'm trying again!

Then, I went with Radio Static. I only did 2 sets of lines, And because of the visual orientation across the whole quilt, it just looks like zig-zags! But I like it.

Then, I just wanted a meandering design, and asked Kevin to pick a doodle shape (you know, one of those things girls draw over and over and thus can draw in their sleep) and he said Daisy. I tried to do mostly 5 petal flowers, but also threw in some 4 and 6 petal ones.

I made up my own filler (though I've seen scallops before so it isn't really original), and I call this one "Mermaid Tail".

Finally, I needed a filler to replace the failed Wiggly Woven Lines. I auditioned and practiced about five different designs and settled on Falling Stars, except I made mine a little easier. Instead of worrying about the fill in space, I just echoed the previous design any time I hit it. Her design is more defined than mine is.

I have to say: I LOVE the way the back of this quilt looks in this picture. I think the different fillers give it SO much texture. Almost like the back is a whole cloth design. This is why I really prefer fillers over all over stippling.

I think I am quilting too fast, as my stitches are a little bigger than I'd like, my open toe foot kept getting caught (and then I'd have to rip back and restart) and I broke 4 needles on this one...

The ONLY thing I don't like about this quilt is where the binding joins itself. I went with a few of the unused fat quarters to make the binding, and put them together in blocks. The blocks that join ended up with two different colors: one less than an inch (!), the other just a few inches long. I hate random chance, it never goes my way. I also need a lot more practice binding. It is really uneven on the back.

Up next: either a twin quilt for my Mom or a baby quilt for Acorn. Depends on when Acorn's fabric gets here.