Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Shop Talk is Born!

There are many times I want to write about things I learn at the shop. I work at a Pfaff/Husqvarna dealership 1 day a week. It's also a quilt fabric shop. Now, you may not want to read any of that shop talk, so I will warn you with the Shop Talk heading. Consider yourself warned.

Now this is also my blog, so no one tells me what to write or how to write it. I don't discuss what I may or may not write at work. So, it may be shop talk, but it's still all me.

The simple things are so true. I'm finishing up a project for the boss and I can't get a good stitch formed. My seams are wonky, the tension is tight and stitches are not locking. The only good thing I could say was that it was really easy to rip out, which I did several times. Finally the Great P looks over to see what I'm up to and calmly suggests my thread tension would be better if I had the thread on the thread spool properly. This what I had.

This is what I should have had.

It seems the thread slides off the spool better this way without a little tug after every round. Makes sense, doesn't it? You see why I call her the Great P. Her knowledge is vast and all encompassing.

This is what the seam looked like after. I was putting in a invisible zipper. The still remaining puckers on the right are the part I refused to tear out again. Note the invisible zipper foot. This little darling works beautifully, unless you put the zipper teeth to the wrong side. Yes, I like to experience learning to its fullest. Thankfully you don't have to remove those stitches. They just don't get as close to the zipper teeth as you'd like. So you just pop in another row with the zipper teeth properly placed and you have a perfect zipper. 

I LOVE YouTube! The sewing, quilting and craft videos there are so helpful and inspiring. I could watch Missouri Quilt Company videos all day, and have. When the duck quacks, I'm there. As I'm new to quilting I get to see lots of patterns, how rulers work and pick up tips. Now another company I get lots of info from is Heirloom Creations. They talk about lots of neat things. Today I watched excellent videos on all of the different Schmetz needles available. I came away thinking Universal needles are really a last resort. I also learned to use stretch needles when sewing on velcro. I saw videos on several Anita Good embroidery designs. When you see these made up they really come to life. Can you see why my wardrobe sewing has suffered lately? I need to get back to it. I have piles of fabric and new patterns. Yep, I hear them calling. Bye!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Here Comes Mommy With the Baby Carriage

I've exercised faithfully for 2 days now. Why do I still have no waist?

No waist at all. No hips or booty. I am a cylinder. Like a can of peas. Hmmm....

And I swear that second container of cappuccino frozen yogurt was not there in the cart when I left the store. That's the truth.

I went biking in the park this morning and had to slow for a procession of 5 mommies jogging with baby carriages and their own personal trainer. They all had a waist. AND a baby. Maybe I need the personal trainer?

The Great P says I have gone over to the dark side with all my quilting. I am itching for a new dress, and lo, Vogue heard the call and finally delivered 3 new patterns to my mailbox. They are getting faster with their deliveries, but I am not patient, and 2 weeks or more is a long time. Do you order from the web site? The sale prices are very good, and you can create a wish list for consideration. When I buy patterns there they automatically put them in my Sewing Kit HD app data base. I like that. However the app itself has bugs, creepy crawly little crashing bugs. They seem to be getting under control, but I may have to shoot them off another note.

Have you ever emailed an app developer? You just go to their web site through the app store and contact them. I've done it a few times and they always get back to me, as many times as it takes to solve the problem, or to reply to my suggestions or complaints. I am always amazed by that. It's like all app developers take lessons from somebody's mother on how to be polite. I have yet to be left hanging.

I will be getting to the dresses shortly. I have another quilt project first. I also have to start the research, as M and I signed up for Corset class at NSCAD today. We got 25% off tuition cost because we signed up together. I understand we may need to know things. M is already planning to be contrary to expectations. I think he hit that when he signed up.

