Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Frist Quilt

I took my first quilting class in the later part of 2008 from Ann Randall.  I came across her while googling local areas to learn quilting.  Everywhere I looked they had just completed their beginner series and I would have to wait after the new year to learn.  I was so happy to come across her and when I met her she made my anxiety about quilting subside.  From that class on, I have been sewing every since and it sparked my volunteer work with her group as well.  Ann helped me pick out a pattern for my quilt and do the math.  The pattern called for one that was 80X97.   I was going to make it that big, but Ann suggested with it being my first quilt that I should go smaller.  Well I went 66X67 after all was said and done (I should have went much smaller like she suggested, listen to your quilt teacher students).  Sometimes I don't listen, HA HA HA.  The piecing of the top was no problem, but finagling that quilt into my sewing machine to quilt it was the problem.  That was a lot of work. I learned that you can do it if your mind is into it (forget about your arms and shoulders hurting), so I did not get discouraged, it just took me a lot longer than the other students to complete my quilt due to the size.  The binding is where I learned I don't like hand binding.  That took me until September of 2010 to finish.  Every time I kept thinking "hey I need to finish that quilt, the binding is only left",  I kept putting it down.  I should have machined bind it due to the size.  However, I am glad that I did not waiver and I persevered.  After washing it the quilt soften up and I noticed even though it is not a heavy quilt, my husband still likes it on the bed.


I stopped at the inner boarder and pieced it from left over rectangles from the pinwheels.  I also left off the corner pinwheels in the boarder (too limit the size)
The backing was pieced together using remnants when purchasing the main fabric. The brown added a pop to the back of the quilt that I love and I use this technique a lot in my charity quilts (due to the fact that we don't get a lot of yardage donated).

Things I learned making my first quilt:
  • Reading a pattern.
  • Making a plastic template.
  • Using a rotary cuter/ruler/mat (I cut part of my pointer finger off, not pretty).
  • Working out math for the amount of fabric, so that you don't have to make a lot of trips to the store (don't get me wrong I love shopping at the store (my husband could attest to that), but I rather work on the quilt).
  • Working on getting the 1/4 seam allowance right, that is real work, still working on it.
  • Selecting fabric that blends well on quilt top.
  • Using imagination to piece a quilt back.
  • Sometimes your points are lost.
  • Stitching in the ditch when your blocks don't align quite right.
  • Frustration of working with such a large quilt on such a small sewing machine.
  • Using a walking foot (very interesting bringing up the bobbin thread BEFORE you start sewing).
  • BINDING, need I say more
I still love quilting.

Quilt Projects In Process

Back in July, 2009, I took my first paper piece class from Jennifer Ofenstein where I learned to make a pineapple block.  I have been taking more of her classes and I currently have 2 of her paper piecing projects on my To-Do List.  She makes up her own patterns and she is currently doing a somewhat monthly project.  If you can't take her class at Honey Bee Quilt Store, then drop into Honey Bee (you may also run into Jen while you are there as she is their website guru) to see if her pattern is still there (as limited paper versions are made) or check out her site or her blog to purchase her patterns.  Believe me you will not be disappointed.  What I love about Jen is that she is always available to help if you don't understand something about her patterns and she is just an overall fun person to talk with.  She also has a class at Honey Bee Quilt Store where you can bring in any paper piece project and work on it (shhhh you will want to work on hers I am sure).
Intermediate Paper Piecing + Curves, 04/24/10
Book: Paper Piecing with Alex Anderson
New York Beauty Block

Floating Mariner, 09/25/10
In addition to the projects above, I also have this one that I came across and thought you have to give it a try.  I purchased and started on this project maybe at the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010 and put it to the side. While I was organizing (or should say re-organizing then organizing again as I have to do frequently to find all of my TO-DO projects and put them in containers so they could be found easily) I found this one in the back of my fabric closet. This has been my first project with Batiks. The reason I put it down before is that you could not really use pins as the holes stay and when you sew incorrectly and have to "un-sew" those pin marks stay and is not real attractive.  Since I was new to quilting, I relied on pins heavily, but now I can sew some pieces without using pins.  I started work again on this project last weekend and I am more than halfway done piecing the blocks.  I hope I can finish piecing the top this weekend.  I have to figure out what baking I will use.  Also, I will have to research how you quilt with batiks  I don't think I will use batik fabric as all of the baking (too expensive, plus don't like that feel against my skin).  Click on the link below for the pattern.  I will surely make this quilt again using regular fabric.  I like it and it is fairly quick pattern.

All of these quilts are so different and that is what I love about them. They encompass various styles and techniques.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Trisha Shirey on Central Texas Gardener talks about the caring for tomatoes in your garden.  She covers everything from blossom end rot to bug damage.  The information she shares answered quite a few questions I had on my tomatoes (so happy I got some this year).  Take a look.


