Bye-Bye 2019

Don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to put 2019 behind me!!  This year will go down as the first year everyone in the family met the deductible and out-of-pocket maximums under our health insurance policy.  Yes, we had some serious stuff going on.  Our new normal means we now must budget $6,000 annually to cover our portion of the costs associated with hubby’s follow-up care at MD Anderson in Houston.

There were a few bright spots this year – my FW retreat in Idaho, summer travel with my parents to Canada, ESOL endorsement requirements met and a shift at the day job back to full-time librarian.

2020 will be the year for my biz to BLOOM. 

Starting in January, I’ll be teaching both adult and kid’s sewing classes at Stitch N Quilt. Kid’s Club projects have already been selected for January – June. Garment Sewing 101 and T-Shirt Quilt 101 classes will be on the books very soon.

Technical Editing
Tech-editing services will be marketed more aggressively. (No more being afraid to raise my hand and say that I provide this service to pattern designers.)

Etsy Shop will be re-opened to sell surplus notions and fabric, plus a few seasonal items whenever my Maker urge strikes.

Turkey placemat pattern (based on grandma’s vintage ones from the 1970’s) will finally get to market this year.

There are other ideas swirling around in my head…but this is a good start for a Tremendous Twenty-Twenty!




Merry Christmas 2019

Technical Editing – My Process

Curious as to how a tech editor fits into the pattern design process?

Note:  I normally receive a copy for editing once it is in the testing phase.

  • I print the pattern and tape it together as instructed.
  • I read through the directions to check the instructional flow & sequence.  (Does it make sense? Is there another technique that would work better? Does the designer need to add/delete certain things to make the instructions clear? Should the construction sequence be modified?)
  • I compare listed cut pieces with any diagrams and again for inclusion in the sewing instructions.
  • I check captions and labeling on diagrams.
  • I check to see that photos and illustrations are in the correct places (or that there’s no placeholder awaiting a final photo/illustration).
  • I check math calculations, including yardage requirements, cut dimensions and overall project size.
  • I edit for grammar, clarity and consistency in writing style.
  • Sometimes, I have to make a block. This is usually when I suspect a math/instructional error that I can’t pinpoint by simply reviewing it on paper.
  • I set the edited pattern aside for a day or two.
  • I markup the pdf copy in Adobe, confirm I transferred the edits from my paper copy to the electronic one and then send the marked up electronic file back to the designer.

Total time? 2-3 hours.  (Psst: I’ve also reviewed your pattern at least twice.)

Lead time:  2 weeks

All of my clients are repeat clients, if this gives any indication regarding the quality of my work.

The first quarter 2020 is starting to fill up, so if you need tech editing services early next year, please get on my schedule NOW.


Can one have too much sewing stuff?

It’s possible!

Since we no longer do clubs at school, I re-homed three sewing machines and gifted fabric & notions to co-workers. The remainder of the fabric & notions came home and were promptly shoved in a closet until I had time to deal with it later.  This was mid-September. 

I was avoiding my studio. Time to take action.

“Later” became yesterday and today.  I needed something from the closet…and it kind of morphed into an organizing marathon. I spent several hours consolidating, sorting and refining my fabric/notions stash.  Two big bins of fabric are in my SUV ready to be dispersed at school tomorrow.  All of the “kid sewing” materials are in a single location. All the precuts are grouped together and in one designated spot.  You can actually see the floor of the hall closet now!  I purged the last of the “gifted” fabric and stuff I’d brought with me to this house 6-1/2 years ago.  The trash bin is full.

All of the PIGS (projects in grocery sacks) that I plan to complete are in bins ready to go.  Can you believe I had 8 tote bags full of STUFF?  This was almost as bad as when I cleaned up my sewing room after I finished graduate school and found 7 rotary cutters!!! All of the kits I purchased on previous vacations are now where I can easily view them when I open my closet door. Excess office supplies are going to school.

While I feel as if a big weight has been lifted, there’s still much work to do. Blame it on my new-found minimalist tendencies. Unless I’m going to use the item,  it adds value to sewing or it brings me joy – out it goes. Downsizing the stash will be an ongoing process – one drawer, one bin and one shelf at a time. Put it this way, I will not be purchasing any fabric, notions or quilting magazines during the first half of 2020!




