Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Sewing With a Friend

Sewing With a Friend

My friend Tera and I have a sewing day planned. She has an awesome sewing space with all the supplies one could need, but I don’t want to take a fussy project with me. I just want to sew and enjoy visiting. Putting that sampler quilt together is on the list, but in order to do that, I have to get the sashing strips and cornerstones prepped. I went in search of the plastic shoebox with the 2-1/2” squares in it to see if I had some suitable blue ones to use as cornerstones. That supply of squares is a bit on the thin side at the moment because I used most of them as leaders and enders and made two checkerboard quilts. I didn’t find any blue squares, so I pulled out a leftover piece of one of the fabrics in the sampler quilt and ran it through the Accuquilt with the 2-1/2” square die that makes nine at a time. Ta-da! All the cornerstones I needed.

[Note to self: Need to spend an hour or two making more 2-1/2” blocks with the Accuquilt.]

I spied another box—the one that holds my orphan blocks—and decided to look through that one, too. Lo and behold, I found a dozen 2-1/2” wide long strips of white fabric that just needed to be subcut into sashing strips. I am pretty sure the fabric is Kona Snow. I remember cutting those strips back when I was a new quilter and trying to figure out what kinds of quilts I wanted to make. The project they were intended for never materialized, apparently, and I put them in that box. Yay me for planning ahead! I sliced them into 12-1/2” long strips to be sewn to the blocks.

Sashing and cornerstones: Check.

I also found some four-patches out of leftover fabric from one of the first quilts I ever made. (That top still needs to be quilted). Those four-patches have been hanging around forever and are begging to be used. I cut some Kona into coordinating squares and I’ll make a top with alternating Kona squares and four-patches. It can be tied at quilting at church some time and given to MCC.

Ancient orphan blocks to be used up: Check. (Get that top quilted.)

I’ve got a bunch of tumbler blocks cut (another Accuquilt die). They don’t thrill me, but again, I just need to put them together and they can be made into a quilt for MCC. Sometimes utility wins out over aesthetics.

Pile of tumbler blocks to be sewn together: Check.

I just need to add thread, scissors, and a few other odds and ends, but my box of supplies is ready to travel:


I considered which machine to bring with me. Elysian has my Janome that I usually take to classes and I don’t want it back as long as she’s using it, so I mentally ran through my collection of other machines. Tera has several machines and I could use one of hers, but sometimes it’s nice to use a machine you’re familiar with. I’ve got an adorable little Ambassador machine that is a 3/4-size Singer 15 clone. Those aren’t all that common. I pulled it out to see if it was ready to sew, but it’s got a cobbled-together motor and pulley that I doubt are original to the machine. The motor is cockeyed and the pulley doesn’t line up with the hand wheel. It’s going to take a few hours of work to get that machine operational again. There are a few Necchis in cases, but the one I would take needs to have a motor put on it. I have a Necchi motor for it, but again—that’s an afternoon project.

Obviously, it is time to work on machines again.

It was the husband who finally suggested that I take the Featherweight. (How weird is it that the husband has a better grasp on my collection of machines than I do?) I haven’t sewn on it in a while and it needs to get put back into the rotation, so the Featherweight it is.

[The Featherweight is the machine that started this whole obsession. The husband came home from a job one day and said that the clients had one that they were planning to sell, but if I wanted it, he would trade labor on the job for it. So he did, and down I fell into the rabbit hole.]

While I was cleaning up leftovers, I took the rest of the blue-and-white HSTs and sewed them together into a wallhanging:


That’s it. All the dark blue ones have been used, and all I have left are the periwinkle blue ones. I put those into the orphan blocks box to be pulled out and used at a later date. I think I am going to add a border and then I may send this wallhanging to Margaret, if she’s willing to quilt it. It can be given to Mennonite Disaster Service. When MDS finishes working on a home, they always give the homeowner a wallhanging.

And finally, I got the rose gold vinyl Bramble Bag assembled:


It’s just waiting for me to topstitch around the opening. I had to get creative with the strap. I really can’t sew the strap tabs into the body of the purse; they are thick enough that the Necchi industrial complains about it and I didn’t want to wreck the bag trying to force the machine to do something it didn’t want to do. I could go over to my friend Tommy’s house and use the Singer 78-1, but it’s prime snowmobiling season and he’s not around much. (I have no doubt that a walking foot industrial is in my future.) I like the way the strap tabs are attached on my Fremont Tote. They are applied after the fact and held on with Chicago screws. I am going to try a similar setup for this bag, but I had to order some metal strap ends to cover the raw vinyl.

I am pretty happy with this. It’s a much fancier bag than I’m used to carrying—I am very much a rustic waxed canvas girl—but I wanted to get some experience sewing with vinyl and now I have. The vinyl has a wonderful soft feel to it. (I interfaced it for stability.) I used a hidden magnetic clasp on this bag. I prefer magnetic clasps and I like that this one is hidden, but it may not be quite big enough or strong enough. I’ll have to wait and see what I think when I use the bag. I can always take out the hidden clasp and add a regular magnetic clasp.

It feels good to have cleaned up some lingering projects and the decks are cleared for working on some knit tops. And I am looking forward to sewing with a friend.

Orphan Blocks No More

Orphan Blocks No More

Those Seven Little Words

Those Seven Little Words