Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mum's visit

My daughter, her son Ethan and
 my granddaughter.. Three beauties!

My little Grandmothers Flower Garden
on the right...
2 blocks from Mums quilt on the left.... tee hee

Wow... it is so nice to spend time with someone who has a like interest. My Mum is here for almost 3 weeks and this week has been a flurry of quilting talk.  Yesterday we sewed with some friends and had a lovely lunch and an awesome afternoon of chatter and camaraderie. This group of ladies only hand sew when we are together and yesterday I started mum off on her voyage through Grandma's flower garden. I am pretty sure she will be hooked before she leaves.

Of course she had a little laugh at me as I like to do things no one else in their right mind would do. Mum is making a quilt with half square triangles and I am making a quilt from the book Quilts from Grandmothers Garden (the one on the front cover). I get bored making half square triangles and would have tossed her quilt long ago and she can't imagine doing a quilt the size I am doing. It wasn't until I took a picture of them both that I realized.. she probably is right... I am probably crazy.

Today we are off to the quilt store and that will be an adventure for both of us. I have a list and I think she does too... we will see.

Last Thursday I went to a sew night with some friends and I made a little basket I found on  I don't know where my head was that night. I thought it would be perfect for putting on mom's bed and putting a few towels and a face cloth in... Hahahahahaha!!!. The instructions called for 24 - 2" squares... you might think that would have been a clue! NOT!!!! I made the basket and it is about 8" long and maybe 3 or 4 " wide... just big enough for a facecloth and a bar of soap... not sure where my mind was! But it turned out beautifully.

Just a quick note about last weeks post.... One of my friends mentioned... "what if you are using bobbin thread" so I thought I should address that. If you are winding your bobbins with bobbin thread... wind slowly. I remember a friend of mine winding a bobbin full of bobbin thread on her plastic bobbin at full speed and she couldn't get the bobbin off the post once it was full. She had to unwind that bobbin by hand to get it off... I used to tell my kids... lessons we learn through pain we seldom need to learn again!!! I bet you that bobbin removal was painful! If I am using a lot of bobbin thread it is almost worth it to clean your machine after 1 or 2 bobbins... not the 5 bobbins I recommend for regular sewing thread. Hope that clarifies it for you.

And if you haven't tried English paper piecing you should. Take a look at Jaynette Huff's Quilts from Grandmothers Garden and some of her other books at...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What happens when....

Another tote... when will it ever end...
What happens when someone gives someone a pattern that they designed or made up and that person gives a few someones a pattern and each of them gives a pattern to several of their friends and ... so on and so on... (Its like the Ever Ready battery).. pretty soon everyone has the pattern and the person who made the pattern... well no one knows who they are or where the pattern comes from by the time its been passed around.

I think I might add this as a little
freebie to my web site.. I have the pattern
I wrote up somewhere... just got to find it.
 I have to admit I have been guilty of this in the past, and I have been pretty conscience of not doing it with patterns that I have purchased, but what happens when its a  freebie that someone took from the net and gave out to a bunch of  friends who have given it to a bunch of their friends and I was wondering... who was the smart cookie that wrote that pattern to begin with... Free or not.. someone has to get credit for it... so from now on if I find any freebies, I really want to make an effort to pass that person's name on with the pattern, maybe their email address, or their blog or web page or something so my friends can possibly support that person in one of their other endeavours... now doesn't that just make sense!!!

Lets all get on the bandwagon... next time you find a freebie... pass it on with the name of the person who was smart enough to get you interested.

... And all that came from this cool blog my friend Aimee found and sent to me with a bazillion purses on it that all have links to other blogs from people who made these cool purses and shared their patterns.  How cool is the person who started that blog and gave credit to all those talented people.

I just wanted to make all those cool purses... well maybe not all, but it sure made me think... There was a bag on there that looked like my Notion Nanny Tote.. which by the way is still free on my website... but made a little different and that caught my attention because I still don't know who the original designer of the bag was... can't find any information on it, and I don't and won't even pretend that the tote is my original pattern... I just wrote notes on what I had done based on a thread catcher that someone had on their blog... which was one of the freebies I passed on to a bunch of my friends... see, its really easy to do...

Yesterday, I mentioned something about changing your needle on your machine ... regularly. What I didn't mention is that in reality you should change your needle at the end of every project, but I wonder how many people follow that rule... it would be a good thing to do!... and I mentioned that different needles don't always work as well  in different machines... A sewing machine needle made in North America may be a fraction of a silly little millimetre shorter or longer than a needle made in Europe... and a machine made in Europe may not like that silly little millimetre. Some machines will sew with any brand of needle while others will skip stitches and not play nice at all. So... it is always important to check with your Sewing Machine Expert to see which needles they recommend you use in your machine and if all else fails... read the manual!!

