Month: April 2013
Twisty Stitches will be at the Dallas Georgia Farmer’s Market on May 4, 2013 from 8am to 1pm. If you are in Georgia please swing by and check us out. We will have homemade soaps and candles as well as our Art Deco Tile Coasters and quilts/blankets. We accept cash and all major credit cards. Hope to see you at the Dallas Georgia Farmer’s Market next weekend.
I made some cold-pressed soap last night. It won’t be ready to sell at the Dallas GA Farmer’s Market on my first day of the selling season but I will have enough melt-and-pour soap and candles for opening day. I hope this first batch of cold-pressed soap using a new recipe comes out okay. I should be able to unmold it tonight and cut it as long as it has firmed up. My husband built for me a new soaping table so I could have plenty of room to spread out for my soaping activities. There are also some pictures of the soap process from last night also.
This is me waiting for the lye mixture to cool down below 150 degrees F
This is the lye and water mixture cooking.
Coconut oil, olive oil and castor oil mix before the lye was added.
“If you are new to soap making please do not attempt this process when children or pets are about as lye is highly caustic. When lye is mixed with water it heats up. If it comes into contact with your skin or eyes, rinse immediately with cool water. If you spill it on any surface, wash it immediately or it will corrode. Keep a jug of vinegar nearby to help neutralize any spills. When mixing the lye and water together, keep your face away from the container and ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area. Use safety equipment such as latex gloves, safety glasses, an apron and a mask when handling lye at least until you are experienced at which point you can make an informed decision for yourself. Once the lye solution and oils have been mixed together and saponified, the solution is neutralized and no longer caustic.”
These are the molds that I used. We only used the wooden mold (the long one) but I am always prepared in case I make too much soap for the mold. I’ll post some pics once I unmold it and cut the soap.
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Congrats to Brita who was the winner of the contest. Check out the post and all of the beautiful quilts from See How We Sew.
Also, don’t forget to check out my blog here on WordPress.com as well as my official blog at http://twistystitches.biz. You can find an online store there with all of the items that I create myself. I would appreciate a visit and a Follow or Like so I know people are enjoying what I’m doing.
LeAnn from Twisty Stitches
Another week, another quilt. Yeah, I’m slowing down and looking for a break from the quilt-making frenzy after this. I’ve got a deadline though, a serious deadline to finish this next quilt. My sister-in-law Laurence is coming from France for her daughter’s bridal shower here in the U.S. and I’m making her a quilt for a milestone birthday she celebrated recently. I was going to take it to Europe for the wedding, but as she’s heading my way . . . might as well use her arrival as my finishing goal. I’ll probably have to stitch on the faced binding as we drive to the shower.
I picked up Jelly Roll Quilts by the Lintotts, an English mother/daughter duo, at Back Porch Fabric last fall. Gail Abeloe, the shop owner, had a colorful sample quilt from the book in the shop when I visited. Gotta admit, I’m a sucker for quilts…
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As most of you know, Goat Milk Soap by Meadowfly Farm is a little less than a year old. With such a young business, I need all the help that I can get. I’ve just entered a grant contest that could allow me to win a $5,000 grant!!
This grant would be invaluable to me in growing this business. With $5,000, I would be able to purchase more equipment as well as a small shed for my goats.
Having more equipment will allow me to increase soap production. Once I know that I could meet increased demand, I would be able to establish my soaps with more larger companies.
Currently, my goats are housed in over-sized dog houses. These shelters are adequate but not ideal. With this grant, I would be able to purchase a small shed that would have enough room in it for all the goats and would…
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This next blog is going to be about how to choose a good, moderately priced sewing machine. I am doing this for a couple of reasons. The first is I would love to have an upgrade. I would love to have a machine with a wider throat area so I can quilt larger quilts. Next reason is that my current Singer is actin a little “Wonky”. It is not changing stitches when I dial them up, and I think there is some sort of short in the machine. Sometimes I am sewing along and it just turns off, I have to slightly move it around until it comes back on. (Not good!) So it’s time to think and research for a possible replacement.
Besides the brand of the machine itself there are a few requirements that the machine and the shop where I buy it must have. These requirements are important to me from personal experience. Trust me.
Let’s start with Distance.
The shop has to be within a reasonable driving distance from my home. This is important for a couple of reasons. The biggie being “HELP.” If you have questions or problems with your machine you are going to want a local resource to help you. You might have to take it in for it to be looked at, and you are going to have to take it in (at the dealer recommended time) for it to be serviced. Also they can help you order accessories for your machine. I know you can do that online, but maybe you don’t quite know what you need. Explaining your goals to someone who is knowledgeable about your particular brand machine can be helpful.
Class or Classes Available
The shop needs to offer classes on how to use my machine. I want someone to walk me through all the things that my machine can do. I want to know how to use all those features that I have paid for. What good is all those extras if I don’t know how to use them.
I want to make sure that it a reliable machine from a brand that I can trust.
