Friday, January 24, 2014

Catching Up

    The sewing room is finally moved, the closets switched, and I am able to spend time in my new sewing space actually sewing.  Here's a picture of my new sewing storage.  Just look at all that empty space!  Sounds like a road trip to me.

My stash looks pretty puny when you see it like this.

I have been back to sewing though and making some progress on a UFO from December.  I started this Snow Globe quilt just to have something to work on through the season and have been trying the QAUG (quilt as you go) technique.  My best reference was from Andrea at  Just google quilt as you go and her blog should come up.

I have the vertical strips done, putting the blocks together and will add the horizontal strips next.  The blocks were all quilted first.  Here is how the back looks.
There is handwork involved for those of you who hate that, but I happen to love it, so it was a good TV watching activity.  I still plan a border, so we will see how that goes.  So far it has been pretty painless. The machine quilting part was a breeze and putting the blocks together was very simple.  One of the other plus's was using some scrap batting since it is all cut into squares the size of your block.

I also have been hand quilting the little feed sack doll quilt I pieced on the iron lady.  Here it is...
Aren't those great prints?  I am thinking about kitting up another one for a giveaway.  Anyone interested in that?  Leave a comment if you are.

The weather here has been very conducive to organizing and sewing.  Temperatures hovering around 0 to 10 in the mornings and daytime temps below freezing.  Not the best time of year in Missouri.  But, I will just keep on stitchin'.

Monday, January 20, 2014

What is it about January?

     So, what is it about January?  Everyone is organizing, cleaning, looking at new storage solutions, etc.  All the internet ads are about shelving, storage tubs, and organizers.  My hook-in yesterday featured these adorable journals made with hooking on wool (sorry I didn't take a picture).  They were designed to document your hooking projects.  I even bought a little notebook to list my monthly goals for quilting.  
     So, in that spirit, I decided to move my sewing space from an upstairs bedroom to a bedroom in our finished basement.  When we had the basement work done, we had a sewing room in mind for that room, but my husband thought I would be happier upstairs.  So, for four years I have used the smaller upstairs bedroom, pining for more space and more light.  After the holidays, I announced I was moving the sewing room downstairs.  This was met with several objections, all dismissed immediately, and the moving began.  We have finally recovered from the physical aches and pains associated with this project and I am ready to share pictures of my lovely new space.

There is a little natural light, and tons of bright fluorescent lighting, hard surface flooring,  much more space and a large walk in closet.  I am in heaven!

Here is the new bedroom upstairs in the former sewing space.  It was mostly about finding a nice home for my iron lady.

Now, the bad news.  I still need to move the closet, where the stash resides.  

Tune in next week for a progress report.  I intend to work in a little sewing this week too.
Keep on stitchin'

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Treadling On

     I promised you progress reports on the lovely old treadle I bought and I am happy to report that she is in working order.  I thought we would have to wait until warmer weather, but Tuesday my husband got impatient and set us up a work station on the kitchen counter.  I'll post some pictures of the process.
Here she is, all exposed, ready for her exam, and whatever we need to do to make her good as new.
After cleaning all of the parts with the WD-40 and re-oiling, the needle would go up and down if you turned the wheel.  But we still had some problems.  The clutch (that little knob in the middle of the balance wheel) that stops the needle action while you wind the bobbin, wouldn't work.  Also, after watching the same video 20 times on how to load the spool into the shuttle, I still couldn't get the thread to go under that little spring. And the new belt hadn't arrived yet, so we still didn't know if the treadle would actually run the machine.  I put her back in her cabinet and
 made a shopping list for some items recommended on a website for cleaning the head and decals.   

Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover did a satisfactory job on the painted areas and 409 polished up the chrome and metal areas.  I'm thinking someone has sprayed the entire head with some kind of "sealer/varnish" product, because the paint and decals are still dull and muted.  I used some Goo-Gone on a small black painted area and that took it off, but I haven't worked up the courage to try it over  a decal yet.  But she definitely looks better.

The belt arrived in the mail, so we are motivated to work on her again.
Today, we decided to tackle this clutch problem.  I pulled up some directions for removing the balance wheel and we got to work.
Here's the little culprit that makes the clutch work.  Those two little prongs on the inside fit into two little notches on the balance wheel.  This area was full of gunk, which probably was keeping it from engaging.  We are using Liquid Wrench by now, because one of the websites cautioned using the 
WD-40.  They said if you didn't go back with oil in every little spot, it would eventually freeze up again.  So we oiled everything generously and put it back together.  Viola!  It works perfectly.

