Sew An Easy Needle Book
I love quick projects that are useful and recently I sewed this needle book. I had just purchased a new pack of quilters needles and opened the corner carefully when I took one out. I used some tape and thought it would be enough to hold those thin needles in once they were stored in my sewing kit. Not enough I found out quickly because when I moved the kit, carried it or tried to open it, there were needles floating around. Very unsafe. So I put everything down and immediately sewed this project. I am so glad I did because it has definitely given my needles a stable soft place to wait until I need them.
Look at that tape. I don't know what I was thinking except maybe I was in a rush to work on something else. You know that is not going to last very long is it? I love how the needles are lined up in a row and I can wrap my thread around them so I have a threaded needle ready to go.
Here it is in my sewing kit. I carry this to my guild meetings so I have everything I need. Having your own sewing needles is a good idea if you are going to be sewing in a communal setting for sanitary reasons. Have I convinced you to make your own needlebook yet? How about making some for your sewing friends? All it takes is a piece of flannel and batting and a small length of elastic. A cute button is the final finish.
I filmed a video you can watch also below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
So how brave are you to work on another quilter's quilt? It is intimidating for sure! I have been working very hard to learn about my Handi Quilter Amara and Pro-Stitcher software since I bought it last summer. I have made several quilts for myself, family members and donation quilts. So it was time to get adventurous. My guild has requests to make several Quilts Of Valor this year and one member asked me to finish hers.
So here it sat with the top, batting and the backing ready to become a masterpiece.
I laid it out with the backing and measured everything to make sure I had enough fabric. I also needed to know what to put in the Pro Stitcher software as far as quilting area size. This was a good time to check for any areas that the stitching might be coming loose and look for potential problems. I did find one and I repaired it so it wouldn't get caught while quilting.
I doubled checked the backing to make sure I had it turned the right way several times. I was so nervous that I would stitch something wrong. Isn't that funny how nerves can play with your mind?
The quilting design is perfect for a Quilt Of Valor with the stars and swirls. Her piecing was beautiful and a pleasure to watch stitch out.
Here she is trimming away the extra backing and batting so she can bind the quilt. That smile on her face really made me feel good. By the way, she hand binds her quilts.
She was so happy with the quilt that she asked me to do a table runner as well. I was very proud that they both turned out like expected. I filmed a video that you can watch showing them being quilted. Maybe it will inspire you to be brave and do some longarm quilting for others. I am sure I will have more in my future. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Don't you love a free pattern that is quick and fun? This Patriotic Wall Hanging designed by Kaye Collins from Oh, Kaye Quilting is perfect for this time of year. We have several patriotic holidays coming up and if you like to decorate I think this might become a new favorite. I took a longarm class with Kaye at the Sewing And Quilt Expo In Atlanta. She is a Handi Quilter educator. I really enjoyed the class and now receive her newsletter emails. This project was in one of the emails and I printed it off thinking I really want to make that.
I like the pattern because it doesn't require much fabric and you have lots of options. The fabric requirements are easy especially if you have scraps. She has two different finishing options. One has a binding and the other is envelope style. I chose the latter because I didn't want to fuss with a binding. I also altered the stars a bit. On the pattern, she has you do raw edge applique.
Instead, I used some wash away stabilizer and traced the included pattern with a heat away Frixion pen. Then I layered the stabilizer on top of the right side up fabric, sewed around the traced star and trimmed away the excess. I cut a small hole in the stabilizer and turned the star right side out carefully poking out all of the corners. This is an easy way to get a hem finish around those edges. I used a zig zag seam to attach the stars on the pieced panel. A small amount of fiberfill made the stars puffy. I finished with some hand sewing.
I did the quilting on my domestic machine with variegated patriotic thread. I used one of my specialty stitches and the edge of my presser foot to guide me around each star.
All of the other quilting was simple straight lines. I matched the bobbin to my back fabric.
Here is a close up of my other fabrics. Stars everywhere! You could really make this wall hanging your own by using different fabrics. How about using camo or subdued military fabric? Maybe the Army prints for one strip and a solid khaki grunge with black stars? I see your creative wheels turning now.
Look how pretty my front porch looks with my wall hanging. I love the size of the finished project because you can really see it from the road. Those dimensional stars pop! Are you inspired to make your own wall hanging? You have time before Memorial Day and then use your hanging to decorate through the Fourth Of July! Check out Kaye's website here. She has lots of great content. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
This is the time of year for all things patriotic and I have a brand new FREE Quilt Of Valor Pattern. I am calling this a One Block Picket because the angled pieces remind me of picket fences. Every block is sewn exactly the same way and when they are rotated, a star will show up from the light fabrics.
Here is a view of the block and how they are rotated. See the beautiful star along with a secondary pattern that is formed. The best part is you can use light colored prints or solids for those star areas. You can also use medium to medium dark prints for the other end of the pieced block.
Much like my last Quilt Of Valor Free Pattern, we grabbed leftover fabrics from our Quilt Guild stash and designed this pattern around what was available. We did also have a sweet fabric donation that arrived in our mailbox from Texas. Some of those were used in this quilt also.
Here is a view of some of the many different scraps we used. Our long strips were blue and we used what we had so they are two slightly different colors. This was a fun project to sew together. There is not much to match up when sewing the blocks.
