Back in February when Moda announced their Bella Solids Challenge, I immediately knew I wanted to participate. I had a rough idea come to me, which I sketched out, then got to work. The colors they chose were a real challenge…. more so than coming up with an original idea. They are SO bright and not my normal style (there’s no pink or aqua and definitely orange, yellow, red, purple, and lime green).
The parameters for the competition were to create a modern, 72″ x 90″ finished quilt, using all 12 colors in an original design. I have always loved the Dutchman’s Puzzle traditional quilt block. I love it even more because my husband’s family has a huge Dutch heritage on both sides. I wanted to do a spin on the Dutchman’s Puzzle block and make a minimal quilt. Nothing feels more Modern to me than a minimalistic quilt. It takes a huge amount of restraint to go minimal. It is so much easier to overdo things than to hold back.
In this quilt, which I named Dutchman’s Dilemma, there are several iterations of the Dutchman’s puzzle block with some elements omitted. I am so proud of this quilt, even though it did not win. I had Marion McClellan quilt this in a “graffiti” style to help add movement and fill in the blank space that I intentionally left knowing Marion would fill it in with amazing motifs. She blew me away. Some have asked if I’ll choose to enter a competition of this kind again. At this point, I am not sure. It was a process that caused me to grow, but also was really hard to get the box of shame back in the mail. For now, I’m glad I participated and hope to make this quilt again out of fabrics of my choosing and maybe release a pattern for it in the future.
When I purchased my Juki TL-2000 Qi, I was told by soooo many people that I would never, ever have the need to service it. This was a huge selling point for me. Here’s the back story behind that. I took my Husqvarna Viking in to be serviced at a “vacuum & sewing machine” repair shop. WHYYYYY did nobody stop me?? In fact, when I asked on Instagram where people in my area take their machines to be serviced, the exact place I went was recommended. My machine came back dripping in oil and functioning very differently, and not in a good way. When I started looking into a new machine a few months later, I knew I wanted something that would require less maintenance and the magical “no service required ever” promise sounded so enticing.
Fast forward to now, about a year and a half after having purchased my Juki. I started having occasional hiccups and wondered if I needed to find someone to look at it. I kept pushing that thought aside because I should “never” have to service my machine. I have literally sewn hundreds of hours on this bad boy and of course it will need to be serviced when it’s being used that heavily. I quilt my own quilts, I piece lots of tops, I sew zippers, I do EVERYTHING I can on this machine. Naturally it needs some love and care. In case you fall in the same boat that I was in (the I was told I’d never have to service my Juki boat), I thought I’d give a few tips for not only what signs your machine might give you that it’s time for some love as well as how to find a good place to take it.
SIGNS YOUR JUKI NEEDS CARE:
- repeating tension issues- I started getting random rats nests that were not reproducible nor easily fixed. It seemed like I just had to sew and sew and sew and eventually it would work itself out. For awhile……
- it just doesn’t sound as happy as it once did – this is hard to explain, but you know exactly what I’m saying if you’re having similar concerns
- your needle is hitting your bobbin case
- you can’t switch back and forth between free motion quilting and straight line sewing without tension issues
- you are diligent at oiling and cleaning, yet things still don’t feel right
- skipped stitches – I’m not just talking about needing to change a needle, because this also happens when a needle needs to be changed.
When I got the report back from getting my Juki serviced, the technician had to not only fix the timing, but also rebuild the tension. These are not tiny issues and make sense why I was having so many issues.
WHERE TO TAKE YOUR JUKI:
- DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, take your beloved machine to just any vacuum and sewing repair shop.
- Ideally, find a Juki dealer near you and have them service it. If they sell it, they should be able to fix it.
- If you do not have a Juki dealer close to you, find another shop that sells LEGIT brands of sewing machines (I’m not talking about ones you can buy at Walmart). Be sure to call and talk to them first to see if they can service a Juki. Most shops will, but it’s always best to double check.
A sewing machine is a huge investment, as we all know, and every once in awhile needs some attention. If you are feeling like your machine just isn’t up to snuff any more, invest in its future and have it serviced!!
Who doesn’t love a good plus sign quilt? I know they are one of my very favorite things to make and I couldn’t be more excited to share this Fat Quarter Cobblestone quilt in Berry Merry by Basic Grey for Moda Fabrics. The quilt blocks are large enough to fully enjoy these adorable prints. This short cut version uses 25 fat quarters and zero background fabric. It is a great bundle buster! Sometimes the hardest part of finally opening that favorite fat quarter bundle is having a quilt in mind that will showcase the treasured fabrics instead of cut them into tiny pieces. To get the FREE pattern, visit Fat Quarter Shop’s blog, The Jolly Jabber. Don’t they look like chubby plus signs?!? They are so cute!
For my version, I decided to try my hand at free motion quilting a holly and berries motif. It took a little bit of practice, but I’m very proud of the way it turned out. I settled on a red thread color because if I’m going to take the time to FMQ, I like to be able to see it! Make sure to check out the other size options in the pattern as well, including a cute baby sized quilt!