DH and I are counting and organizing ducks in the count down to this weekend's Ledwidge Lookoff Rally. It is the event of the year for us, and we have Quebec teams expected. It's also the first time we have a spectator stage - where cars race and people can watch. Usually you have to crawl through the woods and sit with flies buzzing for hours for that to happen. So fully prepped race cars will be sliding at high speed all through Conrad's Quarry at 5 pm on Saturday if you are so inclined. You have to be in place before 5, as we close the course then to all movement. Takes about an hour for all the cars  to complete 2 laps. The cars will also be on display at Dartmouth Crossing from 2 to 4 pm on Saturday. Sunday sees the serious stages in the woods up near Tennycape. I will be the one in the dust covered shirt that says "Only bears P in the woods."

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Professional Tote, finally!

The Great P decided we were going to make the Professional Tote bag. It looked like a good idea, and we thought it might make a good class at the shop. Well yes, and yes. But it took me FOREVVVVVER. There were a lot of steps and I had to read the directions. I'm not good at directions. I find them tedious. And usually annoying. These instructions were annoying because they were well written, accurate and if you follow them religiously all things go well. So unexpected. I was trapped!

And yet I still managed to go astray occasionally. Don't look at the handles too closely. I may yet take that one out for a redo.

I am so pleased with the result! I had to run out and buy it a matching umbrella, and I even paid full price for it. The bag is meant to travel with you, and it has lots of thoughtful pockets to help with that. There are outside end drawstring pockets for water and umbrella. There are zipped, open, tabbed and expandable pockets. The inside centre pocket is zipped and takes a small laptop or iPad nicely. There's even a strap for hitching it to your luggage, but it lays flat when not in use so it's like an invisible helper.

The Great P and I went with DecoFuse for the outer panels. This gives it excellent stiffness. I cut mine to fit just to the seam allowances, so I didn't need to sew through more than 1 layer. We used a duo side fusible foam to line the laptop pocket. It isn't as easy to fuse, but really does a nice job of padding. We went with an optional zipper installation that lets you open the bag fully. Excellent idea. Those instructions are posted here and shared by a generous and brilliant blogger.

So I would highly recommend this bag, but also would say safety comes in numbers here. Do it with at least one friend. It takes time and faith, but turns out really well!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Goyle Squoyle

I took a lot of sewing books out from the library recently. I just searched sewing and reserved everything I didn't recognize. These 2 books have lots of projects. The Japanese sewing characteristics have a lovely whimsy and classic look. I do love a nice tea cozy. We have squirrels in the garage and they drive us nuts with their gathering and storing in poorly chosen places. As nesting seems to be involved, we call them the 'bad girl squirrels' and that has evolved into 'those bad goyle squoyles!' Say it a few times. It works.

Then we had these great prints at work and I wanted to quilt. I thought this would be a beginner quilt. Now it theory it might be, but I may have a quilt disability. I got this idea from a magazine, but wanted to change dimensions. The squares are on the diagonal and this meant I needed to pay attention to the diagonal measurement when setting quilt dimensions. My head hurt. Quite a bit. All I really needed to do is ask the Amazing P as she knows all when it comes to quilt math. I know this now! She whipped through the math needed for borders on my second quilt, and I still really don't understand what she did. However, I know where she lives.

Have you figured out the neat part? The squares on the front stop about 1/3 of the way to the top edge. Then they reappear on the back, on the top 1/3. This means you can turn back the quilt and bedazzle everyone with your amazing trick. Wooooowwwwww! I know. Too cute. Now, if I had made the quilt longer I could tuck my pillows under the turn back (second pic) for a true retro look. But I didn't think of that, and I don't think it was what I wanted anyway.

I had the shop quilt it. I've never done that before. We used a variegated thread and a simple swirly pattern. It really suits the quilt and shows up well on all those cream squares. Our shop quilter girl M had to make the back and front diagonal squares meet and line up. We hadn't considered that. As the squares also end at the quilt edges there was no room for messing around. I understand strong language was involved. I wasn't there. That was been a good thing. However, M now has X-ray vision to see through quilts from all angles. She did a great job! Don't you love the prints? Retro, but updated.

I have another quilt at the shop for quilting now. I think I prefer to do the quilting myself. I don't like to hand off my works of whatever to others. When I look at something I like to have ownership of all the warts and wiggles. However, the long arm quilter does a lovely job, and it is good to try new things.