mommyhood 911

quilting 911 - creative bliss

i have a confession.  i've been cheating on my vintage sheet inspired quilt with a new one.  i know, i feel guilty.  i try to work on only one quilt at a time but this time i've cheated.  i blame it completely on lotta jansdotter.  yep, it's all her fault.  why did she have to come out with such a lovely line that i just could not absolutely resist making a new quilt for myself out of?  it lured me over to the dark side.  i quickly bundled up my other quilt and put it aside to jump head first into the frenzy of lotta sewing.  the line - bella.  the result?  can't show you yet...hehe.  but i loooooove it.  i think it's my fave quilt to date.  why?  because it was completely spur of the moment and i just winged it. 

sometimes my most favorite projects are the ones that are totally unexpected and not on my schedule or list at all whatsoever.  it feels wild and freeing to do this once in a while.  i'll just drop everything and immerse myself completely in something new and unplanned.  i just lose myself in it and boy is it fun.  even though i feel guilty for dropping my other quilt faster than a hot potato i feel that it's worth it to have this new baby to snuggle up under.

how to sew binding roundup
want to know what the best part is?  it's going to be my first quilting tutorial!!!! yes!  i'm so excited!  it definitely is something i wanted to share and it's the perfect quilt for all you fellow newbie quilters like me to sink your teeth into.  so watch this's coming soon.  i spent all my kid free time yesterday quilting my brains out on this bad boy so that today i can start putting the binding on. i had tons of work to do but i just. couldn't. stop. quilting.  speaking of binding....don't forget about our how to sew binding roundup! this is a great resource of tips and techniques for binding your quilts.  i refer to it all the time.

1. rocky shore in schooner 2. scattered sand in seaspray  3. seaside stripe in seaspray 4. seaside stripe in warm grey 5. rocky shore in sunspray 6. woven in schooner all from bella by lotta jansdotter
want to know what prints i used for my new quilt?  i used the lovelies shown above & even had to add some color palette boxes below the prints just for fun! aren't they purdy?  i don't want to reveal too much and all i can say is i'm digging it.  yep. i even snuggled under it for a few minutes after i was done quilting it.  i feel like that is the moment of true quilting love for me. i love the quilting part the best out of the whole process.  it's so exciting and fun for me.  this time was tricky though.  this was a much bigger quilt than i'm used too and it was a good workout trying to fit it in my machine.  it was tricky and time consuming but i managed to push through and i'm happy with the outcome. it ain't perfect but heck...who is right?  it's all a learning process for me.

i simply love the feeling of getting lost in a quilt and watching the time fly by while i'm having a heckuva lot of fun. there is something so soothing and relaxing about quilting that i just can't put my finger on it but man is it good for the soul and oh so rewarding when you are done. i even have to admit that this is the first time i'm actually looking forward to the binding process.  i usually detest it but have started to grow a fondness for hand sewing my binding.  i sew the first side by machine and hand sew the binding down.  this works great for me and i love snuggling up under the quilt with my trusty thimble.  it's starting to become fun for me and i'm so looking forward to this evening.  that is exactly what i'm going to be doing tonight. i can't wait to show you all the finished product and share the tutorial.

what quilt are you working on right now?  do you love or detest the binding process? which part of quilting is your favorite?  do you find yourself getting lost in creative bliss while quilting too?  let's chat m'dears!  it's monday and it's finally not raining here! yay!!!

quilting 911 - the zig zag quilt reveal!

i finally got around to getting some shots of the zig zag quilt i finished up.  took me long  i never realized how tricky it can be to get shots of a finished quilt  luckily this one isn't too big and i def will be planning out shots for future quilts way in advance.

since i finished this quilt for mackenzie it has been well loved and used by all of us in the family.  it's one of the best feelings in the world to see your wee one snuggled up in a quilt made with love. i've even snuggled up with this quilt more than a few times on the couch with my knitting :)

i'm so glad after weeks of humming and hawing about the bias and the backing that i decided to stick to my guns and original plan and keep the white bias and still use my fave print  balloon in aqua from children at play by sarah jane. mack loves it and so do i.

i kept the quilting simple yet fun.  i did a line following the zig zags 1/2" on either side of the seam.  i love the way it looks from the front and the effect is nice and subtle on the back :)  it's also soft and squishy.

just like harper's quilt mackenzie requested her first initial be on the quilt.  i made a patchwork "m" that i stitched on before making the quilt sandwich.  i love the effect the quilting has on it.  so fun!  i then hand embroidered her full name along the edge of the letter.  it's not perfect but i love it anyways.

our current fave place to use our zig zag quilt is curled & cuddled up on our balcony.  so cozy!

i now have quite the addiction to hst's and have 2 more quilts on the go.  i think i am definitely smitten and bit by the quilting bug. if you are looking to jump into quilting this was a fun pattern to start using hst's.  it was quick and a lot of fun to make.  i can see many more of these in my future!

and i think she loves it too.  we call the quilts i've made my girls "love blankies".  i tell them they are filled with love from momma and that no bad dreams or anything can hurt or scare them while they have them.  i tell them as long as they have their love blankie mom is always close by watching over them.  they adore it and it really has helped with bedtime and cut down on mack's nigh time issues.  mack knows and understands how long the quilt took to make and how much i enjoyed making it for her.  does a momma's heart good i tell ya :)

you can read the rest of the posts from the making of this quilt here:

have you taken up quilting recently?  what is your fave quilt pattern to make for a special child in your life?  do you have a fondness for hst's too?  let's have some quilty chat ladies :)

fabrics used for quilt:
prints: oliver + s city weekend
solid: organic white by harmony arts (from
backing: balloon in aqua - children at play by sarah jane

quilting 911 - this way and that way

dream on by urban chiks for moda
i haven't had much time to work on my quilt this past week but i thought it would be fun to show you what i have had time to do.  i know i've only given you sneak peeks so far so it's fun to reveal what's hanging on the quilt wall.  i received all this lovely fabric from my parents for xmas a few years ago and at the time i had chosen a quilt design i had in my mind.  i'm happy to say that after all the time has gone by i am still liking the same design and am super excited to get all the blocks sewn up.

i decided to go with a bit of a fence rail/basketweave design.  i love the scrappiness of it and at first contemplated adding some sashing in between the rows of blocks but have decided against it.  this quilt is going to be a test for me.  it usually takes me forever to decided which pieces i want where on a quilt and i over analyze it to the point where i just leave the darn thing for months..haha.  so this time i decided to just throw caution to the wind and put them together using my instant gut reaction.  i simply picked up new pieces went "does it look good" and sewed them together based on my answer.  i didn't look at the ones i had already created, i didn't pin them all up as i went, i didn't analyze my colors, i just went with my gut.  it was soooo fun and super freeing.


