Welcome, “Laverne & Shirley II”!

I had this big, gaping hole in my sewing room for 3 weeks.

At 8 AM on a Friday morning a couple of weeks ago, this delightful sight showed up at my front door!

That’s right! Accomplish Quilting traveled all the way from St. Joe, Michigan (not far from where we used to live) to deliver my new longarm 🙂 As my brother so lovingly stated “Jesus, little drunk in it huh? By the truckload now!”. Yes, I’m drunk in my quilting, bro. I would like to introduce the newest family member – An Innova 26″ longarm loving named Laverne & Shirley II:

Dad looks like he approves!

I have to thank my mom for my machine. It was purchased with the money she left me after she passed away. She said “Use it on something you WANT, and that you’ll LOVE.” She taught me how to sew, loved my quilting, and I know she’d approve of this purchase!

The Innova was delivered by this sweet tech, Rico. Installer extraordinaire, lover of quilts, and a guy who is also planning his own quilt! He also has a hidden talent – he’s a cosmetologist!

Rico has waaay too much energy in the morning – he was rarin’ to go when he arrived. Walked about 10 loads down to the basement in no time flat. This, from a guy who doesn’t drink coffee! I as exhausted just watching him. Oh, BTW, much to our delight, 12-foot steel bars will round the corner to the basement door. We thought for sure we’d have resort to the second option of bring them in through the basement window.

Rico is a hard-workin’ fella. I figured my job was to keep him fed and hydrated, and to keep the tunes rolling. See the headphones hanging over his ears? He brought his own music, but my Alexa kept him singing all day long. That’s right. ALL DAY. I think we can add singer to his list of talents, too, because he’s good! It would’ve taken us a week to set all this up ourselves, lol. I tried to stay out of his way, but had to sneak in several times to check it all out – I was just tooooooo excited!

What did I love about Rico most? The fact that he was genuinely interested in the quilts in my room! He wasn’t just a “delivery guy” who grudgingly set up the system, but was actually engaged in the quilt world. He did a mini-class to make sure I knew how everything was loaded and how the machine ran, and answered all of my questions about the machine with true expertise.  Rico even let me make a video of how him threading the machine! 

I was amazed at how quickly I became comfortable with the Innova. After only one day on a practice piece, I loaded up the inaugural quilt.

I had started this quilt on the Voyager, and became so frustrated with the tension that I pulled it off. I’m excited to see the differences between the Voyager and the Innova, but that’s for another post. Needless to say, I’m happily quilting along right now!

On a side note, I have been nothing but thrilled with the sales and service I’ve received from Accomplish Quilting. Nearly everything was done via email since I’m 300 miles away. Eileen was my sales rep, and answered all 10,000 questions I had, without hesitation. I took a Beginner’s Innova Class (three free classes are included with the sale!) while I was up in Michigan in April, and I’m looking forward to the Intermediate Class in June, along with a Jamie Wallen class in August – woo-hoo! – one of my favorite quilters ever! Eileen has called just to check in and make sure everything was going well. Now, that’s caring service!

 

UFO Storage Tip

I used to do this:

But creating those labels on the computer was a pain. Plus, they were nearly impossible to get off again. Ugh. I found some chalk labels on sale at WalMart for less than $3 for 16 labels.

Used my chalk quilt marker to letter them…

Bingo! Easy to erase with a damp paper towel when I change out the UFO. And so cute. 

Now, if only I could actually find time to actually FINISH these UFO’s!

Feeding my quilting obsession

IMG_3819That’s what my cousin, Tanya, did for me – she fed my obsession. She lives in California, I live in Ohio. She wanted to make a t-shirt quilt, so I wrote this tutorial for her and some other family members who live far away. Well, two years later (and 500 Facebook messages, LOL!) she’s made one! I can’t show it yet, as she hasn’t given it to the recipient…I never ruin a surprise. I offered to quilt it for her, so she mailed it off to me.

We also started talking about what supplies she’d need for quilting. I mentioned that the Wonder Clips were great for more than just binding. I also use them for marking seams to sew, holding folded edges together on bag handles while sewing, etc. She Googled them and found these craft clips from Hayley Cherie. When I mentioned I’d be putting them on my wish list as they were cheaper than the Wonder Clips, the next day they showed up on my doorstep, along with this message:

IMG_3826To be honest, this little message alone is a much bigger gift. It not only means that I helped her, it means that I passed on a craft and became a “teacher”. What bigger gift is there than that?

But please…feel free to feed the obsession anytime 😉

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If it’s gonna happen….

….it’s gonna happen to me.

IMG_3439Yep. My favorite quilting ruler. It fell off my frame onto the concrete floor. And the company that makes it is no longer in business. DANGIT.

I was planning on having vinyl put on my floor this time around, but after this I think I’ll revert back to carpet. I’ve got a bad case of the “whoopsies”, and always seem to be dropping stuff. These rulers are just too dang expensive to break.

DH was a sweetie and offered to try to glue it back together.

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Let’s hope it works.

 

 

 

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Shirley gets blinged out :)

My midarm setup is called Laverne and Shirley. Shirley is the machine, named after my mom, who taught me everything I know about sewing. She recently received a fashion makeover when I found these at the Houston International Quilt Festival that Peggi and I attended in November. Had. To. Have. Them.

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Shirley2Another reason to smile whenever I quilt! These are from Quiltastick, are very affordable and very fun. They’ve got dozens of designs, you pick the colors, and they’re crazy easy to apply.