I want to be sure that I can get real life reviews about the good and bad experiences that others have had with the machine. If there are problems with the machine I want to know what they are. If there are recurring problems with a particular machine or brand it might make me think twice, and avoid making a poor decision.
So here is a list of the brands I have decided to research.
- Baby Lock
- Husqvarna Viking
*You may note that Singer is not on my list. I will explain why later.
The first shop that I visited was Cornerstone Sew and Vac in Douglasville, Ga.
It was my first stop because of the distance. It was a nice shop and very easy to get to. The saleslady inside was very nice. I explained that I was looking for a sewing machine with a large area good for quilting. The two machines that I looked at were the Husqvarna Viking Eden Rose 250c and the Viking Sapphire 875 Quilting Machine
She showed me the feature of each and could say was WOW! These were beautiful machines that had outstanding features. The sewing was smooth and precise. They could do anything you might want and then some. She prints out a price and feature sheet for me and I head home.
So… I am back at home and I start thinking about the cost and features, and what exactly do I want and need in a machine? I think about my current Singer and it’s price, which leads my thoughts to my previous Singer. It was a Singer CE150 Embroidery Machine.
I really liked it, however it did have a few issues. I remember I once bought an embroidery design but the machine couldn’t handle it. I snapped about 7 needles and had the thread tangle up within the design more than once. I remember I was very frustrated that I couldn’t get the machine to complete the design so I gave up on that one. I did do an Anita Gooddesign Christmas Wall hanging that turned out well as my first project.
I was all ready to make this Sleigh Ride wall hanging.
Unfortunately I think that that wall hanging was too much for the machine. It was shortly after it was completed that it stopped working. I took the machine to a local shop to have it repaired but unfortunately the repair cost would have been around $400, and there was the possibility that even if fixed the machine might break again. So I opted to say goodbye to the world of Embroidery and bought a Singer Heavy Duty 4411 from JoAnn’s as a replacement.
- Singer Heavy Duty
After thinking of all of that, and seeing all of the machines out there I decided that I really would love to have another embroidery machine. I knew that I would have to research to make sure that it would be of good quality, so it didn’t end up like Singer #1. It would need to be able to handle the “complex” designs, I also wanted to be sure that had at least a 5×7 hoop area, preferably 6×10 or 7×12. Also I would need to have a class to learn about all the bells and whistles, and to be close by. I figured that the quilting machines I saw were $1799 and up so how much more would an embroidery machine cost?
I headed back to Cornerstone a few days later to see what they had in the Embroidery Area. On my second trip the saleslady from my first trip was not there but I ended up chatting with the owner. I explained that I had come in a few days before and had priced some quilting machines and then thinking on it at home had decided to go with an Embroidery machine instead. I told him about my experience with my previous Singer, he was patient, knowledgeable, and I learned a lot.
I learned that the current Embroidery machines are not cheap. (they go up to $10,000 for a super mac daddy home machine.) They are much more sophisticated that my previous Singer and that in his opinion the Singer Brand is not what is used to be. I didn’t get a full feature run through of the machines but as it was way out of my budget it wasn’t a problem. He also explained his upgrade program. If I bought a machine and within 6 months decided to upgrade I would get the full price I paid for the first machine back to go toward the new one. They have sewing and embroidery classes that they offer to their customers. They seemed to want to be sure that their customers can get the most out of their machines and know how to use all of its features. They have the first service appointment free and lots of other extras. This shop seems to be focused on customers and providing excellent customer service. The machine that I looked at was wonderful.
I love this machine, but it is a little (okay a lot) out of my price range at the moment.
So next week I am planning on visiting Ashby Sewing Machine Co Inc., in Kennesaw Ga, and seeing what they have available.
Basically I chose the project because it was super cute. Some parts of it didn’t look too complex and it was a project that I felt I could successfully complete (with a few of my own modifications).
Let me first talk about the eyes. The eyes on the project bear are beautiful. Deep blue outlined with white. The instructions were well done. They were broken down into steps and stitches to use to reproduce those eyes. However I know my skill level and my patience level with embroidery type projects, and I opted to make simple button eyes.
The bear on the left is one that I made last year, and the one on the right is one I made a few nights ago so I could take you through the steps. They are still cute and homemade just not as complex.
First off I traced the bear pattern on to my felt pieces, one for the front and one for the back. I used contrasting colors: light for the bear and dark for the details or vice versa. The details include the inside of the ears, the paws, and his legs. I didn’t use a specific pattern for those shapes I just cut out a small piece in the same shape as those shown on the original bear and trimmed them till they fit well.
On the bear(s) I started at the ears and worked my way down to the button eyes, the triangle shape nose (with rounded corners).
I stitched the mouth, went to the arm and leg details. After he was completed with his details I sandwiched him to his backing and then stitched him all the way around.
I left a small opening at the bottom to put in the stuffing.
After he was stuffed to my satisfaction I closed him up and he makes bear number 2 in my collection.
I would like to make a whole family of these bears in all sizes and colors but there are so many other art projects out there to try. So we will see if my bear family grows as time permits.
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