Pipe Cleaner to the rescue

Okay…..am I the LAST person to know this trick???

I read recently about using a pipe cleaner to clean your sewing machine. It sounded interesting and I had recently bought a bag on a clearance table so had 100 brand-new stems ready to work…..

I was cleaning my sit-down longarm after doing weeks of thread painting and it needed to be cleaned well!!

I had tried to reach one area with my tweezers…..

….but was unsuccessful.

So, it was time to pull out the pipe cleaners!

I was amazed at how they could curve around and between areas…..

And I was even MORE amazed when I looked at the “stuff” that came out…..

Even when I thought it was completely clean, I ran the Pipe-Cleaner through one more time and found even more smutz…..

It was probably the cleanest that my machine has been since I bought it!!!

Are you one of the millions who already knew this trick???.

AND….if you are….what other tricks are you hiding from me???

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Now that my quilt is finished and hung…..

…it was time to attack the huge job of cleaning my studio. I tend to not worry about what it looks like while I’m working, knowing that I will clean it up after each finish. 

As I sorted through the fabrics I counted 132 different fabrics that I had pulled in making this quilt….

The big trick now is to get them all back into the boxes. Some of these fabrics have been out of their storage containers for over a year and other things have taken their place so it was a bit of a struggle to get everything in. But after 20 minutes or so of pushing and pulling I was able to get all of the boxes closed (well, sort of) and on the shelf.
I set up my quilting area, starting with my the table leaf and then adding another small table to the side just to give this big quilt enough support……

I spent a few minutes cleaning my machine and oiling it…..

It has been a long time since I have had a machine that needs oil so I am having to get used to remembering to do it.  One of the reviews that I read said that it was a thirsty machine, and I think that’s a good description of it. While I was oiling  the bobbin case area I noticed a thread that had gotten tangled in there, so I spent about 30 minutes trying to remove that thread. It was finally accomplish with the use of a pair of needle nose pliers from the garage.

As I was cleaning, I also noticed this hook on my machine…..

For the last 5 months I have been carefully threading the thread THRU the hole without realizing that there was this guide that meant the thread can be slid into the hole rather than threading…..OY VEY!!!!  This makes threading SO much faster!!!

The next project is the queen size pineapple quilt that I pieced a couple years ago and I’ve been waiting to quilt. I had some time to work on it in December and played with various quilting ideas.   The one that I liked best was quilting long lines leading into the red highlighted area. I first marked a series of lines and quilted those so the quilt was well held together. Then I started adding additional lines leading from the outside borders in as well. I marked the entire quilt and started the quilting process but felt like things were being too even and maybe I wanted a little more non-symmetry with it.
So I sprayed it down with water and removed all of the blue lines that I had already put on. I then started re-drawing the lines but again they still seem to be very symmetrical.   So I have now decided to draw some of the lines, quilt a little, draw some more lines, and quilt some more, and just see how it turns out. 

My gut feeling is that I will end up with symmetry!!!

Since the quilt contains every color in the rainbow spectrum, I am quilting it using variegated Maxi-Llock thread in each of the colorways…..

New Studio Addition

For some time I have been wanting a sewing machine that would make quilting larger quilts easier.  Since my husband wouldn’t let me take over the master bedroom for my studio (giggle) there is no room for a Long-Arm machine so that was never in the mix.

For a while I was excited about the Sweet Sixteen sit down machine but realized that I didn’t have a place to leave it set up so I would have to put it up every time I was ready to quilt something.   Then I started wondering if I wouldn’t just use my regular machine on smaller quilts rather than pulling out the quilting machine.   Did I REALLY want to spend $5000+ on a machine that I would probably only use a few times each year.

I mentioned my dilemma to my creative group and Fay suggested that I might look at the Juki line of machines.   When I first started checking for them, I could only find Industrial Machines and was disappointed.  After we got back, I looked further and was excited to find the Juki 2010Q machine. 

