AtoZ Challenge...Upper Looper

 Before I get into explaining the 'Upper Looper', you should probably know it is an important part of a seamstress/quilter/sewers arsenal of machines....the SERGER.  You should also know threading the SERGER sends said seamstress/quilter/sewer into a state of high anxiety!  Often a jigger full of a stiff drink is needed before threading a serger.

No matter how experienced one is at threading a serger, having the instructions front and center is imperative.   Get it out BEFORE you start. 

Now for threading the Upper Looper...it's the needle with the purple thread in the above photo.  It's a breeze to thread!!!

That jigger drink to calm your anxiety attack is for threading the LOWER LOOPER.  It's the needle under the Upper Looper with the pink thread.  If or when it comes un-threaded....one jigger is not enough.

The trick to saving your sanity and staying sober is to never change the thread color...OR...as per instructions:
When changing threads, cut the threads between the thread guide and the thread guide plate.  Pull the threaded needle threads until the tied knots reach the needles.  Cut the knots out and thread the left and right needles with the new color.  Thread the LOWER Looper first, then the UPPER Looper.  (my tip....tie a small tight knot in the old/new threads...it will slide through the large eye of the loopers).


AtoZ Challenge...Tatting and Multi-Tasking

As often as I admonish myself for having one or more...no, make that a dozen or more...projects going at one time, in the end, I realize that it is just the way 'I Do'...'I Roll'...'I Work'...best!   Now that I am a Senior Mult-Tasker, I am reading and seeing that it is a 'Good Thing' for one's 'Aging Brain'. 

For awhile now, my Studio has reflected the multi-tasking phases of my '4R's Bucket List.  There is the Jewelry 4R Phase I Station,  the Yarn-A-Rama Phase II Station, and the Phase III All-In Fiber Station.  That one pretty much includes fabric, buttons, beads, threads, yarns, ribbon, lace et. all. 

While working on the Las Cruces Angels...which has been a 'one of a kind' sort of assembly line production...I have learned to TAT. 

It was one of those spur of the moment things suggested by my friend Sandy at Sims Fiber Arts Studio while we were 'Sitting and Sewing' on Thursday.  Needle Tatting has been on my 'Learn To Do' list for a long time, and Sandy teaches it as a class in her Studio.

Just what I need...right...another 'Thing' that has the possibility of becoming the next 'OverDoSue' Thingy.

In between Angels, Hankies, Granny Square Tote and Vintage Linen Totes I have learned the Ring and Thread Method and the Ring and Chain Method. Teacher Sandy, and the book encourage developing your needle-tatting skills before beginning a patterned project.

Hmmmm...here's where I have a bit of a problem. I never was much good at practice....I am more of a 'Game Gal'. Guess you know what that means.....another Project to add to my Multi-Tasking List.

It will be a great 'Carry It Along' Thingy to work on while traveling, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting in waiting rooms, and of course 'Thursday's Sit and Sew' at Sandy's Studio.  I have the special needles and other tools organized in a snap closure wallet.  The 'Tatting Wallet', Learn To Needle Tat Booklet and Sandy's Folder along with a Ball of thread all fit in small easy to grab and go bag.  Let the Tatting Times Roll.
What's In Your Wallet?


AtoZ Challenge...Stockinette Stitch Speed Knitting

I am a SLOW Knitter and a SPEEDY Crocheter.  This I know from years of starting knitting projects that about half way through become WIP (works in progress) that seldom make any progress.  They eventually are Un-knitted via the Yarn Winder.  Yikes...all those hours knitting ripped out in minutes.
 I truly love the look of knitting....just plain ole knitting which is called 'Stockinette Stitch'.
So, when I get the urge to knit and the project calls for casting on a kabillion stitches on forever circular needles I get out 'Bonda'. 

She and I have a close bond when it comes to Stockinette Speed Knitting. 

For the Cardigan Shrug I cast on every other needle for a total of 25.  This makes a loose stockinette  stitch when using worsted weight homespun yarn. 

Zipping back and forth across the 25 needles for about 15 minutes makes a knitted piece 15 inches wide and 40 inches long.  In about 45 minutes I have three panels made.  Speedy, right?  Now for 'Speedy Crochet' to join the panels which I usually do in my 'Needlework Nest' while watching TV.  All that is left is to Speedy Crochet edging all around and around the armholes to make a cuff.

Modella will model for you as soon as I finish 'Speedy Crocheting'.
That WAS speedy, huh?
PS...I'm gone again...will catch up on Monday!
Thanks for your visit and comment!


AtoZ Challenge...Remnants

Shopping for fabric and remnants back in the days of my Great Grandmother may have been limited to mail order catalogs like W. and H. Walker.  

I seriously doubt she owned a Silk Finished Messaline dress and more than likely never ordered remnants.  Even with the PrePay Postage and the unheard of inclusion of  2 1/2 yards of SILK in each Remnant Bundle for $1.00. 

