Sunday, March 30, 2014

Delightful Stars - Paper Piecing-Not So Bad

It's been a week or so since  Michele Foster sent us her paper piecing Tutorial. She included six practice blocks that will  prepare us for the paper-pieced blocks in this quilt. I have been procrastinating.

Luckily there where two other blocks I could work on. Yes, I got behind. But I've made good progress this weekend, and I don't hate paper piecing anymore. I will not go as far as to say I am in love with in, but it's okay.

A really pretty block is Lesson 7 - Block 4. If you have been following along you know my goals are to have the stars sort of float on the background. I am also trying to achieve a softer misty sort of look for this quilt, like am impressionist painting. That explains my lighter fabric selections.

Block 4

The last block before the paper piecing practice is  Lesson 8: Block 23. This looks like an Ohio Star. My picture does not do the block justice as it is more colorful in person. I usually do the square method when I make this block. This time I tried the template method, which are cut from strips. I actually like it and my squares did not need trimming. Maybe I'm getting this accuracy thing after all.

Block 23
Okay, finally nothing left to do on this project but practice. I am so glad that I purchased the specialty paper and the add a 1/4 ruler. The paper came off really nice and the ruler came in handy. I was skeptical about the rule because I have used other templates to add a 1/4 on other projects. This really did work well. I also ended up using it to fold the paper on the longer folds.

So......the reveal..drum roll please......

Here they are. At least most of them. The heart is my favorite. I love the little basket too, but I made a mistake on it. Somehow I was off 1/2 inch at the top on some pieces. So I just made a little brim on the basket. I know it's only practice. I just can't stand to waste the block, so I improvised. I think it is kind of cute.

The basket with the boo-boo

Lovely Heart

Nearly Perfect Star
Deluxe Square-in-a-Square
Bluebell - should have not used the same fabric-but it's for practice right?
 I still have one practice block to do. It is a twisted log cabin. I decided that I had taxed my brain enough for one day. My sewing area is a disaster so I am cleaning up. If tomorrow's day at work isn't too bad I may try to complete the last practice block so I am ready for Paper Pieced Lesson when it arrives.

Michele says that after doing these practice blocks "you will have the necessary knowledge and skills to tackle any beginner/intermediate project". Bring it on!  I am ready! Thanks to Michele Foster. It's not to late to participate. See the Delightful-Star link on this blog.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sew-in with granddaughter Jana. Blocks for Veterans.

It's been a few weeks since my granddaughter Jana and I have had the opportunity to get together to sew. With no projects in process we where free to just play around and sew for fun.

A few weeks back I read a blog by fellow blogger Kevin the Quilter.

Kevin wrote asking for 12 1.2 inch squares to help him make Quilts of Valor for Veterans.  He said that it takes 30 blocks to make a quilt. Check out the link above for the details.

30 blocks placed on the floor.

I showed Jana his post and we both agreed it would be a easy and fun block to do (that means we can't goof up too bad if we get to talking, and singing and laughing). Kevin was very smart in picking this block. It is so easy  and different fabrics and placement gives infinite possibilities for the final quilt.

For both of us this is the ideal project. I love to piece. Jana likes piecing too. Making the quilt sandwich and quilting, another story.  I send all my quilts to a long-arm quilter. So for someone to ask for binding, no  quilting...oh joy, joy. joy.

Jana points to her favorite block-Jana is 11 (almost 12 she says)

We  picked mostly tone on tone fabrics, with some feminine flair. After all there are lots and lots of female Veterans. We may have pushed the boundaries with the tone on tone fabrics, but we wanted something that would make the female veterans smile. The fabrics passed the test for reading neutral when you see them in the photo.  Once we finished our 30 blocks, we just kept on sewing and ended up with 35 blocks, which will be on there way to Kevin early next week.

Maybe in a few weeks we will have a another sew in.  Jana is already thinking about what fabrics to use for the next 30 blocks. This was a wonderful experience for Jana. We where able to spend time together, and time sewing. I was also able to share some about Quilts of Valor. Both of Jana's grandfathers where in the military. I work at a Veterans Medical Center. So this was a weekend making reflections of our love and respect for our Veterans.

Kevin is accepting blocks through mid June. He swears he is not getting overwhelmed and wants the blocks to keep on coming. So Quilt On fellow quilters!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Grandma's treadle machine - Hyde Park

I admit that for years I kept my husbands grandmother's old treadle machine because the cabinet was pretty. It made a good table and had sentimental value. For decades it has sat around, a place for a lamp and for the the cat to sit as he looked out the window.. The machine never saw the light of day.

