Monday, June 30, 2014

Crumb attic window glimpse, guitar card

     Because it is so hot out and I would have to pound nails in my fence again (my husband removed them wondering why they were there), I am not clipping the quilt outside to photograph. Another day. I did take a corner shot of it inside. I quilted it on Bailey with Glide thread. No mishaps, just noisy. I need to learn how to better make a flange going around the windows, this is not the best.  I love crumbs. I will be taking a seminar with Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Quilting by the Lake in July as I won a scholarship, so I will be making more crumbs. Love those scraps! If you don't, send them to me!
    My son turned 32 last week. I tried to make him a photo card quilt. I used a photo of him playing guitar and ran it through the filters of Picmonkey using a number of different effects. In Word, I brought them all together and printed it on those premade fabric sheets on my inkjet printer which was acting up leaving red lines. I layered it on batting and Timtex interfacing. I first stitched the outlines with Superior metallic thread, but it did not like the stiffness of the fabric. The rest of the FMQ, I used YLI invisble thread on top and Glide in the bobbin. It is not the best job due to the inkjet printer and fabric stiffness. I clipped it to cardstock and used a large manilla envelope to hold it. It is 8.5 x 11. He loved it, so I guess that is all that counts. In his day job, he is a purchasing manager, but the guitar is what he loves to do.

Sweating off the finish

    I have resumed taking the finish off the treadle cabinet I bought last October. I do this outside, so it had to stop for the winter and cold spring. Why I picked one of the hottest days in Buffalo with no breeze, I don't know. I just want it done and the 237 encased inside so I can zig zag treadle. I bought more Formby's Furniture finish remover and more green 3M scratchy pads. I wore through another pair of heavy duty gloves on the right hand. I used over half the Formby's and almost all the scratchies. Previously, I had removed most of the finish from the drawers and side pieces. I had left the top for last. I thought this would be easier since it is flat. Well, the good news is that the wood on the top is in pretty nice shape. The bad news is someone had put another coat or two of finish on real thick and left a lot of brush bristles. It took lots of liquid and elbow grease to get to the wood. What looked beat up turned out to be mostly the finish. I still have to go over everything another time to get all the leftover patches off. So, I did not get it done. Once the finish is off, I will use Minwax Antique Oil finish on the cabinet instead of Poly. The wipe on Poly has tempted me. Today is hot again and humid so I do not think I will attempt the final removal. Things were pretty sticky yesterday. I thought it was ironic that I was stripping the oak cabinet under my oak tree. You had to be there.

     On the subject of treadles, I bought a necklace from Nancy Cornwell, who sells on Etsy,, with a custom treadle photo. She is making necklaces to earn money to finalize their adoption of a Chinese deaf boy. They already have a deaf daughter. Nancy is the daughter of Sarah Craig, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, who has an awesome quilt ministry. Nancy's story is on there; she has lots of designs, and made a custom one for me, as I had to have some finished treadle. She was great to deal with and it shipped so fast! If you need a gift, Nancy would be grateful for your business. Here is mine:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rubik's crush Quilted!

     Finally, Rubik's Crush is finished. Binding and all. Quilted on my 17" Bailey. Pieced on a Singer 301.
Front detail folded onto back
Flower detail

401 ready to rock!

    Mary's 401 is all ready to stitch a storm. All polished, adjusted, oiled, greased. New spool pins and felts, new foot controller, it is an awesome machine. The needle did not want to move off center and took ages to swing. I can't believe how well these are machined and made. I would clean one any day of the week! She was really happy with it and has taken it to her cottage for summer sewing.
Clean camstack. Took a long time to get the zig zag working and needle to swing.
Clean bobbin area, no more moldy lint
It's go time!

A few finishes

     The Bailey has been chugging along, noisily, I may add. I was able to quilt two comfort quilts made by a guild member's dad. Camille's dad is 92 and in a nursing home. She taught him how to sew strips a little while ago, and now he lays the pieces on his bed, figures out a layout and stitches it. Very well, I may add. She asked me if I would quilt these for the the guild. This should inspire anyone to make a comfort quilt. It is one of my quilt peeves that the quilting stitching gets such short shrift at times. Sometimes a gorgeous pieced quilt just has some random meanderings over it. The pattern, the fabric deserve so much more than that. I did some simple FMQ patterns in these quilts, one more to go. Can you see how the stitching really enlivens such a simple quilt, even flannels? Don't look too close at my stitches, I am a stitch work in progress.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

HST sewn and other finishes

     I spent a lot of time sewing. I was able to finish the top of my HSTeria quilt along quilt. I will not put borders on it. Although a black one might look nice. Hmm. Now I have to figure out the backing. Backings are my least favorite part of quilting. I like all aspects except this.
2 charm packs and yardage cut squares
    In addition, I put borders on a floral Exploding Squares and an animal diagonal tube quilt made from jelly roll strips. Borders are fussy and time consuming, but they are the frame and make the presentation stronger.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Overwhelmed and grateful

     Every once in a while, I just am overwhelmed at the help and encouragement in making comfort quilts that I experience. Sewing them is kind of a lone job. People have given me fabric and money for tuning their vintage machines that have enabled me to keep going and making them. I had experienced some negative, nasty, untrue comments about some family members recently and was a bit down. 
    In the mail, upon returning from the retreat, I received 2 boxes chock full to the brim with wondrous, LQS fabric for the quilts. Not even a request to reimburse for postage. I am stunned. I spent some hours sorting, folding and trying to rearrange my fabric organizing system. Here are some photos, just out of the box and folded.

