Friday, December 30, 2016

Mug Rugs....

As a gift a quick extra gift for my Mom, I decided to attempt some braided fabric mug rugs.  I can assure you that for me, this wasn't quick.  I think the braiding took the most time.  I completed six mug rugs.  Here is an example of what I made:

I chose a green and cream fabric.  Here and there you can see the little hearts.

I used the Braided Rag Rug Coaster tutorial at Six Two Seven Handworks.  It is a pretty good tutorial.  I accomplished what I wanted.  There is also a youtube video for the sewing portion.  I did watch it a couple of times.

I guess I will return to the quilt making for a bit.  I have enjoyed working on something besides a quilt for a couple of weeks.  I do have a few other items that I would like to create but maybe I can work out a schedule where the quilt gets worked on and the other projects get worked on, too.   I want to sew some clothes.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Juki Feet....

My dear sweet husband purchased a set of Juki serger feet for my new serger:

From left to right:  beading foot, gathering foot, universal blind hem guide, elastic tape sewing foot, piping foot, cording foot, blind hem guide, and curve/pearl foot.  The feet even came in it's own little storage case with instruction sheets in 7 languages.

I'm looking forward to learning the uses for each foot.  Hopefully, I will be able to check out the features of each foot.  I will be starting with the universal blind hem guide, blind hem guide, and the piping foot.

I would love to hear any tips from anyone who has experience with any of these feet.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns book.....

I requested the new-to-me Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns book for Christmas.  I do own all the previous books and love the idea of the slow sewing and embellishing.  Here's the book cover:

I found two projects in the book that I really want to try: the classic wrap skirt and the poncho.  Both can be seen on the Alabama Chanin website.  I found a good picture of the skirt on the Sewing Workshop blog.   I don't know if I would do a great deal of  embellishment on my skirt(s) but I do want to make at least one even if it has minimal embellishment.  As for the poncho, the best place to see it is on the Alabama Chanin website.  I'm not sure why I'm drawn to it but I am.  This will probably get a little more embellishment than the skirt.

So in between quilting, knitting, and machine garment sewing, I am going to try my hand at hand sewing a garment.  I'm sure my husband will think I have gone "mad". It is something else that I can do while watching TV with him.

Do you like the idea of the Alabama Chanin clothing?  Hopefully, I'll have at least a skirt finished by next summer.  The biggest decision right now is what color and how much yardage.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Button Boats....

Have you see the new Lazy Girl Designs Button Boats?  I thought they were so cute and ordered them immediately.  It felt like it took forever to get it and the other items needed.  Here's a look at the pattern:

Yes, the one's I made are just a cute!  I just don't have the photography skills to go with.  Here's a look at one the boats I created:

This is the back (L) and front (R) in the flat form.  Here it is in boat form:

I did make two of these and they were so much fun to create!  I did purchase the 10" squares of the stiff stuff and that worked out great for me. I made these for my niece as a gift for her craft room in her new house.

Pattern Review:

This pattern was very easy.  Purchasing the 10" squares of stiff stuff probably helped with the ease.  This is a rotary cutter project.  I'm fairly slow when sewing and it only took me couple of hours to create these.  The hardest thing was figuring out how to do the ties.

I hope my niece like these.  I tried to get a colors that would work in her craft area whether it was sitting out on a table or sitting on a shelf.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, December 23, 2016

It's That Time of Year....

Happy Holidays!

Everyone enjoy your family and friends!  Be safe.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Patterns Have Arrived....

Why do the sales at McCall's almost always draw me in?  According to my husband, I'm suppose to be down-sizing yet I can't resist.  Here are my latest acquisitions:

This is B6423.  I love the look of this coat.  I truly hope that I can make a couple of coats.  I have certainly fallen for the last couple of Lisette coats.

This is V9099.  It is a classic jacket pattern by Claire Shaeffer.  I can't resist getting her patterns.  They are packed full of great information.

