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I am a wife, mama and grandmama getting through life by hanging on to a needle and thread.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Mystery Solved

I got some great advice for how to fix the problems with my Juki, so I changed the needle, gave it a good top to bottom cleaning, and checked all the contacts and connections.  Yesterday I loaded a small charity quilt to see if the cleaning made any kind of difference.  It quilted beautifully without a single skipped stitch, BUT as I was quilting the second to the last row a small metal piece dropped out of the machine onto the quilt!  I was focusing on the quilt, so I really didn't notice where the piece came from and I couldn't see any place inside the machine that seemed to be missing a piece, but it obviously came from the machine somewhere.  I sent a few pictures to my friend, Kathy, who has the same machine, asking if she had any idea where the piece may have come from.  She emailed me right back with the answer...it broke off of the hopping foot!  Apparently this piece makes the foot hop as the needle raises, so there's a good chance that  
this little bugger has been the culprit of my quilting problems.  Kathy even offered her hopping foot to me because she doesn't use hers!  Thank heaven for good friends in quilty places!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Every Thursday during the summer months members of the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild meet on the Green in town to do handwork.  It's always a fun afternoon and a great way to get some hand stitching done!  Hopefully Thursdays will be nice this summer...my quilts that need bindings are stacking up!

Monday, May 27, 2013



My Juki TL-98Q has always been a bit temperamental, but she was really having fits the other day while I was trying to quilt a charity quilt.  I have the machine mounted on a Grace frame with a stitch regulator and was quilting with the same brand cotton thread that I always use with a 100/16 needle.  The quilt was made with regular quilt shop cotton fabric and the same brand cotton batting that I have been using right along. For some reason the machine would act like it was "hung up" on something and make teeny tiny stitches and then it would "break loose" and make a couple of giant stitches before settling back into a normal stitch pattern.  This "hiccup" would also leave a thread snarl on the back side of the quilt.  I tried putting in a new needle, rethreading and changing the bobbin, all to no avail.  Cleaning and oiling didn't seem to help either.  By the time I got to the last few rows of the quilt I switched to a longer stitch length on the stitch regulator and the problem stopped.  I'm not convinced that this was the cause or fix for the problem though because a friend who also has a machine like mine said that she has experienced the same problem, but she does not have a stitch regulator.  Does anyone out there know what might be causing this problem?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Unfinished Stories with New Endings

I purchased the book, Unfinished Stories with New Endings, by Gyleen X. Fitzgerald last week when she visited our guild.  I knew when I first saw it that it was a nice book, but after spending a few evenings with it, I have about decided that it's my new favorite quilting book!  Vintage quilts, lovely stories, beautiful photographs, clear patterns for 10 different quilts, and lots of information...it's everything a quilting book should be! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Table Toppers

It's been a long hard winter for my mother-in-law.  Several seizures and illnesses combined with Alzheimer's Disease has caused a remarkable decline in her health over the past few months.  She has now reached a the point where she no longer requires the locked Alz Unit at her nursing home, so the decision has been made to move her upstairs to a regular room. I thought it would be nice if she had some new things for her new room, so made a couple of quick and easy table toppers for her nightstand and dresser.  With all the different colors, they really help brighten up the new room!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Going In Circles

What a fantastic weekend it was here!  The Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild's special guest speaker at Friday night's guild meeting was Gyleen Fitzgerald of Colourful Stitches fame!  Gyleen presented a wonderful lecture and trunk show on color followed by a workshop on Saturday which focused on color and placement.  The workshop may have been titled "Going In Circles", but by the end of the day the only thing going in circles were the quilts.  Gyleen's instructions were so perfectly clear that everyone had almost completed their top by the end of the day.  If you ever get the chance to hear one of Gyleen's lectures or take one of her classes, I highly recommend that you don't miss the opportunity!

Friday, May 17, 2013


Here's the second quilt top that I quilted for my friend, all finished.  This top was much smaller than the last one and the stripes run vertical instead of horizontal like the other top, so I put it on the frame sideways and quilted The Pajama Quilter's "fern ziggle" motif from top to bottom.    I think the design is a good fit for this quilt.  The best part?  Both quilts are now done! I just hope my friend is happy with how they turned out!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How Do You Say No?

