All is Groovy

I was sewing Friday night with some friends and my Featherweight conked out on me.  It just did not want to sew. Oh the needle went up and down, the bobbin was turning but no stitches. Thing is I had just picked it up on Tuesday from the spa -a.k.a. Glen the sewing machine repair man.  It was dragging and just needed some TLC. I thought maybe since I put in a really fine thread and tiny needle it just didn’t like it, but after changing the thread and needle back to the standard it still did not sew.  I changed the bobbin – not only did I wind a new one, I bought a new bobbin and it continued not to sew.  I needed reinforcements.  I was lucky enough to be sewing with veteran stitchers and featherweight owners.  The four – yes four!!- of us did all we knew to no avail.  I called Glen in a panic.  Of course he was ever so gracious and told me to bring it right over.

Three days later….

I had been counting the minutes until I could get Mrs. Z. (my featherweight’s name – story for another posting) to Glen.  I took her out and told Glen my story.  He looked at it and smiled and pulled out the needle and turned it and ….well, I felt stupid.  The needle was in the wrong way.  I could not believe it.  I told him a always insert the needle with the flat side facing left. He told me that it does not matter which way the flat side is facing it’s the groove in the needle that needs to be facing right.  Who Knew??  Certainly not the 5 of us.  Apparently different needle manufactures have the flat side on different sides. If you insert a Singer needle with the flat side on the left, the groove will be on the right.  Union needles are the opposite. Glen said we did not have to speak of this ever again.


I know I inserted the needle the correct way.  I dug out the manual to my machine and there it was.  Put the flat side toward the left.  I felt somewhat vindicated.  Now I know to pay attention to the various brands of needles.

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Farm Girl Vintage: Pinning the Pieces

When I was constructing the sample block for my Farm Girl Vintage quilt, I found there were a lot of little pieces. I know some people cut, sew, cut , sew, but my brain doesn’t work like that. I like to cut all pieces needed first, and then sew. That created a heck of an organizational mess with 12+


different size pieces with multiples of some and some in the same color. I cut some sticky notes and labeled/pinned each size. The little pieces of paper were getting blown around my work station or I was forgetting to pin the label back on the pile when I used a piece.

As my daughter would say, “What a hot mess!”

I remember seeing a project where a corsage pin was used and alphabet beads were added along with some bling beads. So off to Michael’s I went. What is so special about Michael’s? I had a coupon. Have you been to the craft stores lately? Their bead/jewelry section is on steroids. I quickly – ok, the pins and alphabet beads were quickly, the bling beads…not so quickly – found what I needed and left before I was sucked into the void of the craft store. It goes something like this: “I went in for one thing and $100 later…” I know you can relate

Here’s what I picked up:                  Here’s what did:

Decide in what order you would like to put your beads on. Remember the more beads, the less pin room. Dab a small amount of glue on the pin right next to the corsage pearl. Don’t get too close – the glue will drip out onto your bead. Slide your bead on and hold for a second or two. I laid them down on a paper plate incase any glue leaked.

I made an extra set for my friend Carol at Sew What Friday who is also making this quilt. I experimented and used bling corsage pins for her set. Now all there is to do is to see if these little darlings are better than sticky notes (they sure look better!).

Happy Sewing
XO – Annemarie



“Stary, Stary, Points”

I love the look of primitive quilting especially in wool and flannel. The one thing I really don’t like is they usually include a whole bunch of stars. Sometimes I will even pass on a design/pattern because of the amount of stars to applique. Those points!! I wonder if Van Gogh had as much trouble painting all those stars as I have appliquéing them. I have used several techniques and tips from friends over past projects, and I have never felt like I have achieved “the point”. That is until now.

Here’s what I do:


I tack down each point separately with one stitch securing it in the back with a granny knot. I usually start at the tip of the point in the background material and then insert it into the material. I find it easier when working with a material that frays, like flannel, to come up in the star itself and insert the needle into the background material at the point. This keeps the fraying at a minimum.


I do this for all the points of the star. Do not pull too tight. This will cause the point to buckle.


Then to start a buttonhole stitch, I come up on the right side of the point thread and pretend that the point stitch is the first stitch in a buttonhole. I then continue stitching until I come to the next point in the star.


I insert the needle to the left side of the point stitch thread and come up on the right side. (ooh, I really do need a manicure!). It’s like ending and beginning in the middle of a row when you run out of thread.


It gives me a perfect point every time. Yeah, it might not be the conventional way, but you cannot argue with the result. I don’t know how this will work with thinner materials, if the knots would be a problem or not – I haven’t tried it.

On to more points!! Vincent would be so proud!



Featherweight Flip Flop Foot

Summertime is Flip-Flop weather, so I decided to change up my featherweight feet too!

While at Quilt Odyssey, I took a workshop with Betty Neff. To me, Betty is the guru of featherweights. I inherited my featherweight from my good friend, Terri, with all the bells and whistles along with it. If you have ever looked at the featherweight attachments, some of them look like medieval torture devices. Even with the instructions I had no idea how to use them. Hence, Betty to the rescue! She demonstrated the contraptions (take a look at the ruffler-now that’s a contraption) that were sold with the featherweight as well as some that you could buy separately (buttonhole maker – this is super cool!)

My favorite attachment she demonstrated was the Foot Hemmer!


What a nifty little gizmo! I wish I knew about this when I was making my daughter’s jumpers and her American Girl doll outfits. Some “tricks” that Betty shared in using this useful gadget:

Make a 1/8″ fold at the start of the hem. Fold again.
Lift the foot and insert the folded material under the foot. Lower the needle into the material.
Lower the foot and take 2-3 stitches.
Leaving the needle in the material, lift the foot and wiggle the material at an angle into the Hemmer (you will see the raw edge. This is ok, the foot will make the fold).
Lower the foot and stitch away.
It makes such an awesome little hem.


Imagine no more measuring/folding, ironing, measuring/folding, stitching! I had made some placemats last summer and I didn’t have any napkins to go with them…until last night. Using this foot, I made 8 napkins in less than 2 hours. I’m sure someone is out there saying, “Two hours!! Yikes! 30 minutes at the most!” Hey! Everything takes practice!

I am sure other sewing machines have a similar attachment. Grab your instructions and check it out! If you would like to visit Betty’s web page, Google: Pennsylvania Quilter or

Happy Hemming!



Trying Something Old/New


I have to admit I am a self-described Pinterest-aholic! I can spend hours browsing through the creativeness of some folks. I was excited to come across a tutorial for binding quilts by machine. I always stayed away from machine binding because I always thought it did not look neat and even. That said, I was very excited to try this new “way”. Thing is I had to purchase a foot I did not own. Has anyone heard of a Flat Felled Foot? Neither did I. I went on the hunt for this foot and was flabbergasted at the price…anywhere from $50-$74. I could not justify the purchase. Wait. You know it’s coming….A few weeks ago I was in my local quilt shop and what do you know?? Summer sale/Bernina accessory sale. Do I really need to tell you? So I finally got around to trying this out.

I wasn’t totally unhappy with my results (mostly because the quilt I was practicing on had other practice techniques) but the same issue of machine binding arouse….the unevenness…or what appears to be uneven. The stitch line is super even, but when viewed rom the front the stitches are either on the binding itself, missed the binding and is showing on the quilt itself, or is perfect in the ditch.

Good news…the back looks awesome!

This attachment has potential and I do think I will try this technique again…practice makes perfect. You can check out the tutorial at: The tutorial was well explained and the pictures were very helpful. You can view my finished quilt, Stars, Bars, and Swirls under “My Quilts”.



to come across a truorial posted on A Woman a Day blog by Lisa Yarost.