Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Best And The Worst

I'm feeling better today.  Kelly over at I Have A Notion is having a Best/Worst Critic posting so here are my best/worst items I've purchased.  I'm not really a gadget girl and a lot of things I've just passed over or tossed so I don't have much.  I'll start with the worst.  

The Worst:

From Quilted with Love
The iron:  The handle is at an odd angle and your aches after a few minutes.  It was way over priced and never really worked right.  I should just toss it.  The only thing going for it was the wonderful surface area.  Nothing to hold the iron so it wouldn't melt into your table either. 

The Easy Ruler:  Great idea.  Large print and it is easy to read.  But they made a mistake.  The measurement lines don't go all the way across!  If you take a closer look you'll see what I mean.

Compass Points:  This was supposed to make a compass out of your rulers.  Another great idea but the twist tops don't stay and they slide up and down the ruler.  

Packaging Of Organ Needles:  The needles are fine.  However; you can't tell what kind of needle they are as they aren't labeled.  Sharps?  Ballpoint?  Embroidery?  Universal?  Even their website is useless.  Great product.  Fire your packaging guy and get one that can label them right.

The Green Thing:  This is supposed to do the lines for half square triangles.  You line up the center at the diagonals and draw lines.

My Gracie Frame:  That was a disaster purchase.  Wrong parts sent twice.  UPS couldn't find my address because the lady over the phone wasn't exactly brilliant.  Solid wood though and great idea for storage.  And it's still in storage where it will sit for all eternity.

From Quilted with Love

The Best:
From Quilted with Love
Pre wound Bobbins:  These are amazing.  No winding.  Just dump in and go.  Only catch is that if your machine has a sensor, it won't recognize that these are done. 

Madeira Thread Stand:  This sits on top of your thread stand and holds Madeira thread in small and large cones.  LOVE it. 

BOHIN Mechanical Pencil:  This is my absolute favorite marking tool.  It has several colored "leads" and is perfect for marking.  

Mary Ellen's "Best Press" Starch:  I bought this on a whim and quickly found out this stuff is fabulous.  Even my husband uses it to press his work shirts even though it smells like lavender.  Not kidding.  He likes that it doesn't flake or leave a residue.  Didn't know he noticed things like that.  LOL.

Quilter's Reference Tool Book:  This book has every measurement for anything.  Setting blocks, binding, corner stones, half squares.  You name it and it's in there.  I couldn't live without this book.  It's worth every penny.  

Artist Brush:  I use this to clean out my bobbin case and area every time I change a bobbin.  It fits into small places and between cracks.  I broke the brush in half so it would fit easier.   

1/4 Add-A-Seam: This is the best thing ever for paper piecing.  

Freezer paper

My light box made from my old acrylic slide on table and my Ott light.  

From Quilted with Love
And my Janome 6600 table.  This is the BEST purchase I've ever made.

From Quilted with Love
I think I'm done.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Aquamarine Ambience" And Color Blind

WooHoo!  My book came today!  I can't wait to start.  Here's a pic:

From Embroidery Designs
The instructions said to use silk dupione fabric so while in Lincoln I checked it out.  16 bucks a yard and I needed 6 yards.  ROTFLOL  I don't think so.  It was nice, but even if I was willing to pay that much, the store didn't have a color that I liked.  There wasn't any point in buying the thread colors since my fabric choices had changed.

So I bought some batik green and a print.  It will really change the look of the quilt, but I think I like it.  I only bought two yards of the light print just in case I change my mind.  My thread choices are still up in the air.  I went through my thread collection and through my color book since I'm practically color blind.  Did you remember I have my fabrics labeled to tell the colors?

I realized I have enough chartreuse and spring green to start a store.  Same with Golden-Yellow.  Did you know browns are actually a deep color of orange??  I pulled out a beautiful deep brown and told him it was actually orange.  He didn't believe me until I put it next to the chart.  

I'll pull out the fabric and work with threads tonight and see what works.  I'm hoping I don't have to do a lot of editing as I have one of the larger hoops in the embroidery industry.        

