Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Dre in Pa asked what Floating the quilt top meant. 

I will try to explain.

On a quilt frame, one can load the quilt so that the quilt top rolls out from a bar.  This requires loading the top onto the bar and it can be tedious, IMHO.

If you notice in the above phot0 (from the internet, by APQS) the quilt top is fastened to the take up bar in the belly of the machine.  This particular frame also has a dead bar that holds the quilt sandwich in position.  I don't have a dead bar.  Please don't ask any questions about it.  

Please also note that the quilt top is rolled up on a bar in front of the needle.  This is the way many quilters mount there quilt tops; fastened to two rollers providing the flat area to quilt.

Floating the top means that the quilt top floats over the backing bar with the batting also floating in between the backing and the top.  The back is positioned on two rolers, the batting lays on top of the backing and the quilt top floats on top of everything.  Like this

I fully intend to make a sling to hold my batting and top off of the floor.  I just don't know how to do it yet.

I think it is easier to float the top.  I have had no problems keeping the quilt edges straight.  I may try to mount the quilt with a top bar in the future.  That means getting a ladder so that I can retrieve the bar from the beamsit down from the sewing loft collar ties.  Maybe in the spring.

I am pleased to report that I have come up with the quilting design for the dark pieces of the log cabin block.
I like.  I think it is just the right combination.  I share it here in all of its imperfection.   You know what?  When I finished this part of the quilt, I was HAPPY.  I was HAPPY for the first time in WEEKS.  I mean, with the election results and a diagnosis of lymphoma happening ON THE SAME DAY I have been a TRAIN WRECK.  Add to that, the uncertainty; is it really lymphoma or could it be SOMETHING WORSE?   So, coming up with this design, HAPPINESS.

Soon the light will last longer.  I will recover from the brutality of diagnostic biopsies and start my treatment.  I will continue to fight the insanity of Trump as POTUS and, if nothing else, be on the right side of history.   Oh and when I get bummed out, there is always The Princess Bride on DVD.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


This is my mother's manta.  She says this right after she complains that "Things around here grow legs and walk away.."

Mom is 97.  Her memory isn't so good.  She misplaces things, as do I.  She always just shrugs her shoulders and says "It will surface."  And usually she is right.

More than two years ago I was working on a Singer 503    Go to the link to read all about it.  Go to the bottom of the post.  I was long winded back then.

Today I was sorting through the South River NJ  parts.  It was warm in the shop, thanks to the fire in the stove and the mild outside temperature.  I am divesting, as you know, and I wanted to go through the 450 little drawers of parts before I sent them on their way.  (Ok maybe not 450 but A LOT! ) 

For some reason, when I opened the drawer housing a particular hook (I had looked at this part many times in the past two years, always dismissing it as NOT THE ONE)  I read the part number: 172080

I cross checked it with a parts list.  Yep  The hook for a Singer 500.  WTF  I mean, really WTF.

I asked Steven to double check the number.  "Is this a test?"

I must have thought that it didn't look right, all those times I looked at it.  For some reason today, I figured, what the heck.  

Wilson is gone now.  Wrigley has mellowed.  Frannie is deaf and almost blind.   At one time I thought I would help preserve these wonderful old machines.  Times change.  Right now I would rather sew.  I am facing a pretty serious health crisis (lymphoma) and I want to de-clutter my life.  But I am not really sick.  Sure, I might feel crummy during treatment, but I still want to tinker and this 503 project has re-kindled that spark of joy I get when I am in my shop with my beloved old machines.  Hoorah! 


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Design Decisions

The quilt sits on the frame for days, sometimes longer, as I decide how I am going to quilt it.  This log cabin scrappy quilt is my only finished qilt top that hasn't been quilted yet.  I finished it many months ago.

I love it.

I was inspired by this quilt Log Cabin quilt by Harriet Carpanini.. I found it on pinterest.
Of course mine is nowhere as spectacular, but what the heck 
I'll get there by the bottom of the quilt.  I am not so sure what to do with the dark side of the squares. 

That will come as I sleep.  Maybe

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tidy OOP

Do you remember in The Producers (the movie) when Ulla (payed by Uma Thurman) kept saying "Ulla tidy oop"?  It is one of our favorite expressions.  Not that we tidy up all that much.

