Category Archives: Sewing Space

Small Accomplishments

Thanks to the horrible utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, much of Northern CA was without power for a couple of days. We had some wind which makes PG&E nervous because of their antiquated equipment (which was deemed responsible for several of the disastrous fires we have recently experienced.) So when a bit of wind is expected, they shut down the power in case a tree or limb should fall on a line and start a fire. That means no power for the duration of the wind – usually a day or so. Then the next day PG&E flies helicopters really low over all the outage areas to look at the lines (does this not sound terribly inefficient?) to be sure there is no damage. Once they can confirm that we get power back. This just makes me steaming mad. We pay plenty for our electricity and goodness knows we don’t get great results. Yesterday when Julia, Ray and I heard the helicopters flying over, we were shouting , “Yay, they are checking the lines!” It is ridiculous and also sounds kinda like we are in a war zone or something. Yet another reason we look forward to moving out of California at some point. Sooner, rather than later, if we can work it out.

Murphy’s Law came into play during the power outage and Verizon had difficulty with the tower that services our area. So we had no power, no wifi and no cell service. We are fortunate to have a generator and when that was on, we did have wifi. But after about 36 hours, AT&T, our internet provider, decided it was quite tiresome to have to provide service without normal power and we lost that connection as well. Sigh. May as well have been marooned on a desert island. I hate being without power and turn into a whiny pest when it happens. My husband could be happy living off the grid and just playing in the yard for the rest of his life. Me, not so much…

I did get a few things done while enduring these terrible times. (hahaha – I know, I am a bit dramatic about the whole thing.)

Do you have one of these? A pile of batting scraps?

Kind of blurry, but I bet this looks familiar to most of you. I had these stuffed into a little plastic drawer. It was getting to be a challenge to close it without shoving it all down. So I sorted it!

Better, yes?

When power was back on, I took some of the long strips of batting that were the same type and stitched them together with a wide zig zag. This gave me lots of bigger pieces that will be cut to size as needed. I tossed some very tiny bits that I have no idea why I ever saved. The larger rectangles are folded and ready to use.

The largest leftover pieces are now measured and marked. What a difference this makes. Some of these are quite large but since they were shoved into a corner of a closet, I never looked through them when I needed batting. At least now I know what I have.

Love this AccuQuilt!

Moving on…. Quite a while back, just at the start of the pandemic, I posted on my Facebook page that I was looking for an AccuQuilt. I was so fortunate to hear from Emily, of The Darling Dogwood. She had two and would be happy to give me one of them. We bartered for some fabric and I paid for the shipping – what a great deal! I am so happy to have this. I ordered a couple of dies for it – just basic squares so far. Emily also gave me one (I think was a duplicate for her?) I put it to good use this week though!

Barely made a dent in the scraps bins.

Some of these were already cut but many were done this week. I now have quite a large stack of 2.5″, 3″ and 3.5″ squares. I also cut a ton of five inch squares of novelty fabric. When I accumulate enough, I list “I Spy” charm packs in the shop. This is much, much easier to do with the AccuQuilt. I now have quite a large pile of them to be sorted into packs and then listed in the shop.

Last, but of course not least, I made good progress on the hand quilting I am doing for this pretty quilt. I think I am probably 2/3 of the way to complete on this project. I just love it. My stitches are getting more consistent, which makes me happy. This quilt really looks pretty, quite old fashioned. Hopefully I will finish it up soon and share the whole thing with you.

So cute.

Just before the outage, Julia brought home four new chicks – like 1 day old – very teeny, tiny. Chicks need to be kept warm and she has them in the laundry room with a heat lamp. They like to be at about 88 – 90 degrees. Well, this is a challenge without power. She had to rig up a warm environment for her babies. She used pots of hot water around outside of the bin they live in. Also added a deep pile of shavings for them to burrow into and wrapped the bin in an old blanket. She was able to keep her chicks all toasty for the duration. The interesting thing was they wouldn’t eat when it was dark which was much of the time. When the generator was on and they had light, all four of them would rush to the feeder like they were just frantic for their next meal. Considering how big they are just days later, I think they survived just fine!

