Work-not-in-Progress Wednesday (plus Birthday! plus Giveaway!)

Work NOT in progress? Yeah. Well. You may have forgotten, but back in March I got my hands on a Juki straight stitch sewing machine. Which wouldn’t work for me. It took me half an age, but I finally took it in to a sewing machine repair shop in mid-July to have it looked at. I’m not honestly sure what they did with it – the feed dog lowering mechanism was broken so they repaired that and they got it stitching again, but it didn’t seem as if they needed any parts to get it working again. They did charge me for (and sent me home with) a packet of specialty needles, which I’d read in the manual that it needed, but which I didn’t know if I was using (because I just used a needle from one of the packets that the former machine owner had stashed in the ziploc baggy full of spare machine parts). So maybe it was as simple as swapping the needle!

In any case, I brought the machine home and I sewed an entire quilt top on it and it was great and running smoothly and happily and I was impressed and pleased and all things wonderful and good. Until I switched to a new project, which was going to be a quilt from John Q Adams/Quilt Dad‘s Beyond Neutral quilt book (not an affiliate link). It’s using all that green fabric I showed off on Sunday and 5 yards of a blue I’d bought for something, which it turned out not to work with, and I was really excited to get working on it. Until something weird started happening:

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I started getting runs in my fabric. It’s just like when you catch a toenail on a pair of stockings and suddenly there’s a run up the side of your leg, except it’s my fabric that’s being ruined! My exciting new project!

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Looking at it from the reverse, it looks like the needle is catching a single strand of thread on the fabric, pulling it through to the back (the biggest loop here is the pale blue you’re seeing the wrong side of in the top photo), thus pulling a run into the fabric. In fact, all those little loops of whitish looking thread are blue from the front. It’s not just ruining one of the fabrics, though, it’s ruining both layers — all the fuzzy looking blue blobs are bits from the bottom layer of fabric (bottom when it’s run through the machine, top when you’re looking at it above), which are pulling runs into the bottom as well.

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I think this is the worst one I had — it pulled the thread through so far that it pleated/puckered the fabric!

My only real thought as to the cause is that there must be some kind of flaw in the needle, maybe some kind of rough spot that is catching the fabric on the way by and causing the runs in the fabrics. It’s the same needle I used to sew the aforementioned quilt top (which you can see in my Instagram stream or can wait to see when I finally get it quilted) and it didn’t cause any problems then, but it seems (to me) the most likely cause. Feel free to prove me wrong, though! I tried to do a google search on the subject, but I didn’t really find any suggestions or answers!

In any case, since I have no work in progress to show you, I might just as well jump on to the next part of today’s post: it’s my birthday!

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And birthday’s mean giveaways around here! Last Sunday I talked about buying a nice big stack of (kinda sorta) peridot coloured fabrics from Mad About Patchwork and some of that bounty of greens could be yours… or possibly better yet (I dunno… maybe you hate green?), you could pick out your own fabrics to celebrate my birthday!

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(The very lovely) Pam at Mad About Patchwork is sharing a $50 gift certificate with one of you to help me celebrate! Just think what you could do with $50 at a fabric shop….

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You could pick up a kit for Lorna McMahon‘s adorable Fox & Friends quilt pattern.

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Or you could pick up a Chasing Fireflies curated bundle of Fat Quarters.

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Or you could curate your own bundle, as I did with my collection of greens (though, admittedly, I did also pick up a green stash bundle to round out my choices.

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Or you could save it for a little while (yeah, right!) and pick up something from the coming soon section, like this Kate Spain Horizon jelly roll. In any case… I don’t think anyone would have too many problems finding a way to drop $50 at a shop like this one!

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I haven’t been flashing this green around for nothing, though, because if you don’t happen to win the gift certificate, you might just win a Fat Eighth bundle of all 18 fabrics that I picked up from my last virtual shopping trip at Mad About Patchwork. (They’re all approximate cuts, by the by. I took the super scientific approach of not pressing the fabric and then just cutting them up the fold line in the middle, so they’re… approximate.) I don’t know what you’ll do with them, but my brain flashed through a dozen options before settling down on the pattern I mentioned above. Green is awesome – you can do something fresh and spring-like with leaves or trees or you could add reds and go holiday or add a bunch of blues for a more soothing watery palette or add purple for something floral and vibrant…

So if you want to enter: please leave a comment below. Maybe tell me about your birthstone and if you like it (or don’t) or (if you read my Sunday Stash post) about your favourite gemstone for jewellery or about your favourite famous piece of jewellery. (Yeah, okay. So I’m not a very girly-girl, but among my favourite blogs are From Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault and The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, which I mostly only like when they’re talking about jewels. I’m not a jewellery person, but I do like to look at all the amazing sparklies locked up in the royal jewel vaults of various European houses.) Or maybe you could tell me about the kind of day you’re having – I’m writing this post a day ahead, but I can almost certainly guarantee I’m at work and grumpy about it while most of you are reading this. I was supposed to be on vacation this week, but my back-up broke her foot and is off work, so I had to cancel and… well, I’m a little bitter about it! Maybe you could tell me about your up-coming weekend. I think I’m going to go check out the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaentology, which I haven’t been to in years (and years and years…). In any case, the point of all this: leave a comment. I WILL NOT count your comment if you only say “thanks for the chance” or anything along those lines – I’d like to hear something a bit more interesting than that! You don’t have to wow me with your witty repartee, I’d just like something more interesting to read!

I will draw the winners on Tuesday, September 2, so enter sometime before then! (Or anyway, sometime before I come home from work that day. I usually get home around 3:30 pm MST.) The first name drawn will win the gift certificate (unless you’d prefer to win the fabric bundle, in which case: say so in your comment!) and the second name will win the fabric.

A very, very special thank you to Pam for providing the gift certificate (and for always providing me with the sweet, sweet hits of fabric that I sometimes need to get me through a crappy week like this one, when I’m meant to be on holiday but am not).

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And finally, finally… linking up with Lorna’s Let’s Bee Social, The Needle and Thread Network, and finally Work in Progress Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Sew Fresh Quilts
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WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced