Didn’t think you’d hear from me so soon, did you!

January 16, 2017

WOOT!   I have an unexpected day off.  I got up, checked the weather and road conditions, and sent email to manager that I’d be in closer to noon-ish.  He emailed back work is closed?!  I never even thought to check the closures, they close so rarely.  Maybe 4 times in almost 40 years?

2nd QOV top - string pieced blocks

So this morning I got the backing for the QOV top pieced and pressed, and a photo of the top.  I guess I should have hung up those shirts on the chair first.  Now to decide whether to work on the cardigan or some hand quilting, or needlework.

Still no photo of the last top I finished.

While I’m thinking about it, I have a request for bloggers, especially those who use Blogger – please add “name/url” or “name/email” to the options for commenting.  I refuse to mix work and personal Google IDs on my home computer and the work computer.  That means often I can’t comment on breaks/lunch at work.  Too often the WordPress option gives OpenID errors.  And too often I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write and where by the time I get home.  Thank you!

A bit of news on the sewing front…

January 15, 2017

Since the last post, here’s what I did the rest of the time I had off in January –

I heard back from Union Special, they said it’s an 1800AA or AG, for sewing bags, made in 1915.  Also attached to the reply were 3 files of manuals.  Sweet!  At first, when I saw “for sewing bags” I thought handbags, but then saw in the manual it’s for sewing things like feed, flower, sugar bags and such.  Now I can try and figure out what needles it needs.  Even if I only ever give it a spin or two by hand, it would be nice to see it actually make stitches.

I did get the insulation sheets and design wall put together.  It is 2 full sheets of 2 inch thick pink foam board, curtain lining flannel duct taped on.  I used curtain flannel because it’s 54 inches wide, gotten on a pre-Christmas sale plus coupon at Joann.  I did a minor goof and somehow with all the flipping of flannel and insulation sheets, got the flannel on the printed side of the insulation.  There’s a bit of shadow from the printing, but not bad.   I guess if it bothers too much I’ll have to keep making quilts, or at least blocks, to cover it up.  I think I need to fasten the top ends to the wall so I can move the bottom closer to the wall.  One cat thinks that the little space is just perfect for sleeping.


Auditioning string pieced blocks for QOV top.

The quilt blocks shown here are for my 2nd QOV quilt top, and needed pins, as those block were on paper and did not stick.  I ended up going with a vertical zig-zag.  I bought those blocks at the Quad City quilt show in 2016, 2 packs of 50 each for a total of $30.  While they may have saved a lot of time cutting fabric and piecing blocks, getting that paper out was a time consuming Royal Pain In The A…….   Also, some of those blocks had seams very close to the corners, so close that some of my seams had the corner seams allowances in them.  I won’t say I’ll never use those again, but I don’t think it will be any time soon.


American Jane – Merry Go Round pattern

The blocks in the 2nd photo are ones I’ve had partially done for a few years, but never had a place to lay them out.  The wall made it SO much easier.  I’ve been looking at the arrangement, and every now and then I move a couple of blocks.  For example, on the lower left, there were blocks with black and red outside rings right next to each other.   I’ve moved the red to the right side.  I think I’m finally happy with it and need to make a template so I can double check that the half-hexagons are correct so it hopefully goes together without much drama.  It is an American Jane pattern – Merry Go Round, made with 3(?) jelly rolls of Punctuation fabric, also American Jane.  It’s a lot brighter than the photo shows.  I really need to do something about the lighting in the room.  I added 2 vertical rows of hexagons and 1 horizontal row, as the pattern sizes seem a bit small for use on a bed, but on that wall, now it seems huge.  OTOH, there’s a quite a few seam allowances not sewn in yet.

I got the Vogue 9057 top finished, and figured out the cover stitch (Janome 1000CPX).  Sorry, no photo at this time.  The first issue was figuring out how to thread it.  I used the tie on and pull through, as the manual and my eyes or comprehension were not cooperating.  I was so happy to see that each needle has its own set screw.  My serger has only 1 screw to hold both needles and usually much foul language is used when inserting 2 needles on that.  The cover stitch would go fine for about an inch or so, then things would hang up.  I finally figured out that the little extension table was put on wonky in back and the fabric was hanging up and not feeding thought.  We will not discuss how long it took to figure that one out.  I raised the back and side necklines on this top by 1 1/2 inches, and like it much better.  Next time I’ll also add about 2 inches to the sleeve length.  I cut out a cardigan (McCall 5978) from some hot pink and black zebra-ish print, probably from either Hancock (I still miss them!) or Joann.  I would have gotten it farther along, but ended up spending a day thinking about DH’s pension options which I wasn’t expecting to do.  I ended up putting the numbers in a spreadsheet and making graphs because the way he had it figured had me confused.  We came up with the same results, but from different ways.

