Saturday, October 21, 2017

Crafty Gemini Quilt Club Retreat, August 2017 - Another Epic Retreat

Hello Dear Friends. It's Sunday, August 13, and another amazing Crafty Gemini Quilt and Sewing retreat is in the books. Vanessa Vargas Wilson, (the Crafty Gemini for those who don't already know) invited guest instructor and bag maker extraordinaire, Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness to teach us how to make her Aragon Bag and the large Kismet Trinket Box, each of which are featured in her online store at as a Paper, PDF and/or Video/PDF pattern. I happen to love Video learning because there is nothing better than seeing up close what the next step is going to be, especially when being taught by extraordinary teachers.

I have sung the praises of the Crafty Gemini for her step by step, detailed instruction which she has basically set the industry standard for in my opinion. Sara Lawson has an equally amazing style in which she will begin the class by telling everyone the very first step and then she will go around the room to move people to the next step as they are ready while holding a sample of each step in her hand in which to show you. The class went so smoothly, and all the while we were each learning at our own pace. She has a calm energy that made everyone in the room believe they would achieve the goal of making her projects... and we did! Here is a picture of my finished Aragon Bag.

Below I am showing several other bags made by the Crafty Gemini Club members and as you will see each fabric choice gives the bag a unique personality.

In addition, the new Crafty Gemini Wallet of the Month Club has been launched and we were given the opportunity to learn one of the wallet constructions in person with Vanessa.  Here is a picture:

and since great minds think alike, Sara Lawson has also released a group of four bag making videos with a specially priced for a short period of time. Afterward they will be available by PDF, paper or PDF/Video individually at regular price, which is still a bargain.

When I return home I am having surgery on my right hand to repair my thumb joint, or lack thereof, caused by a genetic arthritic condition.  I'll post more about that as soon as I can type.

Coming up:  More reviews of online learning and shopping.
                     Information on Degenerative disc disease, surgery and recovery
                     continuing journey with my Bernina 750 QE

yours in sewing and quilting, Nancy

Monday, July 31, 2017

My Bernina - Dawn of a New Day, Upcoming Fun and BIG SALES

Hello Sewisters!

Last week I wrote about an amazing lecture given about Aurifil Thread at one of my favorite Quilt Shops, Danners Bernina Shoppe in Hanover, PA. Now, Hanover, PA is not in my back yard. I live in Baltimore and Hanover is about 50 miles from my home. However, it has the reputation as one of the best Bernina dealers in a 100 mile radius and worth the trip for me. Plus, it's always a pretty drive! So, this past Saturday, on the third anniversary of my ownership of my Bernina 750QE, I attended a "Basics Class" given by one of the owners, Mrs. Danner. This is a family business and all of the six Danner children have worked there at one time or another. I have, so far, met Mr. and Mrs. Danner, daughter Nadine and son Delmer. I describe them as my Bernina Super Hero Team!

The class was very well attended by Bernina owners, some bringing in machines bequethed to them by their mother or friend, others purchasing the most basic model on up to the 8 series. I was doubtful that I would learn a lot considering the vast differences in our machines. However, I was completely wrong! Mrs. Danner was a natural teacher. She explained things I already thought I knew but now I actually understand (chagrin) and also showed me why things were happening that I thought were a machine malfunction. First problem, not a malfunction by machine but a lack of knowledge by the user (me!). Yes, even on a sewing computer you must hold your thread while the machine stitches out the first few stitches so it doesn't get caught up underneath and create an ugly thread nest. Second, I was unhappy that when I began stitching it would make three stitches, creating a knot and therefore bulk, and bulk is the enemy of all quilters! Well, Mrs. Danner very sweetly told me that if I didn't like it I could change it! What? I can make my machine do something I like, or not do something I despise? She showed me in a few easy steps how to change this pesky operation and begin sewing nice and clean. However, what about keeping the ends from pulling apart when piecing? Well, there is quilters stitch for that as well.

The point is, I am realizing that my machine is only as smart as the user. In this case, the user is finally using her brain and also being taught by a wonderful instructor. And that, my friends, makes a huge difference.

Speaking of amazing instructors....... in two weeks I will be attending the August Crafty Gemini Quilt Retreat! I have been waiting ... well since last August for this! In fact, I was so sad at the thought of having to wait an entire year I booked the November retreat as well so next August wouldn't be so far away!!!!

At this retreat we will be learning not only from Vanessa Vargas Wilson (did I mention Amazing!!!!) but she has invited Sara Lawson to be a guest instructor! Yes! Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness! We will be making her Aragon bag and Kismet zippered trinket boxes. I am very much looking forward to this retreat and cannot wait to post during and after.


Did you know that Connecting Threads sells fabric? Yes! And it also has many lines under it's own label. One of my favorite bloggers and Craftsy teachers, Amanda Nyberg, is a Connecting Threads designer! Her new line, Emma & Myrtle, has just been released and it is ADOREABLE! I'm ordering a fat quarter and yardage asap. In addition, their Backing fabric is on sale through September and all notions are 30% off. Stop on by to see if there is anything you might need.


I think I mentioned something about in an earlier post. If not, here is a preview. They have online classes similar to, however, they can be accessed by paying a monthly fee of $4.95! Now, I'm not sure about the length or quality, but I am assuming it's similar to Craftsy, however, I will be reviewing it in the next month. The class I am intereted in taking is:

Check it out or any other class that looks interesting to you. There is also a 30 day free trial. You can take any class you like.

Sew, for now my sewisters.......

Keep calm and create on!

Nancy, your Vintagekindagirl

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Aurifil Lecture, UFO update and BIG SUMMER SALES

Hello sewing and quilting family.


