Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hardanger Beadwork Project

After checking out the Singer Rotary cutter thingy I went over to the beading section.  I had purchased a magazine that had Hardanger embroidery and found a project I wanted to try.  However; I didn't have the magazine.  I knew it had beads and I thought it said the Swarovski ones.  I couldn't remember the size or what kind.  I just figured I'd wing it.  I don't think these are quite the "real" thing but they were 25% off and if they didn't work, I'd figure out something else.  Plus the more I looked at them, the prettier they got.  They just "called" to me.  I know nothing of beads either.  I picked up some needles and I'll see how it goes.

From Blogger Pictures
I got home and realized I had the wrong beads and way wrong size.  Duh.  Those are way way tiny.  
From Blogger Pictures
They are delica beads. 192 rose colored ones.  Oh well.  I'll just have to be more creative with the inside cutwork with the ones I bought.  The DVD I bought is really great and I may be able to just fake it.  The purple is just way to pretty not to use.

I did an online search of delica beads.  I'm lost.  LOL. 


Anyone Tried The Singer Rotary Cutter?

Okay.  Something other than me babbling on about compass quilts. 

I went to JoAnn fabrics today and found one of those Singer automatic rotary cutter thingies.  They wanted 90 bucks for it with 30 bucks off.  At 60 bucks I couldn't justify it even for curiousity's sake.  I opened the box and there's a pedal so small that I'd squash it within seconds as I have big feet.  The evil clerk was giving me dirty looks and it was packaged so that I'd really have to take it apart to check it out.  Is it worth it?  I don't know.  The price and the foot pedal turned me off right there.

If some has braved the price tag, let us know.  60 bucks is a lot of thread, fabric and other stuff that would go to better use.  Neato idea, but way expensive.

I won a contest!!  I got the nicest set of fabric bowls!  She needed a name for her beautiful quilt and I won.  Check out her blog at Quilt And Bitch
to see her beautiful appliqued quilt.  Thank you so much!  They are beautiful! 
From Blogger Pictures
The brown spot that looks like an iron mark iron mark.  My son and my nephew were goofing off and knocked over the iron.  They didn't bother to pick it back up and I found it a few minutes later melting the carpet.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another UFO Sighting

I can't remember the name of the pattern off the top of my head, but it's another UFO.  When I pulled it out of the bag I remembered why it was one.  I didn't know how to machine applique around the really small parts without any shredding.  Do I just do a satin stitch?  Keep the stitch I'm using?  Just do a straight stitch/FMQ inside them?  Nothing?  They really need something.  Plus I didn't have the thread colors I wanted at the time.  Hence shoving it into a bag until just now.  Looking back, I probably should have done the machine applique as quilting.  Duh.

Here are some pictures:

The pink needs appliqued.
From Blogger Pictures

The small green dots and the outside pieces
From Blogger Pictures

Here's the picture of the entire quilt.  The camera doesn't do the colors justice.  It will look fabulous when it's done.  If it ever gets done.  LOL  
From Blogger Pictures

Think I've blogged enough for today?  

I Heard Back From Viking Headquarters!!

*Falls over backwards in surprise* Wow.  I emailed Viking directly about Organ titanium needles and actually got a response.  I figured they get a ton emails and mine would just get lost in the shuffle but it would make me feel better.

Dear Husqvarna Viking Company,

Are the Organ Company's Titanium needles okay to use for the Viking  
brand of sewing machines?  I have a Topaz and was told that they would  
not work.  Yet other places say they do.  The last thing I want to do  
is ruin my machine.

It's frustrating when you get different answers from places.  

Thank you for contacting VSM Consumer Affairs. The Organ needles do not
work in the Designer sewing machines. For optimal results we recommend
Schmedtz needles.

Happy Sewing,

VSM Consumer Affairs

So does this make Christine the Goddess of Viking Knowledge and I have a package of needles that do not work with my machine?  For now I'll believe Christine.  LOL.  

I Want Another 6600 Table

Thank you for the comments about my FMQ and just getting it done.  I'm feeling quite proud of myself as I got the compass points done today!  Everyone's comments mean a lot.  I don't feel so quite alone.  

 I decided to do the blue points with rayon thread as regular thread disappeared into the blue and looked washed out.  I really love that my Topaz has a Freemotion Floating stitch.  I hate hopping all over the quilt with a stupid spring foot.  Floating along like a longarm machine makes things so much easier.

I told my husband I was going to buy another Janome 6600 table, take out his bookcase on the other side of the computer (another outlet is there) and put my Sapphire on it.  That way I can use my Topaz just for machine embroidery.  His eyes got all wide and he retorted back with a very strong NO.  I think it's a great idea!  Usually I have him wrapped around my fingers.  Hmm.  He wins.  Or so he thinks.

