Thursday, November 2, 2017

Chain Piecing

Do know what it means to "chain piece"?

This is a term most often used by quilters when they have lots of sets of squares or other shapes to sew together. I actually am making fabric snowballs today and I chain pieced my fabric as I was sewing.  Here is how it works so you can see if it might work for you in an upcoming project.

I have several sets of white fleece snowball sections to sew together using 1/4" seam allowance.  I put my 1/4" foot on my sewing machine to make this process even easier.

First, I sew the first two fleece sections together. When I am done sewing, I pull out the pieces a little ways from the machine but I DON'T CUT THE THREAD.  I then feed the next set of fleece pieces through the machine, pull them out maybe an inch and then start sewing the next set.

Do you see where I am going with this?

So by the end, I have a chain of fleece pieces and all I have to do and snip the threads in between the fabric pieces.  

Now time to move on to the next step!  I will keep you posted on how these turn out.  I have to embroider their faces on before sewing the snowballs together.

Note: Snowball pattern and design is from Embroidery Garden

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A New Month

I apologize for not posting in quite some time.  Obviously, time has gotten away from me!

These past couple of weeks have been unusual ones.  On Monday morning 6/19, things started off pretty normal with me taking our older twin daughter to the orthodontist.  But by the time we got back home, my younger twin daughter was complaining of not feeling well.  I made a sick visit appt. with her pediatrician for later that day but she kept feeling worse as the day went on, with severe abdominal pain.  She was in tears and in pain and her symptoms sounded eerily similar to when my husband had appendicitis after we were married.

So my husband and I decided a trip to the ER was needed.  I drove her to the ER in our town of Matthews but as soon as she got into the car and moving, she began to vomit.  My husband met us at the ER which was very helpful.  Little did I know that the ER was completely FULL that day with many sitting in the waiting room still.  She was still vomiting and in tears sitting there when an ER employee came out and said that the ER is full and that they were doing their best to try and get folks into rooms.  We decided to sign her out of that ER, put her back in the car, and drive her to uptown Charlotte to the Novant Health Hemby Children's ER.  Best decision that we could have made for her.

Upon arriving at Hemby, there was no wait so the staff got her right into a room. She had stopped vomiting by this point but they immediately gave her meds to help with the nausea.  They then started an IV and gave her pain meds.  Their plan was to do an ultrasound and check her appendix and ovaries to see if either were causing the pain.  The ER doctor was so good with her and explained everything thoroughly.  They had done bloodwork at the first ER we went to and he was able to get those results to help with his diagnosis.

Because she had not had anything to eat or drink since the day before, they gave her most of the IV bag of fluids to fill her bladder to help with the ultrasound.  When she was ready, we were off to ultrasound.  They were looking at both her ovaries and her appendix to try and locate the cause of all of her pain.  She was in better spirits then as the pain meds and anti-nausea drug had set in.  By the time we got back to her room in the ER, the doctor was in explaining that radiology had already determined that it was in fact appendicitis and that he had called the pediatric surgeon to come in.

This surgery was going to happen in a couple of hours and our other twin daughter was still at home waiting to hear on her sister.  Our sweet neighbor offered to bring her up to us and buy her dinner at Chick-Fil-A which made her feel better about the situation.  She was able to talk to her sister on the phone beforehand and I think it made both girls feel better.  Lauren was not able to join us at the hospital until Emma was already in surgery. Preparations for the surgery moved quickly there.

Our daughter ended up coming home from the hospital the next day.  They kept her overnight which I was thankful for since her surgery wasn't until late evening. My husband spent the night with her there.  She has recovered well but it has taken her a few days to feel like herself again and do normal things.

Hopefully July will not be as dramatic but we are thankful for what Novant Hemby Children's Hospital did for Emma in making a scary situation for a 14 yr old, a smooth and seamless process.  They were all in the right place for us when we needed them.  Next week, we go back to see the pediatric surgeon and get the final okay for her to resume all activities.  I definitely think she is ready!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Bridal Gift Set

Last Sunday evening, my twin girls and I attended a bridal shower for a sweet girl who is getting married in May.  She is a young lady who was in our College and Career Class at church when my husband and I helped with leading/teaching the class.  We are so sad to have to miss the wedding as our niece is getting married the same day but we really enjoyed spending time with her at her shower!

I decided to put together a gift set for the "bride to be" with all sewn items.  My one daughter and I picked out the fabric together and she even made the card to give with the gift.

The first item is a half apron with a pocket.  I have used this TUTORIAL from Fort Worth Fabric Studio before and really enjoyed sewing it so I used it again.  I loved how it turned out!

It is a lined apron and it is also reversible.  