Last Tuesday my sewister, Denise Harris, and I attended an amazing lecture given by one of the the Product Manager and Public Relations specialist for the Aurifil Thread Company, Alex Veronelli. Mr. Veronelli narrated a film of how thread is developed and produced at the plant in Milan, Italy including the how colors are chosen and developed. He also talked about some of the newest threads being introduced including the new 80 weight applique thread. All of Aurifil threads have multiple purposes, for instance, 80 wt was developed with the hand applique quilter in mind but it can also be used in the sewing machine for Free Motion Quilting (FMQ). I happen to love 80 and 100 wt thread when I want to bring out the beauty of the fabric more than the nuances of the stitching. It is also very forgiving! During his narration I learned not only about the process of creating a fine line of sewing thread but also that Aurifil places quality above quantity at every turn. For instance, during the process when thread is still in development a machine might be able to accomodate 6 tied bunches of thread for a process but only 4 are done at a time so as not to overcrowd the thread so all of it is treated evenly, albeit slowing down the production of quantity.

In addition to being witty,personable and humorous, Mr. Veronelli made himself available afterward to meet all of the attendees, answer questions and take pictures. He shared many samples of work done by several of our favorite quilting artists and fabric designers including pieces from his private collection that he obviously cherished.

After attending this lecture I, for one, will never complain about paying $13 per spool because I now understand the amount of care and attention that go into creating Aurifil Thread.

Now, it's not the only thread I will ever use, but it is one of my favorites and I don't imagine I will be replacing anytime in the near future.


Well, as UFO's go, I'm still working on my Mexican Stars blocks and ... sadly... have nothing to share. When I returned from my Maine Vacation I hit the ground running and two weeks later was back on the road to return my neice to Florida. Upon my return I hosted a "Sewing Hollow" retreat in my home with My sewister, Denise, and we began preparing for our Crafty Gemini Quilt Retreat class in August. Seeing as how I haven't heard much in the way of progress from my followers, I would imagine we are all in the same boat.


Sizzix is having a huge "Christmas in July" Sale and I am providing the link on the right so you can get on over there and load up on your faves and receive a significant savings.

Annies Catalog is also having a 50% off on all on-line classes. Now, I haven't taken any of the classes from Annie's yet so I cannot speak to their content, but I have previewed them and they seem fun, are taught by leaders in the industry and are very creative. So take a look. The Link to the sale is also on your right. And, remember, Annie's is another great resource for supplies, sometimes things you can't find anywhere else.

Craftsy is having a 50% off sale on their "Start Up Library" classes. This is a wonderful bargain because it is a group of classes intended to get you started or refresh your skills in Quilting, sewing, crochet, embroidery, etc. The group of classes is already discounted so by giving you an additional 50% off you are raking in the savings. Please click here:
Startup Library: Quilting

or look for that link on the right as well and use the coupon code S5R63K6 at checkout.

That's all I have for you at the moment. Happy sewing.

Nancy your VKG

Friday, July 14, 2017

Where is the Vintagekindagirl

Summer is a crazy time of year for me. I'm off from teaching but on as super aunt!!! Diane and I take family vacations and in between I'm getting caught up on home stuff and, yes, already beginning preparations for next school year.

However if you follow my blog I want to first thank you and second let you know that Wednesday I will be back with my review of an Inside Aurifil Lecture being given by Alex Veronelli, Italian product manager for Aurifil Thread company!!! I am sew excited and I will also post pictures and share everything I learn.

In addition I will have a UFO update! I hope you will as well

Until then my friends!


Thursday, June 22, 2017

UFO Summer Challenge

Hello Fantastic Friends of Fabric.  I am beginning my Summer UFO Challenge and I hope you will consider joining me.  Every week I am committing to work on one UFO.  I may work on part of or finish something as simple as binding (not that binding is simple! but it counts as one thing to finish).

This week I have been on vacation with family.  We have been traveling through Maine and settled in a cabin on a lovely, spring filled lake.  I am surrounded by nature, beautiful sunrises, a crystal clear lake, singing loons, croaking frogs and a lot of BUGS!  But I also have this amazing view while I sew and its inspirational to say the very least.

Kate, Harry, Diane, Tyler and Lily contemplating the fish 

Lily guarding the cabin

a children's only fishing pond

Kate caught the first Trout

So now for my UFO project this week.  I brought several actually and when I arrived at the cabin I unpacked them all, except for one that has it's own, pretty box.  It has its own box because it is in pieces.  Measured, sliced and diced, bagged and labeled along with directions and thread.  (I was wondering where that spool of pink Aurifil was).  I saw the finished wall hanging in a LQS near my home and loved it, save for the fabric choices.  But then, that is always a personal preference for quilters.  

The quilt is called Mexican Stars Quilt Pattern and Annies carries it and a ton of other quilting items AND online classes! (I'll be reviewing those soon too).

If you check out the pattern on pinterest you will also see all kinds of different fabrics, colors and patterns used for this amazing quilt.

My LQS even had a class on making this really beautiful quilt, however, the teacher, while very talented at fabric art, was not interested in conveying how to make the quilt.  It was a frustrating experience and I ended up putting it up on a shelf.  I didn't even finish the class.

One of the things that really gave me pause was the use of folded squares into triangles that are placed in corners, and then folded back on the bias to create a curve.  But, one day, while surfing through the wonderful Facebook posts from one of my club sewisters in The Crafty Gemini Quilt Club, I happened upon a wonderful link to a video for a table runner.  It wasn't even in English!  But the person making the table runner did everything so concisely and orderly I could follow along and made this:

Fast forward 3 years.  3 years in quilting years is like 10 years of learning years.  I have attended several retreats, downloaded dozens of classes and watched hours of YouTube tutorials.  I am burning through computer giggle bites (whatever it's called) like there is no tomorrow and this is exactly the technique and tutorial I needed in order to tackle this beautiful quilt. I cannot find the original YouTube Tutorial but there are several now showing this very simple and versitile technique.  Some call it Cathedral Window, and while the Mexican Stars Quilt Pattern uses the technique it doesn't actually look anything like a cathedral window.