Here's a close-up of the rayon thread and the quilting.  If you click on it, you'll get a better view.

From Blogger Pictures
Another view:

From Blogger Pictures
I still need to design a center motif and bind it.  Lazy me says just fold it over.  However; I was thinking of putting this in the county fair when started this project under "Original Design".  That means the other binding.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Perfectionism At It's Worst

I so much of a perfectionist.  Someone tell me to just FMQ it and not worry about getting every single stitch perfect.  I would have had this entirely quilted today if not for my stupid perfection tendencies.

Here's what I have after ripping and reripping all day:

From Blogger Pictures
Yep.  That's it.  Pathetic.  I give up for today.  Tomorrow will bring fresh eyes and a new look at it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Marking And Quilting My Mariner's Compass

I finally started quilting my mariner's compass quilt today.  I used a water soluble pen and traced the templates and realized the second set I'd done didn't quite fit right.  I had to wet the quilt and start over.

While doing the tracing I realized that I needed to modify the templates for easier quilting and took out sections.  It worked out much better.

Here are the first two points I have quilted:

From Blogger Pictures

and a close-up shot of the blue compass point:
From Blogger Pictures
I've used polyester thread which is really shiny.  I don't have a cotton blue that color and would have to take a trip or order something.  If your stitches aren't even and mine aren't, they really show up.  I'm not sure if it will distract from the quilt as well.

Figured Out A Category List

Hmm.  Getting the Mariner's Compass link to work only generates one entry.  Will keep working on it.  I had to go through a 3rd party to get a category list.  If Blogger has one, I couldn't find it. 

* Few minutes later* Ahh.  Fixed  the compass link!  I am a genius!  If I come up with more categories, I'll add them.

I have gone through the entries that the key words pick up the most and have given more details to a project or a better explanation.   

*still can't get the Viking Topaz to show up more than one or two entries.  Hmmm

Monday, June 08, 2009

Look Out! One UFO Done!!

Muwahhahahah!  I have one UFO done and I love it.  My appliqued flower could probably be placed a little higher but it's beautiful.  And.. for once there were no swear words used in the making of this project.  That's because I simplified it.  No snaps.  No magnets.  No buttons.  I even got the purse strap between the outside and the lining!!  

The first purse like this was a disaster.  It took several days and so much frustration I wanted to cry.  It wasn't the pattern, it was just not knowing how to make a purse nor how to put the extras in.  I gave that purse to my daughter and she adores it.  I got this one done in an afternoon.

Wanna see it?

From Blogger Pictures
A close-up of the flower:

From Blogger Pictures

I did the flower using 606 spray. Errr. It works but I'm not sure it's worth the time and it's rather messy.  Maybe because it took several tries to get it right.  I can still see the edges fraying just like with fusible webbing.   

I drew out the flower free hand on paper.  Then realized I needed to reverse the pattern and retraced on the back.  I sprayed the fabric with 606. It leaves a white film and make sure it's really white.  I used 505 spray to adhere the fabric to the paper and cut out around the flower section.  I cut out each flower piece and took off the paper template.  I positioned the pieces onto the purse and pressed it with the iron.  I don't think my pieces were "white" enough but I can't redo it.  I couldn't find my brown to satin stitch it either.

I'm trying to decide if I should add a smaller flower or some leaves but figure simpler is better.

I'd love to make a matching wallet but don't have a pattern and I'm too cheap to pay for one.  

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Designing And Drawing Quilting Stencils

Thanks to Waun-a-Quilt prodding I started working on the quilting designs for the compass points.

I've been going over designs in my head for months.  I know what I wanted, I just didn't know how to put it into reality.  Plus, it just seemed like too much work to even try.  I've just been stalling.

For those that really struggle with quilting designs and drool over those that make it seem so easy, I understand.  I would die of envy everytime some celebrity would show off her quilting and go on about how easy it was.  Or she'd come in with a hoard of stencils that I can't find anywhere on the web.  I'm convinced there is a secret fraternal order of quilters who hoard it all.  

After several hours of drawing stuff out and nearly erasing the paper away I came up with these:
From Embroidery Designs
The easiest way to make a quilting stencil is to trace the area you want on tracing paper.  You can see the outline of the triangle in the left one.  I then start drawing different designs within that space.  I'm not worried about perfection, just the basic ideas.  You can see some sketches on the sides.

