Pics of a quilt for D&J

This is the quilt I finished last year for Diana and Jonathan.  I didn’t share pictures at the time because I wanted it to be a surprise for them.  I am so pleased with the way it turned out.  I had so much fun quilting it, even though it took more than 2 months to finish the stitching.  I think it came out very well, and they sure seemed to like it!

A quilt for dear Inger

When I saw a package of Tonga Treats Balinese batiks last year, I instantly thought of Inger.  The colors and the life in them reminded me so much of her, I knew instantly I had to make a quilt for her out of those fabrics.  So I bought them and got to work.  I completed the quilt in time to take it to her when we visited her near Beitostølen, Norway this summer.  I had no idea how her house was decorated, and after arriving was afraid it wouldn’t match anything in her decor, so I told her to feel free to take to their home in Cypress or wherever she could use it, but I was delighted to learn her whole bedroom was done in soft shades of pink and the quilt looked very much at home after being put on the bed.  It is a Terry Atkinson pattern, Merry Mosaic, and it was quilted by Mary Brandt.

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A quilt for Per & Regula

This is a quilt I made for Per & Regula and I took it with us to deliver to them when we arrived in Norway. I’ve wanted to make a two color quilt for a long time, and this one came from a design I saw someone post on Pinterest. It was an easy block to figure out and to make. And it looks gorgeous with the quilting done by Mary Brandt. I am so pleased with how it turned out and I think Per & Regula liked it very much too!


Hello, Bernice!

Imagine the musical:

“Hello Bernice, well Hello, Bernice, it’s so nice to have you back where you belong!”

I took my beloved 1630 (I am the original owner) to a local dealer in February, 2013 for repair (yes, you read that right) and just got her back today. I can’t even begin to tell you how anxious being without this machine for a whole year has made me. Despite the fact that I have wonderful other machines, both newer and older, some of which have far more features than she does, I have missed this machine so much I almost cried when I went to pick her up and saw her plugged in a sewing like a dream. They fixed everything that was wrong with her and put her back into “as new” condition. I’m thrilled to say the least and will plan to use her as much as I can – after all, I don’t know how many more years she is going to last.  I am seriously considering buying a spare as a backup.  I know several other 1630 owners who have done this.

It all started last February when I went to make a dress for my, then 3 year old, daughter and the decorative stitches and zig zag would not work, and I could not move the needle position for topstitching. I had no idea it would turn into a year-long ordeal. Without getting into the weeds, it was a lot of misses – misunderstandings, miscommunications, missteps, and she didn’t actually get sent off to Bernina corporate for repairs until December of this past year.  The tech’s mother was dying the process, the Bernina dealer closed quite unexpectedly – it was just such a long, drawn out saga with too much drama.

I have so many quilts to finish and an evening gown for a cousin to make before June, and I was hoping I could have my quiet-as-a-church-mouse 1630 back so I can sew the next couple of weeks while watching the Olympics.

To say I am over the moon with happiness would not be an exaggeration in the slightest.

And my husband?  I am just not sure he gets it – I have a sentimental attachment to this Bernina, the one I waited for 13 years after graduating tailoring school before I could afford to but it – I will never have the bond with any other sewing machine that I have with this one.  But we have a trip to Norway coming in June and I’ve got plenty of hostess and family gifts to get ready to take along – I’m thinking napkin sets, hankies, lots of lovely things that can be extremely well-made and packed flat.  I just got to sew a few seems and she is so very quiet and smooth – nothing has ever sewn as well as this machine, at least not for me.  I am so very, very happy that she is home again.  Here is a picture of her in all her glory, sitting in her custom table cut-out, ready to get to work!  Isn’t she lovely?


Quilt retreat at Four Seasons Quilts

I’ve been at an in town day quilt retreat for the past two days. I can’t tell you how much I have needed this break from work and just to bury myself in what I love to do. Yesterday I spent all day finishing a special quilt. Today I finished up Juliette’s quilt top I started a year ago, and got the backings for four quits pieced and handed off to the quilter. Such a relief! And I’ve started a quilt kit that Harald picked out a while back when we stopped at Crystal’s Log Cabin Quilts in Grand Marais. I’ve made good progress on that one and it’s a simple pattern, so I may even finish it tomorrow.

Oh, and did I mention that the retreat/workroom at Four Seasons, is FABULOUS?! Second floor, wrap around windows bring tons of light, lots of space, and a great quilt store downstairs for just about anything you need. I highly recommend it. And getting to come home to Harald, Juliette and my own bed every night is so good. Best of both worlds!

Below is Juliette’s quilt top I finished today.



As alluded to in my posts from early October, last month was a time of sadness and grief in our family, as two visiting loved ones from Norway were tragically killed in a car accident on October 5. Then about 10 days ago, my own mother in Florida was hurt (but not critically) in a bad accident when she accidentally turned into oncoming traffic. Her car was totaled, but thank God she escaped serious injury. Along with the new month, things finally seem to be turning, however. Our routines are getting back to normal now and I’m looking forward to quiet time at home and getting some things done. And the Minneapolis Sewing Expo is coming next week, and I’ve always wanted to go, but never been. This year will be different. Not only am I going to go, I am going to try to take a class or two. It is simply unforgivable to have such a wonderful resource right here in my own back yard (literally minutes from where I live and work) and not take advantage of it. Sewing is my one true passion, the thing that has remained with me throughout the years and circumstances of my life. It is time I give more honor and attention to the one interest I love most. I’ve bought David Page Coffin’s book on shirtmaking and I am going to make myself, and them my dear love, a shirt. I think that is a good beginning project. And I’ve got two quilt tops to get quilted, another quilt at the quilter that should be finished soon, and two more quilts ready to get started (not to mention the projects I already have in various stages of completion). And I will get Harald’s sweater seamed and blocked soon, too, so he can wear it this winter. So much fiber, so little time …

There is a quote I have hanging up in my sewing studio. I’ll repost it for you here, as it seems apt:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

Indeed. Regardless of its source (read about the controversy here), the sentiment is exactly what I need.

More about the pink …

Some great names have been suggested. I’m particularly fond of Edna, Ethel and Maude. But you know what? I may just end up calling her Pinky – I uttered that name spontaneously as I was working on her tonight. Has the right sort of feel and fits my personality too. I took her apart again tonight and fixed two issues, one with the needle position selector and one with the decorative stitch selection knob. And I did a little research and joined a Yahoo group devoted to vintage Japanese machines. You see, when you turn the sewing machine over, all of its parts that bear markings are stamped with the named “Brother” for the Brother Sewing Machine Company (f/k/a Yasui Sewing Machine Company). Turns out, it was fairly common in the late 50s and early 60s for Japanese sewing machine manufacturers to make machines and export them into the US where they were “badged” with other names, presumably to appeal to the tastes and prejudices of the American consumer. Atlas was just one of the badged names used on Brother machines. So this machine is really a Brother JC1 “Select-O-Matic” machine – try Googling that name for a brief trip back to the 50s. Turns out a lot of people liked to name their equipment “Select-O-Matic.” Anyway, I oiled the old girl in all her squeaky joints and she is sewing as well as she ever has. Now I will turn to some fine detail cleaning when I get the chance. I need to pick up a bottle of rubbing alcohol and some Q-tips to clean out some of the dirt, and I am going to replace two of the belts and all of those things should make a real difference.