Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I was so close to finishing the quilting on my wall hanging, when my sewing machine suddenly locked up.  I manually eased it forward, pulled out the quilt, removed the walking foot and needle, and gently pushed the pedal.  Lots of rattling; occasional sticking.  Everything looked fine from the top, but when I removed the bottom panel, a small pile of black shards fell to the floor.  Closer inspection revealed a stripped gear - the black shards had once been the gear's teeth.  I was surprised the feed dogs had been moving at all.

Just look at that toothless wonder

Well, at least it's no secret what's wrong (to my chagrin and gnashing of my teeth).  The repair guy isn't going to have to search for the problem.  Google tells me the part is inexpensive - so the big unknown is how hard it will be to install.  Fingers crossed!  In the meantime, four quilts are on hold.  I'm dying to show off my latest work and had planned to submit it to the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I was sprinting to the finish and now have no choice but to sit back and be patient.  Humph.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quietly Quilting

I've started sewing a series of quilts that have been in the planning stages for months.  I can't show much until they're finished and gifted, but I'm sharing what I can.  I am so excited to finally see them come together.

The material is three different weights and it's been a challenge sewing them.  Usually all my fabric is the same weight and weave.  These quilts have some normal quilting cotton, a very light cotton and lastly, a lightweight velvet.  The lightweight cotton doesn't keep it's shape; the velvet's nap is killing me.  It crawls all over, even when using a walking foot.  I hand basted several pieces together in an effort to have my pieces stay put.  Ack!

I considered abandoning the velvet (twice), but it looks so good in the overall design.  So I said bad words and ripped seams nearly as fast as I stitched the pieces together.  It's all together and looks wonderful.  The first two are sandwiched, the third is pieced and the last one is starting to come together.  It's like reading a good book:  I just can't get through it fast enough, there's not enough hours in the day!  I love it when I'm inspired.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Piggy Picture Mug

One of my favorite tea mugs got a big chip on the rim.  Sadness.  I had checked out a few guinea pig mugs online to replace it, but hadn't found one I liked.  Then, a couple of weeks ago tinyprints offered a terrific deal on mugs (free small mug or $4 big one).  I decided to design my own.

It arrived late last week.  Isn't it cute?  I'm really pleased with the color and quality.  I wanted to stuff photos of all of my guinea pigs on it, but there wasn't enough room.  So I opted for the best pictures of my most recent sows.  

Ah.  Tea and pigs.  It makes me smile.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marimekko Cozy Giveaway

I recently received a pair of cozy sacks from CavyMadness.  Pinniped and Cannoli already have a large supply, so I thought I would share these with my readers.  Just in time for the cooler weather.

I am giving away a pair of CavyMadness Marimekko print cozies.  These are wider than most of my cozies - 12.5" and 13.5" wide, and each is 12" deep.  So if your pigs are willing to share, there's room for two.  Since there are two cozies, there's two chances to win!

To enter:  leave a comment here (be sure you are not a no-reply blogger, or include your email address in the comment) or on the CavyMadness Facebook page.  Indicate which of your pigs would love these cozies, and if they would prefer the striped or polka-dot cozy (or no preference).  I will be pulling one winner from the blog, the other from Facebook - so comment in both places and increase your chances to win.  This drawing closes on Friday, October 10th at 12pm EDT.  Congrats to Jack, Little Pig and Truffle - the winners of the two cozies!

I have had difficulty contacting winners on Facebook.  Please leave your email in the comments or check back after 12pm on October 10th - I will reply to the winner's comments.  If I cannot successfully contact the winner within 24 hours, I will randomly draw another name.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Scrappy String Pillow

Yay!  Finally it's done.  I hope the next pillow I make goes a lot quicker than this one.  I simply stitched the edges together, without cord or other trim.  I wasn't sure how the two patterns would look when it was all put together.  The edges match up nicely, though.  The points on the front and the back lined up and the colors all went together.

It's like having two pillows in one.  It certainly brightens up my sofa!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Freemotion Practice

Look!  Look!  Many mistakes and a few puckers later, I've successfully freemotion quilted my pillow tops.  I practiced several different patterns on the first one, which was the roughest.  I've never tried anything but stippling before.  The shadowed lines weren't too bad.  Pebbles were a lot harder than the video I watched.  I'm not thrilled with them, but they actually don't look bad.  Stitching on patterned fabric with a similar colored thread was hard to see.  I learned so much!  The back looked really cool (but I forgot to take a photo of it).

It was much easier to stitch the white on white on the second piece - I could see what I was sewing.  I'm really happy with the whole effect on this side of the pillow.  I was much more comfortable with the quilting; the stitching was even and I didn't pull the bobbin thread too tight.  I felt like a little kid that successfully colored inside the lines.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sneaky Probiotics

Banana-and-Probiotic Sandwich
Giving medications to a guinea pig can be difficult, especially if they're pills or powders.  It's been a while since I've tried to give Pinniped powdered probiotic and I had forgotten how I normally gave it to her.  I tried sprinkling it on some green pepper.  That was a mistake!  She ate around the edges and kept pawing at it, clearly unhappy with it.  I'm sure she'd have made faces if she could.  I eventually washed off the probiotic, and she wolfed down what was left of the pepper.

Rob reminded me that I usually hid the probiotic in a bit of banana.  Banana should only be fed sparingly to guinea pigs, but it is a wonderful medium for hiding pills and powders.  It worked great for Willow's shilintong... until she realized that banana shouldn't be crunchy.  She was very deft at eating all the banana and spitting out the shilintong.  Bad pig!

However, Pinni isn't so discerning.  Probiotic powder wedged between two thin slices of banana quickly disappears.  I'm not sure if the banana flavor overwhelms the probiotic, or if it's because she eats it too quickly to notice.  Doesn't matter - it works for me!