Sunday, April 11, 2021


 My neighbor passed away this year of a recurrence of cancer.  I did not interact with her very much, would see her in the yard or driving by.  My fault as I could have reached out to her but did not.  She was a real thrifter, going to yard sales often and then having her own.  She would open the garage door and sell what she could.  We would wave and say hi.  

My husband walked over to the sale Friday morning and came back and said, get dressed and go!  Oh my word!  She had two walk in closets filled with fabric!   One whole room was her sewing and crafting room.  She had at least 5 sewing machines, stacks of cross stitch and assorted sewing and crafting magazines.  She probably had 500 patterns and I'm not exaggerating.  She had notions, ribbons, and elastic, buttons, pins, and more.  In each closet was a set of drawers that was filled with all of these things.  Each closet was stacked to the top with folded fabrics.  She was very organized.

There was batting and pillows, iron on interfacing, stuffed dolls, one huge bag filled with 18" doll patterns.  Just this month I ventured over to Joann's to buy a doll pattern for $1.99.  Could have waited.  The second bedroom was devoted to games and toys, dolls and doll beds, a Tv with DVD's to watch filling a chest.  My 6 year old granddaughter had just come to visit and I was able to get a lot of things for her to play with when she comes.  And a few games for the boys.  I did take a handful of doll patterns, definitely did not need the whole huge tote full!  

I told the daughter that I quilted for Lutheran World Relief and that when the sale was done, would appreciate some fabric for that effort.  She was happy for me to come and take it.  My car is full.  I keep having nightmares about the fabric I left behind.  I know there were bins still full of cottons for quilting but I felt so greedy as it was.  

I recently ventured into garment sewing so I did manage to get several pieces that I can make tops and shirts with.  And a good length of embroidered denim that is beautiful!  Will have to make a jacket out of it!  And I bought a 30" by 6 ft bookcase that will go into my sewing room!  I desperately need it!  A good deal of this fabric, magazines, cross stitch items and more is going off to my church.  In the garage she had stacks of twig wreaths, already decorated.  The daughter gave them all to me for our church arts and crafts.  I'll just spruce them up a bit!  And if we can't use them, a thrift store will be the recipient.  

I don't fault my neighbor for having all this stuff.  She had a gruesome cancer that affected her face and her voice.  She was the most brave person, having lost her husband about 25 years ago in an accident.  She raised 3 daughters on her own.  If it gave her pleasure to go to yard sales and thrift stores to accumulate treasures, so be it.  She had numerous grandchildren and devoted that one room to entertainment for the.  

But it does put things into perspective in my own sewing room.  I am happy to get this extra bookcase and will be able to get better organized.  And my guild meeting is next week and some of it will likely go there.  Just need to sort out the bags and bins I brought home and donate it or fold it nicely on the shelf.  Monday I quilt with the Lutherans and my car is full of donated fabric and more.  Hopefully I can get my son and husband to help me bring in the bookcase!  

Use it up!  Or donate it!  When its a quilt, give it away!  We sew for our pleasure but it is also pleasurable to share!  Happy Quilting!  

Saturday, April 3, 2021


 I've been thinking about getting back into garment sewing for some time.  When I was younger up until my mid 30's, nearly every stick of clothing I wore was constructed by me.  I would go out of my way to find a plaid to make into a jacket, just so I could match the pattern.  I wish I had kept those jackets but of course, they wouldn't fit me now.  I do have two plaid shirts I made for my father in law and husband way back when.  

My husband wanted to send these to Goodwill but I couldn't part with them.  Flat fell seams and buttonholes!  

Last year I took a very expensive sewing course at the LQS by a woman who gave us a pattern fitted to our bodies that was supposed to cover everything.  I made a shirt from the pattern but it had some issues.  It swam on me and the neck opening seemed to high in the back and it was lopsided.  So that ended that project and future projects.  But I still had the desire to sew clothing for myself.  And I still have the pattern and the book that went with it to show alterations for future tops, etc.  