Yesterday I was thinking "Ulla tidy OOP" as I was playing in the sewing loft.  I have an abundance of scrappy blocks. Some went into  Alice's Quilt.  I even had thought that I might sew them all together thusly.  Instead I came up with this:
The whole point of "tidying OOP" is to reduce the stash.  In auditioning fabric , though, I create quite the mess.  First I went through the larger pieces hanging on my rack.

I  pulled out a possible candidate.  Tangled in the loose thread of one of the fabrics was a trapped mouse.  Naturally I screamed, dropped the hanger and all, and ran to the other side of the room.  As if  a teeny, tiny, little mouse is going to hurt me. I'm weird like that. 

I knew that I had to deal with it myself.  The GWH (Great White Hunter)  was running errands (for me, I might add).  So, I warily approached and discovered that the mouse was still alive, caught in the trap only by his tail.  I screamed again, this time, feeling his fear and confusion.   The fabric hangs close enough to the floor so a mouse, dragging a trap, could get enmired in Moda.

I picked up the hanger and all, dragged the poor little thing across the floor, down the stairs and out the door into the snow.  He fought the whole way, trying to get loose.  I kept saying "I'm sorry"  over and over. 

Outside I placed the hanger on the chain link fence and went to retrieve tools to release the tail.  First I cut the threads loose and he tried to crawl off dragging that trap behind him.  "No you don't!" I stepped on the trap, lifted the hinge with a pair of pliers and freed him. He promptly headed toward the door to the loft.   "Don't do it!"  and he veered away, off to the weeds.  Somewhere there is a very frightened little mouse with a broken tail shrouded in Moda fabric threads.

 Since there was nothing on the rack suitable for this quilt, I turned to my smaller scraps.  I found just the color, my favorite; a piece just under two yards.

Luckily there was enough
Now to piece it.  This is a perfect project for today.  Mindless busy work.  I need that. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

The only Constant is Change

I finished a quilt today.  While I can't admit that I had a deadline, I was determined to finish this as soon as I could.  Change comes, life alters, energy shifts and I needed a goal.  So.

The front is quite lovely but the registration marks still show and detract from the quilting.  You saw a sample of it in the  previous post.  So far I have forty hours of quilting in this project.  That might count the frogging (rip it rip it) required to fix some minor errors and one major tension issue when the top thread wasn't threaded correctly.  Boy were those four rows of piano keys E A S Y to rip out.

I think my favorite part of machine quilting is when I tear those red snappers off the frame and flip the quilt to the back.  It is just SO COOL to see how it came out.

I want to let you all know that tinkering with machines is no longer an obsession.  I am divesting now.  The  South River NJ haul will go to a new home sometime this winter.  Likely some parts machines too.

It's been a ride.  I have had more fun than I could have imagined.  Betsy came over this weekend and we prepped a machine for a friend of mine.  We laughed and laughed as we remembered: The Pfaff, RUN, that piece of crap barrister book case and that fateful trip to Albany to fetch that unbelievably cheap 221.

I love old machines.  I was a happy camper in my shop.  Life has a way of offering gifts and right now life has offered me an opportunity to go, as Pema Chodron says, to  The Places that Scare You
Maybe this lifelong resistance to enlightenment has come to roost.  Who knows?   I never really cherished enlightenment.  I just hoped for some joy and fun.  That I have had tinkering with machines and now, that era is over.  The machines and all the attendant paraphernalia must go.

I likely will still blog away.  I might even blog about my remaining machines.  Hey, I love my 201-1, my 15-90, that wonderful Necchi BF and Super Nova.  I can't let go of the lovely Brother Zig Zag either.  I might be able to sacrifice the 237.  It isn't as quiet as the Brother and now that I have the lovely treadle work area that fits the Brother, well.....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Little More Light

I have plenty of light in the quilting "studio".  It just isn't quite in the right place. I have an awful time seeing when I am using matching thread or white on white.  Halfway through this quilt I switched to a different dark thread.  It blends nicely and I can see it more easily. 

Still I struggled.  I showed Steven this  link to the You Tube video by Jamie Wallen demonstrating how to make a side light.   So out to the shop he went to cut and sand the piece of wood.  I spray painted it and the next day I installed the 14 inch under-counter light .

It works great.

