Monday, August 17, 2020

A new needle makes the world go round

Another GREAT day! I was listening to the radio this morning, and they were talking about being a morning person or a night person. I have to say there is nothing better than getting up before everyone - a new perspective on the day, no baggage from the day before, and the whole day stretching before you!

I get it that night people could have their own reasons, but this is what works for me, and I LOVE getting up early.

I also look forward to checking the stats on my Virtual Challenges since they update overnight. Small things amuse me, so bear with me. But I LOVE looking at my walking progress each morning. Where am I on the maps? I thought I'd share these photos with you.

I walked to the mall yesterday - that was an experience. I'll share that tomorrow.

As I walked across probably one of the last open spaces in this city, it made me think of the maps and the landscape I view each day.

The wide-open view in the city

Yep - hard to believe that we can actually get that wide of a view in the city. I'm guessing that someday soon, this space will be filled with condos.

On my Route 66 virtual walk, I'm in Arizona now and walked through the Petrified Forest National Park a couple of days ago. This is the wide-open view in Arizona.

The wide-open view in Arizona

On my cross Canada virtual walk, I'm just about to enter Winnipeg.

The wide-open view in Manitoba

So all is good - I love the virtual challenges. Keeps me on track, gives me something to look forward to,  and I love the tracking process. There are MUCH shorter treks if you want to try one. Of course, we chose the longest one to start! It wasn't my choice, but I'd probably have done the same thing. I'm at 72% of the way from Chicago to Los Angeles. I hope to arrive by the middle of November.

If you search for virtual challenges, you'll find loads. Sign up - they are fun, and some of them are just marathon length. 26 miles, and you'd be surprised at how quickly you can walk 26 miles.

Back to Studio B, where I had another testing session with Zoom, and cameras, microphones, and speakers. I'm learning so much. Well - it turns out I need a different camera. It's on order - let's hope it arrives by Wednesday. If not, I do have a plan B. I think I have at last sorted out all the equipment. And the price gouging on this new camera - well - there is a shortage of webcams, and so I had to pay more than the retail price to get it. GRRR!!!!!  I should have done all this research earlier in the year so that I would know all this by now. No matter - I think it's under control now.

Then it was off to sew on more bindings. I got this one on the fleece quilt done. So all the fleece quilts are now bound.

One more fleece quilt bound

Then I moved onto a small flannel quilt. I had to make the binding for this one, and it's completely stitched in place.

Binding on another small quilt

That's two more quilts to go to Project Linus. Hmmm - I'm going to have to try another contact since I haven't heard from that lady. Maybe she's on vacation??? I'll try to call her since she hasn't responded to my e-mail.

What's next? I decided to stitch the applique shapes on the Christmas Figs block. I got the sewing machine prepped for that - open toe applique foot, bobbin weight thread on the top and bobbin.

Stitching the applique shape

I use an elongated zigzag to machine stitch the applique in place. The width is 1.5 (I'd love to use 1.0, but it's too darn hard to see), and the length is 1.5, or you can use 2.0 - depending on how your machine makes the zigzag.

The elongated zigzag

It's a bit hard to see in this photo, but the top petal is stitched, and the bottom one is not. That matching bobbin weight thread makes the stitching nearly invisible. Shoot - I should have taken a closeup of the stitching.

The applique shapes

Then I did something that I should have done a long time ago. I knew the sewing machine was due for a cleaning and a new needle. That needle was struggling to get over seams, and it should not have been having issues. Yes - I have a system for notifying me when the needle needs to be changed (after 5 bobbins), but I've been sewing a lot of bindings and going through fleece, flannel, and gosh knows what else.

When I lifted the bobbin case out, I almost had a heart attack. There were two THICK FELT pads in the bobbin case. Now, how did they get there?

The thick felt pads removed from the bobbin case

Keep in mind, there are NO felt pads in the bobbin case. That is a build-up of LINT. Lint in the bobbin case is bad. I can't believe it was that bad. Ooops.

Not only that, but look at the THICK BAR of lint that I pulled from between the feed teeth. Yep - that's a disaster waiting to happen.

The thick bar of lint from the feed teeth

In the end, I pulled all this out of the machine. OK - as en educator, that's a bit of an embarrassment.

The lint pulled from the bobbin area

I wound five bobbins and inserted a new needle. AH - the world is much better. But you would be amazed at how quickly we are to blame the sewing machine for not sewing properly when, in fact, it's the needle that is the issue.

I finished this cone of thread. I'm on my last cone of piecing thread, so I'd better get myself together and order some more. The cone I'm using is partially used, and it'll be gone before I know it.

The cone is empty
Do yourself a favor and change that darn needle!!!!  And do it regularly. I switch between machines so often that sometimes, I get mixed up with the bobbins and well - I should NOT do that ever again. It doesn't help the machine, and it certainly doesn't help the stitching.

The next project is to get the borders on Easy Street. This is one of the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilts from a while ago. I cut the strips this morning and emptied two tables, so I had room to work.

Pinning the borders on Easy Street

I managed to get the final border on two sides of the quilt. The strips for the other two sides are cut and ready to be joined.

The outer border is on two sides of Easy Street

The quilt is laid out and ready to measure the last two borders.

Getting ready to measure the last two borders

Before time was up this morning, I scoured the shelf with all the yardage for quilt backings. I found a piece that will be perfect. This system of labeling the length of all the yardages is brilliant. It took mere seconds to find a piece of fabric that was the right color and large enough. If you don't have your yardage labeled with the size, then I guess I know what you'll be doing today. This is a HUGE time saver.

The backing for Easy Street

It's Monday, and that means it's Monday sewing!!! I can't wait!  I've got a whole pile of hand stuff sitting there to stitch while we chat, and I've got to finish that border on Easy Street.

I made good progress on the custom quilt on the long arm as well. It's nice to have loads of time to do that. It can get boring and hard on the back to spend all day doing ruler work. Now I do a bit a day, and soon it'll be done! If only I could be that great at time management all the time!

On that note, I've got stuff to get done before our Monday call.

Have a super day!!!!



  1. I haven't commented lately, yet I read you EVERY morning! :-) I've sewn for nearly 50 years now and I had never been told to clean my own machine. I have them each serviced annually-no one ever talked to me about it. Well, I took mine apart a few months ago as my piecing machine was eating HST corners. OMG! Why didn't the service people tell me? Now I clean each of them every 8 weeks or so.

    Congrats on all the finishes and reaping the rewards of organizing your stash :-) Celebration for sure!

    Happy Monday to you :-)

    1. Good morning Elle - going back through a couple of comments I missed. Oh yes -- so many don't know about the sewing machine maintenance!! It's always a good chuckle when someone realizes how linty the machine gets. HAve fun!!!!