Vintage Singers

Last weekend was pretty busy.  It all started earlier in the week when I found a Singer 301 on Craigslist in a nearby city.

Let me back up a bit.  It stared a couple years ago when my 25+ year old Viking died and couldn’t be repaired.  What is it with us and our sewing machines?!  They’re like a spouse or a beloved child.  I was a bit heartbroken over losing her.  (As a matter of fact she’s still sitting on my sewing room floor…I’ve GPT to say good bye to her!)

But all that led me to an interest in vintage Singers, most of which are older than I am and still running.  If they need repaired, you can still get most of their parts and repair them yourself.  I love that.  No more saying goodbye to a beloved friend.

In all my blogosphere stalking it seemed the machines I was most interested in was the Singer 221 and the 301, in that order.

Now, I’ve replaced my Viking with a perfectly wonderful Bernina, so I don’t NEED another machine!  So I set myself a limit.  I knew I would have a hard time finding the 221 within my price range, but since it was a luxury item for me, I wouldn’t allow myself to fudge on my max price.

Singer Featherweight 221
Singer Featherweight 221

So fast forward to earlier last week… I find the 301, in what I mistakenly thought was a cabinet, for a good price.  In emailing back and forth and making arrangements to pick up, I stated my interest in the 221 and the owner had two and WAS WILLING TO SELL ME ONE!  I was so excited.  And the price she offered me was EXACTLY my max price I had allowed myself.  Talk about fate.

I was finally able to pull her out and put her through her paces on Sunday.  She is so sweet!  I’m thinking of names for her, but haven’t settled on one yet.


Photos of the Singer 301 are yet to come.  I haven’t had a chance to pull it out yet.  My daughter gifted me with a new grandson last week and it has kept us pretty busy.  She and her awesome husband have a 15 month old son as well and he is fascinated with his new brother.  Too sweet.

A Trip to IKEA


After driving to the Dallas IKEA Saturday, I spent Sunday putting this baby together. It was really easy to put together. The last and bottom panel gave me the most grief. At that point everything has to fit and be square. Still, I was under two hours getting it together. Not bad.

(And all I really wanted to be doing was sew! :-(( )

Hope you had a great holiday weekend!

Great British Sewing Bee

Shayla, at Raggie Girls, has started a Great British Sewing Bee inspired by the recent show on BBS.  I may have to join her.

I just discovered the show and have really enjoyed it.  The judges and the competitors are wonderful and, I will admit, I love the accents.  From a seamstress point of view, the challenges are interesting.  Some are relatively straightforward and some are just downright challenging.  It’s inspiring to see the many different ideas come out of a single challenge.

I really like the variety of skills the competitors bring.  Some have many of the couture finishing skills in place, and some have unique skills that give them a totally different perspective.  I love that Mark makes historical costumes.  How fun is that?

If you haven’t seen it, you can go to YouTube and watch the episodes.  If you like to sew, you will really enjoy this series.  I hope they keep it going!



Life since QuiltCon…

I can’t believe it’s been a month since the last post.  Since then, I’ve attended QuiltCon and had a blast.  I came back to a sewing room that needed to be put back together after installing my new Juki 8700H .. :-D!  Then it was buying a new table and creating a false top to create a sewing table.  It was a couple weeks before I could even get to the sewing machine.  Withdrawal, anyone?!

So here are a few photos from the last few weeks:


with Angela Walters in her Free Motion Quilting workshop.
with Angela Walters in her Free Motion Quilting workshop.
Lotta and I
Lotta Jansdotter teaching a block printing worksop













I took two free motion quilting workshops with Angela Walters and sewed on a long arm for the first time.  It would take me a while to get used to the way they move.  Angela is a fun teacher and I love her attitude that allows mistakes and encourages, in her words, “just go for it.”

Lotta Jansdotter‘s block printing workshop was a lot of fun.  She talked about her design process and the tools she uses when creating designs.  It was so interesting.  She was such a sweet person.