After following Bonnie Hunter, and seeing her vintage machines, I became curious. We opened up the old girl, and then thought what the heck kind of a machine is this. The name on the front says Hyde Park. It is patented in June 1897. There is a plate with the number L6223.  I do not think it is made by Singer. As Singer is no where on the machine.

Shall I call her Ambole, after my husband's grandmother?

There is no name on the treadle. My research seems to indicate that Singer was on Singer treadles.

No name here either

Still good advice today:

I have the manual, but the cover is missing. (Which probably could have told me who manufactured the machine).  The instructions are priceless and still relevant today.

" It is necessary for the learner to first become familiar with the machine (without taking it apart, for that will only cause annoyance)......With reasonable care and a little patience you will have no trouble getting good results.

Further readering...." If you will read and follow directions carefully, you will find yourself the possessor of one of the best sewing machines in the world. It is simple in construction and requires little or no changing for doing any kind of work.

Finally - Do not tamper with the adjustments of the machine.  Serious trouble is always sure to result from any unnecessary meddling with the working parts.

My husband remembers his grandmother and aunt using this machine. The thought of using a treadle sounded fun, even my granddaughter is curious about it. But I think we are way over our head here.

First the bobbin:
This little thing is the bobbin. 

Can you imagine how many times you would have to rewind this bobbin to do one of Bonnie's quilts?
Bobbin are in front of cabinet.

The Automatic Bobbin Winder

As best as I can figure. the wound bobbin goes into the shuttle. I have not gotten any further in my understanding.  The manual does have detailed instructions for oiling the machine. I am considering this and just playing around to see if I can get it to sew. They where very specific about the kind of needles to use. Who knows what that would relate to in today's needles.

A close up of the shuttle from the manual.

There is an Singer replacement belt in one of the drawers. We have not tried to attach it yet.
I do think that this must have been very advanced for it's time. It came with attachments that could do narrow hemming, felling, hemstitching, hemming and sewing on lace, and wide  hemming. There is an attachment called the Tucker, and the Binder. Impressive!

Still pretty after all these years.

The final puzzling fact is that on page 14 of the manual is a picture of the machine, but the name on the picture is Aviator. Mine absolutely says Hyde Park. I an not sure what the connection is. One thing for sure is that there is beauty in the old machines. I'd love to hear from anyone who knows about these thing. Thanks for checking in.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Little bits of this and little bits of that.

I can't believe it myself. I am not working on any large project. No grandchildren this weekend. They went to a hockey game. Nothing but time. Another winter storm is heading our way. So this weekend I am just piddling.

There was a new lesson for the Delightful Stars Quilt-Along. It had a fair amount of pieces. Michele Foster, suggested we  measure as we went along. I am glad I followed her advice. My star went together easily. Keep the pieces organized was the biggest challenge. Each lesson has taught skills that are built on. It's fun seeing the progression of the quilt and my skills. I am proud to say, things are coming out as they should!

Lesson 6: Block 14

It's hard to see the light fabric, but it is a lovely Japanese fabric. I felt it really brighten up this block.

close up of center

I was the most happy about how the pinwheel block matched with the flying geese to create the star.

I really do need to get a design wall, or something other than my basement floor. But since I am looking down at it. I seem to get the best pictures that way.

With my star completed I decided to work on an old leader and ender challenge. I think Bonnie Hunter issued this challenge two years ago. I was late getting started and continue to go "spooling around" on this project. I completed more spool blocks and some kits to work on tomorrow.


Four spools make one block. Four blocks make a bigger block..I have several hundred by now. But the blocks are not that big...I may need a few hundred more. I plan to just keep making spools and making spools with scraps from each project. In fact I think I'll make some spools from the Delightful Stars scraps tomorrow.

However. My progress on the spool quilt might be delayed by the newest Leader and Ender Challenge-Lozenges! Bonnie Hunter announced this project yesterday on her blog.. It is inspired by an antique quilt Bonnie posted. Here is the link

Bonnie Hunter's newest Leader and Ender Challenge.
Wouldn't this be fun to do in Christmas fabric.  I also thought it would be neat in grays and blacks for a nice crisp modern looks.

Before I can start this I do have one small project hanging over my head. A challenge quilt. I pick the phrase Christmas Morning. You would think it would be easy, and I have lots of ideas in my head. They are stuck there. I can't draw. I am making this thing small, maybe 24 x 36 inches. I am thinking of a Christmas tree in front of a window, with a cat sleeping in tissue paper under the tree. Sounds sweet does it? Question is, can I pull it off. It's due the end of March. So with much trepidation I plan to at least get the background and window done. (no fireplace) I think the tree will be appliqued. But without the lights, maybe some button ornaments? Hopefully I'll have something to show next week. Stay warm everyone. Think spring!

The inspiration.