i'm going to attempt to do the same thing when it comes time to sew those blocks together.  i'm going to just pin them up and stitch em' together.  of course i will take enough time to see if it's ugly or i'm really striving to go with a gut reaction and not over think the whole process.  for now though i'm still in the cutting stage and you all know how i feel about my rotary  i'm getting better but i still have a love/hate relationship with the darn thing.  luckily this quilt involved cutting but not tricky  i simply had to cut up my layer cakes and cut up my jelly roll.  then when the block was stitched together i trim it down to square it up.  it was pretty easy but i have to make myself do the trimming right now.  not fun in my mind.  i seem to keep finding other things to work on that are far  more fun that trimming up this mountain of blocks (shown below).

now that i have my new worktop space it's been making quilting really easy and a lot faster.  it's also nice to have a white worktop.  it's clean and makes a great backdrop to choose fabrics and colors on.  i've really been enjoying it.  when i was at ikea picking up my new furniture i could not resist this adorable teacup tray.  love it.  remember when i did "teacup month" on the blog?

so fun!  i knew this had to come home with me and guess what it's been doing?  that's right....holding all my quilty  it's the perfect size to keep all my in progress quilt blocks on.  who knew in ikea that i'd end up using this adorable tray for that purpose right? oh well, if it's working - stick with it.  the more organized i can keep my mess the better :)

i'm planning to do a sashing (maybe in a natural tone) around the entire quilt top when the blocks are all put together and the back is going to be done with the same light blue used in the blocks in a solid along with some patchwork.  i'm super excited about it!  as for the binding...who  that's one decision i'm not looking forward to.  it always seems to be the hardest one for me.  i'm going to wait until the end to decide and then just go with it.  you know....a little this way and a little that's all good.  i cannot wait to sleep under this beauty and dream of all sorts of vintage goodness.  it's going to look fabulous on my bed.

i'm all pumped up to get it done sooner than later because i just recently placed a nice order from one of our sponsors - "fat quarter shop" for some fabric for another quilt that i've been designing for a few weeks now.  i've got a little plan mapped out with a diagram and it's got a fun modern vibe to it. i'm really excited to see if i can bring it to life.  i love that i'm going from scrappy vintage goodness to modern and fresh.  makes my gemini soul happy.  i've also really been enjoying the fact that all of my quilts so far have just been me going with a general idea and not following an exact pattern.  i love the freeness of it all.  the feeling of just letting your mind and your heart tell you how you envision the quilt and then making it come to life is just way too fun!

what is your process like while quilting?  are you a this way and that way or an over analyzer like me? do you have a process that helps you make decisions on your quilts a bit easier? share...i'd love to hear your thoughts.  it's raining out today and i'm in the mood to chat quilty goodness!
read more about this quilt here:

Quilting 911 - It's never too late to dream...

dream on by urban chiks for moda
ohhhh yeah baby....don't you just get all excited when you see the loveliness of a fresh jelly roll!  i seriously never want to untie them they just look so gorgeous and inspiring! i am more than happy to just set that bad boy on a shelf and stare at it's yumminess all day. love! throw in a layer cake too and wowsa - you've got one happy momma!

now before you ask me...why yes this is "dream on" by urban chiks for moda and yes this came out eons ago...but hey...i think it's never too late to dream right? lol! seriously though my lovely parents bought these for me for xmas of 2011 (thx again mom/dad)!!! that's how long i've been waiting to quilt with these babies!  i knew i had to get harper's and mackenzie's quilts done first before i could work on mine and i'm finally at that point!  life's gotten in the way but i'm so excited to finally dive in.  you all know how much i love vintage sheets so in my opinion this line of fabrics will never get old in our household :)

i'm on a tight fabric budget in my household so i like to use up what i've got before i re-order and when i order fabrics i usually have projects in mind for them ahead of time.  when i asked santa for this line i knew what i wanted the quilt to look like.  i'm so excited that after all this time has gone by my original idea still excites me and i'm seriously obsessed at the moment.

i'm behind on a gazillion other deadlines/projects because i can't. stop. working. on. it!!!!! i think this is going to be my favorite quilt yet!!!!  can i just say that i looooove pre-cuts! honestly.  i cut them up but i love that it wasn't hard cutting.  it did take me a very long time though.  i had to cut up my layer cakes and my jelly rolls but i'm getting much better with my rotary cutter skills.  must be all that time i've spent hangin' with my fat quarter gang!

it could also be a defense mechanism against the fact that my condo currently looks like an episode of craft  the hubs has been working away like crazy assembling all of my ikea goodies to revamp my sewing's awesome. he's awesome.  but in the meantime all my craft stuff is everywhere!!! in between boxes and our other bouts of spring cleaning it's a gong show in here. the only area that is soothing to the eye is my worktop's lovely. if i could love a worktop it's this one. i can't wait to do the big reveal to show you all what i came up with for maximizing our limited condo space.  this momma's got a real office zone now and i'm loving every minute of it. in fact the hubs loves it almost as much as i do and has been studying at "my desk" every night now.  so all in all it's been worth the work and all the months of me saving my pennies to buy it all.

one issue i am having now that i'm doing a momma sized quilt is my poor quilt wall is too small! i will def need to re-access this.  i'm hopelessly addicted to hanging my quilts on the wall as i plan and arrange.  i love staring at it throughout the day and being able to make changes whenever i like.  it's fun but i never thought about what i'd do when i made a larger one. i may have to go around our wall - it sort of juts out on an angle and just go with you all remember that cheap fleece like blanket from ikea that i use to hang my blocks off of that magically holds the fabric with no pins? too small for this quilt! wahhh! it's going to be worth the work though, this one is for our bed and i cannot wait to snuggle up with it at night. so excited!

i'm not going to reveal what the quilt looks like yet but i will next post i promise.  for now you'll have to settle with a sneak peek and i'll be back with questions because you guys rock and i love hearing your quilty thoughts on all of my projects. it's fun learning with you all! and all cheesiness aside it seriously is never too late to sketch those projects and then bring them to life! you won't regret a minute of it i promise!

what quilty goodness are you working on right now? do you have a fabric line you are hoarding and have put off using cause you love it so much? which line will you never get sick of in your house? spill the beans...i'm up for a chat!

quilting 911 - blissful decisions

i bit the bullet!  i finally made the long drawn out decision on what to do with the zig zag quilt.  after weeks...ok, months of humming and hawing about it i finally just went with my gut.  i decided to just leave the size as is.  i just couldn't get my head around a border - i love it too much without it.  once i made up my mind it was like falling in love all over again.  i had been seething at this quilt in indecision for so long that i had forgotten how much i loved it when i started.  i'm so hooked at the moment that i had an entirely different post planned for today but couldn't resist talking about the quilt cause i'm going to be picking it up right after i'm done writing this to finish hand sewing the binding on.