After 3 years of storing it with high hopes I read through the pattern and it all began to make sense.  The importance of Strip sets, Units and labeling the fabric with names such as dark, medium, light, background, print, etc.  It was no longer gibberish, foreign, gobbledygook!  It was Quilt-talk and now I speak that!  Here are some pics of the work I accomplished on my first UFO project of the summer:

So let's all get started.  Let's make a pinkie promise to work on just a little bit or a big bit of a UFO.  Even if you only do it once a week, post your progress, comment about it and cheer each other on.  You can post in comments here and on the Vintagekindagirl Facebook page.  I will continue to do the same.  

Happy UFO Summer!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Dritz Easy Grasp Pins - 4 out of 5 spools

In my post about sewing and quilting with arthritis I wrote about notions and supplies that caused the least amount of pain to hold, operate, use, etc. I hadn't found these pins until recently and I used them for the first time tonight while sewing a pillow together. I had to pin through several layers and while they do not slide as easily as the lighter weight, glass head pins by Clover and Little House, they handled the layers well and, most importantly, I experienced absolutely no pain gripping the pin, pushing it through fabric or removing! This is a big win for me as using straight pins causes a great deal of pain in my thumb joint (or lack thereof). Here is the link to get your own box: Dritz Easy Grasp Pins Size 24 60 pc. - $7.69 from: CreateForLess which might be another good online resource to add to your list of go-to vendors.

In addition I made a little video to show you the difference in size and ease of pushing through fabric.

You can watch the video on the Vintagekindagirl Facebook page.

I am giving the pins a 4 out of 5 spools simply because I wish they slid through fabric as easily as the Glasshead, smaller gage pins... but a vintagekindagirl can't have it all.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

YouTube Favorites: Channels and Individual Videos - Part 1

Hello Fabric Art Crafters! Here is the post talking about my YouTube Favs. We have all scoured the internet for information at one time or another and especially when we are learning to do something for the first time. For instance, installing a zipper pocket inside a tote bag. When I learned how to do that I felt INVINCIBLE! Well, as I learned how to sew and quilt and craft anything for that matter, I found myself going more and more to YouTube. For some of you this isn't new but I have to say YouTube opened up an entirely new world for this vintagekindagirl!

Some of you know how I first began to sew. It was during a very difficult time in my life and I needed a distraction. I dusted off my sewing machine (used maybe once) and decided to make pillowcases. That's when I discovered The Crafty Gemini! This was before her Quilt Club, Retreats, Fabric Line, Sewing Coop, Endorsements, line of templates/Rulers.... I mean, the girl ROCKS! Needless to say I stumbled onto a gold mine in the making. Because of her excelent teaching style I made my first of many pillowcases. After that I checked around for easy quilts. I stumbled upon Jenny Doan from the Missouri Star Quilt Company's Jelly Roll Race. Well I had a jelly roll in my pile of misfit fabrics (I had not idea how to shop for, match up, coordinate any fabric and when I bought the strips I didn't even know what I would use them for!) So, I began my first quilt and finished it in two nights. I had no idea what to do with it after that so I looked around the internet for long arm quilters, a term I came across somewhere in my searching. I found one a couple states away and contacted her. We picked everything from thread color to design over the internet and I mailed my two quilt tops off to her for quilting. I didn't realize that I could quilt them myself! I remember thinking to myself "this could get expensive if I keep sewing up quilts and then have to send them off for quilting. And, to top it off, with more researh I would have found a quilter down the street from me. I thought there were only a few in the US. Stop laughing... its true. I was green!

Well a lot has changed in the last four years and I have learned a great deal more because I have emersed myself into sewing and quilting and I have never looked back. Along the way I have discovered some excellent tutorials and channels on Youtube and I want to share them with you now.


The Crafty Gemini - Vanessa Vargas Wilson's own channel containing all of her tutorials from the very beginning through present.

Crafty Gemini Creates - Vanessa Vargas Wilson's collaboration with Missouri Star Quilt Company. A short series of tutorials that are quick and super fun.

The Midnight Quilt Show - Hosted by Angela Walters, Long Arm and Domestic Free Motion Quilting Expert and Teacher. You will love her down to earth style and philosophy about quilting. "Finished is better than Perfect!" She starts with her snacks and a pack of fabric pre-cuts from and turns it into an amazing quilt from piecing to quilting in one tutorial. Obviously it will take longer than one sitting to do everything she is showing us, but the point is it can be done!

Missouri Star Quilt Company - Jenny Doan is the Teacher and she is sweet, funny and a wonderful teacher. She also has guests on from time to time.

Debbie Shore - She's from "over the pond" in England. She has written several books and teaches in a very layed-back style. Sometimes she has her big goofy dog in the tutorials as well. She's adoreable and unpretentious, not brand loyal, just loves to teach you how to make small and unique items. Totes, Coin purses, pillows, all with some kind of unique twist. You can learn a lot of great things from her tutorials. And I love to listen to her speak!

Pat Bravo - Quick, no words, tutorials. All visual learning with sub-titles. These are well done and you can watch and sew. Just hit pause. They also come complete with downloadable materials. I love the paper pieced heart!

Art Gallery Fabrics - They have great, quick tutorials on different blocks and also DIY tutorials on fabric things like flowers or quilted artwork. Two of my favorites are the Spiderweb Block and the Jackknife block. If you click on Chanels under Art Gallery Fabrics or just do a search look for Mister Domestic. My fav by him is the Improv Quilt Block. LOVE IT! And you will love him. He is a hoot.

Birdcage and Thread - I haven't watched it yet but she just did an 8 series tutorial on the Sew Together Bag! I cannot rate it yet but I will certainly be reviewing it very soon.

