Trailer Quilt and Sergers

A quick update on two projects I’ve been working hard to complete; a quilt for our travel trailer and learning to thread and use my new serger. I’m happy to say I’ve found success with both.

Regarding the quilt, it is completely done! I’ve finished adding the binding and clipping all the little stray threads. It needs to be pressed but I’ll wait on that until it gets closer to being used in the trailer. I still want to make a couple of pillow shams which will be embroidered with the one design of the Pearl Roses set I didn’t use. I’ll probably start those next month.

Regarding the serger, as I was forewarned, it was a bit tricky to thread. I remained patient and after a couple of hours, understood it and was able to thread it. The needles were much easier to thread than the loopers! So I was successful with the 4-thread overlock and the other was the pintuck done with a rolled hem. The latter one will be very pretty on little girl dresses and pillows.

My next projects are some Easter bucket covers and maybe a couple of stuffed animals and to add a few more items to Etsy.

Until next time!!


Rebel Against The Silo

This morning I read an article that Macy’s is closing down some stores and will be cutting jobs. I’m sure one of the reasons listed will be that they can’t compete with online sales.  Last evening there was a news article about a ‘virtual’ restaurant from which people could order from a very broad menu and have it delivered by an Uber driver. ‘We will be seeing more and more of these virtual restaurants’, quipped the founder. Every day, more and more people are opting to telecommute for work, isolated physically from their fellow associates. Everything they need to do can be done from anywhere there is electricity and and an internet connection.

What is going on?

‘It is said that when one gets older, their world gets smaller. That circle where they  lived, worked, ate, socialized just keeps closing in until soon they no longer want to leave their home. That is interesting. Think about how small the world will be for today’s young adults as they enter their senior years when their world is already becoming so purposefully small? When there is longer the desire to eat in an actual restaurant, or feel the need to  physically hold in their hand what they want to purchase or meet face-to-face with their peers at work, how much smaller can it get? Their world will implode.

I ask, when did we go from being a race that loved to socialize and feel a part of something bigger than ourselves to one where our  happiness is dictated by how fast our connection is to store three blocks down the street?  When did we give up our membership in the human race to become fleshy robots punching keys and ordering sushi to enjoy in the solitary confinement of the silo we call home.

I’m as guilty as the next person for ordering off Amazon and working from home. However there needs to be a balance and I work hard to maintain that balance. I pray that our young adults understand this as well lest we lose what makes us human.



Hand Stitching and Sergers

Two nights ago I was able to complete cutting and pressing the binding for my “Rambling Rose” quilt. Last night I got it stitched on. As I neared the end of the quilt, though, I started to mildly panic; I wasn’t sure I made enough binding to complete the perimeter. Not a big deal, I could have made another strip…it was just the thought that I couldn’t accurately measure that would have bothered me. However I had a whopping five inches of binding left over so all was good.

I began the hand stitching portion of the process and before going to bed had almost one side completed. There is something therapeutic about hand-sewing. It’s the same feeling I get when I write with a pen and paper. Computers and machines have taken that away. I’m not complaining about technology and automation and I have no desire to go back a few decades. It’s just so nice to sit back, relaxed, with a cup of tea and a lap project. I think that is why I love to crosstitch so much (another hobby I’ve not been finding time for.)

And I just want to say one thing…the person who invented the needle threader is a heroine (or maybe a hero) in my book! What a godsend. My left eye is, to put it mildly, junk. Threading needles, without this little helper, is torture. So, whoever you are…thank you.

I woke up at 5:00am this morning and, unable to go back to sleep, made coffee and hand-stitched until 7:00am. It was a nice, quiet way to start a somewhat snowy Saturday.

However my planned project for today (quilt stitching aside for a little while) is to ‘play’ with my new serger. My husband, aka Paul, bought me a very nice one for my birthday in December and I’m ashamed to say, I’ve not done anything with it. I’m told there is much to learn, especially the threading.  I’ll let you know how that goes…hopefully well as I have many plans and a serger, I think, will be a big part of them.


