Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Monday....

It's another week! How does that happen?

I wanted to show you a couple of goodies found on my way home from Statesboro GA last week. These were actually unearthed in Charlotte.

TWO of the quilts came home with me....$30.00 each! Mind you, there is wear, there is tearing,there are loose seams, there is fabric shattering...but I love the feel of these,and just for studying the fabrics that are in them, they are AWESOME.

These quilts contain all my favorite things I love about utility quilts. They were made to be used. They use "everyday" fabrics and scraps from household sewing. They are not prefect, but are ordinary well known patterns. They contain "odd ball" fabrics, and many of them show "frugal piecing" where one patch is sewn to another to get a piece that is big enough for the piece needed.

The first one is this Log cabin. It's basically a "summer spread" type...no quilting, but discreetly tied to a striped backing. Look at those fabrics! I think what makes this one interesting is the use of some discreet mediums in the light areas. Lights to this gal meant anything that was lighter than the darks....so there are pastel pinks, blues and yellows in amongst the light shirting prints. I also love that the logs surround a double pink center square instead of a red :c)

This one has no border, but is just simply bound.

The second one is a wonderful Churn Dash. In fact, the quilt was there 6 months ago when I went through that mall, and it didn't have a price on it then, so I passed it by. There are photos of it from the last trip somewhere! Well...it was still there....still no price, so I asked the counter girl if she could call the dealer and find me some info on it. Again...$30.00 SOLD!

I LOVE the row of half blocks.....And that bright bold red plaid amongst the browns. The backgrounds are various, from cream shirtings to a green on light blue...some red on a brown/cream stripe...some simple shirting plaids. And that poison green sashing!

What I also love about this one is the odd borders. Top and bottom are different than the sides....and there are two fabrics used for the binding....a brown for part, a double pink for the rest. Lots of quilts this age have "rounded" corners...not often was binding mitered the way we see it today.

She quilted it really interestingly, putting more into it than just a simple "1/4" around the patch...there are X's and echoed triangles in the corners of the blocks. The top and bottom borders are quilted with a dog tooth zig zag...which is one of my fave things to put in a narrow border, so I really related to this quilt!

The 3rd little ditty...I loved for it's graphic appeal...but it is a ROUGH ROUGH quilt...it felt like the backing was a horse blanket of some sort...the batting was burlap, and the top fabrics were very rough too. The price was more than I could handle,but the over all appeal was great. I bet this was stored in a barn for the past 90 years...it smelled like it! *LOL* Another reason it didn't come home with me because I'd have been afraid to wash it, and really...it was.....well...VINTAGE!

I'd still love to have a peek at the history and the life of this quilt. It just appeals to me, even if it was out of my budget, and offensive to my nose :c)

If you don't hear from me for a few days, don't worry....I'll be back as soon as I am able. I'm road-tripping again!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Long Distance Sewing...

Sounds like an Olympic sport,doesn't it? But actually it was a LOT easier than that, and what fun we've had.

You know I've only been in NC for a year. And roots are hard to develop, mostly because I find it hard to get involved with much due to time commitments. I only make half my guild meetings here, if that, can't volunteer for a church committee because I am not here enough to fulfill that obligation either. Can't sing in the choir anymore, I miss more than half the rehearsals, not to mention several of the Sundays...But to everything there is an "on the other hand"....and I love where I am in my life right now.

Lucy and I have done this long distance sewing thing before, and it is so fun...almost like we are in the same room. She set her laptop on the table near her featherweight, I put my laptop on the desk next to my machine, cameras on, microphones working...and we can talk and chat and sew at the same time! From across the world!

I am just in awe of this technology. I mean....stop...and think about it. I was sitting here in North Carolina, listening to her clock chime, hearing someone knocking on her front door, listening to her pick up the telephone for a conversation, seeing her sew on her featherweight while we visited. I could look out her window and see the houses across the street. People riding by on bicycles, or walking their dogs. And she could see me.

It was just wonderful fun. Didn't last long...she got called away to fix dinner, and I lunch :c) (we are 6 hours apart time zone wise) but having that precious time with a friend across the miles was balm to my soul!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Staying in Stitches, Statesboro GA!