When I got home I started working on my sewing table.  I had been sewing on folding tables topped with foam insulation to bring it flush with machine bed.  My 820 is a little heavy for that setup.  Picked up a $100 table at Ivan Smith Furniture and built a false table.  Like it, but I already have some adjustments if I were to do it over.  You can see below the table has a cut out where the machine sits.  The machine had to be lifted 1/4″ to bring it flush.  I also needed an extension off the table for my machine which is pretty long, so I used a 1/4″ piece of plywood and some 2×2’s to create that extension.

3/4" plywood lifted on 2x4's
3/4″ plywood lifted on 2×4’s. Slot at rear of table goes full width. Slot at front of table goes halfway back. Plastic drawer divider fits at front and holds machine feet and accessories.
Front view. Drawer divider fits in front left slot between 2×4’s. Required an extension for the length on my Bernina 820
Back side view behind machine. Acrylic Sew Fine extension table fits flush to the false table top. Can see rolled vinyl at rear of table. These rolls can be stored in that slot the width of the table.





















I think that’s enough for today.  I actually have a photo of my haul from the QuiltCon vendors which include an awesome book called the Adventures of the Amazing Alphabet by Pam Holland.  I ordered that one from Sewing Party and received two by accident.   Sewing Party is allowing me to give the spare to a lucky reader.  Stay tuned.  That is coming next week.



‘Business’ Cards for QuiltCon

I wanted a few cards with my blog and guild information for QuiltCon.  Of course, I’ve waited till the last minute to get them put together, but I’ve finally got a plan.

The cards are tent style with my blog info on one side and the Northeast Louisiana Modern Quilt Guild info on the other.

I created the graphics using PhotoShop and laid the cards out in Word to print on card stock.

And inside is felt to hold needles.  I love things that are actually useful.

I plan to use these during meet and greets for the modern quilt guilds and PileOFabric’s Skill Builder group.

QuiltCon’s getting close!  What are you doing to get ready?

Trying to reorganize my sewing room ….

So today I’ve been trying to reorganize my sewing room.  Let me tell you, that’s a job!  I wish I had thought to photo the room before I started.  Based on the chaos that still exists, you can probably imagine how bad it was.  Here are a couple of photos as it is now after working all day.



Juki DDL 8700H

The reason for rearranging the sewing room is the impending arrival of my new baby.  I just purchased a Juki DDL 8700H to work with vinyl and heavier fabrics.  I’ve been recovering exercise equipment for a local gym and it’s putting a strain on my small Bernina.   Since we don’t have a local Juki dealer, I shopped online and found  They were one of the few shops that actually answered their phone and spoke with confidence and knowledge about the machines.  They dealt with multiple emails and phone calls with courtesy and patience.  Great customer service


I’ve cleared a space on one wall for the table and setup.  I am wall to wall in this room!  It would be great if I learned to actually throw things away once in a while.  I also need to learn to stop buying fabric!!

My Bernina 820 is sitting on a folding table and I’m really thinking I need to upgrade the setup.  I wish I lived near an Ikea, but I may have to make my own.  We’ll see …

I hope you do a better job of organizing than I do.  If you have any great tips, please let me know.

QuiltCon, Hear I come!

Profile Photo Blue 1
Unfortunately, this photo is about four years old. I hate taking photos!

The Modern Quilt Guild is having a QuiltCon linky party for those of us lucky enough to be going.   I will be driving to Austin with a guild buddy, Marty, of Marty’s Fiber Musings.  We both are members of the Northeast Louisiana Modern Quilt Guild, otherwise known as NELA MQG, and I have really enjoyed getting to know her.

This linky party is a fun idea.  There are so many blogging friends I would love to meet.  It will be great to put a face to a name.

Now for five things you don’t know about me …. hmmm.

1)  I can count the number of “Best Friends” I’ve had since high school on one hand … and they have ALL moved out of state!

