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.


The view from Bald Mountain
The mailboat that broke down
My very favorite: Water lilies

    How is that for alphabet soup? My daughter finally was able to defend her Phd in organic chemistry at U of R and we all set out for a week in the Adirondacks, near Old Forge. Packing and lists took up the previous week and we all survived together for a week with not the greatest of weather. We were able to do a canoe trip down the Moose River, climb Bald Mountain, go for the mail boat ride (which broke down in front of a million dollar home and we were invited in for coffee until we were rescued by another boat, not too shabby), and all get along. My two kids plus spouses and grandchildren plus my husband's brothers and sisters all spend a week here. I did bring the 301 and pieced two tops from numbered blocks, but the grandkids took over the table I brought to sew on for their play animals. 
    Doing laundry and cleanup today. Sewing tomorrow.

Friday, August 1, 2014

All sewn up!

    Circle Dance is hanging by threads no more. It is all sewn together. It needs to be pressed and assessed to see if I botched any seams. Thanks to Wanda, I learned to pleat up the rows that were not being sewn with safety pins. That helped a lot to handle all the chain pieced rows. I did pin every intersection of seam and circle, right through the seam, yet many of them still moved. GRR! 
    Now to choose the backing. I looked at some wide backings, but there is not a lot of choice. I have to stick to something not real feminine as it is for my daughter and her husband. I looked online an shot a few links to Ria so she could think what she wants. Boy, queen size is big when you do mostly lap size. I could not find a place to take a decent photo so it all could show or get decent light. It is sideways in the photo, the top is to the left.
  Another finish is a kid's comfort quilt, done in the 3 dudes pattern. I only had a small number of kid strips, so I had to add lots of borders. I FMQ on the Bailey and did a slate pattern in the yellow and a sunshine in the blue border which from some reason, has a moire pattern in the photo. Both designs were from Leah Day's list. Now onto the backs from the quilts I made at QBL.
Star and Slate design

Free motion kind of follows the blocks

The back in flannel for snuggling

The Front