Very Interesting

In August, my husband and daughter discovered this in our backyard.  I was busy in the enclosed garden and did not see it.  I did a little research and it is a dragonfly.  The color on it is fascinating and it is truly amazing at how transparent the wings are.  God's creatures.  AMAZING.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mexican Mint Marigold (Texas Tarragon)

Last year I had to find Tarragon in the store to make a chicken salad recipe that I tasted at a Bunco meeting (it was amazing and the Tarragon is what set off the whole dish).  The cost of fresh herbs in the store is crazy.  So I found some and of course they only sold by 6 packs (crazy me did not read the planting directions and I planted them close together).  Now they have truly grown.  By the time I realized they were going to get so big, I could not find the tag to name it and determine what I needed to do with it for the winter.  I happen to come across a recently found friend on Facebook and there she had a photo of what looked like my plant and then the light bulb went off.  That's what that was and then I remember why I loved it so much.  The smell is truly awesome.  If your ever needing any and it survies the winter, your more than welcome to have some.  HA HA.

Chairity Quilt Projects In Process

These are the quilts that will be donated to Crafting Comfort.  I really like this organization and I love working with Ann.  She is appreciative of what quilts I make and understand that I make them as fast as my life allows me to (as we all know working and having a child can really hinder your sewing time).

These 2 quilts are almost done.  I have quilted the teddy bear quilt and just need to bind it.  The checkerboard quilt has a few rows of stitch-in-the-ditch to be done and then binding.  That will bring my total of donated quilts to 4 in 2010.

These quilts are in process:

I started this quilt back in early 2009 and found it in a pile of my TO-DO quilts.  It is pieced together, pending quilting and binding. 

I have 2 of these quilt tops pieced and they are ready for quilting and binding.  The cats and the pink fabric is real cute.

The 2 quilts above are my version of coin quilts, pending quilting and binding.

I just recently completed a quilt from this cheater fabric, but it was big enough to make 2 more, pending quilting and binding.

This cheater fabric is big enough to make 2 different types of quilts.  Pretty cool with a glittery touch to it.  I think a little girl will love it.  Pending quilting and binding.

The 9 quilt tops above are planning to be completed in 2011.  I have quite a few more ideas for quilts from scrap fabric that I have accumulated.  All the fabric to create these quilts have been donated fabric. I love being able to make quilts for charity with donated fabric, because it makes you have to be real inventive and as a newbie to quilting I am not limited to a pattern. Even if the quilts I come up with are not elaborate, but they are truly different in the fabric choices.  I also get the opportunity to practice my quilting, which I am still scared to do.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Teach Yourself to Sew- Sewing for Beginners Video Series: Tips, Techniques, Projects and More

I came across this online sewing series a few weeks ago and recently sat down and watched all the videos.  I found the information very informative and some of the stuff I did not know about, but mostly it helped me to visually see it being done.  I thought this would be something that a beginner sewer would enjoy.  Sometimes hearing/sewing it rather than reading it helps you to understand something new.  I hope this video series is helpful to you and peeks your interest or if you are already interested....keeps you wanting to know more and more.  I have heard many times since learning to sew that sewing in general is a dying art.  Many people have others do it or they throw the item away and buy a new one.  I have heard that Home Economics was taught in school and sewing as well as cooking was included in that class.  I know my daughter's school does not offer it so it is left to me to teach her this, even if it is just to sew on a button or hem an item.
Teach Yourself to Sew -- Sewing for Beginners Video Series: Tips, Techniques, Projects and More

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shred Day

I am not sure if some of you are like me, but I try to keep up with my shredding, but sometimes it just gets away from me.  When I hear about events like this, I try to take advantage of it (especially if it does not have a stipulation for where you live and having to show proof).  I thought I would share this information with you as well.  The BBB is putting on a shred day this Saturday at a couple of locations.   One of them is close to Austin, check out their link.  For those of you close to the Austin location see the information below:
October 23, 2010 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Dell's Round Rock Campus
Building #8 at 2401 Greenlawn Blvd. 
The Austin event is also recycling old mobile phones. Each car is welcome to bring up to five boxes of documents to shred.
Hopefully you can take advantage of this event.  Nothing like cleaning house.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sweet Potato Harvest 2010 (UPDATE)

Previously posted 10/06/10
Well I finally harvested my sweet potatoes and boy was I surprised.  Take a look at this video (first video I actually edited, YIPPPPPEEEE).  We enjoyed some of the potatoes last night when I made this recipe from Mad Hungry, it was real good.  Next time I will plant less plants in a container, so the potatoes are not so crowded (if that is even possible) and I may see if I can do succession planting (but starting as early as possible).  I would not mind having smaller potatoes for meals throughout the growing season, rather than bight potatoes at the end of the season.

Enjoy, because we sure are.

