Saturday, January 17, 2015

One pattern, two versions

 I bought this Burda pattern last year to make a Koos collage sweater.


I bought this metallic knit online but when I received it, I was disappointed to see that it was bonded to another fabric and had no stretch. So, to use it, I cut the back in half and put in a silver zipper.

The front is pieces of left over obi fabric and some cottons with sheer ribbons going up the right sleeve and then down the front.

Version #2


Continuing on my quest to sew more this year and to try to use fabric from my new Treasure Trove, I selected this soft printed knit last night. There was only 1.5 yards so couldn’t do anything fancy. But I think this basic sweater will be worn often. Project #4 for the year.

I cut it out at 5:30pm before I had to get dinner on the table. The pattern is only 3 pieces so with my trusty serger, I sewed the sleeve seams, side seams and attached the sleeves to the body.


Then hemmed the sleeves with two rows of stitching using the free arm feature of the BERNINA, which is so useful. Hemmed the bottom with 2 rows of stitching and then made a binding strip for the neck and attached it with a narrow zig zag of width 1.3 and length 3.0 so it would stretch when putting on.  Done in 2 hours or less and I wore it today!

I wore it to show the husband of the Treasure Trove what I did with his wife’s fabric because I went back again!! My friend wanted a BERNINA and he had a great Virtuoso 155 for sale!  Lucky girl!

You know how I said in my Jan. 6 blog, after buying 80 yards of fabric from him that I wouldn’t buy any more fabric for a while….? Well, that was broken five minutes into the studio door!  My friend got 36 cuts of gorgeous fabrics and I came home with some treasures I missed from the first visit including two really special cuts.

DSC04290DSC04292A Border knit with metallic



and this interesting knit with sheer ‘windows’ and gold metallic ink! I’m going to have to think for a while about what to do with these. The other wools were heavy coatings, a striped linen and some silk to dye. About 25 more yards. That’s all!

And a few antique buttons and buckles….


…and two big bags of roving in dozens of colors!

But now I won’t buy any more fabric, except quilting cottons! At least for a long while…but don’t hold me to it!

I’m going to cut something now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another Vest


Project #3 for this year finished! It’s a vest for my son with penguin lining. I can’t count how many I’ve made for him in his lifetime but this is the fourth for this year. Below are the two of the others I sent to college in the Fall.


Currently the Cornell red vest is his favorite, naturally!

It was difficult to shop and find penguin fabric over the past years but my friend showed me all the fabulous penguin designs on Spoonflower so now we’ll never run out!  IF you have never been to that site, it is mostly for people who want to print their own designs on cotton, silk etc. but will sell you yardage of designs that they have printed.

So, this vest is nothing to shout about. I’m putting it on to keep track of this year’s work. In my professional life, I strive to learn all I can about advanced sewing techniques and related textile things. I try to make unique art wear or design or complex garments, but then sometimes I just sew. This is a simple 3-piece pattern, not a wedding gown.  It takes a few hours to make but brings my son much joy and pride when he wears them. He is now known for his vests and his love of penguins! I love making him something that he enjoys so much and that’s what sewing is all about!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Silk Blouse

January 7, 2015

  Project #2 for this year finished last night! I cut some of the Treasure Trove (described in yesterday’s post) silk charmeuse into a Vogue blouse pattern that I’ve been wanting to make for a long time but didn’t have the right fabric.


above.Vogue 1415 Tom and Linda Platt designers. It is very simple with only three pieces.



So, I’m known for sewing at a very fast speed which is why I love the new BERNINA 880 with its industrial motor that goes “100 miles per hour” or seems like that.  But I have to sew slower with silk which is slippery and requires precision topstitching.

This blouse had narrow hems on neck, sleeves and bottom hem that were 3/8” turned under twice and then edge stitched. First I pressed under 3/4” and then folded the cut edge into the fold and pressed well. To stitch close to the edge I used the #10 foot and moved the needle over 4 places. I like it CLOSE to the folded edge…see picture below…so I had to test how many places to move the needle and be able to catch the fabric.