This is V8804.  It is another Claire Shaeffer pattern. I wanted to attempt making this style of jacket and this was really the one I wanted.  I was a bit surprised that it wasn't already in the stash.  Wish me luck on this one, I have the fabric and the pattern.  Now, it's on to figuring out the fit.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Early Spring Patterns from McCall''s....

The first round of spring patterns have emerged at McCall's.  I always love to see the new patterns.  Here are the ones that I find interesting:

This is M7537.  To me this dress has a little bit of a 70s vibe maybe it's the floral fabric or the gathered sleeve.  Looking at the line drawing I don't get that vibe much at all but it is a very cute dress.

This is M7538.  I really like the cross-cross of the pattern.  This would be a great way to use up those left over pieces of fabric that you couldn't quite convince yourself to get rid of.  This one definitely has an interesting line drawing.

This is M7533.  I looks like it could be a good basic sheath dress.  It has a variety of sleeves with a couple of hem lines.  It states that it is a fitted dress but the model doesn't look like it is fitted.  This is probably the one I would add to my collection if I decide to add anything.

What do you think of the early McCall's patterns?  Do you have any favorites?

Happy Stitching!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Butterick 6388 - Misses' Lapped Collar Top and Dress....

I really liked the look of Butterick 6388:

,,. and I have a tons of French Terry in my stash.  I pulled out a lovely green french terry out of the stash and tossed it into the washer.  Unfortunately, it came out with an issue at the fold line.  So, this fabric became a definitely muslin fabric.  I decided to make View C but changed the front slightly by putting a seam in it.  Here's the result:

I actually liked the results enough to pulled another french terry in gray to make the dress.  The dress as drafted was a little short for me so I added 6 inches to the length.  Here is the results:

The dress is a little wrinkly as I have been in the car for a hour before taking the picture.  Originally, I was decided about keeping the pockets.  I had made a decision to use a lighter weight white knit as the pockets but they tend to show. So, I have decided to stitch the pockets closed and remove the extra bulk.

Basic pattern review:

I would rate this pattern as a quick and easy.  It is a great little pattern with all of the options which could make a wardrobe builder.  I made the XL size.  Since I was using the french terry, I decided to use the reverse side of the french terry on the back yoke and the side front to add a little of interest to the dress.  As previously mentioned, I added 6 inches to the length which I added following the length line on the side front and transferring that line to the front and back.

Will I make this again?  Yes, I think I will make a top next spring/summer.

Fit - There was a couple of things with this pattern.  I couldn't figure out how to fix a one of issue.  An issue that I recently learned about is that I'm shorter between the shoulder and bust point than most patterns.  I couldn't figure out how to make this alternation without affecting the sleeve which fit well.  You can see that the dress really needs a dart.  I chose not to try this alteration.

I did use my new serger for part of the construction on parts of both the top and the dress.  It was fun getting to know the new equipment a little bit.  I also tried the Maxi-Lock Stretch thread in the bobbin with a double-needle.  This actually made a beautiful hem.  No tunneling! Of course, some of that could be the sewing machine I was using. I hope that it survives the dryer.  The Maxi-Lock stretch thread is nylon.  Anyone know how it does in the dryer?

I purchased several cones of the stretch thread before I realized that it was nylon.  In the future, I will invest in the polyarn in some basic colors so that I don't have to worry about melting in the dryer and/or ironing.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Juki MO-1000 serger...

So, in my last post I admitted to purchasing the MO-1000.  In reading through the manual, there was a new-to-me stitch which I have had to investigate uses.  The stitch is a 3-thread super stretch.  For it to work, you have to have a stretch thread in the lower looper.  I think the thread that I had was a polyarn and it worked fine in creating the stitch.  Regular thread did nothing for this stitch except create an ugly stitch with lots of loops.  All the remaining stitches on the machine are straight forward, typical stitches that you find on a serger.  Due to sickness, I have not had time to push this machine yet but I'm ready to start using it.

