Friday, September 23, 2022

Gadgets galore!

Thanks to Carol for organizing all our Gadget appeal and for including me in the mix. 

 What quilter does not have and assortment of thingamabobs to help us in quilting. Such rulers, pointers, turners, and more to make our lives easier as a quilter.  

I have drawers full of things, some from when I first started sewing back 45/50 years ago.  I took the required home economics in middle school, but selected a class my senior year. I had already sewn my first dress with arm and neck facings as well as a zipper when I was 10. So I was well familiar with the sewing machine. However, it introduced me into tailoring where I made my first wool suit. 

And over many decades I have transitioned through sewing for my kids especially smocking dresses for my daughter. And I made baby quilts and accessories.  That blossomed into quilting where I continue to new and varied techniques each requiring new gadgets. 

Some needed gadgets are expensive like a good set of Gingher scissors. The large one I have had for decades. The smaller one is awesome and has serrated edges and perfectly cuts fine lines and inside points.

Some gadgets are very inexpensive like freezer paper and other dollar store items for storage.

But my favorite gadgets are 

1) my wool pressing mat.  I only have a 12 square as when they first came out they were pricey. But I pin  a layer of  muslin to protect it from various stiffening sprays which then can be removed, washed and repinned. ( I left the stains on it so you could see them, but then changed it. ) 

I really find this helps my seams to be flatter and less misshapen. Although I do use a spray stiffener. I am not partial to any one brand, but do love the misting spray bottle. 

2) my seam rippers and I have many for those times where mistakes happen.

These are inexpensive ( TJ Max) facial hair trimmers. Really!

(Sorry, my attempt at a video failed.  You open the seam and push it on the threads.  It cuts it without hurting the fabric.  I have also seen it pushed in between the 2 pieces of fabric to cut all the threads.  this is similar to a seam ripper with a ball on one of the points. 

I also love my normal Clover ones.  I keep misplacing them. 

3) frixion pens.  I just love these to mark fabrics. They have a wonderful fine line and come in a variety of colors. And they erase when ironed. Yeah!   I like the ones with the lids not the clicker ones. They are only about 3 dollars or such. 

4) Lastly my clear rulers. I use these at the ready to mark my diagonal lines for half square triangles. But additionally It is at my side to measure small fabric lengths and check seam allowances. These are usually next to my machine, unless they have wandered to another location. 


5) Another notion I can not due without is my magnetic pin bowl. They were all the rage and beautifully painted.  But I purchased mine at Harbor Freight for a fraction of the cost.  This is so good to keep pins where they should be.  I find it so easy to drop the pin in the vicinity and it just goes there. It will attract pins, stick to your ironing board, and not spill when it is dropped.  

6)  An unusual notion is some pipe cleaners or chenille stems.  I really like these to help clean my sewing machine.  The fuzziness attracts the lint and holds it.  The wire in the middle is great for poking in cracks. 


7) Lastly, I love, love, love my thread cutter for chain piecing.  It was given as a gift as I would not have bought it for myself. And now, I can't sew without it. There are many brands and I think they all use a rotary blade you can spin or replace if it gets dull. My tiny screw driver is on the  bottom. 


Hope you learned something from the list and the photos.  Gadgets are ever evolving and we all want short cuts. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Not quilting

 I think the title is misleading, but.......I have been knitting.

  I purchased the wonderful pattern and yarn several summers ago in Canada when I visited mom.  It was in one of my all time favorite shops which I have visited for decades.  This funny little shop with old wooden floors  has 2 sides: one for bulk items in barrels and the 2nd side has books and knitting.  

I always find fabulous books there. As I teenager and then young mother it was craft books: felt or floss or whatever.  Now, it is to find interesting books for my grandsons.  

But this trip I saw this awesome scarf on the back wall and surrounding it was the pattern and color variations of yarn.  I chose the blue/purple shaded one. Although, I really like the one on the cover now.


In progress at my station to be away from my husband who tested positive for Covid a 2nd time.

Up close of the colors which doesn't show the sheen of the metallics.

Tres finit!  Or great finish in English.  No fringe, as I didn't quite follow the pattern correctly. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Great Wisconsin Quilt Show!

 The new fall season has 2 wonderful kick offs for me.

First, my husband and I have for the last 10 years taken a long weekend to Sister Bay in Door County.  It is always Marina Fest as well. We love, love, love, the wonderful Marina and walking up and down the different docks, watching the boats, the sunsets and this year mostly the choppy waves.  But it is so nice to get away just the two of us away from home. The weather was cool this year, so unlike the normal summer vibes.


                                                        The Packer Gnome and me

But the 2nd event is themost wonderful quit show here in Madison, Wisconsin only an hour away.   This is the first in 3 years following Covid.  This year, there was a new name and Nancy Zieman's company no longer runs it.  But it is quilts, and fabric and speakers much. 

I should have known it would be crowded when it took me 45 minutes from the ramp on the highway to get to the Alliant Energy Center . I could have walked there in 10 minutes or less.  Hmmm. staffing issues caused lots of the delays. 

But it did not dampen my spirits.  So much to see, so much to explore.  

Of course, I bought things.  ( I had already purchased the panel and pattern from Primitive Gatherings the previous week.)  And I am so excited to get a wooden walnut clapper at a terrific price. But I did not go overboard and refrained from purchasing too much as I need to finish the projects I already have. 

But the show quilts blew me away.  Truly.  Design, color, technique, miniscule quilting. Each quilt more gorgeous than the next.  There were 10 categories. 

There were entrants from across the United States from Florida to California, from all over the Midwest, of course, but so many states farther away: Nevada, Missouri.  This is in Wisconsin ; can you believe it?   And famous quilters:  Holis Chatelain, Karen Kay Buckley, Barbara Clem and Gail Stepanek to name a few. So here are some inspirational quilts. 

So there were Covid quilts:, of course, which I had to include. There were so fitting for the show.

But here were the show stoppers from the wonderful talents these national quilt winners:

Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchinson


Best of Show

Barbara Clem:   beautiful applique and embroidery

Holis Chatelain:  so real and all in blues. 

This was a small quilt and the threadwork is what made it colorful.

Karen Kay Buckley

It was just so wonderful to see such great works with incredible workmanship.
And that was only the tip of the iceberg for all the quilts in 10 categories. 

Friday, September 9, 2022

So many ideas, so little time.

 I am slowly reorganizing the sewing area and all the storage there and about.  It is a task I ABHOR. But the ends justify the means. And I know I will be better for it. 

But in the meantime, I keep sewing little by little on the many projects in progress:

1) Bee Happy:   Purchased on a trip around Wisconsin with my husband.  I needed to get this done as I do so love the colors and theme for late summer.  The centers are from a panel by 

2) 100 days 100 blocks:   I have made another 6 blocks.  They are quick and easy.  The hard part is selecting colors for the block. 

3) Handwork:  2 things going in the evenings:

Wool exchange for a friend

Cross stitch of fall leaves with variegated thread

First day of school here in Wisconsin on the first of September.  Oh, the sound of laughing children on the playground. It still feels kind of weird not teaching. But I do so enjoy my coffee and reading in the morning.