I absolutely hate quilting quilts that do not belong to me!  It's bad enough if I mess up the quilting on one of my own quilts, but the stress just from the possibility that I might ruin a quilt that isn't mine is too much for me to handle.  So how did I end up with not one but two quilt tops that belong to a friend?  I'm still not sure how it happened, but apparently I agreed to do some quilting.  Thankfully the first quilt wasn't too stressful and it came off the frame looking pretty good.  Hopefully the next one goes as well and once that one is finished I'm going to practice saying "no".

Monday, May 13, 2013

"To Quilt"

I spent some time over the weekend putting together backings, cutting batting, and selecting quilting thread.  Suddenly my "to quilt" pile is just as big as it ever was...maybe even bigger!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

And The Winner Is...

The winner of the hand-knit hedgehog with matching mug rug is...

#28. Lisa said...
I love hedgehogs! Oh Cupcake can live with me and Gilbert Giveaway! Perfect home! Lets see my favorite sweet treat is a caramel/chocolate sundae with nuts and whip cream from Dairy Queen! Thank you!

Congratulations, Lisa!

Thanks to everyone who visited Hanging On by a Needle and Thread and took the time to comment during the Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day.  I truly enjoyed reading each and every one of your comments!  If you didn't win and had your heart set on having a hand-knit of your very own, visit Half Pint Knits...new items are added frequently.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

HSTs For Charity

The Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild held a half-square triangle workshop for charity a couple weeks ago.  It was a fun day sewing, snacking and chatting with other guild members.  Apparently I did more snacking and chatting than sewing though, because I didn't get my top quite finished, so I spent a couple hours yesterday finishing up my top.  I will soon have it quilted and it will be ready to go to a child entering into foster care.

Visit mountainlaurelquiltguild.blogspot.com to see photos and read more about our fun day of sewing together.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day!

Meet Cupcake, an adorable little hedgehog from Half Pint Knits!  Cupcake is a well mannered hedgehog and would never dream of poking anyone with her quills, but her eyes and nose may not be suitable for very young children.  Cupcake loves her sweets, so I made a cupcake print mug rug for her to help keep the crumbs off of your table top.  Would you like to give Cupcake a home?  Just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite sweet treat is.

The giveaway will close Friday, May 10th at 8:00 p.m. EST.  The winner will be drawn by Random Number Generator and announced on Saturday, May 11th.  The winner will be notified by email, so if you are a no-reply blogger make sure that you leave your e-mail address with your comment.

Visit Half Pint Knits Etsy Shop to find more hand-knit items for children of all ages!

Don't forget to check out all of the other fantastic giveaways this week at Sew, Mama, Sew!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Apple Snack Bars

 Although these Apple Snack Bars are good on their own, it's the frosting that makes them special!  Yum!

Apple Snack Bars

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peeled, grated apple

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  Mix in flour, baking powder and salt just until combined.  Stir in the grated apple until evenly distributed.  Spread into a greased 8x8 baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the center springs back when touched.  Cool completely and then frost with Brown Sugar Frosting.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Meld butter in a medium saucepan.  Add brown sugar and milk; bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Stir in powdered sugar until smooth.  Spread over cooled bars.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


The latest assignment for my art quilt group was to make a quilt using a "living being" as inspiration.  I wanted to use a creature with stripes of color and even though I am terrified of snakes, that is what came to mind for this project.  I recalled the old saying, "Red touches yellow, kills a fellow.  Red touches black, friend of Jack." and decided to use that as my inspiration.  Notice the quilt has two poisonous "snakes" to support my irrational belief that there are more deadly snakes than friendly snakes.  Actually, I believe that there are no friendly snakes, but maybe working on this quilt has been good therapy for me because I like it even if snakes are the subject matter!

(If you look closely you will notice that this quilt isn't quite finished.  I had planned to use black binding, but had second thoughts after the quilting was done.  I think green might be better, but I need to make a trip to the quilt shop for more fabric.  That's what happens when you wait until the last minute.  Will I do my next project in a more timely fashion?  Probably not.) 

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