Saturday, August 30, 2014

The New Girl In ThistleFire

Sometimes it's funny how things happen.

This summer, I was excited to become the owner of a 1935 Singer Featherweight
And a 1950 Featherweight
They are awesome machines and I absolutely love using them. 

But there was one more I wanted to have. I wanted a treadle. We had one when I was a kid. I don't remember seeing it sew but it worked when I pumped the foot tray and the wheels got turning. I just wanted one in my home. Even more specifically, I wanted a Singer treadle so the accessories I have for my featherweights would work with it. I searched for one for almost a month but had nothing hit me saying, "I'm the one!" 

There was a shop I went to that had a cabinet that I liked but I didn't like the machine that was in it...
and a second cabinet that I didn't want but the head was real nice. It was electric but could be retrofitted to treadle. 

I would need to fuss with them to make it happen. Not perfection, but function was the goal. "Just swap them out", I thought, but the cabinet cutout was too small. "I can cut out the 1-1/2" it needs to make the head fit", I thought. But I didn't have the tools. So I called my sister and told her and her carpenter-husband about my idea. They said they could try to help me. But the shop was closed until Friday and it was Sunday. So I had to wait and think about it. I was ok with that. It was a big undertaking. 

Then, the very next day, my sister called me back. "I have a treadle for you." What? "It belonged to Aunt Rose." (She was actually our great aunt but I knew who she meant.) "We got it after she died. No one in the family wanted it so I took it." Suddenly, the conversation was going in slow motion. My mind started to spin a little. I asked, "Is it a Singer?" "Yup!" Now I was getting excited. "On a Singer cabinet?" "Yup!" I knew this was it, and I haven't even seen it. It didn't matter because it was heritage. My aunt, er, I mean, great aunt, was a seamstress. She sewed garments for the Cluett & Peabody Clothiers back in the early half of the 1900's. This was the machine that she'd bought new for her home. This was the machine my mom learned on. And it was coming to my home. I was so honored! 

Day one was cleaning day! Lots of dirt, coal smoke, dust, and lint came off of her. But she was still looking gorgeous before that. 

The gears were all dirty and dry. 

The end plate had beautiful scrollwork on it under the layers of brown. 

Behind that plate, there was a lot of cleaning that needed to be done. 

She didn't sew. The wheel wouldn't do a complete turn. I'd say here's why-
All this came out of the bobbin housing. I don't know how it all fit in there!

Here she is now. So much better!

Look! It's chrome, not brass!


The best result of the cleaning is she sews!

She is a Singer Model 66 and dates to April of 1926. 

The cabinet and iron cleaned up beautifully too. 

There's wheels on the iron legs. One was locked up with grime and goo. We cleaned it and got it rolling again. 

I love the amazing wooden details. 


So, sometimes things happen in ways you will never be able to plan out yourself. In those weeks while I was looking for a treadle, nothing was working out and I was ok with that. My patience was rewarded with a piece of history that is meaningful to me. I can cherish this one more than any other. ThistleFire needs some rearranging to properly house her... and I'm happy to do it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Here We Bargello-go Again

But this time it's in red!

All the strips are cut and numbered. 

The patterns are coming into view. 

Sewing up the strips, pair by pair. 

The top is together!

And the borders are on!

Ain't that puhr-dee? 

Here was the blue one I made. It's got a calmer feel to it. Which do you like better?

What color should I Bargello up next?

Friday, August 22, 2014

AQS Quilt Show Wants My Quilt!

Last year, I finished this blue paper pieced quilt. 

For the fun of it, I sent photos to AQS to see if it could be in their Chattanooga show. They said no. 

But then they said they'd like to display it at their show in Des Moines, Iowa on October 1st-4th! It will be part of the juried special exhibit for show only, not for judging or placement in the competition. That's good, knowing how the quilts in those shows look, I'd probable come in last place! Lol

I had to fill out a form and send it back to them. A second copy will go in the box when I ship it. 

And I had to add a hanging sleeve on the back. First time I had to do that!

