Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just the blocks

      Things have been a little under the weather here. I have had continuous migraines and early Monday morning my husband passed out twice and fell in the middle of night as he was getting up which meant an ambulance trip, lots of expensive tests and no cause discerned. He has no prior problems, but needs to make some changes. 
      I have been testing out some new blocks to me to see whether I like them or not. First, my  first two paper pieced blocks for Sea Urchin by Judy Niemeyer are done.

      Second, after my class at Quilting by the Lake this past July, I was inspired to try a Dresden Plate. I got a template on the Missouri Star Quilt company daily deal. I wish it was even longer. I sewed 5, 2.5" x 4.5" strips together for each spoke and then trimmed them. I have not sewn the blades together yet. I wonder if this could be a center medallion with something else just simple around it.

      Third, Janet on the Quilting Board explained a better way to do the Missouri Star quilt company Disappearing Hour glass block so you aren't sewing bias edges. This using 5" squares. I like it. I have to find fabric to make enough same charm squares for each block- four of each, light and dark.

       Last, I am using my leader and ender 2.5" squares to make some 5 across blocks so I can make the Film in the Fridge pattern for another comfort quilt now that I sewed together Good Night Irene.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Circle dance rolling along

    Ah, the queen size Circle dance. I ironed the extra wide batting I bought and smoothed out the batting, and pin basted the whole thing. Although I have 3- 6' tables, it was not big enough and I had to do it in sections. I used the grapefruit spoon as shown before, so the skin on my fingers is intact. The yardstick in the photo is used to smooth the batting down, using the side edge from the center of the quilt. It then also smooths out the top to the edges. A woman from my guild showed me the trick and it is very useful. So now, the quilt is all pinned and sitting next to my Bailey Home Quilter waiting for me to wind many, many bobbins. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Animal skin quilt and Rainbows

     I was able to finish the Animal skins quilt, made with strips of animal skin prints and other white and blacks strips all from jellyroll fabrics.  I used the diagonal variations pattern that was from jelly roll fabrics (freebie). My mom pieced the tubes, I trimmed the triangles and sewed the blocks, did the borders and FMQ with Glide thread. My mom sews on an old Brother that she bought when I was born. I have replaced cords and the foot controller on it, but the battered thing still sews a great straight stitch. My mom is not a quilter, but will sew 1/4" seams around squares and strips for me. She sews clothes. So, this was sewn on an old Brother, a Singer 201, and a Bailey Home Quilter. 

   My mother also sewed some strips for me to make this rainbow quilt. I sort of came up with this by watching a Tula Pink video on the Quilt Show and fooling around with some strips. I used a rainbow spectrum jelly roll from jellyroll fabrics and white strips from them. I cut the strips in half to make them 20 inches. I numbered with painters tape the order of placement. I layered a white strip on top of a color one, and had my mom sew the short ends together to make a tube. Then I cut the white strips to stagger the colors. I did this one at time to make sure I got the strips shifting well design wise. Then I pinned pairs and labeled the pairs with numbers and an arrow to what side was to be sewn. I gave them back to my mom, and she sewed the pairs on the long edge I had arrowed. She was very adventurous and pressed them open and matched the inside numbers and sewed all the pairs together making the complete top. I then added a 6" white piece on the long sides to make the quilt 56 x 66. Now, if an 82 year old lady can sew this who is not a quilter, this should give you some motivation to get sewing.
   I am thinking, since I have more spectrum rolls, of using light gray instead of white, and maybe increasing the plain fabric by 12" so even though the tube won't be even, I won't have to add a border. Hmm.
As sewn by my mom, blue painters tape numbers on side
6" white borders added to edge to make comfort quilt 56 x 66

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quilts pieced and waiting

     The crumb attic window quilt got its bag, book and card and were delivered to a woman from church with a new diagnosis of cancer, with more testing to go. A couple of the outside and inside cards I make to go with the quilts.


Inside, have not written the message yet
      I finished another Exploding Square quilt and found a great border.

