Sunday, July 10, 2011

Does your machine talk to you?

Hello, sweet sewists! :)

Today saw some significant progress on my kaleidoscope quilt--I spent time getting the quarter-blocks together:

Quarter-block chain piecing

And I was considering how my machine 'talks'--it tells me when I need to clean and oil it, just from the way it sounds and how it feels when it's running.

I know I've seen advice about when to change needles and clean & oil your machine--all of the advice I've seen says 'after such-and-so many hours of sewing' or 'after each project.'

Do you keep track of how many hours of sewing you've put in? (I can't. My head compartmentalizes my sewing into 'sewing sessions,' which are whenever I can sneak in there. A session may be fifteen minutes while my husband reads a bedtime story to our daughter, or it may be two hours late at night.) Maybe a computerized machine will keep track for you? (I wouldn't know, my machine is mechanical and very simple. I have seven stitches, including the buttonhole feature.)

Quarter-block piecing

Additionally, I can't do 'after each project' because I have FOUR quilts going: When you're piecing sampler blocks in-between kaleidoscope blocks in-between jelly-roll strips, how do you figure out 'between projects'?

I don't: My machine tells me.

It starts thunking when it's linty, and the pitch of the machine changes. I know the needle needs changing when I get thread tangles at the start of a new seam.

I did the clean-and-oil-and-needle-change dance on Friday night, and so today I was listening to my machine hum--she's quiet and smooth fresh after a cleaning--and I enjoy that hum so much. How does your machine sound when it's humming to you?

Oh, and my trusty little Husqvie and I finished piecing the quarter-blocks today! So tonight I was playing with layouts: These aren't all the blocks, but I did enough to get an idea.

First up: Randomness in the reds and oranges:

Test Layout #1

For layout #2 I tried to bring out the 'stars' in red and orange by keeping the fabrics the same. It occurs to me, now that I have the picture on the computer, that I could have enhanced this even more by making the blue and green Xs the same fabrics, but I don't know if that will entirely work.

Test Layout #2

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these--any preferences?


  1. I love this! Your fabrics are awesome!

  2. Two thoughts:

    1. beautiful

    2. I can't tell what the difference is between the two layouts. To me they look like two different views of the same thing? But be aware I haven't had my coffee yet today.

  3. gorgeous! I think I like the second layout - but I also like "hidden" things in quilts. Maybe you could have one red 'star' and one blue 'star'.

  4. I see what you mean about the stars. I like finding hidden things also, but these are almost really hidden! I wouldn't have noticed at all without you saying something about it. But either way, it looks great.
    I haven't started a kaleidoscope quilt but see so many that are so nice, I might start.