So, I think I’m unofficially, officially shopping for a new sewing machine. Anybody got any suggestions?

I hate you right now.

As much as I really, really love my sewing machine, I think the problems that I’m having with it are outweighing the good. Emma, my machine, went in for a tune up earlier this year, and she ran much better for about 2 months. I’m having the same problems that I did about this time last year though–sloppy, uneven length stitches, sliding out of tension in the feed dogs, and weird jamming up problems. I would consider taking her back in to be serviced again, but I they had her for almost 2 months because they had to re-order a broken part. With Renegade coming up, I can’t be out of a machine for that long. Plus, I just can’t justify spending $150 every six months for a tune up. Buying new just seems to make more sense.

My next step is to start shopping. I’m looking for a machine that can be used everyday and not be worn down quickly. I think my current machine was meant much more as a hobbyist model and I’d like something a little tougher. I’m also looking to do quilting with it, but I don’t need any of the fussy embroidery stitches and functions. Emma is a Husqvarna Viking, and I’ve been really happy with the ease of using the machine, but I’m certainly not committed to that brand. I want to test driving some models, but if there’s something super good that I should look at, I’d be interested to know about it! I need any help that I can get.

I know that it seems like I’ve yet again, abandoned the blog, but alas, I am here. Sewing my brains out!

Green Journal

I’m getting ready for a show next weekend, and these are the latest edition to my goods that I’ll be bringing along with me. Journals! For as much as I’m obsessive compulsive about writing everything down, these have been perfect for me to make. Once I fill up one notebook, I can slide it out and put a new one in.

yellow and gray

I’ve been using different colors of linen to line the outside, with three pieces of cotton to make it all pretty-like. I’ve also found a bit sturdier of an iron on interfacing that seems to work really well. I’m not sure of the name; so far I’ve been able to pick it out based on feel.
**Side note: Am I the only one who does that with interfacing? All the women at the craft stores don’t believe me when I ask for other interfacing than what they have on display, and they’ll tell me, “Oh honey, these are the only kinds they make. I’m sure one of these are what you need.” And I’m all like “no, I can tell the difference by touch, and this isn’t the same interfacing you had last month when I was in the store. I swear there’s a conspiracy.

inside the notebook

So, these, along with oodles of pouches and bags and other sewing have been keeping me busy this month. Next Saturday I’ll be back in Ypsilanti, Michigan for the Summer Shadow Art Fair at the Corner Brewery. It’s always a really fun day, so if you’re in the area, stop by, look at crafts and have a beer! (You’ll have to buy your own, though.)

One of the big perks of working at an elementary school (other than enriching the lives of kids, of course) is that I have an awesome schedule. This week, I’m on spring break.

Assembly Line

Of course, I’m not really on break. Craft show season is fast approaching, and I have my first show of the year in less than a month. I get really excited and twitchy about shows. Current thoughts are as follows:

Will I have enough items?

When the heck am I going to make all of my items?

Holy crap, I have nothing made.

So today, I turned my sewing room into an assembly line.

Assembly Line

I had five tree pouches ready to finish, and three others made with fabric from Superbuzzy. It made me feel like I was accomplishing all this work today, but in reality I’ve been working on the tree pouches for the past two days now.

Assembly Line

I really believe that a system works for me. Put the zippers and lining in first, then sew in the tag. Next bag. Seeing them in a pile makes me believe I’m getting somewhere.

Assembly Line

The last step is always to sew the sides and the bottoms, and at this point, I feel like I’m racing to the finish. My brain shuts off, and I feel like I can do this step with my eyes closed (knowing well that sewing with my eyes closed would be a bad idea…I’m extremely clumsy). Several hours of sewing done for the day, and now I’m eight pouches further away from having a nervous, twitchy breakdown.

It’s Friday night…what are you doing?

Sewing Room at Night

I’ll be right here, comfy with my Diet Coke and pajamas on, working away until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Have a good weekend, everyone!

