Wednesday, February 27, 2013

To trim or not to trim...?

That is ALWAYS the question upon putting in that final quilting stitch and ultimately taking the completed quilt off the frame.  If it's a client quilt and the client wants the extra batting and backing left on, other than removing any loose threads and strings aka 'pruning the quilt', then our question has been worries.  If this quilt will be a treasured heirloom or one that will be entered into a judged show where every centimeter counts, then I'm not trimming 'til I've taken the quilt off the frame and squared it up.

However, if this is a quick project, one that will be loved and drug - I refer to this as a 'Hug 'n Lug' quilt, then I'm trimmin' while it's coming off the frame!

Gotta love those batting scissors - they work great!

Yep - I trim the top, sides and bottom while the quilt is coming off the frame, just keep those leaders far away from those batting scissors or you'll have them all trimmed up, too!:

Just look how nice and straight this is (this quilt was quilted sideways ;-)

As mentioned in a previous post, I take great pains to keep my quilt top nice and straight during the entire quilting process, checking my quilt top's alignment and pin basting with each roll of that top to ensure everything remains nice and straight.  Looks like it paid off once again, cause this quilt is straight as a string and lays nice and flat:

Just coming off the frame after being trimmed - 
everything looks nice and straight

Trimming a quilt while it comes off the frame is a great time-saver and one I highly recommend if you need to complete a project quickly and the quilt doesn't require blocking.  Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you...


Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Mash-up

I learned about this term from my DGD which means to take vintage music - maybe even two or more songs, and mix or 'mash-up' w/today's funky & fresh sounds and beats to produce a 'new age' mash-up tune...I like it!  Soooo, my Monday Mash-up consists of vintage fabrics and patterns, mashed-up w/today's fresh and crisp fabrics and design ideas to produce a 'new age' quilt or two.  In the future, that will apply however, for today's venue we have a mash-up of several projects combined to make one wild  week/weekend!

The first pic shows what a clothes dryer looks like without its door, drum and back cover, (and why I didn't get as much done last week as originally planned):

Clothes dryer torn down, ready for repairs

And one of the offending culprits - a melted/wollered* down pulley wheel that runs off the motor's drive shaft driven by the serpentine belt (I learned a whole lot this past week!  Those are my tools in the photo ;-):

No wonder the serpentine belt stopped turning the drum on the dryer!

Thank goodness for and YouTube videos or my dryer would not be back together and I probably would've had to buy a new one since there's no Maytag repair man in my neck of the woods (and this one is ONLY 6 years old!)

Here's the actual video I watched over and over and over to fix my dryer:

Right drum roller (I had to replace both of them along w/several other parts,
including wollered* out pulley wheel)

And doesn't he look all nice and pretty put back together:

I LOVE this dryer now that it is working again - all nice and quiet...
I can actually sew/quilt in peace without listening to all that squealing

I got it all torn down last Monday and had it all put back together late Monday night but was missing a few parts so, got online and ordered them at 1:30 am (CST) - they were here Thursday afternoon - way to go  The hubs is still shaking his head in disbelief that 1) the parts arrived in less than a week and 2) that yours truly could actually fix this dryer by watching a video.  He's secretly been bragging about his handy girl wife to his friends, I got word ;-)

And for the rest of the mash-up story, got some serious work done on one of my Hurricane Sandy Relief quilt tops:

Strip piecing the second Hurricane Sandy Relief quilt top

Coming along nicely -  these are Moda black & white jelly roll strips
w/green sashings from - I really like the fresh green w/black & white

Ready to be loaded onto the quilt frame 
I think I'm going to call this one 'Renewal'

And I even got several blocks from Easy Street Part VIII pieced together:

Only 4 more left to go and I'm ready to assemble the entire top - YEAH!

Alrighty then, time to put away a few more clothes (we got behind on our laundry while the dryer was down, still playing catch-up) and after that, my Hurricane Sandy Renewal quilt top needs loaded and then I'm off w/very important rendezvous w/DGD!

That's it for this Monday Mash-up - what was yours like?


*wollered - a technical MidWest term referring to an item or object that has been worn down or hollowed out  due to various external factors and variances ;-)

More Monday Mash-ups:
June 10, 2013 - Gardening, Oklahoma Quilt Relief, Wheat grinding & Bread making
August 5, 2013 - QBBs, Line Tamer, QFC quilt tops getting borders

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quilting QFC #2 Boy's Home Quilt

After the Boy's Home Horse quilt was complete, I was spurred on to get the second one done, too, and had a blast quilting the Jungle Animal quilt, it was a lot of FUN:

Made you smile...;-)

I grid quilted the animal squares, using the fabric lines as a guide, in addition to SID-ing the entire quilt to stabilize it w/clear mono-poly, and continued the mono-poly in each embroidered/appliqued animal block w/outline and McTavish quilting in those same blocks - as always, the mono-poly worked great.  The outside cheddar borders were quilted with a gorgeous Rainbows thread called Golden Glory which quilted out beautifully, not one single thread break!:

Rainbows 'Golden Glory' used to McTavish the borders

And I think it came out quite well:

Jungle Animal quilt coming off the frame

Both quilts are bound, labeled, boxed and ready to be shipped off.  And now to finish up those Hurricane Sandy quilts...


