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

ONLINE COURSES FOR THE BUSY SEWIST AND QUILTER

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, http://craftygemini.com. 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="https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=825509&u=1508233&m=63058&urllink=&afftrack=">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.  Craftsy.com 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:

YOUTUBE:

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
Dinkeydoo
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)
SewVeryEasy
Shabby Fabrics
Teresa DownUnder  (Great, quick Tutorials for blocks)

ONLINE LEARNING:

Craftsy.com - 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 Craftsy.com 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 Craftsy.com 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

WAITING FOR THE RIGHT PROJECT

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