Monday, September 13, 2010

Is this not an awesome quilt??

The color, the graphic design, the quilting? Oh, if only I had the time to make things like this and cultivate and train my creative voice.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Presser Feet: The Blindhem/Overlock Foot

The Blind Hem / Overlock foot is a mystery to most people. What's that silly red plastic piece in the middle? And why is there a screw on the outside?

Here's where you find out!

One use for this foot is to make a machine-stitched blind hem. You fold the fabric in a specific way (do a Google search on How to Sew A Blind Hem for instructions). You use a stitch that combines a zig zag and straight stitch. Then, you line up the fold of the fabric with the red plastic piece (which adjusts to the proper width by turning the little screw) so that the larger zig zag stitch stitch catches a little "bite" of the fold. This little bite makes the invisible stitches. You unfold the fabric and voila!

OK, honestly, I never use it for this purpose. I'm not clever enough to position the needle to take a consistent tiny bite into the fold, and the way to fold the fabric is way to complicated for me. Moreover, I don't sew clothes very often, and on the rare occasion I need a blind hem, I do a very nice hidden stitch by hand.

The other purpose, which I use HEAVILY is a simulated serger stitch or overlock stitch.

I use this for finishing seams on my scrub hats, and it turns out so much nicer than a zigzag or pinking cut on the raw edge. It is easier than binding over the hem or any more complicated an laborious seam finishing technique.  And it looks nice and clean.

Close up of overlock finish on a scrub hat seam

Overlock Stitch
First, you must choose an overlock stitch. On my Pfaff, the stitch program chart (located on the flip lid on top of the machine) has a little subscript indicating which foot to use for any given stitch.

Pfaff stitches on the stitch program chart

The "Info" button also displays this information on the LCD screen. Above, stitch 19 is a classic overlock stitch, and you could use 16 as an overlock stitch as well.  Notice the subscript: stitch 18 should use presser foot 0, stitch 17 can use foot 0 or 1, etc.

My favorite overlock stitch is 21, and this is the stitch shown above on the finished seam.  The stitch is shown on my guide like this:
Stitch 21 - on Pfaff 2046

They call this a "light knit fabric patching stitch." OK, fine, but I think it makes a nice overlock stitch for cotton fabric. It's not too heavy, it doesn't bunch up the fabric, and it doesn't use too much thread. I tried other stitches and this works best for this purpose. 

When you compare this stitch to stitch 19 above, you notice that 19 has a "line" of stitches on each side, kind of like it's outlined on the left and right. Stitch 21 doesn't have the outline explicitly.  The stitches with the outlines are "closed overlock stitches," while those that don't are "open overlock stitches."

The Magic of the Overlock Foot
The overlock foot is magical because of its tiny wire in the open area of the foot.

Top and Bottom view of Overlock Foot. Notice the wire.

When you sew an overlock stitch, you line up the raw edge of the seam with the red plastic piece. As the machine forms the stitch, the needle swings to the left and to the right (in addition to up and down, of course), and as it makes its right-most swing, it passes to the right of the wire. Then it swings back. 

The thread is caught on the wire! Genius!

This holds the thread in place, out over the edge of the fabric, until the next section of the stitch is made. The next section locks the thread in place. The fabric advances with the feed dogs, and the held thread falls off the open back end of the wire.

This is how the overlock is made.

A closed overlock stitch will actually run stitches along the edge of the fabric. An open overlock stitch does not; a component of the stitch forms right at the edge of the fabric.

Your fabric determines what is the appropriate stitch - how fine your fabric is and how readily it frays.

A Third Use for the Overlock Foot
If you don't have a 1/4 inch foot, you could use this foot as a substitute. You'll have to do a little experimentation with the position of the guide and moving the needle off center to get the precise 1/4 inch seam.

