Thursday, August 20, 2009

These feet were made for Walking (and Darning)

If you have purchased a new machine, it probably came with at least a couple of alternate feet. You probably thought: "There's no way I'll use all these feet. What are they for, anyway?" Believe it or not, there are actually dozens of types you can get, whether brand specific or generic. Some of them are pretty pricey, too. Be sure you can justify the cost by using them often and well.

My most used sewing machine feet are the walking and darning feet. They make my sewing life so much easier, and more interesting.

Walking foot (generic):
walking foot (generic)

The walking foot has long been a favorite of quilters. The white plastic feet on this foot help to keep multiple layers from slipping apart. It also is a joy when you're trying to match plaids or stripes.

To be honest, this is my most used foot. It has taken the place of my "A" (basic) foot, simply because it is such a helpful tool. Those pesky 1/4" seams are so much easier, and it's a must-have for quilting "in the ditch" (along seam lines).

Darning foot (Janome, open toe):
darning/embroidery foot

Lately though, I've been having a little fling with my darning foot. Also called an embroidery foot, this baby lets me go to town and do some free motion quilting (FMQ); all I have to do is drop the feed dogs, set this foot on the shank and off I go!

It's not just for quilting though. I have also been using it to do some free motion lettering. Embroidery, if you will. It produces a sketchy, jittery looking stitch, which must be repeated in order to get a thicker looking letter.

My first experience with free motion lettering was a lot of fun:

pirate bag - Ahoy Matey

I did use stabilizer inside the bag, so there were two layers. Then I fused some interfacing inside the bag, to cover the stitches (it's not a lined bag) and keep them from coming loose or getting caught on anything in the bag.

The pink pirate fabric is attached the same way, essentially. I call it a "chaos" stitch, just some random back-and-forthing along the edges. No heat-n-bond or anything, either, just the stitches.

Each letter has about five up-down/back-forth sets. They're not meant to be terribly neat-and-tidy, they're meant to evoke a loose scrawl. Takes a bit of practice, and patience. I'm looking forward to using it in some near-future projects.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping....

into the future!

It's been a crazy, hectic and nerve-wracking summer. Still is, actually. Haven't done much sewing or crafting at all. Been a bit depressed, which keeps me introverted, which means I don't do much posting/chatting/interacting with people. *sigh*

Let's recap, shall we?

*Cooper was born early, went home relatively quickly, but is once again hospitalized. Initially with whooping cough (I seriously did not realize how awful this can be in an infant. Scary.), and continuing with a secondary infection. He's at Children's Hospital in Omaha, with loads of specialists and all, but it's rather far away, especially when you know his mama (my dd, Jessica) and family would rather be holding him at home.

*John was offered a job with Google, in Mountain View, California. There was a *lot* of discussion between us about whether or not to accept it. Ultimately, we decided not to go. Now of course we're dealing with the thoughts of "what if" and a bit of regret.

*My laptop bit the dust. Okay, not completely, just couldn't log on to the web. But what other use do I have for it?! lol There was about a week it was not usable. John saved what he could, then wiped the hard drive. It then took a few days to get everything re-loaded, re-installed.

*Last week I tripped and fell. (Feel free to skip to the end of the post...there's just some whining in this bullet point!) Hard. On to my right knee. Now it's swollen, sore and badly bruised. Very badly bruised. Like all the way down to under my ankle! It's rather disturbing, actually. Hoping it clears up quickly.

Anyway, those are just a few of the "highlights" of our summer. I'm making an effort to do more posting...okay, it's true, "any" posting would be more than I've been doing! Even neglected the LincolnHandmade team blog (I was supposed to post on Sunday. oops. Sorry ladies!).

Leith goes back to school on the 24th. (Not that I'm counting the 12 days until then or anything!) She'll be doing three full days and two half days. That should be plenty of time for me to be churning out some lovely pieces!

Oh, one last thing. I've decided to avoid the CPSIA hassle all together....the only kids' clothes/item I'll be making will be for Leith. I will, however, be making some gorgeous quilts and wonderful tote bags for folks ages 12 and up. Yay!