Friday, 29 November 2013

Mmmmmmm...I Love Grey and What to Do About a Sewing Machine

My Sew Sisters Kona Solids of the Month club arrived for November with a Movember-themed moustache picture and four delicious fat quarters of grey.

Here is the inspiration photo:
This moustache is charming. The one my husband grew is horrible. Maybe he needs one that looks like this next November?

And here are the different greys:
From top to bottom: Kona Silver, Kona Shale, Kona Shadow and Kona Pewter.
I have to tell you, I love them all. The Shale in particular has this greenish quality that adds a lot of depth. I love, love, love grey and I am so thrilled to add these to my stash.

On the note of sewing: none to report. Despite a dear sewing friend lending me her back up machine, I have not been able to sew. Her machine and I are not friends. The bobbin is side loading and is in a metal bobbin case and it took me ages to figure out how to use it. (My machine had a mega-easy drop-in bobbin with a clear cover). Then the very first practice stitches I did resulted in a broken needle. Argh!

And I heard from the sewing machine repair guy who told me very directly that my machine (a Brother CS-5000H) is NOT meant for someone who does as much sewing as I do. He said "You should sell it to someone you don't know." Whatever THAT means. I am getting the machine back Monday but he said with the amount of sewing I do he thinks he will only last another six months to maybe a year, and that I should invest in a much better (read: expensive!) machine. Sigh. As anyone who has been on maternity leave can attest, spending thousands of dollars with a salary down to almost nothing is not ideal. My husband is being very understanding and we are trying to figure out if I should look out for post-Christmas sales and just do it (as in, buy a really nice, really expensive machine) or wait until mine fully breaks, or replace this one with another less expensive model and wait for that one to crap out before upgrading. What to do, what to do? 

What machine do YOU use? Would you recommend it to someone else? Can it handle all my sewing? I don't want to spend tons and get the wrong machine, that is for sure!


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Good Intentions, Zero Progress

After my machine ground to a halt the other day, I have been trying to get back into a sewing groove. I tried cleaning out the machine, oiling it, changing the needle, etc. Nothing has worked. My machine is, hopefully, visiting a doctor this week. 

In the meantime I pressed and cut the material for the binding for the twins' quilts:
These are the left over crossword prints from both quilts, reversed for the binding on each twin's quilt.
And I pulled out the stack of fabric that was supposed to be turned into a quilt for my husband's stepmother's mother (we call her Nana) with the plans to make her a quilt for Christmas. I have since come to the realization that there is NO WAY I am finishing any quilts before Christmas with the exception, I hope, of one for my own baby. So I think she will get this next Christmas.

Most of these fabrics were pulled from Fat Quarter Shop Blogger Bundles. Red isn't my favourite, but I think Nana will love a red and white quilt.
And I cut the fabric (the pattern half at least) for a quilt for my own baby from Indian Summer. I need to cut the Kona White next.

How adorable are these fabrics?
I consulted my sewing friends C and A about where to take my machine for servicing, and in the meantime wonderful, generous C has offered to lend me her old, starter machine so I can still be sewing while I wait for mine to be fixed. How awesome is she???

And we have a shop hop (my last for a while, I'm guessing) planned for next Saturday. I can't wait!

Wish my sewing machine a speedy recovery!


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Machine Woes

I finally, finally got some serious quilting time in this weekend. Those quilts for the twins having been calling to me and I managed to get the boy quilt totally quilted, trimmed and threads buried. Hooray! Then I got to work doing a much simpler FMQ all-over meandering stipple on the girl quilt. I was flying. I got 90% done when...


My machine ground to a slow stop. The wheel is super tight. It feels like it needs to be lubed. I have never opened my machine before and though I have machine oil (I do like to be prepared- must be my Girl Guide background) I am nervous to try to lube the wheel myself!!

The top quilt is ready to add binding. The bottom quilt is 90% done. Darn machine!

What really bothers me is that I have never had trouble like this before in the three years I have owned my sturdy Brother. I recently had it cleaned and serviced and two months later it grinds to a halt? Surely he greased the wheel thoroughly? I am wondering if my marathon of fmq-ing over the last two days did it in. But should it have?

So...on advice from a quilty friend I am going to watch a You Tube video and give oiling the machine a shot. I am nervous. But first I am going to jump into some cutting and fabric play to work up my nerve!

Have any of you ever "serviced" your own machine? Any tips?


Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Twin Quilt Progress

There has been some progress around here. Finally!

Two quilt tops, pressed and ready to go!

Two quilt backs, ready to go.

Sometimes you have to Frankenstein some quilt batting. Especially when the quilt top is 6" wider than the standard crib batting size. Sigh.

And, basting time. I got both quilts basted with few problems.
And so there is some actually sewing happening, and I even got in some initial FMQing starting with the little boy quilt tonight. Maybe they'll get their quilts before they're three months old! (Fingers crossed).


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Don't Let the Pigeon Do Any Quilting

My ridiculous work schedule does not have any signs of easing up before I go on maternity leave in December, which means little-to-no sewing time around here. And yet I have so many quilts I want to get done ASAP! (At least before Christmas!)

Top of the list is getting those twin quilts done. I finished the two tops today and hope to get the backing made and them both basted tonight. With hubby out of town overnight I often get more done (once the kiddlet is in bed, mind you).

But I did get one sewing project that has been on my To Do list DONE last weekend. My daughter saw the Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus fabric online and flipped out. She begged me to buy some and sew her something. I decided pillowcases made a lot of sense, and I bought the fabric. Months ago.

Here is the finished product!
The bottom case is made with a cheater print. The top one is mostly Pigeon-with-attitude with a different fabric for the piping and the cuff of the pillowcase.
 Here is a close up to show you how nice the piping and cuff look. All french seams (so no raw edges) using the tutorial from Film in the Fridge. I've now used this tutorial about five times, and it never fails to produce great results.
The kiddo loves the pillowcases and I am so pleased I got around to actually making her something she's been asking for. Now I hope to get those twin quilts done soon!