Thursday, June 28, 2012

First attempt

My first attempt at a Dresden plate block. The middle is wonky, but otherwise I think it's okay.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WIP Wednesday

My work in progress is my tumbling blocks quilt.  I'm so beyond frustrated with free motion quilting.

The thing that drives me crazy is that I've done FMQ on another quilt already.  I know I'm capable, and my machine is capable.  It's just not working this time!

I think I need to just go back and practice some more on scraps.  It's been months since I did FMQ and I think I've just forgotten how.  I've re-read some tutorials and I just need to sit down and try it again.

I've also been working on some mug rugs with my hand crank machine.  At least that's going okay.  I also started cutting pieces for my next quilt, which will have lots of Dresden plate flowers.  I'll start that as soon as I'm done with my tumbling blocks quilt. 

I should get going on that.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fancy framed chalkboard slates

I have a wall in my living room that needed to be repainted.  I worked hard to convince my husband that we should paint the entire wall with chalkboard paint but, alas, he never quite got on board.  And I have to admit, having a solid-black wall would have looked pretty odd in our living room.

However, yesterday I was at Home Depot and I could help but visit the chalkboard paint.  It's just so cool!  Then I spotted the paint in spray cans for $5.

How can you resist that?

So then I went straight to the Dollar Tree to find something to paint.  Anything.  I just wanted to turn something into a chalkboard surface.  After cruising around the store a few times I spotted little metal serving trays.


I covered the edges with painter's tape so they'd stay metal and sprayed the bottom of each tray.

Fancy framed chalkboard slates!

They were well-recieved by the kids.  Their chalk art was instantly framed.

I think they could also be cute as signs at a wedding.  My sister and I are considering taking out a booth at a craft fair - she makes great jewelry - and these would make good price signs for our booth.

The project was $8 with the chalk, but I still have a lot of paint left.  I wonder what else I can make into a chalkboard?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've decided to start doing Work In Progress Wednesday. Hopefully it'll keep me working and blogging when the school year starts.

 I'm still working on the tumbling blocks quilt that I showed the other day.  Today my biggest work in progress is this.

My poor old Singer 27. The tension was seriously screwed up.  I think I have it adjusted now, but I'm almost scared to sew a big project with it.  The one down side of using antique and vintage sewing machines is that there isn't anyone in my city (that I know of) who has expertise servicing them.  There's a guy at a sewing machine retailer in the suburbs who sells treadle belts, but he told me (rather irritably) that he doesn't service treadle machines because they're "obsolete."

Whatever.  I think it's fixed now.

This is my other work in progress.

Poor old Franklin Rotary!  I got it on Craigslist for $15.  Originally it was for my dad, who wanted a vintage sewing machine because of their ease of use* and strength.  I got this for him, not knowing how many pieces it was missing. 

It's not in usable shape right now, so I got him a different machine for Father's Day.  I want to finish cleaning and start researching this one.  I'd love to restore it to its former usefulness. 

I do sew from time to time, I swear.

* Despite my complaining about my 27, the antique machines are easier to use than modern ones.  After all, I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to fix anything on a modern machine.  My being able to do little service jobs on my old machines shows how user-friendly they are!  If I can do it, anyone can!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Finished quilt top

I finished the border on my tumbling blocks quilt.  It took an hour because I had my kids downstairs with me.  About twenty minutes of that hour was sewing, and forty minutes was spent explaining to the kids that we don't color with crayons on sewing machines, we don't plug things in just for fun, and no matter how sad they are that we cut our cable service, there's no way to build a TV out of sewing machine parts so they can watch Fresh Beat Band and Busytown.

Seriously, it's been a day.  And we bought a Roku with Netflix and Hulu.  It's far too early for cable withdrawal.

Anyway,  here's the newly bordered quilt top. 

Hey, smudges on the camera lens!  Thanks kids!

Each of the prints is 1930s reproduction prints.  It's not my taste...they were a gift from a quilter friend of my mom's who was doing some serious de-stashing.  However, the prints sort of grew on me.  Some of them are really cute.

This is my favorite of the playing playground games.

Oh Humpty, WHYYYYY?

This fabric has pictures to illustrate the letters A, B, C, and D.  Apparently A is for Angora.  How times have changed!

A bunch of dapper ducks in sailor outfits.  Why not?

And another print of kids playing.

I'm piecing the quilt back for the first time.  I usually just use a giant piece of solid fabric, so this will be an experiment.  But I figured since these are Depression-era prints, it might be fitting to have a back pieced out of scraps and remnants. 

I'm going to do that after the kids are asleep.  Quilting while they're awake is just hazardous. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Things just work out

I had put my tumbling blocks quilt aside for a while because I needed some fabric for borders and backing.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I figured it would just sit.

Then I went to a rummage sale today.  Have I mentioned I love rummage sales?  I can't help it, I can't pass up a deal.  And wouldn't you know, one of the items for sale was a yard of fabric in the ideal shade of blue to border my quilt.

Sometimes things just work out.

Oh, and I saw another treadle sewing machine...that I had the willpower to pass up.  The treadle irons (the leg part and the pedal part) were beautiful, but the machine was a Damascus brand.  It's hard to find parts for non-Singer machines (as the poor, neglected Franklin sewing machine in my basement can attest) and this machine was definitely missing some parts.  And besides, I don't have infinite room for sewing machines.  Still, old sewing machines make me sentimental, so I hope someone who appreciates this one picks it up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'm back!'s been forever since I've posted.  Well, two months, which is kind of like forever on the internet.

It's been kind of hard.  In April I had a miscarriage.  For a pregnancy that wasn't planned, it hit me surprisingly hard.  I was devastated, and for a while I didn't want to do anything except sit on the couch, eat ice cream, and cuddle my two kids.  Partway through I started sewing again.  Now I'm pretty much ready to rejoin society, and I'm relieved that I feel like sewing and writing again.

I was busy during my absence.  I made a little holder for my iPod so the screen doesn't get scratched in my purse.  I used my treadle sewing machine to do it.  I love the fact that I used a 111 year old sewing machine to make a holder for a cutting-edge piece of technology.  Ha!

I also made a summertime purse.  One log cabin quilt block for the front, a solid piece for the back, some lining and a strap, and we're good.

I'm working on a tumbling blocks quilt for my kids.  It's pretty small, so I'll have to add borders to make it decent-sized.  One of these days I'm going to learn how to measure and plan my quilt before hand so it ends up the right size, and I don't have to add borders.

I mentioned my treadle machine...after becoming a vintage sewing machine aficionado, I took the leap and bought two antique machines.  Below is a picture of my 50 year old Singer Spartan, which now resides at my sister's house, and its replacement, a Singer model 66 from 1920.  I bought a replica hand crank and now it's my machine to take places, which was originally the Spartan's role.  I took it to a sew day at the Milwaukee Modern Quilt Guild and it performed well.  Also, I didn't have to worry about finding a table near an outlet!

And below is the machine head for my 1901 Singer model 27, the one I used to make the iPod holder.  The decals are pretty worn, but the sphinx is intact. 

I still use my electric machine, a 50 year old Kenmore model 52, for actual quilting, but I'm starting to use the treadle and hand crank for piecing and small sewing projects.

Today was my last day at work before summer break.  I'm happy to have the next couple of months to sew and enjoy my family.  I also have some ideas brewing.  It feels good to be making stuff again.