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Lots of soft and fuzzy

Stack of fleece colors for Hug Me! SlugsI cut out a gargantuan pile of fleece over the past two days. I’m not sure how long it will take me to turn this into toys, maybe a couple of years! And that isn’t all of it.

Stacks of fleece colors for Hug Me! SlugsI cut out fleece in two sizes. I think I have plenty now.

Daisy the Dachshund, Original One-of-a-kind Dog Art Doll Figurine by Max BaileyI also got Daisy the Dachshund’s web page up today. Daisy is one of Max Bailey’s original, one-of-a-kind art doll figurines. To me, her eyes look very soulful, just like a real Dachshund’s eyes. There is a little Dachshund who lives near us who likes me to rub her belly. She looks just like Daisy, only she doesn’t wear dresses, which is good because she would look very undignified rolling on her back with her paws up in the air, while wearing a dress.

Sunny, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsI got to pet some kittens last weekend too. Marie’s camera has a broken part, and so I went over with mine. It’s easier for me to get a clear photo, the more light I have, and so we tried stepping out the back door for some. These are indoor-only rescue kittens. Sunny didn’t care for the great outdoors at all. We couldn’t blame her, since she had had a bad head wound from an animal bite. It has healed up amazingly well with all the care she has gotten through the rescue group. She is one lucky girl.

Sunny, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsOnce we went back inside, she was happy again, and got right back to playing.

Frosty, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsThis is Frosty (Update: Frosty is now our very own Josephine!), Sunny’s little sister, from another litter with the same Shoeshoe father. She’d only had human contact for a few days, but you’d never know it. She was very cuddly and sweet. I sat and held her for a long time. Her blue eyes are so sad and beautiful.

Frosty, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsWindy, Sunny’s sister, below, was the only one of our subjects who actually enjoyed the sun on her face. She turned into a purring puddle o’ Windy. Frosty started to doze off a bit too. Maybe it was the fuzzy blanket.

Windy, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsWe got them back in the house as soon as we could, and they all got Trader Joe’s Bench & Field Holistic Feline Treats. I’d never seen these before, and they all went cuckoo for them, chasing them across the floor, and hunting them down. I picked some up later, and our kitties went crazy for them too. Windy and her other sister, Cloudy, stopped to play with a stray litter pellet while hunting for cat treats. Marie says those are their favorite toys, even though they have bunches of cat toys.

Windy and Cloudy, kittens from Alley Cats and AngelsThey must have thought I was a giant cat toy. They all checked out my sneakers, very thoroughly. Sunny also inspected my camera. I kept getting “camera shake” only to discover her swinging from my lens cap. She is definitely going to be a helper cat.

Windy and Cloudy, kittens from Alley Cats and AngelsStormy, from the same litter as Sunny, Windy, and Cloudy, was very timid, but she still came out for treats and toys. She wanted to select one of her own from the toy bag. All the girls were really sweet, and I had a lot of fun visiting. Marie is really nice too. I put more kittens photos up on my Flickr page.

Stormy, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsAfter playing, and petting, and cuddling with kittens, it’s a wonder I didn’t take them all home with me, but we do have a full house here too. My kitties wanted to know where I’d been. My sneakers were probably thoroughly sniffed on my return too.

Windy, kitten from Alley Cats and AngelsThese kittens will be adopted out when they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Please consider adopting a pet, and please spay and neuter your pets.

Stormy, Cloudy, and Sunny, kittens from Alley Cats and Angels

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Halloween musings

Renaissance gown, McCallHappy Halloween! A few weeks ago, I decided I really wanted to make a Regency Era gown, and ordered a beautiful Sense and Sensibility pattern. I think I will make one for springtime. As Halloween got closer, a week away actually, I suddenly decided I was going to make a similar gown for a costume. I ran into town and got McCall’s pattern 6141, which is really a Renaissance costume, but rather similar in style to the Regency gowns.

Renaissance gown, McCallI had recently gathered up a bunch of sheets to use for fabric for other projects, and I grabbed a blue twin sheet set out of the pile, along with a teal sheet for contrast. I spread the sheets, one at a time, out on my carpet and cut out my pattern pieces. I added some trims I got at Hancock Fabrics, to the sleeves and the neckline, and managed to get the whole gown sewn and hemmed by Saturday night, just in time for Jill’s party, which was a lot of fun. I got to talk to some great people, and made good friends with Jill’s corgi too, who followed me all over the house for in exchange for pets.

Renaissance gown, McCallJill, and a lot of the people who were there volunteer a local cat rescue, fostering cats and kittens. Just a really nice group of good-hearted people. I enjoyed myself very much.

Renaissance gown, McCallIt also did me some good to make something just because. It’s hard to give myself permission to make something just for fun, but I think I will have to do that some more. I even did a hand-picked zipper for the first time.

It’s funny what makes other things come into perspective. You make a dress, and you realize that you need to give yourself permission to paint a painting too, or take up photography, or make something only you might like, that might never sell or be of interest to anyone else, because those are the projects that come out the best and make you feel good about your abilities.

Renaissance gown, McCallAnd you meet some nice people, and you realize that when you like someone, you just like a person. There’s no trying to like them, or trying to be fair, or trying to look past their bad points. You just like them. Since we moved here, I’ve been thinking that people are just different here, harder for me to relate to, but that isn’t true. I just met the wrong people, dated the wrong people, and didn’t like their friends, all for the same reason…they weren’t my kind of people. I had a date once, with a psychiatrist, who tried to tell me this, that people are either nice or they aren’t. I had been saying that people here seemed harder to get to know, more evasive, more secretive, and he said no. People are either open, or not, honest or not. He told me if I had trouble sorting them out, just call him and ask, because he could tell me right away. I’m realizing more and more, that I do know right away too. I just thought I was in a strange land, when I was really just trying to relate to the wrong people. I’m feeling a lot better about these things lately, where I live, what I do, and who I am.