Two Obvious Questions
Why would I want to finish a seam anyway? You can't see it, it's on the inside.
Finishing a seam a sign of quality workmanship. Maybe you've sewn a garment where you did not finish the seams, and after a few washes, you have a curled up mess inside. The seam allowance sheds lint and threads. No, you don't have to do it, and some applications it really isn't necessary. It's just nice to do it, particularly on clothing.  
Take a look at your own purchased clothing. Are their seams finished?  
Why not just get a serger?
Yes, why not. Personally, I don't feel I do enough finished seams to justify the expense or the space. Perhaps if I sold more hats in my Etsy store. Truly, if you're doing lots of seam finishing, yeah, you should get a serger.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Short Sabbatical

I have a new day-job and it has completely up-ended my schedule! It's taking me a while to get used to working ... *gasp* ... five days a week. Hence, the frequency of my posts are slowing down. I still love you all, my mythical readers, and I will be back!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Straight line quilting goes modern

I love straight line quilting. For one thing, it's easy. It can be done on a home machine. The texture it creates is tactile and seductive.. I thought I was the only one who loves straight line quilting (and am I just using it as an excuse for taking the easy route?), but miraculously, I found a fellow afficionado.   Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio recently blogged about her straight line technique she dubs "Organic Line Quilting."

I love it. Straight line quilting meets Modern Quilting.

You can do lines, you can do grids, you can do irregular lines, you can do diagonals, you can do diamonds, you can do a caning pattern (like the seat pattern in a caned woven chair). You can space your lines regularly, you can space your lines in a pattern, you can space your lines randomly. You can do rays.

You can combine straight lines with free motion. You can do lines to make a shape like a star.

See?!?  It's all about creativity.  Now I want to go quilt.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Denim Scraps become Functional

Denim is so awesome. It's cotton, it's tough, it's soft, it's comes in a plethora of colors, every blue under the sun.  I'm goofing around with some denim scraps and I made these potholders yesterday.  Well, they're in progress.

I'm intrigued by the Modern Quilting movement lately. It is improvisational with thoughtful use of shape and color.   Simple shapes make sophisticated designs and the pattern of the fabric gives personality. That was the inspiration for my pot holders, although in this application, the denim really doesn't have a pattern.

I use Insul-Bright insulated batting combined with a piece of 100% cotton batting to line the potholders. This combination works well in the kitchen, and the demin will provide anther layer of protection. Above all, I want these pot holders to be functional!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Skulls in Design

Skulls are so popular as a motif for accessories, clothing, and jewelry. I'm into them for my scrub caps. They're nice for the men who want to show they're tough while working in a caring profession.

I like the whimsical skull designs, too.

With Halloween coming up in a few months, I'm designing some skull themed caps.

I found this "rhine-stud" applique in the clearance bin at a fabric or craft store (I forget which store). It is made by Dritz. I can try it out for cheap! So cute, but how does it work? How good is the adhesive? Will it interfere with my sewing?

When you unwrap the applique, it is sandwiched between a sticky mesh piece of plastic (back) and a clear piece of plastic (front). You peel off the mesh and place the design on the fabric. I used the faint lines you see on this fabric to help me center it.

You place a pressing cloth (a.k.a. rag) over the clear plastic and iron without steam. This melts the adhesive slightly and adheres the design to the fabric gently. Then you flip the fabric over and iron again. This melts the adhesive the rest of the way. Don't iron too much or you'll melt the whole thing and end up with a mess.

Let it cool, then gently peel back the clear plastic.

This step was difficult. Some of the little rhinestones wanted to stay stuck to the clear plastic layer and detached from the fabric below. I repositioned the clear plastic (restoring the design) and ironed it again, then resumed peeling. This helped but it didn't eliminate the problem. What finally worked was to re-iron, then massage the plastic over the design while it was slightly warm.

It still required a delicate touch when peeling off the top plastic.

I'll make up the cap, give it a wash and maybe test drive with one of my coworkers before selling.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Presser Feet: The Quarter Inch Foot

The Quarter Inch foot is a mainstay for quilters. This is because piecing a quilt usually requires a 1/4 inch seam allowance. That is, the seam is sewn 0.25 inches in from the raw edge of the fabric. An accurate 1/4 inch seam is necessary for accurate piecing, in which the pieces fit the design precisely. For example,
here is a quilt block:

Here is the back of the block, notice the seam allowance as indicated.