     When I sew, I use Leader and Enders, ala Bonnie Hunter. I have all these 2 1/2" squares in boxes by light and dark, next to the piecing machine of choice (lately a 201- lovely smooth machine after months of motor woes- new armature works great!). When starting to sew or ending, a light and dark pair are sewn. After enough pairs, they are sewn into 4 patches. I also snowballed the squares on 4 1/2" white on white scrap squares. When there were enough of each block, I made Good Night, Irene. I will not border this as it is big enough for a comfort quilt.

The last comfort quilt is another You've Got Mail from Missouri Star Quilt Company. From one layer cake prints, I was able to make two comfort quilts. The first one was done a while ago and I finally sewed these blocks into a quilt.

Now, what I need is uninterrupted time to get all these quilted, as the demand for comfort quilts is not ceasing.

Eating Humble Pie or what have I learned?

   I just love vintage sewing machines. I love the way they sew, the stitches, the machining. To keep them out of the junk heap, I rescue them, I fix other people's. But, I get in over my head when I take on things beyond me. Then, I plead for help from a few genius friends and specific yahoo groups. Most of the times, I get through it. Sometimes, I fail.
  A woman from my quilt guild asked me if I would fix/clean three of hers: her very first sewing machine, a Kenmore, her mother's White 77 and her sister's White 43. I took home all three. First bad move. I was able to clean up the Kenmore, get a needle clamp from one of the genius friends, and polish it up like new. Runs like a champ. However, the plexiglass seam guide I bought for her, as I use them, the screw holes were not deep enough to secure the guide. They were in the right place, but not deep enough. Also, the low shank free motion foot that I got for her does not work because the needle clamp screw is on the opposite side of the Singers. 
  The White 77 had a needle that would not go into the throat plate hole. Although I took apart the whole side of the machine and the convoluted metal plates, I could not see how to adjust the needle bar to the right location. I tried everything possible. I asked for help on the White forum. Failed to fix. Had to return it as is.
  The White 43 cleaned up well with a toothbrush and Greased Lightning on its crinkle finish (not a fan), all the metal polished bright, all oiled and greased and then I tried to get lint out of a very peculiar tension system. I could not get it out with a dental pick, so i loosened the plate and all the guts fell out all over the table. Uh, oh, can I have those 2 seconds back? I begged for help on the Vintage White Forum and Miriam and another person emailed me diagrams of the assembly and answered a lot of questions. Then I had huge issues getting the side plate on again allowing the needle bar to have free movement. After looking at the diagrams and repeatedly trying to get it working, my husband took a look at it, pondered, and slowly assembled things and the needle bar worked. When I tried the sewing, it sewed perfectly and tension was perfect. It was a miracle. I packed up all the machines and delivered them on Monday night.
  So, what have I learned? Three machines at once is not good. Old Whites are an oppositional force not to be reckoned with by me. People are incredibly generous with their time and knowledge to me. I fail and am not really a mechanic, just a tinkerer. I still love vintage machines and think their straight stitches cannot be equaled. Playing with sewing machines eats time away from making quilts. Pie finished.
Kenmore 148 ready to roll

White 43, never disassemble the tension.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Vintage Sewing Machine Purse

     I really, really love cloth purses. However, I am a bit 3D challenged in sewing. I was recommended at a quilt show to give the Barbados bag by Pink Sand Designs a try because the directions were clear. They were clear except for one small spot that had to do with the lining. I used the vintage sewing machine fabric I bought a little while ago. I have enough to make another purse I think. I love the zippers and pockets. I did use Soft and Stable instead of fusible fleece. I think fusible fleece is too flimsy for a purse. I have never liked the way it works out. The Soft and Stable helps it keep its shape and sit up. I am so enamored with it that I have not put my stuff in it and used it yet.



Inside pockets

Cross body bag

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Small quilting

     I finished quilting Between a Rock and a Hard Place from the Hudson Valley workshop. I used black Glide and the Bailey. I just used straight lines. Just needs the binding.

Close up
     Also, a lot of the Sea Urchin is cut and bagged, ready to start sewing on the paper.