Sewing Machine Maintenance

Now that all the quilts are sewn for magazines later this year and before I start something new, my sewing machine is past due to be cleaned and oiled. We don't always think about how much we demand of our sewing machines. We expect them to run perfectly after sewing miles and miles of seams. Last year I sewed almost 20 quilts, most of them full-sized along with dozens of other projects. I really make my sewing machine work!

Regular cleanings by a professional are a must -- depending upon how much you sew, yearly is a good rule of thumb. There are some simple maintenance steps you can do to your machine between cleanings to keep your machine in tip top shape.

Every time you empty a bobbin is the perfect time to take a small brush or pick and clean out any visible lint in the bobbin case area. Make sure your machine is turned off and poke around pulling out fuzz and lint.

Every 4-5 bobbin changes, I take off the throat plate and bobbin case and

thoroughly clean with a brush and vacuum hose attachment to get out all the fuzz and lint packed down in the feed dog area.

Thread creates a lot of lint in your machine so always invest in good quality thread. Besides, it is a good idea not only for your machine, but for your projects too, you want the thread to hold up to the test of time as well.

Other ways to help keep your machine running smoothly are to:

  • Monitor your sewing needle. Never sew over pins, it is a great way to break or bend a needle. Sewing machine needle manufactures recommend to replace your machine's needle every four hours of sewing time. OK, I admit, I don't change my needle anywhere nearly that often, more like after every two quilts.
  • Use the right needle for the type of material you are using. 

Dilly Day Fat Quarter Give Away

Leave a comment on this post and you will automatically be entered into the random drawing for a chance to win a Dilly Day fat quarter bundle! Two fat quarter bundles from my new Dilly Day collection will be given away free! A bundle includes 20 different prints from the Dilly Day collection.

Dilly Day Fat Quarters

Here is what you need to do to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post to be entered into give away, anytime between Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 and by 12:30 pm (EST) on Thursday, March 1st, 2012
  • Only one entry per name will be put into the drawing, so not necessary to comment more then once, it will not improve your chances
  • I will notify the winners on Thursday, March 1st and post winners names on my blog

Best of luck!

Note: This quilt is not included in the give away.

Be My Valentine

Here is a pieced block Valentine's Day card project for you to try. It is a good project for using those fabric scraps. The PDF download is a free project on my Project page. I made this project for Craftsy.com and their Project Cupid themed projects, (plus, I needed some Valentine's cards!) What better then to make a project to post here on my blog and on Craftsy and get my Valentine's Day cards made too!

Many of the viewers to this blog have found this site because I have posted projects on Craftsy. If you have not visited Craftsy.com and looked through all the wonderful projects posted by people all over the world, check it out. Craftsy also has an impressive list of on-line courses they offer on a variety of different types of crafts beyond quilting.

Craftsy now has a new feature where they are offering PDF download patterns (e-patterns) for purchase directly from their site. The patterns are created and posted by independent designers - like me. The Pattern Store page on Craftsy will work just like their projects page but here, indie designers will be able to offer their projects for sale in a downloadable PDF format.

With the new year, came new goals for me as a designer. One of my goals was to start offering quilt patterns for sale. I still plan to bring you new, free projects throughout the year but I am proud to announce my expansion into the pattern market with my first for sale pattern, "Set Sail" that is debuting on my Craftsy Pattern page.

You will be able to purchase the e-pattern for this project from my Craftsy Pattern Store page using the link above or by using the image button link now installed on my side bar. I hope you enjoy this fun and lively quilt, it is a wonderful scrap-buster project. I look forward to bring you more e-pattern quilt projects in the future.

As Seen on TV

As the new year began, the new episodes of the public television series, Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting have started airing. This years series is labeled their 1900 series. Hosted by Marianne Fons and her daughter Mary Fons, various quilting projects and techniques are demonstrated using different quilting projects. As part of this years 1900 series, in episode 1904 titled, "Feedsack Flowers" Mary Fons is joined by Sandy Gervais to demonstrate making a hexagon "log-cabin" style block set together in a brilliant, no-set-in method.

In this episode, the fabrics used in the demonstration part of the project are from my Blue Skies collection from Fabri-Quilt - Paintbrush Studio line!

If you are wanting to give this block a try - it's super fun - use this link for a quick on-line video in conjunction to this project. This project had been first seen in their Easy Quilts - Scrap Quilts Fall 2011 issue and this link showcases the block from that source. Visit: http://www.fonsandporter.com/issues/Easy_Quilts___Scrap_Quilts 

click on the technique labeled "Log Cabin Hexagons" for the video. (sign in is required to view the video.)

You will want to check your local listings for the airing times of the Fons & Porter Love of Quilting series in your area. For more information on how to find out what is available by you, visit http://www.fonsandporter.com/tv_showtimes.html

I wish I had more time right now to play around with this block, I am fascinated by a hexagon shaped block and would really love to make a full project from this technique, but, alas, too many irons in the fire right now, that one must be put on a back burner for awhile!