I had a really nice anniversary today as well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Horse Is Alive!

rom Quilted with Love

I got it done!  I forgot to trim the bottom border but it looks fabulous!  Towards the end I just sort of winged it as I pieces kept coming up missing.  I redid the important ones like the ears, but others just got positioned where it looked good.  I HATE this thin fusible webbing.  Next time I'm buying the good stuff.

My husband has the entire week off for our anniversary which is wonderful.  I've been looking forward to next week for a month and I felt bad today as I yelled at him for being in the way while doing this project.  He started vacuuming and unplugged my iron without me knowing it.  I turned off the ceiling fan so the pieces wouldn't fly everywhere and he turned it back on.  He kept putting my papers up instead of leaving them scattered on the floor so I could find my place.

I'm SO glad to have this done so I can enjoy my time with him.  It's hard to believe it's been 15 years.  He asked what I wanted and I told him unwarped pans.  Anyone have pans that are unwarpable for a ceramic stove?  

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Spring Storm" Horse Applique Kit

From Quilted with Love
I got brave today and pulled out my "Spring Storm" horse applique kit.  I've been dying to do it, I just wasn't sure how to do all the pieces.  Plus I worried about running out of fabric and tracing all the pieces. The fusible webbing I have is really thin and comes apart from the paper just by moving it.  It's all my LQS has as the ladies love it.  I like the heavier stuff but that requires a trip to Lincoln or Omaha. 

It was SO easy!  Big Fork Bay Cotton Company had several pages that fit perfectly under the fusible applique.  They were already reversed (THANK YOU) and you just traced and labeled the pieces.  They had labeled the fabric as well.  They also provided a full size picture of the horse. THANK YOU!

I had some projector sheets, taped 4 together and traced the horse template to position the top pieces.   I taped down the background fabric (I'll do the borders after the horse is done) and taped the top of the sheets over it.

From Embroidery Designs
What I didn't think of earlier was to put the pieces in bags from 1-9, 10-19, 20-29 up to 100 until several hours later..LOL.  Duh.  At least I did think of it.  

Here's the horse with the clear template over it:      

From Embroidery Designs
I'm up to the 50's now.  Halfway there!   I used my small Clover iron to press the pieces in place.  I've been doing this since 2pm and it's now after midnight.  My house is a wreck.  My kids had to fend for themselves for food..  Yep.  I'm a quilter.   

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Striped Butterfly

I got the butterfly designs into the Topaz 30 and stitched one out using Superior's Rainbows thread.  I've been dying to try a variegated thread.  Wow.  Nice thread.   I'm still giggling over the fact that he's got stripes.    

From Embroidery Designs

It wasn't until I turned it over that I realized I had some minor problems:

From Embroidery Designs
There are loops on the back and parts of the towel had come through.  I'll have to do another and change the needle and see if that helps.  Somehow the top tension is loose.  The thread didn't come out of the take-up lever so it may be needle issues.   Or the transfer from JEF to VP3 may not have come through right.  I know the designs work in JEF as I've used it before.  Sometimes it's hard to tell.  I don't know enough about digitizing to fix anything if it can be.


Throwing Fits, Biscornus And Vitamins

I got my biscornu done today!

From Embroidery Designs
4D Extra is throwing fits today. I'll drag and drop and nothing shows up. If I click on the picture, it opens into a new screen that has set up icons in it. Even "Convert It" for the Mac was throwing fits.  All I wanted to do was transfer some butterfly designs to my Topaz. I finally got the designs converted to VP3 and will embroider butterflies after I finish this post.

I was in the doc office the other day for the seizures and was reading a health magazine talking about vitamins. I picked up a bottle of "One A Day Women's" and have taken one for the past 3 days. Wow..does anyone fly really high after taking one? I finished up all the laundry the other night. 4 loads in one evening! Yesterday I got the lawn mowed and some other yard work done. I cleaned up all my sewing mess and vacuumed today. I have the desire to clean windows, walls, and scrub down the bathroom.  I checked the stimulants.  Either I'm seriously depleted or there's something in there they aren't admitting too.   

