February 2, 2014

Can you recommend a longarm quilter?

I for many years have quilted my own tops, granted they had to be twin size or smaller. I also took a long arm quilting "certification' class so that I could rent a machine at one of our local quilt shops. But with a full-time job, two boys (three if you count my hubby) and the usual family and church commitments, I no longer have time. I am in search of a long arm quilter to which I can send my tops to be quilted. I turn to our quilting community for a recommendation. What am I looking for? Reasonable price (cheapest isn't always the best), quick turn around and personal service. Personal as I am turning over a labor of love to a stranger. Well, hopefully not a stranger for long. Thanks for the recommendations! I've got a stack of tops awaiting their loving hands.

January 31, 2014

January Project Updates

Dear Jane Updates

I have been a victim of the quilting doldrums as of late. Since completing my last blocks I have received three (3) of my monthly block kits. In all honesty, it was the applique blocks that did me in. But I'm back at it. After viewing many videos on reverse applique and getting my self re-grouped, I'm ready to get back at it. No more applique anxiety.

Tweet For Two Quilt Kit

My applique anxiety made think about motivation. I needed another project to help keep me quilting. So to the internet I went. ordered a cute little quilt kit from Stitchin' Heaven. This "back to basics" kit should be a quick cut and sew. And it was even a great price in the value kits. Watch for progress reports and a complete review of the kit when it is complete.

Jelly Roll Jam

I was watching DVR'd sessions of Quilt In A Day, Sewing With Nancy and other sewing related shows. Several had quick and easy Jelly Roll Projects. While I've seen the neatly rolled fabric in the store, magazines and the like, I had not given in, until today. Off to the Fat Quarter Shoponline store I go. There a sooooo many jelly rolls, I didn't know what to choose. I'm a very monochromatic quilter. I like things to Ba-lennnnnnd. I don't often pick brights or anything that screams, I'm a girl. So going outside my comfort zone, I ordered a bright little roll. Mixed Bag Jelly Roll by Moda
I hopped over to the free pattern, downloaded and now I wait. You can download a copy HERE.

Stop back for project updates and of course reviews of the Tweet for Two Quilt Kit and Jelly Roll Jam Pattern. Happy Stitching!

October 6, 2013

Bernina 750 QE : A One (1) Year Update

It has been one year now since I purchased by 750 QE. What can I say? I am loving it. Although I need more time to use it. As with most crafters, we also have family and home to take care of. Oh yes, and need to sleep in there too.

Following is a quick update for the first year with my 750 QE.

Projects Completed on my Bernina 750 QE

* Reflective collars with Velcro back for Search and Rescue Dog Team
* Embroidering of Name and Title on T-Shirts and Polos for Search and Rescue Team
* Alterations: sew on patches, hemming, take in seams
* Embroidering of Designs on Aprons
* Quilt Piecing (Dear Jane, Crazy Curves, Grandmother's Flower Garden and misc quilt blocks)
* Cuddle / Minky Quilts
* Corn Hole / Bean Bag Construction
* Embroidering of Logos on Corn Hole / Bean Bags
* Sewing of misc craft items for sale: Kleenex covers, coin purses, hot pads and placemats
* Garment Construction: girls ruffle skirts, pajama pants, tshirts, easy skirts

Performance Comments / Maintenance Update

One (1) Trip in to the Bernina Doc
My 750 QE has been into the shop once in the year. And it could have been avoided. I knew better than to use old, hand-me-down thread. The lessor quality thread broke several times while sewing and a small piece stuck in the uptake created terrible straight stitch. A quick trip in and she was sewing back to the usual Bernina high standard.

My 1/4 Inch Piecing Issue
It took me a bit of time to settle in on my choice of foot for 1/4 inch piecing. I landed on the 1C and moving the needle. While I sewed with the quarter inch foot (37), I struggled with the fabric not feeding evenly. Others I have spoken to have no issue with the 37 foot, so I assume it is user (ie ME) error.

When piecing I do not use the thread cutter. When using the thread cutter, the first stitch following is a tack. When piecing this created some issue with the fabric getting pulled down into the bobbin area. I have not been able to find where / how to shut off the tack, so now only use sparingly. Anyone know how to shut it off?


Overall, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Bernina 750 QE. As with every machine, there are quirks and small learning items to figure out. But my machine has been trouble free, a joy to use and helped me create a myriad of items.

