Well, maybe I don’t need another machine, but I have been looking at some beauties on Ebay. I am so enamored with the repainted Singer Featherweight machines listed for sale. Now if your mom or grandma had one of these, it was most likely black, however, there are some mint green/ white ones out there. These machines didn’t live in cabinets, they were housed in black boxes shoved to the back of closets then brought out and used like the little workhorses they are. They are coveted by many quilters today as they weigh only eleven pounds and are the perfect traveling companion for vacations, retreats, sewing days, and even classes. They sew a wonderful straight stitch and if you are lucky, they may even have attachments for several other functions. I am fortunate to have two- one bought for me by my husband to take camping, and one that belonged to a dear friend. However, since the day I saw the repainted versions on Ebay I have had an overwhelming desire to own another one. Of course I am drawn to the purple, but find myself wanting a red, or yellow, or even an ocean colored beauty.
It is possible to have your own machine painted almost any color of car paint available, but I couldn’t bear to change either one of mine. It is quite expensive but there is a great deal of labor involved. First, the machine is completely disassembled, all the paint stripped off, then painted with two coats of automobile paint, the gold designs reapplied, and finally a clear coat covers the entire machine giving it an incomparable shine. The machine is reassembled, any worn or defective parts replaced and sent back to its anxiously awaited home. This process could cost as much or more than you paid for your machine! Hence my hesitation. I have discovered that the big sister to the Featherweight, the Singer 301, also looks beautiful repainted and does not carry quite the price tag, so I am pondering the idea of purchasing one. From what I have read, they weigh seventeen pounds, are strong machines, and the feed dogs drop for free motion quilting. Thanks to the wonderful world of Facebook, my cousin is sending me one she is not using. If I like it, I may take the plunge. I do have a birthday coming up after all… We’ll see.
This week I had a good bit of Happy Mail. My Wishes kit came from The Fat Quarter Shop (www.fatquartershop.com), but I am sad to say I have not had time to cut it up and make that first block yet. The fabric is beautiful and I am excited to participate in this Quilt Along. (Check out my first blog post for more details.) I also received a nice package from Green Fairy Quilts containing a layer cake (Daydreams by Kate Spain) and two charm packs (Sphere by Zen Chic and Modern Roses). It is hard to resist Green Fairy Quilts. The owner, Judi Madsen, is an amazing machine quilter, but even more than that offers some of the best prices on the web when it comes to pre-cuts, along with FREE shipping. This past week was a big jelly roll sale (I refrained) but I am looking forward to her crazy Monday special! That girl knows how to tempt your wallet! I did give in to a Daily Deal from Missouri Star- a Daydreams charm pack to go with my layer cake. More on that later!
This week I also had the opportunity to watch two new Youtube videos by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilts. The first, The Disappearing Pinwheel Quilt, is based on the same concept as The Disappearing Nine Patch or The Disappearing Four Patch (also tutorials from Jenny) and helps you create a quilt that looks much harder and more complicated than it really is to complete. I have some half square triangles made for another Jenny Doan pattern, but I am seriously considering turning them into this adorable quilt! I love fast and easy and this is it.
The second tutorial I watched is called Five and Dime, and uses a layer cake and a pack of charm squares. Again this is an easy peasy quilt that anyone can make and be successful! Basically, you are top stitching the charm square onto the layer cake square, then cutting them in fourths, mixing them up, and re-sewing them into new squares. The pinked edges add a bit of touchability to the quilt. While the colors she used are much different than the ones I choose most of the time, the lesson is clear and fast to duplicate. Definitely on my to-do list!
One of the benefits of watching tutorials is the ideas that begin to form in your mind and the creativity that is sparked. Although I have been quilting about thirty years, I always learn something. This week, a new quilt idea came to me. Now I am not sure there is really anything new under the sun, as they say, but I can’t wait for those charm squares to get here because I have a quilt simmering in my mind. I wonder if I have seen it somewhere before, but I drew it out, figured up the sizes, and calculated how much yardage I need for borders and binding. I am excited to see it become reality.
If you have pre-cut squares or strips that you are not sure how to use, one of the best guides is from the company that started the whole craze, Moda Fabrics. Their pattern website is called the Moda Bake Shop ( http://www.modabakeshop.com ) and has more patterns than you can imagine. You can even sign up to receive an email whenever a new pattern is posted. The patterns use readily available materials and often have step-by-step pictures of the entire process, perfect for beginners or seasoned quilters alike! On the site you will find valuable information about the use of pre-cuts as well as ideas to create your own patterns. There is a search engine so if you have 10″ squares (a layer cake), you can search “layer cake” and dozens of patterns will be at your fingertips. The same is true of all the pre-cuts offered by them. If you are a Pinterest fan, they also have boards to follow. One of my favorite features is the printer friendly options and I have a notebook of great patterns to prove it!
One of my goals this week is to learn how to load photos to my blog so I can share some of my ideas and work with you. Don’t forget about the book signing this coming Friday at The Book Loft (see last week’s blog post). Check out a tutorial or two this week with Jenny Doan or any of the other great teachers on the internet. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I will have some new quilts and ideas to share with you next time. For now, have a pieceful week…