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Archive for December, 2006

cozies 6

Yes sir! When you already have more projects than can reasonably be accomplished before the 25th, add one more!

These mug holders are taken from D’Arcy-Jean Milne’s article in the most recent edition of Quilting Arts (Winter 2006, Issue 24, pages 68-70) and are a rather fun way to use up some scraps. I’m also finding them a great exercise in testing out various aspects of the new machine. My template for these mug holders was taken directly from one of the cardboard ones distributed with a disposable cup.

Dunno what I’ll actually DO with these, but they’re fast and fun to make. I used scraps from the log cabin quilt I’m making for my daughter for Christmas to construct these.

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“We’ll have to start to sew.” (with sincerest apologies to fans of The Muppet Show)

This project was started with the best of intentions a little over five years ago. It’s a wedding quilt for my sister and her husband who are (fortuitously) still happily married. I worked frantically at it for some time and then simply burned out. Finding the impetus to finish it just didn’t happen. I dug it out the other week and looked at it long and hard, only to realise that there’s really not much left to do. So I’m knuckling down and finishing it.

It measures 100″ square. I must be nuts. Pictures of the final thing to be posted when it’s done and when I can find a wall big enough to hold the sucker.

Any other insane folks out there finishing too many last-minute hand-made gifts? We should form a club….

I swore I’d never do this again, but I suspect I’ll be stitching furiously on Christmas eve.

Insanity

Centre of Knotwork

knots macro

to the point

Corner

a quickr pickr post

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I’m more or less signing off on work and work-related blogging for the next two weeks.

I have a few Christmas gifts to finish up by Sunday night, one of the most elaborate of which is the quilt below. Katherine asked for a new quilt for her bed made with my own dyed fabrics and has been asking me for almost three months straight on a semi-daily basis. I figure that dedication like her should be rewarded and am contriving this log cabin quilt for her enjoyment. Hopefully it’ll be suitable right through her teens, as my tendancy to make traditional quilts has declined substantially. (Making this quilt, though, has been an excellent way to get to know the temperament of my new machine. Good excuse, right?)

Katherine's Christmas present

It’s been a while since I did one of these….

Incidentally, the machine? Fabulous. Beyond fabulous. I didn’t realise how nice that dual-feed system would be for even ordinary piecing, but it makes a substantial difference.

Now, off to work!

a quickr pickr post

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sewingmachine1.jpg

This is probably the closest I’ve ever come to buying myself a Christmas present. It’s mainly the timing of the purchase that makes it so, therefore I can absolve myself of the feelings of guilt that go with spending money on oneself in December.

Meet my Pfaff 2027. Purchased from Joan MacNeill in Springdale, who also kindly repaired by Bernina 130 (more on that in another entry).  I’ve been running through what I typically do work-wise with a  machine and have found that this little workhorse does it at least as well as  Bernie. It handles metallic and sliver threads beautifully (once you remember the trick about loosening the bobbin screw a tad), quilts  like a dream and the dual-feed system (like a built-in walking foot) is actually even more useful than I thought.

Strangely enough, the plastic bobbins are the hardest part to get used to, although I have heard it said that they’re better for a machine than a metal bobbin, as the bobbin will not wear at the machine in the same way if made of plastic. I like the push-in bobbin as I find it gives me better stitch tension than the drop in variety, especially given the fact that I work with a myriad of threads.

John’s reaction? “It’s…. pink.” Okay, I can’t help that part. My defense? Katherine claims “it’s actually magenta,” which somehow sounds less fluffy.

Here’s the machine and what came with it:

sewingmachine2.jpg

It also does some 41 stitches, most of which I admit freely that I’ll never use. There are a few that look  promising, though. Might have to fiddle with them a bit and see.

sewingmachine3.jpg

What it does do extraordinarily well is sew evenly through many various layers of fabric, stabiliser, fusible and batting. It had not trouble puncturing thin plastic for me, either, and  could sew at almost full-speed using metallic thread without snapping.

