Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring! (finally)

     Spring has finally made an appearance in Missouri.  A week ago, Saturday, we had our last (I hope) snowstorm and when it was over, Spring took hold.  It has been in the 60's all week and seems odd to see little piles of snow in sheltered spots.  But, that's Missouri.
     I spent last week in Atlanta, at a sewing retreat with friends from all over the country.  Represented were Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, Colorado and Arizona.  We had a fun week and I finished the blocks for the graduation quilt for the grandson.  Putting it together was saved for home and the design wall, but it is now officially a flimsy.
I have since added a border of red, all I need is backing and I'm ready to quilt.  

 My cup overfloweth, or rather my 1-1/2 inch scrap bin overfloweth.  I have a plastic drawer and a shoebox bin for that size and neither would close anymore.  So what's a girl to do?

I recently saw two tips on the Stashbuster yahoo group about string blocks and decided to try them again, utilizing those ideas.  One tip was to use the old Medicare booklets that come every December for the foundation papers.  I certainly had some of those.  They should have been cleaned out and recycled, but I was able to unearth some from the bookcase and desk drawer.  

The other tip was  to use a triangle for that corner.  I always find that corner rather fiddly, adding those little short strips.  They never seem to come out right.  I had some Kona red scraps left from the graduation quilt, so made my triangles from those. 

It makes a nice size, 9-1/2 inches.  The only problem I can see is that the pile of scraps is not dwindling fast enough.  I guess I'll just 
Keep on stitchin'

PS:  Grand Illusion is quilted, bound and on a bed.  Woohoo!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Rocheport shopping and starting the graduation quilt.

    This past Sunday, I joined my favorite group of rug hookers for a little hook-in in Rocheport, MO.  They have a great wool shop, White Horse Antiques.  The owner, Marcia, teaches rug-hooking and this is where I learned.  She has a monthly hook-in during the winter months and I try to go every chance I get.  On this occasion, I went a little early so I could buy some rug binding from Marcia, but I also wanted to stop by one of my favorite antique shops.  I always find something I like there.  The owner looks for sewing collectibles, so that inventory changes all the time.  Here's what I found;

This adorable little cockatoo pincushion.  So cute.

These aren't sewing related, but they were still a nice addition to my collectible cabinet.

I have looked for a Scrabble game with wooden tiles for years (for a price I was willing to pay), and they had one.  They also had these little wooden circus toys.  The graphics on them are wonderful.  They have a different animal on the reverse side.  The horse has a zebra on the reverse and the elephant has a bear.  I would love to know what kind of a set they were.  They almost look like puzzle pieces, but don't fit together. 

Back to the sewing room.  Here's what I've been doing.
Twenty of these adorable nine patches went to guild meeting this week for a swap.  We take some every month and at the end of the year, we take home the same number we have contributed.
I did a lot of cutting from my 2-1/2" scraps so I'm ready to sew some for next month.  They will make great leaders and enders.

These are bingo boards.  We had the directions for making them before the meeting, then played bingo on them for fat quarter prizes.  Now they will go into a charity quilt.  I thought this was a great idea. 

What's on my design wall this week?
I have started my grandson's graduation quilt.  

It will have some pieced stars, as well as some stars with embroidery.  In Logan's case, it will mostly be sports related embroidery designs.  
I don't have any quilt designing software (and don't want any).  My designing is done with a book of traditional quilt blocks and a piece of graph paper.  A simple quilter has simple ways.

The star, of course, is Sawtooth Star and the alternate block is Homeward Bound.  I thought that appropriate for a young man leaving home for college.  We always want them to find their way home again. 
What's on your design wall?


Monday, February 2, 2015

Grand Illusion flimsy

Hallelujah!  The Grand Illusion top is finished.

  Not exactly as Bonnie designed, but it works for me.  I turned the border strips the opposite way, so they would be next to the narrow pink border.
Now to buy some backing and decide on the quilting.  And…..
 decide what to do with this green blocks I didn't use, and……..
cut up the scraps into usable sizes.  Be sure to go to http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2015/01/grand-illusion-mystery-link-up.html to see everyone else's links.  They are all beautiful!

     Meanwhile, I have been thinking about the graduation quilt I want to start for our grandson.  Deciding on a pattern has been on my mind for several months.  I used a square in a square block for his brother's graduation quilt, so don't want to use that.  They both love sports, so I need to include some machine embroidery on some of the blocks with sport designs.  I made these sample blocks yesterday with a plan in mind to include some embroidery in the center of the star blocks and alternate with the "Homeward Bound" block.  (I am sure that block has some other names.)
I like the graphics and it should make a masculine looking quilt.  I like the name of that block for young man leaving home for the first time, off to college and the big world.  

We have a cold snowy day here in Missouri, so I hope to 
Keep on stitchin,


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Domestic Treadle

     Shortly before Christmas, I heard from a friend who was closing her antique and collectible shop.  She had an old treadle machine she had been using for display.  She said she wanted to give it to me, as she knew that I liked vintage machines and would try to get it going again.  I really had to talk myself into it, because of the space issue.  Treadles take quite a bit of room and I have one working treadle.  How many does a person need?  But here's some pictures, you'll see why I caved and brought it home.