OK – that is it for now. I have power and need to catch up on all things dependent on electricity! You know, the fun stuff like laundry, vacuuming, etc. Blech.

Quilter’s Call to Action

Hi Everyone –

As I have written, California has been under siege with fires up and down the state. One of the really awful ones, the Butte Fire, is burning in Amador County. At this point, we are thankful that it is 75% contained. However, it’s damage has been horrible. Over 75,000 acres have burned with a current loss of 535 residences. (Information obtained at Yubanet.com.)  Everyone’s worst nightmare, right? The loss of your home and all of your precious belongings and then having to rebuild. It must be an overwhelming situation for these people.

In comes Kerri of “Kerri’s Quilting” in Lakeport, CA.  She is putting together a few quilts for some of the quilter’s that lost not only their homes, but their quilting supplies and fabric. I think this is such a sweet thing to do. Providing something handmade as an expression of love and concern will hopefully bring comfort to some of our fellow quilters.

Would you like to help? Here is what Kerri wants:

“If you would like to help turn ashes to beauty please make a quilt block – applique a heart in the center of a CUT 10” square using pastel colors, sign your name and town and mail to Kerrie’s Quilting 1853 N. High St. Lakeport, CA 95453.
The blocks will be set together to make quilts for at least 5 ladies that I know of who lost all their sewing/quilting things in the fire.
The deadline for mailing is October 8th.”

Here are two blocks that I made the other day. Just a simple heart appliqued in the middle of a ten inch block.

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I hope you will create a block, sign it and mail it to Kerri. How wonderful for people from across the country to show their concern for these Amador County quilters!  Let me know if you have any questions. Also, for a quick tutorial on making an appiqued heart block, see this post at Quilting Jetgirl.

For those of you who saw my messy, messy sewing room the other day, here is an updated picture. As I was told by Deb at Frugal Little Bungalow, it was time to ‘Redd Up’ that room, which is apparently Pittsgburgh-speak for cleaning up a mess.  😉 Success!

IMG_20150916_3869Much easier to work in!

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Of course it didn’t last long because I was sewing this weekend. But it is still, it’s much better than it was.

Remember the post about the elephant baby quilt I made for my friends that are having a baby via surrogate mom in Mumbai, India? Their daughter, Emerson, arrived today via planned C-section!! I can’t even imagine how exciting this is for TJ and Margot after so many years spent working, hoping and praying to become parents. I am so happy for them and hope their transition from India back home is safe and uneventful.

Finally, this is why I love giving a quilt.  Look at this text that I received out of the blue the other day. Lil is my niece and I made her a t-shirt quilt about a year ago. (Story is here.) Warms my heart!

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Linking to Connie over at Freemotion by the River.

 

No Easy Solution

Have you been reading the on-going debate about Craftsy and their (possible) decision to release a privately owned fabric and/or yarn line? People are getting a bit heated about this and I am curious what you think.  I am a loyal follower of Abby Glassenberg, blogger at While She Naps. Abby has built a successful blog, has a fantastic weekly newsletter and a lovely Etsy shop where she sells patterns to make childrens’ stuffed toys. She inspires me and I have learned a huge amount from her informative newsletters. (If you haven’t checked out her blog and newsletters, I highly recommend both.)

Last week she blogged about the fact that Craftsy has registered two new trademarks to (possibly) begin manufacturing and selling a line of fabric and a line of yarn. Because Craftsy has such a huge customer base, they sell a great deal of fabric and supplies at below retail pricing. People are in somewhat of an uproar because they are upset about yet another bigbox retailer squashing the smaller retailers.  After Abby’s post, in which Craftsy declined to comment, there was a bit of conversation – most of it on the negative side. However, much of the arguments commented on this post centered around Craftsy’s treatment of pattern designers and teachers. I am not going to go into the specifics because Abby laid it out clearly in her post already.