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Starting a tumbler

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Okay, I’m really embarrassed. This is the first time I’ve used my Go, and I got it for Christmas in 2011!. What was I waiting for??? I’ve always wanted to make a tumbler quilt, but never have. For cryin’ out loud, that’s one of the reasons I got the Go – I didn’t want to deal with cutting out weird shapes! So I pulled out my GO and cut up some scraps. had a blast cutting out the tumblers, and love that the corners are already snipped for you, so perfect seaming ahead! I’m making this quilt totally out of my stash – I had so many pieces of fabric that were too small for a full quilt, but too big to justify throwing out. Plus, you always need to make room for new stash, right?!?!?

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I was frustrated trying to find the cutting area to lay the fabric correctly on the dies without slicing my fingers up, so I outlined it with a silver Sharpie. It worked so well that I spent the evening doing that to the rest of my dies. Several of them didn’t have the finished size on the little label, and my eyesight sucks anyway, so I also wrote what size the finished block would be and what size I should cut the fabric (to reduce waste) right on the foam of the die. I found this holder in the kitchen section of my local Walmart, and picked it up for $5.I’m not going to be moving them around, so I don’t need an expensive holder. Love it.

I have to work on Monday and Tuesday, then I’m off for 12 days. Guess what I’ll be doing!!

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Sidelined!

I woke up last week with a sore wrist – my right wrist, and I’m right-handed.  I could not lift a pan, start my car, turn a doorknob, fold clothes, flip a pancake, or the absolute worst part:  I could not cut fabric!

Waaaahhh!

I have no idea what I did to it, I just woke up one morning and I was in pain.  Has this happened to anyone else?  It really made me feel dumb.  And old!

So, I read and re-read my newest quilt magazines, watched a lot of NCIS reruns, played dumb computer games one-handed, and took a lot of pain pills.

Sigh.

It feels better now, enough so I can take the splint off occasionally, and I decided I could work on a project I started last August.  It’s called Economy Block, although I think I’ll name my quilt something else.

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I used my Accuquilt Go! Baby to cut more triangles.

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Using my Go made short work of all the cutting.  I was making dinner and cut most of these while waiting for stuff to cook.  I can turn the crank on the Go while wearing my brace, so I don’t re-injure my wrist.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to sew some triangles together!

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An odd thing to get excited about….

Is it really okay to get excited about an ironing board? I mean over-the-top, dancing-around-the-sewing-room, my-lord-the-wife-has-lost-her-mind kind of glee? Because that was what you saw at my house when I set this baby up.

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I was SO tired of constantly tugging and pulling on my ironing board cover, which would pull up and roll over the top of the ironing board every time I tried to iron fabric yardage. And don’t you just want to cut off the tapered end of your sewing board? I felt like I could only press 6-inches of fabric at a time when it was lying across that end.

I found this Press-Express Oversize Ironing Surface pattern by Hedgehog Quilts when I was in my LQS shop last year. Of course, it got buried under some fabric when I got home, and I found it again a few weeks ago when I was looking for something else that I’d misplaced. DH made the board for me and I whipped up the cover. Super easy and very stable! The instructions are very clear and well written. The only thing I advise – make sure you measure the top of the ironing board before you make it – they vary in size and you may need to adjust the width of the rails underneath.

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DH made it to fit the old ironing board without the cover on it, but we found it was actually more stable if we left the old cover on the ironing board base underneath – it was a much tighter fit. I used duck cloth to make the new cover, and 2 yards of duck cloth was enough for two covers. However, threading the cording through duck cloth is ….well, let’s just say it’s a bitch.  I highly advise that you thread the cord through the buttonholes before sewing the hem down!  One thing I really liked about this board was the addition of little screws at 6 points under the board to help pull the cording tighter and prevent that dreaded, annoying cover rollover. That cover is not going to move now!!

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As you can see in this picture, you sew buttonholes to thread the cording through. I’ll be honest. I hadn’t used my buttonholer in so long I spent more time looking for the sewing machine manual than it took to sew them! The entire board (including the rails) is made from one piece of prefinished shelving using only a few cuts. The bullnose finish on the shelving is used for the rails, so no staining or finishing necessary. This pattern is well worth the money. Pressing yardage will no longer be a chore! Doin’ the happy dance….

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Wow, that looks great!  I have to admit that I’m pretty unhappy with my ironing board right now!  Mine isn’t standard, it’s a wide width, which is nice.  But I don’t like the taper at one end, and the other end has a metal iron rest that drives me nuts.  Plus, my youngest decided to test my scissors on the elastic that holds the cover on.  I think I need to make a larger surface for my board, too!

Someone recently gave me these tips – use unwashed, un-shrunk cotton duck for your cover, spritz it with water and let it dry over night.  The cotton duck will shrink to a skin-tight fit.  She also told me the cotton duck holds your blocks as good as a Steady Betty, but for a much better price.  I’m all over that!

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My New Favorite Notion – and a DUH! moment

My blog partner, Peggi, sent me an awesome squishie last week, filled with patterns, fabrics and do-dads. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that when I get a squishy the first thing I do is squeal, jump up and down and begin petting fabrics. However, when I opened this one the first thing that caught my eye was this:

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It’s a pen-point needle oiler made by Commando. This baby is going to get a permanent home attached to the side of my Voyager midarm machine.  It was an immediate “DUH!” moment when I saw it. It’s a syringe filled with oil! Why didn’t I think of that?!?! The Voyager has a couple of holes on the side of the machine that have to be oiled regularly, and let me tell you, it’s a pain in the ass to do. I’ve been using the Zoom Spout Oiler for quite a while:

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…and as you can see, it’s got a long spout that can be maneuvered almost anywhere. The only problem is you can’t tell how much is coming out when you squeeze the bottle – it’s very hard to just get a drop or two. You have to squeeze pretty hard just to get it to the top of the tube. With the  pen I’ve got much more control. And it’s refillable!!

Thanks Peg, for making one job much, much easier!

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