How do you like your 750 QE?

Dear Jane Block A2

Dear Jane Block A2: One-Two Buckle My Shoe
Machine Pieced on Bernina 750QE
Completed 10.06.2013
Fabric: Cheddar and Crème
Number of pieces: 40

Dear Jane Block A2 is complete, utilizing my Bernina 750QE. The instructions provided with the BOM from Stitchin' Heaven were for precision cut piecing. However, I decided to give foundation piecing a try. Using my Dear Jane software, I printed out the Foundation Piecing Template. This was my first attempt at paper piecing. First row was a goof. But it was great for working out the kinks and learning how to paper piece. Am pleased with how it turned out - if you look close there are 2 spots that points don't match up, but who's counting?

Next Block: A3

September 2, 2013

And I knew that old thread is a no-no...

It was a moment of weakness, perhaps desperation. As usual I was in the middle of a late night sewing session (doesn't everybody sew in the middle of the night?). I could not find the matching thread I had bought anywhere. And having a stash of high quality thread, I was quite surprised I could not find something to blend. (Note to self: I need to expand my thread stash to match my fabric stash).

Then I remembered a box of thread stashed in the back of the armoire. I had a box of thread given to me by a friend, of which I had added spools that my mom and others had given me. I knew the thread was old - it was even dusty - but I wanted (note I did not use needed) to get the little project done. After what should have been a quick 10 minute stitch session had turned into a nearly hour long battle with my machine, I finished the little project. Long story short, no matter what I did - new needle, rethread, change tension, rethread and rethread - the thread kept breaking. Thinking I was done with the battle, I went to bed and over the next week came back to sewing my Dear Jane Blocks.

But ohhhhhh I was far from done with the repercussions of using the old thread! After stitching 20 half square triangles, I inspected my work. UGH! Missed stitches on each an every block. Out came the seam rippers and I ripped out all my work and restitched. Now I should have checked after a couple, but only after I re-stitched all 20 for a second time did I check my stitching. Not again! It was as if the bobbin thread was laying flat on the fabric. I began to panic.

I had read the reviews of the 750QE, and had seen the multiple complaints revolved around tension issues on the 750QE, but almost a year in with not a single issue, it just couldn't be. I promptly took my machine into the shop. Ryan, at Heirloom Creations in Sioux Falls, SD worked his magic. And much to my chagrin, the issue was a broken thread in the thread uptake. And I knew the exact time and project that caused the issue. After sheepishly confessing to using less than stellar thread, laughing about how I used to be such a thread snob, I took my machine home. She was placed back in her Ausie Kanagroo Cabinet and was back in the groove. Perfect straight stitch, purring as she worked and I smiling with great relief.

I must admit - I am a thread snob - and shall never waiver again. I use Isacord, Mettler (cotton or silk) or Permacore thread exclusively. If there is one thing you change in your sewing, I highly recommend using high quality thread exclusively. When you have trouble with your sewing machine, you will commonly be asked by the repair man, "what thread are you using?". For more detail on thread, check out this article on About.com.

Lesson Learned: When someone gives you some leftover thread from Grandma, their closet, something they found at a rummage sale, politely thank your gifter and when no one is around, toss it out. Don't be tempted to save it for an emergency! Thank and throw. That is my motto. And by the way, I found the matching Isacord thread. It had rolled behind the foot of my sewing cabinet - right there for everyone to see.

August 9, 2013

Dear Jane Block A1

Dear Jane Block A1: Pinwheel Gone Awry
Machine Pieced on Bernina 350PE
Completed 08.09.2013

Completed my first Dear Jane Block. Machine pieced using my Bernina 350PE. The instructions provided with the BOM from Stitchin' Heaven were a breeze. And I must have followed the instructions well, as my points came out just perfect.
Next Block: A2

August 5, 2013

Dear Jane 2013 BOM #1

My first Dear Jane BOM packaged arrived in the mailbox today from Stitchin' Heaven in Mineola, TX. Neatly packaged in a plastic zip top bag : a cover letter, pattern/instructions for 8 blocks and 2 triangles, a oh so nice crème background and fabrics for the blocks. Oh I can't wait to get stitching. But alas, that won't happen until later in the week. But just had to share. Cheers!