My opinion is this. We live in a world of huge on-line retailing. Amazon and the like make it nearly impossible for smaller brick and mortar shops to compete. This makes it a big struggle for those shops to be profitable. I am a frequent on-line shopper (Craftsy included) and also a loyal supporter of my local quilt shop. There are benefits to each. With on-line shopping, I don’t have to make the twenty mile round trip to the LQS and can shop whenever I want. With on-line shopping, I usually get a good deal on fabric but there is a price to be paid for shipping.  At my LQS, I can touch the fabric and get a better look at the colorways. I have a really hard time with color – it isn’t my strong suit and I have purchased on-line several times, only to be disappointed that the colors weren’t what I thought they would be. The added benefit of expertise, advice and a social experience offered at the LQS is not to be matched by shopping somewhere like Craftsy. There is a place for both in my fabric budget (and it is entirely possible the budget needs to be reduced!)

As far as pattern designers and paid bloggers, I am of the opinion they should work for a fair wage. If a corporation such as Craftsy or Moda (think Moda Bakeshop) isn’t offering a fair wage, don’t take them up on the opportunities offered. It is the decision of the designer.  Personally, I love the patterns that are individually designed and offered on Craftsy. Many a quilt blogger/designer has their paid and free patterns posted on Craftsy which provides some exposure for the designer and a huge benefit to us, the crafting community, But again, if the designer doesn’t think the pay is commensurate, don’t go there.

In response to all of this hub bub, John Levisay, CEO of Craftsy, wrote an open letter to Abby for our community of makers. You can read it here. Nothing earth shattering is contained in his response. It is what I might write, were I in his position. They are a large, for profit, corporation. They sells on-line classes, patterns and supplies – for PROFIT. Just as Amazon, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Fabric.com aren’t overly concerned about the profitability of the brick and mortar shops, I don’t think Craftsy is terribly worried. Is this the right thing? Who knows. It isn’t really a question of right and wrong to me. It is just the way things are and will continue to be. Overall, I thought the letter was respectful and it made sense to me.  Things are forever changing as the world of technology grows and allows businesses to develop in new ways.

Finally, this is the first time I have written a post without pictures. Kind of strange so I am going to add one here for your viewing enjoyment!!  What a huge mess. I have decided that it is time to clean this place up. My sewing room has become a huge disaster. Like beyond ridiculous.  OK – how about you? Do you take issue with the Craftsy decision to market their own lines? Should they be able to sell below retail? Do I have to clean my room? Is your room messier than mine? Is a blog post without pictures acceptable? Do tell.

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Have a wonderfully creative day all.  🙂

 

2015 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop

This week marks the first of four weeks that will be spent introducing a number of wonderful quilt blogs!  In earlier posts, I mentioned that I am taking part in the 2015 New Quilt  Bloggers Blog Hop. There are about 70 of us in the group and for the past several weeks we have been working together to learn more about blogging and to help each other to improve our blogs. If you have come to Needle and Foot for the first time, via the Blog Hop, welcome!!

First, a bit of background.

I am one lucky person. Married to an amazing guy and mom to four kiddos, I live in the Sierra Foothills in Northern California. We have a bit more than three acres which allows us space for a large vegetable garden (which we couldn’t plant this year due to the wretched drought in California) as well as a coop for six hens. Three of my kids (the boys) are adults and are off living all over the country. My daughter is still at home and will enter high school in the fall.

I have been sewing for over 40 years now (which looks so strange when I see it in print!!) Growing up I sewed many of my clothes and when I became a mom, I sewed clothes for my kids. I started quilting when I was 17. I made three quilts over the next three years and then didn’t make another one until 2012. (If you want to read about the first quilt I made, here is a post.) When I retired from a career in Human Resources in 2012, I suddenly had time to devote to sewing again.The quilting bug (obssession, passion, craze, addiction – call it what you will) bit me hard and I have made a number of quilts over the past few years. If I were to try to describe my style, I would say that while I enjoy almost any type of quilt, I have a propensity to the modern. I love large blocky patterns – I don’t often make a very fussy block. I have always quilted all of my own pieces. It feels right to me that I make my quilt from start to finish. (I have only quilted one queen size and one full size piece, usually I make lap size or mini’s.) I use either straight line or free motion quilting depending on the project. My FMQ is absolutely a work in progress – it is challenging and requires tons of practice. With each project it improves a bit more.