For this quilt I wanted some scrollwork designs.  I had gone online and did a search.  Most of what I found was for metal and nothing I even liked.  Which is why I hadn't done anything for months.  I was just lost.  I drew and erased back and forth.  I also knew I needed it to be simple.  
I then folded the traced area in half.  With a pencil I cleaned up the lines and then traced over them with a fine permanent marker.  I flipped over the paper and using the drawn side, traced over it giving me the complete design.  I rough cut the design out.

I got out a sheet of freezer paper and put the design under it.  I traced the design and carefully cut out the design.  I like freezer paper because you can press it to the fabric for easy placement and tracing.

From Embroidery Designs
To align the designs right, I'll draw a line down the center and carefully trace it.  If it gets too hard with the stops/starts I can always just go through the designs.  Tracing and freezer paper are wonderful tools.

Don't be afraid to do your own designs despite your skill level.  Sometimes the idea comes right away.  This one has taken months of thinking it out to finally work.  If you listen, your quilt will speak about how to quilt it.   

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Sew Mama Sew "Sewing Machine Meme"

From Embroidery Designs
Sew Mama Sew is having a "Tell us about your sewing machine!"

My problem is I have several machines.  Do I pick one or all of them?

I have a Janome 6600, Janome 350e, Viking Sapphire and a Viking Topaz.  I've fallen in love with Viking machines.

1.  What brand and model do you have?

Viking Topaz 30 Sewing/Embroidery machine

2.   How much does that machine cost?

*hiccups*  I think MSRP is around 3600-3700.  I paid under 3000.

3.  What types of things do you sew?

I mostly do quilts but have embroidered towels, shirts, and other items. 

4.  How much do you sew?  How much wear and tear does the machine get?

I'm on my machine every day. It gets a lot of wear and tear as it gets used for hours.  It has done an embroidery design that was 5 hours without problems.    

5.  Do you like/love/hate your machine?  Are you ambivalent?  Passionate?  Does she have a name?

I LOVE this machine.  I don't name my machines.  Although my Janomes were called "Damn it"  
6.  What features does your machine have that work well for you?

All of it.  I love the cutters.  The foot pedal acts as a needle up/down setting if you tap it.  I love the stitch quality and the ability to resize and edit them.  I love the free motion float setting.  The machine stops when the bobbin runs out.  The Sewing Advisor settings are wonderful.   

The embroidery side has all the settings of the TOL machines except that there is no touch screen.  There is a basting stitch that goes around the design NOT around the hoop.  The hoop moves forward to cut the jump stitches.  The hoop moves back to change the bobbin so you don't have take off the hoop.  It remembers the last stitch you were at.  The largest hoop size is 360x200  

The machine embroideres beautifully.  I rarely have problems.  The embroidery module is extremely sturdy and the hoops are easy to use.   

7.  Is there anything that drives you nuts about this machine?

I had take-up lever issues when I bought the machine.  Apparently this is a common problem among the Viking/Pfaff machines that use this type of frame.  They need to FIX it.  For 3000+ dollars something that simple should work.  If you have a good tech, it can be fixed.  

You must have computer software to run this machine.  It comes with some basic software that lets you convert formats but that's it.  The fact that Viking wants a fortune for their software is ridiculous.  I paid $800 for 4D Extra.  Buy Embird. 

Don't lose the included USB stick.  All the built in designs are on that stick.  Nothing is stored in the machine. 

My bobbin winder is funky.  I love the one on my Sapphire so much more.

There is no pressure foot lever in the back.  The foot is either up or down.  It takes getting used too.

8.  Great story?

The fact that my husband let me buy this machine without trading in my other machines and told me to buy the 4D Extra even at 800 bucks blows my mind.  My jaw just dropped. 

He started pulling hoops off the rack and put them on the counter as well.  Who says men don't pay attention to what we do?  

When I asked him later he said that he noticed that I loved my Sapphire so much more than my Janome machines and knew I would love the Topaz.  Plus he felt guilty as he was buying tons of Blu-ray DVDs.    
9.  Would you recommend this machine to others?


Despite needing external software this machine is worth the money.   The TOL features, the large hoops and the longer bed is wonderful.  I don't regret this purchase.  

However; test this machine out for yourself.  I've found this is a machine people either love or hate.    
10.  What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

1.  Price (what can you get away with?)

2.  Your needs now and in the future (You hate to buy a machine and outgrow it a year later)

3.  The dealer.  Crappy dealer means crappy service (Been there)

4.  Bonding with the machine.  Do you have a connection with it? (Just because your friend loves it doesn't mean you will)

5.  Technological compatibility.  Will the technology be outdated or is outdated if buying a used machine?

11. Dream machine? 

A machine that is truly affordable.  No one should have to spend as much as a used car to have a wonderful machine.  Or the accessories.  

