I’m taking advantage of  a typical August day in New Jersey – Hazy, Hot, and Humid by finishing up my Black Cats and Pumpkins quilt.  I constructed the 36 – 6″ star squares last night during Sew What and spent th

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is morning assembling the quilt.  It is copy of a quilt I found on Pinterest (Oy… Pinterest.  Enough said). I used Lori Holt’s patterns for the pumpkins and Stars from her Vintage Farm Girl book and downloaded her pattern for the cat from her blog – Bee In My Bonnet.




I add a 1/8” stay stitch around the circumference of my quilts before I quilt them or send them off to be quilted on the long arm. This is something new I have just added into my quilting regime. Chris – my long arm guru – took me that it keeps the quilt from distorting when on the frame.  So I do it.

I haven’t decided to add borders or not.  The original pin has – what I think – is a 2″ inner border and maybe a 4″ or a 5″ outer border.  Here is it  without any borders. What do you think? To border or not to border?

The bottom left large square photos as if it has no star points.  They are a deep purple and blend into the black in the picture. 

For some reason I feel this need to hunting for a Snickers bar.  #Some treats!!




IMAX and Sewing Mechanics

I find sewing no matter where I go.  I’m like the loop part of the Velcro and sewing things just come to me.

Big D. and I went to see Dunkirk at the IMAX theatre in the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (the movie was amazing… a must see). If you haven’t been to IMAX this is one of those movies that is just awesome in that theatre.  But, I digress.  We were in the gift shop and I looked out the window into the adjoining exhibit and what did I see??  A Sewing Machine! We “happened to” find our way into the engineering exhibit to find mechanical engineering explained via a sewing machine.  I was elated.  I could not believe it.  Teaching engineering by showing how a sewing machine works.

My photography isn’t the best with the light reflection on some of the pictures.   As you went through the exhibit, each concept of mechanical engineering was explained via this  poster display (along with other related objects – but we all know which one was the most important.  It was sooo super cool.  I wonder if I had seen this as a high school student would my career path been altered?

Anyway, they had a small display on how the first sewing machines caused a revolt and the most beautiful treadle machine.  The things you find when you are going to the movies.

So, no matter where you go, there is always sewing! Where have you unexpectedly come across a sewing/quilt related item/theme while doing something else?



Snow White and Black Cats

I don’t know about you but when I sew I usually have the TV running to keep me company.  Sometimes I have music playing but I do find I need to “switch eyes” and just take a minute away from the fabric and then re-focus.

IMG_4889Today I find myself listening/watching Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (my usual is Fixer Upper-I love Joanna’s style) and constructing Lori Holt’s Barn Cat block. Sometimes you need an older movie to appreciate.  Don’t you just love the baseball wallpaper in my studio?  I confiscated Nick’s bedroom when he moved to the city. I’m ok with it. I was on the dining room table before I “moved” and had to pack up and put everything away at the beginning of November before the holidays and sewing was at a stand still until mid-January when unpacking commenced. So the baseballs are more than welcome to share my space.

The barn cats are being turned into black cats to replicate a quilt I saw on Pinterest.  I think they are super scary. I don’t think my newest Quality Control Officer is overly thrilled.

I think I just promoted my original Quality Control Officer to Director.  Wait until I tell her! She is currently downstairs doing administrator things!

Happy Sunday Sewing


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: I was Thinking…

I have been looking for a project that is fun and “care free”. I went digging in the abyss of “the stash” and came across Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet’s Farm Girl Vintage.


How Fun!! I really fell in love with Lori’s block designs. I dug up all my 30’s repos -and there are A LOT! Good thing. The blocks are just so darn cute.

Inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, where Amy Adams, aka Julie, embarks on a yearlong quest to make 524 recipes from Julia Child’s Cookbook in one year and blog her journey, I thought it would be fun to reproduce the same thought with Lori’s Vintage Girl Farm. I have until the end of August as Michaela saw the book and sample block and declared it was hers! Both she and my sister remind me of the seagulls in “Finding Nemo”…Mine, Mine, Mine. She is however the agriculture major in the family, so hers it is.

First things first…the plan. Ok, here it is:

How big?? Lori has directions for 6” and 12” blocks. I want to complete all of the blocks (48 of them!). So, 6” blocks it is. That would make the ‘main’ quilt 43”x57” with 1” sashings. Ok, here is where it becomes a little sticky…Lori used an inner border, then flying geese, and then an outer border bringing the grand total to 62.5”x76.5”. When I looked at the picture I thought the flying geese were prairie points. Right?! Don’t they? I’m going to table this for now and revisit when the main part of the top is done.

That settled, totally scrappy or somewhat scrappy? Let’s walk on the wild side and use different whites and whites with small designs for the block backgrounds making it totally scrappy.

Now the hard part…time and which blocks first? Here is my thinking….I need to complete this by the end of August. If I finish 3 blocks a week –starting mid-March I should (now there is the opportune word – I have Crabtree’s Witches in progress and oh yeah, that thing called work that gets in the way of all my plans all the time. But it does pay for my QH -Quilting Habit) finish by mid-July allowing time to add borders, quilt, and bind by mid-August. I think this is pretty ambitious, but I’m going to give it the Old College Try.

I was going to follow the book and go in order, but I need some creative leeway. I’m going to go with the flow on this. Oh My Gosh, I’m totally living on the wild side.

Holy Moley-what a stash

I’ve got to go color organize all those fat quarters.


Bottle Caps and Yo-Yo’s

Now that the summer is coming to a close and you have a hoard of bottle caps sitting in a zip-lock bag (Oh you don’t? After you see this you WILL begin to collect those bottle caps. You will even begin to solicit them from friends, family, and co-workers.)

Fussy cut a 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 circle to make a 1 1/4 inch finished yo-yo. Or you could use Clover’s “Quick” Yo-Yo-maker -size small.


Before pulling the threads to make the yo-yo, insert a bottle cap and then pull the threads to enclose the cap. Tack the yo-yo caps together to form any shape trivet you wish.

I haven’t tried the trivet yet, but I will use caution on my wood table as I don’t know if the weight of the item on top of the trivet will make a mark in the wood from the crimps of the bottle caps. Remember there is only a piece of material covering the sharp crimps of the cap. Also, you need to make sure the bottle cap itself in not bent from using the opening tool. Twist caps are best. Have fun!


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 http://www.bettyneff.com

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: http://awomanaday.com/2013/01/17/happy-feet-quilt-binding-edition/ 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.