Summer Sew Along Update


Ten blocks down and 2 left to go – Vintage Pinwheel and Wool Star shown above.

Ever since I discovered Lori Holt at the FW Retreat in Idaho last summer, I’ve been hooked. To me, her projects are happy and fun to make. The Bee Patriotic Sew Along allowed me to make a considerable dent in the Farm Girl swag leftover from the retreat. It also motivated me to get back on the Granny’s Flower Garden project that has been languishing for several weeks.

While I didn’t meet my deadline to have the wall hanging ready for July 4th, I’m okay with that. The top can be displayed for the July 4th festivities and I’ll quilt it next week later.  The day job, my part-time summer gig and home projects took priority the past two weeks.  My sewing space was still is a hot mess. Don’t know about you, but I can’t work in a highly disorganized, chaotic mess. I need *some* semblance of order to work effectively. I get distracted by all the visual clutter.

Honestly, the protests, rioting and looting that took place in my own city also took a toll. As did all of the viciousness related to the current political landscape that spilled over into quilting circles. It’s crazy how a handful of quilters with a large social media following can turn on one another so quickly.  I know a few of them personally, which is why I spent WAY too much time online getting sucked in by all that drama. I was amazed by the name-calling, finger-pointing and bullying. It made me sick. I literally lost all desire to quilt.

I turned it OFF.  I culled my social media feed. I unfollowed and left several online quilting groups. I will not be renewing my memberships to certain craft industry organizations when they expire. 90% of the drama originated from two specific groups.  I don’t have time for that nonsense!

Today, I ventured into my sewing room, tidied up a bit and cranked out Block 10. Creative mojo restored!  Bonus – I discovered there’s a new Lori Holt club forming at an area quilt shop.  Not sure I’ll join right away, but it gives me something to look forward to. [#7 in my post from 6/28/20]. As does the Flea Market Flowers sew along that is definitely on my calendar for January 2021. 🙂

Stay safe and stay quilting!


Calling all makers in grades K-12


Ten of the kids in my Stitching Stallions Learning Club had their blocks accepted into the 2019 show. It was a great experience for everyone!  Grab all the details here.

Sewing machines will be incorporated into the library’s maker space (if we ever get back in the building) and I’ll encourage my private sewing students to also consider preparing a quilt block for the show. Just for fun – why not make one from all of the left over mask scraps or from worn out masks?

Go forth and sew!

Notes to self

During our shelter-in-place, I listened to a number of audiobooks and podcasts. I kept notes of ideas that resonated with me in a small notebook. Here are some notes I wanted to keep in perpetuity.

Actions express priorities better than words ever will.

Learn to say no.

Health and personal connections need to be a higher priority (for me).

Staying sane in our chaotic world:

  1. Limit news consumption to 30 minutes per day (all sources)
  2. Daily meditation (Calm app is great)
  3. Exercise and get your daily does of Vitamin D (go outside)
  4. Connect with loved ones
  5. Get stuff done (keep a schedule/do projects that you’ve been putting off)
  6. Laugh
  7. Schedule things to look forward to.

#7 has been the hardest because I love to be on the go during summer break and there’s literally nowhere to go.  All sewing events have been cancelled until the end of the year.

Janome 8900: A Tale of Two Needle Plates

When I was considering the 8200 and the 8900 models, I fell in love with the 8900 – especially the pretty blue SE model with all of the bells & whistles. My budget, however, said otherwise.  A few weeks later, my local Janome dealer called to say he’d gotten a base model 8900 as a trade-in.  Was I interested?  YES!

According to my dealer, there were 2 primary differences between the base and SE models at the time:
(1) Scissors function via the foot pedal. [Not interested]
(2) Quick start needle plates – no need to manually draw up bobbin thread. [Could live without it]

Here’s a visual difference in the needle plates:


A couple of years after purchase, my dealer told me about the new Ultra Glide foot and needle plate (with the quick start function) that WOULD work on my base model 8900. After giving it a go, I figured the 3 hole straight stitch plate with the quick start guide would, as well.  IT DOES!

However, if you want to be able to adjust the needle position on the D1, D4 and D95 stitches using the straight stitch plate, you’re out of luck.  Same goes for the HP plate that limits you to stitch D4.  In their quest for safety, sewing machine manufacturers have removed the sewist’s ability to fine tune needle positions and adjust stitch settings on many machines.  Just sayin’, if I spend that kind of money on a sewing machine, I should be able to manipulate the stitches however I choose.

You have to be smarter than your sewing machine!  Given the current scarcity of sewing machine parts in our COVID-19 pandemic world, the easiest way to outsmart your sewing machine is to swap the needle plate sensor block (white plastic thingie screwed down in the corner) located on the back on your straight stitch plate with the one on the zigzag plate. Takes about 30 seconds and requires your small sewing machine screwdriver.  This simple modification now affords you complete access to all stitches on your machine when the straight stitch plate is installed. Of course, the risk is now on you to make sure you don’t attempt to sew with a wide zigzag stitch using the straight stitch plate!  Plus, you’ll have to remember to switch the sensor back whenever you need to use a zigzag stitch. To avoid this hassle consider purchasing a 2nd zigzag plate or see if dealer can order a needle plate sensor block found on page 7 of the parts list linked below.

As for using the HP and HP2 feet on the base model 8900? Go right ahead. Both presser feet work quite well using the regular straight stitch plate. In fact, I don’t see why you would really need the HP plate. [Feel free to school me on the need for the HP plate if it’s that important! :-)]

Link to 8900 QCP Service Manual and Parts List.

You’re welcome!


Chaos: what happens when there’s a lack of leadership

I grew up in the ATL.  I’ve called various parts of the city home for most of my life.  What’s going on right now with the rioting is NOT the ATL I know.

This is madness.

The city “leadership” has been conspicuously absent from the airwaves for the past 24 hours while chaos ensues. It speaks volumes to the leadership – or lack thereof.

Seriously thinking it is time to move.






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