One that has a decent manual that explains EVERYTHING.  Ie, that there is a 300 dollar sensor that lets me know that I need to clean out the threads around the bobbin when it's blocked.  If after I've cleaned it out but the machine insists I'm still stupid, I know why.  I'll still need to take it in, but I won't spend the weekend going crazy.

One that has a sexy male voice that voices his "needs" and tells me how wonderful I am.  "Your doing great baby.  You'll have that finished in no time".  Yeah..I know..but you asked.

One that doesn't have "optional" extras that should be "standard" features.  

Friday, June 05, 2009

Crawling Back Out

I heard from Gina!  My week has gotten better.  

1.  I thought Mrs. Finch was going to die.  I have a pair of zebra finches.  They are 7 years old and my daughter pointed out that she had lost most of her feathers down her back.  She hasn't been feeling well and I figured I was going to wake up finding her dead this week.

I emailed a lady that knows finches pretty well and she confirmed that Mrs. Finch is indeed old and probably stressed but isn't going to die.  She just needed some suppliments.

Mrs. Finch is on the perch.  Mr. Finch is sitting on the tray.

From Embroidery Designs
2.  I got yelled at on a Yahoo! group by a lady who exclaimed I needed to learn computer 101 because I couldn't figure out how to get several USB sticks to work.  I knew it was operator error but couldn't figure out why.  I finally took out the folders and just put the designs on.  It worked.  Duh.

3.  The whole stupid needle/Bernina issue.  The price issue and then my Topaz was eating thread and it overloaded the motor.  Then after reading a reputible site that OESD Organ needles shouldn't be used in Viking machines I freaked thinking that's why my machine motor overloaded.  I had visions of fighting a dealer about a broken machine and it being my fault.

I emailed the site but never heard from them.  I called my Viking dealer and she said it wasn't the needles but it was because I had slowed down the machine, was using a dense design, and going through fleece.  She used titanium needles all the time.  She thought Bernina was nuts.  My Janome/Pfaff dealer says Bernina is nuts.

I guess I've been taken advantage of several times by sewing machine dealers and I'm so overprotective of others because of it.  I don't want others going through what I did and try to explain how to buy sewing related items.

It's the same with health specialists.  You get very skeptical and come across as paranoid to everyone else. 

4.  Getting my son ready for scout camp next week and my daughter ready for girl's camp the week after.  Arranging rides, gear, books, and everything else.

5.  Someone ruined my peonies AGAIN.  I give up.  They never get a chance to bloom because of it.  5 years and some kid or my husband ruins them.  

Thank you to those who emailed me/posted.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I'm going to get brave and work with Jen and do the UFO thing.  I went through my closet and pulled out stuff.  

My reasons for UFOs:

1.  I got bored with a technique
2.  Before I got my new machine I hated fighting the other one
3.  I found something more interesting to start
4.  I couldn't figure something out and was too frustrated to continue
5.  I got bored
6.  I screwed up somewhere and my OCD would go haywire.
7.  I get scared of making a mistake.  Especially if it's an expensive or hard to find fabric project
8.  I'm stuck on a quilting idea and need time to think it out.
9.  I got bored
10.  I suddenly got intimidated as someone else did it better.  Fear of failure or being laughed at


1.  My Blue/White Embroidered Quilt.  It needs beautiful quilting and I haven't figured out the perfect design.  I keep going over and over it in my mind, but nothing.

2.  My Compass quilt.  Again, needs the perfect quilting in the compass points and the binding done.  

3.  My machine applique quilt.  I cut the bottom side short (OCD problem) and it's a quilting issue.

4.  My husband's quilt he picked out.  Needs backing and batting.  He got picky about the backing and I haven't ordered the backing yet.

5.  My Rambling Rose Quilt.  For some reason the directions don't work in the book and I really need to sit down and figure out the measurements.  It seems like way too much work.  And for some reason I despise the colors.

6.  Embroidered Napkins.  I just need to do it.

7.  My skirt.  Scared of making a mistake

8.  My Carousel Horse quilt.  Needs backing and quilting.

9.  A Lone Star top that I found.  Same problem my friend Anita had.  It needs the sides fixed.  A friend wanted me to make it for him.  I made it before knowing how to do one and I don't know if I can even find the exact fabrics after 4 years.

10.  My Aquamarine Ambience quilt.  It scares me to death.  The fusible fleece isn't cheap.  If you don't have it marked right you can mess up the entire block and may not know it until you get to the last couple of designs.  Then you've ruined the block.  I'm still scared of my embroidery machine too.  I keep waiting for it to explode on me.   

