Saturday, May 7, 2011


Holy quilting! So I finished the top of my first quilt in 5 days, go me! I'm waiting for it to be top quilted right now. I started my second quilt Scrappy Trip around the World by Bonnie Hunt. I'm doing it in, you guessed it, 1930s fabric. Its looking awesome! Ill post pictures soon.

As it turns out, Vivian, my sewing machine, is feeling her age slightly. The belt that was on her is really old and dry rotted which is cause it to slip and mess my tension up. So since she is running under the weather I decided to detail her. I cleaned all the old grease, oil, finger prints and god knows what else off her, down to the cracks, then used Boys good 3M wax and put a nice solid 2 coats on. I even took my motor off so I could wax behind it, and wax the entire motor case. While I was playing with stuff and cleaning, I decided to mess with my bobbin winder which has never worked on the machine since I dug it out from under my desk. It was always gummed up and never spun correctly, just burnt the rubber gasket up. Well I added a couple drops of oil and started working it around and some gunk came out and after adding some more oil, it started working like a charm! I'm a goddamn sewing machine genius!! Now I don't have to have Lynn wind all my bobbins for me, or have to stop because all my bobbins are empty. All I have to do now is wait for my new belt and I'm all set!

Another list of things I learned since I started quilting:
~I suck at sewing straight lines. For serious, its terrible. A blind man could do better.
~ Love you iron! Better make peace with it, its going to be your best friend. I find my little travel Rowenta to be a dream come true. Fits nicely right beside Viv when I'm piecing.
~ Good light. You can do nothing without a good light. Thank god for my clearance Ott light

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oh yea, things that Ive discovered in my week quilting:
~I love 1930's era fabric like this , especially the hexagon patterns like Merry go Round
~ Hand quilting Grandma's Flower Garden Quilt is something I am going to do before I die.
~Im learning to like batiks, especially the vibrant colors of the bali batiks
~ Im absolutley in love with Joel Dewberry's Chickadee Aviary 2 fabric. It is so going to be my new quilt on the bed and a bag of some sort.

Quilting, me? No way

Recently, an awesome lady names Lynn started taking a sock class from me up at the shop. While talking, she informed me she was a quilting teacher. Now before I go further I want to admit that I had never had any interest before in quilting. I saw it as a time waster away from knitting and derby and a space hog because I couldnt possibly be asked to give up or :gasp: share my yarn space with fabric. Not to mention most of the preconceived notions I had of quilting were of old ladies making ugly quilts with hideous fabric (kinda sounds like what most people think about knitting, HA!). Anyway I expressed interest in possibly learning to quilt to Lynn and she said she would be willing to trade quilting lessons for knitting lessons. Hot damn! I love bartering! She brought me quilting magazines I could pour over to get idea's about quilt styles and fabric colors and techniques. So last week Lynn took me to Mabelena's in Ortonville and it was love at first sight.

Lynn showed me all the awesome things I could make with fabric and which fabrics were good and not good for quilting. She schooled me on the art of which threads, rotary cutters, cutting mats, scissors and most important, machines were the best. She helped me pick my pattern Yellow Brick Road (totally fitting and maybe a sign from the quilting gods?), and my fabric because when presented with hundreds of beautiful fabrics, I got overwhelmed, much like I do with picking my yarn colors. And I walked away a happy little camper with some gorgeous fabric.

But wait! What was I going to do about a sewing machine?! I didnt have one. Was my not so carefully and impulsive plan about to come crumbling down around me because of lack of the most important thing? Shit!! Then I remembered that after a good family friend passed away, I inherited a sewing machine, which I had never actually seen because I had never taken the cover off and just put it under my desk. What I discovered was an absolute joy. I have a Singer Spartan, which from everything I could find on it, Spartan was Singers base model machine but it was built with all of the quality that you would expect from a Singer. The Spartan is a stripped-down model 99. It was a very basic, bare bones machine, that came without a light, without anywhere to mount a light, no decals, no carrying case and weights around 16lbs (Aka- heavier the shit!).  Despite all that, everyone agrees it is an amazing little work horse of a machine that sews beautiful seams. I fell in love with her and named her "Vivian". Viv also came with the original manual that appears to have been a service mans manual, so I got super detailed pictures on where and how to oil, take apart and put back together, etc. I did as Lynn instructed me and cleaned and oiled her before I even tried to see if she ran. And of course, she ran like a little champ right off the bat. With a little tweaking from Lynn, my stitch tension was awesome and I was on my way.

I started cutting my pieces on Monday (as in this past Monday, 5 days ago) and sewing my pieces into blocks the next day. Wednesday I skipped derby practice to stay home and quilt (hey, we won our game 3 days before so it was okay), seamed all my blocks together on Thursday and put my borders on Friday. Next week it goes off to the long arm quilter to get put together. Of course, NONE of this would of happened without Lynn's help. She was such a great teacher, and as it turns out, a great friend and surrogate mom. She has me totally hooked to quilting like a crack head.

I did however run into a few snags along the way. Thursday night when I was sewing the final strips of blocks together I started panicking when I started coming up an inch or more short at the end of the row, blocks weren't matching up correctly (or more correctly they were matching and they weren't suppose too for the pattern), then I somehow came up an entire block short at the end of the row. I finally sat back staring bewildered at the quilt thinking "What the fuck is going on here?!?" and
realizing it has grown any longer even after I added two rows. Now at this point Im thinking to myself I screwed this up so bad and Lynn is going to fire me as a student and my quilting days are over. Then I did what I should of done in the first place and layed my quilt out on the floor. Once it hit the floor I realized I hadnt been sewing my rows on the bottom of the quilt like I was suppose to, I was sewing them along the sides of the quilt!! Relief flooded through me and I quickly (well, not exactly quickly) took the seams apart, repressed them and did it the correct way, making sure I had the correct edge of the quilt. By 10pm Thursday night, with pieces of ripped out thread in my hair and peppered all over my chest and legs, I hung the completed sewn blocks on my felt board (which is hanging over the master bath shower doors because its the only place I could find big enough to hang it) and stared in amazement at my quilt. I couldnt (and still cant) believe I had actually made it. Me, sewing, becoming a domestic goddess!