Friday, January 31, 2014

Work, work, work = fun, fun, fun

   Lots of different things going on. I labeled and bagged all my UFOs and put them standing up in a bin under the counter. I sewed all the blocks for the You've Got Mail quilts. One layer cake made 2 quilts, 4 blocks by 5. I tried to use all the cool color ones in one, and the mostly warm in the other. It was grey today, so I don't know how well I did. I used blue painters tape and labeled all the rows so I could stack them for sewing. One fit on the design wall, and I had to lay the other on the floor.
The warmer blocks

Cooler blocks
      All finished quilting Emma's Star! Ready to put in a tote bag and wait for someone who needs it. I have another one (Emma's Star) all cut out waiting to piece. I used patterns from Free Motion Quilting. Thank you, Leah Day. I would never be able to be the quilter I am today without your tutorials and blog! The designs I used were Bubble Wand, Flowing Lines, and Basic Chevron. I bought her book and use it to plan out what I am going to use on a quilt. Then I go to her site and watch the video to practice it out. I started using Isacord because of her, but now I also use Glide because it is USA made and works so well.
     I also want to thank Lori from The Inbox Jaunt for excellent FMQ tutorials that I have used at times.  And for sheer production of comfort quilts, Sarah is the queen to me at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
Emma's Star
     I finally found fabric for my daughter's tote. It is probably not the first color choice she would take, but I think the design is and I think the color goes with her hair and being a chemistry college professor at Allegheny College (read proud mom).  The tote is going to be a challenge for me. It has a zipper (gasp) and I have to change up the pattern (yikes).
Local Quilt Store fabric comes through
     Last, I would like to show I finished the Christmas cactus watercolor. I always enjoy Wanda's photos of her cactus and I told her I would post a photo of this when done. I owe her gratitude for her knowledge and kindness to me.

A true Beauty, classic and strong!

    It is about a month early for my birthday, but I saw a Singer 15-91 on ebay that was so pristine and strong looking that I melted. I have an old treadle 15 (no reverse) and a 15 with a belt and motor that is still not running because it was shipped with a new cord not attached properly to the terminal. I don't do electrical and my husband has had no time to look at it. This one was just so, so lovely and shiny, all ready to as they say, plug and play. I usually piece on one of my 301s, but wanted something a little stronger because I would like to sew some bags as well as own one real spiffy black Singer. My mailman was a bit skeptical about bringing it to the door, but he relented gratefully instead of making me go to the PO and lug it from there to my car. 
   It was packed great, nothing moved inside. The seller took every precaution to wrap everything separately and wisely. I tried it out and it sews great. I will have to tweak the tension a little bit, but that is all. All cleaned, oiled, shined, new wiring. Wow. Don't ask what I paid. It is worth it to have such a machine. I love to clean machines, but there is something grand about a new one showing up like this.
Box in terrific shape, way to go USPS!

Flaps open to styro

Next, an ocean of peanuts

Yes, there is a machine in there

In its cocoon, ready to emerge

Yes! as shiny as the ebay photo!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Trying to stay warm!

    This isn't news to most anyone, but it is frigid! The sun is shining today, but the temperature is dropping. South of Buffalo got hammered last night with snow and wind and schools closed. I am north of Buffalo, and just got some snow. Makes me all the glad to sew more and those vintage machine foot controllers keep me warm. I am working on a bunch of stuff, as I have 5 machines set up, all with something different going. Hey, woodworkers have many machines set up as they all do different functions. I have a 301 set up for piecing, a 301 that has small comfort quilts being FMQ, a 301 with a large quilt being quilted, a 401 that does zig zag on fabric collages for cards, and my treadle for scrap crumb quilts. These all cost less than my ill bought $2200 P machine that could never quilt well (sold it). Yesterday, I worked on all of them doing a lot of different things.
    I hope some of you visited your local quilt store on Saturday for the national LQS Saturday. I did my part at Pine Grove. I got fabric for my daughter's tote bag and some great grey for putting together crumbs.
    On Friday, I helped my friend, Jan, continue on learning to quilt. We have been working on a dog themed quilt based on the free pattern Patience Corners from  The plastic guide I bought from Nova Montgomery is a huge help for Jan to keep the seams even; it works much better than the foot with the blade. Here are the blocks on the wall ready to sew.
Blue tape show order of blocks for sewing
    Another quilt I started, You've Got Mail, free pattern and video from the Missouri Star Quilt company, is from a layer cake and 10" white squares cut from yardage. I layed out all the blocks and have 22 out of 42 sewn.The rest are pinned and waiting to be sewn. When they are all sewn, I will put them back on the design wall and break the blocks into two quilts, 4 by 5, for two comfort quilts.
Not in any order, just for pinning