Working On Aquamarine Ambience Block Two

From Embroidery Designs

I got these two designs done yesterday before the storms hit.  They turned out beautifully.  I've discovered that my Hemingworth yellow color is a bad spool.  My Topaz has done nothing but eat it.  It does fine with the other colors.  I finally gave up and used a yellow color of Robinson-Anton.  It looks close enough that I may get away with it as I have the first block done.

With this block I used Jenny's Sheer Magic Plus stabilizer before using the fusible fleece.  I can tell a difference and it's really nice.  Her stuff is really nice, but I wish it didn't cost a fortune.  I don't think I can afford to do an entire quilt.  It may just be a lap size.  I really struggle between being cheap or eating the prices for some items.   

I know I've been a huge PITA the past the few days but Bernina has really pissed me off as I fell for their marketing ploy.  See..even I'm gullible.  I paid 16.10 for those titanium needles.  EVERYWHERE I called or emailed had the EXACT same needles for under 10 dollars.  I gave them the numbers on the cardboard package and asked if there were differences.  They all said there wasn't.    

This is why I could never work for a sewing machine company.  I do love titanium needles.  Just make sure you only pay under 10 bucks for them if you decide to try them out.   

Monday, June 01, 2009

Titanium Needles

From Embroidery Designs

I LOVE my new titanium needles!  I'm a needle freak.  I admit it big time.  I spent the past 1/2hour  browsing the net to see if I could get these babies in bulk.  It seems that there is a huge price discrepency and my guess is it's over basic needles and embroidery needles.  

Organ is the only brand that makes titanium needles and their only company flaw is how they package them.  ARGH.  Every other company is kind enough to say give a size, the type of needle and what you do with it. Plain and simple.  Organ has strange numbers on the back of the package like 15x1 size 12 PD.  Huh?  The lady grabs the package behind the counter and hands one to me.  The only reason I know it's titanium is because it has the PD on it.

The only reason I know what I have is that Bernina packaged Organ needles in a fancy green cardboard box that says something useful like "titanium" "embroidery needles" "sharp" and "80/12"  I paid 16.10 for a package of 10.  Before you faint, titanium needles don't heat up and last longer because of it.  I've used regular needles with my embroidery machine and if you touch the needle..sizzle..  These don't.  The sew beautifully.    

What I can't figured out is that I'm finding titanium needles for around 10 bucks but again their stupid packaging makes it hard to know what I'm actually getting.  Some places have the same price I paid too.  There is a difference between embroidery and regular needles and I've just had to email a couple of places to ask.


"You Should Work For A Dealer"

My husband is so funny.  We were on our way back home from the Bernina seminar and talking about the topics when he said,

 "Sweetheart, you should teach classes.  You are more talented than you give yourself credit for. Or work for a dealer.  You can sell anything and know more about stuff than those people do".
Gulp.  I don't think so.  Here's why.  I have an attitude problem.  I've worked retail for years.  I've managed a store part-time.  I know how the system works and I don't like it.  Basically; it's kiss the corporate office's butt and screw the customer without them knowing it.  It's about the dollar sign.  You don't meet the numbers or follow the policies, you lose your store.  Argue with me all you want, but that's the reality and I refuse to play the game.  Just take a look at the corporate problems now and you'll see my point.

It's not the dealer/store owner's fault, it's corporate offices who don't have a clue what goes down on the customer level and insist on unfair policies to owners, workers and to customers. 
As much as I love sewing machines, I could never work for a dealer.   I could never sell a machine to someone who can't afford it just to meet that month's expected income or quota.  I could never sell a machine to someone who really doesn't like the brand and would be happier with another company's machine.  I could never purposely confuse a customer just to sell her a higher priced item when a lower priced item would work just fine.  I couldn't sell a 400-2000 dollar software package when I know about Embird just because I have too.  It's not that those programs aren't good.  I just know that no one should pay that kind of money for software.

I couldn't work for a company that can't fix or exchange a sewing machine because a fault of their own manufacturing.  IE, admit that the machine needs a new motherboard and fix it or give her a new one.  No one should have to play games for weeks or months trying to get their machine to work. Even if it's operator error, someone should care enough to work with that person, not make them feel stupid.

I watched all the women that were there that day and saw the same game being played.  All of them had that deer in the headlight look as they were talked into buying all kinds of stuff that they had no clue if they needed it or not.

As far as classes go, I don't mind teaching.  The problem is that there are only two stores in town and neither one really have classes.  One store I refuse to deal with.  I haven't been in for almost 3 years.  My house is too small to hold classes and I'm a hermit.  It's easier to just babble online.