I had a WONDERFUL time with the ladies of the Statesboro guild....Staying in Stitches!

I met up with Grace at her house as that is where I stayed the night. We went out to a fun place for dinner, and then off to the guild's meeting location. Trunkshow on Tuesday night, Workshop on Wednesday!

Somehow it feels like it has been more days than that...I know I got home yesterday afternoon,and today is only Friday, but I could have sworn we packed more days in than that!

Vicki D brought her TREADLE machine to the workshop!

This was so fun to see. I'd really like to get one of my singer treadles functional. You know...sewing out on the back deck over looking the woods? Maybe it sounds better than it actually would be. Southern humidity, Southern bugs taken into consideration :c)

Here are some pics taken at the workshop. The ladies were doing BEAUTIFUL work. One of the things I really love is seeing all the different fabrics and twists people put on things. From brights and novelties to 1930's pastels, and everything scrappy in between! It was just nice all the way around.

Staying in Stitches, Statesboro GA 2009

Here's a little slide show of the quilts in progress!

I left the ladies to drive to Jason's house in columbia, but hadn't even left the parking lot when I got a call telling me I'd left my quilt backdrop stand behind! So I turned around and came back...and left again :c)

I met Jason and Kim at their house in Columbia, Charlotte joined us for dinner at San Jose's Mexican....which is one of our favorites. Don't have that one up here near Winston, so it is a must do when I am in the area. I love the chicken fajita quesadillas!

I did a bit of antique mall hopping on the way home. I've got TWO lovelies to show you....but I need to lay them out to get pics. Maybe tomorrow...

I've been back to working hard at the gym and it is really starting to pay off. My trainer is kicking my butt! And I am loving the classes as well. It's also nice knowing some friendly faces so I can feel like...yes....after a year...I can stop feeling like such a newbie and make some roots here.

Next stop on my schedule? Gloucester VA! I leave Tuesday.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Machine, Happy Bonnie!

I finally got a chance to play with my new Janome 6500 yesterday! I put on a binding...and I am SO impressed!

I used the walking foot that came with the machine, and I was able to use the seam guide from my Bernina to screw right up against that walking foot....it gives SUCH a nice fence to run that binding and quilt edge along..gives me a nice straight binding seam which is sometimes hard to manage when fanagling a large quilt through a machine, hefting the weight to and fro. (And yes, I also set up an ironing board at right angle to my left to help support the weight,but you know...)

So putting the binding and sleeve on the strip twist was my first task, and the machine passed with flying colors! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the knee lift, but it is going to take a while to get in the habit of using it. Same thing with the tread cutter....I have to stop and think, because I automatically want to raise the presser foot by hand,and remove the work from the machine and up and over the SIDE thread cutter (which is not where it used to be on the other machine!) Old habits die hard, you know?

Lucy wanted me to make a little video of how the thread cutter and everything works while I was piecing on a little pineapple block. So...here's the video! Some how my videoagrapher DH was not as impressed with the thread cutter as I was! Men...they just don't GET it sometimes, do they?

I also was sent this little Smile Box from the Mt Vernon VA Quilters! It's pics they took of my last workshop and lecture up there with them. What a great time we had. The colors that some ladies chose for their quilts left me drooling.

I vividly remember the burnt oranges and seafoam greens of one concoction...oh YUMMY! So that is playing in the back of my head for a future stash reduction idea. I have a LOT of greens, and they only appear here and there in my quilts. Nothing makes a dent. Maybe for St Patricks Day? Anyone want to work on something green in March? :cD (And I'm not referring to the science project at the back of your refrigerator!)

It's almost time to hit the road again. On Tuesday I leave for Statesboro Georgia! This will be a fun trip with the Staying in Stitches Quilt Guild. It's a driving trip for me which is always a pleasure. I can listen to my books on MP3...Right now I'm listening to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have read them,but now it's fun to listen because the reader is SO good with the voices.

I'll be home on Thursday!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I love Valentine's Day! It brings back memories of decorating shoe boxes and paper lunch sacks to tape on the back of our chairs in school, just wondering WHO would put WHAT into our decorated containers. Valentines was the holiday for paper lace doilies and glue and glitter. Conversation hearts (that some how tasted like soap!) and cinnamon red hot hearts.

