September 27, 2016

Why I Tear Backing Fabrics

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The picture tells it all.  This is a strip torn from 108" wide backing.  Can you imagine this fabric ending up anywhere near straight on the rails with it that crooked?  I used to hate using extra-wide backing until I learned that they need to be straightened by tearing.  Now I love extra-wide fabrics!  

I appreciate a shop that tears extra-wide fabric rather than cutting it so the entire piece of fabric I receive is usable.  I can order a smaller piece and save money!  Sweet Treasures Quilts is the only shop I've found who does this!  {Of course, if a shop tears my regular quilting cottons, I won't be back!}


September 25, 2016

Autumn Lily Lap Quilt {Custom Quilting}

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This past week I completed another custom quilting project for Andrea.  This is a lap quilt in Autumn Lily.  She did a lovely job piecing the square-in-a-square blocks.


Quilting is an allover medium meander in cream thread.


This is the sixth quilt top I've quilted for Andrea, and I've made seven quilts from scratch for her.  Would you believe I have five more of her quilts in the closet awaiting quilting???  I'd say she's a satisfied customer, wouldn't you?!? 


Do you have some quilt tops you'd like quilted before Christmas?  Now is the time to send them out to have them quilted if you don't have time to do them yourself.  I have a few spots in my schedule.  I can also trim and bind the quilt for you.  Contact me if you're interested!

September 23, 2016

Falling Stars {a New Quilt Pattern!} + Finished or Not Friday {a Linky Party!}

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Welcome to Finished or Not Friday where you can share your finished {or not} projects!

Meet Falling Stars, my newest quilt pattern!  Instructions are written for 6 sizes from baby to king!  Larger HSTs are used as the quilts get larger, so the bed size quilts don't take forever with a zillion tiny HSTs!!  You'll finish it faster!


The cover quilt is a Large Lap.  The pattern comes with a Small Lap size for children or shorter people {like me!} and a Large Lap size for you tallies.  This quilt was made with Kona Cotton HSTs.  They made this quick pattern even faster!  An Accuquilt Go! makes fast work of HSTs, too, and there are Accuquilt dies that coordinate with some of the HSTs sizes in the pattern.


I ♥ the texture the wavy quilting brings out.  This is the second quilt I've used Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting (rather than 100% cotton), so I don't know yet if the texture is from the quilting or from the new type of batting.  The backing is a be-still-my-beating-heart blue Hatch by Timeless Treasures ♥♥♥.


Shannon of The Flemings Nine proofread and tested the pattern for me.  Many thanks for your insight, Shannon!  Isn't her baby quilt so soothing and fresh with its modern gray background?


Here's an EQ7 mockup of the quilt with a white background.  I'm hoping to get a baby size made with lovely Lecien Flower Sugar fabrics using a white background soon!


This pattern was inspired by a fabric designed by Ellen Baker of The Long Thread, and this pattern is written with the permission of the fabric designer.  The fabric is #13085 in the Quilt Blocks Collection by Moda.


Please purchase your copy of Falling Stars in my Craftsy shop or my Etsy shop. If you are from the European Union, please purchase your copy from my Etsy shop.  I offer discounts on purchasing multiple patterns at a time in my Etsy shop!

Thank you so much, all of you!

The winner of the grocery bag is Julie of One More Thing Before I Dye!And I did make another bag so the handles are correct, and you'll be getting the real deal, Julie!

The bag is made from a pattern by Michelle's Patterns, an Indie Designer on Craftsy.  You can find the pattern HERE.  The pattern includes three sizes, and this bag is the medium size.  The handles are designed to fit onto the metal bag holders at the grocery store to make filling them easier, and the handles are short enough to not drag the bag on the ground when carried {super important for height-impaired people like me!}


Last week's most viewed link was Carla's Scrappy Star!


My favorite link was Susie's Panda Pillow!  I'm seeing my sofa stuffed with a menagerie of pillows very soon!


It's your turn to share your finish {or not}!  What's welcome at this party?  Any in-progress or finished project made with fabric, yarn, or thread is welcome!  Include the Finished or Not Friday button or a text link that links back to this week's link-up in order to share the fun.  No, I won't delete your link if you don't, but hey, adding a link in your post is just being friendly, so be friendly and share!!