My hubby bought some of the men's version and today he was SINGING along while on the computer as he found an online radio station. SINGING! He came in from work this morning talking so LOUD about his night. He is NEVER LOUD. I finished up my biscornu and showed it to him. He started tossing it into the air and said, "Way cool..You can toss it!" *scratches head in confusion* Wow.. this is way better than depression meds for him. LOL.

This is the side of the biscornu
From Embroidery Designs
I really love how this turned out.  I'm going to send a picture to the lady who designed it.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

YouTube Video On The Topaz

I did a quck video on the embroidery part of my Topaz 30.  My video and auditory skills are improving but the ummms and uhh's are still there. LOL.   

I ordered a Jenny Haskins book on Ebay today called "Aquamarine Ambience". I can't wait to get it.

It Works! Tension Is Working!!

Woo Hoo!  The embroidery part works on the Topaz!  No take-up lever problems!   I stitched out a quilt block using purple, yellow and green.  Not sure I like the green, but it stitched out beautifully.

From Embroidery Designs

I also got a new toy with the thread I ordered:I use a lot of Madeira thread and they have a spool holder just for the spools.  It fits perfectly so the thread doesn't unwind under the spool.  It just fits on top of the universal one I have.  Way cool!  

Here's a picture of my Topaz stitching out the design:

From Embroidery Designs

Friday, April 17, 2009

Online Quilt Festival

Amy at Park City Girl is having an online quilt festival and thought I'd join in.  I rarely join in blog giveaways or put links in for others, but this is a good idea.

She asks to put a picture of your favorite quilt up and tell the story.  I have so many quilts that I love it's hard to pick one.  

The quilt above is my first machine appliqued quilt.  It was a class called "Drunkard's Flowers" at QuiltUniversity.  It took me a year to finish and quilt it.  I gave the quilt to my mother a couple of years ago so I don't have better pictures of it.  If you click on it, I think it will show up with more detailed look.

I FMQ with a satin stitch around all the flowers and leaves.  I FMQ a vine in the white area around the center flower.  I outlined the flowers and the half/circles around the outer border.   It will always be one of my favorite quilts because it was so hard to make as a newbie yet it turned out so beautiful.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

White Is Right

I've been ripping out blue thread and quilting with white Aurifil thread.  Rip down a square or two and then quilt.  It's looking MUCH nicer.  Always go with your gut instinct.  Mine said white and I didn't listen.    

6600 with the open toe foot is doing fabulous.  I'm taking the SITD foot back tomorrow and see if I can get a SS plate for my Sapphire/Topaz machines.  I filled up a yellow card and have 3 other cards with stamps on them.  

Part of me would like the candlewicking foot as well. 

The dealer also said she would look into the Diamond red case set for me so I can store the embroidery unit.  I would love for Viking to come out with a hard case for the unit.  That would be totally sweet.

I'm feeling much better.  Sometimes sulking and throwing a small temper tantrum really helps. 

SITD Foot???

Is this how stitching in the ditch is supposed to look?  Because I hate it.  I know it's partly because I used blue thread but if it's supposed to be "in the ditch" how much of it are you supposed to see?  I've never actually seen how it should look.

I bought the Janome 6600 SITD foot and I despise it.  Or I just don't know to use it.  It's bulky and the black blade doesn't work.  If I line it up in the ditch, the needle is off either on top of the fabric or just next to it.  It's just as obnoxious as the 1/4 inch walking foot for this machine. This is why I topstitch everything with the 6600. 

 The SITD foot for my Sapphire works beautifully so go figure but to try to quilt with it isn't really feasible.   There isn't a SITD walking foot for the Viking line and the walking foot system on the Janome is far more powerful hence using it. 

When I used the open toe foot to do SITD my quilt still slides to the left.  I talked to my Viking dealer as she sells Janomes about it and she said that the 6500 had that problem but they fixed it on the 6600 by adding the inside feed dogs.  I'm beginning to think my machine is secretly a 6500 with the cover of a 6600.  Or my "inside" feed dogs aren't working right.  This is a beautiful machine and I want so badly to love it, but I just haven't despite my efforts.     

