New Orleans House Project

Friday, January 7, 2022

Off to a Stitching Start!

 Here we are, starting a new year of stitching!

I have been working on my list(s) of projects to finish and projects to start.  My plans seem a little ambitious, but I'm excited about trying some new things and attempting to use up my fabric stash.

Starstruck by Gyleen Fitzgerald

On top of that, I'm supposed to be attending an in-person quilt workshop next week.  My small guild has scheduled a class with quilter Gyleen Fitzgerald.  We'll be making her Star Struck table runner, and learning some new piecing and cutting skills.  Plans include mask-wearing and social distancing (and everyone must be vaccinated), but since our state is experiencing a spike in Covid/omicron infections, plans could change on dime.

This will be my first quilting workshop since 2005!  I'm feeling a little intimidated by all the paraphernalia one takes to a quilting workshop.  

My everyday sewing machine is too big to drag to a class, so I thought I'd take my vintage Singer 503A (aka Rocketeer).  It's lightweight and sews a beautiful straight stitch.  Of course quarter-inch feet were not issued with these machines, but there are a number of modern quarter-inch feet that fit.

Unfortunately, the machine operator could not stitch consistent quarter inch seams despite trying several different feet and adding a seam guide hack.  I think maybe one of those portable extension tables would help, but there's no time to order one.


I made this Blackford's Beauty block as a practice piece on the Rocketeer.  The block was inspired by Angela at Soscrappy, who plans to use it for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The block doesn't look too bad, but I had to trim all the 4-patches to get them to fit correctly, and the finished block is still a quarter inch too large.

Change of plans.  Out came my trusty Pfaff 7550 - my primary sewing machine until a few years ago.  Fortunately, getting a consistent quarter-inch seam with this machine was much easier. 

I didn't have enough 2 inch squares prepped for another Blackford's Beauty block, but I did have the pieces ready for an Antique Tile block.  I think I have found my quilting workshop machine!

In other "start the year off right" news - I finally broke down and bought a new cutting mat!  My old mat (on the left) is so worn the cutting lines are barely visible.  Those white marks are not just discoloration, they're grooves worn in the cutting surface!  Happily, I made use of a JoAnn 50% off coupon and saved a little money, too.


  1. I love your blocks! (That Blackford's Beauty is soooo tempting!)
    Have fun at your workshop!

  2. You are off to a very successful start of the new year. I use Bonnie Hunter's method of measuring a 1/4" on my vintage machines, which is attaching a strip from an old hotel room card or credit card. I use double-sided tape and while it isn't the ideal solution, it is consistent. :) Enjoy your workshop!

  3. Oh I do hope you enjoy your in person workshop...when I began sewing I had a Pfaff Variamatic--I am thinking of trading in Helga (shhh don't tell her) and getting another Pfaff again...I love that built in walking foot...anyway hope you do well
    hugs, Julierose

  4. The Starstruck runner is gorgeous, should be a rewarding workshop. I'm glad you found an adequate machine for the class. Had to replace my cutting board a couple years ago too, what a difference! The old one was around 35 years old. Have a great time at the workshop!

  5. Have fun at your class. So nice to learn new techniques with people! Your blocks are looking lovely and I love seeing the different machines people have.

  6. Sounds like you are all set for your quilting workshop. I hope that it happens! Yay for new cutting mats!

  7. You're off to a great beginning for 2022. I have one of Glyeen's book. I should take a look at it again. Have a wonderful creative time at your workshop. I love the name for your Singer. It does look like a Rocketeer! I need to do the same thing with my cutting mat. I don't know why we wait so long to replace the essentials.

  8. Wow, you have a Rocketeer! But when a quarter inch seam is a priority, maybe just looking at them and loving them is best. Have fun at your workshop! That’s a beautiful table runner. I love the Blackford’s Beauty block too - maybe we should all just do it along with Angela!!