needless to say i'm crushing.  smitten with the quilt and with my new found friend - the thimble. yes, a thimble.  i know...i'm late to the  santa put one in my stocking and let me tell you what a difference it's made in binding my quilt!!!! wowsa!  can we say way speedier and way easier? i like it!  is it weird that i want to wear a few?  lol. i can think of at least one other finger i'd like to have one on while i'm hand stitching that bad boy on.

for those of you who know how long i was wondering about what color to use for my binding i decided to go with white...haha.  i know...not what i had originally planned on but once i got my sandwich made i just loved it.  it pops on the back and keeps the front clean allowing the zig zags to steal the show!  any other tone just made them seem like background dancers :) i also have found that machine sewing the first side of the bias tape on and then hand stitching the other side works best for me.  i've tried other combos but they always result in me being unhappy and ripping it all out again.  i was more than happy to curl up on the couch last night to watch the american idol finale (go phillip phillips) and sew on my pretty little quilt. you can find a fun little "how to sew quilt binding roundup" here that i did last fall too!

i also decided to stay with my original vision and quilt 1/4" on either side of the seam line that forms the zig zags.  it went super fast and i love the result.  i started in the middle of the quilt and worked my way across all the rows alternating from the side i started with and if i was above or below the center one i started with.  i like quilting like this.  it keeps the quilt from moving too much or slanting.  i also highly recommend using quilting pins when you baste your sandwich.  awesome.  they ain't cheap but they are super helpful to use.  i'm still learning things as i go and figuring out what techniques and methods work best for me cause i'm a newbie folks...but i'm loving it!

also as per the request of my daughter i added the "m" to the back of her quilt.  i put a patchwork "h" on harper's quilt so she demanded ever so nicely that her quilt must have an "m" on it.  it's on the bottom left corner of the back and i love the effect the zig zags make on it after quilting! so fun!  i decided to quilt on it instead of appliqueing it on afterwards.  i did that on harpers and loved the result.  it feels more of a part of the quilt if that makes sense. 

i went with white thread on both the front and the back.  i'm feeling it.  at first i thought i may use a color on the back but i love that balloon print so much i didn't want to take away from showcasing the fabric plus it's busy enough i think without me adding some more color to it.

this quilt was the first time i got to use my sewing machine for quilting and it was a dream!  i had my pfaff quilting needle, an extension table and i was all set!  eeek! that's right i said extension table!  momma got an early bday pressie a few weeks ago!  i got some new goodies for my pfaff and i'll be telling you all about them as well as a 1 year bday review of my pfaff ambition 1.0 coming up next month. so for all of you who  have written to me about how i've been liking my's a coming!  a big shout out though in advance to sawyers sewing center who has been so awesome to me!!! their customer service is ahhhmazing! i'll also be telling you a bit more about how awesome they are in my review as well.

wind flowers in stainless from gypsy caravan by amy butler (from
i've also been working away on a little project for me.  selfish sewing time :)  but you'll have to wait a bit longer to see it!  i've got one more thing to make and then i will show you all the full deal :) anyone want to guess what it is???  i think i might have given it away with this shot actually.

you can read the other posts about this quilt's process here:

what are you crushing on this week?  any new quilts you are working on that you can't put down?  any selfish sewing being fit into your busy schedule?  i've got starbucks brewing and a mug with your name on it...come visit!

fabrics used for quilt:
prints: oliver + s city weekend
solid: organic white by harmony arts (from
backing: balloon in aqua - children at play by sarah jane

a little indulgence & quilting 911

amy butler gypsy caravan in print 1) cat eye - windflower and 2) cat eye - stainless from
i spent a nice chunk of time last night taping this bad boy together.  i decided it was time to spoil myself and make 2 new items for my closet.  i'm excited to get tracing and to finally get sewing!  i'm also excited to show you guys the process over the next few weeks :)  i do have to sadly admit this part of the process is why i don't sew from patterns very often.  i find it so tedious to do these steps that i would almost rather draft it myself or drape a garment.  but for these 2 items i'm willing to suffer through it ;)

i also just finished up what i hope will be my next knitting pattern.  i got to use this delicious madeline tosh dk in colorway glazed pecan from one of my fave brick/mortar yarn shops - urban yarns (seriously if you are in vancouver it's a must visit)....YUM! look for the pattern coming soon!

madeline tosh dk in colorway glazed pecan from urban yarns
i've also been working on a new tutorial that will be coming out next month over on kojo designs for "color your summer 2"delia creates and kojo designs have this super fun blog event where we all get to make a project revolving around color.  last year's was awesome and i'm thrilled to be a part of it this year.  mine is pretty colorful and i can't wait to show you all what i've been working on.

i'm also still working on a full pattern for the sweetheart dress for you guys.  i've been working on doing the grading myself but would prefer to hire that part out as i have more designs in the works that i would like to sell.  problem is i am having a super hard time finding a pattern grader or a business who does this.  i would love to keep it local (British Columbia) or at least in Canada but am open to having it done in the US as well.  do any of you know anyone who does this or do any of you do this?  thanks in advance for all of your help with this :)

the pink is for the backing for me to applique the letter "M".
now for the question of the day...i've been banging my head against the wall over mackenzie's zig zag quilt.  i am really struggling with whether or not to put a border on it or to just leave it a smaller size and bind it.  what would you use to bind with?  white? color? backing print?  i could use your help :)  i'm dying to get this thing done so i can move on to the next one :)

this is the portion of the quilt i'm having the hardest time matching up tones with.  the cooler pinks keep clashing with the tones i would pick to bind/border with for the upper half of the quilt.  honestly, i've asked so many people and i just keep going back and  at this point i'm really leaning towards just binding off.  i really don't want to add a border and if i do i think i'm leaning towards a wide border of white and then a smaller border of the orange print below.

but then i also have this yellow print.  the pic doesn't show it very well.  it's softer and more of a darker version of the yellow in the quilt but i don't like it with the backing.  so if i bind with it i don't think i'll be happy with it against the backing fabric.

here's the whole front below...bear with my bad pics...there's not a lot of good light where my quilt is hanging at the moment.

ok so....thoughts?  should i:

a) bind off and leave it the size it is?  and if so what color would you bind off with?
b) add a border?  and if so what color/size would you border it with?  do you agree with white and then a smaller of orange?  the orange looks bad right up against the quilt due to it clashing with the pink tones on the bottom of the quilt.

you can read the other posts about this quilt's process here:

i would love any of your thoughts.  i love that you all have helped me with this whole quilt.  it's so fun!!!  it's definitely a learning process and when you are winging things sometimes another eye is a good thing. i've stared at it everyday for months now and just can't seem to make up my mind.

what are you all working on?  any exciting projects in the works?  i'd love to hear about them!

p.s. thank you for all your wonderful bday wishes yesterday for my baby girl. was so sweet of you all!

quilting 911 - it's sandwich time!