I also run into the problem of the back is a deep blue hence using the blue thread on top.  If I used white, I would have dots on the back.  If I used white in both the bobbin and the top, I'd have white stitches all over the back.  What's the best of all the evils?

The only other solution I can think of is to add a decorative stitch 1/4 to 1/2 inch inside the embroidered square of each of the blocks using a decorative stitch or just a straight stitch and forget this stupid SITD idea.  

This is where being self taught is really frustrating and I just can't bring up the machine and my quilt and get a lesson on my time.




Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's Back And I Have The Wrong Walking Foot

WooHoo!  I got my machine back today.  They updated it and it appears to be working.  I hope it stays that way.  She taught me how to thread it right and how to work with the tension.  I wasn't really doing anything wrong, but having the extra help is nice.

I took my Blackwork quilt in to ask about the best way to quilt it.  I said my walking foot just didn't seem to work right and showed her the one I have.  She took a look at it and said, "No wonder it doesn't work.  It's the wrong one for the Sapphire/Topaz.  Where did you get it?"

I told her the dealer I bought the Sapphire from gave it to me when I purchased the machine.  She said to take it back and ask for the one for the this machine.

I had purchased the same walking foot from a lady a couple of years ago for the old beat up 1980's Viking Tank machine so I have one I don't need.  If the other dealer won't take it back, I'll have two that I will probably sell.  

It's nice to have my baby back.    

Hotmail Problems?

Is anyone else having Windows Hotmail problems?  I got in through Firefox but Safari won't.  At the end of the address it has some wonky false inbox with some numbers at the end of the address.  I have it working as I edited the address by taking out the false inbox extension but I have to do it every time.  It was working just fine last week.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Owning More Than One Machine?

Does anyone else feel terribly guilty for owning more than one machine?  I'm going through a terrible bout of guilt.  I've never owned 4 machines in my entire life and I've been feeling sick over it.  I feel selfish and greedy.  I hadn't planned on owning more than one.  It just sorta happened that way.

My very first machine was a Singer that my mom had purchased for my birthday almost 8 years ago.  It was good for piecing but couldn't quilt to save it's life.  Hubby bought me a Janone Quilter's Edition 6260 and it worked for awhile until I read Harriet Hargrave's book on machine quilting.  Being so new to quilting, she made me feel like if I didn't own a very expensive machine with bells and whistles that I wasn't truly a quilter.

So I talked hubby into buying a used Bernina 1630.  I had never used a machine with 9mm feed dogs and couldn't get to Bernina classes as they were held during the day when my kids were in school and hubby was sleeping.  The classes were only held at certain times and there were no private lessons.  Not driving really sucks for classes.  Somehow I nicked the bobbin casing and was so frustrated I traded the machine up for an Aurora 440.  The problem was I couldn't afford the machine.  I fell for the "interest free" Bernina card.  The lady's eyes about popped out of her head when she realized I had the TOL limit on their card.  I realized later that if I didn't have the machine paid off within the time frame the interest would be charged from the beginning.  At 28% interest I was going to be financially impaired.  I sold the machine on Ebay.  NEVER buy a machine on store credit.  If you have to use a card, use your own.

Still listening to Harriet's advice, I kept wanting the "dream machine" she said I needed.  My LQS was having a local sewing machine store bring down Janomes and they talked me into buying the Janome 6600.  I wasn't that impressed with the machine but still very much a novice with machines I bought it anyway.  I've never truly liked the machine as I couldn't get it to accurately hold a 1/4 in seam allowance without the fabric sliding to the left.  No one I know was having this problem and the dealer said the machine was just fine.  I've put up with the 6600 for 3 years wanting to love it, but just couldn't. 

I bought the Janome 350e when I saw a beautiful embroidered quilt.  I bought the machine without even testing it and it's been a great machine.  I had no idea I would outgrow it so fast.

When a friend suggested the Viking line of machines, I fell in love with the Sapphire 870.  For the first time since starting to quilt, I found the machine of my dreams.  Then I realized that I needed a bigger embroidery machine and was able to purchase the Topaz.  Amazingly hubby said to keep the Sapphire as I was just going to trade up.  

