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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Second RWB mystery quilt

     I finished the piecing of the second mystery quilt by Alycia. When I looked at the done large blocks, a simple cornerstone in the sashing corners, as shown in the pattern did not seem to play off all the triangles, so I added a triangle on each edge of the sashing. I did not sew a square diagonally and flip it, but cut the triangles using the easy angle ruler. 
    The borders, as shown in the pattern are wide and have some big flying geese in them. When I looked at the quilt on the wall, it seemed like it could use narrower borders, so I played off the idea of threes- like the rail and the nine patches, and used two more strips. I carried the triangle star points out into the border. I think it gave the quilt an all together look, much like the first RWB mystery that I did. I do not know how I am going to quilt it. I usually don't make a quilt with all the same blocks, so this was an exercise for me.
     The light blue is a mottled fabric which I think gives the blocks some shimmer. 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

An unexpected, glorious gift!

     My friend Susan, the one that did the dresses and had the snow dyeing party, stopped by and brought me some beautiful pieces she dyed. She knows I love the star burst ones. The colors are just lovely. So, now, I have to think what to make. What kind of fabric do I add to not take away the loveliness of the dyes? I don't want to cut into them, but sort of frame them. I don't want to make small things that just get folded away, so I need to think about 50 x 60 or so. This is where I have a hard time imagining how to make these pieces work without ruining or overpowering them. Thank you so much, Susan!



Ride, ponies, ride- far away!

     For my granddaughter's 4th birthday, she asked me for a Little Ponies Quilt (groan). I had a hard enough time making the Frozen one last year. We went online and she picked out a panel and fabric for the backing. My grandson picked out gorillas, but that is another post. She picked out all the fabric, including the borders and said it had to have hearts on it. I quilted it with a lot of heart motifs. I looked at it as an exercise in developing my longarm ability. Those pony eyes just give me the willies. 
My granddaughter's face is purposely blurred- she was pretending to be a cat. Tugger joined in on the backing. 
And had to try out the front panel
All the borders on
I took this one in the sun so you could see the texture of the quilting
Front with a mottled light purple binding 
Quilting detail
Quilting detail
Back, more ponies than a body can stand

Retreat to move forward

     One of the best ways to make forward progress is to attend a quilt retreat. They feed you, house you, and you just sew and look at other people sewing, exchange ideas, and make progress. My guild goes twice a year to a place near Lewiston, NY and this year we added an extra day- Thursday through Sunday. You can leave everything set up and just sew. 
Cutting tables in the middle on bed raisers
We put done work on the railings finished 
Where did those quilters go?
Some of the things I finished besides the colorwash-
A quilt for a friend (Patience Corners pattern)
Another Little Boxes (jellyrollfabric.net)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Newest member of the Herd

     Yes, I added another machine. My favorite machine is the Singer 301. I have a couple LBOWs. I found out someone locally had one they wanted to sell. It had not been used in years. It came with a case, some attachments, AND a card table. How could I not rescue it? It is a black one which some people think is the best (not me). I don't think the paint is as well applied as the LBOW. It was very dirty inside and the paint was cloudy. I opened everything up, cleaned with Krud Kutter, TR3 Polish, aluminum/magnesium polish and lots of rags. Oiled, greased. Added an LED bulb. New bobbin tire. I was in such a hurry to see how it worked, I closed the machine up without photographing the clean insides, so you will have to trust me. I fired it up last night and after decades of no use, it purred and made a perfect stitch without any adjustment. Wow.
     I have to say this is the best machine for piecing- visibility, direct drive motor, stability, perfect straight stitch, just love, love.
    When I was visiting a sewing machine/fabric store in another city yesterday, I was told by the owner (very nice woman), that I needed to evolve and get a new machine. That sounds nice, but I believe sewing machines have devolved in basic engineering and soundness. I had bought a $2200 machine over 5 years ago and it could not quilt or stay out of the shop which led me to the 301 and my vintage journey. 
   Another 301 ready for use and enjoyment.
Dirty, cloudy
Decades of dust and discolor 
Loads of dirt, grease and muck 

Piecing anyone?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Guild opportunity quilt reveal

     My quilt guild, Kenmore Quilters, revealed our opportunity quilt (can't legally say Raffle Quilt) at the Consortium of NYS quilt guilds quarterly meeting on Wednesday. We had bought a new stand and were ready to sell tickets. Everyone chipped in to make such a stunning quilt. It has various indigo batik print backgrounds and is based on a Karen Stone block. She gave us permission. Money raised goes to local charities. The quilt show is in early October.
It is queen size. Want a ticket?
     At the meeting, there was another quilt offered and I fell in love with the different size HST borders. Oh my, made me weak in the knees. I have to figure out where I can use that idea. After all, now I have Bloc Loc rulers to trim them!



