February 2018: Keep those machines happy

Guest speaker

Adam ArdFor our February membership meeting, we welcomed Adam Ard who repairs sewing machines for Studio Stitch in Greensboro. Adam shared tips about sewing machine maintenance and techniques to keep your machine clean and running smoothly. He discussed routine steps we should take such as:

  • Cleaning the bobbin hook regularly with a toothpick.
  • The importance of oil (clear, not yellow!) – using increased noise as a reminder it’s time for oil. Running the machine on a scrap with a satin stitch until no more oil is visible is a good way to insure no oil on projects.
  • Removing the throat plate and cleaning accumulated lint from the feed dogs – if it looks like felt, it’s not and should not be there!
  • Using knob to adjust top tension instead of adjusting bobbin tension since even one quarter of a turn with that tiny screwdriver can throw things off by a lot.
  • Not letting would-be helpers (husbands, engineers, etc.) touch your machine since little adjustments by someone who is not knowledgeable can cause problems.
  • Changing needles regularly and using the right type and size for the job at hand. If a needle hits anything metal, change it right away. He likes Schmetz needles and says titanium ones last twice as long. His default is a 90 sharp, and for those of us who don’t think in metric, here is a handy needle size conversion chart and a guide to Schmetz needles (sizes and color codes).
  • Avoiding invisible thread that has thread memory and curls up and wraps around things – and is hard to see as well. He is a fan of Mettler threads.
  • When using specialty threads like metallics, if thread conditioner is needed, only use it on the top thread and try to always run nonspecialty thread in the bobbin.

Adam recommends an annual service to find problems we don’t even know exist, and in his service, he takes machine apart and cleans and oils as needed. He cited tension and timing as typical problems he is able to adjust. He said servicing is perhaps even more important on computerized machines because replacing circuit boards that are damaged by dust can be very expensive.

Adam services all major brands, and he says he’s especially good with sergers and recommends regular service for those; he does not recommend a practice many of us use of tying knots when we change thread colors on a serger; instead, he strongly recommends rethreading regularly – from scratch, and that often people bring in sergers where the major problem was resolved by his replacing the needle and rethreading the machine.

The cost of Adam’s service runs from $80 for a Featherweight up to $120 for a longarm (and yes, he does house calls for those larger machines). Adam can be reached at adard.5000@gmail.com, and if you drop your machine off at Studio Stitch before the end of March and mention the guild, Adam is offering 10% off on service. Remember when you take a machine in for service to include power cord and foot pedal as well as needles if your machine uses specialty ones.

Finally, check out this article on spring cleaning for your sewing machine.

New members and guests

We were pleased to welcome four new members – Helen who has actually been with us in the past and her daughter-in-law Lisa as well as Bonnie and Patty who were invited by Ilona. We also welcomed Julie as a guest who was invited by Sylvia whom she met for the first time at the meeting! Lots of connections were made between new members and “old” alike as people recognized others – many new friends and friends of friends as we grow.