Back to the 3-thread super stretch.  I sent a plea to the Juki serger list and didn't get a reply other than it's a 3-thread stitch and wouldn't be good for clothing.  Of course, my thought is that is what it was designed for.   What else do you use stretch fabric for?  So, I'm going to plan on making a knit top in the near future to test this stitch.  I'm not pushing too hard.  The worst spots for stretching will be the sleeves and the neck.  The hem will have to be done on the sewing machine unless I get creative and use a flatlock somehow.

I searched the internet for information on the 3-thread super stretch which lead me to Serger Pepper and the Serger Stitches Cheat Sheet.  The cheat sheet states that this stitch is for swimwear, leotards,.....   Doesn't it sound like it would work for leggings or yoga pants or whatever knit garment your thinking about?  This is the only site that I could find that references this particular stitch.

Now, are you interested in the differences in the 3-thread super stitch verses any other 3-thread stitch?  Most 3-thread stitches require either the left or right needle and both loopers. The three thread super stretch requires both needles and the lower looper.  This does require that you machine have the ability to block the upper looper.  It makes me wonder if any machine that has this ability can create this stitch.

What are your thoughts on this stitch? Have you tried it?  If so, how did it work out?  Hopefully, I will get to share the results from my test soon,  I'm trying to figure out what I did with the pattern that I was working on.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Next Round of Serger Testing....

Over the weekend, my husband and I took a road trip to Ohio for me to look at additional sergers.  The place that I went to had two of three sergers that I was wanting to look at. The machines I wanted to look at were the Juki MO-654de, the Juki MO-655, and the Juki MO-1000.   Unfortunately, the MO-655 was sold before I arrived.  So, I played with the Juki MO-1000, the Juki MO-654de, and the MO-114D. As far as I could tell, the MO-654de and the 114D were the same animal in a different box.  All three machines performed well with the variety of fabric that I took with me to play with.  The fabric that I took was a denim, a heavy fleece, a tightly woven home decor fabric, quilt weight fabric, a super stretchy polyester knit, a cotton knit, a light weight cotton.   I think that is it.

Since all three machines performed well with very little adjustments, I decided to re-thread the all three of the machines.  This is something that must be relatively easy to do.  I did not expect any of the machines to be difficult to thread.  I can thread the 936 with ease and it has a very complicated threading path.  The MO-654de and the 114D are identical inside.  What I found a little difficult with both of these machines was the upper knife placement.  It was far easier to thread the needles with the upper knife flipped out of the way.  With both of these machines, I felt like I had fat fingers and needed to use the tweezer to accomplish the threading (I did this on the 936 also).  Threading the M-1000 was a breeze.  The upper knife placement was in a different spot (more like the 936).  It mostly threads itself.  All you need to do is put the threads in the right spots and it will thread it's own loopers.  This machine as a manual needle threader, also.

I ended up being the most comfortable with the 114D and the MO-1000.  I have no doubt that this was because some of the features are similar to the 936.  

After some consideration, I did make a decision and it was:

I was really interested in the air threading.  If I were younger I would have definitely purchased the 114D.  Having the machine thread the loopers is so much easier on the old eyes.  Ok, I am fully aware that I took the easy way out with this.

I have no doubt that I will miss all the electronic on the 936 but hopefully, I love this serger too.

Next, I will go through my at home testing.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

When Do You Add Edge Stitches?....

So, I have finally started the T-shirt project that I talked about in this knitting post.  It has taken a couple of starts to get it going because it is oh, so easy to drop stitches.  Sometimes you can pick up those stitches and sometimes you can't.  Anyway, once I got started and made it through the first section, I realized that I didn't know if I should have added edge stitches.  Eeek!  Off to the net to see if I can find anything about edge stitches and when to use them. I could find information on the various types of edge stitches but I couldn't find anything that told when to add an edge stitch or if edge stitches should always be added.

