Market is coming…

It's a little crazy at my house now because I'm trying to get ready for the upcoming Fall Quilt Market – and Jeff is coming home for a long weekend! Sewing will be pushed back for a few days while we enjoy having him here.

I did want to take a moment to show you the skirts I'm in the process of making from our new fabric to wear at Market.

MakingSkirts

All of the skirts have invisible zippers and it's been a while since I put one in. Kay Whitt at Sew Serendipity has a zipper tutorial on her website that is very helpful. I know it helped me. We'll post more on the skirts and patterns when the fabric comes out.

 

Which end do you knot?

DonutDetail

I want to collect some data. This won't be a scientific collection of data, but rather an anecdotal sampling. When we thread our needle and then cut the thread, we have always knotted the end with the freshest cut. We do this because it cuts down on the knots and frays that form in our thread if we knot the other end. This is what we know works for us and it's what we teach.

Bob Purcell from Superior Threads recently wrote this in his most recent newsletter:

Question: When hand appliqueing or hand quilting, there is a school of thought that says you pull the
thread off of a spool and knot the end you cut while others say you
pull the thread off of a spool and knot the end you pull.  The notion
is that there is a twist to thread and pulling it one way through fabric is better than the other and pulling it the wrong
way ends up causing problems.  So, what’s the answer?


Answer:  It will matter if you use a low quality, loosely twisted,
budget thread.  If you use a
high quality thread with a tight, consistent twist (such as So Fine,
Bottom Line, MasterPiece, or Kimono Silk) for hand applique or King Tut
and Treasure for hand quilting, the twist is so smooth, precise and
consistent, the direction does not matter.

So what I want to know is what happens when YOU sew. Are you careful about the end of the thread that you knot? Do you have problems? Do they clear up if you knot the end we tell you to knot?  Who knows – in the years we've been appliqueing maybe thread has changed.

I'm off teaching Decatur and Bloomington, IL, this week. I'll happily read your responses from out there on the road.

Take off the weight in machine quilting…

When I visited Caryl Bryer Fallert a few weeks ago she showed me a system she uses to help hold the weight of the quilt she's working on.

QuiltPulley-01 

She modified the quilt cradle she bought from Carole LeRoy at Pain-free Quilting. The cradle has a 2-piece wooden part that attaches to your table. There are two screw-eyes that go into the horizontal arm of the cradle. A length of nylon cord is strung through each screw-eye and a toggle. One end of each cord is tied to a quick-release clamp.

Caryl decided that, since she never moves her machine, it was easier to suspend the clamps from the ceiling. So what you see in the photo is a piece of angle iron in Caryl's ceiling. There are two rods that have a hook in each end. A nylon cord is hanging from each of the lowest hooks. The little black 'button' is the toggle. The clamps are holding up the quilt she is working on.

Well, if it's good enough for Caryl it is very definitely good enough for me! I don't move my sewing machine either so Steve put two screw-eyes into the ceiling over my machine where I thought they would work best. I found the yellow toggles when I was in Australia and the quick-release clamps came from Lowe's.

QuiltPulley-02 

The nylon cord I used is the same type that you buy for roman shades. The toggle squeezes the cord, holding the clamp in place. If you squeeze the toggle to release the pressure on the cord, you can raise and lower the clamp to the height you need.

Here are my quilt clamps in use. Caryl was right – lifting this weight off the table does make it easier to move the quilt around. The clamps are clean and you can decide how much pressure to put on your quilt. This style of clamp does not require much hand strength to use.

QuiltPulley-03 

And a close up:

QuiltPulley-04 

The quilt cradle kit offered by Pain-free Quilting is very reasonably priced and the beauty of it is that you don't have to chase down the various parts of the system – they come to you in one box.

The urge to tidy…

Fall and spring bring out the tidy person in me. Honestly, now that the kids are grown and in their own places, my house stays a lot cleaner than it used to. But my cabinets still get messy and this is one of the times of year that I am driven to clean them up. BUT there isn't enough time in the day to get it all done. So yesterday I cleaned one cabinet…

Cabinet-01

Cabinet-02 

So, if I had been really crafty, I'd have painted the inside a fun color and papered the shelves. As it is, I just feel better. The other cabinets are going to get this treatment – after I get home from Illinois!

Boys and firetrucks…

When our boys were little we did our best to make sure that their toy choices were gender-neutral and non-violent. That was all the rage then (and it may still be). They each had a baby doll and/or stuffed toy that they loved a lot – but they also made guns out of anything they could find until we gave in and armed them with pop guns… and swords (it was the time of He-Man and Skeletor after all – see Chris, below). After a few years I realized that boys and girls are not interchangeable toy-wise and just went with it.

ChrisWithSword 

Jeff was more into Superman and cowboys – all at once.

CowboyJeff-01

My grandson, Jack, is all boy and he is already fully armed but truth be told he likes trucks more than weapons (usually). Especially fire trucks. This afternoon I took him to the Sherman Fire Station and he got to see the big ladder truck – and sit in the driver's seat!

JackInFiretruck-01 

In Sherman, if the doors are up you are welcome to come in and visit. An exceptionally nice fireman showed Jack and Elanor (who was with us and sort of interested) the trucks and the lights and all the cool stuff. They got fire hats which Jack prefers to wear backwards. He didn't wear it in the truck.

JackInFiretruck-02 

Jack enjoyed the real fire trucks and then he was ready to go buy the toy fire truck that I had promised him beforehand. It's good to be home and doing 'Nana' things!