This is my sewing space. Totally as it is – no cleaning or organizing before pictures! I sew on a Janome 6500P and also have an older Janome that is a little workhorse. I love them both.

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Here are a few of my favorite projects:

This lap size quilt was made for my amazing daughter-in-law for her birthday. I love the pattern and it was one of the first times I used solids for the bulk of a project.

Naomi's Birthday Quilt February, 2014

Naomi’s Birthday Quilt
February, 2014

The quilt below was made for my daughter. I love it because it is the first time I took on a large FMQ project. I had no idea what I was getting into and quilted this without knowing I had to drop the feed dogs for FMQ – I fought the quilt and the machine the entire time. I remember thinking this is so dang hard, why would anyone want to do this for pleasure. See all of that pebbling and all of those spirals? No free motion there, just an amazing amount of tugging and moving. It was nuts.  I’ve learned a bit since then!

Julia's Quilt  October, 2013

Julia’s Quilt
October, 2013

This final quilt was made for my sister. I love simple patchwork quilts! This is a lap size quilt with a huge heart pieced into the lower right corner. I love the texture of the matchstick quilting on the heart.

Patti's Heart Quilt; March 2015

Patti’s Heart Quilt; March 2015

Though my quilting projects are often leaning toward modern, I have an unstoppable passion for anything vintage. I especially like two eras. I love the fabrics from the 1930’s through 1950’s. I recently acquired quite a collection and you can find more information on that here and here. In addition, I collect vintage linens, usually from the 1970’s. There is quite the stash of these in my sewing room now. I have lots of fat quarters listed in my Etsy shop if you are interested in vintage sheets. There is also a smallish collection of vintage patterns listed in the shop.

Here is a simple blogging tip for you:  Take your time with each post! Last June when I started this blog, I was learning as fast as I could by reading other blogs and trying to figure out what worked best for me. Over the year, I learned so much. Something that really helps the quality of  my writing is to write ahead of time. As much as my schedule allows me, I try to sketch out a post and then come back to it in a day or so. When I come back and edit the post I will invariably find typos or phrasing that isn’t as clean as I would like. It helps hugely to look at the post multiple times. I don’t mean spending hours pouring over it. Rather, I write it, save it and read through it at another time. If I write in a hurry and publish, there will be errors. If I can let it sit for a day and come back to it, I will usually catch a few typos. Also, I can improve phrasing or move pictures around that don’t look just right. That second reading improves the post almost every time.

Finally, three fascinating and compelling facts about me that you are probably dying to know.

1. My favorite vacation I have taken was my honeymoon in 1998. We went to St. John in the US Virgin Islands. It was breathtakingly gorgeous.

2. My husband and I dated all of six weeks before he proposed. We were married five months later. While I do not recommend this as common practice, we were lucky and are happily married 17 years now. To  my children, when they bring this up (usually to give me a hard time about it), I always say, “do as I say, not as I do!” (Which happens to be excellent parenting advice!)

3. I am lucky enough to be the fourth daughter in a family of six girls. My sisters are my dearest friends and you can read about them here, here and here.

Thanks so much for stopping by. If you want to follow me it is easy – you can enter your email address at the top of the page or click on the Bloglovin button (with the plus sign in the middle) and add me to your feed. This blog hop is a wonderful opportunity to meet a host of new bloggers. In the hop with me this week are three other terrific quilt bloggers. Hop on over and check them out!

Nurdan @ Hug-a-bit Quilts

Ali @ Needle Down

Denise @ Craft Traditions