Off to my trusty little library.  It may be small but I do own some fairly good books.  I found "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques" by Nancie N Wiseman.  This is not a book I have reached for often.  I am sure I read through it when I got it and then put it on my shelf for future reference.  Low and behold there is a whole chapter on edge stitches or selvages.  After reading her explanation  of edge stitches and when to use them, I have decided that for this project I'm not going to need them.  After all, my project is a straight stockinette stitch and it wants the edges to roll. Well, at least on the hem edges.

So what are edge stitches or selvages used for?  They control the edge of the knitted fabric and also give you additional stitches to create a seam if you're project needs it.  If you were knitting a scarf, an edge stitch would assist with getting the edges to lay flat.  If you were knitting a sweater with beautiful motifs or designs on it, the edge stitches would be added to prevent a disruption of the pattern by adding additional stitches for the seam.  Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?

So, if anyone has any additional information on the use of edge stitches.  Please send me the information so I can learn more.  At this point, my project is only about 3" long.  I would rather do another start than find out at the end that I should have added the edges stitches.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, October 7, 2016

It's Good to be Home Again...

I spent the past week visiting with my parents.  It was so very nice to see them again.  I don't usually visit in the fall but this was my chance and I took it.  I even got to fly instead of drive.  How lucky am I?  It just happen to turn out that it cost the same between the two options.  So I flew knowing I would get to spend a couple of extra days with family.  Before I left, I ordered a few things so I could get started on some projects upon my return.  Here's my purchases:

I purchased three sizes (2.75mm, 3.00mm, 3.25mm) of the Pony knitting needles from Deramores in the UK.  I have purchased from them in the past and was pleased with their prompt service. Now, I'm ready to start my next project from the Wilder by Kim Hargreaves book.  This is the first time I've used these brand of needle.  I hope that I like them.

I also decided to purchase some fabric and try to carve out some "me" sewing time for a few tops.  Here are my purchases:

I hope I'm not deceiving myself about getting sewing done. I feel like all I have worked on this entire year has been quilts and it's time to do something whether I have a serger or not.  I hope I can still do a satisfactory edge finish.  I know once long ago I was able to sew just fine without a serger. Almost forgot, all the fabric is from

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

First Serger Test...

A couple of weeks ago, my sewing buddy and I went to the local Babylock dealer to look at the Eclipse DX:

It took a bit to get anyone's attention when we arrived at the shop but I was patient because I really wanted to look at this machine.  Finally, a salesperson broke away from a one-on-one sewing lesson to see what we needed.  I explained that I wanted to look at the Eclipse DX.  Of course, it turned out that the machine was missing the manual, the power supply, and the foot pedal.  Yes, this made it a challenge but the salesperson finally located the power supply and the foot pedal.

I had brought a baggie of fabric to test the stitching with.  It was a fair selection of fabrics - denim, quilting weight cotton, home dec cotton, stretchy knit, and fleece.  On the heavy fabrics and the knits, the stitching was pretty much perfect. However the quilting weight cotton and the home dec cotton, the stitching didn't seem quite right and I was unable to adjust the needle tensions to correct.  I'm willing to admit that this could have been a user issue.  There was no manual available to check the tension settings and I'm really spoiled with having an electronic display.

Then, I decided to re-thread the machine.  This turned into a major challenge and we waited for the salesperson to return.  I'm not sure that the salesperson appreciated the fact that I had cut all the threads so I could thread the machine myself but she did finally explain to me what I needed to do.  Once I understood the procedure, it was pretty easy.  The hardest part of threading the loopers was getting enough thread into the hole with enough slack to thread the machine.  I was amazed that the machine could thread the loopers 100%. I did miss the fact that this machine also had a needle threader.  I had this machine threaded in less than 5 minutes on the first try.

This machine was very pricey.  This particular dealer had the machine listed ~$2500.  If you had a trade=in, the price was about ~$1100.  I'm not sure about the price even with the looper threading and the needle threaders.