Mark Montano - This gentleman does almost everything. No patterns! Party dress, refurbish old furniture, lighting, lampshades, cards, jewelry... he's amazing. He also has a book. I have done the black party dress and plan to do his recent lampshade tutorial. But there are sooooooo many more.

Melanie Ham - Different style than Vanessa or Jenny but definitely excellent. Box Pouch, Pencil Tote, Quilting, etc.

Shabby Fabrics - She has adoreable projects. The videos tend to be a little long but the projects are really nice.

Man Sewing - Rob Appell teamed up with Missouri Star Quilt Company to teach his style of "man" quilting. He's funny and has different and fresh ideas. - Silk Ribbon Embroidery. I enrolled in a silk ribbon embroidery class on in order to learn this technique to embellish my art quilts. While doing more searching I came upon the site on youtube. Wonderful tutorials for Silk ribbon embroidery and also basic embroidery, materials and hand dying.

There are a few more that I promise to bring up in future postings but the above consists of my top choices and go to YouTube Tutorials. I hope you find them helpful and inspiring and I would love to know what your top three channels are too. Let's spread the knowledge.

Happy Sewing

Saturday, June 3, 2017

At-Home Sewing Retreat

My "sewing room" is in our basement. Part of the basement is unfinished, cement floors and not very bright, while the other part, albeit small, is well lit, has a half bath attached and... is where the washer and dryer live. When cleaned up it's a pretty functional place. My cutting table sits in the unfinished part of the basement. A large, industrial repurposed drafting table, illuminated by an industrial hanging light which reminds me of the type of brightly lit area where a spy might be interrogated by his or her foe, deprived of sleep and water. But hey, it works for rotry cutting.

My sewing machines, ironing and fabric are in the finished part of the basement which also serves as the laundry separating area at times and it really messes with my creative mojo. When laundry is out of the way (done) and the space is uncluttered (is that even possible for a quilter) it frees up space in my mind to work. I don't know why that is but it is true for me.

The only problem is that I am away from ... well everything. My Fiance, when home, is upstairs so I have to run up and down to share my progress, check on dinner, say hello to my dogs, answer the door if need be... on and on. I get lonely down there too. I don't necessarily want to be bothered by all of the goings on but I just want to have someone to relate to while sewing and quilting.

A couple of months ago some of my quilting family gathered for a sew-along at one friends house in Florida. One traveled from Georgia, another from Virginia. Members of our little group followed along via Facebook messenger and a few video chats. It was wonderful to see the camaraderie and watch as their creations unfolded and each was cheered on by their sewing sister. Pictures posted of them working out the quilting math, choosing fabrics and being crazy. I rejoiced for them and secretly wished it were summer so I could have joined them.

On the way home one of my quilting sisters messaged me to ask about having our own sew-along... a mini retreat. I actually live closer to her than our friend in Florida, but don't have the luxary of time at the moment. I never even thought of asking her to drive up to my home because I thought it would be an inconvenience. Apparently it was not. She invited herself up and we picked a weekend in the very near future and our Sewing Hollow Retreat (The name given to my basement sewing retreat) was now afoot. I was glad she did the inviting because I knew it was not an inconvenience to her! Had I realized this sooner I would have had 10 retreats by now!

I secured a substitute for Friday so I could have three full days of sewing. Denise, Moon Dawg, arrived at 5 p.m. having survived the DC traffic and 95 north. God Bless her! She also brought her amazing hometown BBQ, beans and coleslaw, the best I've ever had. Having her pull ito my driveway was like watching Santa Clause arrive on Christmas. But instead of the ususal gifts, I received the gift of company.

We began with a plan. While catching up in the living room we hatched our plan of attack. Moonie wanted to work on Secret Sister Gifts for her upcoming retreats. This girl is busy! She has FOUR upcoming retreats in the near future and in all of them she participates in Secret Sister Swaps. She likes to make her gifts as much as possible and add little gadgets and notions as well. Quilters are very generous and love sharing the items they have learned to make or that they love. But, still, she had a lot of gifts to make. I wanted to finish my Darth Vader Quilt top and make a few things for my April Swap. Yes, April!!! I'm a little behind. They don't sound like lofty goals but let me tell you. When two sewing friends gather together for the first time it is a flurry of talking, giggling, staying up way too late and sometimes a glass of wine or two. Okay Three! Needess to say, we didn't finish everything we set out to finish but the camaraderie, the exchange of ideas, the sharing of ideas and fabric made for an amazing three day weekend for this vintage kinda girl!

Moving forward I would say that having a plan is definitely a must when having an at-home retreat with a friend/friends. After checking in with Moonie before finishing this post we both came up with a checklist of sorts to follow when having an at-home retreat:

1. Have a plan.
2. Have a plan B.
3. Snacks and beverages.
4. Internet and computer handy for quick reference.
5. Set up two ironing stations. I set up a small rotary mat and ironing station on a cart next to Moon Dawg's sewing area.
6. Be prepared to not sleep at all.

If you haven't had a friend over to sew with I hope you will soon. It was very rewarding, bonding and just plain fun! Our next Sewing Hollow Retreat will be in July. Our plan.... to prepare for our Crafty Gemini Sewing Retreat in August. Yep. We have to prep the pattern for a bag making class and sew up swap sistr gifts. I can't wait.

Happy Sewing.

Pictures of our crazy antics and the Darth Vader Quilt top. Still needs borders and sandwiched. I'm not showing Moon Dawg's work because it was for her secret sister swap and its a secret!

The picture of the Darth Vader Quilt was taken in my classroom because I needed to hang it up. I didn't have enough wall space in my Sewing Hollow.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Upcoming Posts on The VintageKindaGirl Blog in June

June is here and the school year is coming to an end. I am getting very excited about having more time to sew, quilt and share it all with you on the VKG blog! Here are some posts to look forward to this month:

1. At Home Sewing Retreat - Highlights from my Amazing At-Home Sewing retreat with my sewister, Denise H. (Moon Dawg) and ideas for future at home retreats with a sewister or two. Themed, projects, set up, meals, etc. Please be prepared to leave your ideas in the comments for everyone to read. I know I love feedback and fresh ideas.