The top has two borders and finishes to 70x78 inches. A nice size for a Quilt Of Valor. The free pattern is available here. It's easy to add to your cart and then you will receive an emailed link to download the PDF. I did film an instruction video that will show you how the block is sewn together along with the quilting I chose on my longarm. Download, sew and donate one today! I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Free Bowl Cozy Sewing Pattern
I love bowl cozies and I have been sewing up some for my quilt guild. These are great sew and sell items. When we trim off the batting and fabric from quilts, there is a lot of usable materials. If the batting isn't wide enough, you can use a zig zag stitch and piece it together. Make sure it is 100% cotton batting if you want to use the cozies in the microwave. In fact all materials, fabric and thread need to be 100%cotton if you want to heat them in the microwave.
I actually did another blog post on bowl cozies several years ago about sewing them from Dollar Tree Towels. You can check it out here. Those are so cute for kids birthday themed parties. I made an instruction video, but I never actually wrote a pattern. One of the guild members asked me for it so here it is. Just add it to your cart as a FREE Download
These go together really quickly once you have them cut out. There is just a little bit of marking for the darts. After you have made the first one, you will want to make many more. A large needle like a 90/14 will be necessary through all of the thick layers and a longer stitch length like a 3 - 3.5 mm.
Are you ready to get sewing? Download the FREE BOWL COZY PATTERN HERE and watch the video below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Free Beginner Quilt Of Valor Pattern
I have been busy sewing a Quilt of Valor. Recently I was at my quilt guild and I found a box of donated fabrics. Like treasure waiting for me, there were four orphan blocks that are represented in the pattern by the nine patches above. Since some of the piecing was already done I thought I would take it further and design a quilt using these blocks. I also found solid red and blue fabrics in the box. These were used in the large half square triangles. I did have to purchase white fabric and I had the navy blue in my stash which I used for the cornerstones.
Using the measurements of the orphan blocks, I was able to design the rest of the quilt easily around them in EQ8. I am starting to really like this program because it takes the math out of the cutting equation. That makes quilting more fun for me.
You never know what you are going to get into when you work with blocks that you haven't pieced. These were stretched out a bit in the centers from being handled over time. I knew that once they were in the quilt and on the longarm, there would be some fullness that needed to be worked with. I did press them with steam and that helped a bit.
Here is a photo of the rows as I got everything sewn together. If you download this Free Pattern just be aware that even though the blocks are large, they can still be confusing with the angles. So pay attention when you sew the rows together. Looking at the picture versus the rows above and you can see I have some upside down. Glad I caught them so I didn't have to rip.
I did quilt this on my longarm using a continuous block pattern available in Pro Stitcher. I used a silver thread and it came out really nice.
The binding was sewn on by machine as this quilt will be donated and I wanted it to be very secure.
Here it is hanging outside my house. I had to rotate the picture so it didn't drag the ground. I love how simple this pattern came out. It took me a couple of days to piece and then an afternoon to quilt. So I think it would be really good for a beginner. The pattern will have all of the cutting and fabric requirements. I didn't include a lot of sewing instructions because you can easily follow the picture which is what I did. I just sewed the big pieces first and then worked down to the smaller units.
Are you ready to sew and donate a Quilt Of Valor? You can find a group local to you for donation by searching the Quilt Of Valor Foundation Website. I filmed a video showing the quilt being put together and the longarm quilting. Maybe it will inspire you to make one! I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
I think I have been spending more time on the road recently than in my studio. It has been a beautiful spring in my area and I am so glad I took this recent day trip to Oneonta Alabama. You know it is always a sweet surprise to find something local to your area and realize you don't have to go very far to find beauty. I drive past the Oneonta exit when going to Birmingham and have never gotten off the interstate. I can say it will be a destination in my future because there is a lot to see if you love mountains, rocky outcrops, creeks, parks and small town home cooking restaurants.
Oneonta is located about 36 miles north of Birmingham Alabama in Blount County. It is known as the Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama because there are three located within a short drive of each other. I used Map quest to see how to plan our trip and found that visiting Horton Mill Bridge, then Easley Bridge, on to Swann Bridge and then ending up in Palisades Park made for a nice drive. In fact you could do all of these destinations in an afternoon. You will want to plan for time to get out and look at each bridge and stay for a while in the park also. Maybe bring a picnic lunch and water too.
Horton Mill Covered Bridge was our first stop. It is right off Highway 75 and there is a small parking area. You can get out of your car and walk around easily.
The bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic but walking it will give you such a sense of nostalgia. This is the highest covered bridge above any US waterway and you will feel it when walking from one end to the other.
The Easley Covered bridge was our next stop and it is the smallest and oldest of the three bridges in Blount County. The location is about three miles west of Oneonta off Hwy 231. The small country road will lead you right up to the bridge which is still open to one lane vehicle traffic. There are a couple of gravel areas that can be used to park cars. We saw motorcycle riders enjoying the beautiful day so know that you can traverse the roads on two wheels.
Moving on to the Swann Covered bridge which is 1 mile off Hwy 79 near Cleveland Alabama. This is the longest covered bridge in Alabama and one of the longest in the United States. It is 27 feet above the Locust Fork Tributary.
The bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic but there is a parking area to use. Be careful if you have a low clearance car as some of the parking was washed out. You can turn around with a regular vehicle but if you are towing something like a trailer or driving something difficult to turn on a two lane road, you may have a hard time getting pointed out. The road signs will tell you that there is no outlet. This location looks like a well visited place because you can get right down to the water. The creek was really rushing on our visit so watch pets and small children.
It was a lot of fun to be able to park our car and get out at each location. The Locust Fork tributary is a popular white water kayaking destination as well. If you love nature and fast running creeks, all three of these Covered bridges will delight you. Once you have seen them, make your way back toward Oneonta and visit Palisades Park.