Other sewing techniques use a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure why it's a quarter inch for quilting. That's what I was taught, and everyone does it that way. It's probably to reduce the bulk of the block. makes sense that you'd want a presser foot to help you make nice, straight, accurate 1/4 inch seams. Here are my quarter inch feet for my Pfaff:

Above, the upper foot is a plain quarter inch foot. The lower one has a guide (a non-sharp blade) on the right side.  You line the raw edge of your fabric up along the blade as you sew.

In the photo above, the arrow on the upper foot shows the slot for the Integrated Dual Feed feature of the Pfaff. Yes, you can disengage Dual Feed, but I find my piecing is more precise while using it.

The arrow on the lower foot points out the guide.

I almost never use the foot without the guide. Try as I may, I just can't sew a straight accurate 1/4 inch seam without the extra help of the guide. It really does make that much difference for me.  I ended up with the plain quarter inch foot because it was included in the Quilter's Toolbox accessory pack for the machine.

Notice also that the opening for the needle is a small hole, not a slot. This foot is intended to be used for straight stitch, not zigzag or decorative stitching. It works best with the straight stitch needle plate.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Review of my Pfaff 2046

My review of my Pfaff 2046 was published on Sewing Machine Reviewer. Check out this site, too, if you are considering buying a new sewing machine.

Review of Pfaff 2046

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Presser Feet: Introduction and Narrow Edge Foot

There are many many presser feet for a machine. In my experience, I find I use a small number of feet 90% of the time, and every so often, when I have a specific task, I pull out the other feet. Most people don't know what these feet are for and don't realize how much easier they can make things, if they knew how to use them.

So, here is my tutorial series on presser feet. 

Of course, I will show presser feet for my Pfaff 2046, but most machines have something similar to these feet. Either they came with the machine or you can buy them separately.

The Narrow Edge Foot

I am starting with this foot because it's my favorite.  I don't use it all the time, but when I need it, it is invaluable.

The narrow edge foot is a basic foot with a non-sharp blade positioned in the middle. The blade guides your stitching and helps you keep it straight. See the picture on the left.

Originally, this foot was designed to join two fabrics edge-to edge, not overlapping, like attaching lace to a finished hem. I've never used it for this purpose; I just don't do many clothing projects that need this technique. The foot has a slot for the needle opening, and you can use zig-zag stitch, a decorative stitch, or even offset the needle position because of the slot.

(Make sure you have on a zig zag needle plate before you do the decorative stitches or zig zag stitch! See my post on needle plates for details.)

The Pfaff has the integrated dual feed (IDT) feature and the slot in the back of the foot (see the photo on the right) allows for the dual feed mechanism to be engaged. You can disengage the IDT and use the foot without it, too.

Precision is the reason I like this foot so much. You wouldn't think that a simple blade would make that much of a difference in the ability to sew a straight line. It really does. 

Straight Line quilting, including Stitch-in-the-Ditch

Because of the dual feed feature of my Pfaff, I don't need to use a walking foot to do quilting. If I want to quilt in stitch-in-the-ditch style, I simply engage the IDT, follow the seam lines with the blade on this foot, and my stitches are positioned perfectly in the ditch.

If I want to quilt an all over straight line design (like a grid or parallel lines), I mark the quilt top with a ruler and non-permanent fabric marking pen or pencil, and then follow the lines with the blade. Straight quilting lines!


In many projects, you need to sew a line of stitches right along a seam or folded fabric edge, offset by a few millimeters.  For example, you might need to attach a patch pocket to a shirt. Here's where this foot earns its keep. You line up the blade with the seam or fabric edge, then offset the needle position to the right or left (as needed). As you sew, run the blade along the seam, and voila! Perfectly spaced straight stitches running parallel to the seam/fabric edge!