The last patent date is 1876.  It is a "Domestic", which was absorbed into the White Sewing Machine Company in the early 1900's.  The following pictures are of things discovered inside.  It was a treasure trove.
This was in the drawer.  It is a card called a spool zoo.  You could cut out the hippo and glue to each end of a wooden spool to make a toy hippo.  The copyright date is 1931.  Apparently, you could collect several different animals.  
     Here is a picture of other things in the drawers, they were stuffed.
Here's the pretty treadle irons
The top has "Domestic" stenciled on the front.
I ordered a belt for it, but haven't put it on yet, but it's been oiled well and is moving freely.  Adjusting that leaf tension will probably be a challenge.  I need to do a little research on it.  Anyone out there with some experience with them is welcome to advise me.

     I've been obsessed with finishing the Grand Illusion mystery quilt.  I finally finished all 25 blocks today, so can start putting it together.  25 blocks doesn't sound like so many until you realize that each block contains 52 pieces. 
 I still have sashing, cornerstones, a solid border and a pieced border to do before it is done, but can see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.  The good news is that I was making units for the Split Nine Patch as leaders and enders while sewing GI blocks.  Eventually I'll get back to that.  
I just need to 
Keep on Stichin'

Monday, January 5, 2015

Part 6, Grand Illusion

     I have had four blocks on my design wall all week, trying to decide how to put this quilt together.  My pieced green sashing is not doing it for me.  Not enough contrast, I think.

     The green just seems to make the other colors muddy.  Here is what I am thinking. Using a black and white sashing between the blocks.  What do you think?
Wide sashing?  Cheddar cornerstone?
Narrow sashing?  Teal cornerstone?
It doesn't have as much motion, but I think I can live with it better. 
       In my indecisive lethargy, I pulled out an old Project in a Grocery Sack, found a simple pattern, and approached it with a "git her done"
This is some fabric I bought on a Minnesota vacation several years ago.  It is a Holly Taylor collection done for the Minnesota shop hop that year.  Of course, I didn't have enough of the purchased fabric for the pattern I chose, but "the stash" came to the rescue and all 30 blocks are done.  My cutting table is now clean again, all the scraps cut into usable sizes, and I'm ready to face the GI again.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Part 5, Grand Illusion Mystery

 This easy step was finished by last Saturday afternoon, but my life became very complicated on Sunday, so I am just now getting my link-up done.  Our family Christmas was delayed until Sunday, the 28th, while we waited for our grandson, in the US Navy, to start his leave.  We celebrated Sunday and Monday, then a granddaughter stayed with us for a few days.  I finally got back to my sewing room today and am trying to tie up some loose ends before Part 6 is revealed.  I am hoping we start putting some things together, aren't you?
To see everyone else's versions, take a look at Bonnie's site.

PS….the machine in the picture is a Singer 128, crinkle finish, Centennial.  I have added a hand crank, for the kids to use.  Its a sweetie!
Let's keep on stitchin'

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Keeping Christmas

    Here is my link-up for Grand Illusion Mystery, part 4.

Drop by Bonnie's blog and see all of the different color combinations people have chosen. This has been a lot of fun and I am really loving my little blocks.  This is a little "out of the box" for me as far as a color combination, but maybe I'm expanding my horizons.

You will notice that I have the two piles of
 blocks with stickers on them to keep them separate.  I also am keeping them pinned together.  Since I am only doing one-fourth of the quilt at this time, but cutting enough for the full size version, I am trying to prevent any problems when I pull it back out again.  I can see myself looking at all those units and becoming totally confused.  Therefore, they are all in baggies with (I hope) clear instructions.  We'll see how it goes. 

We saw a local stage production of A Christmas Carol this past week and I was struck by the phrase "keeping Christmas" as expressed by Bob Cratchett after being ridiculed by Ebenezer Scrooge for such sentimentality.  I like that phrase and intend to add it to my vocabulary.  What are the ways that we "keep Christmas"?  We cook, shop, entertain, decorate, and then many of us have to make some gifts for it to feel like the season.  I really had no plans to make any gifts beause of the Grand Illusion Mystery.  This is the first time for me to participate and I felt that was all I could handle with the cooking, shopping, entertaining and decorating.  But, as the holiday got closer and closer, I began to feel that itch to make some gifts.  Here's what I've been sewing;

Pillows for the granddaughter's new room decor'.
Some zipper bags for some neighbor children.
A needle case for a young quilter friend.

    My daughter had tea towels on her Christmas list, so I still plan to do those.  Our family won't celebrate until the weekend, so I still have some time.  
     So, here is what I think.  To a quilter, "keeping Christmas" has to involve some stitching, preferably for those we love.  I guess we'll just 
keep on stitchin'.

Merry Christmas!