Thursday, January 28, 2010

Do You Really Need Another Sewing Machine?

That is what my husband asked me when I told him I was getting another one. "What a silly question!" I replied. Of course I do when it's a Singer 301-A in a cabinet for $40.00.
Singer 301-A in its cabinet
It's in GREAT condition and so is the cabinet, so I couldn't pass it up. I took it to the Harlem Sewing Center to have the tension balanced and it sews beautifully. Don't ask how many machines I now have because quite frankly, I'm not sure. It's around 8 or 9. You might recall that I bought another 301-A about two years ago at an estate sale. I still have that one and I love it, too, but it isn't in a cabinet. A cabinet that has a knee control.
Singer 301-A
It's pretty, isn't it? I have my Diamond set up to embroider some quilt labels, so I'll be piecing Sunny's quilt with the 301. I'm in love with it! In the spring I'll probably sand the cabinet and refinish it. Maybe I'll stain it a lighter color or maybe I"ll paint it a cool retro color. I don't know. For now I'm just going to enjoy sewing with it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Think I've Accomplished One Goal

Remember my goals for the year? Well, I think I got a job already. It isn't finalized, so I shouldn't even say anything because I know I'll jinx it. BUT, I think I have a job working part time for the Husqvarna Viking Sewing Center near my house. It's only part time, but I'm very happy with that since I don't have a nanny and really don't want to have to get one. Plus, I am taking some accounting classes and they take up some time, too. I took three accounting classes in college and really wanted to be an accounting major, but for a million reasons--or excuses depending on how you look at it!--I took the easy road and graduated ASAP. I have always wished I had changed my major and stuck it out with accounting because it's a MUCH more marketable skill than technical writing, not to mention more profitable. There's a lot of upward movement with accounting. With technical writing there's only lateral movement. I got A's in my accounting classes when I was in college, but now I find myself struggling with Chapter 3 of financial accounting, which is supposed to be a relatively easy class! What happened to me? Did I get stupid with age? Ah well. Such is life. All I want is to have something I can point to that says I have business skills so if my job with Viking gets finalized I have a good chance at moving up in the company. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!

The Super Duper Ellie Quilt...

It washed up really well. The only thing I'll do differently in the future when doing large applique on a quilt is not use fusible web. It didn't soften up as much as the rest of the quilt so the letters are stiffer than I'd like them. I know there is a temporary spray adhesive you can use to stick the applique to the fabric while you do a running stitch--or whatever stitch you want--around the edge. Then the adhesive washes out so the applique will not be stiff. I'll have to check into it for my next quilt. Here's a picture of the Super Duper Ellie Quilt lying on the couch
Super Duper Ellie Quilt
It measures 42" X 58". Here's a close up of the applique. Maybe you can't tell in the photo that the applique is a bit stiff. And it isn't unpleasing so, but we're our own worst critics, right?

The only problem now is that Sunny cried when I gave the quilt to Ellie. Sunny wants her quilt now. Right now!
Here's a close up of some of the tumbler blocks...

And here's Ellie!! I love how excited my kids get when I make them things. I know it won't last long. When they're preteens they'll probably think I'm archaic and cheesy. So, I'm going to enjoy every moment of it now!

Have a great day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another Super Duper Quilt

The Super Duper Ellie Quilt is finished! I haven't washed it yet. And I'm nervous about washing it because I didn't prewash anything and it's the first time I used fusible web on an applique on a quilt (I usually do needle-turn). Will it look disfigured when it's washed? I have no idea, but the fusible web makes the applique stiff and I'm not used to that. So, I'm wondering how it will wash up. I'm hoping for the best because I put a lot of energy into this quilt. Ellie loves it, too.

I used wool batting so it will be nice and warm. I usually use cotton batting, but quilts with cotton batting simply are not warm enough for the winter. Luke's Super Duper Luke Quilt has cotton batting, so I layer him with two quilts when I tuck him into bed each night. He wants a new quilt now. One with airplanes. But, first, Sunny gets a Super Duper Quilt.

I'll have more photos tomorrow with the results of the washing. My fingers are crossed that it washes well!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Favorite Hat Pattern

This is by far my most favorite hat pattern.
Dean Street Hat
It's the Dean Street Hat and it's a free pattern on Ravelry (free is always good, isn't it?)
I used Lion Brand Wool Ease worsted weight washable wool. The yarn doesn't show the cable pattern as well as I would like, but this hat is a gift and I wanted it to be an easy wash item. I think the cables show up well enough for me to recommend the yarn and it's very easy to knit with. It's one of my faves.

One thing I love about the pattern is that the author/designer, Nina, instructs you in cabling without a needle. It made the hat knit up very quickly! I'll probably knit many of these hats. The designer has other wonderful patterns available, too. The Vita Cloche and the Faberge Cowl are on my queue!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to Successfully Succeed

I love Spongebob Squarepants. In one episode he says he is "confident in his ability to successfully succeed." So, how to succeed at sewing?