the kids let me sew yesterday :)  this time it only took me being a circus ring leader while they had a carnival complete with ferris wheel for their my little ponies and a farm house with animal attractions.  they even formed a line up for their little people to get into the carnival and pay to visit. it was hilarious but a game that ensured me a good chunk of time while i ran the circus engine for the ferris wheel.  it gave me the time i needed to finish my quilt top!!!! weeeee!!!!  so excited!

i love it.  it's not perfect...but that's ok.  it's only my 3rd quilt ever and was a new technique for me so i learned a lot.  i could have had some of my hst's line up a bit better but they were good enough in my book.  i think accuracy and good measuring/cutting really count in this quilt (i suck at cutting) so the fact that they look like zig zags and mostly line up made me pretty happy with myself.  now comes my fave part!

 time to make the quilt sandwich!  the quilt sandwich is not my fave part but the quilting is!  i love the actual sewing and quilting of quilts.  something so meditative and relaxing about it all.  i plan on sewing 2 lines a 1/2" on either side of the zig zag line.  after spending days staring at zig zag quilts online when i first chose to make this quilt i realized pretty quickly this was my fave pattern for quilting.  i love the effect it has on the back as well.  i'm pretty excited to get some serious sewing time done on this quilt as soon as i can.

balloon in aqua from children at play by sarah jane
i also am still debating about the size of the quilt.  i really, really, do not want to make a border so this quilt may end up just being a cross between a lap quilt/twin quilt for my oldest.  it will be cozy no matter what though.  i'm having second thoughts about the backing though.  my gut is so in love with using the balloon print that i really don't want to change it but i also feel like i need a second opinion on it.  am i off my rocker people?  could i get away with this?  i feel like the tones in the backing print are a nice blend of the warm/cool tones in the quilt but i really stress about this part.  it always takes me forever to  any thoughts? 

also, for those of you who are wondering what methods/tips i use for making the quilt sandwich these are my two favorite posts on the process:

- making the quilt sandwich by ohfransson
- aligning the quilt sandwich by redpepperquilts

and a handy post on if you decide to ever try the spray adhesive route:

- spray adhesive for quilt basting: a quick how to by filminthefridge

i'm off today to get some sewing done in the hopes that my first sewing pattern for sale will be released next week! we are just finishing up some final photo shoots and final pattern edits.  cannot wait...really, it's keeping me up at night i'm so excited for you all to see it!  i hope you all will love it as much as i do.  i've been wearing mine all the time.  i'll also be goofing around with these little monkeys.  i can only imagine who i will be today to get an hour of sewing time in :P  i'll keep ya

you can read the two other posts on my zig zag quilt here:

what is your favorite part of quilting?  do you enjoy putting the your quilt sandwich together? what tricks/tips do you use?  do you have a fave post you refer to?  please share in the comments below and i'll add them to the post above for our reader faves.  you can never have enough tips right?  happy quilting!

quilting 911 - sewing the zigs and the zags

i've started sewing the zigs and the zags!  weeee! i was so happy to finally have some time to work on my zig zag quilt at my modern sewing group on sunday.  what i wasn't happy to find out was that it was going to take me soooooo long to trim the corners of my hst's. wowsa! massively time consuming, or at least it was for

these are the parts i don't enjoy about quilting but then you all know how crappy i am with a rotary cutter and that cutting is my least favorite part of any  i literally got only 3 rows all stitched up at the group and attached the 4th row this morning.  it took me way longer than i thought. 

i LOVE the sewing of the quilt though.  i really enjoy sitting down at the machine with a big stack of squares and sewing them all together.  it's methodical, rewarding and so much fun.  i'm addicted.  i just don't like doing the grunt work that leads up to it - i need the fairy craft mother to come in and do all my cutting for me.  the step that i'm most excited about is the quilting.  i'm dying to put that quilt sandwich together and give er'!!!

i'm planning, for the moment, on doing 1/2" lines following the zig zags on either side of the seam.  i've seen a few done like this online and love the look that it created on the front and back of the quilt.  so purdy.  one thing i am pondering right now is the color to do that and also if i should add a border to the quilt.  now that my rows are stitched up i realized that the quilt may be too small for my liking.  my only worry is that the border would detract from the style of the zig zags. what do you guys think?  would you add a border?  what color would you quilt in? or leave it be?  my backing fabric has a print that i think would not look good on the front as well.  wouldn't like it. 

doesn't it look like a stained glass window in the sunlight?  sorry....couldn't resist the pic....caught my eye while and i thought it was cool.

now don't judge me on my ironing.  the rows are not pressed perfectly yet.  i got a tad lazy at the very end and haven't pressed them all perfectly after i sewed the rows together so everything is slightly poofy still.  i did good with my ironing for everything else.  it was nice being able to work on this in a big space with room to move and lots of equipment.  i just don't seem to work on my quilts at home due to lack of space etc. it makes it even more time consuming.  i just don't know where i would fit myself in my condo while working on it.

so i've got 6 rows left to do and in those six rows i still have to trim the hst squares :(  but then i get to sew! yippee! and that part goes fast and then i'll have a quilt top! yeehaw!!!! so excited!  and you know what comes after this quilt is done? one for me!!!  yay!!! this one is for my daughter but momma's gotta have a quilt for herself too right? i'm dying to get mine started. it's been waiting for almost 2 years now.  so the faster i get this one done the faster i get to work on a big one for momma.

you can read the two other posts on my zig zag quilt here:

1st post  |  2nd post

what quilty goodies have you guys been working on?  do you love hst's too?  any tips on how to trim the squares really quickly?  i could use them :)  what color would you quilt this in? white?

quilting 911 - hanging with the zig zags

i've been hanging with the zig zags.  just chilling know...zigging here and zagging there...going with the flow.  i got all my hst's sewn up last week & i started to plan out my quilt.  i thought it would be quick and easy. boy was i

i think the pic above is about my 20th layout.  i haven't changed anything for over 24 hours now so i think i am close.  it took a while to decide what tones to move with and where to start and what and how to mix the prints.  i kept focusing on the row of zig zags but then would stand back and remind myself it's also a block of four charm squares that make the point of the zig zag so i had to start looking at it in 2 rows instead of just one as well.  tricky i say.

thankfully one of my pals at knit night gave me a wonderful tip.  i was moaning and groaning about how hard it was to plan the schematics of this quilt by laying it on the floor and always having to take pics of it, look, change it and then put it away and start all over again the next day when i have a chance to lay it out again.  pain in the butt.  i was fed up.  she told me i needed to start a quilt wall.  she suggested getting a cheap blanket/picnic blanket and hang it from the wall with pins so that i can stand back and really see the quilt and also not have to take it down.

let me tell you, this has changed my whole quilting experience!  thank you so much sarah!  i have a cheap ikea polar fleece type blanket at home and hung that puppy up on the wall and pinned my hst's to it as fast as i could.  the best part about this blanket is the fabric actually clings to it.  i really could have prolly got away with not pinning them but was worried the kids would grab them off.