More Featherweight Bling

img_20191127_222233_611My 1964 white Singer Featherweight is a pure joy to sew on…NOW.

Miss Fussypants (aka “Crystal”) had been giving me bouts of grief ever since she arrived in May. It all started with skipped stitches. She went to see the Singer technician. No more skipped stitches but still really tight and the machine seemed to struggle when sewing. Technician told me I would eventually need to replace the hook assembly. Did that. Adjusted the hand wheel and collar. Put on a Super Belt from the Featherweight Shop (hint: dust back of belt with cornstarch if it tries to jump the track). Purchased a pedal adapter so I could use the Bakelite foot controller without hurting my foot. Despite all this attention, Miss Fussypants was still not playing nice.

I was seriously considering selling Miss Fussypants when someone at the ATL Quilt Study Group suggested I try swapping out the foot controller. I’d purchased an electronic foot controller for my classic black Featherweight, so I had an original Bakelite foot controller that I knew worked well (it went with me to the FW retreat in Idaho back in June and had been adjusted by FW Shop staff).

What do you know? It worked! I have great control using the pedal adapter. Now, Crystal (fna “Miss Fussypants”) literally purrs. I can’t wait to start on the next round of Granny’s Flower Garden blocks from Lori Holt.

Additional accessories that I like for my Featherweight.

Super Belt from the Featherweight Shop
Thread Post from the Featherweight Shop (I’ve had better luck using this with my white FW and the thread stand with my black FW)
LED light from the Featherweight shop (bright white)
Ruffled spool pin doily
Dritz needle threader
Open toe foot (can buy 5mm low shank foot or snap on to work with adapter)




Quilt Retreats & Destination Travel

Last year, I attended a lecture by Meg Cox where she discussed the future of the quilting industry as the age of the “average quilter” continues to increase. I’m about a decade behind the “average quilter” but I can relate to much of what she said. Generally speaking, the “average quilter” already has all the machines, notions, thread, books and other stuff he/she is likely to ever need. Said quilter also has a fair amount of disposable income to devote to his/her hobbies. Marketers are designing destination travel geared specifically toward this demographic.

That’s certainly something to look forward to when I retire, but hey, I’m interested in retreats I can attend NOW while I’m still working full-time!

Retreat organizers – consider scheduling week-long retreats from June to mid-July, or 3 day weekend retreats in late September to mid-October and again in mid-February to mid-March. You’re more likely to reach those quilters with disposable income who are still working full-time. You might even attract younger sewists who can manage 3 day retreats, but not an entire week.

Keep the costs reasonable. $2,000 for a weekend stitching retreat in New England in the fall is a bit beyond my budget (especially when I still have to factor in airfare and car rental). And no, I’m not going to pay $495 for a one day EPP class – regardless of the instructor. Yes, there are those who will, just not me.

Fortunately, someone has listened. I’m already signed-up for a FW retreat in 2020. It’s during a week in July that I can attend. It’s only a few hours away by car. Nationally known teachers conducting the classes. The best part? All accommodations, meals and fees combined are less than the registration fee I paid to attend a retreat last summer in Idaho.

This means more $$ in my pocket to spend on supplies and other sewing events during the year.

And a quilter hooked on destination travel who will have the time to attend those amazing retreats in 5-7 years!

Woo-hoo! I found a replacement lid for my FAVE tumbler!

Sewing theme tumbler
purchased from A Scarlet Thread

So, I purchased this tumbler from a quilt shop in the Atlanta area last spring. It is a constant presence in my sewing studio. It even traveled with me to the JK Quilts/Featherweight Shop retreat in McCall, Idaho last summer. Do you have an idea of how much I love this particular tumbler? Besides the cuteness factor, it’s the perfect size and shape for my small hands to hold.

I lost the lid!

Since it’s not a Tervis product with lids available almost everywhere, trying to find a replacement lid that fit was like finding a needle in a haystack.

I’m happy to report that replacement lids and straws are available from Tritan USA. If you have a tumbler from your Baby Lock dealer that looks like this, then you might want to bookmark the TritanUSA site for future reference.

You’re welcome.

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