Blogging Break


If you read my blog post from yesterday, you know that I am seriously considering a big change in my life—buying a quilting machine. But before I can do that, I need to clear space in my little study, which is crammed full of things I love but have no other place for.

Part of my messy study
If only this were the worst part of my room. Unfortunately, it’s not. I won’t show you my desk.

Alas, this is a big task, one that has been on my to-do list for years. My original plan was to clear space for my domestic machine, which I always have to set up on my kitchen table and then put away a couple of hours later. I told myself that in just 15 minutes a day, I would get this room whittled down in no time.

But, no, the study is so much of a disaster that the improvement after 15 minutes is invisible. I can’t do this job in small intervals.

I really need to devote big blocks of time on a daily basis.

Which means I’ve got to use my writing and blogging time.

So, until this job is done, I won’t be writing any new stuff.

I do have a few little posts scheduled in the near and far future. I am pinning this post to the top of the page as a reminder that I’m taking a break, so if you’re on my home page, scroll below this post to see if anything new pops up. Or better yet, subscribe to get an email every time a new post appears.

I don’t know if I’ll have space for the new machine and the old. I’ll have to wait and see.

And I don’t know whether this project will take two weeks (please please), two months, or until the end of the year or longer. But when it’s done, I’ll be back.

Creative Juice #311

Creative Juice #311

Interesting stuff here.

Video of the Week: Revenge Against the Granny Scammers


This is long, but oh, so satisfying.

Monday Morning Wisdom #380

Ursula Le Guin quote

Video of the Week: Gustav Klimt


I was going to write an article for ARHtistic License about Gustav Klimt, but you know what? This video says it all.

Quick Quilting Question

Quick Quilting Question

When machine-sewing a binding onto a quilt, do you stitch it along the edge of the top and then turn it to the back, or stitch it to the back and fold it over to the front? I stitch it to the front and hand-stitch it to the back, but in my blog reading this week, I’ve found quilters who do the opposite.

I stitch it to the front first because I want to be sure it looks good; by the time I’m blind-stitching it down, I just want to be done. What is the reasoning for starting on the back?

Monday Morning Wisdom #379


You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. ~ C.S. Lewis

Video of the Week: A Hairdresser Discusses Her Calling

In the Black community, the hairdresser is like a therapist.

Do I Have the Moxie to Buy a Quilting Machine?

Do I Have the Moxie to Buy a Quilting Machine?

Last week I posted about my frustration with free motion quilting on my domestic sewing machine. (By, the way, that article is my most frequently viewed post this year, having garnered more than 1,370 views in just one week. There must be a lot of frustrated quilters. I feel your pain.) I mentioned that I’m considering buying a long arm quilting machine.

On Thursday I went to the Scottsdale Quilting, Crafts, and Sewing Festival at WestWorld to explore the different options. I got a $2 discount off the $12 ticket, and I was happy about that, until I arrived and discovered that parking cost another $10. Although my admission ticket was good for three days, I now knew I would not be returning.

Incidentally, I wore my mask, but I’d say 70% of the people there were maskless.

There were many booths and many vendors, but by far the largest exhibitor was a local store chain (where I get my Pfaff serviced). They carry sewing machines by many different manufacturers, and they had company educators demonstrating the machines. These machines can do many things: embroider, make appliqués, and quilt robotically. The representatives varied in their helpfulness. I’m an introvert, so I dealt with the reps who reached out to me.

Brother Luminaire 3

The first machine I saw was a Brother Luminaire 3, a sit-down machine with automatic computerized quilting, a section at a time, within a frame. (I didn’t know a sit-down machine could do that.) 10 all-over designs are programmed into the computer, but you can manually program more. The show price for the machine was $16,999 (a discount of $4,000), but still way out of my price range.

Handi Quilter Capri

I walked down the gauntlet of booths and saw Jukis and Janomes and Huskvarnas and Singers and Pfaffs and I don’t remember what all. Then I saw the Handi Quilter Capri that I’ve visited at the store (and at a show price of $6495 instead of the usual $7995, I thought that was the one I wanted). But next to it was the Handi Quilter Moxie, an “entry-level” stand-up machine. The difference between a sit-down and a stand-up machine (other than the position of your body) is that with a sit-down, you move the quilt under the machine’s needle with your hands. With a stand-up, the quilt is attached to a frame, and you use handlebars to move the machine where you want to stitch. To me, that seemed a lot more intimidating. The representative asked me if I’d like to try it out, and I said yes. Surprisingly, the machine glides along easily, and while my stitches did not look amazing, I could tell that with practice I could get very good at it. The representative said it’s like signing your name: which is easier to control, moving the paper or moving the pen?