All pinned for sewing
    Since the only kids comfort quilt I had was given away, I started another, because, unfortunately, I will get another request. I decided to do Disappearing Nine Patch, rotating all the kid prints to the center. I bought a pack of I Spy 5" squares on ebay, and am using my own 5" for the other squares. These are how many I have done now.
Needs three more rows
    I don't usually put my paintings on this blog but on my flickr site. However, it is so cold and I thought at least one newer one might brighten the day.
A bouquet from last year's Buffalo Garden Walk

Monday, January 20, 2014

All kinds of bits and pieces

      I have not made significant progress in any one area. In the crumbs, I have now 40, 6.5" crumb blocks. I don't want to do just a sashing (boring) or another attic window pane. I don't know what to do. Someone at the WNY Modern Quilt Guild meeting mentioned doing skinny strips of black like stained glass and offset the rows. Hmm, I am not sure.
     The other crumb strips are 2.5" by 8.5", paper pieced on newsprint. Bonnie Hunter showed them on her quilt cam, showed a block made out of four, and then I never heard mention of it again. I jumped on it because I can use all the tiny pieces left over on these. So, now I have these nice strips and no ideas. I don't want to set them all against each other because it would be too jumbled to the eye.
6.5" Block pile all done on the Singer Treadle

2.5" x 8.5" Strips, 2 whole blocks, sewed on the treadle.Where do I go from here? 
This is all I have left after my crumb blocks. I don't throw anything out bigger than this.
     I am also continuing on my wonky quarter log cabins. I finished another 4 quarters. I did not sew any of them together yet, so I can rearrange when I get all of them done. I am planning on 3 complete big blocks wide by 4 blocks long to make it a comfort lap quilt. These also sewed on the Singer 15 treadle. I am telling you, the treadle is real relaxing and comforting to sew on.
Two big blocks arranged, the quarters are 8.5" unfinished,
so the big blocks will finish 16"

First big block trimmed
     Finally, I took the plunge and am cutting out my daughter's wedding present quilt. It is going to be loosely based on Circle Dance by Elisa from Backporch Designs. A little while ago, I bought the 7" template and thought I could make the 3.5" one. Nope, I broke down and ordered it yesterday. I did start cutting out the batiks that Ria picked out. I am going to have to at least make 70 sets of the quarter circles and about 35 sets of the small circles. Well, at least I started. I am planning to sew them together with my Curvemaster foot that I bought.

Cut with the 7" Crazy Curves template

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Baby quilt panel, bag, and blooms

    My daughter's friend had a baby girl just before Christmas, but I could not get to a quilt until now. I had bought a panel so it would go quicker. Ria picked out the colors and panel. I am not a panel person, but I can see their usefulness in time crunches. Hate the licensed character ones, but hey, that is just me. I added the borders and used Isacord rainbow thread for the FMQ that I had bought through Elizabeth. It is just wonderful to work with and added that punch to the panel and rather subdued colors. It is all bound and ready to go in the mail as soon as I figure out how to pack it.

I used a gray in the bobbin for the back

The front
      I finished the bag for the Comfort Quilt 4 patch Black and white quilt posted earlier. It is ready for the card, book and waiting for a recipient.
Identical pocket on the inside
    Last week, we had a blizzard in Buffalo. Today 30s and fog. So, I am especially delighted to have Christmas cactus blooming now. The peach ones have just opened, the reddish ones are some reblooming.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Top done, new ideas

    Due to the weather, I stayed in and finished the Rubiks crush top. Now, I have to decide, Does it need a border? The blocks are 12" each. What do you think?
Top on design wall
    I love piecing the scrap blocks on my treadle. I have been making the 6.5" blocks. I was thinking of trying something else. I found a quarter log cabin bento box type online, and tried it yesterday with my scraps. I was going to make them each 8.5" and they are not there yet. All sewn on the 100 yr old treadle without a blip. What about a whole quilt with them? Three 16" complete blocks across?  Four blocks down would be 64", and three blocks acrosswould be 48". I usually try to keep lap quilts under 60" for batting size sake, as I split a king batt into four. Or should I make it four by four? Is a square lap quilt 64 X 64 manageable?
Not yet the full 8.5" each
    Another block I like is the wonky cross. I saw this on a number of sites, sewmamasew, being one of them. I bought some batik layer cakes from Connecting Threads at the end of the year that these would be perfect for I think. I made a sample to see how it sewed. I think I would make the cross arms thinner. Have to think about this for a lap quilt. Anyone made this? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Blizzard, New Top, Crumbs

