Monthly Archives: January 2012

Progress Report on Sewing Room


 My son has completed my cutting table. It looks great–although I cannot take a photo of it at this point — too much “construction” stuff in the way! I can hardly wait to start filling the cubbies with all the stuff temporarily stored in the living room. I’m sooo paralyzed! Plus life is still happening around here with DH carpel tunnel surgery on one hand, then cat surgery on her ear, nightly revival services at church, and of course work.

My son and I (mostly my son) spent about three hours on Saturday assembling the Ikea bookshelves.

Here is a photo after he completed three.  The lighting is all wrong — they are white.  He’s done one more and has a wide one left to do:

 After he finished the bookcases, I can start moving in.  My chair is ordered and will probably arrive just as I need it.   We still have to paint the closet doors & install the curtain rods.   But the end is in sight — I want to be D-O-N-E with this room!


My First Machine Quilting Effort!


Since my sewing area is in chaos, I’m not getting much done in the course.  I have no place to set up my machine in the house at this time.  But, I am trying to participate in the Sandstitchers Quilt Guild projects for their upcoming quilt show in May.  Last night was the first “project night” I attended.  Peggy led us through making tea towels for the sales “boutique”.

I got to “practice” machine quilting on this.  I did a loop-de-loop design, and it was VERY rough.   Peggy had created excellent instructions on creating the tea towel.  Quilting was optional, and instead of quilting mine before sewing it to the towel, I did mine at the end.

The tea towel below is not a Quilter’s Academy project, but since it was my very first “machine quilting” effort, I figured I’d photo it for posterity, crooked bottom seam and all.  I have many more self-criticisms (bobbin thread bunched up on me once, I sewed on the towel part backwards, etc, etc).

Francis gave me some good machine quilting pointers that I will try next time I practice.   THANKS PEGGY & FRANCIS!

Before we left, there was a time for mutual admiration of work accomplished — I liked how everyone else’s towels turned out.  Everyone is so creative!

Ikea Store


Remodeling the spare bedroom into a sewing room is still in progress.  My son is making progress on the cutting table.  Our trip to the Ikea store in Houston took a few days away from that project.

I purchased the Billy system bookshelves (see previous post) and a Lycksele brand futon.    I decided to purchase the tan cover instead of making my own.  I’ll throw a quilt over the back for accent.

I’ve also ordered a custom Heavenly Sewing Chair from Loren Korell in this lovely fabric pattern “Acanthus Lagoon by Mayer Fabrics:

It should arrive in about 3-4 weeks.

Lessons learned — Slipping ruler

While cutting last night, it seemed the harder I pressed down on the ruler, the more the ruler had a tendency to slip slightly.  I caught the movement and was able to readjust the ruler before cutting, but it happened more than once!   Also, I cut slowly so I could notice any movement and as I would get toward the top of the 11″ fabric, the ruler would start to move just a fraction.    

Rereading the lesson this morning, the things I did RIGHT were: 

   –Fabric was well pressed and starched with Faultless Heavy Starch

   –Cutting mat was on firm, flat surface with plenty of room

   –Fabric was folded wrong sides together, selvege edges lined up, then folded a second time

   –Ruler  was several inches longer than the folded fabric (mine was an Omni-grid ruler 18″ long x 3″ wide.  According to the lesson, a 2 1/2″ to 3″-wide ruler is adequate when cutting narrow strips.


The “Light bulb” moment was when I read that I should “Place ring finger of the hand holding the ruler against the ruler’s outside edge — This helps brace the ruler.” —- Ohhhhh!   Here is how I was holding the ruler compared to the “right” way:


Another thing I didn’t do was walk my fingers up the ruler to keep it straight and accurate.  Here is the correct hand position:



TABLE HEIGHT WAS WRONG — I knew that before I started.  I was cutting on my dining room table — only 30″ high and I am 5’7″ tall.  This may have also contributed to the slippage.   My arm was NOT “extended comfortably at about a 45 degree angle” —  Given my current choices, the dining room table was better than cutting on my wishy-washy ironing board, but neither is “good”.  