2. Favorite YouTube Tutorials: Crafty Gemini, AGF, Accuquilt, Missouri Star Quilt Company, Melanie Ham, and several by unknown people who have great ideas!

3. A Review and comparison of On-Line Learning Platforms: Craftsy, CraftU, Bernina, Sulky, Creativebug, Annies and Iquilt. This will be a series of several posts because I don't think I can post everything I want to share about each of the platforms listed above. Whenever possible I will have quick links so you can go directly to the platform and access their classes. I owe so much to the internet for my sewing and quilting successes I thought I'd share all of my experiences, good and bad.

4. THE UFO PROJECT: Quilters Quest to tackle UFOs and post progress notes and pictures. I would like my followers and other readers to consider tackling one UFO per week (if they are small) or making weekly progress on a larger UFO, post your comments and pictures (if possible) and let's cheer each other on.

Lastly, I am going to post many, many more pictures! I am very camera shy and I hate to have my own picture taken. In addition, if such a thing existed I would claim to have cameraphobia: Fear of photographing and downloading to the computer or internet. My goal is to get over it, learn how to use my cool camera and upload pictures of projects, my comparison reviews and a tutorial here and there.

Thank you for following VKG and Happy Sewing.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Re-falling in Love with my Bernina - Part 4

This is quite possibly the last time I may be blogging about my Bernina. At least regarding our tenuous relationship of late. Friday night I drove 1 1/2 hours to Hanover, Pennsylvania to pick up my Bernina from Danners Bernina Shoppe. I was met by Nadine, daughter of the owner, who was a wealth of information. She went over the repairs, updates to software, the hook system and showed me little things that make big differences when sewing on a Bernina. For instance, Bernina feet are purposefully designed and engineered. So, when I was trying to sew a 1/4 in seam for HST's I not only had the wrong presser foot on, I also had the wrong plate attached. The foot you should use is so similar you wouldn't really notice the difference when looking at the top. But on the bottom, the foot I was using had a groove down the center in the shape of a "V". That groove is designed to glide over satin or decorative stitches. I knew this. What I didn't know is that when sewing a straight 1/4 inch seam it makes a huge difference. And when trying to sew said seam over the plate that accomodates the 9mm stitches it is too unstable. I was instructed to put on Bernina Presser Foot 1C and change the plate to the single hole. PERFECTION! So simple? Not for this girl!

Now for the BSR. There was nothing wrong with the BSR; just the Operator. Me. When I started to free motion quilt I had a difficult time controlling the speed in which I moved. When I first started piecing I also started quilting imemdiately and was very impatient. I thought to be a good quilter you needed to also be very fast. Now, some quilters are really fast; but they've also been quilting for a while. And, some quilters are naturally at ease the moment the needle and thread pierce the fabric. My Sewister friend Nicole of Darvanalee Designs Long Arm Quilting Service in Australia is one of those people. She was a quilting prodigy. Like Mozart was to music, Nicole is to Quilt Sandwiches!

I still feel my machine is a fussy pants. But, then, so am I. So, it would seem, that we are perfectly suited for each other. The question is now answered. I have fallen back in love with my Bernina, and realized that the fault was definitely.... 50/50.

Below is a picture of sewing HST's while using a foot with a groove in it and the 9mm stitch plate. Egad! This may not be true for every machine but Bernina's feet are fussy. Fussy in good in a way because for Bernina users there is a foot for everything and everything has foot. That's a good thing. Right?

When sewing 1/4 inch seams, or any straight stitch for that matter, make sure you have your single hole stitch plate on and you are using Bernina foot 1C. The needle is adjustable to the right or the left in order to get an accurate seam, but you should then use the 9mm stitch plate. This may be fine but remember the fabric will have one less point of stability. Or you can use Foot No. 97 with seam guard on the right. In addition, you can set the Bernina up on a lock-up command so that if you try to change to a zigzag it won't let you sew until you change the plate and foot.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I am a full-time Vocal General Music Teacher. When I am able to get to a live sewing or quilting class it is usually in the evening or over the weekend and I am either 1. exhausted or 2. trying to carve out family time. It is very nearly impossible unless it is over the summer and even then it can be hectic with vacation and visiting family. The Internet has literally changed my creative life and enriched my learning opportunities. It began with one of The Crafty Gemini's early tutorials on making a pillowcase with french seams and I never turned back. Two summers ago, I took a 3 day class on making a wall hanging. It was spread out over 3 weeks and that meant I had to drag my sewing machine once a week for three weeks to the LQS. I don't know about you, but a three week committment? I actually only made two of the classes for 2 reasons: 1. I had a long standing engagement on one of the days we were to meet and 2. The teacher, albeit very talented, did not know how to convey the instructions. It was a big disappointment and that unfinished project still sits in a box marked "to do" in my sewing hollow. As I write this I am itching to dig it out and get to work on it. To be honest, one of the techniques that the instructor made us all feel like we were most likely incapable of performing was one I learned watching a YouTube tutorial... In a foreign language. I think I make my point.

