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


Every Space Needs A Window

quilt-003_small11Every Space Needs A Window

Every creative space needs a window to gaze on the world.  Since my new space is without a window, my very first idea was to create a window.  I’m not sure why I thought to do this in fabric, but it was as if the idea was born fully formed.  I had to work out the details on scale and proportions, and do some research on quilting, and of course buy some fabric and a few other goodies.

I’ve always had a sewing machine, and am now on the third hand-me-down machine from my mother.  She used to sew a a lot, but her eyes aren’t what they used to be, so last year she sent me her very new and basically unused Janome.  I haven’t done that much with it – just mending and such.  But my sewing cabinet has lived in my closet for years now, so when I moved my craft space there too, it seemed natural to do something on my largely untried sewing machine.

And I am so thrilled with the result.  Sewing seems to be something I can successfully do in tiny increments, as my body allows more or less according to the day.  So many other crafty enterprises of mine depended on being able to devote larger blocks of time, and either I couldn’t concentrate that long or it caused too many problems for me physically.  But so far, this seems to be something I can do.

I don’t have it up on my ‘studio’ wall yet, but here it is, fully finished.  It is quilted, and measures about 20″ x 24″. The colors are so happy and invigorating.  Yay!


A New Space to Work


First priority has been a new space to work.  We were trying to get rid of some old stuff in the big walk-in closet recently, and it occurred to me that with a little reorganizing and by pitching a few things, I could create an art space for me that would work with my current limitations, and would give me the private space I have not had for a very long time.  So, I’ve moved my crafty side from the dining room table to the closet!

blog-0011This is a  picture of the primary work surface.
blog-0021And another of the sewing machine area.

And a work in progress seen under the light… More on that later.