The next item that I made was microwavable bowl holders.  These are all cotton fabric, thread and a special batting on the inside call Wrap and Zap made especially for use in the microwave so it won't catch on fire.  You can put your bowl of leftovers, oatmeal, etc. in the holder and then put it in the microwave so that when you take it out, it won't burn your hands to do so!  I used this TUTORIAL by Happy Hours Stitches to make mine.  I made one using 12" squares and the smaller one with 10" fabric squares. This is also my favorite hostess gift to give.  These are also reversible.

Lastly, I made a set of pot pinchers/potholders.  For these I used a layer of cotton batting on the inside AND a layer of Insulbright which helps to protect against the heat.  I used this TUTORIAL from Sew Can She but made a couple of minor changes.  I didn't make mine from patchwork pieces...I used solid pieces of fabric and I made mine a little smaller.  I used my copier to reduce the size down to 78% of the original pattern pieces and it was perfect.  If you like bigger potholders, then it will be perfect as is.

What the other side looks like.....

I hope she enjoys making meals with them for herself and her new husband!

Do you have something that you always like to give for bridal showers? I would love to hear what your favorite things are!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hand Towels Make Great Gifts!

When you need a small gift for a hostess or to just say thankful for taking one of your children for a day, these hand towels make wonderful, practical gifts!

I made these yesterday with some leftover fabric from previous projects and a couple of bar mop towels that I purchased at the store.  Remember to prewash your fabrics before making them to preshrink them so they don't get out of shape when your recipient washes their hand towels for the first time.

Here is the link to the tutorial from The Creamer Chronicles that I used and found the link to the pattern for the fabric part.

I didn't use buttons on mine as I didn't have any hand that really went well with the fabric so I used Velcro instead.  I did use one layer of flannel on the inside to help give the fabric part some added shape.  Others on Pinterest have suggested interfacing to give it a little extra shape.

If you make some, I would love to see them!  I plan on making more to keep on hand for hostess gifts.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Help! My Sewing Machine Is Sewing By Itself!

About 10 years ago, I purchased a Janome sewing machine (DC 3050). It was my very first computerized sewing machine and I loved her!  She was so quiet and had so many stitches...I was in heaven.

A couple of years after I had the machine, the machine would literally sew on its own after I had taken my foot off from the pedal. I would be sewing along and then it would just keep on stitching after I would stop pressing on the pedal. It was a little frightening as I thought she was seriously broken and I had to turn off the machine to make it stop. So of course, I consulted with Google.

It turns out that I was not alone. Other sewers had reported the SAME thing!  Here is what I discovered. First, you need to know that this machine has a pedal that is ALL METAL. Most pedals nowadays (even my sewing/embroidery machine combo) have plastic pedals. I have never had this happen with them.

Basically what was happening was that there was a build up of static electricity in the pedal that was causing this phenomenon to happen. I am not sure if it is because the pedal is on carpet or because I always wear socks when I sew or what but that is what was happening. I found another person on the internet who gave a solution that has helped me and so I wanted to post it again to maybe help someone else in this situation.

Here is what you need: your pedal, a tool kit with small screwdrivers, and a pencil with a rubber eraser.


First things first, UNPLUG YOUR FOOT PEDAL FROM YOUR SEWING MACHINE.  Yes, it is worth mentioning as it would not be wise to go through the steps in this tutorial with it plugged into a power source.  Thank you, Susan M., for catching that!

Next, see that little screw at the base of the pedal?  Go ahead and unscrew that.  Choose the right screwdriver for the size screw so that you don't strip it.  Ask me how I know, lol.

Go ahead and take the cover off from the pedal.  My pedal only has two parts that come apart at this point.  If you are afraid that you won't remember how yours goes back together, take pictures with your cell phone as you work to help you remember later on.

Here is what the inside of the pedal looks like.  It is a little overwhelming to look at but we will walk through it.

See those connectors that my pencil tip is pointing at?  If you press down on the pedal, the little connectors (sorry, I don't know the proper term) slide along the brown plate where the black marks are.  That is area we need to focus on.  

Take the rubber eraser on your pencil and rub that area down.  I rub all along the brown plate where both of the black track marks are.  From what I read, the rubber helps to take away the static electricity.  Do a good job as you don't want to have to do this again for awhile, lol.

Now comes the fun part of putting everything back together!  I put my two pieces back together and make that the holes for the screw match up.  Go ahead and use your screwdriver to put the screw back in its place. 

That should do it!  At the most, I do this about every 1-2 years or as buildup occurs.  Folks on the internet suggest to just buy a new foot pedal and you may need to if this solution does not immediately take care of the problem but I am not convinced that this wouldn't happen with a new metal pedal.  Others have suggested putting a rubber mat under the pedal to help keep down the static electricity and I did do that for awhile and it did help.  I should get that mat back out again now that I don't move my machines around as often as I did when I taught sewing classes.  

I would love to hear if you have had this problem and if this solution helped!