He loves me! He loves me NOT! And will I ever know... :c)

Valentine's Day was for giggly girlfriends sharing secrets in a corner of the playground.

Valentine's Day was for heart shaped sugar cookies with thick pink frosting and red sugar sprinkles.

In my heart I'm licking envelopes stuffed with cut paper valentines,and putting one in each of your boxes, bags, or sewing baskets!

Happy Valentine's Day, from my heart to yours!

Friday, February 13, 2009

An Unlikely Combination!

I always look forward to going North East and seeing the traditional Amish way of life. My heart pounds at sightings of Amish Wash hanging on the line, buggies pulled by horses clopping down the street, kids on push bikes, girls plowing fields in the fall....these are things I think of when I think of the Amish. Big white barns, cattle waiting to be milked or brought in, manicured flower gardens. Fruit and Veggie stands. Shops with Amish made souvenirs...jams, jellies, baked goods, and of course, Quilts!

But as most North-Easterners know...winters can be cold and harsh, and while the farm lays still for the winter,and carpentry comes to a close...what is to stop an Amish family from coming SOUTH to soak up the beauty and the warmth, perhaps finding some carpentry work to do around Florida? Visiting distant relatives who have relocated? Staying with Mennonite families who open up the extra rooms in their homes for room and board?

Shouldn't all children (both young AND old?)experience the pleasure of sand squishing through toes?

Shouldn't everyone who works so hard through life experience the sun on their face,their legs, their arms before the next season of hard work comes with the spring?

Believe me, after a long hard winter, a bit of sun can do WONDERS as Tonya and I found out...look at us dipping our toes in! The water was cold, the sun was warm, the sand felt wonderful, and we let our inner children come out and play too!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sarasota, Tonya, Gwen & Me!

The trip to Florida was too fast, too furious....but we got a lot done together, plus the bonus of talking, laughing, eating fun places, visiting quilt shops, getting LOST....all those fun things you can't do by email and phone alone. Sometimes you just have to GO even if you can't take a whole week to fit it all in!

There are more pics I wish I could have taken. The first night we were dying for Indian food, but the place was closed...so we ended up at a tiny Mexican place instead. Little did I know it was "Serenade" night..they had a great guy playing guitar and singing. WONDERFUL! I had to tip him $10 he was so good. Needless to say, he sang for us more than once :c) The whole place broke into song when he played and sang "Guantanamera"

Tuesday was THE DAY. Somehow Tonya had fanagled us the whole day with Gwen Marston & her friend Betty who is hosting Gwen while Gwen is teaching in Florida. We weren't able to schedule classes with her, but the one on one time was so much better!

We showed her our quilts, especially ones with Tonya's lettering technqiues. She loved them! She really went nuts over Tonyas....it was so fun to see!

We ended up all going out to lunch at this (can you believe it?) AMISH ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET. In Florida. In the land of Margaritaville...we were at an honest to goodness Amish place. I felt like I was in Lancaster County! It's not for the light hearted mind you. We were trying to figure out why the "Lighter Side" part of the menu listed homemade noodles OVER mashed potatoes! *LOL* We all agreed that "lighter side" must refer to the COLOR or VALUE of the dish being served...*hehehe*

Next door to the restaurant was a quilt shop. Now this is the funny part...In walks this lady with a cross stitch kit quilt under one arm. I was talking to Gwen about yardage sizes she usually finds herself buying,and this lady butts in and tells Gwen (not knowing who she is of course) that if she were a TRUE QUILTER...she would buy a yard more than she thinks she needs. I about wet myself..*howling* Gwen of course, just smiled at the lady in an "Is that so?" manner and proceeded to buy one yard cuts of the fabrics she had stacked up. What a riot!

I did some damage too...I bought some 2 yard cuts, thinking I might want something for borders or setting triangles, but I really limited my purchases. I STILL feel like I have way too much and there is so little I need.

Tonya and I BOTH had brought our "out of print" Liberated Quilting books for Gwen to sign, and that was such a treat.