Soooo, in addition to correcting my positional mistakes in the future, I am going to try adding some Dritz Clear Fabric Grippers to my ruler.  That lifts the ruler off the fabric, but the grip on the fabric is very “strong”. 

Dritz fabric “grippers” – clear
This evening, I’ll be sewing the strips together — but first need to read all about thread sizes, matching needles to thread size, measuring that 1/4 inch seam, and the various seam guides to choose from.  After I do that, THEN I can sit down to sew. 
I am in the training business, and thus far, this book is very thorough as well as easy to understand!  Two thumbs up to Ms Harriet and Ms Carrie for such a fine job!

Class 120 – Fabric


I’ve moved on to Class 120 although I’ve only completed three of the four lessons in Class 110 — my sewing area (Lesson 1) is still in progress. 

Today we prepped for painting the walls and trim and we got the ceiling painted.   After the walls and trim are painted, I will be making a cutting table.  I still plan to get those Ikea bookcases, and find a good sewing chair.

Here my son is removing several layers of latex paint from the window sill.  It’s almost like ripping out a seam.  The paint was pretty thick–there were at least three coats.

Since I can do a few things on the dining table, I’ve pressed on to through the first four lessons in Class 120 — 1) All about fabric, 2) washing your fabric, 3) working properly with a ruler and 4) cutting straight strips!

Here are the results of straightening the dark fabric.  This piece was 3/8″ – 1/2″ off.

I cut my second piece of stripping very “off”.   This was a really, really bad cut!  It is supposed to be 2″ and tapered off quite a bit–not just a thread or two.  I don’t remember the ruler slipping so I must not have laid down the ruler correctly!  I tossed this one into the scrap bin.

And below are my “perfectly straight” 2″ strips — all ready for Class 130!

As a side note, this week, I joined a local quilt guild–the Sandstitchers Quilt Guild–a great group of very talented ladies judging from the Show and Tell!    They are also very busy bunch.  It’s nice to see so many involved.   I was happy to find that I am already acquainted with three of the members from work!

So Easy to Assemble the Sew Ezi Sewing Table


My new Sew Ezi table arrived yesterday evening and I put it all together.  It’s absolutely wonderful.  The previous cabinet that I used for the past 30 years really does not have room for my legs!  Pure torture!

The custom insert fits my old Bernie 830 just perfectly!  Here are the photos.  Look at how that insert snugs up against the arm of the machine!  It’s clear so you can see the base, but that acrylic insert makes everything flat!  I have to gently lift the acrylic up a miniscule amount in order to open the door to change the bobbin, but that will not be an issue.

Here is the right side of the machine on the table.  I will put my machine on some rubberized shelf liner to eliminate any possibility of it “walking off” the edge.   You can see one of the rollers on the bottom right side.

And lastly, here is a close up of one of the rollers (the other is in the background).  Don’tcha just love the purple legs!

 All in all, I found it super easy to put together.  I can hardly wait to cut my fabric out and begin using her — I don’t think I will wait for the painting to be done!

“Peaceful” & White — Sewing Room Colors


My son is coming this weekend to help paint the room I am setting up as my sewing room.  Right now it is a dark federal blue and the walls have dings.  The floors are a light pink / light terra cotta type color.   I went to Lowes and brought back several color cards I thought might work, and then went back again — and picked out a few more.  I really wanted something green or blue that was calming.  The one I settled on was appropriately called “Peaceful”.

Playing on the Valspar paint website, I found a kitchen that had white counters to try to get close to the same “look” as having white book cases and cutting table.    The app is such a great tool for planning purposes.  I had a blast looking at several combinations of colors of apricots, blues and greens.   HERE IS THE PICTURE OF A ROOM with walls in the “Peaceful” with “Cottontail” as trim from the Valspar website color selector.   I don’t like the “Cottontail” (the light color trim), and will stick with white — but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the walls!

Colors: "Peaceful" and "Cottontail"

 Hmmm — I wonder how the purple legs on the Sew Ezi table will look — I just might have to do something about that!  More to come . . .