There was not much done in the way of sewing this weekend, I successfully ignored house cleaning last weekend, and could not put it of much longer.  Well, I *could* but there is one drawback of laminate floors I’ve never seen in the pro/con decision lists – if grit or dirt starts getting into the seams, they start making noise.

The forecast for freezing rain tomorrow morning just went from 0.06 inches to 0.16 inches.  It’s not a lot, but then it doesn’t take much for driving to become dangerous. Even if the main highways are passable, it’s the city/town streets that often remain iced over.  And the older I get, the less it takes to make me stay home.  I do not envy those of you getting the bunt of the storm.

Thanks for stopping by…

Holiday sewing

December 26, 2016

Long time no write.  Again.

Let’s see, no progress cleaning up the Union Special, other than giving the wheel a turn or two now and then.  I did just email the company asking if they had any information about her.

I found the F & P design wall sheet, right out in the open on top of the steam press.  I did get a few yards of flannel to cover some insulation sheets, but still haven’t gotten those.  Hopefully this week.

I have another Vogue 9057 top in progress in another Nicole Miller fabric from Joann.   I still need to sew the underarm/side seams and hems.  I think I’ll give that coverstitch I thought I needed a couple years ago a try.  If we don’t get on, I think I’ll be finding it a new home.  I’ve used the sewing machine for the other tops I’ve sewn in the last year and they look fine.

I’m off work until Jan. 9, a couple days will be tied up for running errands.  Hopefully I can get another QOV top done, and at least one more top done.  I had to finally remove a couple blouses I made years ago as the fabric around all edges just got too tatty.  I’ll post photos of whatever I do get done soon.

Oh – for anyone who has one of those d*mned lever operated bathtub drains (the plunger type not the pop-up), if it stops draining and there’s no gross crud blocking the drain, try flipping the lever a few times.  Even if you never use it to fill the tub.  We’ll not discuss how much time I wasted today trying to unclog a drain that was not clogged.

Edited to add – I forgot my manners!  I hope you had a good Christmas!  And since I doubt I’ll post before New Years, I hope you have a great New Year.

Time Flies….

November 6, 2016

Well, that 2 months flew by!  I have gotten the QOV back from being quilted (a simple stars and squiggles all-over pattern), and got the binding on it.  Now to get it delivered tomorrow, or Wednesday, presentation is Nov. 19th.  After making this, the Necchi is ready for some oil and cleaning!

The Union Special is no longer frozen.  I had to move it, and just for the heck of it, tried to move the pulley wheel (where the belt would go, it’s definitely not easily moved by hand) and it moved about a quarter turn!  Turned it the other way and it moved a bit farther, and after a few attempts each direction, it finally turns completely.  It’s still stiff, but with some more oil and turning, I think it can be brought back to life.  Now to contact the company for information about needle, threading, and missing/broken parts availability.

I also got a top sewn – Vogue 9057, in a Nicole Miller knit from Joann Fabrics.  I cut a size XXL, but I think I might have been able to cut a XL.  I also did a wee bit of FBA by adding just a bit on the front side seams from about 1 inch under the arm down about 4 inches and tapered back to the normal seam line.  All sewing done on the sewing machine using wobble stitch.  I really should use the serger on the next one.  And learn to use that cover stitch machine I thought I had to have.  One thing I didn’t realize while cutting out was that the neckline and sleeve cut was a raw edge treatment.  Not the look I was after, so I ended up having to piece the the neckline binding as I didn’t have fabric long and wide enough to do a single strip.  I just folded up a hem for the sleeves which are a tiny bit short.  One thing I’ll do differently next time is to reduce the neckline, as it is just a bit wide for my preference.  No straps (or anything else) showing, it’s more it would keep the sweaters I’ve been wearing with it from being scratchy on my neck.  And it’s rarely warm enough for me to not wear a sweater.

So, here’s some bad photos.  I really had to wedge into the small area at the mirrors, where the light isn’t all that great.  Maybe someday I’ll have a better setup, or master the timer on the camera, until then, this is what you get for photos on me.  Otherwise it will be photos on the dress form.