They want it in the Paducah, Kentucky offices before September 13th so it can get sent to Iowa. It will get boxed and mailed next week. After the show, they'll ship it back to me. 

Wow! I'm so honored to be a part of this show! I still can't believe it! If you go to the Des Moines show, I'd love to see pics!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Enders Made Into A RITNY

What's a RITNY? It's my mystery quilt pattern from 2013. You can find the instructions in the mystery tab on the top of the blog. This quilt that placed 2nd in my county fair that same year!

What's an ender? They are small scraps that are sewn together at the end of another piece that is sewn. It's like you are working on two projects at the same time. It's a thread saver, too!

I was taught as a young girl to sew onto a small scrap piece of fabric and leave the pressure foot down when the sewing was done. If I'm going to sew a seam onto a scrap, why not have it sew something useable? 

Bonnie Hunter has written books on beautiful quilts to make with "leaders and enders" of scraps. 

Here's my Ringing in Thd New Year quilt with my scraps of enders. 

I have piles, all made from enders, of 1/2 square triangles ready to be made into broken dishes blocks and squares ready to be made into 4-patch blocks. 

The layout plan begins!

Sew blocks together two by two, and then four by four, etc. 

The rows get completed. 

And then everything gets connected and bordered. 

That's my award winning pattern! Have you made ender pieces? 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bargello Blue Weave

This one's a wrap!






Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Finishing Touch - The Label

I was in my favorite fabric shop the other day and I overheard someone asking where they could find labels to put on their handiwork. We all know we should label our stuff. It feels a little like torture sometimes, especially if the project was a long-lasting one. But it got me thinking, "I sew. I should experiment with making my own labels." Here's what I did for that experiment. 

We all have a scrap pile that looks like this. Pieces too big to toss and too random to use easily. 

I picked and pulled and narrowed it down to these strips. 

I like to consider the back side of fabric for things. In this case, the muted pattern will look great on a label!

This is the strip I chose. It already looks labelish!

These pieces need stabilizer. I was reminded of that the hard way!

My machine has basic letters in its stitch menu so I took advantage of that time saving feature! If you don't have this option, you could choose a larger swatch and FMQ your wording on it. 

After the stitching is done, trim off the extra stabilizer to eliminate the bulkiness and press it. 

I used my ruler to square the fabric up around the wording. My lettering is lined up on the red dotted line on my ruler. 

Now the edges can be folded under and pressed in place. 

Pin your custom label to your project and stitch it down. If the item isn't going to be put through too much stress, you could use non-sewable heat 'n bond tape and press it in place. 

Here's another version I made. I pressed mine on with heat 'n bond since they are inside a hat brim. 

What do you think? Will you try to make some labels? I hope this tutorial has inspired you to try it out. Take a day and make a bunch of them so you can add your finishing touch whenever you are ready! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bluegrass in Greenville

Do you like bluegrass music? So do we! After enjoying a Grey Fox in July, we made the day trip to "Bluegrass in Greenville" down in the Catskills Mountains. 

Last summer, we bought a 1957 portable record player and in our search for records, we found an album that was made by a guy who was from our area, Smokey Greene! And he's still using the case on the cover. This album was made in 1981. 


Smokey was at the festival! Today, he's in his 80's and has been playing music for 68 years. We got the chance to meet him and shake his hand. We asked him if he would sign our album when we see him again at the Washington County Fair. Of course he said he would!

He plays his sets with his son so his voice can have a rest. He is also an amazing musician. 


Next up - Jessie Alexander. This is an older photo, since the boys are now young men, but they tore up the floor with their picking!



Here's the Atkinson Family. Another group of mega talent. They have a nice mix of covers and originals. Their harmonies were spot on. 


We stayed until it was too cold to be sitting outside. The event goes on all weekend, is small and personal, offered camping for the weekend, had some vendors and a food stand. We'd go back again next year! 

Look up some if these groups and give them your support. The record industry doesn't show them much love so it's up to us to keep them pickin'!