I have also used this foot to make narrow hems by rolling the fabric and gluing it in place (with wash-away fabric glue).

I purchased this presser foot separately; it was not part of the default set of presser feet included with my machine. It was well worth it. I use it all the time. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Published Review

I recently had a review of my Pfaff Quilt Expression 2046 posted on Best Sewing Machines Reviewed site. It has a slightly different focus than my articles here. Take a look!

Pfaff Quilt Expression 2046 Review

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Winding a Bobbin: Basic Tutorial

Winding a bobbin is a basic task you must master if you plan to do any serious sewing. Every machine has a bobbin winding feature and you should read your manual to find out how yours works.

Nevertheless, in my experience, the basic steps are the same.

Basic Steps

Step 1: Thread the machine for bobbin winding. Usually you start threading the machine in the normal fashion, then the thread takes a detour; redirecting it to the bobbin area.

Step 2: Thread the bobbin. This involves sticking the end of the thread through a hole near the middle spindle of the bobbin. Leave a long tail you can grab onto.

Step 3: Stick the bobbin on the spindle. On my Pfaff, you can put it on with either side up. I always put the side of the bobbin with "PFAFF" imprinted on it facing up.

Bobbin ready for winding

Step 4: Engage the bobbin spindle. On my Pfaff, I push the spindle to the right slightly and it clicks in place. This step is necessary because it engages the bobbin winder (that is, it makes it spin), and disables the needle so it doesn't go up and down while winding.  On my machine, you can't get the bobbin on the spindle when it's engaged, so you have to do this before engaging.

Step 5: Get it started - hold on to the end of the thread and depress the foot pedal gently. The bobbin spins a few times, catching the thread on itself.

Holding the thread end, ready to start

Step 6: Snip off the loose end of the thread from the top of the bobbin (so it doesn't get tangled up).

Snip off the loose end after several 
rotations, and the thread is locked on bobbin

Step 7: Wind the bobbin with abandon - as fast as you like. The machine should have a sensor that stops the winding when the bobbin is full.

Step 8: Snip the end of the thread (that connect to the spool), disengage the bobbin winder, and remove bobbin.  On my machine, I disengage the bobbin winder by pushing the bobbin and spindle gently to the left. It clicks in place. Then I can easily remove the bobbin.

Proper Bobbin Tension
As I mentioned in a previous post, my machine doesn't provide enough tension on the thread when winding a bobbin to get a nice tight bobbin. If the thread isn't tight enough, it won't feed through the machine properly. It makes uneven stitches and jams. No fun.

To work around this, I've developed a simple manual technique. I pinch the thread as it's winding.  This provides enough even, consistent tension to get a good bobbin. See the photos below.

You may think it would hurt to hold onto the fast moving thread, like "rope burn." It doesn't.

The only thing you have to watch out for with this technique is that you don't hold the thread out of it's proper alignment too much. Otherwise, the thread won't wind evenly up and down the bobbin. I just keep an eye on the guide as the bobbin is winding and make sure the thread alternates all the way to the top and to the bottom as it's winding.

Guide for Even Winding

I wish I didn't have to do this! It should just work!! But, in my experience, all machines have their little quirks and either we live with them or we get a new machine.

A Few Other Tips
Your machine will wind the bobbin in a consistent direction. Direction of the thread is important when loading the bobbin into the bobbin case. Think of it like the roll of toilet paper - do you like the paper coming over the top or from under the bottom? The concept is the same, and in my experience some machines are extremely sensitive to how the thread comes off the bobbin. Unfortunately, different machines are designed for different directions. I can't tell you the "right" way.

This is why I always wind my bobbins with the PFAFF imprint on the top. Then, I always load my bobbins with the PFAFF imprint on the bottom. The direction of the thread coming off the bobbin is always correct for my machine, and I don't have to think about how I'm loading the bobbin.

It is important to use the proper bobbin for your machine. I always buy Pfaff bobbins for my Pfaff. I don't mess around with the cheaper, generic bobbins that say they fit the Pfaff. It doesn't save that much money in the long run because bobbins are reusable. And, it might save lots of frustration, if they don't work quite right.