With this foot on and using the guide, I found that I could go faster…hee hee!

Next, I’ve selected a beautiful fabric from this Treasure Trove and pattern which will  take me longer than one day to make. But first I have costumes to alter for the high school theatre, Steel Magnolias next weekend and….yucky end-of-year tax accounting stuff/blah!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

An Epic Experience


Jan.6, 2015

Yesterday was an epic day for me in my sewing life! It started last year when I read Marcy Tilton’s blog and saw a letter from a woman who was trying to figure out what to do with her deceased sister’s giant, humonguous stash of fabrics and other related collections. It said that she lived one and a half hours from me.

I had assumed that it was lots of quilting fabrics so wrote and said that I could get it to a center that makes quilts for chemo patients.  The sister wrote to me last week and said that I could come and shop this stash. She sent these photos.

photo 1photo 2photo 3

I was sooooo excited because garment sewers know that it is hard to find fabric any more. Any kind of garment fabric.  The only source is the big box store which doesn’t have quality fabrics.

When I arrived, I met the sister from Australia and the husband of the woman who owned this stash.  They were charming and very welcoming. We went down to her studio and the stash was OVERWHELMING in this giant work space!  I quickly saw that I would have liked this woman a lot! We had a lot in common. Besides sewing garments, she knitted, dyed fabric, did beading and had similar taste in books and patterns!  She was a president of the local American Sewing Guild at one time.

This studio looked like a small store. I felt that I should be discriminating and only take the fabric and things that I think I can use in the next few years. I realized that I don’t want to accumulate too much that I will never use. But it was hard since there was soooo much beautiful fabric.  Here is some of what I took…



It totals about 80 yards and ranges from silk chiffon, sari, wool, knits, beaded chiffon, foreign fabrics…. I’m so thrilled with them and have high hopes of making lots of garments this year, although this collection could last a decade! I’m going to try to NOT buy any more fabric for a while…except quilting fabric though!

There also were collections of yarn which were beautiful so I have to start knitting again. Books and dyes for my shibori class in June and antique bag frames were other great finds.


I feel so lucky, so happy and inspired but also guilty that I benefited from this great woman’s death. If I bought it all on ebay, I wouldn’t have gotten to know her or her family so it wouldn’t bother me.

Like I said in my last blog post, I intend to sew more this year and post it all to get your creative juices flowing. This sure jump-started my year! I hope to have lots of photos soon. I am going to go cut some silk now from this stash.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Happy New year to all!

I said that this year my resolution is to sew more, try more sewing/quilting techniques and just generally be more productive and post it on my blog for you to follow.

Lately with the new BERNINA 880 and a lot of new fabric, I’ve got so many ideas swimming around in my head and I vow to take the time to try some this year. I’ll try not to waste my time on the computer so much and spend more time on the sewing machine. I find that when I am sewing and the machine is really humming, that I am so happy. I just love the act of pushing fabric through the machine!  Crazy? No, I bet that is a feeling many of you share.

Well, Jan.2, I started a table runner for my 8 foot walnut table and Jan. 3, I finished it!! A simple project but I wanted to try the circular stitching attachment that I bought last Dec.  I had several fat quarters of Marcia Derse fabric that I thought would go well with the green granite in my kitchen so I made this ‘quilt as you go’ table runner.




backing fabric and here you can see the overlapping circle quilting.



Does it go with my granite?

I’ll have instructions either on another blog or on mine soon. It was fast and easy and totally adaptable to the size you want and with the fabrics you have on hand.

So…on to the next project! Let’s see how many projects I can make this year! I’ve got a wedding and a friend’s baby in May and I think it’s time for a new tree skirt… I’m supposed to be doing End of Year accounting stuff though….


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BERNINA Ambassador Reunion 2014

Bernina 2014

Here is our Session One group at the BERNINA Creative Center in Aurora, IL, in cold December again!  The only person missing from the photo is Sarah Vedeler.  As you can see, I was in the company of some very impressive quilters, designers and fabric-ologists! (My new word for the study of fabric as a career!)  I’m in the black sweater with the gold cranes on the shoulders.

