Friday, May 12, 2017

Stash Busting and Featherweights

I love having a stash of fabrics.  I really love that I can see and be inspired by a quilt online and immediatly pull fabrics to at least start that that quilt.  I may have to order some backgrounds or a specific color but I can usually get a good start on a new project....and I like to have several projects going at once.  Recently, I've discovered that I have almost NO fabric left. I do have a stack of FQ's in blue with some blacks and some solids in odd colors and several yards of mint green (which I'm using for the background of the In My Neighborhood row quilt) and about 1.5 yards of a cream and the same in tan.  I also have several bins , boxes and totes stuffed full of fact, I probably have more fabrics in those than in finished projects, hence the title of this blog.  I'm one of those that saves everything over one and a half inches!  And it's all unorganized, or organized by the date I put it in the box. So, I'm taking steps...starting this weekend I'm dumping a box a day and cutting it into strips or 5" squares.  Anything smaller will go into another bin for a scrap vortex quilt.  I'm still undecided whether to sort by colors of sizes..any pros and cons for either method?

This is my initial pull for a new version of Melissa Corry's Playing the Scales quilt.  I wasn't completely satisfied with my last version due to the fabric selection.  I feel that some of my lights were just too dark for the contrast to show completely.  Some of these have been in my stash for years and came from the local Goodwill in the first place.  I did discover that the navy and red geometric was 35" wide so I'm sure it was in someone's else's stash before it came to live with me.  Finally, it will get to be in a quilt!

I've sewing on my featherweight machine and discovering how much I've missed using my vintage machines.  Retraining my eye to see the quarter inch seam allowance is the main adjustment I've had to make.  I used to be very accurate without using a quarter inch foot. On my large vintage machines I can use modern feet if need be but I haven't tried it with the feather yet.  I've had it for several years and really have had a love/hate relationship with it.  I bought from a charity auction site (not eBay) for under a $100 at a time when every feather, even non working ones. were going for over $400. I'd logged in and found a machine listed a "old" in an auction closing in 15 minutes.  I glanced and saw that it was a feather with case, foot pedal, manual and a bunch of other pieces.  I bid and got it.
  As soon as it arrived. the case fell apart and I eventually dumped it as I couldn't get the smell out.  It did work after some fiddling with tension and needles that had been inserted incorrectly. After about an hour I turned it off and went to pick it up, burned my hand and discovered that it had scorched the tabletop.  After some googling, I found that was a fairly common problem and bought it a new foot pedal and it has worked perfectly ever since.  As a bonus, I found that the new foot pedal worked perfectly with my 1928 Singer 99.
If you are sewing with a feather, I've found The Featherweight Shop to be very helpful for oiling points and other info.  It's much easier to see than the manual.

Linking with Busy Hands Quilts for Finished or Not Friday

Thursday, May 4, 2017

April Quilty 365-2017

A little late getting my circles posted, but here is April.  I've really started digging in the bottom of my scrapbags, drawers I haven't opened in a while, and pulled a stack of ancient blues off of my shelf.  Most of those came from Goodwill in the first place and I've had them over five years.  I plan on cutting them into strips, so I thought I'd make circles of them first.

April has still been very rainy and grey here in the Pacific Northwest, so in honor of two consecutive days of sun, I cut into my Hawaii cats and found more cats in a single layer cake piece.

It rained for the next two days!!  Trying to counteract that are some flowers, butterflies and a bee.

I'm still digging and sorting boxes and bags and hope to find lots more flowers for a sunnier May!  If you would like to see some completed circle quilts from those who started last year, they are on display at Audrey's blog Quilty Folk

Linking up with Leanne at Daisy and Jack Handmade

Monday, May 1, 2017


I was happily quilting along last night when my machine suddenly stopped and all the bells went off!  The balance wheel wouldn't turn at all and I had to dismantle the needle and presser foot assemblies to get the needle out of the quilt and the quilt out of the machine.  The needle wasn't bent or broken so it's a mystery why the machine suddenly stopped.  Probably the quilt was too much for the machine.  It's a 3/4 size computerized Brother that I bought for under $200 about 7 years I've had my money's worth out of it.  I thought no problem and this morning dragged out one of my vintage machines...a Morse straight stitch dating to the 1950's.

After some switching around of's got a knee lift and doesn't fit securely in it's table..I started my test piece.  Lots of smoke!  OK, it's burning the dust from the motor and the smoke soon stopped.  It still makes beautiful stitches but I could see lots of sparks from inside the motor!  Haven't had that happen before so I unplugged before I burned out the motor.

Next machine is a 1957 Brother 260 and I've quilted large quilts on it fact it's my favorite machine.