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Load that Quilt Top straight and true every time...!

 Getting and keeping a quilt top nice and straight while loading onto a machine quilting frame was a huge dilemma for me until I stumbled across this great procedure one day.  It's fast, takes just a bit of time and requires minimal tools.  Now please understand, regardless of any quilt I quilt even though I float all my tops, I take great pains to keep all my quilt tops straight on the frame while quilting w/pin basting, side leader tensioners, to name a few:

Pin basting second quilt top onto batting and backing

Did I just write a caption under that picture that reads 'second quilt top'?  Yes, indeed! I love to quilt two quilts at the same time and do it whenever I can, especially w/gifting and charitable projects.  While these may not be heirloom or juried quilts, every quilt deserves the utmost attention and care to detail, including and especially during loading and quilting.

Putting the first top on might not be such a challenge, but loading two quilt tops on and getting that second top straight can really create quite the dilemma, even for the most seasoned veteran - especially if you load sideways like I did BOTH of these tops!  

Here's a quick tip I picked up from professional quilt artist, Matt Sparrow, aka the manquilter, that works incredibly well.  I'll show you the picture first and then explain:

Orange quilter's clamp used to stabilize machine carriage wheel like channel lock

The orange quilter's clamp on my carriage wheel (above photo), available at Erica's, works great if one does not have access to the channel lock system available on many longarm quilting machines.  It allows you to position your machine 'anywhere' on your quilt and once your carriage wheel is stabilized to keep it from rolling forward/backward or side to side, depending on which position you locked your wheel - horizontal or vertical, you will now be able to stitch a straight line, no rulers required!

And here's the great tip I got from the manquilter - rather than try and get your quilt top straight by guessing, especially on the second top, he recommends taking advantage of one of the quilt top's interior border seams, which should be straight, setting your channel lock/quilter's clamp and using that stitched seam line on your quilt as a guide for getting the quilt top positioned correctly.

I run my machine's hopping foot w/needle position centered above that border seam line as you would w/SID but without stitching while the carriage is locked in place, a 'dry run' so to speak, get everything positioned nice and straight, pin in place and baste a straight line in the ditch of that border seam (above photo).  

THEN, I remove the Quilter's clamp from my carriage wheel, re-position my machine to the top edge of the quilt top, place the quilter's clamp on the carriage wheel, pat everything in place nice and straight, pin the top edge and baste in place:

Removing pins while basting a quilt top w/quilter's clamps in place
Don't forget to pick ALL those pins up after removal, and put them away in your safe place!

Once again, you can align your hopping foot above the edge of your quilt top and do a 'dry run' w/your machine across the top edge of your quilt top to ensure everything is straight. You can also utilize this same procedure on the sides of your quilt top, lining up the border seam lines first, pin and SID*, then the outside border edges and pin baste/stitch baste in place.  This process takes only a few minutes and once completed, I know my quilt top is nice and straight and true - ready for lots of quilting!

Give this a try and see if this method of loading and keeping your quilt tops straight will work as well for you as it has for me.  Drop me a line and let me know...Good Luck w/all your quilting ventures!


* Here is a great link to a photo and SID explanation of how I stitch-in-the-ditch (I use the 'blue' continuous line SID method), generously provided by 2010 HQ Award Recipient, Donna Sontag on her Whatever's Quilted facebook page...Thanks Donna!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quilting the QFC Horse Quilt

Thought I'd share how nicely the QFC Horse Quilt for the Boy's Home in Missouri is coming along.  16 1/2 quilting hours later, this is what I have so far:

Quilting the Horse Quilt sideways w/McTavishing & ruler work

Because I like to be as efficient as possible, I'm quilting both Quilters for Comfort quilts - the Horse Quilt and the Jungle Animal quilt sideways to be able to take advantage of one backing and one batting.  An added bonus for the Horse Quilt is the crosswise grain of the back helps with the stretchy red corduroy blocks.  Just look how nicely they quilted out:

Not a single pucker in the 'stretchy red corduroy' squares ;-)

And as you probably noticed, I changed the thread color I originally opted to use to a wonderful cotton tri-color thread that matched the fabrics in this quilt perfectly.  Just look at how this variegated thread plays out so well in the borders w/McTavishing quilting:

Don't you just love this bowed head embroidered horse block...just beautiful!