That brings me to now with 4 machines and 3 of the are in storage as I don't have a place to put them upstairs.  However; each machine has its good points.  The Sapphire is perfect for piecing and has fabulous decorative stitches.  The Topaz does amazing embroidery designs.  I pulled out my 6600 today as it quilts with ease.  The 350e is perfect for embroidering small items.

I've bonded more with my 6600 for its quilting abilities today as I've been topstitching my quilt.   This truly is a fabulous machine now that I'm not mad at it for not piecing right.   

I feel SO much better after bringing this up.  Still feeling guilty, but knowing now that I have a bond with each of them at really helps.  They aren't wasting away, but used as needed.  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Working On Topstitching

Still waiting to hear back about my Topaz.  I'll call on Monday and see if it's been looked at.  In the meantime I've been working on topstitching my mariner's compass quilt.  The Sapphire is doing a great job.

From Quilted with Love
The only problem I'm having is drag.  Because I have to keep moving the quilt around the points, it falls behind the table.  I have it as far back as it goes, but there's enough space to hang over.  Once I get the points topstitched, I'll figure out the middle designs.

I spent part of the afternoon organizing and backing up my embroidery designs.  The last thing you want is to lose them if you computer crashes.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Please Make My Topaz Work

Is anyone else like me and despise how sewing machine manufacturers do their websites?  I have yet to find one that is user friendly.  Annoying slide shows with music.  Scrolling through pages just to get basic information.  Arghh.  Their TOL machine splattered all over the home page just to make it harder to find the machine you want to look at.

I know I'm just panicking about my Topaz since I'm looking at websites.  The anxiety is killing me as I called today and they haven't worked on my machine yet.  Puleeaase don't be a lemon. OR even worse a wanna-be lemon.  The wanna-bes like to work only for the dealer and no one can figure out the problem.  You know there's a problem because it doesn't ever work right for you.  You get told it's user error.  Or, "You know that no machine is perfect".  Or told "I don't know what your problem is, it worked just fine for me" and other crappy responses.

I LOVE my Topaz.  For the first time in my life I have a machine I positively adore.  I love everything about it.  Even the little things like lack of a touch screen doesn't totally annoy me.  I have terrible visions of fighting a dealer and corporation over my machine.   I fell in love with my Sapphire 870 hence buying the Topaz.  

*Breathe*  It's gonna be okay.  It's gonna be okay.  I got run over once by a dealer when I was new to the sewing world and that's partly why I'm panicked.  That incidence will never happen again.  I'll make sure of it.

The OCD part of me wants to sell all my machines on Ebetray and get myself a Bernina 8 Series.  Berninas are foolproof aren't they?  The complexity of the machine would kill me so I know better.  Plus the dealer said theirs was having problems and had to be sent back.  She had just gotten it back from Bernina when I came in to check out some stabilizers.

Please..make my Topaz work... 



Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Jenny Haskins "Vintage Garden" Book

I'm torn.  I've recently discovered Jenny Haskin's magazine "Creative Expressions" and have enjoyed it.  I went online to see her site and my jaw dropped.  What gorgeous quilts!  She has a new book out called "Vintage Gardens" that makes a quilt to die for.  Trying to find her books in the US is practically impossible except through Ebetray.  Her site had the book for for 70 AUD with 25 AUD in shipping.  I'm not sure what that translates to US dollars but that still means OUCH in my pocketbook. 

A site called  has the book on pre-order for 69.95.  

Then I got looking at the designs and realized this out of my league.  I'd get so frustrated trying hoop the designs together to work.  I do have a large hoop, the 360x200, but it would still mean trying to line up designs. I hate to spend hours stitching it out and realize that I can't put the other half together.

*Edited as of June 8 2009*

I did buy the book and it's very well done.  I'm glad I purchased it as I've used the embroidery instructions included to work on my "Aquamarine Ambience" quilt.  

Debi Reese over at Sew Creative Cottage carries Jenny's items including her threads.  She was a wonderful help and I got my book right away.    