i have spent a lot of time in what i like to call "creative land" feeling like the dude from a beautiful mind trying to solve some intense puzzle.  i keep getting lost in the lines and the patterns.  then, when i'm done...i'm  my brain  anyone else get like this when trying really hard to solve a creative puzzle?  my mom says this is one of her favorite parts of quilting and i can see how some would love it but i find it hard to push through.

i think my favorite part of the quilting process, has been so far, the actual sewing.  i love starting with all these pieces and then ending with a quilt top.  i adore the actual quilting.  so fun.  what i don't adore is all the decisions.  i know that sounds weird but with a quilt it all feels so permanent.  like once it's sewn you are stuck with it.  where as with clothing i change and alter as i go.  i guess i have to get used to feeling confident in my eye and my own creative process.  i think it's a great way for us creative peeps to strengthen different parts of our creativity by challenging ourselves regularly by doing what we wouldn't normally be doing.  it's one of my new year's resolutions this year to challenge myself, push myself and step out into the unknown a bit.  i want to flex a bit more creative muscle and really jump in head first (in a somewhat controlled and just see what happens.  i'm excited, a tad scared but i've also have been having a heckuva lot of fun! 

so grab yourself a cheap blanket, pin that bad boy to the wall and have some fun!  but most importantly get quilting!  go ahead...give it a try!  it's fun and oh, so addicting!  thanks again sarah!  i owe ya one my dear :)

what quilt are you working on?  what's your favorite part of the quilting process?  do you find one area challenging for you?  c'mon...spill the beans my friends :)

* just in case you missed it you can see my first post about my zig zag quilt here.

Quilting 911 - head over heels in love

oh my...last night i fell in love with hst. no not our dreaded canadian tax but "half square triangles".  oh yes, i fell head over heels in love.  i have never done a hst before being a newbie quilter but let me just say they are fun!  i got so excited i even bored the hubby to death with all my quilting giddiness...poor guy :P

i took a charm pack of oliver & s city weekend and a charm pack of white fabric that my lovely sponsor just sent me (yes, she even cuts to your request and washes/presses your fabric!) and matched those puppies all up, drew my lines, sewed my stitches and cut my triangles and i made it through almost the whole stack in under half an hour!!!! now that is what i like people!  hardly any cutting! woot woot!  you guys all know how bad i am with a rotary :P

1. city weekend by oliver + s 2. balloon in aqua from children at play by sarah jane
i decided the other week to make a zig zag quilt for mackenzie's quilt of choice.  i'm supposed to be making a queen size for me but the poor thing was so sad when she saw harper's that i promised her i would make one for her too with a "m" on the back to match harper's "h".  after a lot of drooling all over flickr and pinterest i got sucked in by the purl bee's and cluck cluck sew's zig zag quilt and was stuck on the combo of the white with the printed fabric.  after using a lot of bright colors for harper's quilt i liked the idea of doing a softer yet still colorful palette for mack's.  i'm also hoping that it will match up with my beloved balloon print from sarah jane's children at play line for the backing.  i bought enough of it in the summertime in the hopes that i could use it for the backing of a quilt.

1. cluck cluck sew 2. the purl bee
i've been following the purl bee zig zag quilt tutorial and also relied on the lovely rachel of  p.s. i quilt's half square triangle tutorial just to make sure i was doing it right :)  now i whipped through mine pretty fast so i'm hoping my accuracy is still good and that i didn't wonk anything up.

i already had one oopsie of my charm squares was stuck to the other (same print on top of it) and i unknowingly sewed the two identical prints to 1 white square and didn't realize i had done this till after i cut it! eeeek! anybody have any tips on how i can fix this???  i haven't ripped it out yet.  i could use any tips any of your master quilters may have :)

i'm super excited to just power through this quilt but not sure how much time i'll get to work on it.  our modern sewing group is in lingo as we are homeless.  the lovely sewing shop we were being housed at has changed ownership and is moving so we are still in the process of finding out what and where we are going.  i'm bummed though because that was pretty much dedicated time for me to quilt.  hopefully everything will work out in the end and someone will adopt us :)  in the meantime i'm sure i'll be dreaming of hst's.....

have you made a zig zag quilt before?  any tips?  are you a lover of all things hst?  what is your favorite quilt pattern to make using an hst block?  i can't wait to hear what you all are working on!

makin'it in the mommyhood - we're getting close

we're busy crafting away over here today....stars for a mobile from some fun scrapbook paper...
(edited to add: here's the origami tute i used to make our stars -

and i'm madly trying to finish hand sewing the binding on harper's quilt for xmas. i have to tell you i've been having a love/hate relationship with sewing the binding on.  i only have to do one side as an awesome pal of mine machine stitched (cut & sewed my binding too) the other side on.  what i've learned is that i am not a great hand sewer (no surprise to me and that i really, really need a thimble.  any recommendations you guys? there are so many out there but i really want a good one for quilting with.  hopefully i'll have pics to show you soon of the quilt all washed, dried and crinkled up with love & quilty goodness.  i love that part :)

the back

 i could not resist trying out my machines alphabet sewing capabilities even though i didn't do a perfect was my first time doing it after all, i love that her name is on it :)  warms my heart.

i've also got to get a hat and shawl blocked and get the hubs hat on the go.  what are you all up to?  are you starting to get a little panicky like i am that xmas is only like 10 days away??? oh my! anyone else finishing up some handmade pressies? 

p.s. christmas knitting 911 will be up on a diff day this week :) and i'm super thrilled to be mentioned in the "knit and crochet now" christmas gift guide newsletter yesterday! what a thrill to see the mallory cowl in there i tell ya!  thank you knit and crochet now! if you haven't seen their show start watching - it's awesome. i mean how can you go wrong with a show all about knitting & crocheting? LOVE it! :)

mommyhood 911 - savvy squirrel coupon book

i am all about a bargain and a deal.  i'm also all about savings for families so i couldn't resist posting about one of my favorite local ways to save.  the savvy squirrel coupon book is wonderful collection of coupons from a variety of different kinds of shops and businesses all over greater victoria, bc that is aimed to help connect families and businesses.  they are also one of my lovely sponsors :)

the savvy squirrel coupon book is filled with wonderful coupons galore ranging from clothing & diapering, toy stores, book stores and cafes!  there are over 40 awesome coupons inside that equal over $1000 in savings!  the savvy squirrel coupon book is "your go-to guide for local shopping"...

for babies & tots:

buddies toys, the chidren's bookshop, school house, tall tales books, abby sprouts, baby bellhop, happy island diaper service, love & stuff cloth diapers, momma goose baby care, boutique by dress me up, hip baby, tiny giggles eco friendly shopping, bellies in bloom maternity, island kid stuff, jamtots, kiddin' around, mothering touch, oscar gone wild, rainy day play, sailor jack family consignment and sweet nancy's clothing boutique.

 for families:

the good planet company, bellies in bloom maternity, la mama maternity, mineral world, par-t-perfect, angelface prints, blue sky photography, modern genes art, prestige picture framing etc, babyproofit, and sleep sense.

and for eats & treats:

caffe fantastico, pizzeria prima strada, epicure selections, and share organics.

wowsa! that's a ton of fabulous coupons!!!  and guess who is a savvy squirrel sponsor?  little ol'me!  so excited!  i'm so honored to be a part of the savvy squirrel coupon book!

the lovely and talented tabitha and lale (moms & more productions) have put together what is truly a wonderful resource for victoria families - "a coupon book helping parents & grandparents shop locally while saving money".  you can find all things savvy squirrel here:

website  |  facebook  |  twitter

make sure to grab your copy today!  they are available all over the city and can also be purchased direct from their website as well.  happy savings ladies!