I found a store in Atlanta that sold them so I drove over to give one a test drive, accompanied by fellow quilter, Sylvia.   I started sewing, really liking what I was finding but was told that this model was being phased out and replaced with the Juki 2200QVP Mini. 

Long story short, I bought the machine ($1,200), brought it home, returned the next day to buy the table that was designed for it and am now happily sewing away!!


This is a mechanical machine…..no computerization around.  It only does one thing (sew a straight stitch), but it does that beautifully!!!  I realized that I didn’t need tons of special stitches since I have had my Viking for over 15 years and have only used 4 or 5 of them in that time!!  And, I still have that machine if they are needed in the future.

It has a manual dial controller for stitch length which I really like when I am using a walking foot and starting with tiny stitches but moving to a good quilting stitch.  It is easier to turn a dial rather than having to hit a button over and over again.


It has a marvelous thread cutter that leaves only a small thread tail but somehow manages to start stitching again without unthreading the bobbin or the needle!!!

It always stops in the needle down position and the only way to get the needle up is to push the button.   It took a bit of practice to get used to the fact that I couldn’t raise the needle by lightly tapping the foot pedal.

The reverse bar is large and easy to get to and the feed dogs are easy to raise and lower.

Finally, it has a speed control and, when set on “rabbit”, it can FLY!!!

The threading mechanism is a bit different….it starts with a pre-tension bar, winds its way thru a series of hooks, ending with a marvelous needle threader.  I figure that any extra time spent with the pre-tension is saved by not having to manually thread the machine!!DSC07937

There is also a presser foot pressure knob that is easy to get to.

I also really like the spool holder and adjustable thread guide, especially since I use a lot of large cones…… DSC07936

The bobbin is larger and holds a lot of thread however it is side loading and it has taken a bit for me to get used to it.   There is a handy-dandy door in the table to allow access to the bobbin…..


The foot pedal is large and is designed for your entire foot to be on top of it……much more comfortable than having my heel on the floor…..DSC07941

The thread cutter can also be activated by the foot, simply by pressing your heel down.  I think that this can be good, but I was having trouble hitting it when I didn’t want to.  Fortunately, this newer model includes a rubber base that you can put on the pedal so that the cutter is not activated….a lifesaver for me!!!

It has a Knee lever for the presser foot but it will not work when the machine is in the table.   Since I have never used one, that doesn’t bother me at all!!

As one reviewer put it…..it is a thirsty machine and requires regular oiling.   It is not hard to do and I will just have to get it into my head that I need to do it!!

It came with a bunch of feet including a regular foot that is a scant quarter inch from the needle.  There is also a quarter inch foot that has a bar that prevents the fabric from moving out too far…..


And, the seam is VERY accurate!!!

The walking foot is heavy and a bit loud, but it sews a magnificent seam……DSC07976

I was a bit worried about not being able to see down the long foot but it is actually easy to use since the sides provide a guide for sewing placement.

The machine came with THREE free motion feet but I am not sure exactly what to do with them all.   I was excited that this model came with an open toed darning foot and it works great.DSC07970

I also purchased a ruler foot but have yet to get the tension adjusted when using it.  If I tighten it down closer to the fabric, it gets stuck on the seam allowances, but if I lighten the pressure, the stitches don’t catch.   I need to spend some time playing with it until I figure it out…..


The final perk for the machine is the extended harp space (between the needle and the machine).  This isn’t as big as some machines but gives me 4 extra inches from side to side and another 3-4 in height.   It has made a huge difference in the quilting that I have already done.  I cant wait to try it out on a queen size quilt and just happen to have one basted and ready to go.

I am also happy that I made the return trip to purchase the table.  It is designed specifically for this machine, although my Viking will fit in the opening as well.  It has a drop down extension that is marvelous when I am quilting…..DSC07968

When the machine is not in the table, the extension to the left of the machine s1ts on folded legs, making it easily portable.

I did a lot of quilting on a UFO that I wanted to finish and will show that in another post, but also pieced a charity quilt to try out the 1/4 inch feet……


I feel like I made a good purchase and hope that I will have MANY years of quilting on it!!!