Yesterday was SO full....we went to the beach! It was gorgeous, you just can't believe how nice it was. The sand is the whitest sand I've ever seen. It's quartz so it doesn't get hot on your feet. The water is the most gorgeous aquamarine...

Next to the beach was a little park area, and there happened to be an "art in the park" thing going on, so we wandered booths and I found a couple trinkets to bring home with me as souvenirs.

On our way to the park from the beach, there was an Amish family headed to the beach just like everyone else,blankets and baskets of food, barefoot children in toe. It was so refreshing to see! Also, kind of out of place,but I am so glad they take the time to enjoy the beauty too. I'm sure the ladies are glad to have the black hose off their legs and some sun on their faces,healthy complexions all around! Tonya took some pics of me with them in the background, trying not to get pics of them directly..hopefully she will post the rest in the next few days. My camera screen was so reflective it was hard to see WHAT I was taking pics of in all that sunshine.

One more quilt shop, lunch...and back to the airport. We crammed as much as we could into almost 3 days full!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Florida Bound :cD

I'm off to Florida to meet up with Tonya in Sarasota for some well deserved girlfriend time! We've got some projects we are working on, and there is only so much you can do over the phone and email, you know? Flights were CHEAP...so I'm flying!

And because I'm seeing her in person, I felt ultra inspired (read that as....under the gun!) to finish this little ditty.

Tonya had sent me the L O V E letters many months ago, and I had set them aside because I didn't know how I wanted to set them. Then I started working on them...and they got set aside again. THEN they got LOST!!! Well, a few weeks ago they were found, baggied up inside another project. By this time I had started to re-make some of the letters, and what has resulted is a combination of hers and mine mixed up together.

I have decided to call this one "Love Lost, Love Found".

Jeff wanted to know why there is a purple part in the border. Did you ever have the occasion to give a 19 year old MALE a lesson on "Design Element"?? SO the next time he sees a beat up Honda on the road with one front quarter panel a different color than the rest of the car because they picked it up at a salvage yard...he'll probably tell me "Design Element!!"

The photos in the completed top don't do the colors justice. The pics of the 4 blocks are more accurate. I tried taking pics outside on the deck,but the red looks washed out and the purple isn't that color, and the pumpkin colored sashings look better than they do in the photos. But I think you'll get the idea.

No time to baste it and start quilting on it....it will have to wait for the next go round!

I'm back Wednesday night....be good! :cD

Sunday, February 08, 2009

African American Quilt Circle, Durham, NC

Dear, Dear AAQC ladies! You fill my heart with laughter and gladness and joy for living!

My time with you yesterday was so memorable. I can only hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did. I would love to come again, any time you want me!

African American Quilt Circle 2009
(The slide show doesn't include ALL the photos from yesterday, so please click the link above to view them all..I took more than the slide show could hold!)

My heart can't express in words all I wish I could say to you. Maybe that's because I'm still so full of yesterday's wonderful luncheon!! (Yes, there are pics of that in the slide show too!)

I am impressed with the overwhelming and abundant feeling of Sisterhood and close Community in your group. The welcoming of members from near and far, some who travel great distances for your meetings. And I was strengthened through watching every one in your group welcome in the new comers.

Quilters young and old, experienced and newly beginning, women teaching women. Women not only sharing the knowledge of quilting, but sharing their lives as well.

The shape of a circle itself is so symbolic of what and who you are. With no beginning, and no ending, it is eternal. It has no sharp edges or points, it is loving and kind. It is OPEN. It encompasses. The circle also places no single part of itself above any other. The circle is a symbol of Unity. I felt all of these in your midst.

Thank you so much for including me within the arms of your Circle yesterday!

Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm in Love......with Nora!!

I blame this infatuation completely on R.P. who sent the first link!

I am SO head over heels in love, I had to play it over and over....and then...this morning..I had to go watch ALL the other Nora videos. This is just the MOST precious thing...it just takes the cake! (Or the catnip as the case were)

Enjoy! I know YOU too will be in love!

I want to know why my cats can't be this talented. Well, except for Chloe of course, who can double as a Swiffer when I need her to! And then there was Ms Holly who trained herself to toilet-pee (But would never grasp the idea of flushing...)