Quilting 911 - How to Sew Quilt Binding Roundup

i finally finished quilting harper's quilt and am all set to cut out the binding and bind it.  but do i do that again?  the last quilt i made i machine stitched bias tape on and hated every moment of it.  i'm determined to have a more enjoyable experience this time round.

i've heard on more than one occasion now how much some of you quilters enjoy throwing in a mix of hand and a mix of machine.  you ladies have been machine stitching one side and hand stitching the other.  i think this may be the perfect solution for this gemini.  a bit of speedy sewing (machine binding) and a bit of loving hand sewing.  i don't mind the idea of hand sewing some of the binding down it's the idea of doing all of it that freaks me right  i don't have enough time in my or enough trust in my hand sewing skills.

so in all curiousness i set out to find what i think are some very helpful tutorials (& videos) for how to figure out how much binding to cut, how to cut it & how to sew it either by hand or machine (even zig zag it) or how to bind your quilt without even binding it at all.  wanna check them out?  here ya go!

zig zag binding tutorial from stitched in color

- zig zag binding tutorial from stitched in color

- perfect binding tutorial: quilting basics series (an awesome series of tutorials on everything binding by one of my fave quilting designers) from jaybirdquilts

- continuous quilt binding tutorial from heather bailey

- great post on how to attach quilt binding from obsessively stitching 

- fab binding tutorial from red pepper quilts

how to easily hand sew a quilt binding from splityarn
- how to easily sew a quilt binding from splityarn

- all machine quilt binding tutorial and round quilt corners binding tutorial from that girl can quilt.

- binding tutorial from crazy mom quilts

making and sewing binding from oh fransson
- making and sewing binding tutorial from oh fransson

- binding tutorial that is great for calculating the amount of bias you need for your quilt from chasing cottons

fast machine quilt binding 101 from diary of a quilter
- finishing quilt tutorial and fast machine quilt binding tutorial from diary of a quilter

video it up:

- binding your quilt: tips and tricks from the missouri quilt co.

- pat sloan machine binding tutorial

- diy dish how to bind a quilt video

- binding blind stitch tutorial from quilting in the rain

- how to make bias binding for a quilt from connecting threads

- how to bind a quilt from wendi gratz

 quilt without binding tutorial from red pepper quilts
bind without binding:

- great tutorial on how to use your quilt top as binding from made by rae

- one of my recent faves....quilt without binding tutorial from red pepper quilts

readers faves:

tell me your favorite binding tutorials and i'll post them here!

what method of binding a quilt do you prefer?  do you have some tried and tested tips to share?  any secrets of binding to let us in on?  please link up any tutorials you've found online that are helpful as well and i'll add them to the roundup!  what quilts are you working on?  let's chat quilty goodness ladies!

sewing 911 - the quilt is back baby (and a little review)!

now that polly the pfaff is home with her new momma harper's quilt can finally get finished!  i had my first lesson on polly this weekend at sawyer's and it was great!  i feel way less intimidated by all it's fancy schmancy features and a lot of the things i've been frightened of, namely buttonholes, have been conquered!  i cannot wait to make something with buttonholes now!  next lesson - zippers!  i cannot wait.

i don't feel ready to give you all a full review of the pfaff ambition 1.0 yet (i haven't sewn enough on her yet) but what i can say so far is that i have never loved an inanimate object sooo much and that's saying a lot cause my camera and dyson vacuum are a close 2nd and 3rd.  there is something about saving, dreaming and wishing for an item for so long and then when you finally get it....sheer bliss!  i've waited 2 years for this sewing machine so i'm in my honeymoon phase with her.  she sews smooth as butter, is so quiet it amazes me constantly, the stitches are gorgeous, she powers through more layers than i have ever been able to sew without a skip or jump, and the features are just...well....wowsa!  i'm a very satisfied customer at the moment and would already highly recommend this machine to anyone looking for a great powerhouse with all the bells and whistles for everyday sewing, layers, quilting and name it, polly does it! 

back back to the quilt.  for those of you who haven't seen the quilt i'm working on for harper this is it.  you can also see my other posts on her quilt here and here and i used this tutorial.  i've decided to go with a red cotton back.  i'm still stumped on what to do for the binding though.  i don't have any left of the "it's a hoot" line by momo from moda that i love so would have to reorder to do that and i don't really want'm lazy that way.  i've thought about not doing a binding and just using bias tape or doing rae's method without it.  what do you guys think?  i could use some help with this. 

i'm also stuck on the quilting still.  i'm drawn to the idea of quilting the rectangle shape inside each box about 1\4" in from the seams.  i thought that may look pretty.  i love the look of quilts with the lines done all over but think that may be way too busy of a look with all the pattern going on that i used.  i like the simplicity of it right now and don't want to busy it up too much but don't want to just  and don't want to knot it.  any thoughts on this too ladies?  any comments are always appreciated :) 

i'm also extremely stumped on the color of the thread i'm quilting with.  i like the idea of the back having some quilting on it so it's not just plain red but am worried that a white thread (which i would probably want to use on the front)  would look ugly on the back.  what color would you use for the bobbin thread to add some pizzaz to it without it looking garish?  phew that's a lot of questions for you all...but i need another pair of eyes.  i've got the scraps of the fabric line i used (the first pic in this post) and was also thinking about doing something fun with those on the back but i'll leave that as a surprise :)

i started working on this quilt when she was a baby so i'm dying for it to be done.  i stare at it all the time wishing we could snugggle up with it already.  i knew i was going to get the new sewing machine so i decided not to even attempt quilting it with my old demon one and to hold off until polly got home.  i know it's going to be so much fun to try on the new machine.

are any of you working on a quilt right now?  do you have any tips and suggestions to give me to help a girl out?  i always learn so much from you guys when we chat quilting.   it's so fun!  i'd love to see what you are all working on so comment below!

sewing 911 - the new baby is home

most of you know that i've been in the market for a loooooong time for my new baby..aka...the sewing machine.  i've saved all my little pennies and got spoiled by my lovely family for my bday and was finally, finally able to go pick up my machine of choice.   isn't she pretty???  that's her in her  so cute and just waiting to be opened up & coddled at home..... 