Today, for some reason, it won't form a stitch!  I've changed needles, bobbins and rethreaded upteen times and still it won't cooperate.  Maybe it's mad because I haven't used it in a long while.  When I broke my arm, my little computerized machine was out and set up.  In January, when I started quilting again after more than a year away, I had a hard time even getting my left arm up to the table to hold fabric while I sewed.  Now I have much more movement in that arm and I credit sewing with that progress but my Morse weighs about 40 pound and the Brother is over 30 pounds.  I simply couldn't lift them!  I still have a featherweight and a Singer 99 but neither of them is large enough to finish my PLAY quilt.  For those of you who have followed along, here is the final final version.

Meanwhile, I'll be sorting scraps and cleaning house until I can get a new machine.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

PLAY top finally finished

As you all may remember, I'm participating in the improv quilt along called PLAY with Elm Street Quilts.  This was a weekly series of prompts including wonky log cabin. wonky stars, curves and strips, and text.  I did get them all done and will be quilting this today and tomorrow.  Hopefully, I'll be able to meet the deadline!

I'm really glad that I participated and have learned lots.....such as hue doesn't equal value in colors, start with enough fabric to finish the project, curves can be fun and my camera really hates lime green!  The washed out yellowish in the center is really a bright lime green about two shades lighter than the other green I used.

The main thing I learned is that I am my own worst enemy!  Second, third, and fourth thoughts are common and thinking back to my pile of unfinished projects that's a running theme.  For the final layout of this project, I did let it sit for a week while I stared at it, rearranged, and thought about starting over with different colors.  Then I let it sit for another week while I thought and rearranged some  more.  It's a good thing there is a time limit or I'd still re rearranging!

Linking with Em's Scrapbag for Moving it Forward Monday........and, of course, Patty at Elm Street Quilts(link above)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alien Children Finished

These are my finished children.  Each row is 48" and I can't get it all into one least indoors but it's been raining like mad for the past several days.  I'm happier with them now that they are finished but they do still remind me of aliens!  I'm still undecided about the faces but I haven't been able to get pleasant expressions in the past, so I'm OK with leaving them as is.

For the first row of this Quilt Along, I followed the directions exactly.  The trees and houses went together rapisily and came out well.  For the children's row, I made some changes.  Since I'm using a solid background, not scrappy, I decided to put the children together and eliminate all the seams.  Once I'd finished the school and put it together with the kids, I realized that my scale was off!  I traced the pattern from my computer screen and didn't realize that it was larger than intended.  I'm just telling myself that the kids are marching off to the school in the distance!

I'm still working on the second row....pinwheels and flowers  and am looking forward to seeing what next month's row will be!

Linking with Em's Scrapbag for Moving it Forward Monday (Emily designed this row!) and Oh Scrap at Quilting is more fun than Housework

Friday, April 21, 2017

Little Alien Heads???

This is the beginning of my third row for the In My Neighborhood  row quilt.  This is actually the fourth row to be released, but I've decided not to do the basket least for now.

I was planning on leaving the faces blank, like Amish dolls. but now I'm wondering if that would look too weird.  I was hoping for charming but now all I can see is an ad from one of those TV channels with all the shows about Roswell.  There is a school house that goes between the two panels and I want the children to be holding hands, if my embroidery skills hold up.

Any suggestions???  Hair with no face/ no hair, no face/ complete hair and face  or ????

Linking with Busy Hands quilt for Finished or not Friday

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sunshine-April Mini of the Month

This is my version of  the Sew Can She blog's Mini Quilt of the month.  This one was designed by Jennifer Heynen and is available as a free pattern on Craftsy.  This is the first one that has been an applique quilt instead of pieced which presented some problems.  I don't have a working printer so I traced the templates from my computer screen.  This method worked well for some of the Splendid Sampler blocks as they had the inch scale printed on the pattern and I could enlarge as needed.  There was no scale on this pattern so mine is slightly larger.  It measures 15 x 13 with the binding instead of the 11 inch square of the pattern.  Part of this was intentional on my part as I wanted more of the sun's rays to show.   Overall, I'm happy with it except for the binding.  My skills seem to deteriorate with each quilt!  I'll probably take it off later and resew hoping for better results on the corners.  I did add triangles for hanging and with the heatbond, layers of fabric and batting that was a lot of layers to sew through.

For the fusible, I used Heat n Bond in the red package.  It was after I had the whole thing laid out and ready to sew did I read the section that said not to sew!  Since it didn't bond very well at all, I don't know how they expect a finished project to last.  I used some scraps and tested using a topstitch needle.  My machine sewed it very well and I had no problems.  I quilted with freehand arcs using a gold thread after sewing down all the shapes.

I used a grey fabric for the background so I'm calling this "Sunset".  I'm out of blue sky fabrics.In fact, I'm now out of a lot of basics.  My stash that I thought would last so long now consists of mostly smaller scraps.  Do you buy fabrics for the current project only or do you have a stash?  How do you choose prints to add to your stash?

Linking up with Em's Scrapbag for Moving it Forward Monday  andLove Laugh Quilt