Sunday, April 22, 2018

Back in Business!


This week was hectic! I met my daughter in Denver for a day. Her university sent her out to recruit at an accepted students reception, but she needed to be back in time for her sorority's formal last night. She is in the pink dress--which we found shopping on Friday. She was going for the Barbie look which she definitely nailed! It was a delight to see her in action at the reception and spend time with her--she will be home in three weeks for a few weeks before she goes back to school for a paid research position the rest of the summer. Then, she is off to London for her semester abroad in the fall...she is living the life!
I used the time before she arrived in Denver to go look at sewing machines. I decided to replace my worn out machine with a Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2. It has some new features my other Pfaff did not including:
a built in thread cutter
10 inches of throat space--it is much larger
more speed
large foot pedal
9 mm wide stitches
automatic tie off
automatic presser foot lift
electronic knee lift
automatic thread tension
As I explained to my daughter, I went from a VW to a BMW. It is a $2600 machine, but they were offering a special this week, so it was $1950. I can upgrade it within a year for the Janome if I decide to. That decision will probably hinge on the local service availability--there is a new Pfaff dealer in Grand Junction, but I am not sure it will last.
 I quilted my School of Fish today on my new machine. I have to say, I used so much less thread because of the thread cutter and there will not be thread tails all over the house anymore!
The wavy stitch is fabulous and the dual feed made this a breeze. This quilt is almost 55 inches square, but with all that throat space there wasn't any rolling or wrestling it through the machine.
I just put the binding on and plan on working on that this evening. 
As most of you know, I love to bind and I bind for both my local quilt shop and a friend--we are trading long arm quilting and a 20% shop discount. A lady was referred to me for my binding services, she has a queen sized quilt she needs bound by June. I don't have any idea how much to charge. I did a little internet research and it sounds like $80 is the going rate to attach by machine and hand sew the binding down. That seems pretty steep to me--I was thinking of telling her $50. What do you all think? The money I make can go toward my machine purchase...I spent so much in Denver my credit card company contacted me to see if it had been stolen! OMG!


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Sunday, April 15, 2018

School of Fish Top

 I made all these fish last weekend--the quilt has 120, but I made some extras. I spent a couple of nights sewing the rows together. They were all stitched on my 1961 Singer Featherweight. It is about 55 inches square. I have the link to the tutorial a couple of posts back, if you are interested!
 Today, I have been working on the Clementine Quilt Along Month 4 Blocks. They are all cut and ready to assemble and will be revealed on April 25th when the instructions post for the public. #stjude There is a link on my right hand sidebar.
If you did not see my post earlier this week, I received terrible news that I have worn out my Pfaff Ambition 1.5. It lasted 7 years and I paid $1100 for it. My local sewing machine shop has closed, so the nearest sewing machine dealers are a little more than an hour away. My mom and I ventured up there yesterday to see what they had that would meet my needs. The only thing I found was this Janome $2800 (more with tax and bobbins)--I liked the machine very much, but not the price. I tried a couple less expensive Janomes, but they lacked a wavy stitch. I looked at a used Bernina, but was not really impressed with it--its wavy stitch was not very pretty and the bobbin loads from the bottom which is a pain when your machine is in a cabinet like mine. They also had a used Janome of this model, but it is older and did not have my required wavy stitch. Otherwise, I would have bought it! 

We also went to a new quilt shop and Viking/Pfaff dealer. I was not impressed. The only Pfaff she had was used and is a model, Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2, I am interested in, but she did not know how to thread it and we could not get the feed dogs to move--they had been lowered for free motion quilting. Obviously, I am not interested in that one. I also am wary about if she will be in business long for servicing! My next options are Denver 5+ hours away which sucks for servicing.

My daughter asked if I could meet her over in Denver next week. Her college wants to send her to an accepted students reception on Friday night. Of course, I will drive 5+ hours each way to hang out with her basically for a day! She will arrive on Thursday night and leave early Saturday morning to be back in time for her sorority formal. 

I will probably spend Thursday afternoon and Saturday sewing machine shopping. I am going to look at a couple of Pfaff models and some Jukis. The shop I am going to carries everything (Pfaff, Bernina, Juki, Janome, Viking, etc.) and has a program where you can trade in a machine within a year. I am thinking, I can buy the low end Pfaff like I had for $1100 or a Juki for $1000 and then save money all year and trade up to the Janome next year...Thoughts?

Not having my machine for nearly two weeks now has really made me frazzled, I have to get a new one soon! I have my Postcard from Sweden to quilt and the School of Fish, not to mention 20 zip pouches that all need to be done before April is over. This is my Postcard from Sweden top. The link up for that quilt along can be found here:



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

BAD NEWS!

No person died, but my Pfaff Ambition 1.5 is worn out according to the repair shop. I bought it in July 2011 to replace the Bernina 830 Record I used for 15 years--I wore that one out too!

Now, I need to decide if I replace it with an equivalent machine in the $1200 range or go to the next level the $2500 range? Or do I really go all in with a $5000 Bernina?

I am a very practical and financially responsible person which is why I bought this model to start with! I chose between the $1200 model and the $2500 model last time and did not even look at Berninas. 

Here are my bare necessities in a machine:
a minimum 700 stitches per minute
a good buttonhole stitch for appliqué
a built in wavy stitch (one of my favorites for machine quilting)
dual feed
easy change feet
feed dogs that can lower for free motion quilting
speed adjustments
needle up/down
good throat space for machine quilting
local service in Grand Junction, CO

At this point, I am considering Janomes, Pfaffs, and Berninas. Brothers are not being considered because I do not care for the local retailer/repair.

My busy sewing season, summer,  is about six weeks away, but I hope to make a decision and purchase before that. 

