Thursday, August 30, 2018

Do you treadle?

This summer I came across a good deal on a Singer 66 1910 Redeye  treadle.  I have always loved old sewing machines.  They were built to last and also are quite pretty.  In fact, my mom gave me a New Home but it had a motor attached and the motor was no longer working.  So when we moved to Arkansas in 2007 my husband sold it at a moving sale.  I always regretted that sale but such is life.  So I when I came across this Singer she just had to come home with me.  She came from a home where she had been used as a prop in a wedding that had a vintage theme.  When I went to pick it up I took some time to check that the bobbin parts were intact and that the wheel turned and it wasn't completely rusted up.  Well, everything seemed to be in working order, except that the belt was missing.  The owner seemed dumbfounded that I was going to try and get it to sew again. I guess she only saw her as a prop.

Well, I had Tom look it over and clean the machine and he also tweaked the timing a bit. I am so lucky that he is talented.Then it was my turn to try and get her to stitch. Well, it took me about a half an hour of tinkering to get the tension fine-tuned enough for me to sew two pieces of fabric together.  I thought it was going to be a lot more challenging.  Her decals are very worn, but that's ok with me.  She shows her years, but still is in decent shape and the best part is, she sews.  It has taken several sessions of me playing around and getting the hang of this treadling thing.  The first thing you learn is the wheel needs to move forward or your most likely going to break the thread in the needle.  Well, let's just say I have plenty of practice rethreading her.

 I decided it was time for me to take her on a real training session.  I had that stack of quarter square triangles to turn into hourglass blocks. Well, I will admit that the first half an hour or so was hectic.  I was very tempted to just turn my chair around and turn on the Viking with the sensor foot, needle down and speed control. But, if there is one thing I have learned in life is if you really want to learn something it takes perseverance, so I mustered up the tenacity and kept going.  First I  learned to start the machine moving forward without using my hand on the wheel. After all, I need my hands to guide and feed my triangles.  There is still plenty of improvement to be made, but I think I got this treadle thing.  The sound she makes is wonderful!  Considering she is 108 years old, her stitching is perfect! My husband keeps saying we can double our money by selling her. "What are you crazy!!!!!" is my reply.  I think he finally gets it that she is here to stay. She's a workhorse and my hourglass blocks turned out great.

This brings me to 636 hourglass blocks, I am getting closer to my goal of 850!

Monday, August 27, 2018

I Chose the Crooked Path

We all know that life has its ups and downs.  It's what makes life interesting and sometimes challenging. When I was in grade school many years ago, we had to memorize the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. It still comes to mind every once in a while.  Today is one of those days. As I neared the end of my Texas Star quilt, I decided to make the last two rows separate from the quilt.  So tonight, I have a very crooked path as I stitch that seam.

It also made me realize that the edges of this quilt are very crooked and I knew from the beginning I would be whacking off some of those outside stars to make a straight edge to attach the binding.  I guess I could have just left it as is and bind that crooked edge but that makes the binding complicated.

Well, this morning, as I straightened my sewing room I came across the diamonds I had cut and marked when I first started this quilt.  If you remember I was going to use diamonds instead of the hexagons.  So I decided, why not stitch the diamonds along the outside edges so I wouldn't have to whack as much of the stars off.


Two sides are missing star points where the next stars would have been added had I made the quilt larger. So I will add some diamonds there also.   I can hardly wait to turn on the sewing light and settle in and start stitching!  The quilting road has many paths and I really enjoy that!  The challenges and decisions we make on every quilt we make keep the craft interesting.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Close to the complete!

Well, the end is nearing.  I have enough stars pieced to finish up this quilt.  I hope to get the last 8 stars attached today. I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts and the others that are slow stitching today.  It's inspiring to see that so many enjoy slowing down and enjoying the simple process of stitching. If you have never tried it, you should really give it a go.

I have started the last two rows this am after my morning coffee. I have the quilt laid out so I can see where the next piece needs to be attached. Once the two rows are complete then I will attach it to the quilt.  A final measurement will then be taken.  This is a crib size quilt so it should finish after trimming around 45X60.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

It's a star-a-thon

I sat at the table Monday morning and cut out more stars to hand piece this week.  It's so much fun to pick out a color/fabric to make the next star.  I think I may be getting close to having enough to call this quilt finished.  But then I could make it a bit bigger.  For now, I need to start adding these stars to the quilt.  Lots of hand piecing, following the drawn line from point to point.  You would think sewing a straight line would be easy but it's so easy to wander and these seams need to be somewhat straight!

I apologize for the bad photography, but they do look better assembled.

Now, to start adding these to the quilt alternating with the cream hexagons as I go.  Just from laying out what I have I think I am very close to having enough!  But for now, I will just keep piecing and then lay it out once again to decide how many more it needs to be the size I want!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I love stitching!

