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.

A Sewing and Date Night Weekend

A Sewing and Date Night Weekend

I finally got to see the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. I watched it on the flight to London and I watched it again on the way back. It was so good that I bought the DVD. I thought the husband and I could have date night here Friday and watch it together. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of lying down on the couch and covering up with one of my quilts. I fell asleep about 10 minutes into it. (I am an exciting date.) He watched it, though. I think he enjoyed it even though he is not as big a Queen fan as I am.

Neither of us got much done outside yesterday. It rained and rained and rained and I don’t think it ever broke 50 degrees. I am willing to work out in the rain, but not when it’s that cold. I finished machine quilting the Moda Figures quilt and got the binding made and attached. I just need to sew it down and that project will be done. I think I can safely say that I have mastered meandering. It is not going to become a staple of my machine quilting repertoire, but I can do it if I need to.

I got out a few projects to sew on Vittorio, my beloved Necchi BF, but after a seam or two, it was clear he wasn’t happy about something. I checked the threading and was about to oil him again when I decided to run my hand over the belt. A-ha!—there it was. The belt was the problem:


Before the sewing machine purists wind up to deliver their lectures on why I shouldn’t be using a stretch belt on my machine, let me say that I have had V-belts, cogged belts, and stretch belts on this machine at various times and I find that it runs best with a stretch belts. Purity of dogma is all well and good, but I am more interested in real-world performance. I have a gallon Zip-Lock bag full of V-belts and cog belts of various sizes. Getting the correct size belt for this machine is an exercise in frustration. The stretch belts fit well and run my machine well and I am going to keep using them.

I usually use the Singer stretch belts. The belt in the picture, however, is from Hobby Lobby. I noticed they were carrying stretch belts under their Sewology label, so I picked up a couple during one of their sales. (The Sewology stuff is 50% off every couple of weeks.) For about a dollar a belt, I figured it was an inexpensive experiment. And some of their products are really good. I use their rotary cutting blades almost exclusively because they seem to last the longest of any of the brands I’ve tried.

You have to remember, too, that Montana is a very dry place. Our relative humidity averages about 25%. Many a time I have gone to use a rubber band and had it come apart in my hands. I won’t buy canning lids until I need them because I don’t want to run the risk of having a batch of lids with dried out seals. I am not sure what was the primary cause of this belt failure, but it’s possible that the low humidity was a contributing factor.

I put a replacement belt on the machine and finished my projects. I was considering what to make for dinner when the husband suggested we go out to eat. We had a gift card to Backslope Brewing from our friend, Ali. She is on the husband’s snowplowing route during the winter, and while he happily accepts payment in the form of beer and pastries, she thought a gift card was in order. Backslope is one of our favorite places to eat. It’s north of here, in Columbia Falls, on the way to Glacier Park. The only problem I have is deciding what to have for dinner. Everything on the menu sounds appealing, and they always have great specials, too. We split a salad and an order of fried pickles. I had the red beans and rice special and the husband had a burger, and I had a few bites of his Nutella chocolate mousse for dessert.


I stopped in at the quilt store north of town the other day and was wandering the aisles looking at fabric when Mary, one of the women who works there, yelled to me, “Did you make your bag? I want to see those zippers!” (It was my yellow Redwood Tote.) We had a confab at the cutting table with Kathy, one of the other ladies who works there. Kathy and I often chat when I’m in the store because we both like to make bags. She makes almost all of the bag samples on display in the store and had just finished her own version of the Redwood Tote. The store has just started carrying Noodlehead patterns. Kathy and Mary were lamenting the fact that it is hard for a small quilting store to carry a good selection of bag hardware because the minimums are so high. (Bag hardware is an issue for everyone, makers and retailers alike.) They carry the byAnnie 30” purse zippers, but in order to do that, they had to buy the entire display and all the colors. Mary asked where I had gotten the zippers for my tote (ZipIt, on Etsy), so I gave her the information.

I asked Kathy which fabric she had used for her Redwood Tote and she showed me the bolts of Robert Kaufman Cotton and Flax. They’ve had that fabric for months and somehow I never noticed it. And it’s exactly what I have been looking for to make this:

It’s the Fika Tote by Noodlehead. I bought a yard of this print:


and will pair it with some black Robert Kaufman Essex Linen that I have in the stash.

The weather is supposed to improve (dramatically) today. I plan to spend a lot of time out in the garden this week. I’m almost afraid to go look at how much the weeds grew after three days of rain.

Stripping the Singer 66

Stripping the Singer 66

The Homesteading Zone

The Homesteading Zone