Pfaff Passport 3.0

November 9, 2018

My almost 15 year old Janome 720 Platinum sewing machine well and truly died a few weeks ago.  I loved that little sewing machine.  It sewed through lots of layers, and never needed to be repaired.

The computer board died, and the turn wheel seized up.  The machine has been discontinued, and even if the parts were available, it would have cost more to repair it, than it was worth.  I did check with a couple of different shops before starting the search for a new sewing machine.

Many hours of research later, I narrowed it down to two machines, another Janome, or the Pfaff Passport.  I was interested in the Ever Sewn line also, but one of the youtube videos promoting the machine, showed it sewing out decorative stitches.  In the short bit shown, there was a thread loop on the top.  Combine that with no dealer support, and I ruled out that machine. It was half the price of what I ended up purchasing though.

My priority was good stitch quality, light weight, needle down abilty, able to sew without the foot pedal, speed control, needle threader, free motion available,  and a few decorative stitches.  Went to the local dealers, test sewed with the machines – with my own fabric, interfacing and batting layers – wrote on the fabric samples what machine was used to create the stitch samples, then came home and thought about it.  I find if I can take my time with making a decision, I’m usually happy with it for the rest of my life.  😉

The Pfaff Passport 3.0 was the winner.  It came home with me yesterday, and I did a bit of sewing with it today.  It threads differently, so I will have to get used to that, and I’ll have to get familiar with which button to push for the function I want, but that will hopefully be a short learning curve.

Here is what my little darlin’ looks like in my sewing cabinet:


And yes, that is snow on the trees, visible through the window.  It was a good day to turn on all the lights in my sewing room, and familiarize myself with my new sewing machine.  I had to make my own sunshine today, because I sure as heck wasn’t getting any from the dreary Upstate New York sky today.

And WOW, I think my new little darlin’ just named herself.  Sunny!!!  I had a dear knitting machine friend named Sunny.  Coincidence that name came to mind?  I don’t think so.  Sometimes our brain makes connections without us even being aware of it, and this is one of those times.






Dyeing Again

October 20, 2018

It’s been a long two years since I’ve dyed anything.  I was happily dyeing fabric, and then broke my left wrist.  It took a full year to recover from that break – which was actually more of a shattering.   Right after that, I broke my right femur, then 6 months later I broke my left ankle.  I had real good reasons for not dyeing, didn’t I?

Everything is A-Okay now, so out came the dyes and all my supplies.  I started out  with an ice dyed t-shirt and napkin scrap:


My t-shirts sometimes become one large bib at times, so I save them by overdyeing them.  The food stains disappear, and I get to wear the rejuvenated t-shirt again in public.  Happy Days!!!

The little fabric scrap is from a cotton/linen blend napkin.  I purchased oodles of these napkins years ago, and decided it was time to start using them as I intended – to dye them, and use them to create comfortable summer tops.  Yes, I’ll have to take out the seams as those were sewn with polyester thread, and it will be a lot of seaming to create yardage, but I wanted that look.  I want the seams to be part of the top designs.  Hopefully it will create lovely lines, and my tops will be interesting and unusual.

I threw the fabric scrap in the bottom of the container, then put in a colander, the soda soaked t-shirt, ice cubes, and sprinkled lots of Cherry dye I received from a friend.  Have no clue what it really is as the little container just said Cherry on it.  Added very little Procion 629 to tone down the Cherry, and then added even less Procion Grape 801.

The Grape was added at the last minute as an entire shelf of dyes was exposed to a lot of heat from a dehumidifier – by accident, and I was worried they were ruined.  Happily, the Grape still worked, and the purchase date was May of 2004.  Imagine that.  All those years, all that heat exposure, and it still worked.  More Happy Days!!!

The dye container sat in my laundry room for a good 7 hours, and the ice wasn’t totally melted.  No surprise there.  I have the heat set at 67, and had 2 layers of big ice cubes on that shirt. Worried the dyes wouldn’t take, I put the whole shebang in my dedicated dye microwave, and zapped it for 55 seconds, checked the container, and it was still cold, so kept on zapping and checking till the container warmed up.  Then every 15 minutes, I’d zap it for another 55 seconds.  I did this for an hour.

Next step was to rinse it in cold water, then let the t-shirt soak overnight in cold water.  Rinsed a very little in hot water this morning, then threw it in the washing machine on super hot.  I love my LG washing machine.  It heats up the water for a Sanitizing cycle, and saves me from having to raise the temperature on my hot water tank.   I used my usual detergent – All Clear, and Voila!!! all the excess dye came out with minimal water usage.

I am soooooooo happy to be dyeing fabric again, and decided purchasing a Wonder Washer would make dyeing those napkins much easier than doing a lot of stirring, so am ordering one of those later today.  The goal is to dye those napkins in gradations with the lightest pieces close to my face, and gradated darker towards the bottom of the tops.  Stay tuned to see how that works out.