Handi Quilter Moxie

The Moxie is available with or without a computerized option, Pro-Stitcher Lite, which is programmed with 400 quilting patterns ranging from all-over designs to ones scaled for certain areas, like squares, rectangles, borders, corners, triangles, etc. Pro-Stitcher Lite differs from regular Pro-Stitcher in that it’s made for the Moxie, which has a 15-inch throat, as opposed to an 18-inch throat common for longarms. (I guess that means the Moxie is a mid-arm.) You can really only work on about a 12-inch deep strip at a time, which means more frequent rolling. The advantage to buying something with this limitation is price. The show price for the Moxie and frame is $4495, and for Pro-Stitcher Lite is $5495, both of them discounted $500 each. That makes it far less than the first machine I saw.

So, the show is now over, and these prices are no longer valid. Also, prices are predicted to go up shortly. Please don’t expect to find prices like these in your store now. Do your own research. Go to a show if you can.

I’m 95% sure that the Moxie with Pro-Stitcher Lite is what I want. My big question is, it comes with either a 5-foot frame (any quilt larger than 48” wide would need to be hooped) or an 8-foot frame (which can handle up to a queen-sized quilt). Do I even have enough room for either of these frames?

Since I don’t want to give up my living room, family room, or dining room, and there’s definitely no room in our bedroom, that leaves me my little study, which is jammed with boxes of stuff that for years I haven’t found a good place for.

I walked around the rest of the show and saw even more machines, including one from a small company in Utah. The proprietor said he is the inventor of the Handi Quilter longarm. I was tempted to order his machine, but I’d rather have a local resources for servicing. So I went back to my local Handi Quilter distributer and locked in my price for the machine by committing to a layaway. The shop owner assured me that if I decide not to go through with the purchase, they will refund my money.

So now I have a big chore ahead of me—I will have to reconfigure my study. Undoubtedly, that will mean getting rid of some of my stuff. I am bad at that. My husband thinks I should just move everything to the garage. Read The Garage of Doom and The Garage of Delight to see why I’m reluctant to do that. (Man, I wish our garage still looked like those “after” pictures; but it’s filling up again. I blame my husband.)

Vintage kimomo parts
Vintage kimono booth

By the way, there were lots of interesting fabrics, patterns, and accessories at the show. In addition to the usual offerings you would expect to see at a quilting, craft, and sewing festival, one booth had fabric, panels, and baskets made in Africa; another had parts of old Japanese silk kimonos, so you could make a purse out of a sleeve, a table runner out of an obi sash. One booth had very colorful fabrics and panels in original designs, not available in stores. The designer, P.Carter Carpin, travels around the country selling at shows and festivals. (She also has an Etsy shop.) Look at the lovely quilts she’s made from her fabrics! So simple, and yet so impactful because of the colors and patterns of the fabric. I bought 7 fat quarters (at $4 a pop) because they were so gorgeous and unusual.

P.Carter Carpin's booth
P.Carter Carpin’s. booth
Fabrics by P.Carter Carpin
The fat quarters I bought, not because I need more fabric, but because they were so beautiful.

Thank You for the Fish

Zentangle, Inktober2019,

The other day, I made tuna salad for lunch. Just a can of tuna, a tablespoon of mayonnaise, some chopped sweet onion, and a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper. No bread, just straight out of the bowl. It tasted so delicious, so satisfying. My heart said, Dear God, thank You for the fish.

Then I chuckled. How strange to thank God for the fish—it wasn’t like I caught it all by myself. So I continued, Thank you for the fisherman. I’ve seen enough episodes of Wicked Tuna that I know catching a tuna is no easy feat.

But I didn’t get the fish from the fisherman. So I said, Thank you for the factory workers who cleaned and prepared the fish and canned it.

But that wasn’t enough, either. So I added, Thank you for the truckers who transported the fish to the warehouse. Thank you for the stockers who put it on the shelves of the grocery store. Thank you for the cashier who rang up my grocery order. Thank you for the employee who put my purchases in the trunk of my car.

God used my simple lunch to remind me that whatever work a person does, it’s a holy occupation that He uses to bless the children He loves (all of us!). Every job has importance and value and dignity. Even if it’s not glamorous. Even if it’s backbreaking. Our work is one way we honor God and serve each other.

Dear God, thank you for your bounty, and thank you for the laborers who distribute it. Amen.