Monday, January 13, 2014

Wonky Stars Spiraling Out of Control

I've been dying to try spiral machine quilting. There are so many lovely examples on the web. After reading a tutorial or two, I decided to give it a shot with this quilt top that's been been sitting around my sewing room for way too long.

My wonderful sewing machine has one major flaw - the walking foot does not have a quilting bar/guide. Not good for spiral quilting. Actually, not good for straight line quilting, either.

If any of you out there own a Juki 2010Q (or similar Juki), please let me know how you manage this. Did you find a different walking with a guide? Do tell.

Sans guide, I simply eyeballed the spiral. I drew a little circle with a fabric marking pencil as a starting point and went for it. All the tutorials say to start very slowly. They aren't kidding. 

Here's the finished product. Wonky spirals to go with wonky stars!

The perfectionist in me is going nuts, but the realist says let it go.

Wow, that quilting looks really bad. Funny bad!

At least it's sorta okay from a distance...

Practice makes perfect, right?

Happy sewing,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

It's Downton Day

Downton Abbey Season 4 starts tonight. Hooray!

I can't wait for the next season of Sherlock to start, too. January 19th will be here in no time.

I'm lining up knitting and hand sewing projects in preparation for a January TV-a-thon. Who cares about the frigid temperatures?! I'm perfectly content inside.

Misty Alpaca Chunky purchased just down the street at Digs

Will you be watching tonight? Enjoy! And stay warm if you're also in the deep freeze zone.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Oranges (and an iron review)

Happy New Year! 

Have you compiled your list of 2013 accomplishments and resolutions for 2014?  I haven't because I've still got Christmas on the brain.

It was a very merry and orange Christmas.

From my hubby, new flannel sheets just in time for a wicked cold snap. Tonight's low is -12 (-24 Celsius). Brr.

For my oldest son, an orange reading light.

For my fabric shop, a fresh bolt of the world's best orange fabric, Clementine Moda Bella Solid.

And to me from me, a new iron!

This is the Velocity V50 iron from Reliable. Don't be fooled by the cute orange exterior, this baby is a powerhouse!

What's so great about this iron? Simple. It presses a mean seam.


  • It's heavy
  • It's hot
  • It's got wicked steam
  • The edges of the sole plate fold those quilt seams over so nicely

I've made the same quilt three times now in the last three months (crazy, I know). The pattern requires lots of accurate pressing. I didn't realize how much I was struggling with getting flat seams until I suddenly wasn't. Honestly, this iron cut my pressing time nearly in half.

The Velocity takes a little getting used to. It's kind of like driving a manual transmission car. This is because you control the steam. See the white button on the side of the iron near the handle? There's one on each side. Press this button to get steam. Press it again to turn it off. Don't want steam? Don't press the button.

The Velocity has a separate heating element within the iron for generating steam. This means you can use the iron at cooler temperatures and still get good steam. It theoretically means no spitting, either. So far, so good. Here's a promo video from Reliable with everything you need to know and probably more.

There are a couple of things about this iron that will take some getting used to:

1. The manufacturer highly recommends using distilled water. Tap water, especially the type with a high mineral content, is to be used as a last resort. If this is the price to pay for no orange mineral messes on my fabric, then so be it. I also want this iron to last since it was not cheap, so distilled water it is.

2. I discovered that if I don't turn off the steam  when the iron is in the resting position, the next time I lift the iron to press a seam an enormous cloud of steam comes rushing out. Scary! Now I'm very careful to turn the steam off the moment I tip the iron back up again. Again, it's like driving a stick shift.

In general, I'm very impressed with the Velocity iron, and completely beguiled by the orange color. Never underestimate the importance of good sewing machine and a good iron!

One last thing before I go. Remember that reading light for my son? I have one, too, and it's the bomb for sewing.

This little LED light is super adjustable so you can get light exactly where you need it when you're machine or hand sewing. The JANSJĂ– is $10 for the stand version and $15 for the clip variety. It's great for retreats, too.

Okay, that's enough product endorsing for 2014. Do let me know if you have any questions about the Velocity iron, though. Do you have an iron you love? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Happy sewing,