Palisades Park is located on top of a mountain which you can tell from the overlook and bluff pictures. The day we visited, there was no entry fee, but they do accept donations in a drop box at the main office. This a day use park so no tent or RV camping is allowed. If you like to hike or rock climb, you will love this location.
There are several lodges throughout the park that can be rented for events. We were curious about the electrical outlets through the park. After researching we realized that they do a fantastic Christmas lights display every year.
Gazebos, picnic tables and porch swings are scattered throughout for you to sit a spell and listen to nature.
If you like historical buildings you will love the cabins, barns and school house. You can walk right up to these buildings and admire the construction techniques. I love seeing how these structures have weathered time.
I am always surprised where sewing pops up. I am a true believer that it is literally everywhere if you look for it. The Blount County Quilters Guild is located in Palisades Park and what a cute little building they have.
They meet weekly at the cottage and they are very welcoming. I visited Palisades Park on a Monday but I was curious to get inside their space and see how it was set up. So I went back on Tuesday when they were meeting and got to see everything and talk to the members.
The members were glad to have a visitor and I had a great time. They are a Non Profit organization and have several service oriented programs.
They donate quilts to babies and children through the Blount County Sheriff's office. The group also makes pet beds to give to their local Animal shelter.
When you visit, you can purchase handmade items from the guild including hand quilted quilts!.
This beautiful hand quilted quilt will be raffled off in the fall of 2023. You can purchase raffle tickets when you visit also. Most of their yearly budget that helps them promote their service projects are funded though ticket sales.
The group is already hand quilting the 2024 charity quilt. Isn't it stunning?
In October they have a quilt show that anybody can enter. They also have Quilt Of Valor ceremonies in November. Several quilts are currently in the process of being made for this year's program.
Have I piqued your interest in Blount County? I think you would love to visit the area. You can watch my Travel VLOG below of my day trip. If you would like to support a fantastic organization, check out the Blount County Quilters Guild. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Sewing Travel To Mobile Alabama
My current bucket list includes more travel and finding interesting sewing exhibits. I did go to the Houston Quilt Show at the end of last year and I attended a Sewing expo in Atlanta this month. I decided to visit Mobile Alabama as my son was on spring break. He is a history buff so a historic destination would suit both of us. Mobile is the oldest city in Alabama and although we only spent two days there, we were not disappointed.
The city of Mobile has a great website that can point you in the right direction if you are thinking of visiting.
Now you might not expect to find examples of sewing on the USS Alabama Battleship, but you would be mistaken. This is an awesome military park. It does not receive any state or federal funding and when you see the sheer size and number of exhibits, you will be amazed by that fact.
You can tour all levels of the battleship. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Daily life of the enlisted men is on display and of course if they were living on this ship they would have need of garment care.
Here is one pressing area available to the soldiers. I can't imagine how busy this would have been given the number of humans on this battleship. The requirements of their uniform code and the fabric types made this a daily task.
This was another pressing area on the ship. Look at the foot pedals on the bottom of the machine. Wouldn't you love to give this a try?
Here is a sleeping area and you can see there would have been a lack of privacy.
That makes this area more appealing to me. It is a room for a pressman. He would have worked on pressing the clothes and also slept in this room. So he was always next to his work but he did have a little more privacy.
Here is another example of sewing on the battleship. This soldier was a tailor. He would have done major and minor repairs to clothing and other items on the ship. Again he would have worked in this room and slept there. That rack is high off the floor isn't it?
The History Museum of Mobile was another stop on our trip. This is in downtown Mobile. If you have always wanted to visit New Orleans but are a little intimidated, Mobile would be a great alternative. It has the vibe of New Orleans with the old buildings and southern hospitality. I found it a little easier to navigate with less traffic.
When I found out that this exhibit was at the Museum, it kind of made my decision to travel there. I have wanted to see this and have been close on other trips or just missed it. I wasn't disappointed.
The Museum of History covers 4 acres. It is absolutely beautiful. You would have a difficult time building something of this magnitude today given the marble floors and high ceilings. The exhibits are large scale with horse and buggies, maritime fixtures, local history of Mobile and a wonderful trip through the decades of women's clothing.
Looking at the clothing that is on display really reminds you of the craftmanship that we don't see today in our clothing. These examples are not only fitted, but the fabrics are exemplary. Everything you see is natural fibers like silk. The lace is not the polyester lace we are accustomed to seeing today.
Just look at the back of this dress. This lucky lady looked gorgeous coming and going. I wanted to stand here all day admiring but there was so much more to see. I also had to keep my fingers away from the displays. You know you would want to touch it too!
The city of Mobile has a colorful past and it has survived many hard times. This photo shows women working in the garment factory. I love seeing their sewing machines and how they dressed for a day of work. I imagine this was a hot, loud place to work every day.
This display is part of Dressing The Abbey. If you have watched Downton Abbey you will love seeing this in person. The skill of the seamstresses who made these costumes is enviable. Of course all of the garments were sewn using real silk and velvets. There were some coats that had fur trim on them and I am happy to say those were faux.
Each of the garments were staged using furnishings from the appropriate era or time period. It made the exhibition all the more authentic.
We stayed at a very nice Hilton Garden Inn hotel. I chose the small town of Daphne on the east side of the Bay Of Mobile. It is right off Interstate 10. There are choices of shopping and restaurants close to this location so if you are planning a trip, I think you might like to stay there.