2)  I have sewn most of my life and I can’t really remember actually learning. Mom sewed, knitted, embroidered, painted and everything else I can think of at one time or another and I picked up a lot from just watching her and being around her.  She quilted in her later years and I never picked it up.  It was only a couple years ago that I started following some of the ‘modern’ quilt blogs and found a new obsession.

3)  I hate parties and purely social situations.  Tell me I have to speak to a room full of people or have a business function and I’m fine.  But tell me I have a get together that’s purely social and I start thinking of excuses.  Its a little crazy.

4)  I finished a business degree at 50!  Sometimes I feel it was a waste of time, but I’m still glad I got it done.  I love that my three girls have gotten or are getting their degrees while they’re young.

5)  I recently read a post by a self proclaimed autodidact and I had to look the word up.  It is someone who educates through self study.  Leonard da Vinci and Ernest Hemingway are two people listed as autodidacts.  Not that I’m a da Vinci or a Hemingway, but I loved the word because I relate.  I’m always getting immersed in new hobbies and/or  researching a new interest.  Online learning ( is AWESOME!), magazines, books, blogs and so many learning opportunities.

Hopefully I haven’t bored you to death!  I’m looking forward to QuiltCon and to the workshops I’ve signed up for….so fun!!  Hope to see you there!


Michael Miller / Madrona Road Challenge

Michael Miller has hosted a challenge for their Madrona Road fabrics and it is now coming to a close.  Modern Quilt Guild posted some wonderful photos of a few of the projects submitted.  You should check it out here.  There is also a Flickr group for the final projects and there are some really beautiful quilts there.

(It’s funny the things you think of in the middle of the night!…I forgot to credit the designer of this fabric line, Violet Craft.  Can’t have that!  You should see her post which contains the story in the text fabrics.  Such a beautifully written story.)

Today is actually the deadline for submissions, so I’m pushing in just under the deadline!  I knew before I received the fabric I wanted to create a quilted bag to take to QuiltCon, but I waffled on the style.

I have really wanted to try Amy Butler’s Weekender Travel Bag, and Anna Horner’s Art Student Tote, but I couldn’t commit.



I recently traveled for business training and received this bag from Raymond James.  It’s a great size and it’s fast becoming one of my favorite bags.  I drew out the dimensions and recreated it for the Madrona Road fabrics.

MadronaRoadBag Collage

I seem to always find things I don’t like or could do better, but I’m determined not complain or whine my way through this post.  So, while it may be a bit scrappier than I intended and there were a couple places in construction where I could  definitely improve, the bag turned out pretty well.  Since I drafted the pattern from scratch, I was surprised it went together so well and was really pleased.

Thanks to Michael Miller for hosting this challenge and for providing fabric to get started.  Once I had the fabric in my hands, I had to purchase more.  There are some great fabrics in this line.  There’s still plenty left over for a quilt.  Yay!

And thanks to Modern Quilt Guild for spreading the word and making this interesting.

The Leibster Award!

LIEBESTERJenny at Down to Sew has nominated me for the Liebster Award!  It’s a fun “award” passed from blogger to blogger as a way to network and acknowledge some of your favorite blogs. A receiving blog must have less than 200 followers.  Thanks, Jenny!

To participate:
1. Thank and link back up to the one that nominated you (Me).
2. Answer 11 questions asked to you by me.
3. Tell us 11 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 11 of your favorite blogs that have less than 200 followers
5. Ask them 11 questions.

Jenny’s Questions to Me:

1.  What is your favorite healthy snack?    Hmmm, nuts?  I love peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews.  Okay, some of those aren’t AS healthy, but still.

2. What is your least favorite thing about blogging?  The time necessary to blog ‘intentionally’.  I started blogging to document my quilting and sewing projects.  But I want a blog worth reading, so I think about the blogs I like and what I like about them.  Blogging with some consistency, working to improve photos, and improving content take more thought and time than just throwing something on a page and moving on.  I really admire bloggers who do it well.

