An End to a Frustration

For some time I have been lamenting, investigating and wishing for a new heavy duty sewing machine that would handle all of the denim and leather that I threw at it. I love my  Singer machines, some I have had for lots of years, but they aren’t intended to be used with heavy duty fabrics. I have a couple of basic Singers and two more advanced Singers. Those machines are made for more lightweight sewing… quilting pieces and clothing. My experience sewing with denim – and especially the seams and waistbands – has been notably difficult. One project ended up with over fifty needles and I’ve broken a couple of throat plates and even broke one sewing machine!

So, after listening to his mother swear and bang my sewing table, The Kid took it upon himself to do a little investigation into my blog, Pinterest and Facebook page to figure out what I was looking for in a heavy duty machine. And this is what he went out to purchase:

img_3882I pretty much had decided that a Jonome was going to be my next purchase. It was wonderful for him to have understood what I was looking for and more specifically, what I wasn’t looking for.

Now my Singers – The XL-150, two XL-1000’s and an XL6000, are machine intended to do embroider work (as well as being sewing machines). I have invested a small fortune in the specialized embroider card disks, so I continued to purchase the same make, albeit newer models, of Singers. Its hard to make the change once you’ve invested that much in a system, but what I am finding now is that it is hard to find servicing – let alone parts – for these machines. But, oh how I love them!

There are a few things I might have changed – things that I have gotten accustomed to using the other machines – namely the option of not using a foot pedal. Was pretty used to touching the “go” button on all of my other machines, and now I have to change that behavior.

But as an aside, I have already spent the better part of twelve hours sewing together denim seams. If you are a regular reader, you know that I love to dissemble well worn blue jeans and turning the parts into new projects. And one thing I love to utilize is the leg seams on jeans.

olff-ffHere is what sewing together a lot of seams looks like:

img_3884I have to line up the edges and then have it quilted. I figure that a soft flannel backing would suffice without any batting.img_3883This thing weighs a ton, so I am hesitant to add any more weight to it. But additional quilting on it will help hold it together and hopefully be a nice finishing touch. I am thinking about using the ‘blue jean gold’ thread and then finish the edges with waistbands (which were also harvested from more than 200 pairs of jeans).

I am also working on a quilt (or two) made from more waistbands. And the bottom seams of each pant leg. I’ve got lots in the process!

But it is the new Janome machine that has allowed me to make actual progress for the first time in a long time. Thanks to my wonderful kiddo!

We don’t celebrate holidays like most other folks… it was my intention to treat everyone every day as if each day was unique and special. Can hamper this blog, as I don’t make Christmas decorations or other religious trinkets (although I have made holiday themed quilts for friends). I love that others celebrate in their own styles and traditions, and I don’t begrudge it for those who do. But I don’t wish people Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or whatever. But I do wish everyone a wonderful day to celebrate (or not) however you wish.

julie

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Making My First Needle Book

Things have been a little hectic in my life, so I thought it was a good time for a little downtime from the furniture projects and do some hand sewing. In getting all of the bits and baubles that I have finally gotten around to organizing, which gave me a central collection for all my hand sewing needles. So, then I needed to figure out a way to store them properly. It was then I stumbled onto something that apparently has been around a long time, which I’ve never heard of. Which is all I needed to jump into it with great enthusiasm.

What I am a speaking of? A simple little thing called a needle book. Did a little search on Google and then again on Pinterest, and came up with some great ideas. So, I settled down with some great movies and felt and thread and set about making my own.

2015-09-22 17.50.56I had a different cover created, one that I had started embroidering, but when it came time to put the cover on, I found that I had seriously underestimated the book’s thickness! So, instead of using it, I had to make a new cover and it was left unadorned. I really had wanted to make sure that it was going to work out, rather than spending a lot of time and effort on it and not being able to use it again. And in the end, it worked out good enough.

My initial thoughts is that it would be a small book. But as I worked on it, I added a pocket for a pair of small scissors, and another pocket for a small round container of needles. I began adding pages for the different types of needles that I have: crewel, upholstery, darning, sewing, embroidery… who knew there were so many different types? Or that I had so many of them! This was just the small collection that I had downstairs with my crafting supplies. I might be afraid if I gathered together in a single spot all the needles that I have in my sewing room!

So, several pages completed, I realized that I had four packages of unopened needles and it might make more sense to leave them in the package. So the inside pages were really pockets, opened to the top. I attached the jacket and it looked great. The closure was a simple button on the front with an elastic band to close it. The real problem happened when I put all the needles ‘away’. Now it appears that the book is too small for all of the needles and especially too small for the cover. It was fun creating it, and I learned a lot of lessons doing it, so now I will start working on another, correctly sized this time. And I will be going all out on the decorating this time; cover, pages, everything.

But, I’ll share the photos of this one. I like it for my first attempt.

2015-09-22 17.49.52 2015-09-22 17.49.112015-09-22 17.48.472015-09-22 17.48.37 2015-09-22 17.50.01 2015-09-22 17.50.09 2015-09-22 17.50.302015-09-22 17.51.15If you have suggestions or comments or photos of your needle books, I’d love to hear from you!

julie

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Beading: Trying to Learn By Doing!

I ran across some beautifully hand beaded works recently and of course, I want to try and do it too. I always seem to take the jump-in-with-both-feet-and-wallet approach. Most of the time it works pretty well.

And I think it did this time too. Maybe?