I have a lot more to show you and instead of making this a very long blog post, there is a vlog you can watch below. More sewing travel will hopefully be in my future and you can see the trips with me. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
The 2023 Sewing & Quilting Show season has begun. I have made it a tradition to attend the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in Atlanta (Duluth) every year if at all possible. It is one of my favorite events because there is so much to see and do. If you want to take classes, learn new techniques, try out a certain machine, look at pretty quilts, meet new friends or just get away for a trip- this might be it.
Now don't get upset that this Atlanta event has already passed because it travels around the United States all year. So you have many more chances to attend.
You can visit https://www.sewingexpo.com/Events/Atlanta-GA
and get to their website. There you will be able to see upcoming locations. Some advice for you would be if you think you will be attending, don't wait to book your classes. They fill up fast. Especially anything quilting related. Also, book your hotel as close as possible so you can get to and from the Expo easily. Then it won't matter what time those classes are being held. Some of mine were at 8:30am, so I had to get to the parking garage early. In years past there were night classes and I did have to go to my car in the evening. So an Uber might be a better choice for you. If they are scheduled after dark, you may feel more comfortable having someone drive you.
Make sure you check out the dining options at your hotel. I was very lucky that breakfast was offered at mine. Every morning I knew I would have a full tummy and coffee of course to fuel my day.
I was so tired and hungry from my classes and staying busy the first day that I ordered room service. That was a fantastic hamburger.
You will need to print all of your tickets before you arrive and then immediately go to the check in desk. This is where you can pick up your arm band that allows you to enter each day. You also get one entry for the daily prizes. Remember to drop your ticket in and stay until the end of the day. If you aren't present someone else gets the prize!
Sewing machine dealerships sponsor these events and the classrooms are full of brand new machines. The instructors teach lessons so you can try everything out. Then you can purchase the machines at a special show discount. The vendors also have booths with just about everything you could want or need.
There is a main stage that has something happening throughout each day. You can watch demonstrations, fashion shows or special distinctions like this Quilt of Valor being awarded.
Some of the classes will have special gifts that you get to take home with you. Here is all of my loot.
Of course there are so many beautiful quilts to see. Here is a small sample.
You will also probably find several non profit sewing organizations. This was one that I found.
I really enjoyed looking at all of the purses they had on display that had been donated. You may be able to find a local chapter you can donate to. They have free patterns on their website. Click the picture to be taken to their site.
There are so many other things to list. I am glad I planned this getaway for myself. I met new friends, learned some new skills and had a great experience. I filmed my trip and have a video you can watch below to see all of the quilts. I also show you my hotel, the parking and give you a tour of the event. Just in case you want to make plans to attend. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
In The Hoop Open Sign
Do you have a home craft business? Is there an OPEN sign on your door when you are working from home? Maybe its time for one! I have a brand new design in my store that will make your crafting area official. This In The Hoop Open Sign stitches out in a 5x7 hoop and needs minimal fabric and batting. I bet you have some remnants that need to be used up and this is a great project for that purpose.
Here are all of the materials I used for this sample. I did add a mid weight interfacing to the front and back fabric to make the sign a little sturdier. You don't have to do that if you don't want to as there is low loft batting in the directions. The batting will give it some structure as well. You can either use a needle and thread to close the project up or some hem tape. It finishes quickly and you can customize it by changing the fabric and thread colors to match your space. It is generic so it will work for any kind of business.
Here it is on my Happy Multi needle embroidery machine. I am using a Mighty Hoop. I love to use them whenever I can because they keep everything in place while stitching.
Ribbon to hang the sign is added before you place the back fabric in the hoop. I used masking tape to keep it from shifting. You choose what type and color of ribbon also. You can see even though this is a plain little sign, there are so many options to customize it. Maybe you have friends with small businesses also? They would love a sign you made especially for them. I think one other place this sign would be perfect is a teacher's classroom. The Pre K Or Kindergarten rooms will usually have centers for active play. This In The Hoop Open Sign would be a cute little addition to playtime.
I filmed a tutorial video you can watch below. It takes you quickly through the entire project. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Longarm Tension Adjustments
One of my sewing dreams was to purchase a longarm and it finally happened last year. It was a big decision and if you are thinking of doing it yourself, maybe this blog post will give you the confidence to move forward. There is of course the expense to think about and I am sure most people dwell on that for a while. Then the thought of where to place the longarm machine will probably haunt your thoughts unless you have a large room available. Once you get past those hurdles, the third thought will probably be fear of breaking the machine or not being able to operate it. If you have surpassed all of these and your machine is purchased and set up, congratulations. I am going to assume if you found this blog post by a search, you might be having tension problems. So let's see if we can get you sewing again.
Longarm machines are sewing machines that have been stretched to accommodate larger sewing areas. If you have sewn on a domestic or home sewing machine, you will already be familiar with how one should operate. There are differences though. I didn't realize just how much lint was produced from a quilt. Before beginning a new quilt and at each bobbin change, I will usually have to clean the bobbin area with a small brush. A drop of oil on the race of the bobbin area is a good idea at each bobbin change also. Make sure you clean inside the bobbin case also. I have noticed that my machine does not do well with slippery thread. When I first purchased mine, I will admit, I tried to use embroidery thread in it just to see what would happen. I didn't have great luck with the brand I use in my Happy machine. The thread would slip out of the upper tension assembly and no stitches were formed. This would cause repeated alarms to go off on the machine. Once I began using Omni thread by Superior Threads, I had much better luck. So if you are having tension problems, try another thread cone to see if that helps. It is an easy fix if it works. Make sure your thread path is correct and that there are no snags, twists or missed tension placements. Back to your bobbin. Winding the bobbin is very important if you are not using pre wounds. A spongy or loose bobbin that is uneven will give you problems. I received a winder with my machine and it took some practice. You want a nice even distribution of thread on your bobbin and if you can press the thread in and visibly see sponginess, you may want to try re winding it.
