double the troubleshooting

[Quick recap to set the scene. Our protagonist Susan loves to sew knits. She possesses no coverstitch machine. She thinks zigzag for hemming is okaaay, but it doesn’t look ready-to-wear.]

TWIN NEEDLE: [Enters stage right, with a dramatic flourish.] Here I am! I will hem your knits beautifully, for just a few bucks and none of the table space you’d need for another machine!! I ROCK!

SUSAN: Oh twin needle, thank you!! You’re everything I ever wanted!

[TWIN NEEDLE and SUSAN exit stage right, into the sunset, and sew happily ever after.]


Not so much. In reality, my first (second, sixth…) attempt to use a twin needle resulted in a headache and a desire to hurl myself out of my first-floor sewing room window. I would have given up many moons ago, but I had developed a bit of a stubborn vendetta. (You’re shocked, I know.) I was acutely determined to figure this thing out. Flash forward about a year later, and I’ve discovered quite a few tidbits that can help. I love twin needle hemming now; it’s fast and easy, as sewing with knits should be!

Important note: I have a Brother PC-420 PRW sewing machine, so some of these notes may or may not be applicable to your machine. Regardless, they could give you points to ponder in your own twin needle exploration. Since this is a popular machine, I wanted to point it out.

stock photo of Brother PC-420 PRW

image source: Brother International Corporation


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making lemonade

My first thought after The Horrible Felting Incident, since I was convinced that the resulting pieces were completely useless, was to frame them and put them over my washing machine as a reminder. (A reminder not to do laundry of course, h/t Gail.) While I haven’t abandoned that concept entirely, my friend Miss Lulu had a better idea for one of the non-socks. I really should introduce y’all to her one of these days since I mention her so much! I’ll see if she’s game. :) But back to my lemons for now…

A brief backstory: For his job, my husband is in his car just about all day every day. Therefore, anything that can help make it more comfortable or efficient for him goes a long way! Al’s car has been the recipient for a couple of my crafty projects in the past. Necessity, invention, all that.

My friend’s awesome idea was to display it for him, à la rearview mirror dice. I took it a step further and decided to stuff it as a natural air freshener. Here’s how I did it.

mise en place

First, I wanted to felt it even more, so that the contents wouldn’t fall through anywhere, and also to shrink it a bit more. I really let that sucker have it this time. Continue reading

strawberry shortcut

Yikes, over three weeks since my last post! And here I am, without a stitch of stitching in this one… I’ll remedy that next time, I promise!

Ah, strawberries… a sure sign that spring has arrived. What’s that? Oh yeah, I realize that it’s now late summer here. I’ve never been accused of being the early bird. But the good news is that in-season strawberries are still available in many places, and if you can get your hands on some, here’s a great way to fix them up for freezing so that you can enjoy them all year long. If they’re not in season as you’re reading this, surely they will be again one day. ;~)


All credit for this idea goes to Alton Brown, and it’s only one of his many brilliant ways to turn kitchen tools into multi-taskers. In case you haven’t seen this one, I threw together a quick tutorial. Continue reading

label enabler

Do you like to attach a name to stuff, or are you a non-committal type?  I’ve always been one to put a label on things — at least in the literal sense. ;-) I think it goes hand-in-hand with my lifelong adoration of all things office supplies.

I use a lot of glass containers. I know what they’re made from, and I can pronounce it. I can see how much is left of whatever is inside. I don’t worry about heating or freezing them. They can be used more times than your favorite excuse without staining or declining in quality — some of my favorite ones are older than I am. The only thing I have found less than desirable up to this point was their label-friendliness. Masking tape labels are kinda ugly. Paper sticker labels don’t hold up to washing and are sometimes difficult to remove. I was seeking a solution that was durable, flexible, and perhaps most importantly, cute. Continue reading

serger thread hack

I recently participated in a charity sewing event, and I brought my serger to use for the day. I was so amused by my fellow sewists’ reactions to my conebobbinspools of thread that I had to create a tutorial.

a conebobbinspool of serger thread

Let me back up… As many of you know, when you first purchase a serger, one of the investments you make is in the thread. While one cone isn’t going to break the bank, buying four of them each (in oodles of colors) will definitely start to add up. Not to mention sorting out the storage of said cones. Continue reading

rock the tote: with all the trimmings (part 2)

Last week, I posted a tutorial showing how to trim the top of your tote with corded piping. Today, we’ll follow a similar process to install rickrack.

Is it possible for a project containing rickrack to have a modern, un-vintage feel? My hunch is yesmaybe, but I know that’s not when I tend to reach for it. I like a lot of diverse styles at different times, but one style of print I find myself drawn to repeatedly is floral feedsack/floursack. When I use those fabrics, or others heavily influenced by an era-gone-by, I often consider embellishing with rickrack.

feedsack prints and rickrack

People do all kinds of things with this humble little garnish… Continue reading