Category Archives: Sewing

My local sewing machine dealer lacks customer service

I’m so sick of the (lack of) customer service I get at my local sewing machine dealer.  I simply must vent!

It never fails that I leave feeling like the interaction was painful, but this time was excruciating.  I called to inquire about a certain part.  As I tried to explain, I was interrupted multiple times.  I was peppered with questions with an undertone of “why on earth are you asking ME?”  When I thought we were finally on the same page about the next steps, the person on the other end of the phone said, “But I’ll have to FIND OUT if we can even order that piece.”  As if that would require EFFORT and God-Forbid we make her exert effort!!!

The thing is, I’ve worked retail. I know how hard it is, so I’m extremely nice to people in that position.  When I’m interrupted, when I’m peppered with questions with an attitude, and when I’m obviously putting you out asking you to take my money…well, I honestly consider taking my money elsewhere.

So I pulled up the googles and looked to find the other dealers in town…and there are…none.  The closest one is A LONG WAY away.  Think 2-3 hour drive.  :(

Which got me thinking, why are there so few of this specific maker’s dealers around? What would it take to open a dealership?  Maybe I could parlay my “hobby” of fixing up old sewing machines into a career as a dealer?  Just a thought.  A very nice one!

 

UPDATE – She never called me back to tell me if they could order the part. In the meantime I’ve decided to start repairing sewing machines in addition to the long arm quilting, basting and binding services I offer.  Maybe someday that will translate into a brick and mortar store where I can offer my favorite line of sewing machines.  Until then, I’ll just keep dreaming!

 

 

“Well Blankie” is back and ready for borders

I sent the Well Blankie blocks off to my cousin to sew into a top. He asked me to make the top a bit larger, as this will be going on a twin sized bed.  So – I just need to add a couple of borders and then we’ll be ready to prep the backing and get this baby on the Handi Quilter!

Here’s a shot before the borders:

IMG_4231

ETA: Borders are on!

13567349_10154222241699854_4756332818102832517_nSize is now 69″x82″.

Teamwork! Double square star quilt!

IMG_2815I’m so proud of this quilt, yet I can only claim like 1/8 credit for any part of it.  My boss’s wife was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, so my friend Robin and I conspired to send her a “care package.”  It contained, among other things, ginger and peppermint (not together! ick!) lozenges and teas for nausea, washcloths for having a cold compress, comfy PJs, comfy slippers, chapsticks of several varieties, lotion, etc, etc.  And of course a quilt because Robin is an awesome quilter and because I want to be!

Well, after broaching the idea with Robin, I get a text message that said “Do you trust me?” and then instructions for where to go spend money.  Trusting Robin is EASY because she is simple the nicest, sweetest, most generous person you could imagine.  I simply did as told and several days later a package arrived on my front step.

We then planned a Saturday to piece the quilt top, and Robin ambitiously thought we could finish the top in one day!  In reality it took Sat, most of Sunday, and several evenings during the week. IMG_2814 But by Thursday, if I recall correctly, we met back up in a conference room in my wonderful company and arranged the blocks.

IMG_2816 Quickly we came to realize that the conference room tables were great for plotting world domination, but were not up to the task of quilt block arranging.  So we moved to the floor.

12507650_10153794484164854_4827931145234582403_nWe discussed how to arrange the fabrics, and I immediately jumped at the chance to do a light-to-dark arrangement.  I’ve always loved these quilts, and this set of batiks was just perfect for the chance to make one of our own.  Robin went along with my crazy plan and after lots of squatting and kneeling, we had the layout.

Robin’s fantastic daughter, Rachel, numbered all the post-it notes (as well as wrangled my foster daughter while I pieced with Robin!), allowing us to quickly identify the placement so that Robin could take the quilt home and finish piecing the top.

IMG_2818So then Robin graciously agreed to quilt the top for us, which rocked because she is not only the best quilter I know, she’s also set land-speed records at quilt completion.  Did I mention she’s an AWARD winning quilter? Oh yes, there’s that.  So, ARod was my pinch-hitter, what are you going to do?

12644637_10153801520779854_2068069085341045901_nShe added an awesome border and then quilted it in the most beautiful manner possible:

12644665_10153818473889854_7677283024111887766_nI should have taken a picture of the basket when we were finished it, but it was so awesome.  I’ve heard that the whole thing was well received, though I seriously look forward to hearing how the quilt looks once it’s washed (I love a washed quilt SO MUCH!).