After watching amazing tutorials by Vanessa Vargas Wilson I found out she was starting the Crafty Gemini Quilt Club. It was an Online Quilting Club which provided weekly tips, monthly swaps, interviews with industry leaders, monthly giveaways and a monthly project designed by the Crafty Gemini herself! In a way it became the Quilt Guild I have always wanted to join. The club is now closed, however, I still have access to all of the patterns, tips and interviews. Even more important are all of the amazing friends I made. We have a Facebook group where we still post our creations, share our stories and keep the fire of Sewing Sisterhood alive, (and a few brothers too!) Now the Crafty Gemini has became a household brand. Vanessa has designed two lines of fabric for Timeless Treasures, has two amazing Ruler/Templates for 5 and 10 inch pre-cuts for which she has posted project tutorials on her blog, In addition, she has two Bag-of-the-Month clubs, a Wallet of-the-month club and now an Organizer of the Month Club.  Vanessa designs all of the patterns, video lessons, provides kits for sale that include everything but your chosen fabric, with a discount! She has her own line of thread through Sulky who also put together a great kit to accompany her Pinnacle Table Runner which you can find at:  <a href="">Crafty Gemini Favorites - 12 Wt. Cotton Petites Collection</a>

And....... if you're ever in Gainesville, Florida, check out her new sewing studio, The Sewing Coop, where she teaches sewing, quilting and crafting, in person! Sewing machines are provided if you don't have one or cannot bring yours. Also available will be her fabric line, notions and supplies are available to purchase so no need to worry if you forgot something. It's a great way to get your sewing fix if you happen to be passing through or worth a trip if you want to learn from a wonderful teacher.  She is truly the measure I use when watching an online tutorial. There is no reason anyone cannot learn something about sewing through the internet. All you need is a great instructor.

After discovering The Crafty Gemini, I did a search for online classes. was the first thing that popped up in my search engine.  After purchasing over 50 classes, Craftsy now offers unlimited classes for an annual flat rate.  This also  includes special offers and freebies for people who enroll.  This means I have access to EVERYTHING on Craftsy.

Here are more of my favorites:


The Crafty Gemini
Crafty Gemini Creates
Missouri Star Quilt Company
AGF (Art Gallery Fabric - Great, fast and easy)
StitchesbyJulia (a multi media artist who works a lot with fabric)
The Midnight Quilter - Angela Walters  (Funny and inspiring)
Debbie Shore
Jordan Fabrics
Marilyn Lee (Mostly I get a lot of Inspiration from her.  She uses a Vintage Treadle Machine!)
Sew Sweetness (Sara Lawson is The Sweetest! and has now launched Video Tutorials, plus she is very generous with her online followers on Facebook and Newsletter)
Shabby Fabrics
Teresa DownUnder  (Great, quick Tutorials for blocks)

ONLINE LEARNING: - As I stated above, I had over 50 classes before I purchased the unlimited plan.  If you break it down it's only $10/month for unlimited classes in all areas of crafting:  sewing, quilting, paper crafting, jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, cooking, etc., etc.  The list goes on.  You might find that you like something you never thought you would do in a million years.  The first seven days are free if you're intereseted in trying out the unlimited plan to see if you like it before investing.

Creative Bug - Over 1000 Online Art & Craft Classes Just $4.95 a month.  They are similar to in that they offer a plethora of classes in all crafting, sewing and quilting generes. In addition, they have really wonderful instructors who have been sewing, quilting and/or crafting for many years. I purchased the monthly membership for $4.95 a month and I think that is a real bargain. The classes are shorter, however, and sometimes you need to fill in the blanks but for the most part I have learned quite a few things and the instructors think outside the box a lot.  My favorite class right now is taught by Fabric Designer, Anna Maria Horner; Mod Corsage Quilt.  It's a great way to use up abandoned blocks.

Iquilt  is associated with American Quilt Society.  They have a huge assortment of classes in all areas of quilting given by nationally recognized instructors.  Similar to the format it is easy to navigate, and if you are an AQS member you receive a discount!  If any of you are interested in taking an online class in thread painting, try out Renegade Thread Play taught by Melinda Bula.  The price for AQS members is $27.96 and $34.95 for non members.  If you've ever taken one of her classes or any other teacher at an AQS sponsored quilt show you know that the classes fill up fast and cost twice as much!  Take this opportunity to learn something new from an amazing teacher at a fraction of the cost right in your own living room!

Annie's - Check out their online classes. Their prices can't be beat. I am planning on taking the "Pieced Boarder: Sized for any Quilt" Annie's is a clearance Crafting, sewing and Quilting supplier. They don't have everything but what they do have is significantly discounted. For instance, my favorite Clover seam ripper is only $3.99. They usually list how many they have in stock. It's worth a minute of browsing at Annie's

I have really enjoyed compiling this list of favorites and I hope I found something new for you.  Please leave comments and let me know what online courses and sites you find the most valuable.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sewing and Quilting with Arthritis - My List of Favs

Recently I was reading a blog by the adorable and talented Jeni Baker of “In Color Order.” She has the cutest bunny named George who she features a lot on her blog. If you haven’t visited it please check it out. She has a pattern shop, tutorials, information on her book, patterns, her portfolio and her story. In her recent blog posting she shares her personal story of living and quilting with arthritis. This story hit home for me because not only do I have several friends who suffer with debilitating pain such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, I to have severe arthritis. It is mostly in my hands and is caused by degenerative disc disease. My mother had it and so does my sister. Apparently it is genetic and not caused by over-use. My thumb disc has totally disintegrated, and in addition to sharp and incapacitating pain at times, coupled with ocassional numbness and tingling, bone spurs are now developing as a result of bones scraping against bones. It’s an ugly disease and it has no cure other than surgery to clean out the bone spurs, replace the disc with an artificial one and rebuild the ligament connection. Most people, my sister included, have said that recovery is even more painful than the actual disease, however, when (and in some cases, if) recover is finished, most people report to have much less pain, more mobility and the ability to grip again. My jury is still out.

So, what to do when you love working with fabric? Sewing, hand stitching, holding a rotary cutter, seam ripper and believe it or not, a pair of thread snips are not only challenging but painful! As my condition worsened, I began to fear I would have to stop working with fabric all together. But, since holding a fork is just as painful, I decided to loose the fork and pick up the thread snips whenever possible.

