Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Tinklers

I thought of another way to help me to consider the things I've learned throughout the week and help me get in the habit of blogging.  So I will try really really really hard to do a post every Tuesday of all the special, spiritual, inspirational, motivating, and thoughtful ideas tinkering around in my head.  Hence the name Tuesday Tinklers.

To start off this week I'd like to share with you one of those magical moments when you go, "Ah!"

A couple of weeks ago I was in my craft room working to complete some quilting blocks.  I made a mistake that I really had expected to make months ago.  You see I've been teaching myself to sew and quilt (I'll say it again, don't you just love YouTube!).  I was having this major problem with my thread bunching up and locking my needle in place.  Once I would move the fabric there would be this little mountain of thread beneath.  I had to work with the crank to get the needle to come up without breaking and without damaging my blocks.  I tried over and over to fix this problem.  I kept unstopping and pulling fabric and catching both threads.  Eventually, I had an idea to get a better view of what was happening under the fabric while I was sewing.  I caught the top and bottom threads, wrapped the two threads around my two fingers.  I then pressed the foot pedal and let the thread wrap around my fingers over and over, watching every single move the machine made trying to see where the thread hill problems were starting.  I wasted probably a good half of a spool of thread, if not more.  I wrapped my fingers probably hundreds of revolutions and emptied 2 bobbins (they had been used previously).  Then I played with stitch tension and length, (let's be honest here, readjusted every knob on the machine in hopes something would work [hey, I did say I was a novice].  

I was dead set that the problem had to be there because that was the only thing I could not see while I was sewing.  I was convinced it HAD to be THERE in THAT spot.  After 2 (or more) hours and near the verge of tears I gave in.  I was making one final adjustment before walking away defeated and exhausted.  I neglected to say that during this whole time my foot remained on the pedal.  Barely hovering over it during those times of stopping to pull thread and readjust something (yep, wait for it...) Well, this last time I went to get the mangled thread out, I leaned in closer for a better look.  O_O  All of a sudden out of nowhere I felt this sharp sting in the tip of my left index finger.  I simply froze, wondering, 'um, that's an odd sensation'.  The pain was intensifying rapidly.  So I looked up and 2 major life experiences came to me.  Those are what I would like to share today. 

If you didn't guess it already, I had my index finger right in the path of where the needle would come down.  When I leaned forward to have a look, my foot also leaned forward and down came the needle.  Right into the tip of my finger (see picture below).  YIKES.  All I could think was 'Charlie Brown you block head'.  This is what I always say to myself when I do something stupid (hey it happens).  Amazingly I said nothing, I just looked and then it hit me.  

1.)  Take your foot off the doggone pedal EVERY time you stop sewing to make an adjustment (of course, new machine has a stop/go button, yeah)!! 
2.)  More spiritually:  It dawned on me if I had just looked up during those painful two hours I would have noticed that the top thread had come off track.  It was not properly in the loop that moves the needle up and down.  OH MY GOODNESS!!  Is that not how it is in life?  We are so dead set on doing it our way; following the path we want to take that we never stop and look up.  How many times have we refused to give up on something or a path that the Lord never intended for us to take?  During all that difficulty if we'd just stopped once and looked up to our Heavenly Father for guidance.   I could only see where I thought the problem was but had I just looked up I would have noticed that the thread was off track.  God can see our plan and even better he knows his plan for us.  He knows what we want to do and where it will lead us and he knows the outcome.  So whose plan do you think is better?  For his plans will lead us to eternal happiness.  

Of course, there are times when you have to go through something to get where you need to be.  But again if you look up the Lord can always help you to know the difference.  I have learned to be thankful for my trials they have provided me with growth and strength (well, after the experience of course, :-).  

Remember, Look up!
Love and Shimmies, Steph! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Quilting in progress!

I've been working on several quilts the last two months.  I am having so much fun learning all the interesting blocks there are out there.  I finally learned to stipple on my little machine (thank heavens for the new darning foot).  A big new joy is that for my birthday honey got me a new sewing machine.  I call it my 'big girl machine' since a new quilter in the area stopped by one day to use our internet.  We were talking and I found out she was a big quilter with all the nice machines and such (and I liked her).  I told her of my issues trying to learn to stipple.  She asked if she could take a look and maybe help me figure out what my problem was with the machine.  One issues is that I couldn't drop my feed dogs and I kept getting this little thread hills, I call them, that would stop my machine.  I had just ordered a darning foot and put it on the machine but had not actually tried it out yet.  She saw my Janome and called it a kids machine, 'you know one you'd give your teenager' (sniff sniff, I didn't show or say it, but that kinda hurt my feelings, that little machine has been good to me and done all that I, in my limited capacity, had asked it to do).

However, my new machine that I drooled over for a month or so was  a Brother CP7500.  Just think needle down, thread cutter, drop in bobbin, 70 stitches, stop and go push button, backstitch button, DROP DOWN feeddogs, woo-hoo, oh and computerized.  I liked my little Janome just fine (and think I'll keep it, although honey mentioned ebay'g it.  O_O  ah, umm), but I love my new sewing machine.  It opens a few more options up to me and makes it easier to do what I need to do to make fabulous new quilts and to start sewing my own clothes.

Thankfully I found Prairie Moon Quilts: 350 Block Project. a month or so ago.  This will hopefully help me be more accountable for doing some blocks regularly.  The whole report in idea.  So for February I did 20 blocks!  Yeah me!!!!  Okay, maybe to some of you that's nothing.  But for a new quilter who is still trying to put her sewing/craft room together and learn other new roles life threw at me (rather I volunteered for [Toastmasters speech contest, Cub Scout Commissioner, rewriting my Belly Dance course, beat some education keep my 14 year old going in homeschool, studying all that can make me a better Zumba(r) instructor, marketing for my studio, etc... you get the point] and am enjoying to the fullest).  Of course I may have forgotten to mention that I probably did hundreds of blocks if you count the fact that I did the wrong blocks with the wrong fabrics for the wrong project, twice.  So I had to undo and redo, twice.  Have to always be mindful of what fabrics go with what projects when you have hundreds of cool projects running through your mind.  Don't you just love YouTube.  Shout out to Jenny at MSQ Co.  I have already started on my blocks for this month, today I will be doing my first blocks on my new Brother's sewing machine.  So stoked!!! Pictures of my blocks to come a little later, this blogging thing is still new to me.  I like to eat my elephant one bit at a time, thanks.

Oh, it's date night.  Um, well honey's a bit under the weather, soooooo.  If he just wants to crash and rest when he gets home tonight, being the good little wife I am I think I'll just let him go to bed and sacrifice my date night for his rest.  I mean, I can always just go to my room.  My sewing room, lol.  You know as I throw a bowl take a bowl of soup to him in bed.

Love and Shimmies, Steph!