Hobbies Up To Here Episode #39

Hey hobbyists and crafters! It’s podcast day, once again!

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Today’s podcast is full of goodies. We talk about splurging and saving on all of our crafty items. What items or brands are worth paying full price for? And what items are most likely bought on sale?

First we talk about thread choice. Based on our quilter’s question on Instagram, our blog, and our Facebook page most of our friends and followers use Aurifil thread. Thread is one of those things I always went cheap on until I learned the ways of other, more experienced quilters. Now I put time and effort into researching my thread choices.

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We both agree that needles are a notion that we save on and we don’t seek out more costly options but we definitely splurge on fabric!

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.
What do you splurge on? Where do you save?

Quilt & Coffee Chat

Our coffee and chat shout out goes to Keeping u in Stitches Quilting where they share lots of quilting places and tutorials from around the web. They recently shared our Top 5 Quilter’s Tools video and it helped us reach over 1000 views!

Thanks for sharing our video!

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A Binding Mistake

Ugh…

After making huge progress on my son’s quilt Wednesday, I was still very much in the mood to keep working on it. Usually, it goes in spurts but right now I’m on a roll so I decided to take advantage of it and start the binding.

I have to confess, it’s been so long since the last time I finished a quilt that I had to refresh my memory on how to actually make and attach the binding. So I searched You Tube and found this great video. Short, sweet, and simple. And, it totally brought back all that I remembered from before.

Feeling confident about this next step, I got to cutting the strips of yellow material for the binding. I gave it a generous 2 1/2 inch width with the assumption that I’ll make a mistake in the cutting or sewing.

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Ahhhh, fresh strips! After cutting them up I went straight to the machine to start piecing them together. I was feeling confident! This was going to be a breeze.

My goal was to string them together in one go so that I wasn’t lining up, lifting the foot, sewing, cutting, setting it aside then starting over. I wanted a fluid string of binding to keep it neat and simple. It turned out to be rather easy to go from one end of a strip to another and seemed to make things easier to remember what direction to sew in by looking at the one just before it. So far, things were going well! At least, that’s what I thought…

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Here we go…

Or maybe not. Ugh…

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Something isn’t right here.

In my confidence I didn’t attach the right sides together but I didn’t figure that out till I got all done with every strip. Even while I was holding it, things seemed fine. The wrong sides were together and the right sides came together as one long yellow strip. WOOHOO! I was feeling so giddy that I had whipped the binding together in a flash that I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the seams would be on the WRONG SIDE!!! Booo!!!

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It wasn’t until I started to trim the excess off so I could press the seams down that I noticed something was amiss. Then it hit, the seams were on the outside. This was NOT going to work. Like a balloon losing air fast, I deflated and pulled out my seam ripper. At this point the husband was in the room and watching me grumble curse words at the binding while I rip, rip, RIPPED my way through.

He suggested that I put off the seam ripping for a bit to watch an episode of Doctor Who and clear my head. I agreed. If I stuck with it I may find myself not wanting to pick it back up and I’m so close to being done that I’d rather step away when I can and then come back when my  mind is clearer.

If I have my way and get the free time this weekend, I’d LOVE to have this quilt done by Sunday. For now, it’s still a work in progress.

The Process Pledge

WIP: Jake’s Quilt

This is my first Work In Progress (WIP) Wednesday and of course it’s during a time that WIP over at Freshly Pieced is on vacation. So even though there aren’t any links for it, I’m going to go ahead and post the progress I made on Jake’s quilt.

Because yes, quilter friends, I have made PROGRESS!!!

I started his quilt way back when… WAY WAY back when. Like 3 years ago. This quilt is a twin quilt to match my son’s old teddy bear quilt I made him for Christmas one year. In 2012 I started working on it again and got interrupted when my then boyfriend (now husband) proposed to me. So, for good reason, this quilt is still unfinished.

IMG_1152 The plan was to sew while my brother-in-law was visiting for some Bro-Time with the mister. Since they would be doing MenThings, I would spend some much needed quality time with my sewing machine and this quilt. Instead, I got a lot MORE time to sew because our son found himself in bed quite early. He got into a little trouble at camp so his consequence was an early bedtime. Ahhhhhh, the bliss of quiet time!

IMG_1153 My goal was to finish this quilt top and get it ready to start the binding on my next sewing night. I had 8 squares to finish and then the quilt layers would be finished!

IMG_1154 With all the extra time I had due to the little one’s early bed time, I was able to do just that! The quilt is now all pieced together, layered, and quilted down. I even got the chance to trim the edges. It’s not a perfect quilt. Personally, I love the colors and the vibrancy of this blanket but I see MANY MANY areas that need improving. It’s definitely been a learning experience putting this thing together and I’m glad that it’s not a gift for anyone outside our house. Hahahahha. My son, though, is thrilled to know his personal blanket is almost complete.

