Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tired of Winter Yet?

     My husband told me my winter decorating was prolonging winter (is there any logic to that?), so I put it away this week and unpacked the Spring stuff, just in case he's right.

I made those little carrots last spring.  They were fun.

I am progressing on the Split Nine-Patch blocks.  I think I have 22 now.  I have no idea how big I will make it.  Right now, it's all about enjoying the process.

Aren't they cute? 

     Speaking of cute blocks, I have some favorites.  Churn Dash has to be right up there close to the top, but Uneven Nine Patch is also one of my favorites.  I saw this pattern in the American Patchwork and Quilting April 2011 a couple of years ago and thought it would be a good way to use fabric from my scrap bins and have a little piecing project around for a day when you just want to sew, but not start a major project.  

So here it is in 2014 and I have the blocks done and the flying geese done.  It's time to start putting it together, my least favorite part of the process.  I didn't realize how challenging those long rows would be.  The setting triangles are put on first, one on top right and one on bottom left of the block on point, making sure they are going the right direction.  My small design wall won't hold an entire row, so the bottom two blocks are draped across the floor.  

Here is the way they are looking and I'm using this…
 for the strips between the rows.  The pattern calls for making that strip 1 1/2 inches, but I am making it wider, 3 1/2 inch, I think.  I had about three rows done and decided I should make it a king size quilt, so I took those first three rows apart and added another block to make the quilt longer.  If my calculations are right, the 3 1/2 in. joining strips should make it wide enough.  At this point, this thing is spread all over my sewing room, so there is no room to work on anything else.  I think another day of sewing should get it contained.  

I have to share a tip I stumbled across a couple of weeks ago.  I was struggling to put quilt sandwiches
together in preparation for machine quilting.  My knees don't do crawling anymore, so I have been working on a five foot table.  As you can imagine, getting the backing taut enough was a problem.  I found this suggestion in one of my books on machine quilting.  
  They are spring clamps that fit over the backing and clamp it to my table.  I then spray baste the batting and top to the backing, section by section, re-clamping it each time I move it.  It worked great!  They were $3.00 each at Westlake Hardware.  I bought six.
Here's the quilt I finished, using my new clamps.
Some examples of the quilting follow below.  Look how smooth the backing is.

It was made from a Barbara Brackman jelly roll, a Kim Brackett pattern, I believe.

Now for the pictures of my Singer 301.  It required some work before it would sew, but it is working like a charm now.

I find it interesting that the decals in the 1950's were so much simpler than those elaborate designs earlier in the century.  I guess Singer wanted you to know that this was a no-nonsense machine, made to be a workhorse.  You will see a lot of these machines in the brown and brown/cream painted versions.  I'm sure they appealed to those modern women of the 50's more than this black one with the simple decals.  It is a 1951, but not badged for the centennial.  It must have been manufactured early in the year.  
Enough for tonight.  I have jumped around a lot, hope I didn't lose you.

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