I have located another dealer about 2 hours away that carries both of the Juki models that I'm interested in seeing and carries the Babylock machines.  I suspect that the Juki MO-1000 is a twin of the Eclipse DX.   It would be very nice to see all three machines and test them at the same time.

I really think hands on playing with the machines is the only way to go.  If I can't thread the machine or adjust the tensions by myself, I won't use the machine when I get home.  I'm still wondering just a little bit if I'm going to miss having the electronic display or having a free arm.

Have you used this particular machine?  I would love to hear about the pros and cons.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I have given up on my Huskylock 936.  It just doesn't seem to be reliable any more.  It is 13 years old and has been used a ton but I would have liked it to have lasted a little longer.  I did have issues in the spring and took it to the dealer who did their best with an aging machine. They told me then that it might last a few more years or a few months.  Looks like the latter is it.

This sent me to the internet to see what type of sergers are available.  Then, I decided I needed to make a decision on what stitches I would actually use.  Well, folks, I can tell you the list is fairly short.  In all the years I owned the 936, the stitches I used the most was a 4-thread overlock and then the 3-thread overlock.  Oh, I did play around with other different stitches.  The few times that I used the cover stitch I was never able to get it to stitch correctly.  In fact, this past spring, my sewing buddy and I went through a bunch of stitches with the 936.  Would I use a 5-thread safety stitch or any of the 2-thread stitch option?  Yes, I can definitely see uses for them.  I can't say why I never used these stitches. Getting a machine with a 2/3/4 thread options is fairly easy and relatively inexpensive.  The price goes up when you add the double chain stitch and the 5-thread options.   So, my thought is that I would probably use them if I had them but will most likely just go with a 2/3/4 thread machine.  I could yet surprise myself and go with something entirely different.

I am intrigued by the air threading of the loopers and have decided to visit the local Baby Lock dealer.  My sewing buddy and I will spend an evening looking at machines.  Since these machines are more or less the cadillacs of the serger world, it should be interesting.  I haven't looked at this brand of sergers since the mid-80s.  After looking at the various models and at the short list of stitches that I know I will use, I've decided to look at the Eclipse DX.  It is a 2/3/4 thread with the air threading of the loopers and you can still manipulate the tensions should you choose.  I have no doubt that I will be shocked at the price of these machines.

I also decided that I wanted to look at the Juki sergers.  My first serger was a Bernina Funlock that was made by Juki.  It was a great little serger until I got serger envy and had to replace it.  So, here are the two models that I'm interested in:

1.  The MO-655. This is a 2/3/4/5 thread serger.  It does not have a cover stitch option.  It does have the options of the double chain stitch and the 5-thread safety stitch.  This machine is relatively inexpensive.  I do think that it is an older model which is reflected in the price.

2.  The MO-1000.  This machine feels like it is the cream of the crop.  It is a 2/3/4 thread with air-threading of the loopers and needle threaders.  Oh, what a temptation.  This one is great for aging eyes.

Unfortunately, there are no Juki dealers nearby.  I found a place about 40 miles away but it looks like it's in someone's house and not an actual dealer.  I did call but didn't get a return call back.  The next shop is around 100 miles away.  Of course, there is always the Amazon purchase for a Juki but I would prefer hands on testing before making a purchase.

Anyone used any of these machines?  I would like to hear about the pros and cons of each.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bondi to Coogee Beach Walk...

Yes, it was early winter when we were in Australia but one of the things I wanted to do was the Bondi to Coogee Beach walk.  It was a beautiful walk.  Soon areas had been washed out from recent storms and which meant there were detours that had to be figured out.  The walk took around 3 to 4 hours.  We were definitely not in any hurry.  Here's a few of the sights:

This is where the walk started.

Some truly magnificent waves were coming in.

It may have been winter but it wasn't keeping the surfers out of the water.

