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.