This is a Towa Gauge and it will become your best friend. It is used to measure the tension on your bobbin. I have one for my embroidery machine and my longarm. Each machine has a different bobbin size so make sure you purchase the correct gauge for your bobbin size. The bobbin case with bobbin is inserted into the Towa and thread is pulled through two small circular tension areas. Once you pull the thread at a smooth steady pace, a needle will move and the small red arrow shows you a measurement. Each machine brand will be calibrated slightly differently and factors will alter the best measurement. I have noticed that around 200 works with the 40 weight Omni thread I currently use. There are different weight threads and some people like to use a lighter weight in their bobbin. You do you. There is no "RIGHT" thread. It all depends on what you want your finished quilting to look like. It is ok to try many brands of thread until you find one you love and just stick with it once you get your settings in a place where you can consistently get results. Using the Towa will help you get brave because it is a way to test thread and get answers. Play with your Towa and find the best setting for your machine and thread.
I haven't seen a lot of people talking about this little tool in the Longarm community. I have seen it in the embroidery world and it is a good thing to have.
This Tajima Thread Tension gauge has a spring inside and a hook on the end. You wrap your thread around the hook and as it is pulled, the spring will retract causing the red needle to show a measurement. I will pull my thread out of the needle before wrapping my thread so you are pulling from the last tension area before the needle. This is a great way to learn what your upper thread "FEELS" like at different tension settings. The upper dial on your machine tension assembly can be tightened by turning right and loosened by turning left. Each time you turn it, you can wrap the thread and gently pull the gauge to see the measurement value. I find with the Omni 40 weight thread that around 200 works well. A different weight or brand of thread may cause you to alter your tension. It's good to have a tool that will assist so you can get a good starting point.
Here is a view of me using the tool and you can see how the thread is being pulled out away from the machine.
You need to be brave with your tension dials on the side of the machine also. Here you can see me turning mine. On this day, I had checked my thread path, my bobbin and needle but alarms kept going off every time I began to sew. I cranked my tension dial all the way down and then opened it back up using the top tension gauge; testing each time the knob was turned. I also opened the discs on the tension assembly and really flossed my thread into those discs. This will ensure the thread is seated well and also push any lint or debris that has accumulated in between those discs. Don't be scared that you are going to mess your machine up. You can always put a test piece of fabric, batting and backing on your frame and test your tension. In fact, the extra batting that you have around your quilt is a great place to do this before you start sewing. Just keep going and get friendly with your machine dials.
Your needle and it's placement are very important. Make sure it is inserted fully up into the needle bar. Also, if it is turned backwards, you will not be able to pick up your bobbin thread. If it is inserted slightly to the right or left, the bobbin thread may pick up but it might skip stitches. You can use another needle inserted into the eye to adjust either right or left and hold it while you tighten with your screwdriver. Change to a new needle for each new quilt also.
Get used to climbing underneath your machine. Here you can see me ducked under the frame and looking at my stitches. I can't stress enough checking this periodically as you quilt or if you have had a thread break or a bobbin issue. When the thread breaks on top, your bobbin thread will stay in the fabric. As you pull the machine to cut the thread and check your bobbin, the thread is long. If you don't trim those bobbin threads that are long, they may get caught up in your quilting. That is why you pull the bobbin up as you begin sewing so it is pretty on the back.
Here was my view underneath my fabric. The long stitches on the right are basting stitches. I usually lengthen my stitches when I baste my quilt. Some people choose to use a regular stitch length. It's up to you. I like to have those longer ones because they are easier to pull out later when I am squaring up my quilt. The stitches on the left are regular quilting stitches at a shorter length. You can see that they are looping and not balanced. When you are basting with a long stitch, it is difficult to see exact tension on your machine. You will have better luck once the stitch is shorter. Both of these were stitched before I got my tension adjusted and you can tell unless the alarm had gone off during basting, I would not have known I had tension issues. Looping can be caused by the bobbin being too tight/loose or the top tension being too tight/loose. This is a tug of war between those two threads. The looping tells you who is winning. I knew my bobbin tension was good because I had my Towa gauge and I always start with the bobbin first. I also thought my top tension should be good because I had adjusted it with my Tajima tool. It was good on both and the culprit was trash in my tension discs on that top assembly. Once I pulled the discs apart and flossed the thread really well, I think whatever was in there got knocked out. Such a simple thing and when it started sewing, it was happy with no alarms.
A beautiful balanced stitch finally formed on my quilt top. I will tell you that I did these steps; except opening the tension discs, TWICE. It wasn't until I cranked that knob down and then opened it wide flossing with thread and cleaning any trash that my problem was fixed. I worked for about an hour. Don't give up and if the alarm bothers you, turn it off until you get your tension adjusted. Take breaks, drink a cup of coffee and keep going. You never know what the fix will be but if you have the tools and the knowledge, you can adjust your longarm tension yourself. You will feel proud and accomplished. I have a video you can watch below that will show you each one of these steps. Watch it for moral support. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
So how have you been? Is winter messing with your "SEWJO"? I will be honest and say it has put a slight damper on my creative flow. That is not unusual for me and if I just admit it, I can move past it with a few tricks and tips. Tip #1 is to give myself permission to feel uninspired. Once I am settled in to acceptance, I lose the guilt that I have all of these tools, beautiful fabric and a wonderful studio just sitting there and going unused. It's going to be ok because the urge to create always comes back. You just have to give it time.