Beautiful coastline.  If you look closely, you can see the walk ahead.

One of the detours went through a cemetery.

Local wildlife and they were all saying "Mine".

More local wildlife with waddles.

This is another shot from Vivid in the evening after the walk.  It was story time.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Early Fall McCalls....

Oh, I love so many of the early fall release of McCall's.  For me, it is all about dresses.  How I wish I had a need for a lot of dresses.  Here are the lovely patterns I picked:

This is M7469 a Nicole Miller design,  This is a fabulous dress and I love the lines of it except for the slit at the front hem.  You really need to hop over there and look at the dress that was made for the pattern. Lovely.

This is M7464.  Looking to create that hour glass figure.  This is the pattern will definitely do it with color blocking.  In addition to the sleeveless look, there are two additional sleeves.

This is M7466.  Another lovely little dress.  This is another you can have fun with if you have right fabric.

Sew many patterns, sew little time.

Happy Stitching

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sydney and the Festival of Lights....

We spent a great deal of time around the Sydney Harbor while we were in Sydney.  Here's the famous opera house:

However, VIVID was going on while we were there.  What is VIVID?  It's a festival of lights, music, and ideas.  Here's a pictures of what the opera house looked like at night:

Beautiful isn't it?  There are a lot more pictures than this.  My DH did make a video that I attempted to upload but it was too big.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

New Patterns....

McCall's had a pattern right after my Fall Buttericks post and I couldn't resist adding a couple of new patterns that were in that post.  So, I have added the following two patterns:

This is B6385.  A Lisette pattern for Butterick.  It has the cup sizing up to a D.  The pattern shows three variations in the collar.  Has anyone tried the Butterick version of cup sizing?  I have the perfect fabric in my stash and it is definitely time to pull it out.  I wonder what the chances of it getting done this year are?

This is B6388.  I really like this fun little pattern and it is meant for french terry and sweatshirt fleece.  Hopefully, I picked well on the sizing.  I really like the dress but would want to lengthen it to the knee.

I think I'm going to take a break from quilt sewing and do some garment sewing.  I never quite got to any summer sewing maybe I can get some fall/winter sewing done.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Thread and Lint...

I've been working on quilts almost continuously since last fall.  The first quilt was a mystery quilt (still needs binding), bound a quilt that my grandmother made, and I working one a quilt for my son. I have been using Mettler Metrosene Poly and this thread seems extremely linty to me.  Anyone else had an issue with this thread?  I have been cleaning my machine every time the bobbin runs out and getting a huge pile of lint.  I do realize that fabric makes a contribution.  The lint pile is about the size of a nickel every time I clean.  I've been taking the bobbin area completely apart cleaning the entire area around the bobbin case area, the feed dogs, and the presser foot.  Now, that I'm thinking about I don't clean anything with the upper path and wonder if I should be.

What thread to you use that doesn't produce large quantities of lint?  I will continue using the thread that I have until the box is empty but I'm willing to try a different brand.

Actually, I think the Mettler thread that I have actually produces more lint than the Dual Duty brand.

Please give me your thoughts on thread brands.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sydney and the Whales....

Our first day in Sydney was a beautiful late fall day.  My husband mentioned that he really wanted to go see the whales but knew that I might not want to go.  In general, I don't like the water much.  Oh, I'll get in it and do fun water things but sometimes there are huge panic attacks.  I stopped and talked to the captain at one of the whales tours.  I asked how the water was and explained that occasionally I would have panic attacks.  He said that water was calm for a late fall day and that he had a spot in the middle of the boat for me.  We went whale watching with no panic attacks.  The water wasn't as calm as I would have liked it but I was in the middle of the boat.  Here's some of our whale pictures:

I can't say if these young humpback whales are all in the same pod because we saw three separate pods while we were out.  The whales didn't come right up to our boat but they came fairly close.  It was wonderful to see these magnificent creatures.

Happy Stitching!