Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Better in bunches

     Certain tasks are better when grouped as it takes time to get in the groove and be proficient. I like to make backings in groups because I have to pull out so much fabric and put up multiple tables. I also wait until I have at least 3 quilts needing binding before I make and attach it. I did 4 sets of bindings and the first one is glued on waiting to be sewn on the trusty Singer 15-91. 
Top, back, batting quilts-to-be on hangers waiting for the slow long armer (me) 
3 done quilts with their bindings to be glued on and sewn

Clean 221 = More fabric!

     One thing I do, that I love to do, is clean old sewing machines. Someone referred a woman to me who was given a Featherweight, Singer 221. It was in fantastic shape, but dirty and unused with a very bad cord and connections. I ordered a new belt, new power cord, a LED light bulb (people burn themselves on the 221 bulb), some Tri-flow oil and used a lot of cotton rags, wooden picks, TR3 polish, etc and the machine looks awesome. Runs wonderfully. It had all the attachments and a case that just needed cleaning. Can you believe I was so enamored that I forgot to take a photo of the gleaming machine when I was done and now it is back to its owner? Errr!
Before cleaning 
Cord and plug issues- all replaced!
    One reason, besides loving to gawk and clean machines, I do this, is to help me continue to make comfort quilts for people undergoing treatments or serious medical issues. I use fabric, batting, thread, bags, books and blank cards to make them a reality. I make them lap size, labels printed by Spoonflower, put them in a tote bag with a book on hope and a hand made card. I rely a lot on donations. Someone recently gave me 25 awesome new totes that have a logo on from a company that no longer exists that I easily cover up with patchwork pockets. I was able to buy a humongous roll of batting at wholesale price, and receive fabric scraps and larger pieces from people who hear what I do. Vicki and Gwen sent me beautiful fat quarters.
   When I give the cleaned machine back, people sometimes give me a check so I can buy more books, thread, fabric (especially backings) or postage. Sometimes they give fabric. This has helped the process keep moving forward. 
     I am so grateful to all who have helped me!
     I continue to cut scraps into set sizes, look for patterns that are simple but beautiful, and try to master my longarm. I don't keep making the same quilt pattern as I am a nutcase artist and hate production work. I hope you enjoying seeing the quilts made on my blog. I amazed at the power a quilt makes in someone's life. I constantly see it happen. If for no reason than that, I quilt. But I also quilt because I have to or my head would blow off.
    Today's Featherweight owner gave me luscious big pieces of fabric, even a whole layer cake that I can use for a veteran quilt. Thanksgiving even earlier!
More fabric to make more!! 

Inching along progress on OBW

     Even though the One Block Wonder uses just one fabric, the detail and sewing, pressing, etc make slow progress. I am not complaining- it is just that kind of quilt. I do enjoy it, but I take my time as this is not the thing you want to rip out seams.
     After I took it off the wall in columns that I numbered with painters tape at the top and bottom, I took the piles and sewed them together, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, all the the way to 9. As a result I had a web of all the rows so I would not be able to mix them up. The web on the wall looked like some fabric installation in a funky gallery. 
     Then I had to press all the seams open as six will meet in one spot. That was slow. I started to sew the rows slowly. I do not pin, I go from one intersection to the other, meeting up the seams and using the Purple Thang to hold the layers together under the needle and foot, one intersection at a time. The last photo is a teaser of how the quilt will look. 
     Since it will be Thanksgiving and I have to cook and prep, I think this will sit undone for a while. I don't want to rush it and have to rip. Everything is lining up so nice now.
Blocks stacked by column
Being sewn, column by column

Webbed blocks on the wall
Teaser, some rows sewn, not pressed yet

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One block wonder number 2

     A while ago, a woman from my guild, Cathy, held a workshop where I made a one block wonder from fabric I had bought years earlier on clearance (Still waiting for me to quilt it- keep hoping I get better before I try it). I wanted to make another and found some fabric on clearance at Quilters Corners in Ithaca. Cathy helped me to refresh my memory and instructed me again (took pictures this time) on how to layout the repeats for cutting and how to cut the strips and then the triangles.
      I sewed all the triangles into half hexies (pinned the two halves) ready for the wall, but this time it was more difficult because there were a lot of white or very light areas. I spent off and on time moving and moving around the pieces and I think the last photo is pretty close to what I am going with. Then, I will take the pin out of the hexies to sew the pieces in rows. I am going to try the webbing method to sew it together so I don't mess up the order.
The original whole piece fabric being cut for repeats
The lights and mediums
The full color ones
Really light ones, the problems, at the bottom
One of the many layouts
Close to the end, maybe?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bright Birches- Made fabric and sparkling solids

     At our guild's quilt retreat last weekend, I was able to sew all the blocks for Bright Birches. I had previously sewn made fabric, pressed it with spray starch, and cut it to the sizes I wanted. Skinnier is better. I cut and inserted the strips to make the block. 
    The solids were 10" to start and I was able to trim them to 9 3/4". I wish the blocks were about 2" bigger. These were the only solids I had- I was given this stack by a guild friend, so this had to be the size. 
     I would really like to make another using 12" squares, but how do I get thirty different 12" squares of bright solids without buying yards and yards of fabric? Hmm. This quilt has a happy look to it.
On the design wall
All sewn 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Rail Fence complete, ready to quilt

     I decided to make the quilt 3 x 4, as the blocks will finish at 19". I have 5 blocks left and would need to make 7 more to make another quilt. I don't know if I have 14 other colors of batik that are the right color (not too gray) to make it work. I really, really like this pattern of Sujata's.