Vogue 9057, Nicole Miller knit fabric


Guess I should have straightened out the back – it stuck to my jeans after I was reaching around in my first attempts to take the back view photo.

I’ve been looking for my Fons & Porter design “wall” – it’s really a large flannel/vinyl sheet.  I found some Command spring clips to hang it up with in DS’s former room.  I have no idea where it’s at.  I had it clipped to the mirrors (closet doors shut) at one time, took it down and put it away so I could get in the closet.  Sigh…..maybe I’ll take the truck to work one day this week and buy a couple sheets of insulation board to prop up in there if it’s not too expensive.  That F&P sheet wasn’t all that big if I recall correctly.  Certainly not big enough for a full-queen size quilt.

That’s about it for sewing news here.  Maybe next time I’ll have more exciting tales and photos.  Bye for now…

Days Off Progress

September 9, 2016

I’ve been off work this week, using vacation days that must be used or lost by the end of the month.  As usual, I haven’t gotten nearly as much done as I planned.  One day had an unplanned excursion to Mt. Pleasant antique thresher & tractor show.  Now I can say I’ve been there.  The old machines were very cool (or rather very hot with all the wood smoke and steam), but LOTS of walking and noise.  At least it wasn’t too difficult to find a bench to sit on for a few minutes when my legs needed a break and it wasn’t 90+ degrees like it so often is.  Another day was lost to financial ponderings, I’m not too happy on this and will definitely let the money guy know!  The mystery Union Special machine has remained untouched, I’m beginning to think this one will be a candidate for a new home.

On to what I did get done that I had on the plans to do – the potatoes are dug, pitiful results this year but no one to blame but myself for not getting them planted until June.  I organized the quilting fabrics that I moved to the closet in DS’s room (he moved out the end of July), I attempted to fix the cutting table wheel (JB Weld on the broken weld, not sure if it’s a fix or fail), put the sling back under the cutting table and put interfacing and pattern tracing paper back in it (now I can close the closet in the sewing room if I want).  In the process of doing that, I found 2 rolls of InvisiGrip that I just knew I had, but didn’t know where it was.  Now if I can just find that Fons & Porter design wall sheet I know is somewhere.  And the highlight – I finished my first QOV top.  I made either a cutting or sewing error, but the blocks had to all be recut to 6 1/4 inches square, not the 6 1/2 inches I was aiming for.  It also still needs pressing.

Scrappy Rail Fence QOV top, still needs pressing. After fixing the cutting or sewing error, it ended up 57 1/2″ x 80″


Quilting fabrics, left side

Quilting fabrics, left side of closet, 2 vintage embroidered quilts needing repairs hanging up.


Quilting fabric, right side

Quilting fabric, right side

It’s hard to believe I had all that fabric on the shelves stuffed on 1 shelf in the sewing room, no wonder it fell on my head a couple times and I didn’t know how much and what I had.  I’m restraining myself from moving anything else into the room.  IF I make it my sewing room, it needs painting as dark army green just isn’t my color.  Also the carpet would need to go.  I have a short berber carpet in the current sewing room and I HATE it as it makes it too hard to roll the chair up to the machine, even with a chair mat.  I also suspect that’s part of the reason a weld holding the wheel mount on the cutting table broke.

I’ll lose most of this afternoon to an appointment, and then there’s the normal cleaning/grocery run to do before Monday.  I’d still like to organize the garment fabrics and do a bit of garment sewing.  And now that I figured out how to get photos off the phone, I need to find where they went on the Mac before I clean up the phone.  We’ll see how much I get done, as usual I have too much plans, too little time.

Mystery Machine

July 16, 2016

Here are photos of the mystery machine, found last summer, sitting outside, barely under an open roof area at an antique shop going out of business.  I waffled, walked away….what’s that I hear?!?!   A quiet cry “Don’t leave me! Pleeeeease don’t!”.  Sigh.  My thoughts interrupted by the owners comment of “half price!”   My resolve was sunk.

She’s filthy, I have done nothing to her, other than sit her on the floor in the sewing room, out of the weather. The only part that moves is the pressure foot will raise and the bed comes off, otherwise she’s locked up tight.  I see no markings, other than what is probably a serial number on the top arm which reads (115997).  Now that I have had the bed off for photos, I don’t see anything that would catch the thread to make the chain stitches, at least I’m assuming she’s a chain stitcher.  If not, there’s a whole lot more parts missing.  Edit: After taking photos, I realized there is a bottom piece that looks like a serger looper.


