Local Peeps: Sewing Machine Repair

Turkey Tracks: May 11, 2022

Local Peeps: Sewing Machine Repair

I broke the needle threader on my Janome 8900 months ago. We won’t discuss what stupidity occurred to make that happen.

I lived without the threader until suddenly I had a tiny, tiny little loop on the bobbin side of my seams about every 20 stitches.

A quilty friend here told me she had taken her machine over to Mystic Maine Quilts, where the technician fixed it while she waited. MMQ is an authorized Janome dealer.

Hmmmm…

So I called last Friday—and was told I could bring the machine in Saturday morning by 10 am and wait with it if I liked.

Off I went Saturday morning.

Kevin McMurray is the technician—and he is awesome. In addition to his fixing the machine, we had a nice visit where I learned a lot about my machine.

Kevin had a whole box of Janome 8900 parts. He had a needle threader. He had a new bobbin case (mine was scarred, which probably happened when I broke the needle threader). He had the widget that sits on the rod where the bobbin is threaded.

He cleaned my machine. He rehooked a tiny, tiny spring that had come loose way down on the inside. AND with the repairs and the cleaning, the bill was under $100.

I came home with a machine that is now quieter and is running so smoothly.

MMQ is in Chelsea, Maine, which sits on route 9 between Augusta and Gardner. From Camden, I go out on 17, turn left on route 9 when 17 ends in a ”T,” and go about a mile or so to the shop, which is on the right.

Kevin works two days a week, and it is my understanding that you can make an appointment with him and wait while he fixes your machine.

He repairs all kinds of sewing machines.

***

5 River Road

Chelsea, Maine 04330

207-582-0312

Betsy’s “Love Letters” Quilt

Turkey Tracks: May 10, 2022

“Betsy’s ”Love Letters” Quilt

It’s another beautiful day here today.

And for me, it is cleaning/laundry day. But when that is done, AC doggie and I will definitely get out into the woods. And, there will be late afternoon sewing. There are only 10 more blocks to make for the Churn Dash quilt on the design wall.

When Betsy Maislen was here some weeks back, a journey made to pick up a used sewing machine she purchased from a quilty friend here. She spent a few days with me. And there was some sewing, of course, as she tried out her new machine and began to get familar with it.

While she was here, my Simply Moderne magazine, No 28, arrived.

The cover showed a quilt designed by Wendy Sheppard and Darlene Szabo, ”Love Letters.”

Betsy fell in love with this quilt.

When she went home, she made it—and pretty quickly too.

Here’s Betsy’s ”Love Letters” quilt.

Betsy did an AWESOME job.

The quilt is meant to be a gift, so someone is going to be happy.

She is still in love with her new-to-her sewing machine.

*You can order the pattern if you like it from Simply Moderne magazine.

https://www.quiltmania-inc.us/boutique/magazines/simply-moderne/simply-moderne-28/

Eating and Sewing the Rainbow

Turkey Tracks: May 5, 2022

Eating and Sewing the Rainbow

Eating the rainbow at lunch today: roasted chicken and all kinds of veggies.

When I feel I’m getting full, I stop eating and put the leftovers into a bowl for my dinner meal. Sometime I just add more meat and veggies to the bowl and call it a night. Sometimes I add a tortilla heated over the flame on top of my stove—and add some butter when it is done. Sometimes I’ll also have a little dessert fruit. Mostly, I make an herbal tea, but sometimes I’ll have a coffee.

I am enjoying having my main meal in the middle of the day.

But speaking of rainbows, I just signed up for Tara Faughnan’s 10-month long Traverse Block of the Month—hosted by Sewtopia and starting in July. The project comes in two manufacturer choices (Windham Artisan Cottons or Kona cottons ) and two color ways. I chose the bright in the Windham Artisan Cottons. I love shot cottons. They have so much depth.

My experience with the ”Sugaridoo” quilt showed me it’s easy to make one row a month of a block that is fun.

And I fell in love with this colorful quilt.

