Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Meet Ruthie! (and some quilt musings...)

When I was in New York City, I finally got to go to the American Girl Doll store. We are talking about 5 floors dedicated to these dolls and accessories including a beauty shop, restaurant, hospital and photography studio. I LOVED it! While looking at all the dolls Ruthie asked me to take her home. She is the best friend of Kit Kittredge who represents the 1930's. I was originally going to keep her in period clothes (I even found a doll quilt from this decade-more on that soon) but then I decided to just dress her as I pleased.

My dd Katie got her the glasses she is wearing for Christmas; I made her the outfit. The shirt is from one of my favorite t-shirts that I ruined while cleaning with bleach. I have also made her a Christmas outfit, mittens and a sweater. Now Ruthie is telling me she wants to learn to play the flute. It is just so hard to say no to her....

I know that I promised to write about my "buying" trips but I have really been busy sewing. I am finishing up quilting my friend's first quilt. I hope she likes what I have done. This is my 4th quilt in the past two weeks and I think I may be getting the hang of this machine quilting. Learning to machine quilt has been difficult for me and has evolved over the years. Learning it has also made me a better teacher: it is one of the few things about sewing that "did not come easy for me" (I hope I don't sound like I am bragging because really, I'm not) Here are a few tips I thought I would share with you:

1. Breathe! I know everyone says this but believe it or not you really can find yourself holding your breath!

2. Prepare well, The extra time spent making sure everything is straight, well pinned, and for me, rolled tightly, saves me twice as much time while I am doing the quilting.

3. Change your needle often. I change my needle on every other bobbin change. If I am using paper to follow a pattern I change it even more often. Along with that, I wind 3 or 4 bobbins before I begin.

4. Don't try to sew while adjusting the quilt. I know, another obvious one, but you need to keep your hands on the quilt when the machine is sewing.

5. I try to stop and adjust when I am sewing toward myself. For some reason, when I start up again, it seems easier to maintain a smooth line of sewing.

6. Enjoy the process! It really is mind over matter. When learning, I kept trying to be done fast, fast, fast! Now I accept that while machine quilting IS faster than hand quilting, it is not instantaneous. Actually, I am trying to remember this with all my sewing. I sew because I like it, not because I am racing or competing with some super quilter who pops out quilts faster than JC Penney!

And now because we all need to smile, I leave you with a picture of my grandson. 10 months old! He is just too cute for words:

P.S. Michael, send me some of your lego pictures and I will post them!