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Bits and pieces

Sewing fairy wings on my sewing machineI’ve been sewing Pixie Kitten bodies, and have a few of them in progress. I received most of what I spent on my ill-fated Viking Platinum from the Post Office, after the shipping disaster that cracked it to bits, and instead of buying a new sewing machine, I’ve been adding parts to my Kenmore 19233, to make it more versatile. I showed you the walking feet I’ve been using to sew, but I also found a straight stitch needle plate that fit.

Straight stitch, single hole throat plate for Kenmore 19233It’s a Janome part number 200093305, which I bought online from Sewing Machines Plus. Janome made the Kenmore, and so I did some research until I found one that matched mine. This one fits the Kenmore 385 series. It’s easy enough to put on and take off. The larger screw in the upper left corner is what holds it in place. It’s good to remove the needle plate to clean out lint anyway. So, when you change plates, you can get in there to clean too.

Organizing my presser feet and sewing machine partsWith two machines, I’m accumulating a lot of presser feet and miscellaneous parts, and so I got a plastic organizer at Michaels to keep them in order. Some of the feet are left over from the Platinum, but these seem to work on my Viking Sarah, with the exception of the buttonhole sensor foot, which I will have to sell sometime.

Organizing my sewing machine bobbinsI divided up my bobbins by machine too, each group in their own case. I had been finding them here and there, tangled together. I finally got my other shelf up in my workroom, and a couple more boxes to house fabrics. Sometimes I feel like I live in a storage facility, but it is better to have everything somewhat organized. I’m amazed how nice having just one open patch on a table can feel.

Adopt a pet from your local animal shelter or rescue groupI’m still trying to expand my very limited knowledge of photography as well, while hoping to upgrade to a DSLR at some point. I’ve been practicing using my camera when I can. This is Spunky. He and other adorable kitties are at adoption events this weekend. The kitties have been patient with me while I’ve tried to figure out how to photograph them. My camera doesn’t handle the low light or motion very well. Since I now don’t necessarily need to put my postal insurance funds toward a sewing machine, I hope to be able to put it toward a camera instead. This just feels like something I’d like to be able to do better. I’m not sure where that will lead right now, but learning something new, especially something that can be used creatively, is appealing to me.

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How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machine

How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machineI now have a walking foot for each of my sewing machines, my Viking Sarah, and my Kenmore 19233. Sears has a set of feet for the Kenmore that includes a walking foot, which I bought for about five dollars more than the walking foot alone cost. I thought that was a good deal. I bought my Viking walking foot on eBay, but I see it is tricky to get an authentic Viking foot online. Some people post some confusing information. Be sure to check out the part number to see that it matches the one recommended for your machine on the Husqvarna Viking site. You can find your correct one here by looking for a “dual feed foot”, under the “Quilting” accessory category. Genuine Viking walking feet say “Husqvarna Viking” on one side of the feet themselves, and the part number on the other. They are available from dealers, and online. I’ve ordered miscellaneous parts from Sewing Machines Plus before, as well as from Discount Sewing Machine Service, with good success.

How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machineTo attach a walking foot, the first thing you generally need to do is remove the presser foot ankle from your sewing machine. I’m showing this on my Viking Sarah. It’s the part that holds your presser feet. On some machines, the ankle and the foot are all one piece.

How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machineUnscrew it using the miniature screwdriver that came with your machine, and take it off. I have this larger thumb screw (shown above) on my machine, and it’s the one I used to attach my walking foot. I got a spare here, Viking Presser Foot Screw #412 40 97-01.

How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machineThere are two things you need to line up, when attaching the walking foot itself. You may need to use your hand wheel to raise and lower your needle so you can get that forked bar over the screw that holds your needle in place. This is important because this is what makes the foot go up and down when your needle goes up and down.

How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machineOn the Kenmore, which is made by Janome (so many Janome machines will be similar), that bar on the walking foot rests on top of the bar that holds the screw for the needle (shown above). Either way, the bar goes over the part that holds the needle in place, the one that sticks out.

How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machineOn the other side of the foot, is the part that accepts the same thumb screw that held your presser foot ankle in place. Attach it the same way the ankle was attached. There is a hole right in the metal bar. All you need to do is line it up where the indentation for it is, and make sure it fits snuggly in place. Tighten up the screw and you are ready to sew.

How to attach a walking foot to your sewing machineAgain, it looks a little different on the Kenmore (shown above), but the idea is the same. One side attaches like a presser foot ankle, and the other part rests over the needle screw. You might need to wiggle it a little to get it to pop into place, but once it is secure in its proper place, it doesn’t jiggle around. With some walking feet, there is also a hole, in the back of the walking foot, that accepts a metal guide bar. You can just slip the guide bar in the hole, if and when you want to use it, and slide it out to the correct distance from the needle that you want to use. You line the edge of guide bar up with your last row of stitching, as you sew, to keep an even distance.

Now you can sew through layers without so much shifting of one fabric over another. It helps too when you don’t have a presser foot pressure adjustment option, which some machines don’t have. I’ve noticed some newer machines come with built-in walking feet. I decided to try mine out for regular sewing too, and I’ve been having good results.