My LQS has sewing patterns from a renowned garment sewer whose name escapes me.  Her patterns are pricey, at about $22 a pop and if I'm still experimenting, just didn't want to go there.  I talked with the shop owner about making a jacket  for the shop and she is thinking about it.  I decided I would go home, use some brushed white denim I got at a yard sale and a pattern languishing on the shelf to practice.

I'll post a pic another day but the jacket is finished!  Today I downloaded a pattern from I Think Sew.

Its a PDF pattern with 20 pages to print so I think I'll take it to a blueprint company to print off for me.  Cheaper than replacing printer ink.  The LQS has lots of great fabric for shirts and this being my style, I could make shirt after shirt after shirt!  I even hooked up the serger yesterday to sew the side seams together on the jacket.  I have another Indygo Junction pattern that I have had for years and batik fabric to go with it.  It requires serged edges and that is another project!  Learn how to do those.  I might be moving away from quilts to garments.  Takes up less space!  And a new warm and cozy wrap pattern on Indygo Junction would be perfect for the Stewart wool Plaid that came from St Andrews in Scotland!  Its been waiting in my hopeless chest for 40 plus years waiting for the perfect pattern!  I would have to keep the finished product in the hopeless chest because I've had a few moth holes in woolens in my closet.  A favorite jacket sports a few but I'm going to sew some wool patches over the holes.  AFter All its patchwork!  Have a great Easter weekend!  

Friday, April 2, 2021

When do you know your machine needs a tune up?



Our guild program for April  is a man who is going to tell us about how to take care of our machines! 

I first met Bobby in Sept of 2010.  I gauge my quilting experience to that month when I also met my friend Pam  when we took a beginner’s quilting class at The Sewing Center.  It was a 6 week class and Bobby was there to help us buy our wares and I discovered that quilting was not a cheap hobby.  I still have that quilt, my first quilt.  I wonder if Pam has hers. 

At any rate, Bobby had a little “nook” at the shop where he would work on the machines, eventually moving home into his garage where he has a tidy business, taking care of my machine and many others. 

I bought a Viking Sapphire 875 in 2009 after the shop owner had several demo Vikings in a session at a local quilt show.  Most were sold but I was able to come home with one from the shop, along with a Sew Steady Table.  Bobby has been taking care of my machine ever since. 

I usually take my Viking to Bobby at least once a year for a tune up and cleaning.  Last year, she was beyond her time needing to be cleaned  but last fall I finally took her into the Spa.   When I picked her up, Bobby said I would be needing a new set of feed dogs in the future.  I asked how I would know when?  And he said, you’ll know!  Its going to be sooner than later I think.  I’ve noticed just this week that the fabric sometimes won’t go through without a tug.  And I’ll need a new cutter soon as well. Its annoying when the cutter won't work and leaves a thread hanging.  This will be the second cutter I've gotten.  I guess when you sew every day, it just wears itself out.  

My six year old granddaughter, Evelyn, has been here this week.  I wondered what I would do to entertain her but it hasn't been difficult at all.  She is enamored with my sewing room.  I don't remember what took me in there the first day or two but she followed and when she saw my lamb's wool duster that I use to clean my machine bed, she immediately wanted to clean and tidy my "desk".  Everything was put into a neat pile and she cleaned up all the dust and threads.  Then she wanted to move over to my cutting table which was a complete mess!  

I sure wasn't going to argue with that!  I got the little ladder she could stand on and we both folded and sorted and put away.  My table was so tidy and I could actually see the top!  I do have to be careful to make sure I keep my cutters closed, teach her about the sharpness and not to touch a hot iron.  While I was sewing, she wanted to press the foot peddle and I let her, telling her when to stop.  It worked out just fine until she pushed the peddle and I wasn't there.  I had to teach her about that as well.  

Evelyn will be coming back to visit this summer and if I can keep her helping me and interested in sewing, it will be a wonderful thing.  We made some doll pillows and she stuffed them and I showed her how to hand sew the opening closed!  Makes my heart happy!