The block of the month projects for 2019 have been announced!
Since I began quilting, my main machine has been the wonderful Singer 401A that my Momma gave me when I was 18. I have owned many machines across the years, but have always gone back to the Singer 401 for my everyday sewing.
In January I bought a fancy (to me) Singer Quantum 9960. LOVE it, but sadly I have already broken it! It has currently been shipped to Arizona for warranty repair. You read that right, shipped off, as in Singer has ZERO certified warranty service centers in the ENTIRE state of Colorado. I was dumbfounded, to say the least.
So Jon and I got to talking. Since I enjoyed the computerized machine so much perhaps it was time for me to get a modern machine that also has a local service center. Something a tad more reliable than the Singer. I interviewed machines at the local Joann’s. Asked about service and wasn’t impressed with the answer.
Then I went to a local sewing machine repair and sale shop called Rocky Mountain Sewing and Vacuum. I spent nearly two hours inside being patiently helped and shown many machines. Finally, I narrowed it down to the Pfaff Performance 5.2. Rocky Mountain offered an amazing service package and I am quite a happy camper.
This machine is so much larger than anything I have used before. My sewing cabinet/desk that I have used for nearly three decades has now been sent back to Texas to Jamie Lee, with the 401 to follow at Christmas.
That meant I needed a new (to me) desk. I wanted something that had drawers on the left so that when I sat down I had enough desktop space for quilting. And no more than 4 foot long, I looked in thrift stores. I looked on Facebook Marketplace. I found the perfect desk at the ReStore. I jokingly sent Jon a message telling him I had found the most Pfabously Hideous desk possible for Pfat Albert (yes name my machines). I have a reputation for adoring ugly furniture. This solid wood desk meets all my requirements even though it was designed for a computer and has been lovingly painted a deep blue. The cost? Twenty dollars. The keyboard tray is actually an added bonus as it can hold blocks I am currently working on.
It all fit perfectly!
Sewing on the Pfaff is such a different experience for me. It is quiet, oh so quiet. How in the world did I live without a pivot feature? The knee lift is so convenient. I am very happy I took the plunge and got it.
Now for those who like me are very budget minded, let me share the gritty details.
Zero down, zero interest for 3 years, payments just at 100 a month. That includes the 4 years anything goes service agreement.
I use pressing sheet for my applique patches ALL the time. It is easy to take it for granted that everyone understands what they are and how to use them. Well, we are all beginners at some point, so here is a basic explanation. You can buy Teflon pressing sheets from many places. I get mine from Amazon, 3 sheets for around 5 dollars.
Here is a picture of my placement outline under the Teflon sheet. Notice how you can easily see the guidelines. If you need to, click on the picture to view it a bit larger.
Hello there! With the kick off of the Gnome for the Holidays block of the month, I have gotten a lot of questions about how I put something like this together. This is by no means intended to be a lesson or how to. Just sharing the method behind the madness here!
Oh before I begin to babble, this is the 2018 BoM from FatCat Patterns. You can find the downloads here
Blocks are free for the month they are posted.
You can follow along with the Facebook group and chat about your progress.
I do not send out personal emails, or download updates. You will have to visit the site yourself once a month.
I start off just like you, having to print out the pattern pages. Which I quickly separate by block. Each blocks pages get folded in half making a neat little packet. Then I begin tracing the patches onto my Heat Bond Lite. This is normally done on a TV tray in the evenings. As I trace I make any needed notations on the patches. Trim them to size, then slide them between the pages of their block.
The packets as I call them, are then stacked up in an empty box or basket to keep everything safe from pets. Or me tripping over them. Traced templates are not safe until they are securely ironed to their fabrics, lol. If the pattern has a LOT of patches per block I use gallon zip bags to store the pages and traced patches in.
Here in the apartment, I have this lovely island for the next bit. Although for years I have made do with using my ironing board for this. Each packet gets the fabrics that will be used stuffed into it 🙂 I tend to pull from my stash and use scraps for almost everything. Once the fabrics are all chosen, everything gets stacked back into the box. Another evening with the TV tray and the ironing mat will have all the patches fused to their fabrics. Scraps and odds and ends are put into another zip baggy in case I lose a patch and have to make another. Sometimes I find I just plain forgot to trace something!
Now the hard part for me. Cutting all the patches out! I like to use Ginger 8″ Featherweight Shears. They are the best I have found for my arthritis. Still, I end up taking many breaks and a few Aleve.
The part I enjoy the most is assembling the patches onto the base blocks. I pre-assemble as many patches as possible using a Teflon baking sheet. Especially the little stuff! So why the pressing sheet? Well, if you make a mistake it is easy to fix. Just let it cool then peel it back apart. Want to make sure you overlapped the edges enough? Flip it over and look. I am a huge fan of Teflon sheets. You can buy these at the local quilt shop, Joann’s and even most grocery stores. Mine is from Aldi and cost 5 dollars. man, I really do miss Aldi. Maybe one day they will come to Colorado.
Now with this block as an example. The gnome was pre-assembled. The blocks with letters were pre-assembled. And the entire Christmas tree with lights was pre-assembled. I folded my base block into quarters and ironed a good crease into it. Then I was able to use the placement guides (page 3 in the instruction package) to tell where each patch would sit. Sometimes your patches are not exactly as expected. Our hands shake while cutting or tracing (at least mine do). So some of the placement settings are personal judgment, making it look good to Your eye. If you look closely you can see that I cut a wee bit too much off of the blue block for letter L.
The stitching takes me awhile also. On this project, I am using my Brother 400 and a mock buttonhole stitch. Changing thread color to match the bright fabrics. Sewing slowly. Lots of pivoting. Minor swearing when the bobbin runs out. You would think by now somebody would have made a sewing machine with an economy-sized bobbin! At least the Brother is polite enough to warn me that it is running low.
I do my stitching assembly row style. Start with block one, sew everything red, move on to the next block and do the same. Get to the end of the stack of blocks, flip them over and start another thread color.
After that, it is pressing, squaring up. Then sew the top together. 🙂 I am not quite there yet so that picture will have to wait.
Here are some pictures of my blocks before stitching.