3. What was your first sewing project?  The first I remember is when I was in elementary school.  I made a blouse from a Vogue pattern.  It was sort of boxy, with short sleeves and a collar.  I can remember going into the kitchen asking mom some technical question about putting it together.  Funny that I remember that so well.  I did love that blouse.  I was sewing before that, but I know that was my first pattern.

4. Do you organize your fabric, and how?  Sort of.  (What a mess!)  I have my fat quarters and some half yards divided by color in wooden shoe bins…you know, the ones that are four by three cubbies?  They are awesome for storing fat quarters.  I have two and want another.  I also have some larger yardage stored in clear plastic bins so I can see them.

5. Do you play a musical instrument?  I played clarinet in school, and took piano lessons for a few years.  I love music.

6. Name a song that you never get sick of hearing.     What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong!

7. What is your worst sewing injury?   I read that Maureen Cracknell sewed into her finger, then a few weeks later Alyssa Lyncher did the same thing.  While I commiserated with them, in the back of my mind I wondered how they managed to do that.  And of course a few weeks later, I hit my finger!  Not as bad as it could have, but not fun.  My worst might have actually been an iron burn though.

8. Paper, plastic, or bring your own (most likely handmade) bags to the grocery store?   I’ve tried to bring my own fabric bags and always end up forgetting them in the car!  I usually get plastic, but I do wonder about how green they are.  I think they’re supposed to be preferred over paper, and I really don’t get that.  Seems paper would break down quicker.

9. What is the oldest thing in your fridge right now?  Jar of pickles probably.

10. Favorite kind of pie.     Pecan Pie…but I want my own recipe.  I cut the sugar in half.

11. Do you paint your nails?  Rarely.  I actually go through stages of mani/pedi’s.  It’s usually in the summer…barefoot season.  🙂

Eleven Random Things About Me:

1.  I love the Harry Potter series…books and movies.  I want to know what’s happening with Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermoine following the defeat of Voldemort.  I miss them!

2.  I have always enjoyed going to the movies and think nothing of going by myself…which some people consider weird.

3.  Mom says I was always reading something…She would make fun of me reading the cereal box or soup can while eating, just because it was on the table.

4.  I hate cleaning and will find any excuse to avoid it.

5.  I’ve sewn for more than thirty years, but only started quilting in the last two.

6.  I finished my college degree in business administration at 50 years old.

7.  I had a 1970 Mustang in high school and still do a double take when I see vintage Mustangs.

8.  I’ve only been out of the USA once.  I went to Prien Germany a couple years ago.

9.  My brother was an avid hunter and fisherman.  I’ve eaten almost any game you can mention.  I’ve even had fried rattlesnake thanks to my husband, also an avid hunter.

10.  I really don’t like social events where there is a room full of people.  I’m always looking for an excuse to miss parties, showers, weddings and the like.  They just make me nervous.  weird.

11.  And the best for last…I am blessed with the most awesome family.  Not perfect, but perfectly lovely.  I have a husband the makes me so crazy I sometimes want to snatch his head off and I know he would do anything for me.  He is awesome in all the ways that matter.  I have three girls who are crazy about each other.  I just love that about them.  And now I have an awesome son-in-law and a perfect and precious grandson.  No seriously, he is perfect.  You should see him.

Now for the 11 questions for my nominees:

1.  What’s your favorite book? or movie?

2.  Cake or pie?

3.  What sewing project was your all time favorite?

4.  Do you have a favorite fabric manufacturer?  (Moda, Free Spirit, etc)

5.  Who is your favorite fabric designer?

6.  Name a song that you never get sick of hearing.

7.  Where is your favorite vacation spot?

8.  What brings you peace?

9.  What makes you laugh?

10.  Have you tried hand quilting, paper piecing, or embroidery?

11.  How many bees, guilds, or other sewing groups do you belong?

And my nominees are:

Have fun!!