“Pot-Pourri 3” and ”Eye Candy 3” Quilts

Turkey Tracks: May 3, 2022

“Pot-Pourri 3” and ”Eye Candy 3” Quilts

Here’s ”Pot-Pourri 3.” It went to a great-niece—so the blocks are meant to be ”girly” for this little toddler.

And remember that all the fabrics are Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society from my stash. It takes a lot of different fabrics—in a deep stash—to make a quilt like this one.

I pieced the back from bigger pieces of my Cotton+Steel stash, and isn’t it fun?

I used the pantograph ”He Loves Me” by Anne Bright—and you can see how it works in the solid deep rose ombre fabric below. I ordered a pale, pale pink thread to use.

Below, you can see some of the fabric variety.

AND, here’s ”Eye Candy 3,” which is meant for my niece’s little boy, who will arrive in mid-June. I had such fun making these Churn Dash blocks with their fussy-cut centers. And I had enough of the sashing fabric to separate the blocks.

Again, the backing is scrappy.

I used the ”Bayside” panto from Lorien Quilting and a pale jade colored thread—like a sea foam color.

Below is a close-up of some of the blocks. I will also print this picture and the close-up of the quilt above to use in the cards I make.

Winter and early spring are fading away now, so I will have less sewing time. The lawn already needs mowing and I need to organize spray as the deer and porcupines have eaten the newly emerging perennials down to the ground.

But, I made 7 baby/toddler quilts this winter—and I still have a lot of strips cut for Churn Dash blocks out of the Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star stash. So I’ve been making a bigger quilt from these blocks, with no sashing. Six rows of 10 are done. There are enough big pieces left to piece a backing. So, this project continues.

Blocks will, of course, move around. I’m liking the secondary patterns. It is VERY scrappy and VERY busy. It is also very fun to make.

Today is cleaning/laundry day. And AC doggie needs a good run. But tomorrow will be a rainy day, so maybe there will be some sewing.

Spring Flowers and Quilty Projects Update

Turkey Tracks: April 22, 2022

Spring Flowers and Quilty Projects Update

My daffodils are up and some are blooming. I picked this bunch Tuesday in the pouring rain after running an errand. They are still beautiful and fresh today, Friday. And I have so many daffs that I will have flowers in the kitchen for some time now.

And—local peep—right up the hill from me is Golden Brook Flower Farm where the greenhouses are full of gorgeous flowers. This sweet bunch of tulips came to my house Wednesday and are also still just gorgeous today. Look at that beautiful tulip color. They came with very long stems, too, so I could have used a tall vase for them if I had wanted to.

http://www.goldenbrookfarmcamden.com

Yesterday I cooked two lamb shanks and leeks in the Instant Pot—and increased the cooking time to 40 minutes this time. The shanks were tender to the bone with the addition of 5 minutes. And the meal was delicious and produced leftovers.

I cooked the carrots separately, drained them, and added them to a bowl big enough to hold the whole recipe when ready to be combined. I added the garlicky green beans (see earlier posts) I had on hand to the carrots while the lamb and leeks cooked. I browned the shanks in the Instant Pot in beef tallow while the 2 large leeks, with some chopped garlic and salt, cooked in lamb fat in a pan on the stove—lamb fat saved from an earlier lamb dish. When the leeks were golden, I added some water that would pick up all the browned (not burned) goodness in the pan. When the shanks were brown, I added the leeks and garlic, about 3 cups of water, herbs (a dried Provence mixture that includes some rosemary and lavender), salt, and several tablespoons of sprouted brown rice flour to thicken (you could use flour), and cooked for 40 minutes. I let the pot sit for 15 minutes after the 40 minutes were up before releasing the steam. I always turn off the ”keep warm” button as there is no need for it.

Then I just combine all the ingredients and enjoy my meal. I’ll have enough for one more meal with the second shank—and I’ll reserve the extra broth and make a soup with it and some fresh lamb meat pieces I had in the freezer. I’ll sauté those with savories and more veggies and will have a nice soup for at the very least another day. Or, two.

I’m hand sewing binding on the last baby quilt and will mail two quilts to a niece soon now. The larger one will be for her little girl toddler. Pictures will follow receipt of these two quilts.