If I make the quilt, I plan on using blues and yellows.  The fabric Jenny uses sell out right away but I like doing my own thing.  I plan on doing a cream background with yellow/blue fabrics and threads.  I have some other ideas floating around in my head, but I want to get the "Aquamarine Ambience" done.  


How Not To Baste

Wrestlemania was rather disappointing, but we had fun anyway.

I've had a splitting headache all day because of the saw that goes through cinderblock.  They got the last window in and will finish up the detail work tomorrow. 

Despite my headache, I attempted to baste my embroidered quilt.  It didn't go quite as planned. 

I baste on my living room floor as it's the biggest room in my house.  I move my furniture as far back as it goes, lay the backing down and smooth it out.  If it's a queen size quilt, I smooth out to the sides as far as it goes until I hit the couch and the bookcase.  

I got the backing laid out and started taping the edges.  I usually start in the center and work out toward the edges.  I got this far and took a picture.  I still have ripples and smoothed them out after the picture was taken.  I didn't really tape up the other edge that well and figured I could get away with it.

This is where I ran into trouble.  It was going just fine with pinning until I got toward the bottom and had a huge ripple.  The more I smoothed the worse it got.  Don't cheat yourself by thinking you don't need that much tape or don't need to do a side.  I had dozens of pins in that I had to take out today adding to my headache.

Once I had taken out the pins, I taped the backing down right and started again.

I got the batting laid out and then the top.  Generally my husband gets a great laugh at my expense as I'm kneeling and moving around as he watches TV.  He thinks it great fun to see me fumbling around.

After about another hour, I had my quilt basted and I'm ready for quilting.

I'm exhausted and my fingers hurt from having to pin this quilt twice.  I hope this isn't a quilt that I end up hating until it's quilted.  

Friday, April 03, 2009

Construction Update

I told the construction guys I loved them today.  Really.  I did.  They started laughing but I was almost in tears of pure happiness.  They have turned my house into a mansion.

They got the railing up on the front porch and installed one of the egress windows needed to meet building codes.  They will put the other one in next week.  

I have a real family room instead of the "dungeon" with the egress window.  With the room completely walled up and a beautiful window in, I want to claim it as my sewing room.  You all get's MINE now.  

I've also learned that building codes in 1962 were really pathetic.  It's amazing the cinderblocks haven't fallen in as there's almost nothing holding them together.  No wonder 3/4 of the houses have cracked basement walls.  

I take my Topaz in tomorrow..providing it's not's snowing in Omaha.  


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Uprising Of The Sewing Machine

I think we are having an uprising of the sewing machines this week after reading several blog posts.  Skynet must be testing out a software program to see if it works before building a Terminator.  Some are eating thread.  Some are just refusing to work.  Another person is having tension issues.  Mine has decided to join in on the fun today big time.  

I decided to machine embroider a small purse.  I put the embroidery module on and hit the OK button.  It starts up with the arm, clears the space and gets stuck coming back up.  I hit the OK again and it won't move.  I turn off the machine and start again.  It works now so I set up the hoop.

I start embroidering and this horrendous noise starts.  I stop the machine and take off the hoop.  A HUGE wad of top thread is underneath.  Sigh.  Stupid top tension.  I clean out the bobbin area and start again.  Same problem.  I try again, checking thread paths and all the other stuff you are supposed to do before you call the dealer and it eats more thread.

I call the dealer.  She says to clean out the top tension discs.  I do that and start again.  No problems until I get to the satin stitch around the piece and it starts shredding thread. 

I start the 2nd piece and it seems to do okay until towards the end and then it starts to make the noise you get when the thread has come out of the take-up lever.  Yep.  The thread has come out.  3rd piece does just fine.

Being stubborn, I start to satin stitch the purse's sides together.  BAM!  The thread comes out of the take-up lever.   I've had enough.   

I called the dealer and she said to bring it in.  They are just backed up and she doesn't know when they will get to it.  Sigh.  Of course.  It's the uprising of the machines.  Curse you Skynet...

I pull out my Sapphire to satin stitch.  No problems.