quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Quilt WIP and Donald’s Luthier Blog

It’s been so long, I don’t remember where I was with this project, the last time I blogged about it!  

A while ago, I made some oversized string-pieced stars.  I wanted to do string-piecing on the treadle, without having to think too much about it.  I just used whatever was in my “every color”/”busy multicolor” bag of strings, with a few more solid strings pulled in, here and there, to supplement the variety.  

The strings were much fun to sew on the Minnesota, and then I took them to the modern sewing machine to make half-square triangles by pairing the string squares with solid white.  Still fun, but not as much fun as the string-piecing, to be honest!  I stalled out.  For months, I had three of the four blocks finished, and pieces for the fourth block moping around on the design wall… 

Sometime after the start of the new year, I decided it was tine to get this project off my to-do list.  I finished the fourth block, joined them all (with plain white sashing and border), then added string-pieced strips to the top and bottom.  With a pieced backing (using up more flannel from the stash), I was finally ready to do the quilting!  

(Here it is at an earlier phase…)

I was expecting to have to do jury duty this week (and next), but I went in on Monday morning, only to be told that we’ve been “released” for the day.  When I called to learn if I needed to return on Tuesday, the message indicated that we were not needed for the rest of the week, so I’m free as a bird!  (A bird who has to call in on Friday evening to find out whether or not it needs to go back, next Monday…)  Anyway!  Free time!  The perfect opportunity to try to do some quilting!

It got off to a slightly rocky start.  (Doesn’t it always?!)  I fixed the first problem easily enough.  (Missed one of the loops when I was threading it, or the thread had popped out.  Funny how much difference just one missed tension loop can make!)  

The next problem was more difficult.  It was working fine most of the time, but then missing several stitches at a time when I was trying to do a curve or swirl.  There are so many potential causes for skipped stitches…  I was frustrated, by this point, and it felt like a needle-in-the-haystack situation in the making, so I took a break and did a quick search online.  The very first search yielded a promising suggestion– check the height of the hopping foot.  That was already one of the top two things that had crossed my mind, and it’s easy to check.  (The other idea I had was that the encoders weren’t making contact, which I find more of a pain to fix.)  I fiddled around with the hopping foot a bit, and it seemed to clear up the problem!  (Thank you, random person on a quilting forum in 2012!) 

For future reference, Self, the foot was positioned too high.  Use the metal spacer that came with the set of extra feet.  The credit card/computer paper stack is too high.

As for the quilting pattern, I’m trying spirals, this time.  I haven’t spent much time quilting spirals, before, and my results aren’t perfect, but they’re going better than I thought they might.  I’m satisfied!  

I hope to have the quilting finished reasonably quickly.  Not sure what I’ll do about the binding, yet.  Something scrappy, probably.  I need to come up with a name for it, too…

– – – – – – –

To move to a totally different topic, Donald just started a new blog.  One of his hobbies is woodworking.  He’s very handy and has worked on a variety of different woodworking projects, over the past few years.  For instance, he’s turned some bowls and made egg cups, decorative spools, and candleholders.  He also makes and sells plinths and bases for displaying miniatures– painted figures.  (If you’re interested, check out his website,  He’s also made a wooden tongue drum and even built a harp from a kit.  (Both instruments are a lot of fun to play around on!)

I wanted to embed a couple of short clips of me playing around on the tongue drum.  The sound quality’s not great, but it’s better than nothing.  However, I’m not having any luck, so I’ll just put in the Instagram links instead, this time… 

Here’s clip #1

And clip #2.

(Maybe that’ll work.  Who knows, really?)

It’s neat that you can make tones with just a piece of (shaped and tuned) wood!  

His latest on-going woodworking project is building a guitar.  It’s pretty complicated– more so than it might seem.  For someone who doesn’t play the guitar and isn’t as familiar with the instrument, it almost looks like you’d “just” make a guitar-shaped box and add some strings, but there’s much more to it.  To start with, you have to use the right species and cut of wood for each part, and the whole thing has to bulge just so in certain places (and there are braces inside to hold it to the right shape).  It’s very technical, to make a good-sounding guitar, and then there are the decorative elements to consider.

So, to finally get to the point I was originally making 😅, he’s started a blog for his guitar-making hobby, to keep track of what he does and what he learns along the way, for future reference.  You always think you’ll remember exactly what you did or decided– on any project, whether it’s crochet, quilting, or woodworking– but so often you simply don’t!  Notes are important!  And this way his notes might help some other person out there making a guitar for the first time.  Plus, it’s just nice to have a record of what you’ve done, to look back at from time to time.

Here’s a link to his new blog:  Sandmon Guitars.  (“Sandmon” is the name of the land where Donald grew up, in Sweden, and is where his mother still lives.)  And if you’re wondering what in the heck a “luthier” is 😉, it’s just a fancy word for someone who builds stringed instruments. 


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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