Friday, September 26, 2014


It's showtime, friends!
QuiltFest is on through 5:00 pm tomorrow (Saturday Sept. 27), and the quilts are beautiful! There are 480 in the judged part of the show.
I'm giving a short talk in the demo area today at 12:30: "How to Look at a Quilt...and Then Talk About It!"
The next post will be a brief re-cap of that.
Meanwhile, here's a picture of the All-Stars' lovely table...who will win that raffle quilt tomorrow afternoon?
"Summer Solstice" won the Honorable Mention!
Looking ahead: Get ready for a load of SCRAP QUILTING!

Friday, September 19, 2014

New Toys: Open-Toe Accufeed Foot & a Needle Inserter

I love to get something new, and recently I got two new toys for my Janome 7700 sewing machine.
The first is the Open-Toe Accufeed foot:

Perfect for in-the-ditch!

I have had several sewing machines, and on every one my favorite foot is an Open-Toe Foot. It's possible to see exactly where the needle is going. While the fabric is in good contact with the feed dogs, I can still move it just a bit, which makes this the perfect foot for in-the-ditch quilting.

My Janome machine has an Accufeed system to help with multiple layers. The feet are specially designed to work with a an extra set of feed dogs that come down from behind the foot and integrate with it. This is especially nice for things like binding and, of course, quilting!
I also have a 1/4" Accufeed foot, as well as the standard one that comes with the machine.

My other new toy is amazing...because it is soooooo handy, and also cheap!
It's the Dritz Needle Inserter with Brush:
Brush for cleaning, needle holder for inserting!
I think this cost less than $2, and you can get it almost anywhere. There is a similar fancier thing that has the needle inserter and a threader.
Why I did not already have one is a total mystery!
Maybe it was easier to change needles on my other machines, but this makes it a breeze...and yes, it is just a 3" piece of plastic with a hole in one end!

I have many brushes, as I'm a firm believer in swabbing out the bobbin area as often as possible. That is the #1 repair job the shops do, so why not save yourself $89 or whatever the going rate is? OK, it's a good idea to have the whole machine cleaned occasionally, but you can avoid an annual cleaning if you do a little maintenance yourself.
The brush is a nice little stiff one, which allows you to stab into the linty areas and pull away quite a large bit. First you stab and pull out, then you brush with a wiping motion.
I never thought I'd be writing about how to get rid of lint.
And I bet you never imagined you'd be reading it!

Quilt Show Season is upon us, and I have just been through 3 days of assisting with the judging of 480 quilts for QuiltFest (Sept. 24-7).  It takes a lot of people to handle all those quilts properly! Our judge Jane Hall (NQA certified) was the best.
Next week we hang the show. I have been assigned as Team Captain for the Small Art Quilts! So look for some reporting from the show.

After that, it's time to go into a very Scrappy State of Mind as I gear up the guild for a Mystery Quilt class next February. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Making Scraps!

I am working on a Mystery Quilt class for my that will use scraps, as they requested.
This would seem to be a good way to actually reduce the contents of my own scrap container. 
I dumped it out and sorted by values (all that will be covered here soon!), then proceeded to cut it all up. OK, except for the solid black and solid white fabrics that I didn't want to include. And there were some too-small pieces...all that went back into the container.
I even decided to do a scrap background, and that took up quite a bit of the light colored fabrics.
After sewing almost everything I cut....which I can't show you, because it's for a Mystery Quilt...I was within 10 blocks of having enough for 2 quilts! So I raided my stash, because, after all, it's just like a big scrap container! And I am trying to get all the commercial print fabrics out of the studio cupboard so I can replace them with my BATIKS!
Here's the sad-but-true thing about scrap quilts: you cannot use up all the scraps. In fact, you will probably make more scraps...which is what I did:
Scraps of scraps!
The 1/4 full container is now back to almost full, and I also got some nice little pieces for the Mile-A-Minute box (on the right).
It reminds me of a favorite poem, by Lewis Carroll, "The Walrus and the Carpenter" from Through the Looking Glass.
This part:

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

But they are different scraps than the ones I started with, so no tears are being shed!