IMG_1156 From his time-out in bed I kept hearing him asking me what I was working on and how far along it was coming. When it was all done, I did step into his room and show it off. He was over the moon to see it all together. Now to make the binding and attach it in the coming days. The binding is going to be a beautiful yellow that will really play well with some of the yellow in the strips. I’m pretty happy with my progress. This is more than I’ve done in two years! And hopefully with WIP Wednesdays and a few Friday Sew-Ins, I’ll actually get the umph I need to complete this project so I can start another.

IMG_1157 Along with this quilted WIP, I’m also in the middle of a WIP book: The Book Thief. My sister suggested that we start a mini book club between my mom, her, and me.  This is our first book choice. We have a while to read it because we’re all pretty busy but once we’re all done, we’re going to get together and discuss over wine and brie! I’m really looking forward to the wine… I mean the time together with my mom and sister.

Until next time when hopefully I’ll be posting about my progress on the binding!

Back In The Saddle

Hey fellow quilters! It’s been weeks, months, even YEARS since my last post. When I last checked in my boyfriend had proposed to me and we were celebrating our engagement. That was in November of 2012. Well, it’s now May of 2014 and we’re about to celebrate our first anniversary! Amazing how time flies!

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In the time since we got engaged and got married, a lot has changed. We’ve rearranged the house and traveled. My son played his first season of baseball and he’s about to finish up his second grade year! And in all that time, I’ve not yet finished his quilt or started any new sewing projects. A little due to lack of time and also due to an issue with my machine.

My Good Ol' Girl

Kenmore-Sears 6 stitch.

My trusty ol’ girl got stuck and I couldn’t loosen it up. I did try to get some sewing done on my son’s quilt but my poor ol’ machine just didn’t want to work with me. So I wrapped her up and put her away for an undetermined amount of time.

Then I ran a race. Weird transition, I know. I run as a form of fitness and fun. In 2012 I ran 12 races and this year I’m at it again with a half marathon also in the mix. I also write about it on my running blog, Running With A Purpose. At a race recently with my husband, there was a booth at the finish line for sewing classes. Of course I was intrigued and it reminded me that my machine was in storage and not working. So I asked the ladies running this booth where they took their machines to be serviced. They gave me a name and an address. I tucked that flyer away for another day.

About a week ago we were going to the symphony and I remembered that flyer. The symphony happened to be held in the same city, only 3 miles away from this sewing machine shop. So I convinced the guys that we HAD to stop there and drop off the machine. We’d be right there so why not!?! And so we did! After the show was over we headed out the Pals Vacuum and Sewing Center to see what they could do for my poor, neglected machine. As I explained that my machine was 25 years old and had never been serviced (EVER!) they promised that they would check it for free and then call me with what needs to be done and that when I took her home, she’d be better than I ever remembered.

I was so excited! And only a few days later did I hear the good news! Nothing was wrong with my good ol’ girl, she was just gunked up and needed a good bath. And only for $90! These guys are in my phone now as my go-to machine shop and I haven’t stopped singing their praises.

Last night, after work, I picked up my son and we trekked out to PALs to pick up my machine. Low and behold, she’s good as new!!! Maybe even better than before! I brought her home and set her up in my new craft/makeup corner.

IMG_1119 She works great and fits nicely on this big ol’ desk we got from Ikea. There are even some shelves on the side where I can load up my stash to pull from when I’m working. At the back there is a hole that all my cords can drop down to a power strip so that everything is powered properly but you can’t see the mess of wires.IMG_1118

So pleased to have my machine working again and working better than ever. My crafting corner is clean and getting organized and I have space to work on all my projects, old and new. I guess the time away from sewing has given me a new sense of excitement and creativity.

I’ve got a quilt to finish and I’ve decided to try my hand at a gift for my son’s teacher so I’ve got a few projects on my mind. Can’t wait to start!

Crafty Corner: Before

It’s been a while since I’ve made good use of my crafting space. For months it’s waited for me to enter again and use it for sewing. As of late it’s been the catch-all corner for the clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away. It’s also become my stamping storage space. Yes storage because I’ve not been making cards or stamping lately. My son’s electronic piano sits unused and pillows rest beneath it.

It’s a mess…

The general splendor of the Crafty Corner

But since I’ve decided to buy a new machine with some of my tax refund, I’ve decided that cleaning up my corner is necessary. And sooner rather than later. The first to go will be this weird metal cubby holder. With the build in bookshelf currently holding my fabric stash in the corner, I’ll move my stamping equipment there and repurpose this metal shelf to the garage where we’ll store our shoes and rollerblades.