Anyway this is hands down the fastest quilt I’ve ever completed, owing entirely to the fact that I didn’t actually complete it.  But this is also the first Joint project I’ve ever worked on, and it was finished in about 2 weeks? Start to finish?

I couldn’t have done it without Robin.

She chose the pattern, the Double Square Star. She chose the fabric.  She made this happen, and I learned so much.  She was kind enough to offer advice on the mistakes I made in a gentle and encouraging manner, and then she had the audacity to not even take credit for how awesome the whole project turned out!  Am I not the luckiest quilter on the planet?

Thank you, Robin and Rachel, from the bottom of my heart!

Donna

Well Blankie blocks are done

And now it’s in the mail to my cousins in TN.

I blogged about it a bit here.

And Here’s a picture of the finished stack of blocks:

wellBlankieStack

So that’s all the update on that project.  In other news, the view out my sewing room is beautiful:

sewingwithaviewAnd I rearranged my machines so I’m facing out the window while I sew now.  Much happier.  I’ll post pics of my rearranged sewing room once I clean it up.

 

Today I’m finishing up the pinwheel baby quilt…

I have to specify the Pinwheel BABY quilt, because I’m also working on the pinwheel quilt for my daughter.  Here’s the play by play of the baby quilt.

Ok, so I started this quilt a year ago…no wait, let me go back further.  About 12 years ago, I made flannel rag quilts for a friend of mine’s triplets.  They were in primary colors, very bold and bright.  I had stacks of squares left over, which sat forever.  Fast forward to just over a year ago… my daughter was expecting my first grandson, and I decided to take the stacks of squares, trim them down, and make HST (Half Square Triangles) with them.  I won’t get into a specific tutorial here, since there are tons of good ones on the web, but here are some pictures of the process.

SketchingPinwheelIdeaFirst, I start with a general drawing of my quilt idea.  In this case, I knew I had limited fabric of each color, so I had to get creative in the lay out.

The second part is to sandwich your squares together, draw a line diagonally from one corner to the other.  Then stitch 1/4′ on both sides of that line. Using a rotary cutter and ruler, then cut down the original line, separating the two halves.

Seen here:

sewOnEitherSideofLine CutOnLine

I ended up with a stack of these:

stackohst

Press! Press! Press!

hstViola! Half square triangles galore!

The next part is kind of tricky, getting the HST to line up to make pinwheels.  You want to see the red (or dark) touching.  I’m a little off here, but corrected it before sewing.

lineUpSeamsSewingPinwheel

Here I’m on my Pfaff Grand Quilter Hobby 1200.

 

 

 

perfectPinwheelPointsBackIf you sew four HST together, you get a pinwheel!Here’s what it looks like from the back, and here’s what it looks like from the front:

PerfectPointsPinwheel

Did I mention, Press! Press! Press!?!?!

PressingPinwheel

PinwheelsLayoutTryHere I’m trying out the layout.  Notice I’m not sure what to do there in the middle. My original plan of different pinwheels didn’t turn out.  Here’s what I went with instead:

PinwheelQUiltTopFinishedNearlyI switched up the blocks surrounding the red square in the center. We’ll just say that was intentional and no further questions, mkay?

What am I doing with that big red square do you ask?

Well, I used my new embroidery machine to put the baby’s name in there!

TeddyEmbroidIt came out really well, I think.

Here’s a shot of it before I put the binding on.  It didn’t come out perfect, but I’m sure the baby won’t mind too much.

10410541_10152379006274854_2947585651353385468_nI used high loft poly batting, so it would have a very poofy look. And it does. 😀

The last part of any quilt is the binding.  Here I am pinning the heck out of the trifold bias tape (purchased),

10389438_10152378672874854_5771727584178151006_n

10390017_10152378969234854_5600198637512191189_n

and above is a picture of the corner finished. It came out perfect. LOVE when binding looks good.

In the coming weeks I’ll be opening my doors to accept quilts for binding.  Since I know a lot of quilters out there dislike the binding part, and I find it rather relaxing.

I hand stitch the back of the binding, usually.  It’s a much cleaner look on the front, I think.  Anyway, that’s the story of my Pinwheel Baby Quilt.  I’ll post a picture of it when it’s completely finished (if I remember).

Donna