Here is my backyard view. We always say that our area turns GRAY in the wintertime. The days begin to roll into each other and it's hard to imagine that the sun will ever come back. Even my dogs get a little forlorn. So once we have admitted we are not in a creative mood, what's next? TIP #2, Look for something EASY to do. Don't try that multi step project with brand new complicated techniques. I reached for a couple of hand towels that I wanted to do some embroidery on. SIMPLE and basic. It's not rocket science for me because I have done so many towels but once I got started, the creative bug bit me. I went to Google Fonts and found a free font file called Lovers Quarrel. Once downloaded, I just digitized the letter S in my embroidery software with a butterfly. These towels are going to be a gift for my mom. That's Tip #3. Make something for someone ELSE. It really is better to give and the thought of how much the receiver is going to love your gift will make you want to finish.
The font is really pretty with all of the extra scroll work. Downloading these Google fonts is easy. Once on your computer you extract them and there is an install button. Your programs that use text or fonts should now pull them up as True Type fonts. You can use them in any thing you choose. Be sure to look at the licensing info before you do commercial variations though. There will usually be a text file in the download that tells you how you can use the free fonts. Once I had the design digitized, I stitched it out on two separate towels.
Pretty right? Both have peach thread on the global underlay. This pulls that towel pile down so you can really see the stitching of the letter S. The towel on the right used white thread on the satin stitching. On the left, I chose a variegated thread and let it do all the heavy lifting. Some simple trim pieces sewn on with zig zag stitches and two custom gifts are made. These didn't take much time to finish. It was nice to do the straight trim sewing with zig zagging. No pressure here. Just easy sewing that can be done with minimal thinking and planning. A beautiful result though.
Tip #4 is to let those companies that have you on their email list help to inspire you. Now this one can be dangerous because if you look through all of their free patterns, tips, ideas, you may get ANALYSIS PARALYSIS. It's easy to do my friend so remember, stay simple. Don't compare yourself with them or worry that they are better at coming up with cute ideas than you are. We have all been there. My husband who usually listens to me gripe has some great advice which is, "You are one person while they have lots of people in different departments working to come up with all of these ideas" He is exactly on point. So Tip #5 is to Listen to Your Husband, loved one or friend who cares about you. Stop comparing yourself and grab the easiest free pattern you can find. Or the one cute pattern that will make you so happy to finish. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. It's OK to make those short easy projects. I chose the Bucket Hat from Superior Threads.
I downloaded the free pattern, chose my fabric from my stash and turned on the tutorial video. I watch it through one time fully. Then I sat my phone right next to my sewing machine and got to work. This was so much fun because Amy the presenter did every step and within a couple of hours, I had a finished hat.
I did make sure to sew the circles on the crown to add structure. Amy mentions this in the video and I found it helped firm the hat up a bit.
The fabric I used is linen on one side and quilters cotton on the other. You can see that it is reversible which I love. The linen has some good weight to it and I used this interfacing. I really like the feel of the finished product.
I added a cute flower embellishment to the front of the hat. This is two pieces of marine vinyl just cut into a flower shape. Then I stacked two buttons and sewed the whole assembly together. A small safety pin was sewn to the back of the vinyl pieces so I could attach to the hat and remove later if desired.
Here is a view of that safety pin. You could make two different flowers and swap them out if you wear the hat on the other side. That would be a cute addition.
This bucket hat is going to be a gift for my mom as well as the towels and I know her head is slightly smaller than mine. When cutting out the pattern I used the larger size because most hats do not fit my head well. I assumed this one would be tight. With my hair my head measures about 24 inches around. This pattern is much more generous than that so once I had completed it, the size kind of floated around on my head. I decided to try adding elastic which you can see above. I sewed one extra seam right above the brim around the entire hat that created a casing. Then I opened the side seam carefully with a seam ripper and pulled narrow elastic through.
The elastic doesn't have to be really tight. Just cut it about 2-3 inches shorter than your head measurement. You don't want it to be so taut that it gives you a headache. Once you put on the bucket hat, the elastic will pull out the gathers a little smoother and with the flower on the front, the shape really is attractive.
Look how precious that is.
Here is a back view. Such a cute pattern and it can be made using any style of fabric for anyone. You don't have to add the flower. You could put a snap on it instead to turn up the brim.
The final Tip #6 is to get out, relax and have some fun. Creativity is always present when we are NOT worrying. Adding stress to yourself is the best way to strangle those projects waiting to be created. Even if being a creative is your job, you know that mundane life can keep you from seeing the potential in your tools and materials. So allow yourself to take a step back. Go do something fun like take a walk with your dogs, see a funny movie, walk through your favorite craft store without purchasing anything. Notice all of these things get you out of your creative space. Then when you come back, you will see it with fresh eyes.
I'm ready for my close up Mr. Demille. There is a Studio Vlog you can watch below that shows me working on these projects. I hope you have been inspired by this blog post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
New Year New Needle
We are one week into 2023. How are you doing with your resolutions? Have you made any plans for change this year? Do you have a new focus? Maybe you are ready for a change but not sure where to start? I have a simple one for you that will make all the difference in your sewing and embroidery world at least.