Happy sewing! More tutorials to come!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Own Zakka

Here is a zakka I made yesterday. The pattern came from the book I recently purchased, Zakka Sewing: 25 Japanese Projects for the Household. It was easy and so very fun to make!

Of course I couldn't follow the instructions precisely to the letter. My modifications were to use cotton (instead of linen), embellish it with rick rack (instead of decorative stitching), and added edge stitching along the top seam for a neater finish.

Good instructions, easy to make, delightful results.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Needle Plates - Basic Tutorial

Needle plates (or face plates) are inserts that fit over the flat surface of your sewing machine under the needle. The fabric you are sewing passes over the needle plate and under the presser foot when you are sewing.

Sewing Machine with Straight Stitch Needle Plate 
in place on Sewing Surface

They are custom to each machine and manufacturer, so you can't just buy a new needle plate and expect it to fit on your machine. You should go to your machine brand dealer, although there may be a few available at general sewing stores, for most popular manufacturers and models.

I have two needle plates for my Pfaff 2046. The default plate, which came with the machine, is the zig zag plate. The straight stitch plate came with the Quilters Tool Box - an accessory kit that you have to buy separately. You probably can buy the plate only from a Pfaff dealer.

This tutorial will cover what you need to know about needle plates.

First, you need to understand that not all sewing machines provide a variety of stitches. In fact, early machines merely did a straight stitch; that is, the needle only moved up and down as you sewed.  It was not possible to have the needle move side to side.

As machines evolved and technology improved, other stitches became possible. These stitches required the needle to move side to side as well as up and down; the most basic is the zig-zag stitch. Almost all modern machines have zigzag, anymore. Now, patterns assume your machine can do this.

Straight Stitch
Early machines only had a little hole for the needle to pass through to engage the bobbin and complete the stitch. This hole is present on a straight stitch needle plate.

Straight Stitch Needle Plate

Zig Zag Stitch
When a machine forms a zig zag stitch the needle alternates to the left and the right with each stitch. Obviously, there must be a way for the needle to pass through when it's off center. The zig zag needle plate was born! It has a wider opening for the needle to pass.

Zig Zag Needle Plate

Comparing the Two
In a comparison of the two needle plates, you can see the difference. In the straight stitch plate, the opening is a small hole (left plate). In the zig zag plate, the opening is a narrow slot.

While it might not seem significant, it is.

Think about it: if you have a straight stitch plate on the machine and your needle moves off center, the needle crashes into the plate. It can't pass through, because the needle "missed" the hole. The zig zag plate is more versatile. It lets you make all of the stitches your machine can do.  This is why the zig zag plate is currently the default needle plate.

So...why would you even bother with a straight stitch plate?

In a word: precision. Most of the time, you use a straight stitch, and the smaller opening supports the fabric as much as possible. When the needle passes through the fabric, it encounters the resistance of the fabric and pushes it just a little bit through the plate before it pierces it. With more support from the needle plate, the fabric is distorted less and thus makes a neater, more precise stitch. On a zig zag needle plate, there is a bigger "hole" (slot, really) and the needle can push the fabric through a little more before it pierces the fabric.

For a lot of sewing, this doesn't really matter too much. But, if you are using delicate fabric, or if you need seams to match up precisely, or if you require a "perfect" quarter inch seam (as needed for complicated patchwork), it makes a difference.

I use the zig zag plate for most of my sewing, but when I'm doing a project where precision counts and I'm using a straight stitch, I change the plates. Additionally, the straight stitch plate helps with stitch formation in free motion quilting. Free motion work is merely a straight stitch with the fabric being moved manually in any direction. The extra support of the straight stitch plate helps keep each individual stitch aligned properly while the movement of the fabric exerts pressure in different directions on the needle and thread.