Friday, March 18, 2016

RWB Mystery Quilt quilted

     I had finished the RWB mystery quilt, Stars a Waving, from Alicia a while back, but was able to long arm quilt it recently. It was free during the mystery, but now is available through Craftsy. It had lots of negative space and I tried to quilt it sensibly elaborating on the big spaces. In the blue around the star blocks, I recreated the stars in thread. The two red bands I used the same square pattern. For the white bands, I did three different designs to differentiate and add some interest in such a big white area. I used Glide thread on top and Omni in the bobbin. 
     I had bought the Craftsy class Wild Quilting when there was a $19.99 special and was able to use some of what I learned in the white bands. I do wish I was not as wobbly in quilting, but am trying to improve. I am not a computer, so there is variation in the stitching. I tried using  ruler on the diagonal lines, but I have difficulty with it. I still need to bind it. I am thinking red.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thread Mess

     It was a one in a million shot. Letting the Nolting warm up, unthreaded from the tension disc forward with me sitting one foot away winding bobbins, and disaster struck.
     Unsuspecting, the thread got sucked into the tiny crack next to the handwheel, and for 5 minutes of warm up, wound itself around the shaft. When I turned the machine off after warmup, I noticed the thread going next to the handwheel. It was stuck, and when I probed it with a long pin, I could tell it was really wound thick. Nothing thinner than a pin fits in there. I tried unwinding it going in reverse with the handwheel, and got 40 minutes of unwinding done and then the thread frayed and broke. 
    After a trip to the hardware store and $30 later, I got an American set of allen wrenches (had metric) and found it was a 9/32 wrench that got off the side panel to see things better. It gave no more clearance for the handwheel, but I could get all the thread pieces picked up plus the pin I had dropped into the slot. I had to make a hook with a very long pin held with pliers and pry and break all the thread and remove. Total time: 4 1/2 hours.
     Moral of the story, I am clipping the thread to the machine when warming up. I had clipped it to the velcro strip, but am now clipping it to the CD under the thread cone. One for the books. My hair was already white.
A large portion of the thread removed. Brand new spool, too. 
Thread was stuck in narrow slot to left of handwheel 
Arrow points to clip securing thread

Some BIG miracle

     I make comfort quilts for people who are receiving treatments or are suffering with a chronic illness. Most of the times it is cancer. I make a lap quilt, complete with custom label, a carry bag, a handmade card and a book. I include a book by Lynn Eib, either When God and Cancer Meet or 50 Days of Hope in the bag pocket. When I clean vintage sewing machines for people, I ask for any donation towards this. Sometimes they give money, fabric, bags, or other needful items. 
    The hard part is when I get a request for a quilt for a child. I have never been able to find a book that speaks to the pain and emotions they are experiencing. I have searched and searched- asking professors and professional counselors. The ones I found were unrealistic, sing songy, happy ending or so abstract. My neighbor is a writer. We combed books together and found none. She wrote one and asked me to illustrate it. I am also a watercolor artist (or wannabe). 
     In the 80s, I spent four long years trying to break into children's book illustration, going to New York, schlepping my portfolio to publishers, with no crack of opportunity. I closed the door and went to get my art teaching certification.  I said no. She posted a sign in her bedroom window that faces my driveway so I would see it everyday backing out, pulling in. Things like, You can do! Get started!, you get the idea. She wore me down. It took a year to paint. I posed my grandson according to what I was looking for and he was terrific and I photographed him. Sometimes I was sweating when I painted, sometimes weeping. It was very emotional trying to infuse the pictures with those child emotions.
    So, I finished it in August and scanned it. My neighbor's company said they loved it and proceeded to try and find a grant so they could publish it and give the first printing away to hospitals. All the grant groups said no. I said, told you so. 
     Sandra's company paid for 50 copies to be printed so they could either convince someone to give a grant or another publisher to pick it up. On Tuesday, at 5:00, she arrived at my door with 10 books that I did not know were coming. Although it needs better scans, the book is exactly what I was looking for to give away. It is a miracle that it reached this far. 
     So now, I need a BIGGER miracle for someone to say yes, they will publish or grant it so it can get into the hands of those children who could benefit from it. 
     Here is the cover and one page. It is a miracle.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Stalled, then sewn, colorwash

     I have been looking at my colorwash on the little portable design wall. Finally, I moved it to my big wall. I was having a hard time getting it right. I need more medium blues to make the transition.  I went through more fabric looking to pieces to fill in. 

Moved the dark pieces out a row. Still have lots of holes.


     This is the last try before sewn. I moved and added and added and quit when I was ready to scream.
    Then I sewed it in the web method so I would not get anything out of whack, and yet, I did. Some squares that I placed new ones on top of remained on top when I picked up the squares by columns (unknowingly). So when sewing the columns, I would occasionally have one left over. I went back to the last photo, figured it out, ripped, and resewed.
    Upon sewing, I have to say, I like the wall version better because there was more light in it. I wanted a stronger glow of light. Wanda told me it was alright, but it isn't like it was in my head. If you want to see awesome colorwashes, go to Exuberant Color and search. 
     I will add a facing, no border or binding, but it is low on my list to quilt.