Welcome !

Welcome to Made Down South! Thanks for stopping by to see what I'm up to. This blog serves as my review of projects accomplished since I have way too many that are halfway done. I also tend to have so many urgent ideas where I simply have stop all else to work on the newest thing. So, this blog will show all the ideas that actually get made into stuff! Some of that stuff is available for sale at our etsy shop, Down South Designs.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Learning to love my Bernina 750QE Lesson 1

This past month, my Bernina 750 and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary.  It's been an up and down experience to say the least.  Since I am still sane, I feel the need to document this journey and share my discoveries with other owners of this persnickety Princess.  I entered this relationship with a strong desire to utilize the machine for piecing quilts, machine applique and machine quilting with the BSR for free motion quilting.  Not the least bit interested in the embroidery options for now, even though that is a fantastic perk.  I was accustomed to piecing quilts on my two Janomes, which, I have come to realize, were true workhorses.  No muss, no fuss, they performed when asked with no whining and no tantrums.  The Princess was not so amiable but I finally figured out her mood swings.   I sew just about every single day since I am an avid quilter and have an active Etsy shop which I will shamelessly promote here....Down South Designs.  Hey, just keeping it real.  Anywho, I need my machine to dependably work at my beck and call.

Discovery #1  She gets very cranky when asked to switch from quilting mode to piecing mode.  Actually, any change in function seems to put her in a bit of a tizzy.  My solution is to rethread and give her insides a quick swab with a q tip.  Just an itty bit of dust and debris can upset her delicate system. Always, always offer her a sip of Bernina Oil to refresh her.  I find that any little bit of lubrication helps with the transition mode.  Sometimes, it amazes me how thirsty she is!! I just keeping dropping in the oil drops until it floats on the surface for a just a second before suctioning down the opening. 7-9 drops is not unusual.  But here's the catch.  She spits back up some oil in the next 20 stitches or so!  Be sure to stitch on a test sample and learn from my mistakes!

Discovery #2  No walking foot needed =  incredibly bad stitches without the Dual Feed attachment engaged.  I honestly don't know why, but that's the truth!  I've noticed it more on the straight stitch but there is a difference in quality of special stitches as well.  So what?  At least there is an easy answer to this problem!  Just pull down the dual feed and engage. It certainly doesn't get in the way or obstruct my view.

Discovery #3  There is a hiding spot for lint balls.  We all know they obvious spots to clean out the lint monsters that can weave themselves into substantial mass while we are happily stitching away.  After cleaning the feed dogs and nooks and crannies under the stitch plate, take a look down below in the bobbin area,  I usually see a small lint build up in the bobbin case area, but it's worth cleaning the case surround area anyway since she is so delicately balanced.  Take the time to remove the metal bobbin case and peer into the mechanism that turns the bobbin case.  That is always the answer to continuing thread problems for my machine.  When nothing else has worked, I check this little spot and always find a furr ball, or, rather, a lint ball, caught behind the mechanism.  I have to use a stilletto or fine sharp pointed tweezers to remove the little booger! I hope this pic helps you to
locate the exact spot.

More discoveries to follow, I'm quite sure!

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekly recap in Sewing Studio

I rearranged my studio to get a better workspace flow.  I'm inspired now!  Finishing the last bit of binding on my great niece's PINK quilt.  I combined pink with black, white, gray and a dash of orange. The reverse side is improv pieced from scraps and stash.  I'm hoping for double duty for this quilt.  Using front for her preteen years and the hip improv back side for her teenage years.  We'll see if all goes as planned!

Production hit a frenzied pace when I got 3 Etsy orders within 24 hours for Down South Designs. Two were from brides facing a quick deadline, so I really had to kick it in gear.  Here is pic of the "Dollar Dance Bag" which I always love to make even though sewing burlap is messy!  I also turned out 8 bridal clutch purses in 1 day, new record!! The 3rd order was for an finished item in stock, so I was relieved to see that!                                                                                                               I'm also working on the final decorative quilting for a bride's wedding quilt.  She sent me her dress and wedding party stuff which I promptly cut into little pieces.  Yikes!  It's turning out well but I will think carefully before committing to working with satin again.  That fabric is a challenge to say the least!

Friday, May 16, 2014

First timer at Blogger's Quilt Festival

Link up to Quilt Blogger's Festival at Amy's Creative Side to see all the good stuff!  Here's my quilt entry in the Small Quilt category. It's 42' x  54", all cotton, and machine stitched on Bernina 750QE.                                
I call it Red Cross Love.


It's symbolic to me of all of the big corporate organizations, like American Red Cross and Salvation Army, that come through during disastrous events to help those in need. I chose to use a few scrappy cross blocks to remind me that those mega corporations, while not perfect, can provide the essential structure and guidance needed in time of catastrophe to help those scraps of community volunteers work effectively.   I experienced both sides when 2 deadly hurricanes hit Louisiana in 2005. My local community and church hosted and cared for hundreds who had evacuated New Orleans in the first hurricane named Katrina.   A few weeks later, a double whammy.  The mega Hurricane Rita headed our way and devastated my hometown and many others in the southwest corner of Louisiana.  My family evacuated and we ended up in Tennessee. I couldn't believe there were help centers set up there in the Smoky Mountain area for LA hurricane refugees.  Instead of us helping someone in need, we were being served. It was humbling yet so reassuring.  It won't surprise you that I even met quilters there and was invited to many enjoyable sessions of quilting on an old fashioned frame with like-minded women.  It was a healing time.   And now you know why I put hand stitching on those crosses.

happy stitching, 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Red Cross love quilt

Binding is the finishing stage and that should make me happy right? But, nooooooo, I drag out this phase and tend to delay it as long as possible. Hence, torture followed by pure joy. So I am setting myself a goal for my beloved Red Cross quilt. I want to enter it in Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side. My deadline is May 16th and the size is only 40ish x 50ish so I think I can do this. I will do this. I will do this.

I really don't care for the way my machine quilting turned out. Despite many needle changes, all the stitches look wonky on these white on white background fabrics. Kinda like the needle left a hole punched through the fabric. The quilting lines are not even close to straight but I like to think that lends to the charm of the quilt. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it) My absolute favorite part of the quilt is the hand stitching in the red crosses. I used embroidery floss and big stitches to give it substantial texture.

I have a nice little backstory about this quilt which I will share in the post for the actual quilt entry. Until then, happy stitching!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

One Block Baby Quilt: X Marks the Spot

It's strange how inspiration strikes.  I was recently reminded of my children's toddler days and our experiences with "time out".  It wasn't always easy to find the perfect time out location where you could supervise the little prisoner. If only I had one of these back then, I could have tossed down the quilt in a convenient spot and ordered them to sit in time out for a couple of minutes.  X marks the spot. Stay on the X.  Now who wouldn't understand that?  HA!

I designed this by using a basic 9 patch block set on point. I used solid gray and solid buttery yellow for this 40" square quilt. I jazzed it up with a bold polka dot on back and soft aqua stripe on the binding.  I love how this one block quilt turned out and plan to try it in other color combinations.