Changing the Needle Plates
Now you can see why you need removable and interchangeable needle plates. In most machines, plates are made of durable metal, and they snap into the sewing surface. On my Pfaff, I use a little tool that came with the machine to pry off the plate.

The flat tip (to the left) tucks under a little notch in the sewing surface, and when you apply pressure to the tool, the plate pops off. To insert the other plate, you line it up in the face of the machine and press down until it snaps in place. I imagine you could use a screwdriver, but I worry that could damage the plate.

Other Features of a Needle Plate

The numbers and lines to the right of the needle hole are seam allowance widths. (a) Line up the edge of your fabric with the line labeled 1/2, and with a straight stitch in center needle position, you will have a half inch seam allowance (that is, you are sewing one half of an inch in from the edge of the fabric). Since I'm in the United States, the measurements are in inches, but the numbers below the inches are metric in centimeters. (b)

The rectangular slots around the needle hole allow the feed dogs to reach up from below and grab the fabric to pass it through the sewing surface. (c)

The rest of the openings, I'm not so sure about.  I imagine they are for specialized sewing techniques. However, the large notch above letter "a" above is for snapping into place on the sewing surface.

Hope this has been helpful information for you.  More sewing machine tutorials to come!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pfaff Quilt Expression 2046

I sew on a Pfaff Quilt Expression 2046.

Prior to that I had a "New Home" model that I got from a garage sale. (New Home is now Janome) It was a pretty good machine and it was an excellent transition as I learned whether I wanted to sew a lot, or just a little.  I recycled that machine by giving it to my niece for Christmas one year.

Back to the Pfaff.

I did a fair amount of research prior to buying this sewing machine, but the decision came down to how I thought I'd use the machine.  You can spend anything you like on a sewing machine - $50 to $50000. What matters is that you get joy out of your work on the machine. It should enable you to get your work done without getting in the way.

My primary reasons were:
  • Integrated Dual Feed (IDF) - On Pfaff machines, there is a "feed dog" above where the fabric goes. It's like having a permanent walking foot every time you sew. If needed, you can disable it.
Integrated Dual Feed

  • Features - A good number of features without jumping to the next level: an embroidery machine.
  • Price - I think I paid around $1700 for the machine.
  • Quilting support, including a quilting add-on package with extension table, quarter inch foot, free motion foot.
  • Support - there was a Pfaff store/sewing center within walking distance of my house.

Now that I've used the machine for 3 years, here are some reasons I've come to love this machine:
  • I adore the IDF. The best thing about the integrated dual feed is that you can use any presser foot with it (if it's designed to do so - which most Pfaff feet are). It's like using a walking foot and a zipper foot all at once, for example. 
  • Low-bobbin detector - there's a little laser "eye" in the bobbin area that scans how much thread is left. The computerized screen displays an icon when the bobbin is low.
  • Built-in needle threader: It's a tiny hook that fits through the eye of the needle and pulls your thread through. Handy.
  • Two thread spindles. Nice.
  • It packs up neatly when I need to take it to guild or class. It's not too heavy.
  • When I forget to change the face plate and the needle crashes into it, the machine detects the pressure and stops before it breaks the needle.  Yeah, I forget every once in a while.
No machine is perfect, and you don't know what you want or don't want until you use a machine for a while and try to do various tasks. Here are some observations from the 3 years I've been in relationship with this machine:
  • It is not that good at winding bobbins. It doesn't provide enough tension, and you end up with a bobbin threaded loosely. I have figured out a work around, but it's annoying.  
  • I wish there was an easy way to put the needle down when you stop sewing. On Berninas I think you just tap the foot pedal. On my machine, you can do it manually with the wheel, or push a button on the front panel near the computer screen. 
    • Pfaffs have a needle down button that toggles the machine into needle-down mode. In this mode, the needle always stops in down position. This is good. But, sometimes I forget to push the button ahead of time, or I didn't realize I would need the needle down at a particular moment.
    • Often, my hands are all tied up in my project and I don't want to have to let go, break concentration and refocus my eyes to push a button on the screen or twist the wheel.  Can't I just tap something with my toe or knee or finger, right there by my work? Ideally, this tap would be a one-time-only action; that is, it wouldn't toggle the machine into needle-down-all-the-time mode.
I realize I have written about many machine topics and terms that may be unfamiliar. I will do a series of posts on these individual topics and I'll include pictures to illustrate the concepts. 