When I can pry the light off the "extremely strong double stick mounting tape" I will shift its position; not quite on the edge to cut back on the glare. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Measure Twice

cut Once.

For years my sewing surface was a cobbled together collection of sewing machine stands.  These were the ones that I might need someday.  One is a Kenmore stand that fits my all time favorite Kenmore: (click to see her photo)  Lila .

The other came with a 404.  I had removed the machine and parked it at the Quilt Zoo, in hopes that someone, needing a machine, would use it and fall in love.  IT WORKED!!  So when the buyers told me they wanted a stand, I said HOORAY, and happily removed it from my loft into their truck.

 I am not lacking for sewing machine stands.  So when a nice lady from Vermont called me and asked if I had any sewing machine stands, specifically a Queen Anne or a Model 44, I said COME GET IT!
She has a 201 and was looking for a stand for it.  She would cruise Craig's List looking for machines with stands,  thinking that she would buy the machine, use the stand and ditch the machine.  Just the opposite of what I used to do.  Perfect match. 

The Queen Anne was in the living room holding a lamp and a photo and one of my Red Heads.   I needed to replace it, so I moved Lila's stand from the loft to the living room.  

That night, at dinner:  "Honey, do you remember how you promised you would make a new table top for my treadle stand?"

"Yes, I do."

"Do you think now would be a good time to  make good on that promise?"

Turns out, he agreed.  I wasted no time in designing the top.  I wanted plenty of space to my left to support the large quilts as I pieced rows together, added borders and binding.  I also wanted space to support the fabric as it passed under the needle.  We decided on a 48 inch square with a cutout for seating.

By now all that was left in the loft was the treadle stand itself.  When Steven asked how big to make the cut out, I merely measured the length of the treadle stand.  

I decided to live with it.
I positioned a school cabinet underneath the left side of the top.  We trimmed the feet just 3/4 of an inchso it would slide right under it.  I moved all four drawers to the left side of the cabinet and Steven added two more to the right. 

I love it.

The only problem is that I have to use the Necchi hinges because Singer hinges don't fit the Necchi.  I am in love with this Necchi.

But not to worry, thanks to Betty, who sent a link to the McKenna Linn's site, we drilled out the holes in the Necchi and now I can switch out machines at will.  Oh and Steven decided that yesterday would be a good time to add an extra piece to the top to correct my measurement error.

I finished the quilt so I have time to sand and paint this repair before its time to attach binding.  If you notice, that is a Singer 15-90 in the stand.  I like this machine.  It is noisier than the Necchi; much noisier.  The Necchi dislikes my polyester thread.  My Super Nova is just as fussy. I think it has to do with close tolerances in the machining.  I doubt I will give up this machine in favor of the Necchi, but if I had to choose between the Necchi and this one, well, I'll let you guess.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Don't sweat the small stuff

I'm not sure that it is all small stuff.  Some of my stuff is big.  Some, not so big  But there is one certainty, I have a lot of stuff.  All this stuff creates chaos and the shop was ground zero.   Betsy came over on Sunday and we cleaned it up.  It really didn't take so long.   I should have done this ages ago; I just couldn't.  All that stuff. It paralyzed me. 

I had some interest in the Vibrating Shuttle I have posted on Craigs list.   No bites. I love this treadle stand but I prefer the action of my other irons.  I need more working area,  too.  Maybe I will pop a different machine into this stand to see if that garners more interest. 

 I need to address this chaos so it's time to move some machines out.    I had a 15-91 with no foot controller  because it came in a cabinet hard wired for a knee controller.  The wires are in pretty good shape and I am not going to re-wire its motor.  OK OK  maybe I should it is 82 years old.  I will at least service the motor.  Maybe.  OK  change the brushes and put n new wicks and grease.  Oh, yeah, that's servicing the motor. 
It's in remarkable shape.  Today I cleaned it and oiled it.  I even took apart the tension assembly.  Betsy found a foot controller in my chaos when she was cleaning.  So this one could be ready for a new home.  Once I service the motor; or not. 

I also found a 201-2 tucked away.  It's had the whole re-furb.  New motor wires, new foot controller wires, cleaned oiled.  I am sure the motor has new wicks and grease.  It's not as old; AK serial number so it's after the Singer Centennial.  Nice machine, though.  Decals in great shape.