    What can I say? I am speechless. 
Ok, what I can say is how am I going to cut all this into blocks? The big pieces I am saving for backs. 
   Here is my question. Do any of you use an Accucut or Sizzix to cut quantities of blocks? What do you think, is it worth investing in one? I cut my fabric into 2, 3.5, 4, 5, 6.5, or even 7" blocks and store them by size and color in plastic bins for the comfort quilts. Would one of these cutters help, waste, or not make any difference? I have tried to test one, but can't find anyone who has one. I have looked for used ones and they are just as much as new ones.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another day, another tuneup, cleanup

     A woman from my guild received a 401 from a neighbor and asked me if I would clean it up for her. Gladly I will clean them to keep them going. This one had been in a basement. The foot pedal was totally corroded inside and stuck in the on full bore position. It needs replacement. I don't think a lint brush was ever used. It took a couple of hours with a dental pick and pointed wood sticks to remove a huge wad of felt pushed all around the hook and lower gears. And it was moldy. Thankfully, no corrosion inside. The oil must have preserved it. I polished it all and am waiting for the foot. It does run and the light works as I used one of my controllers to test it. These are the before photos.
Why oh why, masking tape on the bed?

Red marker lines, Really?
The camstack took sometime to degunk and move freely,
not the worse I have seen

Quilt Retreat!

    Participating in a quilt retreat is awesome. I get to see how other quilters work and learn new things not from Youtube but from you ask questions and get answers. The retreat place, Camp Pioneer, on Lake Erie, gave two nights of gorgeous sunsets. Where else in the world would I rather be? You don't have to be a millionaire to stay at a place like this and sit on the beach and watch sunsets. How could I make these into quilts? I may just have to paint it.
   Learning new things is another great part. I learned paper piecing using Judy Niemeyer's new Charm Elements, number 1, Compass Rose. I have two awesome experience paper piecers, who have taken workshops with Judy, to help me through this and were exceedingly patient with all my questions and interruptions to their sewing.
I did it! I did it!
    I was fortunate that the quilters wanted to learn Geta's pouch and Kris prepped all the fabric into kits ready to go. It was rather late on Saturday night, but they were ready to learn and everyone made a great pouch. Here are some of them.

Front side

Other side

    I am grateful for the time and people that made this happen. I did work on my daughter's circle quilt and my HSTeria quilt also. Quilt retreats can be done reasonably (we provided all the food/meals) at some camps. They are worth it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pouching my way to bags

      I really, really want to make bags, purses. However, I seemed challenged in the 3D arena and understanding printed directions. I can follow a video just fine. I found this pouch pattern on line to download on special sale from Geta at Geta's Quilt Studio. She is from Romania which I think is cool, since I am in Buffalo, NY. Her quilts are w-a-y beyond me, but I loved this pouch. 
     I took the leftovers from my daughter's tote bag and made one. I made a bunch of mistakes (both zippers not going in the same direction- she warned about this, but it happened) that were my fault and not the pattern. When things get turned inside out, it gets dicey. Zippers are not the easiest thing for me, don't know why. But, I made it and took photos to prove it. It uses 10 x 20 fabric for the main body and the lining. Has a nice deep pocket. I will make more. Now for the purses...

HST layout decided

      Now that the design wall was free of the gray stripey thing, I finished pinning up the Half Square Triangles. I tried a bunch of layouts. I had divided up both charm packs of Marcia Derse fabrics into light, medium and dark, but the divisions were not even-- the light ones had the least. As a consequence, there were a lot of dark clumps.
One of many tries
     I got out the camera again and used the B&W feature to find the best variation in values.

This was the layout I decided on.
    When I sew the blocks together, I sew the 1st row 1st block to 2nd block, then the 2nd row, 1st block to 2nd block, 3rd row 1st block to 2nd block until the last row. Then I will sew the 1st row 2nd block to 3rd block 2nd row 2nd block to 3rd block, etc. until I get all the rows pieced. With all the rows pieced, I sew pairs of rows together, like 1 to 2, 2 to 3, etc. Then I sew all the pairs seams until all the rows are sewn. If there is a better way, I am all for it. Shout it out.
    I mark each row with the row number and block position number. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 all across. I use blue painters tape that was rolled out a strip on my cutting board, cut it half lengthwise, and then across into little squares. I label the tape with a sharpie. 
    Then I take the cutting board with the numbers to the design wall and stick them on placing the number at the center top of the block so I always know the orientation. 
     Last, I start with the first number in the row and stack them until the last number in the row is on the bottom. I use a small bulldog clip for each row to keep track of the rows. I arrange these on my sewing table and pull then out in order for piecing. No matter if I am interrupted or have brain interruptions, it stays in order because it is numbered and the top side is plain. It may sound like a lot of fussy work, but it pays off in streamlined sewing and NO ripping.
Partial view of the numbering while on the wall

Ready to roll