I'm off to Durham to teach a workshop with the Durham African American Quilter's Circle. Can't wait! We are doing Scrappy Mountain Majesties, which is always a good one for using up big chunks of fabric in a quilt that looks fabulous! I'll be leaving by 6:30am so I won't be posting tomorrow..and wanted to leave you with this...

It did warm up enough to take Sadie for a nice long walk. Man, am I ever out of SHAPE! C'mon spring...It's time to get ACTIVE!

It's Friday, Dahlinks!

I had a blast yesterday sewing with Mary. She is SO fun to be around. I had the stuff from retreat last weekend still in it's bins down here in the studio, so it was really easy to load my car and hit the road. That is....AFTER I could find my CAR KEYS!

I used to lose my keys a lot. I don't know why or how...but I guess I am scatter-brained enough that I tend to set things down, and other things get set on top of them, and I go in circles trying to find things. My solution has been to have a clip on my key-ring, and I routinely clip my keys to the strap of my purse. No digging in the purse for keys...no lost keys because they are attached and I know where they are.

But since Jeff's car is broken (:c( ) We've been car sharing. 2 cars for 3 people. It's not warm enough for scooters or motorcycles, so that is out. Needless to say, keys don't get clipped back to my purse, and then I am in a frenzy. I really NEED a beeper on my keys. Like a pager? Do they have those? You could dial a number and the thing would beep and you could find them. Kind of like using the house phone to call the cell phone when I can't find where it is buried either. But that's a different adventure for a different day!

Anyhow...found keys...and off I went. My project for the day? My little pineapple blocks! They've been a start/stop project for a long while....mostly because each one has some ridiculous number like 45 pieces crammed into a 5" square. It takes over an hour for each block, but I think they are worth it. Could I do bigger blocks? Yes...but they wouldn't work with the pieces I've saved to make them with.

See these little numbers? Those little triangles in the bin are the "trimmings" from making a border for a quilt just like this leftover piece shown here. The squares I sewed on the diagonal were only 2"...so I don't usually double sew anything that small, and I save them for paper piecing mini things. The problem with my mini things, is that I usually end up wanting to make a full sized quilt out of infinitesimally small blocks. :c) I've also got the triangles I've trimmed when joining binding strips on the diagonal, and other odds and ends triangles in a box, and this is the perfect project to find a home for these precious bits. Throw in a couple hand fulls of fabric crumbs and strings, and Voila!

The GOOD thing about a project this size? It is VERY portable. A featherweight (but yes, I can't wait for that Janome 6500p to come with it's THREAD CUTTER!)and a small shoe box of scraps, and I can piece for days. It's good for a grab and go, and easy to piece away with good conversation with a friend.

As far as my fabrics go? It's anything and EVERYTHING Babes! In a conversation with Tonya the other day she said she would love me to write more about my "Garbage Can Approach" to quilt making!! *howling with laughter* I never thought about it much that way, but it is true! This is what I need...a drive up drop off recycling place....that silver one on the end is for all the pieces to come to ME! :cD

At retreat last weekend, I had a lid to a bin that was a "catch all" place for anyone's scraps to go. Mrs. Goodneedle was working on a string quilt, with all novelties and her trim offs were quickly grabbed by me to be worked in! There IS EVERYTHING her in novelties...banddaids, bugs, food items, animals, everything. Can I mix those with my civil wars and 30's and batiks and old VIP 1980's prints? Sure! Because by the time pieces are this small, it really isn't about the print of the fabric that matters. It's the color, the contrast, or the value placement. It's just light/dark with a red square in the center of the block.

Those "weird" fabrics really make the quilt FUN to look at..and you have to look close to see the funnies and know they are there. I sewed a piece of Pittsburg Steelers fabric into one block on Superbowl Sunday. Could that be why they won? Maybe! Who knows! But it's in there!

As I'm sewing along, I look at the block in progress, and in choosing the next piece I look for something interesting...maybe a color that I haven't already used yet in that block, maybe something that almost clashes with what I put it next to. I know it's a strange way to quilt, but I love working this way.

