STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Needle Organizer

Today I'm sharing a recent small project with you - an organizer for your sewing machine needles. When I teach machine quilting classes, I always take a variety of needle types to show, and until recently I also took my bulk box of quilting needles, as many quilters don't know you can save a considerable amount by buying needles in bulk (100 in a box). After one particular class, my supplies were all loaded on a cart to transport them up from the church basement classroom and out of the building. The cart tipped a little when I pushed it over some uneven ground at the building entrance and I didn't realize all my little needle packages, held together with an elastic, slid out of my totebag and fell off.  It wasn't until the next Friday when I was packing up again to head out of town to teach another class, that I realized ALL my needles were missing. Luckily I remembered the cart tipping and thought they must have fallen off; I made a frantic call back to the church office and they were located. I said a silent thank-you to the kind person who found them and turned them in! (Bet she was a quilter!)

Anywaaaay... after that I decided I needed something larger to accommodate my needles so if they tried to escape again I would notice... wink. When I found the directions for this case on I knew it would be the answer. You can find the first set of directions by clicking here. It is a five part article, with the link to the next  day's directions at the end of each post.

Mine measures 8.25" x 10.25" when closed and 10.25" x 16.5" when opened. Here it is opened up to reveal the vinyl pockets, top edges bound with (purchased) double fold bias binding. The stitching which divides the pockets is done with a 2.5mm. twin needle; of course it could be done with  single needle as well, but this was a project designed to get you more familiar with twin needle stitching.

Here's a closer look....

I made a few small changes - I made mine smaller (fewer pockets) and used just one size of twin needle rather than the three sizes suggested. I also rounded the corners of the case and used a continuous binding which I thought looked neater; of course the binding had to be cut on the bias to go smoothly around those curved corners but worth the effort I think.

I used two buttons for the closure instead of just one. I decided to use two fancy buttons I had purchased years ago for crazy quilting.. I have SO many lovely buttons that have gone unused, so why not use two particularly pretty ones for this case .. what am I saving them for??!!

The organizer is made in two sections- the outside is layered with fusible fleece and quilted; I followed the suggestions of a twin needle crosshatch in the lower section but did single needle organic lines in the upper section.  I LOVE the look of twin needle crosshatching, I do it often. This one is quite narrow- the lines are 1/2" apart and done with a Sulky rayon thread. The inside layer is fabric backed with nonwoven interfacing and then the vinyl strips are added to create the pockets. Then of course the two sections are placed wrong sides together and the edges are bound.

The one suggestion I would make if you decide to make one of these is to do with stitching on the vinyl. If you have never stitched on vinyl before I'd suggest you buy a very small amount (or borrow a little piece from a sewing friend) and see how your machine handles it. The article suggests that you should have a non-stick/teflon foot. Good advice, but likely not a foot many quilters have, and they can be pricey and perhaps hard to find. So try it without and see how your machine will handle the vinyl. I had no trouble, hopefully you will be just as lucky. EDIT: Read the comments below from Holly and Karen for suggestions on stitching on vinyl.
It's a fun little project. If you make one, send me a photo!   :)
I like and visit often - there are many interesting projects presented and lots of good info and advice, tips and techniques. You may also have noticed I use Schmetz needles almost exclusively - top quality German made, they are THE BEST hands down. For a topstitch needle I prefer Superior Threads titanium coated topstitch needles, also top quality! The needle is one of the most important parts of your machine- buy top quality and change them often!


Sewing machine - the ultimate power tool!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Catching Up and Mr. Noah

Well it's high time for a catch-up! (Okay, it's long past time!)  The days and weeks have flown by... I don't know where the summer went. How can it already be mid-September. Sigh.
I'm so far behind I don't know where to start. Let's just say it was an extremely busy summer. Wish I could tell you I have travelled to exotic destinations, but that would be a lie. It was just super busy with lots of hot dry weather so I spent a lot of time watering and trying to keep my vegetable gardens and all flowerbeds alive. Our water bill reflects it...  :(   There were some day trips, lots of visits with Mr. Noah both here and at his home, a summer wedding, a 5 day trip to Maine, a reunion of university friends, company for several weeks... well you get the picture. Busy times! There was also a kidney stone and a bout with the flu, but otherwise a great summer. Most of my pickling is done... 2 batches of Lady Ashburnhams, a big batch of 11 day crock pickles, peach jam, salsa, and ratatouille are all done. Many litres of stewed tomatoes from the garden are in the freezer. My apple jelly is underway, apples cooked and the juice in the freezer to be boiled and bottled another day. Pickled beets are the only thing remaining; my beets are not very big, guess it'll be pickled baby beets this year!
There hasn't been a lot of sewing or quilting done this summer. I did do a few small projects I cannot reveal yet, plus helped a friend make a totebag and helped Laura make a small quilt.

