Category Archives: Product Placement/Reviews

Hemming with Maxi-Lock Stretch Thread and Another New Dress

I am incredibly excited about a very wonky sewing thing. Where to start?

Let’s see, for years I sewed on an older sewing machine that did everything from knits to quilting to embroidery until it broke. Sad face.

I decided to get a more sturdy, more metal, straight stitch only Brother 1500  which I love, but is no good for sewing knits, because you can’t do any special stretch stitches.

Then two years ago, I ran across a Brother Serger for $60 (which is an amazing deal) So now I have a serger, and can sew knits, but I CAN’T HEM THEM or do any top stitching unless I buy a fourth sewing machine.

UNTIL NOW! I recently discovered Maxi-Lock Stretch thread, which allows you to sew on knits using a straight stitch.  This blog by Made by Rae  has a lot of great tips on how to use it.

Hemming with maxi lock stretch thread in the bobbin

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Aragon Bag by Sew Sweetness Review

Sew Sweetness Aragon Bag by WaterPenny
At the #OHCraft Sewing Retreat in October, I won a copy of a Sew Sweetness pattern and opted for the Aragon bag so I could make a diaper bag for my tiny little roommate.  I figured I would make it the following weekend, but I just laid around and slept instead. Silly pregnancy!

Sew Sweetness Aragon Bag

However, I am finally made it! Lucky because it is on my list of items to finish this quarter for the Finish Along! Glad to have another accomplishment to cross off the list!

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New Brother 1500s Sewing Machine Review

I actually got this Brother 1500s Nouvelle sewing machine a few months ago – but reading other reviews helped me make my decision. I have now sewn 8-10 quilts on this and am really happy with it for piecing, straight line quilting, and free-motion quilting.

Edited To Add October 1, 2014: I have now had this machine for a year and am still very happy with it. I got the recommended Organ HLx5 Needles for this machine which I reviewed here.

Some maintenance tips:

  • Don’t forget to oil your machine! I do it about once a month, or if I am sewing a lot, more often. I forgot for 2-3 months and was mortified by how quiet it got after a few drops of oil. Guess I hadn’t noticed it slowly growing louder.
  • Don’t forget to oil and clean your walking foot and FMQ foot! By Clean I mean going in with a brush and removing the lint. It adds up. You are supposed to oil the feet about once a month or more if you sew a lot.
  • Vacuum out the bobbin area. It is difficult to get to the bobbin area to really keep it clean, so once a month or so I use my vacuum attachment to suck out extra lint. It takes 30 seconds and makes a big difference.  For the record, I brush out lint about every other time I change the bobbin, but it adds up deeper in the machine anyway. I do a lot of scrap quilting with tiny pieces and use all manner of thread so that is probably why I end up with lots of lint.

New Brother Nouvelle 1500s Sewing Machine


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Winners! And Bathing Your Quilts

Binding pile. Four shades of turquoise.

I put some turquoise binding on my newest rainbow quilt, I have fancy pictures in the fancy camera but it’s Sunday morning and I don’t want to drag it out. It’s four shades of turquoise kona cotton. I like the subtle variation.

And I randomly selected some winners of my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway – yikes, 350 comments! There were sooo many awesome jokes, it was a delight checking in every few days. I was surprised how many folks said they don’t know any jokes – well y’all – I ALWAYS have many jokes on hand, day or night. You could run in my house in the middle of the night and wake me up and demand a joke and I’d say, “Penguin walks into a bar and says, ‘Have you seen my brother?” and the bartender says, “I dunno, what does he look like?” or maybe I’d just say, “Aah! How do you dial 9-1-1?”


What’s red, white and black?

A zebra eating licorice !

I took me a minute to figure this joke out – I was thinking it was black licorice and so where was the red coming from? Blood? In my house, red licorice is called “Twizzlers.” I seem to remember a zebra joke about “black and white and red all over” that has a more gruesome ending. Anywho, the best jokes take a minute to puzzle out, in my humble opinion, so I love it!

Knock Knock
Who’s there
Lion Who
Lion on your doorstep, please let me in!

And I’m so happy a knock knock joke won, cause yeah knock knock jokes!
Bucket of quilt, water, woolite and a dash of vinegar.

Ok, so here is me washing a quilt. I have taken to hand washing my signature quilts in a big green bucket. This is a queen sized quilt, it’s in a very big bucket. I throw in some Woolite and some vinegar, which supposedly helps set ink and certainly doesn’t hurt anything. Then I toss it through the spin cycle in the washer and into the dryer.

Fascinating, hmmm??

Converging Corners Rainbow Quilt by WaterPenny

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway!

Today is a fun day in the crafty blogland – dozens of blogs are having fun giveaways today with Sew Mama Sew! I’m happy to have two samplers of my favorite brand of thread Auriful – I use the 50 wt of this for almost all my piecing (I use a beige which blends nicely). It has very little lint and gives me very few skipped stitches, etc. no matter what crazy things I am trying to sew with it.

