A New Mat in the Kitchen

I’ve had a mat under my dish drainer in the kitchen for a couple of years, that was an applique I did. Although it was among one of my first projects, I’ve always liked it and was proud of it. You can see it here. Actually looking back, it’s been four years already!

It was time for a new mat, as the first one had been washed many, many times. I’ve actually been quite happy with how the raw edge applique has held up over time. Here I am auditioning some yellow fabric for the leaf shapes I have built.


Snow Dyeing, at

Snow Dyeing from the Spring

I did some snow dyeing earlier in the spring.  I always love the way these turn out.  I actually did two sessions, but I tried to capture my method, so some of these pics are from one session, and some are from the other.

I start off by soaking my pre-washed cotton fabric in a soda ash solution.  For simplicity’s sake, I mix up 1 Cup of sodium carbonate powder (soda ash) in 1 Gallon of warm water.  Some recipes are a little different, but this seems to work just fine and it’s easy.  Soak your fabric for 10-15 minutes in the soda ash. This soda ash solution will keep forever, so the leftovers can just be poured back into your container.

Snow Dyeing, at Craftalife.comHere’s my setup.  I have a larger plastic bin, and a plastic-coated mesh basket.  In between them, I have some small plastic contains, to lift the mesh bin off the bottom.  You want to avoid having your fabric (in the mesh bin) sitting later in the melted snow and dye, or your colors can get muddy. Don’t use metal containers, as they can react with the dyes, and the dye will just rinse off the plastic later.  But the containers must never be used for food again.

Brother general purpose foot plus ankle, at

Vacuum Hack for Cleaning your Sewing Machine

So the other day I decided I really need to clean out my sewing machine.  It was making too many cachunkachunk noises lately.  Now, I replace my needle often, and even put a piece of tape on my machine with info on my currently installed needle: the needle type, size, and date changed. That way I can always remember.  Usually I have either a Schmetz Microtex sharp size 70/10 or a Schmetz Quilting Needle size 75/11, but a recent bulky project had me using a size 18.  The piece of tape helps me always remember what’s in there.

I kept thinking I should check under the hood, but kept getting distracted by one thing or another.  But today was the day.

If you know how to take apart your machine and clean out the bobbin race and all the other spaces under your needle plate, skip forward to my vacuum hack, simply perfect for getting all that dust out.  If you need a refresher, continue reading.

First, remove your foot and ankle.  The ones on the sewing machine, not your body.  Most machines today have a snap-on foot and a separate ankle that removes with a screw.  My machine is a Brother QC1000, but I think these pictures are representative of the typical machines you will find.

Brother general purpose foot plus ankle, at

Directions Pillows, at

‘Directions’ Pillows

I made some pillows from the leftovers from the Directions Quilt, and gave them to my son and his girlfriend, to go along with the quilt. I hope the quilt and pillows together make their couch very cozy!

King Size Quilt Top, at

I finished my King-size Quilt Top! Phew!

Here’s a photo of the king size paint box quilt top, laying on our bed.  I’m glad I chose the charcoal gray for the sashing. It gives it a very different look, I think. This pattern is based loosely on the Paint Box Quilt by Elizabeth Hartman.

King Size Quilt Top, at

You can’t see from this photo, but there are wide gray borders on the left and right.

I decided to have my friend Angela at Thread Waggle Quilting quilt it for me.  I was going to attempt it myself on one of her longarms, but eventually decided it would be too much for me physically.  King-Size is just so very big. I think it would take me hours and hours. And she does such a fantastic job!