with her new mama.  i'm going to love her a lot and i'm hoping we're going to get along reeeaaalll great.  oh and yes, i am that dork who poses with an inanimate object in a public place...haha, i couldn't help myself guys.  before i tell you all about her i wanted to share a little happy dance with ya...yes, i do that too and i didn't think it fair to try to capture my excitement without showing it to you in full shantastic style!!!  so here's my shanny happy dance!!!

ok, so before you all laugh at me and think i'm off my rocker i'll tell you a bit about my new baby.  she's a pfaff ambition 1.0.  this machine was just released recently by pfaff.  there is the 1.0 and the 1.5 in the ambition series.  i received a press release and some info on this new line from pfaff's publicity department and let me just say as soon as that puppy popped up in my inbox i knew it was the one for me.  i kept researching other machines but i knew my heart was already set on it.  the only thing that wasn't working for me was the price.  i had set a strict budget for myself (being thrifty and all) and was trying to find a way to swing the 1.0.

then the day before my birthday i got an email from victoria's best sewing machine dealer - sawyer's sewing center, with a new sale on and low and behold there was my pfaff just smiling at me on the cover!  needless to say i went in and brought her home the next day.  it was fate if you ask me.

i knew if i could get my hands on a pfaff at a price that i could afford i was going for it.  i haven't heard one bad thing about the brand during all my posts and fb/twitter mentions.  overall consensus - you all love pfaff.  the pfaff ambition 1.0 also fit all my sewing needs.  i work through a lot of layers a fair amount, i quilt (and modern quilting was very important to me), and i sew everyday - i needed a workhorse with a lot of room, space, strength and an engine that could!  the built in walking foot on this puppy had me sold at hello!  never mind all the perks she has as well.  she met everything on my list and more.  when i got home and saw in the stitches that come with the machine that there were 2 different houses that look like my watermark i just about died.  it was meant to be.  now when i quilt i can stitch my little house and name on eyes are tearing up as i type this..haha...that is how attached i am to it already and i haven't even used it yet.

here were the things i went in to the sewing store on my must haves list:

- drop in bobbin  - one step buttonhole (a rarity for pfaff but mine had it!)  - automatic needle threader  - auto tension  - a whole whack of cool stitch patterns (overlocks important)  - free arm  - lots of feet  - adjustable stitch length & width  - large plate  - built in walking foot  - adjustable needle positions (left to right)  - stop/start button

and these were the things on my wish list:

- drop feed for free motion sewing  - heavy metal frame for no movement while sewing  - push button stitch selection  - mirror stitch   - automatic needle down for free motion quilting

the pfaff ambition 1.0 had everything on my list except for the automatic thread cutter but it had a built in walking foot which trumped the cutter if you ask me!  here's all the perks and bells and whistles of the new pfaff line!  check out the video..isn't she so  pfaff created the ambition line to allow sewers access to all the pfaff technology (pfaff® idt (integrated dual feed) feature) at a more affordable price range.  can we say awesome!  with it's large, hi-res touch screen with built in alphabet and 136 stitches, 200mm sewing space and more i was excited!

and guess what, when i went in to sawyer's sewing centre i brought with me a big ol list of all the above info like a complete dork.  yes, i made a fool of myself.  i don't think i have been that nervous to make a purchase in a very, very long time.  i felt like i was going to throw up before i went in i was so nervous..haha.  i felt bad that the poor salesgirl (jaime) had to try to understand me when i was so obviously not able to articulate myself properly.  if i remember correctly i literally ran in like a crazy person.  inside i was like a little girl on xmas morning dying to run around the store screaming with joy!  loooooossser...haha.  oh well.  we're not all cool and suave are we? i'm sure not.  i'm a clumsy goof who felt like she had won the lottery when really she was just buying a sewing machine :P

Sewing Machine Checklist

(this is for personal use only)

so to help you be just a tad cooler than i was when i went in i put together a cute little sewing machine checklist that you can slip in your purse when you go machine shopping for your new baby.  i even drew ya a little sewing machine on there to keep your eye on the  i'm a list addict.  i write and make lists all day and am obsessed with those magnetic ones you can buy at micheal's for a $1.50.  i stock up whenever i get my hands on them so i thought it was about time i made my own custom list!  so here ya go!  click on the box on the bottom bar of the preview above to download your free copy and she's all yours! (here's the direct link in case the preview isn't working)

i was very happy with the service given to me at sawyer's sewing centre and my machine came with as many free lessons as i need to feel comfortable sewing on my new baby.  jamie was super patient with me, put up with my giddy blathering and helped me to rationalize my purchase and do a comparison between the pfaff and a very tempting janome at the same price.  if you live anywhere on vancouver island and need an awesome dealer to purchase your next sewing machine from i highly recommend checking out sawyer's.  they've been around forever, they deal and repair all the top brands and no matter who i asked about purchasing a machine in town they all told me without a doubt to go to sawyer's.  you guys also said that when purchasing a new machine the best place to purchase was from your local dealer.  you had all received great customer service, lessons and assistance from knowledgeable staff.  i'm so happy i guys are so wise :)

i've been busy reading and rereading my manual and drooling over my new baby but i have yet to use her.  i think i am going to wait for my lesson or for at least a quiet time in my house to play with it uninterrupted.  not sure which will come first as the hubs is busy every weekend for a few weekends now and i don't want the kidlets with me when i go in so until then....i'll be dreaming.  i also wanted to send out a big thank you to all of my lovely readers who emailed, messaged, commented, tweeted etc on their fave sewing brands and for your tips and wisdom.  i honestly don't think i could have made any kind of decision without all of your thank you and to my awesome sponsors of luvinthemommyhood - you guys rock and without your support this machine would not be in my living room!  and to my family who spoiled me for my bday - love you guys!  i can't wait to sew with her!

are you in the market for a new machine?  check out my other posts on sewing machine shopping:

*sewing 911 - how the heck to choose & buy a sewing machine
*sewing 911 - what's your machine of choice?

have you recently bought a new machine? what did you get and why?  i'd love to hear about it! let's chat sewing ladies!

Sewing 911 - How the Heck to Buy & Choose a Sewing Machine

the time has come ladies.  most of you know my current sewing machine is the devil reincarnate & i've been saving for a loooong time to buy myself a new one. 

the whole process has scared the wits out of me so i've done a fair amount of research on the topic & thought it would be pretty silly of me to keep it to myself.  so i'm going to share a bit of info to help the rest of you who may be looking to get a machine on how to take the what what's out of machine shopping & maybe we can all figure out together how the heck to buy & choose a sewing machine.

now i'm not an expert by any means so this will be more of a give and take kind of post.  i'll share what i've learned and you can share what you've learned in the comments too!  i've asked this question to you guys a fair bit on here and on our facebook page and have picked up some handy tips along the way so i thought i would list them all on here for an easy resource.