Quilting these gorgeous embroidered horses has been a true pleasure.  Here's a close-up of another beautiful embroidered horse:

McTavish quilted w/Superior's clear Monopoly

I also SID-ed w/clear monopoly as I usually do - worked wonderfully well.  I like to wind my own bobbins w/Maxi-lock when using clear monopoly.  This thread combo seems to work the best for me recently, along with Quilter's Dream poly batting - my absolute favorite!

And now, like I always say, time to get back to it...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Putting QFC Quilt Tops Together for Missouri Boy's Home...

Remember a few weeks ago when I posted that I had received some gorgeous embroidered quilt blocks in the mail from one of our talented QFC members?  I was in the middle of trying to finish up Bonnie Hunter's annual Mystery Quilt  and Jungle Elephant batik gift quilt, w/flu delays along the way, (I had to put the Mystery Quilt on hold for the time being to honor my previous commitments, no worries - I'll be back to it soon enough).

Well after agonizing just how I was going to put these blocks together in two different quilts (and being re-visited by this blamed flu/cold AGAIN), I finally got some renewed inspiration (after watching 'Funny Valentine'), and energy, (after a nice hot shower), and got these two pieced together:

Horse embroidered blocks mixed with plaid/red/green pieced blocks
I will be tea-dye painting the quilting in the outside muslin borders to blend w/rest of quilt

I've experienced alot of firsts with the ladies over at Quilters For Comfort, and quilting this particular quilt top will be another one!  While putting these blocks together, I discovered the red squares are actually comprised of red stretchy corduroy.  Betty and I have quilted many different types of fabrics, including wools, batiks, and even some really neat vintage fabrics, but NEVER stretchy corduroy!  Betty loves a good challenge - and so do I, we'll give it our best and post our results later when we've finished up ;-)

There were enough leftover fabrics, along w/some of mine to make all the quilt binding:

 and while I was at it, went ahead and embroidered the QFC quilt label:

I think this one will turn out really neat, long as I don't have any significant issues w/red stretchy corduroy!

Next on our quilting agenda is this cute child's quilt made out of those adorable appliqued animal blocks - remember that smiling monkey?  I was stuck for awhile on how to finish this one since I only had enough to make filler blocks w/extra fabric that was generously sent along w/the embroidered/appliqued blocks.  Then I remembered this yummy cheddar fabric I had recently ordered from Moda.  This cheddar was originally destined for my in-progress bow tie quilt to make more cheddar bow ties, but the color lot was off a bit and I was hesitant to try and use it in my bow tie quilt - works great in the border of this quilt though, don't you think?

The fabrics and blocks in this quilt help keep it gender-neutral - 
making it a perfect quilt for one of QFC's multitude of projects...

Both of these tops include directional fabrics as well, so had to pay particular attention to that while piecing them together.  There was also one block in the horse quilt that was not pieced like the others and I didn't pick up on it until after I had put the entire top together so just left it for interest and intrigue, (can you find it?).  

I had to rip a couple of blocks and restitch due to the red stretchy corduroy 'stretching' beyond intersection points, but finally figured out to put the 'stretchy' next to my machine's feed dogs, (a dressmaking technique), and ease in any fullness.  And because corduroy's wales want to scoot, the feed dogs help with that, too.  I probably should have put on my Juki's even feed foot, but I didn't feel like digging it out - I knew my cold meds were about to wear off and didn't want to waste precious moments 'digging' when I could be sewing!

I'm off to load the horse quilt top and get busy quilting - I'm trying out some new machine quilting LAVA thread from Superior and I'm anxious to get going...

Superior's LAVA in the color Sand Bar - 
I think it will run nicely on this horse quilt

UPDATE 3/1/2013:  curious to see how both quilts quilted out - check out Quilting the QFC Horse Quilt and Quilting QFC #2 Boy's Home Quilt aka Jungle Animal quilt


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Strolling Down Vintage Lane...

Been wanting to post a page with some of my vintage machines for awhile now to share, kept thinking I would get them all set-up in the new quilting studio and take pics we all know, the studio has taken much longer than originally anticipated so thought I'd post these for the time being and update as things progress.  For now, here are a few of my vintage SINGERS®.  To start off, here's one of my very favorites:

SINGER® 15-91

The traditional story behind the SINGER® 15-91 is that it was typically given by a farmer as a wedding gift to his new bride.  The 15-91 was/is a real workhorse and as such, utilized by the farming community to sew and mend farmer's work apparel, among many other farming necessities.  

This particular machine apparently didn't enjoy such a hard-working life.  The son-in-law I purchased it from, (it was his MIL's machine), warned me that his dear Mother-in-Law could never get it to sew properly and finally gave up and put it in storage - apparently she really didn't enjoy sewing but preferred to cook, because to his knowledge  this was the ONLY machine she ever had and never took the opportunity to replace or upgrade it.  ALL sewing and mending was farmed out to a local seamstress and according to same SIL, his dear MIL was an excellent cook!  