We always start with dinner and introductions with a Show-and-Share. Food and wine flowing and everyone giving their ‘two minute’ talk. Well, apparently this group is not only good with fabric but are stand-up comedians too! It was a fun evening of hearing stories and getting to know new people. Some I recognized by their work at big quilt shows so it was nice to put a face to the names.


BERNINA has an outstanding group of educators who led the programs for the two day meetings. We were split into three groups and rotated to the different classrooms to learn about the newest features and the top of the line machines.

I was thrilled to get to try the new Q24 longarm!  Even some of the dealers don’t have one yet!


The features are so amazing! The Q24 uses regular sewing needles so there is no problem trying to put the needle in the right direction as with other longarms. Also this uses BERNINA presser feet so you have lots of options. With front threading, a bobbin winder on the side and programmable, ergonomic hand controls, stitch regulator and many other features, it is state of the art!


But the real test is how does it work for me? And I’ll tell you, it was a dream! So easy to navigate, that I could do this micro-stippling without the stitch regulator and it looked pretty darn good! Of all the longarms that I have tried, this was the best and smoothest for me. It was so much fun to play with!


I am not an expert at free motion stitching but I would like to improve that skill. Our class on the BERNINA 780 was with the BERNINA STITCH REGULATOR foot that you see in the photo above. The lesson was to write letters from left to right and that part wasn’t so difficult but then you had to go from right to left and retrace your letters!

Well, these g’s are not so bad! The stitch regulator makes my stitches look great and it is fun and easy to use. I always attach mine when I want to do free-motion work on a quilted piece. I remember when it came out ten years ago…I thought it was a miracle tool!


We had a session on the B 880 to learn some different embroidery techniques and all that can be done with the built-in software. I had to pay great attention here since I am getting this model soon! The stitch designer is incredible and easy to design a new stitch and save it…but there are already thousands of stitches to use.

My favorite function in this machine was how you can take a stitch and then automatically form it into a shape such as a circle or a star. It just opens up limitless possibilities for embroidery design!


My B 880 is a huge machine but not this big! I can’t wait to get it this week and finish some Christmas gifts!  I made many pillowcases and just need to embroider the names on the ends.


Our special guest lecturer was award-winning quilter Sue Nickels who gave us some great professional advice for teaching on the road. She is very organized and has much experience so it was full of great information!  Her sister, Pat Holly , below picture, was also there with her beautiful silk quilt, Saffron Splendor! Just amazing miniature work that I couldn’t stop staring at it. Sorry no pic of that!



Here is my friend, author and roomie, Jane Sassaman learning the B 880 which will soon be her machine also! It is always fun to spend time with your friends that you normally see once in a while on the road.


Classmates Kaye England and Cathie Hoover at the end of our session.

We were fed, re-fed, given lots of goodies (Havel scissors, Groz-Beckert needles, OESD embroidery cards, Benartex fabric…) and had a shopping spree to last us for another year! I look forward to this Reunion every year!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quilt Market part 3

Here are the last of the photos of the quilts that I photographed at market in Oct. There must be a limit to the number of photos in a post because the last post wouldn’t let me add more.?

Here is a great family photo album by my friend, Cathie Hoover. It would be fun to make one of these.


I thought this one was brilliant! I could tell it was Lyric by just this small amount of her face!IMG_1877IMG_1878




Robbi Eklow, a Bernina AMbassador friend, won 2 awards at this show! How exciting!IMG_1984IMG_1985IMG_1990IMG_1991IMG_1992

This quilt is beautiful and quite a departure from Maria’s usual pictorial, portrait quilts. An Ohio girl too!IMG_1995IMG_1997IMG_2001IMG_2003IMG_2010IMG_2011IMG_2019IMG_2020IMG_2021IMG_2022

Hope you get a chance to see the show in person next year. It is the most quilts exhibited in one space in the world, I am sure of that!