Front view

Front view

Back view

Back view

front view with bed removed

front view with bed removed

back view under bed

back view under bed




bottom hook

2 tension pins, the front tension pin is empty

And now I realize no spool pin, but she does have 2 tension pins (1 missing the disks), might she have been for factory use?  I’d appreciate thoughts on her past!  And how to set her up for use if I ever get that far.

Slight sewing update

July 7, 2016

Three months?  Already?!?  Well, it doesn’t take long to fall off the posting routine, does it?  Especially when you really have no sewing or needlework progress to post about.  And I don’t want to come here whining about not sewing or stitching.  I’ve been on vacation from work this week, and got a grand total of ONE small item sewn so far.  I lost one whole day to financial crap, another day went to garden work.  Tomorrow I go to the quilt show in Muscatine, it is open on Saturday as well.  And I *have* spent 2 full days in the sewing room so far.

Here’s the completed project –

Remember Me Pattern Co.

Remember Me Pattern Co.

DH’s step Grandpa’s funeral flag (WWI veteran), a cross stitch project from years ago, DS’s prize winning American Legion Memorial Day poster, barn board flag and the new wall hanging.

It is a pattern by Remember Me Pattern Co. (no website), On Point Flags.  I got the pattern at Heartland Cottons in DeWitt, IA.  They have a lot of their patterns in stock, and some kitted up.   I used fabric from my stash.  I used 3 each red, white & blue, plus the tan for the background and backing.  The hanger is a bit of gold cording from the stash tacked on at the top.  I’ve never done paper piecing before, and it took me a whole day.  While I like the results, it seems like it could waste a lot of fabric.  Or crumbs for those who like to make those blocks.

In other sewing related news, I moved the Queen Ann cabinet with the Singer 15-91 from the sewing room to a corner in the living room, and shifted the Necchi back around to the wall.  The leaf is folded out laying on top of the other Queen Ann cabinet.  If i need to open that one (not until I get around to rewiring it!) I can still lift the Necchi leaf and get the 201-2 out.  I’m leaning more toward selling the 2 15-91s and 201-2s and am keeping an eye out for a treadle model 15.  So far the few I’ve found are rust heaps, so far away shipping would be involved, or sellers want to fund their retirement with what they are asking.  A while back, while pondering the sewing room state, I noticed a wheel on my cutting table crooked.  The wheel itself is fine, but the weld holding the wheel mount to the frame let loose on one side.

On the quilting front, hand quilting the bird quilt is still sporadic.  I make myself work on it for a night or 2, tell myself to keep at it every night, and then…..don’t.  My travel work project is a Halloween biscuit quilt, it’s progress is also sporadic.  I signed up for Freedom Stitchers, the Quilts of Valor group in Cedar Rapids.  I need to root through the stash and find suitable fabrics for that.

So, in the vacation time left, I hope to finish straightening up a couple more corners in the sewing room, maybe sew a top, or at least set out fabric and pattern combination, and maybe pull out the QOV fabric.  Or work on piecing the back for a quilt top I finished last year(?).

Thanks for stopping by, I’ll try not to be so long before posting again.

If you can possibly help out….

March 31, 2016

The local no-kill animal shelter is in dire financial straits.  They’ve never been financially comfortable, but now they are in danger of closing in a few months.  If anyone stopping by could help out, it would be highly appreciated.  And donations are tax deductible.  Here’s a link to their Go Fund Me account –

Friends of the Animals – Tipton, Iowa

The staff at the shelter and all the animals thank you.


Five weeks already?!?! And the seat covers ARE now finished!

March 8, 2016

No wonder 5 years slipped by so easily without posting, these five weeks just flew by!  I may need to rethink the Sunday night posting schedule.  By the time I get the last “gotta do” tasks before work on Monday, posting seems to slip my mind.

Now, about those seat covers (sorry no new pictures, there really isn’t much to show) –

After getting in and out of the car a few times, it became apparent that a few tweaks were needed.  The seat cover fabric was just too slippery on the original seat fabric.

The seat back was pretty stable.  The holes for the head rest and the strap around the seat back worked well.

The first alteration was adding a dart to the front inside corner of the seat so it was closer to the underside of the seat.  This helps keep the cover from sliding toward the door when I get out.