PLEASE SHARE YOUR ADVICE! I am really struggling with this decision!

Thanks!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

One Fish, Two Fish, 120+ Fish


I got a text on Friday morning from my friend Linda with news that her first grandchild had arrived! The baby's sex was only revealed at birth, so I did not make a baby quilt ahead of time. The baby is a boy and of course I have no boy quilts currently ready. I asked her if she had a theme in mind and she said fish or deer...A quick trip onto Pinterest helped me locate this snowball fish tutorial.
I love a scrappy quilt, so I think this is fabulous. I thought about using a medium gray I had in my stash for the background, but my hubby thought is was a little too dark. Off to the fabric store I went and bought a light gray solid. I spent the rest of the day Friday cutting out fish fabrics and squares for the corners. There are 120 fish in the quilt which means there are 720 corner squares and there were 720 corner squares to mark. I made some extra fish and now it is time to play with their layout. You can find the tutorial to make snowball fish here:
Earlier in the week, I had been working on these stars with my Kona leftovers from my Postcard from Sweden Quilt. I have all of my half square triangles sewn into the patches and I am ready to assemble all of the blocks, but those can wait until the fish top is done. Here is the tutorial for this quilt:
 Since it was my spring break, I signed up for a walking foot machine quilting class on Monday and Tuesday. I have not taken a quilting class in years and have never taken one at Hi Fashion Sewing Machines in Grand Junction. Here is their website, if you are interested:
It is an hour plus drive each way, but it was worth it! We sewed 16+ samples to try a variety of techniques.
Our teacher, Angie, was an excellent instructor and the hostess with the mostest! There were 8 of us, and she was very attentive. The book we used WALK: Master Machine Quilting with Your asking Foot by Jacquie Gering is excellent and has many other designs I look forward to trying. You can get it from Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/WALK-Master-Machine-Quilting-Walking/dp/1940655218/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523213543&sr=8-1&keywords=walking+foot+jacquie+gering
My machine was long overdue for a tune up because we have been without a Pfaff repair for a couple of years. It was acting up a bit, so I left it there for a tune up and it won't be done for at least 10-12 days. In the mean time, I sewed the fish and star blocks on my Singer Featherweight. I am hoping my machine will be ready for pick up by Friday, so I can use my wavy stitch to machine quilt the fish quilt!


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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Welcome April

March has ended and I accomplished my March OMG (One Monthly Goal) to finish this Hideaway Baby Quilt that Fat Quarter Shop provided me with. Unfortunately, I did not link up in time, but it is more about setting goals and getting things finished!
For April, my OMG is to make 20 pencil pouches for my 5th graders as end of the year presents. I finished pulling all of the fabrics this morning and placed an order with Zipit Zippers on Etsy--they have great prices, reasonable shipping rates, and quick delivery. My fabrics are cut at 5.5" x 10.5" and I use nine inch zippers. Here is the link, if you want to join in:
Most of what I worked on for March were sew alongs, but I did have one Drop Everything And Make It (DrEAMi). I had some leftover half square triangles from the Clementine Sew Along, so I made this little zip pouch for a friend. Check out what everyone else was tempted with here:
Yesterday for Spelling Bee Saturday, we were supposed to make our "T" blocks. I did get those completed and moved onto the remaining letter blocks.
I am trying to make my Spelling Bee Quilt really scrappy with none of the letter fabrics repeated.
I think the rainbow of colors in the quilt will be amazing!
On the home front, it is my Spring Break. I am taking a walking foot quilting class tomorrow and Tuesday. I have to go to Grand Junction for it which is an hour plus each way, so I hope it is worth it!

My hubby is putting a new roof on our shop--the shop is 1200 square feet so it is a big job, but needs to be done. There goes our tax refund!



Sunday, March 25, 2018

Clementine Quilt Along: Month 3


Here are the blocks for the Clementine Quilt Along Month 3. Aren't they fabulous? You can join us and find the patterns here:
I am keeping up with the Spelling Bee Sew Along and yesterday we made the S blocks. I am really looking forward to completing this one because the blocks are so cute--it will be a fantastic quilt and it has been so much fun sewing it each week.
I started cutting into my leftover Kona scraps from my Postcard from Sweden. Isn't this rainbow gorgeous? I am making half square triangles for this and I did decide to use a white background.
You can find the free pattern here:
I think I have enough Kona to make this too. I know I have spring fever as I am drawn to these bright, happy colors. My spring break is the first week in April and I am ready for a mega sewing week!





Sunday, March 18, 2018

Scrap Quilting


My favorite kind of quilting is scrap quilting which is why I like so many of Lori Holt's designs because they lend themselves to using scraps. This week we made the scrappy heart and globe blocks for the Spelling Bee Sew Along.
Since it was St. Patrick's Day, I decided to make a curved log cabin block in greens. I have not joined in on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2018, but I have been itching to start a scrappy project--a curved log cabin quilt to keep for myself. Having a ongoing scrap project is my favorite, so this is it.
 Today, I finished up a purple block 
and a light blue block too.
Earlier in the week, I made my Clementine March Blocks for that quilt along and had some leftover half square triangles. I made this little zip pouch for a friend.
 I had to go to Joann's to pick up some scrap booking paper and of course I always check what they have on sale. I found this fantastic white with black print for $5 a yard. I think it will make the perfect backing for my Postcard from Sweden Quilt. I got 8.5 yards of it, so I can use it for another backing too.
The scrapbooking paper was for a Spring Care Package for my daughter--I always line the large priority mail boxes with five pieces of scrapbooking paper that I trim a little and tape it inside. My daughter had her spring break this last week and went to California to visit her grandma, so we did not get to see her--I hope these goodies remind her we miss her!