So, I went out and bought about a million dollars worth of beading supplies. Well, not quite, but I did buy a LOT for such a little project. And I say that because I am thinking that the bead work is way more of a hassle than it was worth!

I’ll just dive right into the final product:

DSCN3678photo 7It is actually a felt jacket for a notebook… I use them (the notebooks) ALL the time when I am working and also when I am playing! First, I cut the large deep blue felt that would serve as the cover. It was enough to provide for four inches of overlap on each end, used to be able to create pockets that the covers would go into. Next, found the paisley design online, printed it and the starting with the teal, just cut out the shapes and using embroidery thread, stitched each one in ascending order.

I actually cut out some of the overlapping layers as I went, so that the dark green center wouldn’t be 6 layers deep!

Next came the beading. Actually first came finding needles that would fit through seed beads with thread! On the plus size, I know have about 156 new sewing needles, but on the other hand only about 6 of them worked. And they are so tiny and fragile, I managed to break one trying to force too much thread through the needle threader!

Okay, now back to beading! In the supplies I bought were lots of sequins – of all colors, shapes and sizes. (Of course my OCD required me to sit and sort it all!!) This helped get an idea of what I wanted to use and where.

I started with the dark green. One of the boxes of beads I bought had tubular beads and matching beads. The dark green was completed with the tubular beads across the color (rather than along with it). I thought about going back and adding seed beads between, but I think that would have been too much.

I then went back to the turquoise, those cute little ‘snowflake-ish’ designs with a bed atop into each one of the ‘loops’. Next came the lime green (I know it looks yellowish in the photo) where I sewed a little flower space with three matching green beads.

photo 4Then I went onto the purple.. this was pretty straightforward also, as the only real purple sequins were these little round ones, so I topped them off with a little larger purple bead.

And then I went back to the dark blue! I started beading this like outlining the shape but I was having a hard time controlling my spacing and the beads didn’t want to line up. About half way up the side of this and I was ready to call it quits. But then, I thought I’ll just fill it in!

Yeah. These are the things you don’t read about when trying to get information about how to do this. As you can see, I think I sewed on about 600 of these little blue seed beads (and I know because I accidentally knocked the paper plate on the floor and had to pick them all up!). Those alone took me about the time it took to watch 8 movies to sew on! Once I got to a certain point and thought “oh hell, no” I was past the point of no return! I had already spent a considerable time beading, but I did like the way it looked. So, I soldiered on.

DSCN3676I am actually still looking for the perfect ‘thing’ do place in the middle of the smallest and also dark green center. I originally had a large oval shaped button with its own beading, but being oval it didn’t look right in the teardrop/paisley shape.

I ran up to my sewing machine, sewed the little sleeve/pockets and slid the book into the cover.

DSCN3678Violå! It was done. Like I said, I have about a million bucks tied up in all of these beads, sequins, plastic flowers and needles that I may have to do more just to help offset the costs! After all, I can just get the basic piece done and work on the beading whenever I don’t have anything else to do.

Yeah, right!?!?

And the Work Goes On

I can’t seem to stay on any one project for very long these days. Maybe it’s clichéd to say, but I think winter has dragged on for far too long. Or maybe I’ve been house bound too many days.

I continue to work on the cross stitch, seems to me that I’ve made progress, but when I stop to take photos and report, it seems so insignificant to the whole.

2015-01-21 15.59.53Been working on the top. Greens, lots and lots of greens. I know it doesn’t look like much, but this hours worth of stitching. I am determined to complete this, though. I don’t think I will start another for a while.2015-01-21 15.59.46Took a little time and completed the binding on three more quilts. I am amazed at what I found in the last box of quilts to arrive quilted… it is almost like opening a box of quilts completed by someone else. I swear, some of these I don’t hardly remember making!

On the other hand, today’s quilts, I do recall. In fact, one was supposed to be a graduation present for my The Kid. He graduated almost two years ago! LOL

2015-01-21 15.55.30That is the Staley High School Falcons and he is Class of ’13. Yep and yesterday I finally got the binding done. I actually had to get the school’s permission to use the likeness (well at least to get Kinko’s to make the printed version so I could get the outline large enough). Maybe I will just donate it to the school and then can raffle it or maybe hang it in the school or something. That’s the downside of making so many quilts.

2015-01-21 15.56.28This quilt – and the next one – are a couple of my all time favorites. Orphan Quilts. Those leftover blocks from other quilts that you just don’t know what to do with. I mean, you can’t throw them away, and just how many can you make into hot pads and and cup coasters!?

So, I tuck them away neatly in this trunk I made over and that sits in the hallway. And when I can no longer add anymore or I can’t find inspiration, I pull these out, sort them and make orphan quilts.

As you can tell, I do make a lot of pink quilts. I suppose that is because I never had a real excuse to make one (a daughter of my own). But I do love the pink and make them in abundance for other folks’ kids or grandkids.

2015-01-21 15.54.27Here’s a an honest-to-goodness Orphan Quilt. It is really kind of fun to figure out how to get these blocks together to get a good size with no gaps.  Much like fitting a puzzle together. I like this one as well, once the binding was done, it was really fluffy, and I can tell that this will be a warm comfortable quilt to sleep under.

I was asked today to curate a clipboard on one of the popular websites. I am going to have to research it a little to figure out how much time and energy it is going to require. Maybe I might have to go out and buy some!

julie

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