Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Buttonhole Drama

The vests are done!! I hear the applause, yes, yes, I can actually accomplish something, LOL. Not without chaos though. 

I started the buttonholes on my sons vests using my handy dandy buttonhole maker foot that came with my Babylock Ellure. Amen for them trying to make my life easier.  

I got it set up. Unplugged the foot control and hit the start button. Stitch, stitch, stitch, beep. Check for thread break message. 
Hhhmmmm .... nothing is broken. I hit start again. Stitch, stitch, stitch, beep. Check again. Hit start.
Stitch, stitch, stitch, beep. Start! Stitch, stitch, stitch, stitch, stitch, stitch, beep. Start!!
Ack what is going on? 
I un-thread and re-thread the machine and start again. Stitch, stitch, stitch, beep.

OK it is just one of those things. I will persevere. I kept checking and hitting the start button. It's not stitching as pretty as it should but it appears secure. One buttonhole down. Another. All with the start and stop drama. 

Stitch, stitch, stitch, beep. Bobbin thread low message. Sighsss, it could be worse right? I finish that buttonhole and reload the bobbin. I hit the start button. 

I hear the whir of the machine stitching. And stitching. And stitching. Buttonhole done with no interruption. The light over my head flickered and finally shined brightly.  

I am such a dork! I was low on bobbin thread and the thread was probably twisted or loaded on the bobbin funky. I felt so dumb. I had rethreaded the machine but never gave the bobbin any consideration. 

Moral of this story - check all your thread. Top spool and bobbin.
I hate to dump the thread off a bobbin as it is wasteful. But it would have saved me a lot of grief.
Once the bobbin was refilled and the machine was humming, I was sewing happily along. Redfaced but so very happy :)  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Barn Phase 1 is done!

Just a quick post to say the barn is done. Yeah!! I took an overall picture but mainly caught spots. I don't know if that is dust in the air or what. I will try to get a finished pic without the spots soon. This is the finished 'paneling' in a corner of the barn by the big door. I'm so tickled! 

This means I was able to get back to sewing vests. I have sewed 4 minus the buttons and buttonholes. I will do the buttonholes for all 5 vests at the same time. 

I have been sewing since before I was a teenager but buttonholes still make me apprehensive. My stomach twists. My head hurts. It's crazy. The last set of vests went fine. I finally figured out how my machine wants to do them. It has a special attachment and everything. I will take pictures when I get to that point. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Another day, more barn work

The second day of barn work brought our two younger children in to help. They are teenagers and since I homeschool them, they get lots of practical farm experience when we have a project. Today, they worked at using drills, saws, cutting lumber, all practical skills that will help them in life. I wish I had known this stuff when I was growing up. Instead I had to educate myself after I got married. 

It would have been nice to buy the pre-made horse stalls but just one stall will set you back over a thousand dollars. I spent less than that on a truck load of wood that will panel the whole barn! I'm a serious tightwad. We worked over 5 hours until we finally ran out of battery power in the drills. Not yet done but close! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Priorities altered

In the midst of my sewing quest for my son, came yet another project that required my attention. Our barn. It  needed wood to protect the metal walls and stalls. The structure is almost new but it needed an interior. 

I drew up the plans months ago but we finally had an opportunity to actually do the work, so my sewing had to be laid down. And I picked up hundreds of 2x4's, screws, bolts, a drill .... you get the idea. I may be a girly girl wearing skirts and sewing but I'm still a country girl with outside chores. 

Horses are goofy animals and will happily kick a foot thru a metal barn wall. Not only will it tear up your barn, it may injure the horse badly. Our goal for this phase was to protect the walls and the horses from chaos. This is good work to do inside the barn when it is chilly.

It started out with my husband, me and our oldest daughter working. You can see from our work set up that girls were in the mix by the purple giraffe patterned hairbrush, LOL. We did a good days work but will have to work more tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blood and tears

I bought more needles! Yeah me! Just in the nick of time too. My oldest son is in Japan teaching English and requested I make him more vests for work. They expect him to wear business attire. The only way to avoid wearing a full suit, including a coat which is hot, not to mention the expense of several suits to a young man starting out in life, is for him to wear an appropriate vest along with his slacks and tie. 

But ...

You knew there was a but here ...

But ... I used every straight pin I own to pin baste my Goddess quilt. Obviously I don't own many straight pins, LOL. I bought a box of curved safety pins and quickly found that swapping the pins still wouldn't return my straight pins to my pin cushion. 

So I had to start securing my Goddess. 
And I still have not mastered free motion quilting. 

I pulled out my sad little quilt sandwich, put in a fresh needle and started stitching. I can sew straight. I can do a small curve. The Q foot that came with my machine is for embroidery with a hoop. It hopped all over everything. I would call it a failure but truly I look at it as one more step to learning new skills.

Now what to do?
I swapped back to my regular stitching foot and started sewing the 'straighter' lines of my Goddess. It was slow but it truly filled me with joy. I was finally accomplishing something. The lines were imperfect but then again I actually put real stitches into my Goddess quilt. 

I also discovered why no sane person bastes their quilt ONLY with straight pins. You get stuck with their sharp ends. Owww! And yes, I ended up getting blood on the back of my quilt.

My husband wandered in and sat on the bed as I struggled to stitch and not bleed. He observed my struggles with my machine. Finally he ventured the thought that maybe I should sell my machine and buy a different machine that would be more conducive to free motion quilting. I know if I persevere I will accomplish free motion quilting on my Babylock Ellure, but I really agree that it might be easier if I had better tools. 

I did not fully stitch secure my Goddess. The earth is outlined, most of her rays are outlined and a the ribbons. I need to do her face and hair but I got a lot done before dinner demanded attention. And most importantly I stitched enough to leave her basted with only safety pins, so I could use my straight pins to start laying out my sons vests. 

The Goddess is in full pause.
The vests will be my next project as my oldest daughter is flying to Japan to visit her brother in less than 2 weeks. Nothing like a time crunch to get my priorities rearranged. 


I went from one sewing project to another ... And I am definitely sewing happily along :) 

Nomming. Laying. Cutting.

I need to get moving on sewing vests pronto. I pulled out the pattern and realized I had totally forgotten that the pattern got partly chewed by a dog. Yikes! 

It was on the table, the cat played with it and knocked it to the floor, where the dog nommed on it. My fault for not putting it away safely. I am now sewing vests with no real instructions. In English. The Spanish instructions are intact but do not have pictures. I was lucky that the actual pattern pieces were pinned to fabric at the time. Now if I can just remember how I did them last time ... 

I tend to sew with thoughts to efficiency. So I spent an entire afternoon laying out and cutting several vests and linings. It gives me a back ache but it  is faster and lets me get to the fun sewing happily along part faster. Have a great day!!