So how about an update on Mr. Noah, which I promised a while back... Noah is now two!!  (Time is passing much too quickly!!) He is a bundle of energy, picking up new words and skills daily. He is a delightful little guy, and brings much joy into our lives. So without further chat, here are a few of my favourite photos of him, taken over the last 10 months, since you haven't seen any photos since his first birthday! (Indulge me, okay?!)

Photo Credit Jennifer McKelvay

Photo Credit Jennifer McKelvay 

Christmas visit with cousins Ada and Josephine

I think this one is an all time fav...  Yes he's definitely all boy, right down to the ball cap on backwards!

Noah has some big news to share with you... he's going to be a big brother!! Soon!! And this PINK icecream photo revealed to all that it's a GIRL!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't be any more excited.

Of course Noah and I had to celebrate with some icecream too, at the Wharf Village, Magnetic Hill.

          And then there was Noah's second birthday to celebrate..with chocolate cake, of course!

Who could resist this sweet face?

Yes indeed, this sweet boy has stolen my heart. I'm sure you can see why....


"Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent." 
~ Donald A. Norber

Monday, September 3, 2018

NSFAF Classes

How can it already be September??!!! The summer flew by, and before we know it fall will be here. Once again this October I am teaching at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival in Amherst NS. Classes are filling up; if you wish to register get in touch with me soon so you won't be disappointed.

Paper pieced bed quilt

On Friday October 12 I am teaching Foundation Piecing for Quilters. This class will cover both paper piecing and string piecing. If you have tried paper piecing and think you don't like it or can't do it, or if you find it frustrating or stressful, you need to take this class - I will change your mind. If you can sew on a straight line and count to 10, then you CAN do it! This technique guarantees a perfect block every time and it is the answer for blocks with many seams like Log Cabin or Pineapple, for tiny blocks for miniatures, and for complex blocks with sharp points like Mariner's Compass or New York Beauty.

Miniature quilt, 8.75" sq. 447 pieces. Easy with Foundation Piecing!
We'll spend the morning learning HOW to paper-piece by making three small blocks, progressing from easy to more challenging. Then in the afternoon you'll learn how to put blocks together perfectly, how to deal with angled pieces and directional fabrics, how to draw your own paper piecing patterns and number the sections correctly, how to approach more complex paper piecing designs, and more. You will also learn how to string piece, a more "free form" type of foundation piecing. It will be a fun-filled day and you'll pick up many tips and tricks. This is a technique that EVERY quilter should know - come and add it to your skill set. I'll bring a number of foundation pieced quilts to class, from miniature to bed-sized, as well as a number of resources - books, magazines, commercial patterns, etc.  By the end of day, you should feel confident to tackle ANY foundation piecing pattern or design.
This class is now full, but I'll take names on a Waiting List in case of cancellations. 

These are some of the straight line designs you'll learn to do
On Saturday Oct. 13 I'll be teaching Quilting with the Walking Foot. This is currently my most popular class. Most quilters don't use their walking foot to even close to its potential... if you've only used yours for "stitch in the ditch" or attaching a binding, if you find free motion is "just not your thing", or if you find free motion work stressful, then this is the class for you! Join me to learn the many ways you can quilt with your walking foot, whether on modern or traditional projects. Geared to the quilter who already has basic knowledge of machine quilting, this class will further explore the many applications of the walking foot.   I will bring many quilts for illustration purposes, and a number of walking foot quilting books for reference. Join me for a relaxing fun-filled day “walking your way” to new quilting techniques!  
...and these are some curved line designs you'll learn
After a quick review of the walking foot and how it works, machine setup, marking and preparing the quilt, we will move on to explore straight line and linear designs, organic lines, many ways to do grids (cross-hatching), matchstick quilting, twin needle work, radiating designs, quilting curves, circles, spirals and clamshells, and echo quilting, as well as the use of decorative stitches for machine quilting and more. You will learn to use your quilting guide, and several other methods of evenly spacing quilting lines without marking. (Who likes marking anyway?) Students will receive detailed notes, many tips and stitching time in class to create samples.
**Prerequisite – a basic machine quilting class. I will assume you have basic knowledge of threads, needles, battings, how to layer and baste your quilt sandwich.
**Pfaff owners – your machine probably has a “dual feed” also called “IDT.” Although called a different name, this IS your “built-in” walking foot. It functions exactly the same way. So you have nothing extra to purchase - how great is that?! 
There are still several spaces available in this class.

Contact me at lindakhubbard(at)gmail(dot)com for more info on either class and to register. 

Piece! (and Quilt too!)

"It's the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom." 
~ Michael Morpurgo

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