Make It Better

A few weeks back my old rotary cutter broke, the retract button snapped off, and while technically I could still use it, the only way to get the blade back was to use the end of a pencil and poke it in the button hole, making it snap closed like a mouse trap! That old cutter lasted a really long time, it was the very first one I bought in the early 90’s after seeing it used at my local quilt shop and I remember being completely shook while watching the quilt lady slice through a pile of fabric with zero effort.

Sadly that quilt shop closed many years ago and because it’s currently a flipping pandemic, we’re still not going anywhere unnecessary, so I resorted to looking online, reading reviews and finally just picking one. I went with the Japanese brand kai (from kaiscissors.com) with a smaller 28mm tungsten steel blade (unlike the quilt lady who sold me my first one, I rarely cut thick stacks of multiple layers). So far I’m really liking this brand, it has a pressure sensitive blade, meaning that the blade slides into the cutting position when you apply pressure to cut and retracts into the garded position when pressure is released ..it’s amazing! The only time this is a problem is when I’m cutting against a ruler, you always have to have the blade side towards the ruler otherwise the stationary guard won’t let you get up close to the ruler edge and after years of having a blade that stuck out an unhindered half inch, and locked into the cut position (like a accident waiting to happen), it will take a little time to remember this one is different, safer, oh, and isn’t it just so pretty!

I didn’t get a chance to use my new tool much, because for a little stretch here it was too hot to sew, the studio can get really warm in the summer. So I stayed in the air conditioning and made an oversized doily, but instead of making an 8” thread doily, I substituted worsted weight cotton and a 5.5mm hook and made a giant 20” doily that I’m going to attach to a hoop and hang on the studio wall!

Pattern (charted) : Viola Doily (free on Ravelry) by Aki Kasaishi.

New title – Sewist and Part-Time Sewing Machine Repair Shop.

This was the very first machine I bought my adult self with my adult money (20ish years ago), a super portable Husqvarna Huskystar with top loading bobbin, needle up/down button, speed controls, auto button hole, it was a total modern upgrade from the 10 ton steel body front loading Kenmore (oddly also considered “portable”) I had been using since the 80’s (a present from my parents when I was 13, and yes, I actually asked for a sewing machine!)

Many happy sewing years passed, and then one day in 2018 my Huskystar stopped going in reverse. I tried to make do, adjusting stitch length, banging on the side hoping to knock it back into working (but mostly just the stitch length thing :) I did that until I turned so sour towards the hassle and extra effort, I gave up and put it in hibernation. Soon after that it was replaced by the cute black (very basic) heavy duty Janome I currently use. It wasn’t until recently when I stumbled across my old broken machine in a closet and thought, hum, what’s the worse that could happen if I rip into this? So I did and then Jason joined in and we ended up taking apart way more than we needed to, but in the end it was just a gummed up release mechanism and all it took was a few laughs, some head scratches, finger pinches, three swears and a can of WD-40 (we used the WD-40 to strip out the old hardened grease, a pro tip we saw on You Tube). Once the reverse was freed we oiled all the bits and put it back together. FIXED!

I was excited to use my old Huskystar, I top loaded the bobbin and started sewing and reversing and everything I loved about this machine was still true, except for one thing, it seemed to struggle through thicker fabric. Then I realized with each machine upgrade comes new things to love and maybe right now I’m completely in love with the industrial power of my heavy duty Janome, and that is more important to me at this time in my sewing life. So I smiled and turned off the machine, slid on its cover and tucked it back in the closet.

I still have that old Kenmore too, maybe I should pull it out and see what is what. If I remember correctly the power cord has a worn spot from being sucked up during some very lazy vacuuming in my baby days!

Because sewing masks is my current standard of judging machine performance, I tried a new mask pattern while I had the Huskystar out. Lex has been getting chapped lips from talking while wearing the pleated masks I usually make, she has a low profile button nose so the pleated masks were resting right against her mouth. I’ve been looking for a style with a nice boxy front, and this one is perfect for her. ♡

I used Keiko Olsson’s Summer Mask Pattern, (I added non-woven interfacing for structure & a metal nose piece so it sealed tighter over the bridge) it has the most perfect finishing ever, so beautifully tidy.

Today is April 3rd

Today’s mood: A baby bran muffin and a heap of whipped cream 💕

Easy Bran Muffins

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups bran flakes cereal (crushed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt and cereal in large bowl. Beat egg & milk together in a smaller bowl, once blended, add to flour mixture, stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy) stir in raisins if desired. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  2. Bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes.

We’ve added cinnamon in the past, subbed raisin bran for the cereal and used whatever milk we had on hand (usually almond).

Filling my sometimes sour lemon mood with pink thread carnations 💕

Keeping my mind occupied with meticulous intricacies.

Taking a moment to just breathe 💕

The bathroom clock stopped working sometime in the night, so I put my studio clock in there, just until clocks are an important enough thing to go out and buy again. Time is irrelevant to 2/3rds of our household now, but clocks in every room are old habits. On the upside, the studio feels quaint & charming using an old timey wind up 💕

I hadn’t planned on making masks, but the thought of people not having what they need or possibly being an unintentional asymptomatic covid-19 super spreader is scary and shit is getting real right now.

Sometimes feeling small and useless, so taking my useful skills and making cute masks for strangers and people I love 💕

There are so many resources out there, these are just a few I found really simple and helpful. If you want to donate your efforts to healthcare workers, patients, care centers, shelters and correctional facilities be sure to check locally with what your state requires/needs. 💕

..A Few Mask Patterns..

JoAnn Fabrics – A start to finish YouTube video, uses interfacing and makes a very sturdy mask. (The blue one pictured above uses this pattern)

Approved cotton masks for healthcare facilities from Allina Health & Blue Cross MN.

Simple traditional tie around the head mask from The New York Times.

Tailored mask (intermediate sewing) from State The Label (one size) is a simplified version if this one from Craft Passion (multiple sizes & formats) both of these have a center sewn seam which would perforate the weave and create needle/pin holes from sewing in the fabric, which might make it less effective than the solid sheet pleated fabric versions above.

We are ending our first week of the governor’s Stay Home order and I know I don’t need to tell you life is surreal, we are all living it, take care friends. 💕