The electronic interface is fairly easy to use and was one of the deciding factors for me. I knew I wanted a Pfaff and that I liked how the brand handled as a whole, but I wasn’t keen on the dials and knobs of a mechanical machine, already being used to an electronic interface with the Bernina. Frankly, the dials were driving me nuts. I also like being able to precisely replicate settings for certain tasks and the buttons are easier on my poor little memory than dials.

The foot pedal is tinsy, but extremely sensitive. It’s lightweight, too. The size and weight mean that it definitely needs the non-skid mat or piece of carpet or something underneath, as it’s easy to send it skittering with an inadvertent swing of the foot.

It comes with a bunch of different feet, including a free-motion foot and a 1/4″ foot. I’ve never actually used a 1/4″ foot in 13 years of quilting, so it should be a novel experience.

All-in-all, I am even happier with the performance of this machine than I expected to be and am also extraordinarily happy with the Pfaff service people in this area (Joan MacNeill in Springdale and Marie MacDonald in St. John’s). They not only know their stuff, but are non-pushy and helpful to the Nth degree.

Which is definitively more than I can say for the one authorised Bernina service dealer in town, who not only did not fix my machine entirely, but sent it home with a problem it didn’t have when it went in. A second opinion revealed that the screws on the take-up lever had not been tightened properly, making it impossible to align the needle shank (or anything, for that matter). This repair person tried to convince me that I had been the one responsible for the needle being out of alignment, that I had abused the machine somehow by over-tightening the needle screw (something I never do) and that new parts and more service were necessary ($$$). Remind me to write a post on danger signs and dealer warnings to watch for when having your machine serviced. If you want to know who to avoid in machine servicing in St. John’s, let me know.

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Last night’s free-form low-water immersion foray was exhilarating and inspirational, not to mention relaxing. I’d had a rather long day and dyeing the bejeezus out of a pile of cotton was just the release I needed. This lot is on a Northcott silk cotton and was done without urea and with fairly concentrated dye mixtures. Very little water was used (2 cups hot water to roughly two teaspoons of dye, varying with colour) and the bleed time was about fifteen minutes. The set time with soda ash (here again, very little water was used) was an hour and all were washed in hot water with Synthropol afterwards. The fabric was prewashed, too. The Northcott is a beautiful fabric to dye with and handle. Each photo represents half of a strip, measuring at least 21″ x 60″. Some are 21″ x 90″.

Now to figure out what to do with it all…. Some of it will be for sale, some will be used for particular projects and other pieces are destined to be a part of the quilt Katherine asked for for Christmas. Which reminds me, I had better get started on that!

(clicking on any of the thumbnails will give you a larger view)

1a 1b 2a 2b

3a 3b 4a 4b

5a 5b 6a 6b

12b 10a 10b

11a 12a 9b 9a

7b 7a 8b 8a

a quickr pickr post

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I’ve just gotten my online sales up and running and things seem to be smoothing out wrinkle-wise. I’ll be adding things over the coming days, as I get the photography done and have a chance to work through inventory.

I can be found at http://www.Vickyth.etsy.com . The shop can also be reached through the links on my homepage http://www.seastrandsstudio.com

I am also now set up to take PayPal, so should you see something posted that you wish to purchase, it should be quite easy. The theory is that you don’t even have to have a PayPal account to purchase. We’ll see how it goes in the coming weeks. Please let me know if you experience any problems.

Stay tuned for more products!

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I was cruising CBC today and saw fellow craft council member Tara Bryan’s name jump out at me from the from page of the website. Her work is amazing and she’s an incredibly talented, well-spoken and intriguing person with whom to chat. I had the pleasure of being in the booth next to her at the Anna Templeton Christmas Sale over the weekend and can vouch for her talent, of which I am in constant awe.

Even cooler is that she lives just up the coast a little from me, in Flatrock, Newfoundland.

For a look at her creations (and a glimpse into the mind of the artist), check out her website!

Congrats on the article, Tara!

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