Your sewing needle is one of the easiest things to change. They are inexpensive but can make or break your stitching. My last blog was all about bobbin cases and when to change them. I would say that 90 percent of my problems with tension in my embroidery machine are usually related to my bobbin. The other 10 percent can be attributed to my hooping, stabilizer, fabric choice and needle. Now I don't know if you realize this but a brand new needle out of the package can have flaws. I recently tried a new brand from a local big box store and every machine needle in the pack was off center. By that I mean the flat part of the needle back and the eye were not struck the same. When sewing, my thread kept shredding if it picked up at all. Have you seen a lowering of quality in your sewing needles lately? Maybe other notions you usually purchase are not up to the norm? Buying your supplies from the cheapest outlet will sometimes lead to disappointment. I know I won't buy that brand anymore.
Here is another sign that the needle needs to be changed. You are sewing along and you start to see the bobbin thread. Normally on my flatbed machine, I don't need to adjust the bobbin tension at all. On my multi needle, I usually check the tension at each bobbin change. When my flatbed single needle starts acting up like the picture above it is usually an indication that the needle has become dull. Instead of piercing the fabric and moving in between the thread fibers, it will pound the top thread down. It may look like white space or poorly digitized fill shapes at the join areas. You may even hear a distinct sound change in your machine as this happens.
Here is a second stitch out after a needle change. Look how much smoother the fill is with no separation of thread at the junctions. Everything is the same except the needle. I used the same design, kept the original hooping, original stabilizer, bobbin and thread. When you change one thing at a time, you can isolate the problem more easily.
This was the needle I changed to. I have a local sewing machine dealership and the owner has been repairing sewing machines for longer than most people in my age group have been alive. He has seen it all. On a recent trip to his store and in speaking to him about my needle woes he recommended I keep these in my studio. They did the trick on my flatbed machine. Like a knife through hot butter. Just a plug for your local dealership or quilt shop. They have so much knowledge and training. It is worth it to drop by and talk to them. They love helping you with sewing and embroidery.
So here is that stitch out comparison again. What a difference a new needle can make. What does all of this have to do with resolutions? If you need a New Year change and aren't sure where to start, here it is. Change your needle. You can do this one. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
When To Replace Your Bobbin Case
Your bobbin case gets a lot of use in your embroidery machine. Think of it like your car. You maintain it by keeping gas in the tank, changing the oil and washing it on a regular basis. For bigger problems, you have a mechanic look at it and if needed you replace parts.
Your bobbin case and bobbin area on your machine needs to be maintained by cleaning and applying oil on a regular basis. Through use, the bobbin case that holds your thread can become damaged if you have dropped it or you might not be able to adjust the tension to your normal setting. So the case might need to be replaced with a new one. I have had bobbins work one day and the next day when I turn on my machine, they are extremely loose on the tension. After cleaning and trying to adjust them with no success, I will usually put them through my Bobbin Tension Gauge to see if the thread pulls off smoothly. If I see any jumping or uneven movement of the bobbin in the case, it is an indication the case may be warped or "Out Of Round".
A good clean bobbin with tension adjustments appropriate for your machine, thread, fabric etc will usually produce even separation of color. This example shows the upper thread on the outside blue color and the inner white bobbin thread.
A dirty bobbin can cause the middle or bobbin thread to look very jagged. When I see this in my stitches, especially satin, I will normally pull the bobbin thread out of the case and clean underneath the tension area with a business card. Sometimes that is all it takes along with using your tension gauge and adjusting the small screw on the side. If all of this fails, you may have a bobbin case that is out of round from wear or being dropped. It doesn't take much as the small metal flanges on the side are thin. You will feel a wobble when you pull the thread off the bobbin.
It is a good idea to keep extra bobbin cases with your machine spare parts. They aren't expensive and you can find the part number through your manufacturer or dealer. Another place to look is your owner's manual. I have a video below you can watch that shows how to clean the tension area and what the bobbin will look like with a wobble. This one was replaced and my machine is back to smooth stitching. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Fringe Christmas Tree Mug Rug
Christmas is almost here and our area is experiencing one of the coldest weather spells we have had in years. I thought a mug rug would be perfect to enjoy some hot cocoa with. It has been a while since I released a fringe design so my Fringe Christmas Tree Mug Rug is in my store today.
This embroidery design has a lot of different skills for such a quick project. You will have quilting. I love the Christmas tree motif that fills in the background.
There is raw edge applique on the trunk and the tree. This reduces the stitch count and makes it easier to work with the next step which is the fringe.
Fringe on your embroidery machine is a lot of fun. You will need to do some creative cutting on the bobbin threads once everything has completed. Don't worry, there are color instructions included.
A blunt object or your fingernail will pull those loops to the front. It is very satisfying to complete this step.
A little hand sewing and pressing then VOILA, you have a mug rug. I can see you now sipping something hot while you watch Christmas movies or the kids opening gifts. If you would like to see the entire project come together, watch the instruction video below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
This information is helpful and I think it would be a fun way for you to play with your machine even if you don't have a Baby Lock or Brother. Sometimes we need to move through all of the menu items and just look. Also, that quick read you did on the owner's manual when you opened your machine the first time has probably been forgotten. You may have some of these options available in your embroidery machine but you won't know unless you get brave and search.
A patch is usually a series of steps and all you have to do is let each one stitch out, then perform a task. If you have a run stitch and a satin stitch shape in your machine that are roughly the same size, you should be able to create a patch. My Baby Lock also has an Applique button so it will turn a run stitch shape into an applique with a satin outline.
In between those two steps there will usually be a tack down stitch that will sew and then stop allowing you to remove the hoop and carefully trim away the excess fabric. You don't have to have a satin outline on your patch. You could do raw edge applique, frayed edges on your fabric, decorative stitching, blanket stitching etc... In addition to the Applique button, you can manually add each step into the machine. You might prefer that method as it is a great way to become familiar with how patches will run on the machine.