10/19/10-I gave a few of the potatoes to my FIL yesterday and last night while peeling them, he noticed some holes and dark spots.  As he was cutting that part out he noticed the holes went deeper and deeper into the potato, once he cut it open he saw these.  I was shocked because I had not seen them in mine (will have to check the last bag when I get home), I had holes, but once they were cut out everything was fine (similar to store bought potatoes).  I am thinking back through the whole process (after reading the article), I did not mulch, I did not mound the soil, and I planted these slips in a bucket next to the area that I previously had white/red potatoes growing (not in the same spot, but next to it) and I did not pull the grass growing around them (as the grass was not that high and the potatoes were in a bucket).  Also some of the potatoes surfaced the soil level and I let them as I would be harvesting them soon.  I will keep these things in mind for the next planting and the potatoes will be grown quite a distance away from the current bed (as crop rotation is highly advised).  Will see.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Say Hello To My New Friend.....

In August I acquired my first antique sewing machine.  It is a Singer No. 66, Oscillating Hook machine.  I did the research and it was built in 1957.  I acquired the machine through Thread Bare, it is a charity shop and the owner Ann Randall is awesome.  People donate so many awesome items to her and she in turns sells the items to benefit various charity organizations.  You should check out her shop, donate or even volunteer.  She is also the creator of Crafting Comfort.  So if you have a few minutes, take a moment to look her up.  Through the gift of giving, so many benefit from it, regardless of how big or small it is.

Meet "Ole Girl", she is a little dirty, but will be clean soon.  I am truly enjoying my machine.  I have a mission of getting to know it from top to bottom and inside and out.  I want to be able to repair it and keep it going.  I bought this machine because I wanted one that I could set to my quilting measurements and it stay that way.  With the ability to set it and forget it, I could piece items that much faster and hopefully keep them more accurate.

The machine came in its original case (a light greenish color).  I had to be real careful and not care it by the handle of the case as the machine was so heavy it almost separated from the top portion and would have fell to to its doom.  It did not come with an original manual, had to locate that online and the pictures are not that very clear, but it is something (rather than nothing at all).  It also came with a lot of attachment feet that I have no clue how to work (see them later on in this post)

Front Side

Front Face

Back Side

Rear End

Serial Number

Motor Information
I already see a few things that will need to be replaced (in addition to the thorough cleaning it really needs), the motor belt (fraying and may not last very long) and bobbin tire which is no longer pliable rubber, it is now brittle and has no traction).  Those things are pretty small, so I am not too worried and a local sewing machine shop Singer Northwest Sewing Station says they can almost always find parts.  Which is good, because I just broke the lower pulley trying to replace the belt (I did not realize that there was screw to loosen to get the motor to move up and down for adjustments).  I will have to have that part replaced as well.

I wish that there was a manual that gave you a good diagram of the parts of the machine, so when you are searching for parts you have a name to look for.  The manual I printed off line has a diagram, but I guess in copying it the photo was distorted.

My biggest dilemma is trying to name and figure out how to use all the additional feet that came with the machine.  Some of them I am finding based off the small part number that is listed on them.  However, others may have a number, but it is too small to read or there is no number at all.  If you recognize any of these or could lead me to sites that could explain their attachment to my machine and above all how to use them please let me know in the comments.  It would be greatly appreciated.

06/2012-Adjustable Hemmer

06/2012-Hemming Foot
Other Instructions

Name ME above?

Part#36865 (06/2012-Edge Stitcher)
Other Instructions


These 3 above are all the same
06/2012-Zipper Foot



06/2012-The Ruffler
Other instructions
Name ME above?

Name ME above?

06/2012-Cording Foot

Part# 85587 (06/2012-This is the seam guide,
I just need to purchase a thumb screw)

Says it is a Hemmer

06/2012-Multi-slotted Binder
Other instructions
I also recently joined a Yahoo group geared toward singer sewing machines, called Vintagesingers.  I have been reading their posts and these are enthusiasts, hobbyists, and sewers who really love the older model machines.  To think that most of these machines end up in the trash.  I am glad that I was able to rescue at least one of them.  I now have to arrange my craft/office/sewing room to fit a 3rd machine (one I just decided will be a travel machine for classes and it is tucked away in my travel bag).  So now to place the 2nd one where it will get as much use as the the newer model computerized machine.

Quilt For Chairity #2 (2010)

Last month, I completed this quilt and as soon as the other 2 I am working on are done they will all be going to Crafting Comfort.  I am trying to complete at least 5 quilts per year and I am a little behind.

The quilt top is what I call a cheater cloth and I just did a stitch in the ditch along with some squigly lines.  I am still new to quilting a quilt and not yet sure of what I need to do to ensure that it stays together, but at the same time looks and feels good to the receiver.

To bind the quilt (since I hate hand binding), I just did regular sewing on the front and then turned the other half of the binding under on the back side and found a decorative stitch to stitch from the front and to catch the back.  Not bad.


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