Mary had quilt trimmings from trimming up a quilt to put a binding on yesterday, and she was going to designate it to the "rat bedding" pile. I snagged that too! :cD

We sewed all day, with stopping for a yummy soup lunch. I got a whole of FIVE blocks made! See why this is a long term project? But I don't mind. How many blocks will I make? I don't know. I'll make them until I am sick of them, and see what I can do with that many :c) That's usually how projects cement themselves around here!

We left to go meet up with some of Mary's guild friends at a Chinese Wok place. Yummy. And I always eat too much even if I tell myself not to. I can't get enough of Chinese food. Much laughter over fortune cookie messages! And off to guild meeting.

One of the gals at her guild was selling these quilt racks! OH! I needed one. I had a place in the guest room I knew it would go, and it was only $45 made by a friend of the lady who was promoting them. I won't show you the "BEFORE" picture, but suffice it to say that all the quilts were stacked in a pile on the floor, and it had become a cat futon. :c| NO MORE!

All in all it was a super day. I'm off in a bit to go meet with a gal from my local guild to go over our calendars to see when my OWN guild can schedule some workshops in! Needless to say, they'll have to catch me on the fly.... ;c)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

More Shouts from Ireland!

Wow! This has been a week for Shout Outs!

I heard from Siobhan that she had seen that Quiltville's Quips & Snips was mentioned in the 2nd edition of Irish Quilting! How cool is that?

So I had to go searching for a magazine cover. Turns out Jane Weston is also listed! And I tell you, her photo shoots are much better than mine. so please follow the link to see the layout!

I'm feeling mostly better. I wish it was more than that, but I'll take it.

Today I'm going to work on a couple projects with my friend Mary at her house in Asheboro, and then do a book signing for her guild. When I presented my workshops and programs, my book hadn't been released yet..so this is kind of a replay. Impromptu but fun! We'll meet up with other friends for dinner before hand.

One of those "things" is binding my "Just Quilt It" Wonky Log Cabin that I just finished the hand quilting on while at retreat. The colors are off in these photos...really, it's more of a red/purple than a blue purple...and I hope you can see the stitching...I took the pics outside on the deck where I thought the light was better. There are fans in the center, a zig zag in the black borders (Thanks to Lucy for turning me onto the Hera marker!) and I drew freehand feathers in the large purple areas before quilting them...kind of Reverse Long Arm training I guess! If I can draw it with a quilting machine,I can draw it with a chalk pencil and hand quilt it too, right? Who woulda thought?!

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Shout Out in Quilter's Home!

That Mark Lipinski! I tell you, he keeps me in stitches! His quick wit and "Tell-It-Like-It-Is" articles that border just a tad on the irreverent side...LOVE IT!

This is the latest issue, March 2009, and I have to thank Tonya for telling me that Mark reviewed my book in this issue! I hadn't seen the issue, so she quickly scanned and sent me my part :c) Can you read it? I hope you can!

And when I say Mark tells it like it is....it's that way in his reviews too! One person's book comment was "ixnay on the booknay" OUCH!!! Another book mentioned said it had good projects if you could get past the boring cover! *LOL*

So Thank YOU, Mark..for saying the wonderful things about Scraps & Shirttails that you did!

And for those thinking I'd be posting pics of finished and bound quilts this morning...think again. I got hit by a bug or something yesterday. About mid day I was so achey I could do nothing but lay down for a nap. I couldn't get warm, it was awful. I was asleep for the night by 9pm. Hopefully it's just a 24 hour thing because I got places to go and people to see and things to do.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Asheboro for a day with my friend Mary, and a book signing later that evening at her guild.

Saturday I'm off to Durham to teach a workshop for the African American Quilter's guild. I love these ladies! What a hoot!

Monday I'm off to FL for a couple days.

I do NOT....repeat....DO NOT...have time to be SICK!!

So there.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's a backing!!!

Yes, I really DID turn that pile of odd fabric pieces and older FQs I wanted to clear out into a backing for the Strip Twist! And you know what? It didn't turn out half bad! I think it will quilt up interestingly enough. But the best part is that I annihilated 7 to 8 yards of fabric out of the stash! GONE!

And as the retreat gals from last weekend would agree, this is definitely something that deserves a big Earth Wind & Fire YAAAAAOOOOOOWWW!!! :cD


Monday, February 02, 2009

Today in Charlotte....