They also have fantastic decorative weight threads – the massive 12 wt wool and cotton add a really neat touch and can be used in the sewing machine, albeit slowly and I recommend a 100/16 topstitch or a 90 metallic needle.
Aurifil Giveaway!

Lastly, it may seem like this thread is pricier, but since you get soo much of it on a spool, and you have fewer tangles that leave you pulling out and throwing away thread, it’s actually very economical.

To win (there will be two winners), just leave a comment by December 7th! You can tell a joke or a funny story if you like.

You can leave a second comment for an extra entry if you follow my blog. International entries are welcome! 

Though I haven’t blogged in a while, I’ve been sewing away on several custom orders. Here is something I made for myself. Do you ever finish a project with a long list of all the things you would change about it to make it better? I can’t look at this yet without thinking of all the ways I would improve it. As I have no intention of making another version of this one any time too soon, I think I’ll just tuck it away for a bit.

Lamps Quilt

I’m sharing it here because it is chock full of some Aurifil thread! I used the white 12wt on the lamps – it was a bit fussy like I said – it’s a huuuge thread, and I need to fix a few areas, but I do love the effect.

Lamps Quilt

Ok – to repeat – To win (there will be two winners), just leave a comment by December 7th! You can tell a joke or a funny story if you like.

You can leave a second comment for an extra entry if you follow my blog. International entries are welcome! 

Megastorm Giveaway

Quilting my Rainbow Derecho Quilt

Update: This giveaway is closed, thanks!

In honor of the latest storm of the century (and holy moly, it’s a storm of the century) and all of the ladies I have known named Sandy, as well as being in the home stretch of finishing the quilt I started during the one week power outage we enjoyed after the storm of the century we had back in July…I am having my first giveaway!

Kona Color Card Giveaway!

And if you are a fabric nerd like me, it’s a totally awesome one! Two Kona Color Cards – updated with the most recent colors – Robert Kaufman was so generous to offer some of these for me to give away as well as to use as prizes for our recent Wonky Paint Chip Challenge with the Columbus Modern Quilt Guild.

I loved having these color cards while making my Rainbow Derecho quilt and my most recent rainbow quilt – which has not yet been revealed…they are also perfect for picking out bindings and helping you decide which shade of burgundy/maroon/scarlet you want – and can even be helpful for picking out patterned fabric, as I know I sometimes suffer from “color drift” when I’m looking at millions of different patterns (You know, when you look at every shade of orange in the store and eventually lose all track of what color orange you originally wanted?).

Kona Color Card Giveaway!

Besides the handiness of these charts, I love the actual Kona cotton fabric – it sews so nicely, and the colors are so rich and deep.  I buy the PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric by the bolt – it’s a nice barely off-white, and it’s perfect for signature squares and, of course, for dyeing. If you want to hear even more glowing about this line of fabric, check out another recent quilt I made with it.

But let’s get to it! The Rules:

1. Giveaway will close after the (US) election – on November 7th, or whenever everyone (particularly me) has their electricity back after this frankenstorm.

2. Just comment for an entry – feel free to tell a crazy storm experience

3. For a second entry, you can follow my blog (add a second comment saying you have done so)

4. For a third entry, you can blog/twitter/facebookah/whatever the kids are doing about the giveaway (and add a comment saying you have done so!)

5. And yes, international entries are welcome!

6. Don’t forget to leave an email address for me to contact you if you win.

Update – I finished it! Rainbow Derecho Quilt Finished!

Quilt Ideas

If you haven’t checked the Moda Bake Shopback for quilt tutorials, I highly recommend it. They have a massive back catalog of all sorts of patterns. Most of them are set up to use pre-cuts which means the fabric comes mostly cut for you, and it’s an awesome way to get started quilting or to really crank a quilt out. You can search for ‘recipes’ by the type of fabric you have, etc.

Since I so rarely follow a pattern in full, I prefer these tutorials which offer you a break down of how the quilter made the quilt, and then you can do whatever you want based on their ‘advice’. And they are having a contest asking you to pick your favorite tutorial, which I never have favorites, but this one caught my eye.

I have been more and more into making massive quilts, which is kind of dumb since it is such a pain to quilt them, but I love them anyway. I just have a lot of couch quilts. And I really want to make one of these isosceles triangle quilts.

This quilt tutorial  is by sewtakeahike and I love it! I shared this photo from it, because if I made it, I would keep on the zig zag edges, I think?

The back of her quilt is genius too!


Raw Edge Applique Testing Testing

I am interested in quilts as usable, washable, durable art. I love the idea of making beautiful things that can be tossed in a washing machine, and the way that use and abuse changes the look and feel of the quilt over time.

The problem is, how to predict how use and abuse are going to be affecting your quilt?

Raw Edge Applique Fray Test - Before Washing and Drying.

I love the look and convenience of raw-edge applique but I don’t like it to be THAT raw of an edge. So, I am conducting an experiment where I test out different fusible webbings, fray check and different edge sewing techniques to see which wears best. I throw this in the wash with every load. I’ll update it in a month or so.

The other side is different fabric marker brands and colors.

Signature Fabric Marker Test