It felt good to be out in the shop again.  There simply isn't enough time to do it all.  At least I am never bored.


Friday, October 14, 2016

It's the Little Things

For some reason I decided to put this Necchi in the treadle stand.  The challenge: hinge pin holes were larger on the Singer than on the Necchi by about 1/16th of an inch.

I got out the chisel and the drill, made room on the stand for the Necchi hinge pins and voila.

Big problem.  The treadle stand is O L D.  There isn't enough wood to hold the hinge pins to my satisfaction.  I guess the time has come to design a new top for the treadle stand.

I have several machines that I like to treadle: the 201, the 15 90, the 237, all Singers.  I would love to get the Brother to fit, too.
I would love a large smooth top with an area just to my left that will support large projects.  I am sure it can be built.  I know just the person to do it.  For now, though, I will be happy to play with the Necchi.  It is very smooth and quiet, making sewing a true pleasure.  It's the little things.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival

My vote is for Gene Black's quilt "Grad Quilt" in the large quilt category.   You can see his blog about it here:

I looked through the other entries and decided that his is the only original design.  I could be wrong; Moscato consumption is to blame if I am incorrect. 

And here is the link to the Actual Festival . http://www.amyscreativeside.com/bloggers-quilt-festival/

Vote your conscience.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Pushing Through. Soldiering On. Toughing it out.

I have been a nurse for forty years.  Save for the ten months I stayed home with my young child and the three years I was completing my FNP degree I worked full time.  I toughed it out when I was sick.  I remember puking on the way to work one morning because I could not call out sick because there was no one else to take my shift at the hospital.  Many days I would just push through the exhaustion to get the work done.

When I was a single mother there was little choice.  I had to do it all.  Work, care for my son, tend to the logistics of life in today's complex society. I know a lot of women like me with all types of careers.  We all just soldier on, because THAT IS WHAT WE DO.

I remember going to work for weeks with a cough.  No fever, feeling a bit low, but not really sick.  Hey, I would only cough when I talked, so it couldn't be that bad, right?  Well, I had pneumonia.  I took one day off and went back to work.

Yes, by now you have figured out where this is going.   I am mightily peeved that this whole media blitz over a woman with pneumonia has gotten out of hand.  DUH.  She was sick, she tried to carry on and it didn't work out.   Don't condemn her.  This happens ALL THE TIME.

Please note.  I will not accept any comments about this post.  NONE.  If you don't like what I have written, I DON"T CARE.  Un-scubscribe.


Saturday, September 10, 2016


I have a bolt of white cotton fabric.  It is heavier than quilting cotton but not as heavy as canvas.  I figured I could use it as backing for a quilt.  With that intent I sewed some of it to a piece of similar weight colorful bird fabric in a size appropriate for the back of a quilt I was designing.  I changed my mind, made a duplicate of the back and sandwiched them together on the frame for a small quilt.

Maybe it was because I had a blank canvas or maybe I have reached the comfort point on the learning curve.   I had no: machine trouble, design trouble, coordination problems (well, OK,  a few) at all.  Essentially I felt the most at ease with this process as I have yet. 

 My log documents 137 hours on the machine.  I thought I would need hundreds before I reached this point.   Yippee for me. 

I love my 237. 

Monday, September 5, 2016


I walk the dogs around the perimeter of our property every day.  Inevitably we pass some berry bushes and I always have to stop.  Wrigley likes them and will eat them right off the bramble.  Frannie is more discerning.  The berry must be absolutely ripe or she won't eat it.

There is one bush that dips into our path.  The berries are big and lush.  A few days as I picked one particularly delectable treat my fingers brushed a soft, quishy something.  Of course I trembled and screamed.  I am a wuss.  But not such a wuss that I did not look to see what the heck was on the bush.

There was a worm that looked just like a twig.  It has been hanging out there for about a week now.   One day when Steven graced us with his presence, I showed it off.   He looked it up in his Butterflies and Moths field guide and found it quite quickly.  It is a Large Maple Leaf Span Worm.  I think that the moth resembles a maple leaf.  

Originally it was munching on a berry.  It moved further into the bush today and I almost did not see it.

Friday, September 2, 2016


The Nolting requires oiling every 8 hours of quilting time.  I keep a log so that I know when it's time.  It is so simple to oil this machine.  On the top of the head are four red dots.  One drop of oil on each and that is that.