Lots of people have a sewing machine but don't know how to use its features or what they are for. These posts should help you progress in your sewing to the next level.

    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Etsy Meetup

    It was a fun party this evening! I met other crafters and Etsy sellers and I got to play with some crafts. 

    We could make pinwheels, party hats, pennants, little banners, or we could silkscreen. I made a pinwheel and silkscreened a T-shirt (which I brought). Above is one of the silkscreen designs we could use.

    I met another Yudu user.

    These folks are making pennants and party hats:

    Etsy sent a cool banner to display at the party. Our organizer added the Rick-Rack.

    And below, this is Iris. She has a cool vintage shop on Etsy called Yesterday's Memories 09.

    Networking, shared interest, and a chance to see a way-cool shop in the Westport section of Kansas City. (Bon Bon Atelier). Of course I had to shop....they had so many treasures for the eclectic crafter and sewer. I could have bought all kinds of things, but I whittled it down to one special book called Zakka Sewing: 25 Japanese Projects for the Household. If that isn't just all of my interests rolled up into one book!  I can't wait to try them out.

    Being a part of Etsy has brought such delight into my life....

    Etsy Meetup - Kansas City!

    Happy birthday Etsy!

    In honor of their birthday (today, in fact!), has sponsored meetups of Etsy enthusiasts everywhere. They are using to bring people together locally on the same day, all over the world - I bet there's dozens of Etsy meetups going on right now, even as I write this post.

    The meetup in Kansas City is going to be at Bon Bon Atelier this evening - I've heard of Bon Bon Atelier, but never been there before. Looks like a fun place....they say we'll be screen printing and making pennants and banners and party hats. I'm bringing a T-shirt for printing.

    This is exciting - I'm just getting into home screen printing and maybe I'll find some other Yudu fans there.

    One of my friends from quilt guild is also going - we'll drive up together.

    I hope to post some pictures!

    Here's the link to the Kansas City Etsy Meetup.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    And, scrapbooking!

    I forgot to mention scrapbooking! I enjoy it as a hobbyist - I don't think I'll ever do it to make money, though, unlike my sewing.  It takes so very much time...but the results are delicious.  I made a scrapbook recently for a coworker who was retiring and even though it took hours and hours, it was beautiful when it was done.  It was something the recipient can look at over and over again.

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Vision, goals, and what's what.

    I created this blog to focus my creative energy and to help promote my little bitty etsy store: I sell scrub caps in my store, but I have many more ideas...if I can only get them started!

    I am a crafter hobbyist. My primary interests are sewing and fabric arts - the idea of making something beautiful that is useful is so appealing to me.  So, my crafting concentrates on quilting, fabric accessories, and home dec items.

    Secretly, though, I have a little dream that one day I can play all the time with my crafting, professionally. You know, make money at it. It would be fun to teach classes, give lectures, sell handmade items, offer patterns, and maybe even lead an original block-of-the-month club. Wow. Maybe someday.

    For now, I like making scrub caps out of pretty fabrics with unique embellishments and designs.  Even though I haven't sold too many hats on, I have sold 20 scrub hats at work at the hospital.

    At Thanksgiving, I acquired a Yudu home screen printing machine. It sat in my craft room for 6 months before I finally tried it out. (I know, that's horrible....but haven't you done something like that, too? Go on, admit it!)

    Oh my gosh, what fun!  Although I've only done a little bit so far, I am so excited about the possibilities. I think my first series of posts here will be a tutorial with tips for Yudu. The instructions that come with the machine are minimal, at best, and I thought it would be useful to talk about my experience as I become a Yudu expert. Keep on reading....


    Welcome to the rikrax blog!