Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saying goodbye to Eleanor, my Elgin treadle

All good things must come to an end.  Today I sold Eleanor, my elegant Elgin treadle sewing machine (see blog entry dated April 6 2010 for photos).  She went to a lovely lady who lives in Arkansas and is just as excited as can be about learning to stitch on a treadle machine!   I wish her the best and hope that Eleanor makes her happy.

Selling my treadle is part of my downsizing effort.  I'll also be selling my other antique and vintage sewing machines (except NOT the Featherweight!) because I can either mess about with old sewing machines or I can sew.  I love the old machines, but I'd rather sew--and I don't have enough room to use the old machines as decoration.  Besides, they aren't decoration--they are functional machines that need to be used.  I'm not using them and that's a real shame, but better they find homes where they will be used.

Among the vintage and antique machines that will be going to new homes are a Singer model 66 (electric), a Singer model 66 treadle, a Singer model 66 hand crank, and two Italian made Necchi Miras (one in a cabinet).  

Ah.  I'll miss them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tree Top Threads Studio Fabric Sewing Box

I haven't made this yet (just got the pattern a few minutes ago. . . I'm fast, folks, but not that fast!)  but I'm really looking forward to making it.  Go to her Etsy Shop (Tree Top Threads Studio) and check it out--she's got patterns for all sorts of organizers.  I'm a sucker for organizers.  Probably to make up for my lack of organization!!

The boxes I'm getting ready to make come in two sizes: small (approximately 8 1/2 x 5" x 3 3/4") and large (approximately 9 1/2" x 6" x 5").

This is so much fun!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunday afternoon sewing

It seems I never have enough little hand towels in the bathroom.  Don't know what happens to them, and I'm pretty sure the kitties aren't stealing them, but there never seems to be one when I want one!

So Sunday I did what I usually do when the "no-hand-towels-in-the-bathroom" situation is heading to a crisis: I MAKE some!  

Here's my recipe for hand towels:
1. One old towel in relatively decent shape (from the local Salvation Army or other thrift store if possible)
2. My big box of trims
3. Sharp scissors
4. Sewing machine
5. Thread

First, cut the towel up.  You can make whatever size hand towels you want, but I'm pretty simple, so I just cut the towel into eighths.  Trim off the selvages and hems cause they make the trim bulky.

Start trimming!

You can be as fancy or not so fancy as you like.  I love colorful laces, so guess what you tend to find on my hand towels?

Here are four of the eight I made Sunday

And here are the other four
This one has three layers of lace: peach, yellow, and white
Pink eyelet--how sweet!
You can see that none of the ones I made are the same.  
Lace and rickrack
Peach eyelet

I took this trim off an old dress

Two layers of yellow lace and one layer of red

Love this yellow lace!!

All folded and ready to put out

Two of them hung up, See how well they match my light switch?  

And what a productive way to spend Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Upcoming Classes

I've been working all morning on what classes I want to teach at Sew Contempo (AllBrands) and what will be involved!  Here's what I'm thinking of teaching:

1. Pattern Reading and Making a Muslin
2. Puzzle Blouse
3. Esme Blouse

Apparently people have been asking about learning to read patterns, so that one should be popular.  I'll go over patterns and how to read them, what all the markings mean, and understanding what the pattern envelope says.  I want to train the students in "best practices" so we'll copy the pattern onto pattern tracing paper (and not cut the original pattern), and from that make a muslin to test the fit, then adjust the muslin, take that back to the copied pattern, and adjust that so the copied pattern will be good to go.  The "finished project" in this class will be the adjusted copied pattern.

The Puzzle Blouse is Suzy Seed's Puzzle Blouse.  This is basically about stretching out of the student's comfort zone. There is no pattern with this one, the top is constructed using your own body measurements. Students will have to cut a neck, armholes, and hem without a pattern.  The finished project will be a unique, bias top.

The Esme Blouse will be a class to make a tunic I saw the other day in the shop.  I fell in love with the loose-fitting top and think it would be neat to make the top in a class.  Once I get the pattern, I'll post photos of it here.

I also want to teach Intermediate Sewing, which would be a skill-building class, but I'm still thinking about what all that would entail.  My first draft of the prospectus may be too advanced as I have them putting in multiple zippers, bagging a lining, and working with vinyl and plastic mesh.   Maybe I should teach a class in sippers first.

Any ideas from the Peanut Gallery?

I'm so excited about this!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Changes, changes. . . . .

This blog has been a lot of things through the years.  It's been a place for rants, for how-to's, for photos of my various sewing machines, and in general, about as focused as Mr. McGoo.  

I don't know if all that's going to change.  After all, at my age, if I haven't learned to focus by now, it's something I'm probably never going to master.   Plus there are just too many different, exciting, and wonderful things out there to have to wear blinders.

But my sewing life is taking a different turn, and these pages will have to reflect that.  I've got a small shop up and running on Etsy now and have been selling things (sewing related and not sewing related) on Ebay for a few months too.   I've never worked for myself--and don't quite know if I ever would have done it if not for trying to live on Social Security.  Luckily, I have Medicare so I'm free to explore self-employment without worrying about healthcare.

Now I've taken another big leap--I'm going to be teaching sewing.  Yes, yes, I taught sewing to 4-H kids, but now I'm going to get paid for it!!  Money, nice money, that I can use to buy stuff.  Like fabric. Thread. Patterns.  You know, the bare necessities of life......................