I love stitching whether it be by machine or by hand. But I have always griped about the cutting process.  But surprisingly, if I just get at it, it's really not that bad.  But then, my sewing room looks like a tornado hit.   I've learned with this project to match up some fabric and limit myself to just cut those.  Once I get thru that stack it's time to clear the scraps and put the smaller scraps into appropriate containers to use for another project.  I am a person who hates clutter so working this way really helps me deal with the mess that I create when I am in the midst of creating and cutting. Look at the stack of quarter square triangles I need to run thru the machine that added up in no time.  Now the chain piecing can begin and I get these trimmed and pressed and ready to go into my quilt.

Sunday evening I was able to get these stars pieced.   I had some red star points that I cut out and unfortunately I only had enough of the scrap to make five points and not the six I needed. Today, I found this red scrap that looks almost the same. I think I am going to finish this one up with one point cut out of the different fabric.  I love seeing that in antique quilts so why not.  Also I hate wasting the five that are already cut.

So what do you think?  I think it will be just fine!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Quilt ladder

Since we moved two years ago in June, the quilts that are displayed around the house and those not on a bed have lived in the closet in the spare bedroom.  They really took up too much space in there and I hated not seeing them.  So my sweet husband Tom, built me a quilt ladder.  I really like the angle he used to make it. Doesn't it look like an old ladder.  I just love having my quilts out on display!!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Unusual start to my Sunday

I love getting up on Sunday mornings and starting my day by enjoying my coffee/breakfast and then settling down to some slow stitching.  Starting my day by stitching really helps me relax.  But this Sunday, I am not at home as we have been house/dog sitting my son's place.  He lives in such a gorgeous area so I decided this am I would take a walk on the trail after breakfast.

42 acre ranch in the middle of the suburbs only in Texas!

Isn't it so pretty and I must say it was relaxing. Although a turtle out sunning himself jumped into the water when he heard me coming which was a bit startling. However the humidity this morning was high, we finally got some much-needed rain.  I was hoping I could sit outside and stitch but that wasn't happening.  Instead, I did take a dip in the pool!

 Now that's refreshing!  Even Max enjoyed floating in the pool.  He has never liked water but for some reason, he does enjoy floating on his own little island.  I have a feeling its just comfortable and his old bones love laying on anything that doesn't put pressure on those old joints.

 So instead of starting my day stitching, I think I will end my day stitching. Hope you found some time today to slow stitch. I am linking to Kathy's Quilts Slow Stitching Sunday to see what others have been slow stitching today!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

More stars!

I spent a little time yesterday cutting out more of the alternate hexagon blocks that link my Texas stars together.  More progress could have been made but I kept running out of hexagons in the evening when I do my hand piecing.  I am so glad to have that remedied. I have five rows of stars completed and will be working on row 6 today.  I will be house sitting my son's house next week and I think it might be the perfect time to really make some great progress on this quilt.

If you read my blog you know I have been in a quandary about a  border. It doesn't help that I am not a big fan of borders so another decision has been made.  No border and more stars to make this the quilt the size I want.  I am enjoying this journey so much already, I am looking ahead to start another hand piecing project once this one is complete.  I don't know why but sewing dot to dot and then turning over the top at the end of an evening and seeing a quilt top get larger and larger is so much fun!  Of course, pretty fabrics and spectacular colors help a lot too!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Decision made!

It's always a good feeling to make some progress on my quilts.  I finished the applique on my medallion block on Sunday evening. That was a big hurdle. I haven't done any applique since I made Baltimore Garden. Not sure that I ever would after all of the small pieces and time I spent on it, but I must admit it was fun to do the simple wavy border on my medallion block.  Of course Monday morning I had to play a bit and I pulled out my hourglass blocks to see how they were going to play with the medallion block.  It's always a bit scary to see reality instead of the fantasy one has in their head.  But, I have always had a pretty good knack to envision a project in my head.  So, no big surprise, but I was very pleased to see it in reality.

I planned on making a 60"X60" quilt, but I think that has changed. I could really use another king size quilt for my bed so I will forge onward.  It's really not a  hard decision, after all, I just love pairing up reproduction fabrics and making the hourglass blocks.  I do wish I would win the lottery so I could hire a professional fabric cutter to do all the cutting. LOL  But if I cut a few and sew a few it seems to go pretty well.  I was able to make 59 more hourglass blocks so the journey to a king size quilt has actually begun.

 I have been storing my blocks in this box.  There are over 400 but that is only about halfway to the count I need.  It's good thing I really enjoy making these.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Hand Appliqued Border

Today, I hope to get a good start on a needle turned appliqued border for my medallion block.  At first, a thought a sawtooth border might work but it didn't play well with those thin spikes.  I also tried a diamond pieced border and it seemed a bit busy.  From those two ideas, I came up with a one fabric border with wavey curves. Those curves seem to complement the compass so I am moving forward. 
I made a paper template using a quarter and my pencil and paper,  much like quilters long ago.  Yes, my curves are not identical but all in all they will look just wonderful.

It's been a while since I had done any needle turn applique.  This gently curved border is very nice to stitch. I used my machine to baste it in place and marked the curves with a sliver of soap.  All that basting keeps everything right where it belongs and the perforations made by the machine stitches help when I go to turn under the seam allowance on the curves with my needle.  Not sure I will get all four sides finished today, but I will have a  whole lot of fun trying.