Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tip of the Week

My eyes are not what they used to be, apparently. I've been having trouble cutting very dark fabric, especially when I'm cutting on the whole inch mark. I use my 5-inch square Omnigrid ruler a lot, but it can be really hard to line up the skinny black whole inch line on black fabric.

So, I came up with a solution that works on lots (but not all) black or really dark fabric:

Just turn the fabric over and cut on the wrong side, which is likely to be quite a bit lighter than the "right" side! Sooooo much easier to see. Like I said, it won't work for all black and dark fabrics - if your fabric is yarn dyed, like a homespun, you're probably out of luck.

I'm probably 100 years late in discovering this trick, but I thought I'd pass it along anyway.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The other wall

This is the fourth wall in the sewing room, the one I haven't photographed before because nothing was on it until yesterday.

I've had the rack for years, but just had never put it up in this house until yesterday. I've talked about the Tennessee Puzzle quilt on the end before, here. I found the Fancy Dresden Plate in a trunk at my in-laws' house in Florida after my mother-in-law died. I think my husband's grandmother must have made it.

The kaleidoscope is just a top. I think my mom pieced it, or maybe my grandmother. I actually have two - I guess they were planned for twin beds. I hope to quilt them soon.

The little sofa is not centered under the rack for a reason - I wouldn't be able to get in the door of the room if it was! I'm really thinking of taking out one of the closets on the other wall and converting that space to either a cutting center or a sewing center. The latter is appealing, especially since the machine and its table would be up against a wall, which would be beneficial for supporting the quilt while machine quilting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More new stuff and a finish

First, the finish. I pieced this Quilt-In-A-Day table runner months ago and wondered when I'd ever have time to hand-quilt it. With my new Elna, I didn't have to hand-quilt it. I pulled it out last week and finished it in time to donate it to the silent auction for my daughter's choir this week. For my first attempt at "real" machine quilting, I'm super happy with it. I just hope someone bids on it!

I bought this cute pink bathroom shelf at the antique mall where I won the windmill plate. I love it!

This book rack is not new, more like new-ish, but until last week the sewing room wasn't clean enough to photograph it!

The local JoAnn Fabrics was closing and sold all their fixtures, as well. I bought this Leisure Arts book rack for a song. It takes up more room than I'd like, but I enjoy having some of my books out where I can see them, instead of on a shelf in the closet.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Something new in the sewing room

I have a new sewing machine. I had no idea last week at this time that that would be a true statement. And no, it's not a Mother's Day gift, although I've had a lovely Mother's Day with gifts, flowers, lunch, ice cream, and best of all, hanging out and crafting with my daughter.

Last Sunday I noticed an ad in the paper for an Elna dealer and sewing machine repair shop that was going out of business due to the owner's impending retirement. They advertised new and old machines - a complete clear out of their shop. I ran over on my lunch hour Wednesday, thinking they might have some cute vintage machine that would be fun to own and I could pick up for a song.

And then I saw her. An Elna 6600 Quilter's Dream, 50 percent off. I test drove. I admired. I calculated. I checked the checking account. And then I left the store without her. Got back to work and called and said, "Hold it for me until tomorrow." Read online reviews, e-mailed a friend who has an Elna to get the scoop and consulted the hubby, who finally talked me into it and said he'd meet me at the shop at lunchtime on Thursday to seal the deal.

And now she's mine. Here's the progression from box in the dining room to pride of place in the sewing room:

The table runner is an Eleanor Burns design from years ago that I'm putting together for a donation for a silent auction fundraiser for my daughter's high school choir. All stash fabrics.

I'm very happy with my purchase, although even at half-price we'll be eating ramen noodles for a week or two. I have not done much (hardly any) machine quilting before. I think I'm going to love it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

And the winner is...

...Me! I'm rather lucky when it comes to door prizes. I've won a brand new guitar, a large and beautiful watercolor painting, fabric and gift certificates at numerous shop hops, a Christopher Radko Christmas ornament that I gave to my sister, grocery store gift cards.... Today, one of our local (and last remaining) antique malls was having an open house and my name was drawn for this:

Isn't it cute!

Christmas in May!

for the "Here Comes Santa" redwork quilt by Bird Brain Designs.