And now I’m making fun Churn Dash blocks from all those strips I cut. It’s a good thing I’m happy making these blocks as there are A LOT of cut strips in the two sizes I need—along with a lot of cut center squares and fabrics reserved for more of those. These are all Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society fabrics from my stash—and the goal is to use them up and/or combine the remnants with the rest of the stash.

It is just so fun to combine these fabrics to make cute 7 1/2 inch finished blocks. I’m thinking 90 blocks, or 9 rows by 10, which will make a good lap-size quilt. Of course blocks will be moved around a lot along the way.

There is actually a lot to look at to figure out block placement. The color, dark and light placement, the centers, the intensity (or not) of the block.

Creative fun is happening!

A Welcome Visitor

Turkey Tracks: April 7, 2022

A Welcome Visitor

Betsy Maislen, from Vermont, came to visit for a few days.

And to pick up a sewing machine she bought from a friend here. Her old machine, with which she started quilting, finally died.

Going from a very old machine to the Janome 8900 has been like going from a Model T car to a space ship for Betsy. It was so fun to watch her delight as she began to sew on her new machine.

We set up a sewing station for her downstairs:

And she went home with this top for a baby quilt—Wendy Sheppard’s ”Whirlygigs,” found in Simply Moderne magazine, No. 26.

I really like how the white squares are forming a very interesting pattern in the center of this baby-sized quilt. There are just so many geometric shapes that titillate the eye in this pattern: x’s, o’s, paddles.

I worked on the longarm while Betsy was here—and finished quilting and trimming ”Pot-Pourri 3.” The binding went on after Betsy left on Tuesday and after I had done my weekly cleaning/laundry tasks. So I now have hand sewing for night tv watching.

Here’s a sneak peek at one of the Churn Dash blocks for ”Eye Candy 3.”

Some days before Betsy came, I got really hungry for a pasta salad. I have to use rice pasta, but I’ve gotten used to it over the years. It is softer and if overcooked can get gummy. I love to use crisp veggies in a pasta salad: celery, onions, carrots, colored peppers (red, orange, or yellow). I add some roasted meat, like chicken. And those tiny organic green peas that are in the freezer section. And lots of herbs—with good olive oil. Sometimes I add some grated mozzarella cheese.

I didn’t have green peas or roasted chicken on hand, so I fried a small cube steak and but it up. I put the salad on a bed of mixed lettuce, and it was delicious.

For the leftovers, and after a trip to the grocery store, I added a hamburger patty and the little peas.

And while she was here, Betsy got roasted lamb, baked potatoes with raw butter, tiny new asparagus, and baked apples with vanilla ice cream. (Haagen-Dazs vanilla is the only ice cream I can find that has real ingredients and not a lot of fillers meant to substitute for actual cream.) And, for lunch before she left, we had a big green and veggie salad with meat from a just-cooked spatchcocked chicken.

Cotton+Steel Stash Project Cutting Done!

Turkey Tracks: March 28, 2022

Cotton+Steel Stash Project Cutting Done!

Yesterday morning, Sunday, was another beautiful spring morning.

AC and I went to the Snow Bowl again, and there was running, walking, chasing the ball, and swimming in all the watery places.

Then, the promised weather started rolling in as we got ready to go home for lunch.

How dramatic are those clouds? We got a little snow during the night—just a coating—when the temps dropped. This week is meant to be fairly clear at the moment, but will be a bit cooler than last week.

Last week I ironed the last of the Cotton+Steel stash and those pieces into squares and strips. I kept out bigger pieces to use for backings and bindings. And I didn’t cut into several big pieces that were low volume, as I may need them as I move through this big project to augment the low volume pieces already cut. If I don’t, they will go into the regular stash.

Anyway, here are the last fabrics I cut. The fabrics on the upper longarm roller bar are meant for fussy cutting centers for the Churn Dash blocks or for the backing for the ”warm” ”Pot-Pourri 3” quilt—and I laid out that backing yesterday after sewing that top together.

The table with strips for Churn Dash blocks is overflowing—especially after this last big cutting.