Santa is Pieced

October 8, 2018

I’ve been busy working on projects, and can happily share the completed quilt top that has been a work in progress for a couple of years – yes a couple of years:

Santa Done

All that embroidery is by hand – the large Santas and the small cornerstone designs, then it was arranged differently from the original pattern.  I saw this setting at a quilt show and loved it, so made it happen for my quilt too.   Now for the quilting by check book.  😉

I also finished up a huck towel.  I’m a member of a few art groups, and this one tries new ideas every month.  All I can say is, huck embroidery is not my thing.  This is a one and done:


Now, what next?  I have so many new patterns I want to make, and so many unfinished projects that could be tackled.  Wonder which will win?


Santa Quilt

September 1, 2018

No, it’s not Christmas, but it is September first.  Where in the world did summer go?  We’re still having summer weather, so it’s shorts and t-shirts being worn everyday, but Christmas in my sewing studio.  Why Christmas?  The Santa quilt has finally gotten some attention again.

I’ve talked about working on the Santa quilt so much here,  that it is way past time to give you all a status update.  This might take the record for taking me the longest quilt to piece, but here is how it looks so far:

First Row

The Santas are hand embroidered redwork designs (so are the little cornerstones inside the stars), and all  embroidery has been done for over a year.  I placed 5 little pieced blocks  around the Santas to add interest.  Then I added a 1/2″ black border to set off the blocks.  All 12 of them are ready to be added to the lattice.

Each lattice piece is different, and there is no pattern, and that is what I’ve consistently been screwing up.  I’m winging it and trying to make the stars wonky.  Wonky is hard for me.  Precise positioning is easy – as those little blocks around the Santas pretty much well prove my point.  Some of them have 32 pieces in them, and they finish to 4″.

I’ve taken each visit to the seam ripper with a good attitude though.  It’s only fabric.  I have more of it.  Mistakes happen, and either having to take BP medication for the first time in my life, or old age has mellowed me out.  Surprises even me.  😉

I love, love, love this quilt, and hope to get it completely pieced by the end of September, but am not making any promises.  I thought it would be pieced by the end of June, then the end of July, then the end of August.  Now I know it will be completely pieced when it’s ready to be completely pieced.



August 18, 2018

The Ogden Farmers Library art group formed about 7 years ago, and we had a fun day Thursday exploring Sashiko.  This is something I’d never done, and it was so easy.  Couldn’t believe I haven’t tried this before.

This is what I made, some towels:


Instead of making another small fabric square of a technique, and adding it to the pile of previously tried new techniques, I decided to make something useful – towels.  Also in an effort to start using what I’ve already purchased, I located an entire bolt of Osnaburg fabric.

Now Osnaburg fabric is not exactly a soft cotton fabric, but it is 100% cotton with a nice open weave.  Well, it had an open weave before I machine washed it and machine dried it, but heck, that’s how I wash my towels, and I was determined to make these useful towels.  I thought it would be a good idea to prewash the fabric before I embroidered it.  It was still easy to hand embroider.

And the embroidery thread?  Well, I have hundreds, yes hundreds of cones of machine knitting yarn in my home.  That’s what happens when you were a machine knitter at one time.  You know how quilters amass a good portion of fabric for their future use?  Well most machine knitters I know, pretty much well purchased coned yarn, like quilters purchase fabric. I’m both, so you can just imagine what my textile resources are.

I pulled out this variegated, 100% cotton, 8/2 weight coned yarn to use for the embroidery thread.  It worked like a charm.  I offered to share it with the other ladies present, but had no takers.

See the size of that cone?  I could make towels every week, till the day I died, and I wouldn’t make a dent in it.  It’s a good 2 pounds of yarn, but you know what?  It felt great to use some of it, and who knows?  I might start using some of my coned yarn on my knitting machine again.  I do still own one.


Free Motion Quilting

August 14, 2018

I used to be pretty good at FMQ, but my oh my, did that recent Comfort Quilt test my patience.  I lost my FMQ mojo.  That’s what happens when you don’t practice – often.

I was so upset that I was considering purchasing a new sewing machine – the Juki straight stitch only one – the mini version.  Came to my senses and realized, no, it wasn’t the sewing machine’s fault, it was little old me.

Determined to get better, I watched FMQ shows on YouTube and old Craftsy classes I had purchased, and practiced, practiced, practiced.  After 2 weeks of almost daily practice, this is what I sewed out today:


Yes!!!  Now that’s more like it.  Not perfect, but I’m happy with the improvement.

I will now practice FMQ a few times a week, or I’ll lose my mojo again, and can’t let that happen.  😉


Bee Sewcial

August 8, 2018

I’m a member of a small group of quilt artists called Fiberistas, and we were looking for a small monthly project to try recently.  Beth sent us links to a concept new to all of us.  It’s called BeeSewcial.  Seems there is a thriving group on Instagram and on the internet, where members select a Queen Bee monthly.  The Queen Bee chooses a theme.  It can be a particular block, a thought, a word, a song, etc…  The members all make a block and gift it to the Queen Bee, who then makes a quilt out of the blocks, and gets to keep it for herself.