For a bit of fun you can go to and watch a short movie on how Schmetz needles are made... ( they just happen to be my favorite needle and the one recommended for my machine.) The beginning is rather weird.... but once it gets going it is really interesting... ( now be nice people... I all ready know I am weird!)
The pieces to Aimee's challenge... now who in their right minds gives their
friends these fabrics and tells them to make something... nice fabrics... but

Ella and Mya's first day of school... Looks like the teacher is in for lots of trouble... LOL
How exciting is the first day of school... I remember when Kris, my oldest was ready to go to school. Mommy was not ready to see him go. He was so small and scared and had never been out of my sight for any length of time. I cried, he cried... everyone was crying... I couldn't wait to get back to the school to pick him up and when I did... he didn't want to come home.  When Scot was ready for school, I couldn't wait to get him out the door. I was up at 5 am I was soooo excited to see him out of my hair for a few hours every other day... no crying then.. he didn't cry either.. probably glad to see the end of me too! And by the time Susan went to school... I had my day planned and I was ready for freedom.

Today... my two little granddaughters headed to school for an hour to meet the teacher and find out where to put their indoor shoes. Ella is only 3...  she will be 4 in November and Mya is only 4... she will be 5 in March, but they both fit into this years school age so they are off to the same school, same teacher, same classroom.  After the introduction was over, I offered a play day at my house and everyone... including mommy's and daddy's jumped at the invitation... The girls are having fun playing house and I actually have a few moments to write my blog... It really tugged at my heart to see those little girls going to school... but then I am not with them everyday, and it was only an hour and well... no tears today! I will be anxious to hear how things go next week when mommy and daddy's leave and Oma is safe at home tucked behind her sewing machine.

Notion Nannys Fabulous tote...
you can find a free pattern
 for this tote on my web page.
I have done some sewing this week. I finished another tote. I used 5" nickel squares of batik and quilted them using a double needle and gold thread to add some texture to the patches... didn't work out quite like I hoped because the lines of sewing didn't meet up when I put the pieces together...but, hopefully the next one, because, you know,  there will be more, will turn out better.

This time I put a store bought handle on it and I wasn't pleased with it either. I love the handle but next time I will find a handle that is almost the same size as the top.. the ones I used were a little, little.

And I made the bag 5  nickles high, next time I will only make it 4 nickels high... its a little tall. Other than that... it is wonderful...LOL!

I also worked on the two challenges that are due to be done this month.... One, my circle challenge is finished, just needs to be quilted and the other, Aimee's challenge... well its still a work in progress. I couldn't take pictures and share with you because it would have spoiled the challenge, but I wanted to show you something so I took a portion of the circle challenge to show you and blurred Aimee's so you can get a small taste of what I have been working on.

The other day, I was sewing on my new Bernina 830 and it started making this awful noise. I haven't spent two much time on it since I got it so I wasn't really sure what was going on... There is a reminder for oiling and cleaning so I didn't think it needed either.. should have known better. I cleaned and oiled my baby and the noise disappeared and all is well again.  I am going back to my old philosophy and oiling and cleaning on a 5 bobbin schedule... although with this machine, I probably will only do a 3 bobbin schedule because the bobbins are so big.

So here's a big reminder for all of you... Wind 5 bobbins. When those bobbins are empty, you should change your needle, clean all the dust and lint off the outside and the inside of your machine and if needed oil your machine lightly.

I have a system for my machine maintenance. I usually like to start winding the bobbins... (don't forget to slow your speed down when you wind your bobbins so they wind nicely) and while the 1st one is winding you can dust the top and wipe any dirt off your machine.

Then when the 2nd one is winding you can change your needle ( remember, not all needle brands are good for your machine. Make sure you stick with the brand that your machine works best with)  and clean under the throat plate.

While the 3rd one is winding you can clean and oil (if necessary) your bobbin case area.

While the 4th one is winding you can re-thread your machine and put a new full bobbin in and when the 5th one is winding you can admire your like brand new sewing machine. 

You will be surprised how well your machine sews all the time and how great it feels when you take your machine for it's yearly maintenance and the maintenance person commends you on your care of your machine.

I won't ever wait for my machine to tell me when to oil it again... I plan to stick to my own maintenance plan... you should too!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Niece Stephanie, Her handsome groom Marty and my brother Gary
Well I have been off to a wedding. My niece got married in Alberta on Saturday and I had an awesome time.  It's funny how weddings draw a family together even for a short time. I enjoyed seeing all my nieces and nephews and was a little sad that I didn't live closer so I could be a bigger part of their lives. And it was nice to see my sisters and brother and mom and mum.  I came home tired and glad to see my own bed (and sewing machine) but I don't regret for a second my impromptu decision to go to the wedding.

But now it's back to business.

I already have my new desk all cluttered up!
Today has been spent mostly catching up with my daughter, the new baby and the two girls. This afternoon I got to set up my machine on my new table my husband built for me while I was away and even had a chance to do a little sewing. I tried my new Clover Soft Touch Thread Pick on some embroidery I was doing and it worked great. I like to pull my threads to the back of my work when I am doing machine embroidery... (not with an embroidery machine, just using the stitches on my machine) and tie them off and it was the perfect tool for the job.

Now I am off to have some dinner and an early night. It is extremely hot in Ontario... I hope I sleep.