      Parts of the Western New York area has been through a blizzard. Well, I live just a block north of the city of Buffalo and did experience high winds, incredible wind chills, and whiteouts, but this was nothing like the Blizzard of 77, my gold standard of blizzards. Because so many highways were closed, there was little stranding or drama. Actually, today, I have had more snow than during the blizzard. I think the other snow blew into some other county. Because of the weather, most things I had to do were cancelled, so I was "forced" to sew, sure, right. 
My backyard today
   When I looked through my projects, I decided to sew Rubik's crush, a free pattern from Quilting Arts (it was in a free ebook). I bought the fabric  over a year ago and cut the large floral blocks them. Just love the fabric. I needed to sew the 17 blocks that are the small 2 1/2" blocks with teeny sashing, not my favorite. I would not sew it the way they said again. I would not sew 1" sashing to 2 1/2" squares again. It is almost impossible for me to keep them straight. I would sew 2 1/2" strips to a strip of sashing, and then trim them into sets. You can see that even though I tried hard, the blocks are not precise. I decided just to keep going and sew all of them. Today, I put them on the design wall where I will label the block rows and numbers so I can sew them. I struggled sewing them on the tempermental 201 and switched to a trusty 301 near the end for the sashing. 
Block centers

On the design wall, blocks are 12.5"

    When the wind was really howling, I could not concentrate, so I treadled my crumbs on my Singer 15 treadle, which is soothing therapy for me. I sew the scraps, and then trim them to 6.5" blocks for another crumb quilt. I have not decided how to set these. The last one I did in attic windows (not quilted yet). 
Crumbs being assembled

6.5" crumb blocks, each one a little composition

Monday, January 6, 2014

Surprises and Finishes

    By mentioning surprises, I don't mean the weather- it's winter, it's Buffalo, I accept that. The first couple days of the new year brought some unexpected big delights. First, Quilting by the Lake, a program from the Schweinfurth Museum in Auburn, NY with extraordinary teachers, called me and offered me a 5 day scholarship for classes in July!! By July, I thought I could have scrapped up enough to take a 2 day class with Victoria Findlay Wolfe, but never 5 days there. What it would have cost for an entire 2 days, I can stay all 5! Just the lodging to come up with, and if I had a room mate, it could be even cheaper. So, there is still room for her classes or others, so maybe think about coming. I love scraps and colors and Victoria is a master with both. I never win anything and wow, here it is.
  Second, I have a good friend who is a fantastically talented jeweler. She is an art teacher and a Roycroft artisan jeweler. In the mail, I got a pair of silver angel earring with glass beads that are just terrific. I can't take a picture of myself with my camera and I have a stupid phone, so have to get someone else to photo them for me.
  In the cleaning department, I finished the Kenmore and it is ready to go home. I was going to deliver it at the quilt guild meeting tonight, but it got weather cancelled. It is pretty spiffy and sews up a storm.
In its zipper case, ready to be used. Power cords and pedal in made bag.
    On the vintage machine forums, it has been mentioned about using TR3 resin glaze to polish paint and Mothers Mag and Aluminum polish for metal. Wow, great stuff. I picked up some last week at Pep Boys and used it on an old 66 treadle both the paint and metal. I also shined up my new 15. I used cotton balls just like the forum people said. The old 66 was a real wreck. All the metal was rusted. I read about using cider vinegar to soak the metal. In a bucket, I piled all the metal pieces in with the cider vinegar, and in 24 hours, I could not believe it was all gone. Now with the Mother's, I can restore the shine.
Left side, 1/4 of it polished, rest with rust removed

Right edge with polish after rust removal

Top with TR3 and cotton balls

What the black surface looks like without polish

Great Products
     Comfort Quilt finish- orange jelly roll strips from and Liz has a great sale right now. I just bought some animal skin prints, plain white, and some gray/blacks. The pattern is the 3 Dudes quilt from Missouri Star Quilt company except I used 6 strips cut into blocks instead of 4. I auditioned colors to make the orange pop and be happy. I never decide my borders or binding fabric until the quilt is pieced because I can make better choices to highlight the center.
Auditioning for the border

Ready for basting and backing
     Another Comfort Quilt, the 4 patch B&W leader and ender, is all quilted and bound. The backing donated by Esta is a lot of fun.


Finished Quilt
   Wow, that was a lot to get through, but I hate taking pictures off the camera, naming them, putting them in folders, so I tend to do it all at the same time. I did not photo my machine disasters lately, so I won't be sharing those!