What Andrea found!

Andrea came over to work on a quilt for her daughter, Andrea’s very first quilt! When she arrived she realized she’d forgotten a number of pieces at home and because she only lives a few blocks away, zipped¬†home to grab them. On the way home she spotted a funky cabinet on the curb and stopped to check it out. Low and behold she found her very first vintage sewing machine, and a cool one at that!

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I’ve collected a few old Singers , mainly the black sort but I’ve never encountered the Singer Athena 2000 Electronic!! According to my research, it’s from the 70’s, it has electronics and some plastic inner workings but sews very well. We plugged this baby in and after some minor fiddling, it did make sewing motions but I have a feeling it needs some love. Andrea also found the manual and a foot or two.

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Behind the “Athena 2000 Electronic” badge lives these dials, crazy!

IMG_1659To select a fancy stitch, you push the button, a red light appears then you turn the dial at the far right end to select the stitch, the images scroll, wacky and I love it!

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The plate behind the foot folds down to use the free arm, I’ve never seen that before!

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And what’s that dial for?

Andrea has left this cute little number at my home for further inspection, I’d really like to crack her open to see what’s going on inside. Maybe tomorrow. ūüėÄ

 

 

WIPs Galore!

All quilting is suspended until I have my quilting frame & machine (and a LOT of practice), which leaves me with many WIPs and new projects. As mentioned yesterday I’ve been invited by Heather & Megan of Quilt Story to participate in their Holiday Tutorials Thursdays so one of my WIPS is to work on my tutorial!

One new project I started last weekend is what I consider a “guy’s” quilt using Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt, Robert Kaufman Essex linen and log cabins. Love the fabrics in this line! I’m using Superior Threads’ Kimono Silk for piecing and quilting which gives me super flat and strong seams!

   

Another project I’m working on is a baby quilt for one of my girlfriends, she is currently 6 months along so I only have four months left to work on it. I don’t know if she’s having a girl or boy (I’m guessing girl) but thought I’d play it safe ¬†by making it for a boy or a girl by using two Aneela Hoey embroidery patterns from her new book, Little Stitches. Her designs are so sweet and book is fabulous, great for embroidery beginners like myself.

Last but not least, I’ve been hankering to make a bear’s paw quilt and have decided to once again pull out Backyard Baby fabric by Patty Sloniger. I’m not a big child’s fabric fan but I adore this line, it’s obviously for kids without being too cutesy.

On a side note, I’ve started using my Sony NEX 5-N instead of my iPad, I really need to use all of the features available, it’s a great camera but I need to work on my white balance as well as other things.

In case you haven’t noticed, I have new a hair style, it’s very similar to the last style. I’ve decided that I really, really love short hair (so does DH!), so easy to care for, I haven’t had to use a blow dryer or straightener in months, which is so much healthier! I just need to ignore my parent’s and strangers comments — my Dad loves long hair but he doesn’t have to take care of it. ;D

Have a great week, keep on sewing!

Linking up with The Needle and Thread Network and Freshly Pieced.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced   

Parcheesie in progress

16-patch in progress

16-patch blocks done!

25 more corner blocks to go.

I really enjoyed working on my Parcheesie quilt top today. I thought those tiny 1″ 16-patch blocks would drive me crazy but I really had fun, especially since all my seams matched! In one recent Craftsy class, the teacher pressed her seams open. I would never have been able to match my seams if I’d done it that way. I pressed them to one side, as traditional quilters do, and they snugged beautifully. I really love the corner blocks too, they’re essentially a type of log cabin.

Earlier this week I was contacted by the Education and Events Manager at¬†Juki America Inc., they’d like to feature me in one of their Newsletters! I’d love to get my hands on one of their domestic quilting machines in the TL line!

Also this week, my triple-zipper bag was featured on A Quilter’s Table with other wonderful triple-zip pouches. It’s been a great week and it’s not even over yet!

P.S., I’m linking up with TGIFF because although this quilt top isn’t finished, the 16-patch blocks are done and tomorrow, the corner blocks will be finished too! ūüėÄ

The Mother of all Posts

I’m ¬† A L I V E !!!