Rambling Rose

Last summer I embarked on a rather aggressive project; making a queen-sized quilt for the Murphy Bed in our new Rockwood Trailer. Since we christened her  “Rambling Rose”  it seemed appropriate to design a quilt covered in a garden of, well, rambling roses. My first step was to find the perfect embroidery pattern. After much back and forth, I found just what I was looking for on It is named Pearl Roses Quilt and consists of ten different patterns of beautifully designed pink roses connected by a swirling pattern of ‘pearls’ and green leaves.

These designs stitched up beautifully on my Brother PE-770 embroidery machine. I selected nine of the ten patterns and embroidered each of these nine designs a total of eleven times (yes that is 99 embroidered blocks!)  That is a lot of rat-a-tat tatting, 90 hours to be more precise! In the end the result was well worth the multiple spools of thread and stabilizer I went through. After squaring off the blocks which ended up being 7-1/2″ squares, they were assembled 9 across and 11 down, forming a quilt top of 63″ x 77″, perfect to cover the bed. After stitching the blocks together I added a 12″ solid border around three sides which will enable me to ‘box’ the corners. This is important in a Murphy Bed as it helps to hold it in place when the bed is placed in its stored position.

The toughest part was quilting such a large quilt on my sewing machine. After sandwiching the batting and flannel backing to the quilt top, I had to crawl all over it stretching and aligning, then pinning it together. My left knee complained for a day afterward! Then came the actual quilting, another test of my patience and engineering skills. I own a Husqavarna Sapphire 930 which has a wider sewing arm than my old machine but still, it was a chore moving such a bulky quilt through it. My ‘stitch in the ditch’ is not the straightest and my diamond quilting on the border leaves a lot to be desired…but knowing I did it myself is worth every crooked line and off-kilter diamond!!

The next step is to make and sew the binding. This will be made of the same material as the because I think it will look nice and two, my mistakes will not be as noticeable. 😉 

I need to find a way to remove the chalk marks from the quilt. I hoped these would help me to sew straight quilting lines (LOL). I’ll worry about that once it is finished…maybe by then time and handling will have worn them out of sight. One can only hope.

Along the way I questioned why I put so much work into something no one may see except my husband and I (and anyone who uses the trailer overnight). Then I thought, “”Hey, why shouldn’t I give myself as much time, creativity and energy as I give to others; I’m worth it!” And that settled the argument with self.

Mt Auburn Cemetery

Last weekend, with my friends Peggie and Donna, I took a trip to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA.  The reason for our adventure, on this drizzly Saturday morning, was for ‘inspiration’; to find something that would spark our creative juices and which we could incorporate into our many loves which, between the three of us include photography, sewing, poetry, graphic design, quilting, etc. Once we’ve found our inspiration, we were, in the words of our leader for the day, Peggie, to post it in our blog within the week.

I love to sew, to embroider and to quilt. I’ve been sewing and doing cross-stitch embroidery for years, I’ve recently gotten into machine embroidery which is such a powerful creative avenue, it is mind-boggling.  I’ve found that I can incorporate machine embroidery with quilting for some rather nice results. However I don’t want to lose sight of the art of piece quilting. For this reason, I made looking for design inspiration for a piece-quilted wall hanging my mission.

While walking through the cemetery I endeavored to look for unique images from which a quilt could be made. But I have to temper my enthusiasm. There are ‘landscape’ quilts which are actually like paintings…but from fabric. Some are quite stunning. I am not that ambition…yet. I’m still very new to the art of quilting.

What I did find, however, was a circular, kind of mandala design on the end of one of the larger headstones. It caught my eye. It was the uniqueness I was searching for. I think I can transpose that design onto a template, choose appropriate fabric and put together a very nice wall hanging.

My intention was to add that photo to this blog post. However my computer has decided that, after nine years of serving me faithfully, to not read my SD card.  I will need to upload the photo to another computer and email it back to myself.

Once I have it, I will upload in a subsequent blog…hopefully with my template and fabric choices.


Heavy sigh…

Here it is almost a year since I said I was back…and I’ve done nothing on this site. I need to get my act together…seriously. I look at all the fun things I did here and can’t believe I’ve let them gather so much dust. Time to get crackin’!!

Reminders are going into the phone…

I’m Back!!

I’ve recovered my SusanROBrien website! I had some technical issues but have finally been able to correct them. Look forward to more posts going forward as well as expanded sections for other works. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to maintain a website so you may see a slow start…but every project begins with one little step.