Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas to all

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Christmas here was very quiet. The "big" family party that was supposed to be this afternoon has been postponed due to icy roads. I am such a worry wart about driving that I am relieved that my kids won't be on the ice to get here today! We are going to party on Sunday - the weather report shows the first DRY spell in weeks. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not, that I have a couple more days to sew last minute Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back in business

As I look out my window this morning while drinking my morning coffee, I see it is snowing, again - or still - or what ever. It's only the second day of winter and I am fed up with it. I am going to try really, really hard not to start worrying about the Christmas travelers. I need to "let go and let God".

Yesterday, I really tried to get on with some sewing, knowing that my Brother ULT was sick. And, the main problem was that here it was, the 22nd of December and the two youngest grandbabies still did not have Christmas stockings!

I have ordered a new needle plate but, being the holiday season, I am sure that it will take days and days for that to come. So, I got out all of my trusty little tools and took my beloved ULT apart. I had reviewed Ann's ULT fix-it page so I felt pretty ready to go at the old gal and see if I could find any obvious problems.

I found gobs of lint and a fair number of thread pieces which I removed with a pair of tweezers. I worked diligently to buff out the burrs on the needle plate with a piece of emery cloth. And I am back in business! I am sure that things will be much better with the new needle plate, but for now - this works. So, I got busy with the stockings. And, I have them done.

Of course, now that I have them done, I notice that the Christmas motif on Elise's stocking is upside down. [sigh] Looks like hers will have to be redone. But, that will be a project to be done before next Christmas!

I am also just about done with my quilt using the Sophia line of fabric from my shop, Ionia Quilt Works. The fabrics are beautiful. I am using the wildly popular pattern, Take 5. But, I have increased the size of the quilt to queen size. Once the quilt is complete and all of the appropriate pictures have been taken for the shop's webpage, I will put the quilt in my Etsy shop. Time to get busy! Everyone stay safe and warm!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Well - it happened!

Well, it happened. It snowed, and snowed and snowed. As a matter of fact, I think it might still be snowing. A rough measurement looks like 15" of nasty slippery stuff. I used to have a boss that refused to shovel the parking lot or the sidewalks. His response? "Get over it. It's winter! It's Michigan! Mother Nature will take care of things soon enough."
So, I spent the day inside in my studio. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked because, I spent a significant amount of time taking my Brother ULT machine apart. :-(

I had one broken top thread after another! I changed the spool of thread; I changed the bobbin, I changed the needle; I took the walking foot off and replaced it with the regular zig-zag foot; I took the cover off and made sure that there was nothing caught; I ran floss through all of the tension mechanisms. Nothing helped and it really looked as though the thread was being shredded! So, off with the needle plate. There might have been a burr on the needle hole and it might be possible after the last project I finished...... So, I spent a while longer looking for some emery cloth. I did find some and rubbed the burr out of the needle plate. It helped a little bit, but did not totally fix the problem. I guess I had better plan a trip to the sewing machine hospital. :-( Thank goodness I have my ever ready little Singer to use in the meantime!

All in all, I did finish working up one of the "Bubbles and Fluff" flannel baby quilt kits. It is soooooo cute! Pictures were taken for the shop and the quilt was placed in my etsy store for sale. I wish I could keep all of the samples that I work up!

Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New kits !

It's snowing and blowing AGAIN! It's only mid-December and I have had ENOUGH! When I was I child, I liked snow. As a young adult, I tolerated snow. Now - I HATE snow. And, after spending my whole life in Michigan, snow should NOT be a surprise each and every year. :-)

After spending all weekend , and parts of last week; finishing up a very special Christmas gift (I'll post pictures after Christmas) :-) I finally got some new kits cut for the shop. I am so excited about using the wildly popular "Take 5" and "Take 5 Gets The Point" patterns from The Teacher's Pet for some new kits. The kits cut from the Sophia pattern line are going to be beautiful! And, the quilts cut from the Heirloom Garden line will be fabulous. Who will be the proud owner of my lone quilt kit cut from Hoffman's "Beep Beep" line? I may just have to make that one up myself!

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll have time to cut some kits from the Pink Ribbon collection. Stay warm and stay safe!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I love, love, love this bag!

I made the Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl Designs from one of my newest collections, Sophia by Karen Neuburger. I just love the bag itself with all of the neat pockets on the inside. And, the soft muted shades of jade, mauve and cream of the fabric lends a richness that I love. It's going to be hard to put this bag on the shelf as a sample!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My next project

I have been just dying to cut into some of the new fabric delivered to the shop. I have decided to use the new Miranda Day bag pattern from Lazy Girl Designs and use fabric from the Sophia collection.
It's all cut out and I have started the construction. It's going to be so pretty!

A quilt finish

I've finished little Alex's "big boy" quilt. Since he will no longer stay in his crib, Alex has moved to a big bed. I pieced this quilt using the new "Take 5" quilt pattern from The Teacher's Pet and fabric from Salina Yoon Kids! line of whimsical farm animals.

The quilt went together quickly and the directions were easy to follow. After I had the quilt top pieced, I quilted it with a tractor motif. I hope my little farming Grandson will love his new quilt. I used some of the left over fabric for a matching pilowcase. And, knowing Alex - the pillowcase will probably have more interesting things in it than a pillow, so all of the seams were reinforced.

A Dream Come True

I have wanted to have my own quilt shop for as long as I can remember. I love fabric! I love to look at it, feel it, work with it, etc. So, after lots and lots of thought, agonizing and list making, it's now or never! My new internet quilt shop, Ionia Quilt Works can be found at

I am so excited. I have big hopes that someday, when I am able to retire, that I will be able to open a real brick and mortar shop here in Ionia, Michigan.

In addition to loving fabric, I love sewing machines! I have a little Singer Featherweight that was born in 1953. She is in great condition. She sews beautifully and still has gorgeous gold decal work.

I also own a Singer 301A. This little work horse will give you a precise, perfect seam every time! This is the machine that I use for piecing my quilt tops. It is the most accurate machine that I have ever used. She's not too pretty, but I love her.

I also own a Brother ULT combination sewing/embroidery machine. I have a love-hate relationship with this machine.

The embroidery module is fun and the decorative stitches are nice, but she's not very accurate for achieving that 1/4" seam! I do use her for putting on quilt bindings as the walking foot is very good.
I also own two sergers, one of them an old White ATS workhorse that needs to be threaded with tweezers - who the heck invented a sewing machine that needs to be threaded with long pointy tweezers? And, because I don't see like I used to, a new Babylock Imagine which threads with a "poof of air". I love this machine, but I am ashamed to say that I don't use it as often as I should. I must admit though when you need to add a ruffle or elastic, once you use a serger - you will never go back to the "old fashioned way".

Now I want to tell you about my pride and joy. Her name is "Lucy" and she is a HQ16 quilting machine outfitted with a ProStitcher computer and and 12 foot Quiltable. I love this machine!

I originally started machine quilting on a frame due to some problems with my joints. Once I could no longer work on my hands and knees, I needed to start doing everything sitting and/or standing. Now, I'm hooked. I started quilting for other people several years ago and I really, really like it. I've learned a lot about machine quilting and I learn something new with each quilt that I do.