My assistant mechanic.
I forgot to take pictures of putting the belt in place.  You didn't really want to see me in that position, anyway.  It wasn't too flattering.  It is a job best done standing on your head and utilizing three or four hands.  Luckily, my husband was helping me by now, so it made the job easier.  It took two tries, as the belt was too loose the first time and we had to take it apart, cut some more off and replace the little wire staple that holds the two ends together.  After getting it back in place, it is time for the unveiling.  Will rocking the treadle actually turn the wheel and make the needle go up and down?  This is 1888 technology, remember.  YES!!  It works. 
Now I can wind the bobbin (shuttle spool).  I get the treadle going and the thread just sings going on the spool.  What fun!

Now to deal with that unthreaded shuttle issue.  I remember seeing an old shuttle somewhere in my sewing collectibles and since I never throw anything away, it must be here.  I find it in an old sewing kit from our previous house.  I try the down and up threading technique I have been attempting for three days with the other shuttle and it pops right under that spring, just like it is supposed to.

   Into the shuttle carrier it goes and I'm sewing!

Now, I need to practice treadling.  If you don't get the rhythm right, it starts going backward and the thread breaks.  After a little practice, I'm thinking my first project might be a doll quilt from some vintage feed sacks in my collection.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow Day, Slow Day, Sew Day

   It snowed all day yesterday and the temps hovered around zero or below.  Perfect day for sewing.  Church was cancelled due to weather, so I spent the day making Quilt of Valor blocks for our guild project.

These are Half Log Cabin blocks.  If set on point they look like hearts, but I like the top setting.  They are fun to sew also.  I cut another pile of 2 1/2 in. strips last night and so am ready to make some more.  I decided to finish packing away Christmas decorations today, but those strips were sure calling to me, all day long.  Tomorrow for sure!

And now for the latest addition to the family.  
I remember my grandmother sewing on one of these.  She had moved on to an electric by the time I was old enough to sew, but I have always wanted to try one and actually sew something on it.  During a recent "picking" excursion before Christmas, I happened onto this in a antique/collectibles shop in a nearby town.  The shop owner said she was told it was in working condition except for a belt.  The timing certainly wasn't right as it was about two weeks before Christmas, but I just kept thinking about it.  Needless to say, my willpower wasn't up to the task and here she is in all of her glory.

She definitely needs some TLC plus elbow grease, but that will have to wait until warmer weather.  It is even too cold to work in the garage.  I have been researching the restoration and have ordered a belt and a book about treadles.  It has the vibrating shuttle type bobbin, so that will be a learning curve.  According to the serial number, she was manufactured in 1888, so she has a few years on her.   

As a bonus, there was an old Christmas card and some ribbons and fabric in the drawers.

Look at the cute little tilt out drawer on the front.  
I'll post some progress pictures as progress is made, but would welcome suggestions from anyone out there reading this.  

Keep on stitchin'

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year!
I made a Santa doll this year.
      Ok, here's my resolution.  I will not neglect my blog ever again.  So, since I've never been very good at keeping resolutions, I'll just say I'll try to be better.  It's not like I haven't been picking and stitching, I just haven't been sharing it with you.  I won't try to catch up all those months, but I am going to backtrack to Christmas.  It will soon be going in storage for another year, so I'll play a little catch up with it.  I've been so happy with the decorating this year, mainly because I quit trying to use everything I had and just concentrated on those things that go best with this house.  We moved from an 1868 Victorian to this house four years ago, so you can imagine the "stuff" I have stored away.
Here goes:

Some of my sewing collectibles with a Courthouse Steps Quilt

A friend gave me this mouse pincushion for Christmas.  Isn't she adorable?
Here's a couple of my recent picks:
Went to Rocheport for a Christmas Open House and found this cool box, made from Christmas Cards, probably 1950's, then filled it with an old string of Christmas lights.

Added to my collection of Putz houses.

We bought a larger TV for our Christmas present
to each other and so I moved our former TV cabinet
to my sewing room.  It didn't take me long to fill
it up.

I love having this stuff where I can see it.

Our guild has done birthday blocks for the last two years
and here are mine from 2012, with some fabrics I purchased and
pulled from my stash to put them together.

 Here's the top I finished today.
It is my Guild UFO Challenge for this year
due in July.  Think I'll get it done?
Don't laugh, I still have to get it quilted.

I'll sign off for  now and vow to try to do better.
Keep on stitchin'