Committee reports/announcements

  • Ann gave a treasurer’s report – watch for details in the board meeting minutes.
  • Barbara welcomed suggestions and additions to the newsletter or website. She will email everyone a call for newsletter items and a deadline in advance each month. A suggestion was made that all committee chairs send reports to Barbara to go in the newsletter.
  • Miranda talked about charity sewingNALES being our charity for this year, and our upcoming charity sew day on Saturday from 10-4 at the church. Bring your machine and Miranda will have patterns and donated fabric if you don’t already have a project. Fabric donations are still welcome. Her goal is for us to donate at least 12 quilts to NALES – 4′ x 5′ in size.
  • Lisa R. discussed several items including
    • Fall retreat planned at Haw River State Park – dates are October 25-28 – arrive Thursday and stay through Sunday morning. Lisa needs to hear from you ASAP if you want to participate since she has to give the park a deposit by March 7th to guarantee they hold our space. Even if you can just go during the day and not stay overnight, Lisa needs to know since the staff needs at least ten people eating each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Please get your deposit checks to Lisa and/or contact her for additional information and to make your commitment. Thanks to Lisa for all the work she does making these arrangements, and let’s relieve her stress by getting those commitments and deposits to her.
    • Capital Quilters show – March 16-18 at Kerr Scott building at state fairgrounds. This is one of our last show opportunities to sell tickets for our current raffle quilt before the drawing on April 5th at Uncle Eli’s. Lisa would appreciate help from others in attending those three days to sell tickets AND enjoy the show and vendors. You can sign up online (members-only section) or contact Lisa if you’d like to go/carpool.
    • Cat rescue fabrics available for members to take home and fill with (cotton) scraps. Lisa delivers completed pillows to Sparkle Cat Rescue.
    • Members we need to remember who have been ill including Maxine, Frances, and Vernett. Lisa sends cards and good wishes and encouraged others to do the same.
  • Pam reminded everyone of the availability of guild t-shirts. You can indicate your size and quantity using the t-shirt order form where you will also find the cost of shirts. Bring cash or check and give it to Pam who will order a batch of shirts once she has at least ten requested and prepaid.
  • Teresa briefly discussed next month’s meeting program at which she will share landscape quilts she has made and talk in more detail about the March 24th Saturday workshop she will teach. She said batiks work well for earth, green (hills, trees), sky (blue unless you want night or cloudy), and she indicated not a lot of fabric is needed – fat quarters work well. There will be a $20 charge for the Saturday workshop, and Teresa will donate that money to the guild. Check the upcoming newsletter for more details and a materials list from Teresa.
  • Amy discussed March’s monthly block challenge – any 12 1/2″ block using a flower pattern, bright colors and white or white-on-white background. See Block of Month sign-up sheet in the members-only section for details and a a few sample patterns.

Raffle Quilt 2018

Sheila took some time to share ideas and a possible design for our next raffle quilt. At the December 2016 meeting, members brought batik fabrics in autumn colors for a rip-it game and returned to the January 2017 meeting with sewn 9-patch blocks that Sheila took home. Sheila has been working on various ways to use them for our next raffle quilt. See photos of the blocks and proposed design. Sheila also announced we need to have a field trip to Batiks Etc. where we can shop sale fabrics, eat, and shop some more.

President’s challenges

Fab O Matic washerSheila reminded everyone of her two challenges for 2018. She distributed sheets so members could list their UFOs (unfinished objects) they hope to tackle this year.

For the second challenge, members brought “ugly” fabric samples to the meeting, and upon arrival, dropped them into Sheila’s hilarious and creative washing machine. Then everyone had the “pleasure” of reaching in to retrieve an ugly fabric to take home. The challenge from Sheila is for each person by September to make a charity quilt that incorporates at least 6″ of the ugly fabric. Check out photos of members with their ugly fabrics – the looks on some people’s faces tell it all!

And the winner is…

Ann L. took home 19 blocks (plus an extra green one still to come from absent Penny) that were created for the February block challenge – blocks for an All Roads quilt designed by Angela Walters. See photos of blocks from all of our monthly challenges.

Barbara  won the nametag drawing – two fat quarter bundles and a quilting magazine.

Show and tell

Several members shared beautiful projects. Pam shared two quilts she pieced that Sheila quilted for her. The first was inspired by a Kaffe Fassett book Barbara won at a nametag drawing. The second one uses fabric from Riley Blake’s Knock on Wood collection. Her final quilt, a quarter log cabin design, resulted from a class taught by Barbara James as part of Alamance PieceMakers’ recent quilt show, and Pam quilted it herself.

Sheila shared a bug quilt she made for her grandson, and Helen D. shared a wall hanging she made for a friend she goes to the beach with.

Finally Amy shared her first completed top and asked for suggestions about how to have it quilted. It was late in the evening by that point, and folks were tired, but perhaps we can post a list of longarm quilters on our website as a resource. Please contact Barbara if you have quilters we could list for members to use.

Amy followed Bonnie Hunter’s “On Ringo’s Lake” Mystery that is now available as an On Ringo Lake pattern. Congratulations to Amy on her beautiful pieced top – with lots of pieces!

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