What she probably did was study every picture and page of this W. and H. Walker mail order catalog and then shopped the local Texas Mercantile for cotton yardage that would make three dresses for herself, Stella and Ella. 

Stella was my grandmother, and in 1917 she probably wished for the '3 for $1.39' dresses.
I am my Great Grandmother's 'Remnant Collecting Granddaughter'.  And like her, I am a 'Picky Remnant Collector' with 100 percent Cottons being my #One Choice.

The Remnant Shelf is the first place I head these days at my local fabric store.   It's not that I really NEED these wrapped bundles....I just really love the way they look in my  Sewing Room and the Basket that reminds me of my Great Grandmother. 
Besides, much like in 1917,  these bundles are a bargin
even without the  2 1/2 yards of SILK!

PS...I'm gone again...will catch up on Monday!
Thanks for your visit and comment!


AtoZ Challenge...QUILT Magazine

 American's Favorite Quilting Magazine!
I wasn't a Quilter during the Winter of 1985, but my MotherInLaw was a Quilt Magazine Collector, and I'm guessing she was thinking about becoming a Quilter.  She was an experienced seamstress with many years of dressmaking for herself and her daughters.  She had the largest collection of 'Polyester Double Knit' this side of Dallas.  One day, around 1995 or so, I was telling her about my Quilting Lessons at the Senior Citizens Center...that story HERE.   We were sitting at the kitchen table drinking IceTea and talking about sewing and fabrics...again double knit...when she remembered her Collection of Quilt Magazines. 
 That was the beginning of my Collection of 1980's Quilt Magazines.  The Winter 1985 issue is the oldest one I have, and if I remember correctly, my MIL thought it would be perfect for a Beginning Quilter.  She was right.  It has also become a Treasury of All-Time Favorite Quilts and Memories of SweetTea, Kitchen Table Visits and my MIL Ruth.
Would you like to collect Quilt Magazines?
I can help...most any except 1980's QUILT!


AtoZ Challenge...Pink Pagoda and The Photo Bomber

I've always been a funky yarn collector, and that is how I classify the Trendsetter Yarn Pagoda.  Collecting it is one thing, but finding a use for it is another.  Finally, I did...find a use as a crochet trim on scarves made for 'Wear Your Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness' during the month of October.
Since I needed to make a bunch of scarves quickly, I set up my knitting machine and organized the Pagoda funky yarn along with the Supersoft Pink yarn.  It was a scarf knitting production line.  It was also a project to photo document for a program I was planning to give on the knitting machine.

I was so intent on keeping up with the number of scarves made and setting up the machine for each scarf I never noticed the 'Photo Bomber'...until now.  How I missed him in the first shot, I don't know, but he upped his bombing in the second shot with puppies....how did I not see that? 

Have you stopped laughing? 
I haven't, but guessed you might like to see one of the finished Pink Pagoda Scarves.
Oh, and the Photo Bomber
He finally got my attention!
Do I have your attention?
Please support Breast Cancer Awareness Month and
take care of yourself....schedule a mammogram.


AtoZ Challenge...Grandmother Otis' Orphan Sunbonnet Sue

I don't have a Grandmother Oatis, but if I did, this orphan block would be a family heirloom and a treasured piece of needlework.  
Here's what I know about Grandmother Oatis from this Sunbonnet Sue block:
* The block was intended to be a block in a quilt for Mrs. Oatis' granddaughter. 
*  It was likely done in the mid to late 1930's from scraps from her own dress.
*The background muslin is more of a gauze and not a desirable fabric for a quilt.
*Grandmother Oatis was not an experienced stitcher.
*  This block was left out of the quilt.
Always the optimist, I surely hope Mrs. Oatis made a second block and considered this one a practice piece. 

I imagine when she compared this first attempt with other more experienced sewers, she realized that her embroidery stitches could be neater and the pencil and ink lines could be followed more closely.

 I bet on the second one she figured out that three strands of black embroidery floss was easier and neater for stitching lettering, fingers and bows. 

My favorite thing about her signature is the way she wrote grandmother as two words...both capitalized.  I hope she signed the second one the same way...don't you? 

If you look closely (click to enlarge)  the gauzy background is fairly transparent and has age spots.  This is typical on old quilts that have been stored in a cedar chest or wrapped in plastic. 

Both of those emit gases that not only leave spots but rot the fabric.  Better to store quilts in a cotton pillow case or acid free paper and boxes.

I used three strands of embroidery thread and made those spots into flowers.  Next, I trimmed the original block down a bit, added a border of 1930's hexagon flower blocks.  Backed it with muslin, hand quilted and stitched on floral binding.

Thank-you Grand Mother Oatis.
It is my pleasure to save your Sunbonnet Sue Album Block.
Are you kin to Grand Mother Oatis?


AtoZ Challenge...Needlepoint Pocket and Pansy PhD

First, I confess I did not stick one needle through the needlepoint canvas of this stunning day lily needlepoint.  It was repurposed from a framed needlepoint picture found at a flea market.  I cannot pass by any needlepoint pieces at thrift shops, junktique stores or flea markets.  My first thought goes to the person who put in so much time and effort, and my next thought is..."I have to save it".  Therein begins it's path to becoming a PhD...Project half Done!

Now for earning credits...with the Needlepoint de-framed,  it is lined and ready to be a bag pocket.  Next came the Bonda BagBody. It takes less than thirty minutes to whip out a BagBody on Bonda.

I cast on Bonda with 'Waste Yarn' and knitted the front first... keeping in mind the placement of the pocket, and that I wanted the section for the pocket to be knitted in black so the pocket would blend.   I also wanted to repeat most of the colors in the Lily Pocket...which worked out perfect for using up several PhDone skeins of yarn.

Once the front was knitted, consideration was given to what would be the bottom of the bag and the color that would wear best and also fit the scheme of the bag.  I think the burnt orange worked out great.  The 'Tweedy' looking yarn was perfect for the main color and there was more than a PhDone skein.  Bands of the coordinating colors in varied widths complete the back of the bag. 

 As you can see...I finished with crochet.  Crochet is such an easy and quick way to finish a knitted piece, and I love the mixes of textures it gives to the overall look of the bag. 

That's why I chose to do the strap in the 'Afghan Stitch' aka Tunisian Crochet.  It makes for a sturdy strap as well.

Now for the decorating!!!!

With the Fall colors in the Lily Pocket being carried out through the knitted bag body, it seemed a perfect time to use the fall fabric I had in my stash for the lining. 

It is machine stitched to the bag and then a running stitch of perl cotton to give a decorative look and to give the crocheted edging and bag opening stability.

More decorative touches are added with the Crocheted Shell Edging done in a DK weight yarn, and my FAVORITE  embellishment of the string of beads sewn to the strap. 

Not only do I SAVE needlepoint by others, I needlepoint, too. 
Still earning credit towards my Pansy PhD.
Are you working on your PhD?


AtoZ Challenge...My Mandala Mania

AtoZ Letter M

The word 'mandala' itself means 'circle'...a Hindu/Buddhist graphic symbol of the spiritual universe.  For the modern western world a mandala is the "psychological expression of the totality of self" (Carl Jung).

For me, it became an opportunity to express myself in fiber, which morphed into somewhat of an addiction.  Hard as I tried not to be a 'Mandala OverDoSue Maniac', I could not stop myself from going round and round with my favorite crochet hook 'J' and a mixture of yarns and other fibers.  Would Jung have a field day with my psychological expression of self or what?

After several months of maniacal crocheting, cramped fingers, and aching shoulders, it ended with a collection/gallery of table centerpieces.  I did rugs, too, but that's another letter.
What's your 'Modern Mania Mandala' of Self Expression?


AtoZ Challenge...Libby LuLa Loom

AtoZ Letter 'L'

The Libby LuLa Loom is made for a specific style of weaving called Twinning.  Twinning is an ancient weaving technique that has virtually disappeared in most industrial nations. 

In the US few people are familiar with twinning unless they make baskets or twinned rag rugs.  If you would like to learn more about Rag Rug Twinning and it's resurgence in America...HERE is a U-Tube video.

I make rag rugs and table runners and was drawn to this weave because it covers the warp completely and creates a more interesting texture than the typical over and under basket weave. The other thing is using fabric strips for both your warp and weave.  As a quilter/sewer/crafter, I have lots of scrap strips.

Libby LuLa Looms are handcrafted one at a time, and feature adjustable wooden peg bars for length and width choices.  Metal rods run the length of the loom and ensure a smooth straight edge as the fabric strips are wrapped around them. 

Overall size is 47"H x 28"W which will make a large rug approximately 25" x 42".

The companion 'Easel' completes the loom and for me was a must as I prefer to stand while working on the loom.  The Easel is also handcrafted to match the loom and is a separate order. 

HERE is the link for more information and/or to order a Libby LuLa Loom on Etsy. 

My first project was a 'Twined Table Runner' made of denim.  It was 12 inches wide and 48 inches long.  A formidable first time project to be sure, but that's my OverDoSue thing.  I was very pleased with the way it turned out and quite satisfied with being able to weave again.
Twinned Runners & Rug Gallery
Don't these Runners & Rugs make you want to do
The Libby LuLa?


AtoZ Challenge...Knitting Quotes

AtoZ Letter K

I don't know what the question is, but the answer is YARN!
I said to myself, I need to do something besides knit today...
Then I laughed and laughed!
Any questions asked while I am counting stitches will be answered with
It started out as a harmless hobby.  I had no idea it would come to this!
I Knit...What's your Superpower?


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