Second, I added a strap to the back edges of the seat that go behind the seat to help keep the seat from sliding forward and the corners from flipping up.

Third, I stuffed a section of foam pipe insulation into where the seat and back meet.  This also keeps the seat from sliding forward.  That’s a tip I read somewhere for keeping furniture slip covers in place, I figured why not for car seat covers?

Fourth, a section of the non-slip shelf liner (the width of the seat) was placed between the seat and the cover to keep it from sliding in any direction.  I kept it toward the front of the seat, to help keep it in place as my legs are sliding under the steering wheel.

These changes have kept the seat cover in place nicely for almost 3 weeks now.

I need to remember to show them to the people at Hancock Fabrics (“my” store is closing, sniff, sniff.  WAHHHH!!!).  I know a lot of you did not like your Hancock store, I will miss the one I go to regularly.  Clean store, nice employees who knew at least a bit about sewing, some knew a LOT about sewing, and I had better luck finding garment fabrics there than at Joann.  That leaves the nearest Hancock about 90 minutes away, in a place I never go.  I guess I should be happy for my finances, I’ll probably spend much less on garment fabrics now.  And maybe patterns, as it seems like Joann has cut back on their pattern sales?  Then I wonder if Hancock would not have gone into bankruptcy again if at least now and then we all bought a pattern or fabric without waiting for a sale or coupon.  But they could have helped themselves by not having huge amounts of fleece and nasty feeling low quality polyester garment fabrics.  I also doubt the executives took any pay or bonus cuts, while paying those on the floor as little as possible, or not listening to the customers’ requests or complaints.  I haven’t gotten into buying fabrics online, I still need to see & feel it in person.  So far.  I should not be so sad, I have garment fabric and patterns to last at least several years of sewing.

I hope to get back to more sewing this weekend, the last couple of weekends have been tied up with financial tasks like getting tax forms together and double checking I have all ready for the appointment.  Add to that the normal cleaning and weekly supply run, Saturday & Sundays just fly by.  Also I think I need to rework the lighting in the sewing room, it doesn’t seem to be bright enough at night to sew during the weeknights.  The bit of light that comes in through the window during the daytime makes a big difference in my desire to do much in here.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

Possibly Finished Project – Seat Covers

January 30, 2016

Well.  The posting sort of fell off already, didn’t it.  Until today, I really didn’t have anything to show, so that would have been really boring for anyone stopping by.  I did get a bit more quilting done, but nothing photo worthy.  No more progress was made on cleaning up the sewing room.   No scratch that – I did buy a clothes rail and garment bags and moved some things out of the sewing room closet to that in the basement.  Along with all the table cloths fin the hall closet from Mom.  Two weeks ago, I was battling a cold, not the worst I’ve ever had, but that Sunday, I had no energy and slept most of the day.  Anyway, on to the big sewing news for this week…

The used car I got in July 2015 has all black interior – not my first choice of color.  But the heated steering wheel ranked higher than seat color.  My issue with the black seats is that it shows every speck of dirt or dust, and in summer is hot.  The search in local stores was futile – all black, brown or camo.  I wanted something bright and pretty.  And then, the question popped into my head – “How hard could it be to make seat covers?”.   The actual sewing wasn’t difficult, but the pattern making and figuring out how to make it was…time consuming.  I’ve had the fabric since September and have worked on this sporadically since.

To make the pattern, I took paper and pinned to it the seats and traced seam lines with pencil marks and holes and fingernail creases in the paper.  Hindsight tip – use non-slippery fabric (muslin or old sheet?) so it stays in place while marking.  I used outdoor fabric from Hancock Fabrics, not only because it *should* hold up to wear, but also to UV exposure.  I bought 3 yards, but I think I used just over 2 yards.  Most of the seams were double stitched using a 3.0 mm straight stitch, jeans needle, and normal polyester thread.  The thread is the reason I did double stitching on the seams, we’ll see how it holds up.

Here’s the results –

Seat Cover

Seat Cover, nice and bright. And NOT black.

Seat Cover back, strap with buckle at bottom


I may need to come up with a better way to hold the seat portion in place, right now they are just pulled down and wedged into the plastic part right beside the outer side of the seat.   I’ll see how much they slip around.  Perhaps some clips of some sort?

Would I do this again?  I don’t know.  I think I’d explore the internet for ready-made options first.  Or check with someone who does auto upholstery.  There are just too many other things I’d rather sew.