Sometimes heat helps, sometimes ice. I have also used different ointment remedies and have found them to provide a little relief, however, shortlived. I try to remember to put them on before AND after sewing. However, my tools have also changed. Here is a list of items that I have found work best for me, put less pressure on my thumb joint when gripping and can be used with little to no sharp, piercing pain:

Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Scissors
- 4” Craftsy has them at a reasonable price.

Inspira EZ Snip (found on-line or in any Husqvarna-Viking Sewing Gallery)
I tried Havel’s Snip-a-Stitch but they caused a fair amount of pain

Clover Bordeaux Ultimate Shears 200 with Nancy Zieman 7 3/4 in.- Durable, sharp and very light weight

Bordeaux Embroidery Scissors by Clover

Oliso® Pro™ Smart Iron with iTouch® Technology TG1600

Rowenta DA 1560 Compact Iron (for machine side ironing) The handle is tilted at an angle that puts less pressure on my thumb joint. It may not work for everyone but it doesn't cause my thumb to work harder

Kai Rotary Cutter. I don’t have one yet, but I used my friend’s while she was visiting me for our in-home sewing and quilting retreat weekend. There is no need to slide the blade guard up and down. It is always in the safety position until you apply pressure against the fabric and cutting mat. It lifts itself and cuts like a hot knife through butter. Also, the blades are supposed to stay sharper longer than Olfa or Fiskars. What quilter does like to hear those words!

Clover Plastic Seam Ripper - Well, since I rarely use one (that's a big lie) I don't have a favorite yet, but my preference is one with a wide, flat grip. Right now that is Clover's Seam Ripper.

Straight pins are a little more difficult. I love Clover Patchwork Size 30 Glasshead Pins and Little House. But sometimes the small head size is too difficult for me to grip without shooting pain in my thumb and fingers. When I am having one of these days I switch to Dritz Pearlized dressmaker pins. They are easier for me to grip. I have also found a brand sold by Nancy’s Notions called Easy Grasp Pins Set. They are supposed to be for limited dexterity but I haven’t had a chance to try them yet.

If any of you are suffering with debilitating hand pain I hope my list will at least get you started on the road to less pain while doing what we love to do. Pet our fabric and create beauty.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Re-Falling in love with my Bernina: Part 3

If you have been following my journey with my love hate relationship with my Bernina I thought I would update you with some recent news. As I had posted earlier, the 750QE was one of the first Berninas to use their new hook system, have a larger bobbin (almost twice as much thread capacity as their original bobbins) and 9mm decorative stitch capacity. In addition it came with the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) which operates automatically when you move your fabric around for Free Motion Quilting. When it was released it had numerous problems and for most Bernina owners it was frustrating. But for a new Bernina owner, it felt like I had made a huge financial mistake. This machine isn't cheap and I bought it because Bernina has one of the best reputations in the sewing and quilting industry. It was a huge disappointment to say the least.

After my Thread Painting Class with Joyce Hughes, Miss Fussy Pants (my Bernina 750QE) began acting up... AGAIN! This could not continue. She needed therapy! (And to be fixed up right!!!)

Well, after a lot of research and discussion with several friends, I was led Danners Bernina Shoppe in Hanover, PA. It is a traditional quilt store in every sense of the word. It is run by lovely Mennonite women who share a long history and lineage of quilting tradition. Their repair person, Dave, came highly recommended by my Juki dealer who sends all of their Bernina owners to Danners. (Yes, I own more machines. Dont all quilters?) Well, in 7 to 10 days I will have my Bernina back and hopefully our love affair will be renewed. I have a list of things that need to change. I want the Stitch quality that Bernina promises, I want the BSR to work like it did in the showroom and not take off like a rocket to the moon, and I expect the little quirks to be completey worked out. I am not asking for much. Just what Bernina promised.

I'll let you know how the story ends in about two weeks. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

2 a.m. Excitement

I have so many things to post! But it's nearly 2 a.m. and I have to get up in 4 hours to teach little ones and I need all my wits about! However, I just finished watching a FMQ tutorial by Angela Waters. Dot-to-Dot Quilting If you have never done FMQing or have but aren't happy with your results you need to watch this tutorial. I will be posting pictures of my progress very soon. It's like a quilting road map. Can't wait to give it a whirl.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Best Oliso Iron Review by Pat Sloan

I have had an Oliso for three years and I have never regretted the price! It is the best iron I have ever owned and it will be the one I stick with because I have very bad arthritis in thumbs and wrists. This iron never has to be lifted up on its bottom. I just iron and let go! Take a look here: Oliso® Pro™ Smart Iron with iTouch® Technology TG1600

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Fun with Zippers: My first Sweet Pea and a couple Triangle Pouches

Just thought I'd post a few pictures of little projects I am making for friends and family. These little pouches are so handy and fun to make. I need to acknowledge two amazing teachers for their wonderful patterns and instruction. First is Vanessa Vargas Wilson aka The Crafty Gemini. My very first project was a pillowcase that I learned to make when I found Vanessa's tutorial on YouTube. Since that video Vanessa has gone on to become a sewing and quilting world sensation. YouTube tutorials, fabric designer, handbag club, quilting club... She's amazing! The triangle pouches are made from one of her YouTube tutorials. Her instruction is clear, concise and her attention to detail is unmatched.

Second is the Sweet Pea Pouch. This little cutie is from Zippered Bags With a Twist: The One-Zip Way. Joan Hawley is the owner of Lazy Girl designs and is a fantastic and generous instructor, sharing her many years of garment sewing and quilting expertise with her students.

Here they are. Let me know what you think, but even more important, make one yourself!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Thread Painting Class with Joyce Hughes

This was the class that was going to help me reconnect with my Bernina 750QE. Indeed, it was an excellent start and I am so happy I chose this class to begin our couples therapy. I really didn't know anything about the instructor. Of course I checked out her web site and blog, looked over her beautiful designs and work and really admired her work ethic. But nothing prepared me for her amazing story and the journey thereafter. I won't repeat it here because I would rather you hear it from her lips and hopefully be as moved and inspired as I was. In addition, seeing her work in person is surreal. She's self-taught, broke every rule and now has her own unique techniques and is in my estimation one of the greats in the quilting/sewing world. She is a natural teacher and does the work right along with you so you take your thread painting journey together. In fact, I am attending the multi dimensional thread painting course this summer. Look her up at Here is a before and after picture of my work. The applique was done by Joyce and she even did the FMQ'ing around the flowers to save time. Big thank you because it was deliciously beautiful.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Re-falling in love with my Bernina: Part 2

Hello Sewisters! This weekend I am taking a thread painting class. Me and my Bernina are attending a class given by Joyce Hughes at my LQS and Bernina dealer. This comes after I placed a phone call to them telling them I wanted a divorce from my 750QE. After receiving an intervention call from the head instructor at my LQS who talked me off the ledge I signed up for the course based on her recommendation. I'm excited to learn new skills and also for the opportunity to spark a flame with my "nina". For information on the class I am taking with Ms. Hughes check out this link and pictures of her work at Maybe I will have something exciting to post after I finish on Saturday. Happy Sewing!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Techniques new to this Vintage Kinda Girl

Quilt as you Go or QAYG isn't new in the quilting world. But, it's new to this girl. It's oddly satisfying to watch the quilt take form in only one step. Piecing and basic quilting happen together but that doesn't mean you have to stop there. You can perform more Free Motion Quilting during or after the quilt is complete. Here is a picture of a pillow I recently completed using this method as learned from a class I watched on
It was called Fast and Furious Quilt as you Go with Pre-Cuts. The teacher, Gudrun Erla, was an amazing instructor and her projects were creative and fun. Classes expose you to new things and sometimes you try techniques that spark your creativity. That's what I love about working with fabric and thread. Next up? Wait and see!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

pictures of my work to date

I began this blog over two years ago but never posted pictures. Life is sometimes like an ocean. The kind that looks like its moving in one direction but the undercurrent moves you in another. Crazy thing. But, lately I am feeling more grounded than usual and I think its time I show my progress from beginning to present day. It helps me to move forward and I hope it will inspire any of you who arent sure you can really create. Well, you won't know until you actually try. Don't hesitate. Just jump in. Jump in the middle, jump in the end. Just jump.

I want to re-fall-in-love with my Bernina

I have several sewing machines. As all sewists know, every machine you own has its own special function. Because I may still be a hesitant embroiderer, I have a Babylock Sofia 2. It was well made, affordable and pretty easy to use. I also own a Brother CS6000i. This little machine was purchased from and shipped to my sisters house so I could sew up some items for her while visiting. I was going to leave it for her but she had no interest in sewing so I brought it home. Great machine for retreats or classes. It's light and does a wonderful job! You can find it at My third sewing machine is a Juki TL2010Q. I am IN LOVE with this gem! While at a Crafty Gemini retreat in October of 2015, I had the opportunity to use it for the entire weekend. Needless to say it was on my flight home. The only problem? My fourth machine, bought while in a funk in Ohio, is a very expensive, fancy schmancy Bernina 750QE. I barely touch her. She might file for divorce. She has amazingly beautiful decorative stitches, a BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) for FMQ and with another investment of only $2,000 (yikes!) I can attach the embroidery unit. Yeah, that's not happening any time soon. You might ask, "why did you buy the Bernina if you aren't thrilled with it." Well, at the time, I was in Ohio and just beginning my sewing adventure. I owned a Viking Emerald, which I traded up for an Opal. Then I traded the Opal for the Sapphire 960Q. I loved that machine. I took it to classes at the LQS where they sold Bernina and ... I kid you not ... I was snubbed. Not taken seriously. I eventually gave in to peer pressure and financed my little beast with little knowledge or research. I wanted to learn more about sewing and thought I needed a "serious" machine. Now, I have nothing against Bernina. But this machine has a deep learning curve and it's too fussy for my liking. So when I bought the Juki and began FMQing, and sewing nearly everything on her I began to wonder why I was paying for the fancy Bernina. Well, this week I sent my Juki in for servicing and found myself staring at ... Miss Fussy pants. My Bernina. We began hesitantly. She doesn't trust me for the moment because I have abandoned her for months. But, I didn't forget her. I actually purchased two additional specialty feet when they were 25 percent off for "future use." You all know what I'm talking about. Slowly and carefully I began my first project and by the end of the day I completed several projects including a strip quilted pillow finished with a binding. That's where we hit the big snag. Which foot should I use for the binding. The 1C is too wide and offers no real guidance or markers. I know this because I used it for the pillow binding and it was a disaster. Bindings are the most difficult thing for me at the moment and doing it on my Bernina didn't make it any better. I turned to the internet and found other methods with Bernina specialty feet. Tried Foot 71 and looked at the Bernina Bias Binding Attachment... a whopping $300. I don't make this stuff up people. Then it hit me. Walking foot. I have it and even though my Bernina has a built in Dual Feed, the extra help of a walking foot cannot be beat. The internet reinforced my thoughts on the subject. One of Bernina's bloggers also agreed that using the open toe Walking foot for binding made life much easier. After reading this I realized that I need to re-fall-in-love with my Bernina because for better or for worse, she is mine and I need to do what ever it takes to make this relationship work. What this means for my blog is ... there will be more to come on this subject, including stories and pictures and maybe a video of what I am discovering and creating with Little Miss Fussy Pants! Happy Sewing


Good Wonderful Easter Monday everyone and happy last day of my Spring Break.  Baltimore County Schools has taken away all of the traditional...