Thursday, September 15, 2011

… bee busy-ness

gold strip block

another block for do. good stitches love circle. this time natalie asked for something different, long strip blocks that measure 6 1/2 x 48 inches in one of three colors: plum, red, or gold. i chose gold, because you know me, i love yellows!

strip block plan

i know the block i made is shockingly basic (it is essentially a cascade of squares that start at 1 inch and increase to 2 inches, 3 inches, and then 6 inch squares) but still, i drew out a plan for it. but i'm glad i did, because after seeing it on paper i realized that the bottom corner needed more interest, so i added in a small panel of 1 inch squares to tie it back in to the top.

gold strip block

turns out this is my favorite part.

gold strip block

looking forward to seeing what natalie does with all of our blocks!

in other news, lately i've been having serious problems with my sewing machine (have i mentioned this before? i must have). it seemed to keep sucking fabric into the bobbin case and not feeding fabric properly under the foot. this has caused much agony and much use of the seam ripper. this week i finally took the time to bring it into the shop for service. but before making me shell out the $160 for service (which is more than i paid for the actual machine) the nice man took a look at it. turns out there were three easy fixes to making my machine run smoothly again.

sewing machine fix

the first was simply changing my needle. yup, i'm terrible about this. i have changed it a couple of times in the past two years, but not on a regular basis, so i stocked up on needles and made a vow to change it regularly. the second was simply cleaning out the bobbin case. now, i actually do this on a very regular basis by taking a q-tip and swabbing around to collect all the lint in there. it's very satisfying. but it turns out that i should also have been taking off the metal plate and cleaning around the feed dogs, too. when the nice man took my machine apart we found these amazingly large layers of what essentially was lint that had turned into felt collecting around the feed dogs. no wonder it wasn't feeding fabric through properly! he also showed me how to use canned air to really get out the stuff that hides in places you can't see. (side note: if you don't look at canned air and immediately think "i'm walking on sunshine!" then you don't watch intervention. oh how this makes me giggle every time, even though it really shouldn't.)

and, lastly, he showed me this miracle product called a quarter inch foot. how did i not know about this? do all you quilters already sew with a quarter inch foot and i'm the last one in the universe to get one? wow, what a difference that made! now the fabric sits firmly under the foot and i can also easily see where the quarter inch seam is without having to use tape to mark it on my foot. woo hoo!

improv quilt plan for august do. good stitches love circle quilt

i am also trying to finish up the august quilt for do. good stitches. i just love all the very different blocks everyone sent in! i originally planned to sash it in the linen you see under the blocks above (which was the trimmings from some ikea curtains for the nursery… isn't recycling the best?) but now that i have the blocks on there it feels a little too washed out. i'm thinking maybe a nice rich chocolate color would be better to help the blocks stand out, but i'm unsure. if anyone has opinions i'd love to hear them! especially before i go and order a bunch of fabric.

and how about new pictures of my little cutie? here's weeks nine and ten!

9 weeks

fabric: amy butler cypress paisley in blush (from the love collection)

10 weeks

fabric: alexander henry holland in blue

oh my goodness, how that little smile melts my heart.


  1. I love your gold block and the improv quilt. I think the linen sashing looks beautiful. I think a chocolate brown would look amazing as well.

  2. Your cascading block is neat! And your daughter just keeps getting cuter. :)

  3. I love your gold block so much! And how you finished it is perfection!

  4. Lovely block!
    thanks for the canned air tip. I always take my foot plate off and clean under it but there are still bits of lint so I've ordered a can of air. Yep, the whole world knew about 1/4 inch feet!

  5. I really like your cascading block - great idea and adding that little bit of patchwork to the largest block was perfect!

    Glad your machine guy helped you so much!

  6. OMG, where do I start with all this goodness. 1. Noticed your block on Flickr. Great idea! 2. I had the same revelation with the feeddogs last night. I was cleaning other parts, but not those. Durh. So glad it's fixed for both of us! 3. That smile. Adorable.

  7. Wonderful blocks for your friend.........but those chubby legs! Love.

  8. LOL about "Walking on Sunshine." My husband and I watch the series and that's been his favorite episode so for. And yikes about the cost of service! I used to have a guy come to my house to clean it up for $25. I moved to a larger city and balked when I was told it would be $90 - I actually put my machine back in the case and walked out. I've learned how to clean it up myself pretty well for now.

  9. OMG - I am sooooo glad you've discovered the 1/4 inch foot - not quite sure I know how to do piecing and quilting without it !