Thus, the machine languished for years in a closet with the ill-gotten reputation of 'not being able to make a good stitch', and because of that bad rap, no one in the family wanted it.  He was hoping I was purchasing it as a collector so he wouldn't be blamed if it wouldn't sew properly and want to return it.  I assured him, once in my possession, it would remain for as long as I was breathing, it was so gorgeous and I was fairly confident I could get it to sew.  

When I finally got him home, I discovered a bobbin case FULL/compacted with thread and lint and a little bit of rust.  After a couple of hours of cleaning and de-linting and plenty of oiling, I threaded it up and took it for a sewing spin - PERFECT stitches every time.  Just beautiful and in mint condition to boot for the years and years of lack of sewing...Lucky Me! 

Next in the vintage sewing machine line-up, my grandmother's SINGER® 201-2:

This SINGER® 201-2 has been completely restored and sews like a dream!

I recently made my youngest daughter a queen-sized quilt w/matching pillow cases, 'Butterflies Are Free', and pieced/sewed EVERYTHING with this machine right after getting her back from restoration - she purred like a kitten and never gave me a bit of trouble.  What a pleasure to sew with, Thank YOU Grandma Ginny ;-).

                                                                             SINGER® 201-2 Scroll face plate

The next vintage singer was purchased mainly because I've been wanting a SINGER® 99 for awhile now AND it's birth year is the same as mine:

                                   SINGER® 99

I haven't had a real chance to sew on this one yet other than some practice pieces, but it also sewed like a dream during it's maiden voyage with me.  It too, came w/original case and accessories, and was one of the best bargains on a vintage machine I've gotten to date!

And of course I had to add a SINGER® Featherweight to the stable:

SINGER® 221-1 Featherweight

I looked for a very long time prior to stumbling across this little beauty.  Other than a little nick in the extension table where it touches the machine when it's folded up and stored in its carriage case, (and the reason it was discounted to such a great price!), it's absolutely perfect aesthetically with stitches to match!  It came complete w/storage case, SINGER® oil and manual, and original accessories - Love sewing on this one.

Here's a little surprise for you and one I bet not too many of you have had the pleasure of seeing - a stretched SINGER® 201-2:

                     Stretched SINGER® 201-2

Originally destined for my Betty Boop quilting frame, here's a link to one of the 'Pepto Bismol®' quilts I panto quilted with it, then relocated to table top quilting when I came across my HQ16 aka Betty Boop - my current longarm quilting machine.  This stretched SINGER® machine is a blast to sew/quilt with and makes a beautiful stitch.  I still need to get her painted Lipstick Red - it's on the quilting studio 'To Do List'.  I'll take another updated photo when she's all fixed up, complete w/authentic SINGER® decals.

And here are three of them all lined up:

Left to Right                               : 
SINGER® Featherweight, SINGER® 201-2, Stretched SINGER® 201-2

And now for one of my SINGER® workhorses that gets used quite frequently - love her especially for paper piecing and sewing HSTs on Orca Bay, my SINGER® 301A:

Beige SINGER® 301A in original cabinet - Mint!

Another bargain based on a 'bad reputation' of not being able to sew.  When I got this beige-y pink beauty, someone had obviously tried to work on her and ultimately messed up the timing.  This was one of the first machines I ever timed.  As soon as the timing was set, she sewed amazing and hasn't skipped a stitch since.  This machine even has a matching beige power plug and cord.  I'd never seen one prior to this one and was pleasantly surprised when I opened her shipping box and made that discovery!  She came complete w/original accessories, bobbins and thread in pristine condition.  Another lucky find!

In the final line-up (for now ;-), my pride and joy - a SINGER® 66 Lotus Petal:

         SINGER® 66 Lotus Petal treadle from France

This one came from France and has French writing on the back side and English on the front, purchased through a friend of the family who no longer had a place or need for her for the whopping price of $25.00!  (I actually got a two-for, the auctioneer let me have BOTH SINGER® treadles he was auctioning off that day for the one price!).  She is in her original treadle cabinet and does work.  I have not had her officially restored however, she does hold a very prominent place in our home:

SINGER® 66 treadle proudly displayed in our TV room

That's it for now - I still need to take pics of my SINGER®  Red Eye, (she's a beaut!), and my SINGER® 66 black crinkle finish, but they're both still in storage along w/a Dressmaker, a really pretty Pink Atlas, and a few surprises ;-).

Hope you enjoyed our stroll down Vintage Lane...


NOTE:  the SINGER® name was/is a registered Trade Marked name of the SINGER® Manufacturing Company.