I'm going to be teaching at Sew Contempo on Egret Bay Blvd in Houston.  Actually, they're now part of the AllBrands system, but everyone around here knows them as Sew Contempo. I was in to talk to Sharon the manager this afternoon and now it's just a matter of deciding what classes I want to teach and putting them on the calendar.

Am I excited?  YOU BETCHA!!!  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fibonacci quilting: thoughts #2

Found these lovely examples of Fibonacci quilting on Threadbias and this scarf on Burdastyle. . Pinterest has these examples.

When it's rectangles of different sizes, or the spiral, I can see what people are talking about, but for many of the examples on Pinterest, I'm just not seeing the connection (YET!)

Fibonacci Quilting Method: thoughts #1

Hi all!

Tomorrow night at my ASG Neighborhood Group meeting (You Sew Girl), we're going to be learning to use the Fibonacci number sequence as the basis for making a quilt.   The instructor sent out some instructions and a couple of web sites to look at so we'd be familiar with what she'll be talking about.  The first website is for Bryer Patch Studios and the second is for a You Tube video that basically is a slide show about Carol Bryer-Fallert's quilts.   Lovely things, aren't they?

Except that I'm basically lost about how does one go from strips of fabric in 1 1/2", 2 1/2", and 3 1/2" widths to the gorgeous quilts in Bryer Patch's fibonacci quilt gallery--but that, of course, is why I'm so excited about the class!

This is one of the things I love most about sewing--I've been doing it for a few years now and there is STILL so much I don't know!  There are so many wonderful techniques out there and such a tremendous amount of creativity that I haven't even touched on. . . .

And it all starts with learning to sew a straight seam and pivot correctly.  I look at what my 4-H kids do and am just floored about all the possibilities they are creating for themselves.

Anyway, back to Fibonacci quilting:  I intend to take lots of photos and post them here so hopefully I'll bridge that gap between a number of strips in various widths and Carol Bryer-Fallert's art.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Home again

Ok, world, I'm bbbaaaacccccckkkkkkk..........................................

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sailing the Caribbean!

Hi all!  DH and I are off sailing the Caribbean aboard the Carnival Triumph.  (Insert huge happy face here) We love cruising--just being on aboard the ship is fantastic--and Triumph is one of our favorite ships.  We're doing two back-to-back cruises so will be aboard for 10 days.  Ten days!!!  Luxury, great food, smiling crew members. . . . .  I just love it!!!

Anyway, I'll be out of touch until after May 1.  Not that I won't be creating. . . .oh no, I plan to bring my embroidery for a crazy quilt I'm making and the materials to practice making bound buttonholes and welt pockets (since I'm going to be teaching a class on the technique, guess I should know a little bit about the technique, no?)   DH has a hissy-fit every time I suggest bringing my little Featherweight so I'll be sewing machine-less for 10 days.  Hand sewing only.  Which is fine, I like hand sewing too.

Take care everyone and we'll talk when I get back.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Lace" making tutorial

I don't know about you, but I'm bothered by the vast amounts of thread I discard: every time I have to take all the thread off a bobbin in order to wind on a new color, for example, I just hate it that all that beautiful thread goes in the trash.  Or all those lovely serger tails. . . surely there is a way to use those things instead of throwing them away?

So, here's my solution: make "lace!"   Once made, you can shape it into delicate bowls or use it as embellishment.  Great on crazy quilts!

1. Materials:  water-soluble stabilizier, threads taken off bobbins so you can wind a different color on (What?!? Don't tell me you wind OVER thread already on the bobbin??)  (Yes, I know my mom did it, but it unbalances the bobbin and can cause jams), serger tails, thread that's too old for sewing, small scraps of fabric, scraps of ribbon--well, you get the idea.  You'll also need a sewing machine with a full bobbin (and a new needle, but you already knew that).

2. Lay out a piece of stabilizer on your work space (Photo 1). Add your raw materials (Photos 2 and 3). Spread out the bits of thread and other materials so it looks nice.  You don't want everything all lumped together, like in Photo 3.

Photo 1. 
Photo 2

Photo 3

3. Add a second piece of stabilizer on top, to form a quilt or sandwich (Photo 4)
Photo 4
4. Start to stitch.  You don't need to drop the feed dogs or use a darning foot for free motion.  You can just turn the piece.   I like to start with a straight stitch and go around the outside and then diagonally across the piece to hold the sandwich together. (Photo 5)
Photo 5
5. Then I just go wild with the stitching. (Photos 6, 7, and 8)  I tend to stitch in a spiral, but you can do it any way you want. You just want the piece pretty well covered in stitching. (Photo 9)
Photo 6
Photo 7
Photo 8
Photo 9
You can see in this series of pictures that I started out with blue thread and ended up stitching with a coral thread in the top and bobbin.  

What if you don't have all these fancy stitches?  It doesn't matter.....use whatever utility stitches you have, the result will be beautiful!  (Photo 10)
Photo 10

6. When the piece is as fully stitched as you'd like, it's time to rinse out the stabilizer.  You can see both pieces in my sink.(Photo 11)  Keep rinsing under warm running water until the stabilizer is totally washed out and the piece is soft and flexible. (Photo 12)
Photo 11
Photo 12
7. If you want to make a "lace" bowl, drape the piece over a bowl and let dry.  (Photo 13)
Photo 13
Or you can let the piece dry flat and use it in (or on) something else...
like the embellishment piece I added to my new purse (Photos 14 and 15)
Photo 14

Photo 15

Isn't that just too beautiful ?     I want to try to use the small piece I made today in a bound buttonhole or something like that. . . .once I decide, I'll post pictures of that, too!

Keep stitching!