My Sewing Machine, Emma

It may seem to some people (most of whom know me in the real world) like I’m a little overly eager about how much I love my sewing machine. I really, REALLY love my simple little Husqvarna Viking. It’s easy to use, small enough to tote around to my friend’s houses and takes a lot of beating up by me. So last month, I finally decided it was time to take Emma (my sewing machine’s name is Emma, it says so right on the front of her so don’t make fun of me) in to be oiled, cleaned, timed, and fixed after the knob selector broke. It had been over a month, and last Monday I finally got her back.

Oh my God….I had no idea how much I had missed her.

Aqua and Brown

We’ve been a little busy…it’s been sewing bliss (yes, I realize I’m nuts).

My Sewing Machine, Emma

Seriously though, I think that I should have probably taken Emma in to be serviced way earlier than I did. I was shocked at how differently it felt to sew on a properly aligned and timed machine. My stitches are the right length, there’s no loops at all on the backside of my work and the needle is no longer hitting the metal faceplate when a stitch is made. I guess I just didn’t realize that it would make that big of a difference to have her worked on.

The sewing thing has taken over my life lately. I found out about 2 weeks ago that I’m going to be doing a craft sale next weekend (I volunteered for this, it’s my own fault) and since then, I think I’ve been attached to Emma, my sewing machine, at the hip (yes, my sewing machine has a name–stop laughing). I’ve not really done anything but cut and sew since then. But the problem with this whole matter is that I know this craft sale is going to be a bust–the people I’m doing the show with have said they have years that they’ve sold nothing. So I’m not expecting to sell much, but I would like to have some feedback from the uncrafty population.

Inside The Orange Pouch

So over the past week or so, I’ve churned out almost 15 of my pouches, and couple of new bags. But since I’m really not feeling like this sale is going to be very productive, I’ve put all of them up for sale at my Etsy store. Also, I’ve decided, that since Hip To Piece Squares is turning 2 years old in a few weeks, I’d have a sale here in celebration. So, until April 10th, all purchases (you’ll need to leave a comment or e-mail me first to tell me what you’d like to buy so you don’t get charged regular price) are $2 off with free shipping (excluding my pillows, sorry!).
I’ve spent almost an hour without Emma now. I need to get back to her. She’s probably lonely.


Isn’t that fabric horrible? I’m making curtains with it, and while I’m doing it, it’s making me gag. I sort-of volunteered to make curtains for work about a month or so ago (okay, I only voluneteered to do it because they said they’d pay me for it). I didn’t figure the fabric they were going to pick out would be the most stylish of prints, but this stuff is so awful that it makes me dizzy to work with it. The most frustrating thing about it all is that I need to get it all done (or I won’t have the extra money to shop for Chirstmas presents with) but I have so many other projects that need to be done too, that I have no ambition to do these. I really hope they all sew up really, really fast.

Squished Marshmallows Bag

I totally think this canvas print looks like squished multi-colored marshmallows. Anyone else? I also think that this bag proves that if I take longer than an hour to think out and make a small project, it really can turn out good.
My friend Alice gave me this fabric before she moved earlier this year, and I knew right away that I wanted to make a bag with it. It’s just perfect bag making fabric! I didn’t want to make as hastily as I do some of my other things though. There’s not really anything different about this bag as compared to my last round (other than some pockets) but taking my time and paying attention to details really made it a lot nicer than others I’ve made.
Inside The Squished Marshmallow

I’m in the process of opening an Etsy shop, and the squished marshmallow bag will be for sale there, hopefully by later this afternoon!

I love it anytime I can finish a project in just a couple of days. My quilts always take so long to do, that it’s almost like a race for me to finish a small project as fast as I can. I bought the materials to make a messenger bag on Friday, and I finished it up late last night. It’s gray corduroy, with wool felt flowers tacked on with buttons. For making it in just over a day, it’s not too bad, and it’s cheaper than any of the other bags that I had been looking at. I only spent about $15 for the materials, instead of $60 for the bag in the store that I liked the best.

Look Mom! I made a bag!

And here’s the details of the flowers:
Button flowers

Now I can take my quilting with me in a semi-stylish bag!