Well, of course, for me, that is not that.  I had to look inside.  It just seemed logical.  After all I had been using the machine for more than 130 hours and I imagined all manner of lint and dirt building up inside.

I was wrong.  It sure was clean inside.

The wicks were nice a moist.  Just the same I put one drop of oil on the needle bar (above) because I could not resist. 

That one wick is quite frayed.  I imagine over time it will need to be replaced.  Everything was fine, though, nice and moist and no dirt.  No joy, there.

Not to worry.  I found some true crud on a Singer 27 I am listing for sale.  Gotta love that Tuff Stuff foam cleaner. 
This machine was commissioned in 1893.  I love the cabinet but the irons are noisy.  I tighten the nut but it loosens as I sew.  Steven made that nice new wooden pitman and I hate to let it go.  It's time.  Hopefully someone will love it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I ran into a friend of mine today.   She is sending intentions for a friend of hers.  Intention for healing, for tolerating the treatment, for living in comfort.  I like this idea.  It rings true for me since I don't pray.  But this could be a prayer, without the deiety involved.  Not that there is anything wrong with deieties.  I am not saying that.  Sending intention seems more powerful to me.  With that, I intend to do just that; send intentions to those in need.

There certainly are many in need now, yes?  We can send prayers, intentions, good thoughts to all who are in need.  And those of us who have plenty, should do just that.

I worked on the scrappy quilt today.  Actually I spent a fair amount of time organizing my scraps. then I had some fun with the design board at the Quilt Zoo.  Oh that I had that kind of light in my sewing loft!  Oh that I had that much wall space in my loft! 
When I step back far enough, which was impossible to do in my loft, I see the design and don't feel so dizzy. 

I am liking this.  I reckon I will tweak it so that the centers are more distinct.  Could be a fun one to quilt edge to edge. 

My intent with big block quilt, now on the frame, was to quilt it edge to edge.  Nope.  That didn't happen.  The quilting isn't showing up so well right now.  Once it is finished and washed, I think it will show.  It isn't as dense as some of my other stuff and I am learning more about avoiding stops and starts.  Using the same color of thread helps too.  I do, though, want to just start at one edge and work all the way across the quilt.  Maybe one day.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


I filter all comments.  Occasionally I am amused by the spam.  This is an example:

 I was getting bore since morning but as soon as I got this link & reached at this blog, I turned into fresh and also joyful too

 There was a link attached which I could not delete from the comment so I cut and pasted it here.  I know that businesses are commenting to increase the hits to their sites.  I don't mind that.  I don't have to help them, though.


I Like It

 I finished this scrappy quilt and am quite pleased with the result.  The scrappy squares are quilted along the diagonal strips, not in the ditch, not even close.  I wasn't going for perfection.  The flowers are quite "organic."  I did use a ruler for the straight lines.  The quilt wasn't square so I couldn't use the channel lock on the frame.  Lots of starts and stops so lots of threads to bury.   

I like it.  Piecing design and quilting are mine, and mine alone. 

I started sorting and cleaning the loft and found this bag ready for construction.   I put it together.     This design tends to be a bottomless pit, though.  The zipper, while the right color, is the wrong type and doesn't work so well.  I like it, even so.  I am using it.
Not right now, though.  I am using my Fave now because I am traveling.  It is bigger and has pockets outside as well as in.  Much better for organizing.  A very dear friend made this bag for me.  I like it.

(It used to have an "E" button on the front.  Alas, it fell off. I can be hard on bags)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


A couple of weekends ago, Steven and I took care of the DGD for two days and two nights.  She is cuter that cute and I had more oxytocin running through my bloodstream than is legal, I am sure.  It felt illegal anyway.  I was JUST SO HAPPY.

For some reason, DGD decided that the tote bag hanging next to her stroller in the foyer was hers.  
 We took a walk Sunday morning before her parents returned.  She insisted on dragging the bag along after filling it with her bunny and her tiger, a bathtub toy and some squiggly spongy thing.  Very important cargo, no doubt. 

 She clutched it in her lap once she climbed into the stroller.  Even when she nodded off and the dang thing slipped, getting tangled in the wheels, she wouldn't let it go.  NO!  MINE!