No, nothing happened to me, I’ve just been stuck in a sewing rut and not the stitch in the ditch kind. I pieced my sister’s quilt 3 weeks ago, finished the backing but dreaded quilting it so I started making zipper bags and fooling around with craftsy stuff.

In November, I mentioned the Craftsy online course on free motion quilting (FMQ)¬† and how I kept breaking thread, quickly becoming frustrated. The kind folks on PatternReview suggested changing thread brand and type, trying different needles and when all else fails, bring the machine in to see if there are any burrs. Burrs usually occur when the rotary hook, shuttle or needle plate are damaged when the needle hits them — your needle usually breaks. My Jukie isn’t even a year old and the only time I broke a needle was when I tried fmq.

Bernina 550 QE (image from Bernina website)

Then I discovered the Bernina 550 QE.

Berninas are notoriously more expensive than any other machine on the market. In my mind, they are the Mercedes or holy grail of the sewing world and out of reach for me… until now.

Yes, that’s right, I am now the very happy and proud owner of a Bernina 550 QE! After just 5 minutes with this beauty, I knew the difference between Bernina and every other brand of sewing machine. I have sewn on Singers, Kenmores, Baby Lock, Elna, Domestic, Viking, Janome and my Juki and none can touch the craftsmanship of this Bernina. Everything is S O L I D on this machine and built to last!

Bernina Stitch Regulator

The Bernina 550QE came with all but one attachment a quilter would want or need. The 1//4″ foot, walking foot (with three soles!) and the¬†patented¬†Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR). The BSR helps you regulate your stitch length and quality by only stitching when you move the fabric when FMQ. It does not help you with your fabric movements, of course. IMHO, quilting gloves are a must for FMQ and I can’t imagine doing without.

I spent most of Friday afternoon merrily fmq a piece the size of a placemat. Although my fabric movements need a lot of practice and  work, I was very impressed and happy with the results I was obtaining. I tried a few different beginner patterns covering the entire piece and when there was no room left, I started to applique fabric scraps to create a scene.

Bernina Walking Foot

The walking foot is the heaviest and most quiet walking foot I’ve ever encountered. I had one with my Baby Lock which I also tried on the Brother and Juki, all of which worked but were extremely noisy and clunky. The Bernina walking foot in comparison is smooth and although not silent, but quiet.

The bottom line is that Bernina is worth every cent you pay. Yes, it is probably the most expensive sewing machine on the market but it holds it’s value, even when the model is no longer in production.

Today may be a double post day, I want to take photos of my fmq to show you how the BSR can help an amateur build confidence and get results they can be proud of.

Hello from cottage country!

Hello my little friend!

Packed and ready to hit the road.

How cute is this guy sitting on top of his toadstool¬†amongst¬†the hostas? This weekend my Juki and I went on a field trip to cottage country. We were invited up to my brother-in-law’s cottage on the Trent river. I knew the guys were planning to take off on their mountain bikes so I decided that it would be a perfect time to play.

Outdoor Sewing

My first challenge was that I only had one extension cord so I could either use the sewing machine or the iron, not both at the same time. There really wasn’t much room to work on my pillow so I just goofed off with scraps, I’d never done half square triangles yet so I cut a bunch of 2.5″ x 2.5″ in squares and sewed them together. When sewing all the HST together again I goofed, I wanted to make pinwheels but made angels instead. At least that’s what they looked like to me.

half triangle angels

After I sewed everything together I was able to iron all the seams.

hst seams

And here’s the block all quilted up. Almost everything matched up nicely except the bottom right “angel”. ¬†Not bad for a first

HST quilted block

When my husband came back from his bike ride, he pick up something on his way home…

Ginger

The canoe, not the Pug. ;D We’ve christened her “Ginger” as in Gilligan’s Island. We’ll be making a lot more trips up to the cottage this summer and I’ll be doing more outdoor sewing but I think I’ll cut my fabric at home and bringing it up with me instead of lugging my big cutting mat up.

The wallpaper in the cottage was 70’s phenomenal, I’m considering making it into fabric as there are some extra rolls.