If you have purchased a blank patch embroidery design like these, you can add your own fonts or text from the machine catalog. In the Baby Lock you press the add button and it will take you to the design area. So many fonts are available and you can resize them to fit inside the patch.
Your patch can be embroidered onto a clothing item or if you use Wash away cutaway stabilizer, you could have a patch with clean satin edges ready to adhere with stitches, glue or adhesive to an item like a beanie or shirt.
I made this quick patch using the manual process in my Baby Lock and I filmed a video to show you the applique and manual processes. Don't forget, I have digitized several blank patch designs in my store also. Just in case you don't have time to play and you need something right now. Are you ready to design a patch without software? Click on the video below and I know it will make you curious about your machine for sure. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Machine Embroidery On Toilet Paper
Christmas usually signals cute gifts or promotional products. Machine embroidery on toilet paper can be a great inexpensive item that you can gift to so many different people or organizations. It is not hard to accomplish but you do need embroidery designs specifically digitized for toilet paper.
I have six new embroidery designs ready to help you with those gift exchanges, secret Santa games or possible promotion if you have an embroidery business.
Click on the link and you will be taken to the store page.
Some people will only use really thick toilet paper, but I have used both thick and cheaper brands. To accommodate the thin paper, just fold the end of the roll over itself several times. I hoop cutaway stabilizer and use a little spray adhesive to hold it in place while it sews.
In fact I buy the cases at my local Sam's Club and as of this blog post they are about .54 cents each. I also use the Great Value brand twist tie bags to wrap the completed rolls in. They are currently .03 cents each and you get 100 in a box. So with my time , stabilizer and the material cost I can make a promotional item or gift for very little money. I know you have a list of people like teachers, doctors, dentists, veterinarian etc that you might need a small gift for. Here are a few pictures of the Toilet Paper Embroidery designs available in my store.
Are you ready to try your hand at Embroidery on Toilet paper or do you just want to see how it is done? I have a video you can watch below that will show a complete design being sewn. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Embroider A Bah Humbug Santa Hat
Do you need a cute Santa Hat to wear to work or a party this holiday season? I have a brand new Bah Humbug Santa Hat Embroidery Design being released today. It is digitized for two layers of fabric and cute text. You can customize it so may different ways and I know you will get the most comments from friends and family. Here is a little bit about the design.
Look at those two fabrics I used. An animal print and a polka dot! Who would have thought they would look so cute together? Then I topped it off with Lime green thread for the text.
Santa hats come in lots of colors and sizes. This one is an adult large and I used T Pins to secure it to the stabilizer while it sewed out. It really is a versatile design because you can change Bah Humbug Santa Hat Embroidery Design to any fabric and thread color that matches your Santa Hat
Look at that grumpy bear. This would be so perfect as a gift to that person who walks around saying Bah Humbug! If you want to see how easy it stitches out, watch the instruction video below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Free standing lace embroidery designs are fun to make especially when you add mylar. Christmas is a perfect time to go over the top with sparkle. Mylar gift wrap is very inexpensive and comes in alot of colors so you can create an infinity of different looks. I am releasing a brand new set of FSL Mylar Christmas Embroidery designs.
The most important thing to remember about free standing lace is to use a matching bobbin. You will see both sides of the finished project and since this is designed to hang on a Christmas tree or wreath, you want both sides to be pretty.
Another great tip is to use two pieces of wash away stabilizer. This gives extra structure while the design sews out. I like to use silver Mylar because it is a great neutral to let your thread colors really show.
A FSL embroidery design will have loose fills to capture and tack the Mylar. It should also stitch around the perimeter enough to perforate the Mylar so you can tear it away.
Once you have removed the Mylar, a satin outline will clean everything up.
A short dip into some warm water will melt the stabilizer away. Not too long though. If you leave a little of that stabilizer in the design, it will dry just a bit stiffer. Here are the six designs included in the FSL Mylar Christmas Ornament Set
A Christmas Bird With Heart Wing
A Sparkly Christmas Tree With Red Trim
A Christmas Present
A Christmas Ornament that can be changed to so many different colors.
A Christmas Star
A Christmas Poinsettia. Stitch this is White or Red
Each design has less than 7000 stitches and they sew up within 15 minutes. You can either embroider them individually in a 4x4 hoop or gang them up in a larger one to save stabilizer. I have an instruction video below you can watch that will show how fun and easy these are created. I bet your kids or grandkids would love making these! How about slipping these ornaments into your Christmas Cards this year? These would also be great stocking stuffers for teachers, your doctor, dentist, postal carrier or any other person you want to give a small item to. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
The time is here to get those Christmas cards in the mail if you want them to arrive in time. I am releasing a brand new design today that will stitch a card using your embroidery machine. The Holy Night Card design is easy to complete. All you need is blank greeting cards designed to do embroidery on. OR... Heavy duty card stock. At least 80 pound similar to business cards. You can cut your cards to the size indicated in the pattern download and get to stitching.
I picked up these greeting cards from the OESD booth at the Houston quilt show and wanted to design a card for the Christmas Holidays. They do make it really easy since the envelopes come in the package also. Your local quilt shops probably have these in stock right now so they would be a great place to check.
You will use tearaway stabilizer in your hoop and once the placement line sews, adhesive spray. This keeps the card in place while stitching. Use the embroidery thread of your choice also.
Within about 15 minutes, you will have a completed card. Pretty paper and glue can be used to cover up the inside where all of the bobbin threads will show. Want to see how this Holy Night Card sews up? Watch the instruction video below. I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work.
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies