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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.

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