I got this booklet years ago at an estate sale. There's nothing like vintage sewing books! This one is from 1962 and if you open the front page, you see this...

Oh yea. Lovely vintage Singer sewing machines. The Featherweight (5th from the right) sold for $132.50 back then. Nowadays you usually can't find them for less than $200.

I also got this book at an estate sale...

It is simply a "How To" book but, I had to laugh when I read this...

There's nothing like saying it bluntly, right?

And these doll books are awesome...
I love the cape on the doll in the middle. Unfortunately, this book doesn't have the paper patterns that originally came with the booklet. It probably wouldn't be too hard to draft one based on the photos in the booklet, though.

This next booklet still has the patterns in it. Yay! It'll be so fun to make doll clothes with my girls when they're a little older. I would've killed for these booklets when I was a girl! They're from 1966. Three years before I was even born.

I also have a bunch of booklets that have knitting patterns in them for dolls and a Barbie pattern from the McCall's pattern company, but I'll share those another day. Right now I've got to get dressed (yep, I'm still in my pj's!!!! such is the life of a SAHM!) and go to the grocery store. Have a great day!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goals, Shmoals

I usually don't write out goals, but I'm going to this year because I think my memory is shot. This morning I remembered something I wanted to make back in October but, never got around to making. How does that happen!? I swear I'm in menopause. My mom went through it young and she said she couldn't remember anything during it! There are also other reasons why I think I'm starting menopause, but who wants to hear about that?

So, anyway, here's my list:

1) Make a curtain for our front door. I can feel a serious draft through our front door, so I want to make a thick curtain that will cover the entire front door. When I was in England years ago (like, 22 years ago!!!) I noticed that some families did this and I've always thought it was a great idea.

2) Get back to garment sewing! I miss sewing garments. I stopped for two reasons, first, we had moved and I packed away my sewing machines. The house we had moved to was a fixer-upper, so I never ended up unpacking my sewing machines. Then, when we moved back to Chicago four years later, I was pregnant, so there was no reason to sew clothes for myself. Then I got pregnant again with the twins.... So, now that I'm done having kids and my weight is back to where it used to be I can start sewing for myself again. And I can now sew things other than quilts for my kids, which will be fun! I just hope I can remember how to do it!! I haven't put in a zipper in 7 years. Yikes.

3) Make a few Eleanor Burns quilts. There are a few quilts I have seen on her show that I just love, such as the Liberty Star and the Airplane and Propeller block quilts. I also love the Egg Money quilts.

4) Knit for myself. A lot.

5) Go back to work. Yep. I need to work again! I've been a SAHM for 5 years now and I've loved it. But, my son is going to kindergarten in the fall and my girls will start preschool, so it's time for me to work. I'd like to start something part-time (or maybe start my own business) so I can still pick them up from school and be a mostly SAHM. They are still young, after all. When they're pre-teens and can't stand my very presence I can go full-time. Right now I need flexibility.

6) Get out more. I'm a homebody. Mostly because I'm introverted and enjoy being either by myself (so I can sew and/or knit!) or just with my kids. But, I'd like to get out and meet some other women who enjoy sewing/quilting/knitting so I can socialize a little.

Hmmm. So, I didn't list any specific things I'd like to make other than the door curtain and the quilts. I guess that's a good thing. No pressure, right?

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Quick Doll Quilt

My girls love to steal fabric from my sewing room to use as "blankies" for their stuffed animals. So, in an attempt to stop the thievery I made them a doll quilt! As you can see from the first photo, I had to take these pictures quickly because there were little hands waiting to snatch it away!
The Girls' Doll Quilt

I love the top square with the yoga monkey. Too bad I accidentally chopped off part of his head with the binding. Next time I'll remember to add an extra quarter inch....The Girls' Doll Quilt

I backed it with flannel and quilted it with big squiggly circles.Doll Quilt (showing backing)

Does anyone else's daughter have the dog in the photo? I know not much of it is showing, but it's the Sleeping Puppy Alive toy from Wow Wee. To me, this thing looks like a dead dog and it freaks me out when the girls leave it lying in the living room. I always feel like I should call the vet or something.

I still haven't decided how I want to quilt Ellie's Super Duper Ellie Quilt, but I'm going to decide that today because she really wants her quilt! Have a great day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Super Duper Ellie Quilt

Last year I promised Ellie I'd make her a Super Duper Ellie Quilt, but I never got around to it. Until last week. Here is the finished quilt top. Ellie is excited to have a Super Duper Quilt just like Luke.
The Super Duper Ellie Quilt

It needs to be pressed again, but I'm happy with this quilt. Ellie loves it. Now I just need to decide on a quilting design...
The Super Duper Ellie Quilt

Friday, January 1, 2010


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