I will pin your links to my Finished or Not Friday Pinterest board to get your link more exposure.
Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

To grab the code for the button above, left click in the box, press Ctrl-A for Select All, then Ctrl-C for Copy, then go to the HTML code for your post and press Ctrl-V to paste it where you want it to appear.

September 22, 2016

Why I Now Unplug My Sewing Machine {The True, Terribly Sad Tale of Mrs.Bernina's Demise}

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This is a very scary tale, so please clear the room of all children of tender age before reading this post.  They can be easily scarred.


A few weeks ago I took a break from sewing and went to the kitchen, which is not an uncommon occurrence, unfortunately.  I heard a noise from down the hallway, which I thought was the printer beginning to print.  Being that I had not printed anything, and no one else was around to be printing anything, I went to check it out.  

The printer was silent.  

The noise continued.  

On down the hallway I went in search of this odd sound, heading toward my bedroom, a.k.a., my sewing room.  As I round the corner into the room, I gasp with despair as Mrs.Bernina is puffing out smoke and squealing at the top of her lungs!!  GASP!!  WHAT!?!  

I quickly unplug her, and she collapses with relief.  

I collapse with grief.  

My faithful friend has suffered, and it might be a fatal wound.  Turning the handwheel is impossible; it's stuck tight.  The foot pedal is very warm to the touch.  

I carry her to the operating table in the dining room, unsure of what to do to help her out.  Removing the huge tangle of threads in the bobbin case relieves the tension on the handwheel, and it turns again, albeit with a bit of sticking, as though it's sore.  

The doctor is called and does a thorough examination which includes surgically opening the foot pedal.  The doctor determines it must be the foot pedal since one spring is found sprung in it, and there is evidence of a fever.  Consulting physician Google also verifies that pedals of this type sometimes go haywire and take off sewing randomly even without the provocation of a foot.  I order a new pedal from the surgical supplyhouse, eBay.

The replacement pedal arrives, and I surgically install it without the doctor's assistance.  I lovingly remove Mrs.Bernina from the surgical table and carry her back to her honored place on the sewing table.  I think she giggles at this point, so happy to be back, she is.  I rejoice as Mrs.Bernina begins sewing in her sweet, dependable way.  

And then she dies.  

Yes, she dies.  Right there on the sewing table.   

Not even a sputter or gasp for breath.

And she does not appear to be resurrectable.  

It's true.

It's sad.

But I did learn something.

NEVER leave a sewing machine plugged in when not in use.  

If this had happened when I was not home, our home most likely would have caught fire, beginning with my fabric stash, my sewing tables, my passion, my entire business!  

Okay, the horrific details are past, and the children of tender age can come back into the room.

I am not sure this incident was entirely preventable, however, because I was out of the room for mere minutes when I heard the noise, and by then the damage had already been done.  My backup machine, a Brother cs6000i, is now my main machine and is plugged into a power strip.  I know I will not unplug the machine (or turn off the power strip) each time I leave the room, because I am almost always coming right back, but you can bet I will turn the power strip off when I plan to leave the house or go to bed.  The power strip has a light on it, indicating the power is on, which is super helpful in a dark room at the end of the day.  

I am in the market to replace one of my sweetest friends, Mrs.Bernina.  Mrs.Brother, as I suppose I should call my current machine, has been a lovely addition to my sewing room over the last few months with her amazing walking foot that has opened wide modern quilting for me.  But she simply does not sew fast enough.  I.sew.fast.  I sew to earn money, so I.sew.fast.  I need a faster machine.

It's a bittersweet time.

If you are grieving the loss of a human loved one, please do not think I am belittling your experience; this is merely an anecdotal story of my sewing machine going kaput and needing to be replaced.

ETA:  A reader pointed out that the original foot that came with the Bernina 830s in the 1970s had been recalled.  Mrs.Bernina's foot pedal had been replaced with an appropriate foot that had the temperature safety override on it, so it likely, hopefully, should have turned off if it had reached 100 degrees Celsius which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit which is the boiling point of water.  That's hot.  I don't know if it would have caught fire or not.  The fire hazard isn't just the foot pedal combusting; it's also the friction of the belts sliding over the gears inside the machine, and it was already smoking.

Unplug your machines!