Stamping gear waiting for a place of their own

I plan to also repurpose a shoe cubby in my closet for my fabric stash. It’s the perfect size to fit under my cutting table and it’ll be a cheap fix. No need to buy anything new when I have storage options around the house. With the metal shelves in the garage and my stamping things on the shelves, using the shoe cubby as my fabric storage makes sense.

Or at least it does in my mind’s eye.

The hidden machine under a pile of bits and pieces

For now, this small sewing table will do just fine. Someday I’d very much like to have a proper set up for all my sewing needs. So far this is the plan for now and I’ll work on cleaning up and reorganizing the room this weekk. Crossing my fingers I can find the energy to get it done.

Time For A New Machine

Ladies and gents, it is time.

My Good Ol' Girl

Kenmore-Sears 6 stitch.

I never thought the time would come but it has. It’s time to get a new machine.

My ol’ girl is going to be shelved but never given away. Too much sentimental value to her. But I’ve realized a few things.

First, I received this machine when I was 9 years old. I’m now into my thirties and I’ve never learned how to properly use it. Because of that and 22 years of on-and-off sewing, I know I’m not using the machine to its full potential and I no longer have the guide to it. I think it would take some research to find out how to properly use this machine now that over 20 years have gone by.

Secondly, six stitches people. She has six stitches only and no walking foot. I can buy a walking foot for a model close to this one but I think it’s time to upgrade and get a machine with a little more room to grow. I mean, I’m looking at machines by Brother and Janome that have some 60, 90, over 100 stitches! And they come with the walking foot and have an additional extension board at an extra cost. I like the idea of having something with a little more space to spread my wings.

And thirdly, I’m getting a nice tax return and I’d like to buy something for myself. Why not a new sewing machine? I think a lot of my frustrations came from the lack of options with my good ol’ girl Kenmore and having the availability to do more than just 6 stitches will give me a wider range for my creativity.

So yeah, not that I need to justify my purchase but I like to see my reasons all laid out before. Funny thing is about a year or so ago I had this same thought. I wanted a new machine back in May 2011 and I just never got around to it. And about 2 months later I put away all my sewing projects and quilts for a small break. But now, almost a year later, I’m ready to pick back up again. Ready to put the needle to the fabric and sew.

Now if I could just settle on a machine. I’m leaning towards a Brother PC-420. Main reason: The ratings I’ve read on both blogs and Amazon have been good. Better than good, 5 out of 5 stars good. And while it may have more than I need, it’s within my price range and it gives me that room I’m looking for. You know, to grow and all that jazz.

Now to clean up my craft corner and get myself organized. Once that’s done and I’ve received my tax return, I hope to make the big leap from my good ol’ girl to a new machine.

Quilter’s Question: Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re My Only Hope!

Happy May The 4th Day!! Or better known as Star Wars Day!

I am a self-proclaimed Star Wars geek and get a kick out of May 4th. Something about it is so entirely geeky and cool that I am proud to show my true colors as a Star Wars Fangirl.

Now I was little when Star Wars originally came out. Hell, I don’t remember it coming out I was so little. But my dad loved it and taught me the ways of a Jedi from a young age.

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I was even present at a screening of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in 1983 but again, I was too little to remember. But the story goes that while I was too little to remember it happening, I was old enough to remember and repeat verbatim lines from the movie.

For many years I wanted very badly to be Luke Skywalker until I became old enough to understand that I was a girl and the character was a boy. Then I quickly change my tune from wanting to be him to wanting to be with him.

Princess Leia was pretty cool, too (for a girl).

But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to ask for some help from my fellow quilters. I’m currently in the market for a new sewing machine.

Kenmore-Sears 6 stitch.

Wow, I just heard the very distinct sound of eyes rolling along with a small whoop of joy. It’s such a mixed bag of nuts this question about quilting by machine versus quilting by hand (and I know it) but I’m really interested in hearing the opinions of free-motion quilters and the machines they use.

So far my research has introduced me to Berninas, Janomes, Singers, Vikings, and loads of other machines. And damn it’s tough to read through. There is just so much to take into consideration. And I’ve been reading for at least a month now, devoting a little time here or there to this machine research.

The moment I think I’ve found one I’m ready to buy, I read another review of another machine and then I’m back to square one. One moment I think I have it then I get this distinct feeling that this isn’t the machine I’m looking for…

So, my fellow Jedi Quilting Masters, if you use a machine with a free motion quilting option, what machine are you using? Do you love it? Hate it? And, if you could without any strings attached get any machine, what would be your dream machine?

May The Force Keep You In Stitches!

(Ok, I'm done, I'm done. No more cheesy, geekiness from me)