I have to tell you about my annoying day.

For a long time now I've been researching domestic sewing machines because I really want to find one with some features that I'd love to have. My main machine is a Bernina 1080 and I love her. She's been good to me. I have several vintage babies and they are fun, each have their own quirks and personalities.

For a few trips now, I've stayed with people who have either the Janome 6500p or the 6600p and I've tried them out.

But try to find one here in Winston? No way. The guy here kept saying that it was the same as this Elna he had...but it was missing what I really REALLY want in this machine...a push button thread cutter. Do I need to spend this much money on just a thread cutter? Well, yes I do.

If you love paper piecing as much as I do, you will understand that it is a pain in the Patootie to be paper piecing on something that you can't do "chain piecing" on...you grab the long thread tails to get them out of the way, and then sew..oh..maybe an INCH or two at most...and then have to whip that paper out from under the presser foot, leaving long tails again, and have to trim four threads, two beginning top and bottom and two ending top and bottom, before you can press and add the next piece. It's a PAIN! All those wasted 3" long tails of thread...everywhere..ugh.

So...I've been researching these.

Today I made a call to a shop in Charlotte who said yes, they had a 6600p and quoted me the price, and it was reasonable, so off I went in my trusty vehicle and drove 90 miles to go look at this thing.

From the MOMENT I walked into that shop....it was a bait and switch! (GRRRRRR)

I told him I was the one who called from Winston and I'd like to see the 6600p.

He said "oh you don't want that, we have something better...have you seen the pfaff? have you seen this, that, the other?" Well yes, but they were all about $1000 more than I wanted to spend.

He talked DOWN that 6600p up one side and down the other, telling ME what I wanted, what I needed and what I could get on any other machine. (Are you feeling my frustration?)

He left me stranded several times while he went to go tackle something else. While he was helping a lady with a load of school machines, I just nearly picked up my purse and left the store.

He told me the machine was $1300 which was a good price. I asked how much the freestanding table it was in was...and he said $500. (ouch!)

I asked about the difference between the 6500 and the 6600, which was the dual feed thingy. I know people who have that love it. I've never needed it because I've never had trouble controling my patchwork on my Bernina, and I didn't like the big humongous foot that goes with that dual feed thing.

Besides that, I was just NOT going to give this man my business no matter if his machine rolled over and begged for me to take it home. So I left.

On the way home I called a few friends who had either machine and talked to them more about it. One loves her dual feed. Another said she barely uses it unless she is putting on a binding. Another who doesn't HAVE the dual feed says she just uses an add on walking foot when she needs it and it is fine for her (Which is what I"ve done with my Bernie all along)

I was still so fumed I needed to calm myself so I pulled over at the nearest Antique Mall off the interstate. :cD It worked! I wandered, I pondered....I bought a red ceramic apple cookie jar just like my Grannie had, a 1955 framed printing of the Serenity Prayer (how apropos, huh?? *LOL*) a hooked rug for the guest room that will go at the end of the bed, a red scotch plaid thermos lunch box that reminds me of the lunch box I had in 2nd grade (Hey, it was only $2.00...cheap therapy!) and a hooked chair pad for the kitchen desk chair.

I came home...looked up sites online...and found myself a 6500p with a table included! No Sales Tax...Free Shipping...no Bait and Switch, just a nice email that said "Thank You for Your Order" and I am done. The table only added $260 to the price of the machine instead of an additional $500.

I feel vindicated.

I feel like calling this Bozo in Charlotte and telling him what he missed out on because of his crappy salesmanship techniques. But mostly I feel it isn't worth the effort, and if he hasn't figured it out by now, he never will, so why should I bother?

So now I am eagerly awaiting my 6500p so that I can paper piece these pineapple babies and cut the threads as I go and lift the presser foot with the knee lift (which I have never had) All while it is flush in it's own little table.....and justify that it really didn't add THAT much to the expense of this quilt because it was all scraps to begin with,right?

PS..so many have asked me where I ordered the machine and table together. I got it from SewingMachinesPlus.com Tell them Bonnie from Quiltville sent you!