1. make your wish list.  i made a list of all the bells and whistles that i would love to have with my new sewing machine.  then make a list of your must haves.  the things that you won't buy the machine without.  you've now got a great place to start to help narrow down all the thousands of sewing machines out there.  in our house we are die hard spreadsheet people.  it helped me to make a list and then compare which models i liked and if they had all the features that i "must have" and even some that were just on my wish list.

2. what's your sewing style?  think carefully about what type of sewing you do and how much sewing you are doing on a regular basis.  if you're not embroidering steer clear of paying lots of extra cash for a machine with tons of embroidery features cause you just won't need em'.  if you're only sewing an hour or so here and there for fun and can't forsee it increasing that much a very basic machine should work just fine for you but if you're like me and sewing a few hours (if possible) each day you need a workhorse that isn't going to let you down.  make sure you look into the future a bit don't need a fortune teller for really think about your goals and aspirations for sewing.  don't buy a very basic machine if you are going to end up quilting or selling items in a year or so or you'll be back machine shopping before you know it.

3. do your research.  other sewers are your best resource.  ask as many of them as you know which brand/model they love and why.  read online recommendations, check reviews (a lot!), read sewing blogs to see which machine they are using and their readers, check the forums - there is always a fair number of people looking to buy a machine and they are always asking for help so there is a lot of great info in the replies to their posts in the thread, if you're on twitter tweet to see who loves the machine they are using.  make sure to use the valuable resources available online for you to access and to get tons of info even if you don't know a soul who sews.

4. budget.  make sure you know the price range you are looking in and stick to it.  don't get swayed by looking at all those lovely, wonderful machines that are $1000 more than you can afford.  it will just depress me :P  unless you plan on financing (some shops offer this) or going into debt it's better to find a brand that you feel comfortable with and are interested in and then find a model by that brand that fits your budget.

5. visit the shops.  check out your local sewing machine stores/fabric shops and see which brands/models they carry and the price ranges they offer as well.  i highly recommend looking for a shop that is the dealer of that brand and also does maintenance and repair.  you will get way more service for your dollar and these shops more often than not come highly recommended for making machine purchases.  most also offer free classes on learning how to use your machine properly as well when purchasing one of their machines. this a "must have" perk on my list.  when i buy my machine this month i will be buying from a local dealer that knows my machine.

6. try out the floor models.  when you are in the shops try out the floor models.  ask questions and take advantage of the knowledgeable staff.  most staff in a good shop will be able to help direct you to a machine that will work the best for you and offer lots of great tips and knowledge.  don't be shy or embarrassed to ask what you are looking for and your sewing level and also don't be swayed or upsold to a machine you don't need.  be confident and be a smart consumer.  i know from first hand experience, even fabric shopping, i have run into more "snooty salespeople" than i care to have met, but i've slowly started to learn how to hold my own and feel more confident in my shopping abilities. it also doesn't hurt that, if i so chose to, i could go home and blog about their poor customer service :P  it gives me that little bit of oomph in my step when i walk into a shop now.  i've never done it but i do tell friends when they are looking for somewhere to shop which places to avoid "the snoots" and rude customer service.

7.  old is new again.  if you haven't been able to find a model to fit your needs or price range consider purchasing a refurbished or second hand machine.  craigslist and other secondhand sites are great for machine shopping as are your local sewing shops.  you can also check places like ebay and amazon for machines too.  make sure though if you are buying secondhand from a person's home that you do it safely and i always recommend not going alone.  you can never be too safe :)

 your other option if you currently own a machine that you are not happy with, is to trade in for money towards your purchase as well. a fair amount of shops offer this as a way to keep their secondhand machine stock up.  it also never hurts to ask about upcoming sales/promotions and financing options.  you could also raid your mother or grandmothers storage.  most have a sewing machine kicking around and i bet you could borrow or take one to practice and learn on if that's all you're looking for at the moment.  a lot of people swear by vintage sewing machines and love them.  i consider mine vintage as i got it in the year 2000...j/k.  can you believe it's still going?  eek!  no wonder the silly thing is moody and cranky beyond belief all the time.

8. go right to the source.  i also recommend going right to the website of the brands you are interested in.  most have great facebook pages announcing sales/discounts/giveaways as well as very informative websites filled with checklists, stats, compare sheets and their list of reputable dealers online and in brick/mortar shops.  i've learned a lot from reading these sites and finding what perks are actually available in a sewing machine.

here are some great links that i have found that you can use for reviews, info and other tips on how to purchase your machine.

- the fab site pattern review has a great section all on machine reviews. this is a great resource and definitely worth checking out!
- sew mama sew had a whole sewing machine month filled with great posts and a giant sewing meme.  click here for the link to a post with all the handy links.
- i did a post asking readers to share and vote on their fave sewing machine models and you can read all their comments here too.
- this blog had lots of great tips.
- burdastyle has a post on buying a vintage sewing machine.
- i enjoyed reading how to two of my fave bloggers chose their machines of choice:
  anna from noodlhead & katie of no big dill

reader faves:

- crafster forum

now, let's hear from you guys!  what's your favorite place to go to help you shop for a sewing machine?  do you have tips to share?  we want to know!  please leave a comment and share the wisdom. this post is meant to be a catchall for great info on purchasing a new addition to your arsenal of crafty machines of choice & your comments are an invaluable part of it :)  i will add in any links or posts that aren't already shown that you guys recommend.  happy machine shopping!!

knitting 911 - sweaters in the summer??!!?

i know what you're all thinking....sweaters in the summer??? wth? well it seems i'm on a roll with making things i've never done before. i feel the urge to conquer all things unknown and scary to me lately. since i finally got a dress made for myself (click here to make one too) i figured i might as well make myself a sweater too! (click on the pictures to go to the patterns)

yep, that's right. i've never made myself a sweater. i've knit since i was a little girl and never made myself a sweater. i think it's about time to change that. i've made them for kids, and for exes (yes, i made the dreaded ex-boyfriend sweater) but not for myself.

i thought i would share some of my fave pics from ravelry and my knitting pinterest board with you all. these are the ones that are haunting me lately. i'm looking for something that's cozy, flowy and fun....

something that is perfect for dressing up or down...

that is timeless and great for all seasons...

something that is springy and pretty...
only thing is i need your help. i can't for the life of me decide which sweater to whip up. i'd prefer not to be on small needles since struggling through the stella pixie hat but if it's pretty enough i may be swayed.
so help a girl out....which one of the sweaters above do YOU think i should make? remember, i'm a busty gal with some curves...the girls are not easily hidden..haha. enter your vote in the comments below...pretty please? (i had to take the poll out, it was pissing me off and not showing the right amount of answers. sorry to those who already voted on there.)

what's your favorite sweater/cardigan pattern for spring/summer? do you have one that's on the top of your "must make list".