And I now have two bins of color-sorted squares ready to be used for more of the scrappy ”Pot-Pourri” quilts:

Indeed, the whole project has more or less been moved to the bed next door to the quilt room so I can use the longarm. The basket of solids is another scrappy project I’ll get back to some day. And the strips and squares on the right are smaller pieces that evolved from the major cutting project. They will be used down the road.

And, here’s a sneak peek at the next Churn Dash quilt blocks and their sashings and corner stones, which are all cut. I think a binding I cut will also work for this new ”Eye Candy 3” quilt.

And off we go into a whole new week.

I intend to enjoy this week, and I hope you enjoy yours as well.

A Beautiful Spring Day!

Turkey Tracks: March 27, 2022

A Beautiful Spring Day!

Yesterday was just a beautiful spring day, and AC and I went for an outing at the Snow Bowl area—where the ruined field has some grass strips between the deep ruts made by parking cars there where he can chase his ball for a bit. The parking lot is also empty now, and the ball flies a long way there and bounces further along in a very satisfying way.

Yesterday was the first day I didn’t need a coat over my knit/fleece sweater/jacket. Or a hat, or gloves.

The ice is almost out of the pond on the Snow Bowl side. You can see what ice remains on the far right, over by the toboggan run.

We walked over there as part of our outing.

AC swam at the edges of the pond here, but I didn’t have the camera ready to take a video.

He swam everywhere we went actually—and there are running creeks and water basins that are part of the drainage in this area and the pond itself. Here he is at the public swimming area.

After lunch, I read for a bit on the couch downstairs with a tired dog at my side. Then I sewed blocks and rows together on ”Pot-Pourri 3.” Only two more rows to sew and attach—then on to the pieced backing. I cut binding yesterday.

I always take a picture of a developing quilt top before I start sewing blocks and rows together—so if I get blocks confused I have a picture of how they are meant to be placed.

The morning is bright and sunny at the moment, but weather is moving in. We might even get a dusting of snow later tonight.

That’s spring in Maine.

Cassandra’s Interesting Blog Post

Turkey Tracks: March 25, 2022

Cassandra’s Interesting Blog Post

Cassandra’s blog, The Not So Dramatic Life, often has interesting posts.

This post takes a close look at 5 modern quilts from this year’s QuiltCon that she especially liked, along with analysis about what it was that she liked.

Taking a Closer Look: 5 Quilts from QuiltCon

Here’s a screenshot of her recent blog offerings to give you an idea—she has been looking closely at different categories of quilts shown at this year’s QuiltCon.

More Baby Quilts Landed

Turkey Tracks: March 24, 2022

More Baby Quilts Landed

Here’s ”Eye Candy 2.”

Isn’t it cute?

To remind: I’m cutting up my Cotton+Steel/Ruby Star Society stash and USING it in a project of making baby quilts for 3 nieces and an Enright cousin. This is the second batch of the ”Eye Candy” and ”Pot-Pourri” quilts.

I’m using larger pieces in the stash to piece backings.

Here’s ”Pot-Pourri 2.” And this time I used more of the darker fabrics as this quilt is for a boy. For these scrappy quilts made from simple blocks, I’m using 9-patches. Here, the block with 5 dark colors is followed by a block with 4 dark colors—so diagonal lines form.

This back was fun to make. AC doggie liked it a lot. Both the tiger fabric and the sheep fabric are longtime favorites of mine. There was a time when I truly could not bear to cut deeply into them. And the horse fabrics have images too big to use with fussy cutting for the most part. The darker grey whimsical fabric also comes in light grey—and I have used both as quilt backings. I never thought they would carry me this far.

Only a deep stash can call on such variety within the blocks—and that is what this quilt is all about as I want a child to see and recognize images—and to learn what the images are that are now retro like the phone in one of the blocks below.

These functional quilts are meant to be used, loved, washed and used, loved, and washed. Until they wear out, which I hope takes many years.

I rejoice, too, that these amazing designers are carrying on with their work via the Ruby Star Society. They are not done, and neither am I—with my love of their work.