We all thought that was a great idea as our last group project – a Round Robin ended halfway through.  Some of the pieces were getting rather large, and interest waned. One block a month is very doable, and still lets us try all sorts of new techniques, and we get to make a quilt for ourselves.  The best part?  We each receive a block made by someone we all love.  Doesn’t get any better than that.

We decided to have all the block sizes be divisible by 3.   A block can be as small as 3″x3″ or 3″x12″ or anything between, but none larger than 12″x12″.  This will be fun and possibly challenging to put together 13 variously sized blocks, and should result with lots of great varied arrangements.

Jess chose Square in a Square, and I finished mine already.  It is 9″x9″.  Yes, good old procrastinator me, finished it a full month ahead of time.  Here it is:


She mentioned she liked batiks, so batiks she got, and I had oodles of fun playing with the design section in my Pfaff sewing machine.

That center embroidery started out life as a single scallop.  I multiplied it, tapered it, rotated it, and had the best time ever creating those squares, within squares in the center.  Sense a theme here?  More squares in a square for Jess.

This is the first time in years, and I mean years, that I used the embroidery module on my sewing machine.   It was so much fun.  That module is staying on my sewing machine, and I have big plans for it – in between finishing up the Santa quilt.



Good to Feel Good Again

August 3, 2018

It’s been a long haul here, but I’m finally feeling good again.  Let me tell you, it’s no fun to be dizzy, short of breath, and have no energy for a couple of months.  It lasted way too long, but am very grateful to be doing well again.

Comfort Quilt #16 was started in Tucson, and completed in Churchville.  It was free motion quilted on my Pfaff – with the nice big space between the needle and machine.  It’s the next best thing to a sit down quilting machine set-up.

Comfort Quilt 16

The fabric was gifted to me by a dear friend, and now I am passing along the good will by donating it to my quilt guild’s Comfort Quilt group.



Surprise, Surprise

June 24, 2018

The day after my birthday, I ended up in the ER traveling by ambulance no less.  Quite a shock.  Was there for hours, had a gazillion tests, and sent home with orders to see a cardiologist the next day.

Have you ever tried to get an appointment with a cardiologist in one day?  Ain’t going to happen.  Didn’t matter because I ended up in the ER again, 24 hours after my last trip.  At least this time, my husband drove me, and we went to a different hospital.

This ER visit was 6.5 hours in the waiting room followed by being put in a room with a guy coughing so badly, I was worried about my husband getting sick.  I was admitted for observation, wore a heart monitor, and got sent home with BP meds, and an appointment to see a cardiologist.  Nice of them to make it for me.

Two days later I realized I caught an infection while in the hospital, so got to take antibiotics, and the next day realized I’m the one who caught what the guy in the bed next to me had.  Such joy – not.

I’m feeling much, much better now, and am looking forward to working on my Santa quilt again.  I’m also hopeful the rest of the year will be happy and healthy for me,  my loved ones, and all of you.



It’s My Birthday

May 29, 2018

Another year, another birthday, but as I age, I realize another birthday is not guaranteed to me.  Of course, another birthday has never been a given, but the reality of my mortality hit hard this year, when my best friend from high school, passed away this Spring.

All of us who knew her, knew this was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier for us when it happened.  This was a release from all the chemo, radation, fatigue and clinical trials she endured, but I still miss hearing from her.

My friend stayed positive till the end.  She stayed hopeful, kind to her friends, and as her husband said, “Everybody who knew her, loved her.”  True that.

With this birthday, I’m now a year older than my friend was when she passed away.  What will I do with my time on this earth?

Take it day by day.  That sounds simple, but how many of us live in the present?  We make bucket lists, we have our calendars filled with meetings and appointmets, and then what?  We get stressed  filling up our lives with “To-Do” lists.

Today, the sun is shining.  That gives me joy.  I love seeing the sun.  Watching how the landscape changes colors as the sun moves across the sky – the highlights, the secret, shady areas – it’s all quite spectacular.

Last night we had a full moon.  It never fails to awe me when I can walk around my house in the middle of the night without a light on, and have it illuminated by the glowing moon.  There is something magical about moonlight.

Do I have future plans?  Not a lot of them.  Am I bored?  No.  I have a gazillion projects I can be making – or maybe not making, but am working on them one at a time.  It’s a lot more fun for me to work on more complicated projects now, and take my time with them.

I’m taking daily walks again.  It’s good for my body, and it makes me happy.  After breaking my femur this past January, I really appreciate the ability to walk.

Lest you think I’m withdrawing from life, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m eliminating activities that keep me busy.  I don’t need to be busy.  I want to be engaged in what life brings my way.  Spontaneity and reflection will be welcomed with open arms.