Saturday, April 9, 2011

rainy saturday sewing

woke up to wonderful washington state weather: lots of rain, overcast skies, and plenty of chill in the air. weather seems such a common topic to talk about, but it really does affect our daily life and choices. thanks to the very welcome rain, soccer was cancelled and kids, cousins, neighbors, and friends are all inside the house. i put on my favorite surfer sweat hoodie and socks to keep snuggly, then got to work on some sewing projects. first up was some unpicking. not the most fun, but it was handwork i could do while the kids danced to some tunes in the living room.

when i started machine quilting "out on a limb" last weekend, i initially had a few problems with the quilt moving through the machine. the result is some quirky spots where there are teeny, tiny, minuscule stitches that totally don't match up to the rest of the quilting. not only are they unsightly, they're a bugger to unpick. it took me over an hour to undo a few inches. but it's one of those mistakes i'm not willing to overlook because it was sooo awkward. i know it would bother me every time i looked at the quilt. i may have gotten past perfectionism, but i still have my standards.

when all my little dancers moved on elsewhere and i'd finished my initial phase of unpicking, i pulled my machine downstairs to the dining table to work on the quilting some more. i like sewing on the dining table because then i can be in the middle of the house and family, rather than hiding alone in my cave, and the table is so much bigger for spreading projects out on.

i also talked the 8 year old into getting out her sock monkey and joining me.

monkey came as a kit from  joann's. her cousin got a matching one for her birthday in january, but so far they both only have a body, head, and legs.

i had to change over the bobbin thread to sew some monkey parts. that's when i had what i call a "home ec" moment. those are the times i feel like i'm a completely incompetent sewer back in middle school, trying to get through a home ec project. whenever i start to feel that maybe i've moved on from "beginner" status to "confident beginner" i have these crazy home ec moments. and this was the biggest one i've ever had. i thought i'd actually broken the machine. no matter how many times i reloaded the bobbin or adjusted the tension, i kept getting huge loops on the underside of the stitching. the machine began making these terrible cranking noises and quit running all together. i noticed the bobbin case was twisted to a funny angle. that's when i thought i'd busted it. a gal at the quilt shop i know has the same machine and just had to send hers in for repairs on the bobbin case. unfortunately for her, brother is a japanese machine and because of all the upheaval there, it's going to be six weeks before her machine is fixed. oh, yikes! i thought i was in the same boat this morning. i figured out how to remove the bobbin case and reload it properly. but it kept twisting around every time i sewed. after 45 + minutes, i finally noticed the thread was not properly threaded at the top of the machine. then i remembered a number of other times i've had this exact same problem. hey presto, all better! whew, that was scary. when will i ever get past these silly mistakes?

now i'm off to finally get that machine quilting under way. wish me luck.


  1. They cancelled soccer? Are you for real??? Pathetic! You should see what we Washingtonians go through during spring soccer! Enjoy it while you can, I hear the weather is going to be perfect for me nextweek! :)

  2. I am going to JoAnn's after church today! I told you I'm making Black Apple Dolls for the girls but I wasn't sure what to make Haden. I had the thought yesterday of making him a sock monkey but the socks are kinda pricey on Amazon. But a kit? I can do a kit! And hopefully that will take some of the pressure off me. I'm so excited!
    Also, I've never tried machine quilting. I take that back. When we lost our baby a few years ago I wanted to make her a quilt. One of the nurses had made her a dress but even though it was super tiny it was still too big. I didn't want her to be buried without some covering so I very quickly made a tiny quilt and quilted it on my machine. And I had those tiny stitches. I didn't like the way it worked out but was happy to have had it made in a day. I haven't tried since then. I wondered if you had to have a special machine for quilting.
    And I have a home ec moment like that too, but since I've written a novel I'll spare you =)


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