I couldn't help myself!

I saw it in the window and I just couldn't help myself.

Actually, the window was on my phone and I managed to hold off bidding for two days before I finally caved and bid 35 cents over the minimum on it.  I don't need more projects, but was looking for any history about that precut Dresden Plate quilt, and ebay is sometimes a good place to get information.  But, not about that kit, which I can't find anything about.  Instead, I stumbled up on this kit by Better Homes & Gardens, from 1987.

There are fabrics and instructions to make 9 blocks that finish 3" square. 

Vintage calicoes and a white cotton muslin, a piece of poly batting, and because these were supposed to be sachets, a bag of Potpourri, from 1987.  That went in the garbage as soon as I opened the bag.  Thank goodness nothing sealed inside smelled like it. 

The original plan was to make 9 little pin cushions.  But, now I've had time to think about it, I'm thinking a small 9 patch quilt.  The block not shown on the package is a little red schoolhouse block.  A very small one.  I can see why they left it out of the picture.  But, I'm going to give it a try.  I think it would make a great center block. 
I dunno.  I just couldn't stand the thought of it out there on ebay, depending on somebody else to decide to make it.  So, I bought it.  Even though I need another project like I need a hole drilled in my head and melted gold poured in. 
Sydney said her first day at school went okay.  She had trouble finding her classes, but that seems pretty normal.  My throat clenched a bit when I watched her walk up to the front door of that big office building turned school.  She seemed so small.  And, I could tell she was feeling a little intimidated when she got out of the car.  But, I could tell she was a little excited, too.  My advice for the day was to talk to as many people as possible.  If even a third of them turned out to be friends, that would be a good thing.  Unfortunately, she worked last night, so I haven't had a chance to talk to her about it yet.  I won't see her until breakfast this morning. 
Our little girl is growing up.  10 years we've had her.  Ten long years.  We didn't make everything better.  But, we stuck with it.  And, that's got to count for something. 
Have a great Tuesday.  Lane


The wrong things to say

Lately I feel like I have all the wrong things to say.  Or, maybe better said as "the stuff I can't get off my mind isn't stuff I want to write about."  Work is hard.  This political race has gotten absurd.  Am I really more interested in the series' we watch on TV than I am in anything else?  Well, yeah, kinda.  And, in the aquarium and the fact that we all added water to our tanks a couple weeks ago and all our fish got sick.  And, Sydney's dog has hurt her mouth.  And, the garden has gone nuts since we got 15 inches of rain a couple weeks ago.

Work is a little "off".  Something is going on and I don't understand it but the folks above me a nervous as cats.  And, my long experienced reaction to that is to keep my head low and DO EVERYTHING I can.  Be the guy that has the answer before anybody thinks of the question.

Today, Sydney starts college.  Her first class is early for a college student at a campus she's never been to.  I think I'm going to take her today.  Not that she deserves it.  Well, she hasn't been hideous lately.  But, I can tell this funny story.  Not long ago, she gave me feedback that I didn't say please and thank you enough when I "asked" her to do stuff.  So suddenly I'm all with the please and thanks.  Until it became natural.  The other day, she said "I need to go shopping before school starts."  Okay.  Well, since she's not asking us to take her, I asked if she knew which bus took her to Target.  I even had to be specific and point out that she hadn't asked us to be involved.  And, she still wouldn't ask.  She has a real problem with that.  So, Saturday morning, I made her ask.  I even gave her the words.  And, she had a REAL problem with it.  She can't stand to need anybody or anything that she might lose.  At first, I thought she was going to storm off and say that she didn't need to go that bad.  But, she caved and finally, in a wee small voice, she asked.  And, we went and we had a nice time. 

And, that night, we all three went to the Austin Pride parade.  It was great fun!  It was a three hour parade.  Very long.  It was so nice to see all the support we receive in Austin.  Businesses, churches, temples, city and state officeholders and agencies.  And, hundreds of thousands of attendees.  It was beautiful.  And, we got home late.  And, yesterday, Rob and I took it easy.  Because we aren't used to standing for three hours, no matter how good the view is. 

And, I've worked on this. 

That's half way!  Six...well, really seven more to go.  I've got it down to about 2.5 hours of work to make one.  I think I'll post a short tutorial one day.  Just for the grins.  It's not like there are a lot of preprinted Dresden plate quilts out there like this one.  But, I guess somebody might be interested in how I'm remaking this.  The fun part is that it's been ironed and who knows what else, and no two applique pieces are just alike and the print on the backgrounds is off, some fans are much longer or wider than others.  But, I just keep plugging away at it and adjusting and fiddling.  And, I'm completely remarking the centers so they'll be in the actual center of the plate. 

The original piecer seems to have taken the same trial and error approach to finding the best method to assemble these.  In one block, she glued the center to the background.  I'm not sure what kind of glue she used yet.  But, it left a permanent mark.  I tried soaking it out.  But, it didn't work. 

Good news is there are 13 blocks here, and I already planned to put the worst one on the back as sort of a label.  There's one with a pinhole in the background fabric, so it was planned for the back.  I'll replace the good center of that one with this center.  But, I sure hope there are no more glued pieces or bad spots. 

Okay, so that's my Monday morning.  I guess I did have stuff I wanted to talk about after all.  Maybe I'll make notes in my phone of some of those witty things I think of to blog about during the day.  I  often think of something and then think that I'd like to blog about whatever it is.  Then, that thought is gone and I'm left staring at the keyboard, wondering why I thought I was witty.

Y'all have a great week!  Lane


Once in a while, I do clean

Granted, it wasn't really by choice.  Last week was crazy.  One of the states I handle for my employer is Louisiana and, what with last week's record flooding, insurance companies are very busy. 

So, when my weekend started, I wanted to cram in as many personal accomplishments as possible.  But, like so many ambitious plans, that needed a good clean to start it off.  I cleaned up my repair area in the garage.  That really needed help.  And, I got a different machine up on the repair table, which was timely since the black featherweight had received it's annual clean and oil so long ago that it was almost time to do it again.

Rob and I did something we almost never do.  On Friday night, instead of spending time together, we spent time on our individual projects.  That meant, I was disassembling a machine and he was getting ready to swap out TV's, and it was nice for a once and a while thing, but honestly, I prefer spending evenings as quiet family time. 

I finished Rob's shirt. 

That is a perfect fit!  He wants an extra half inch in the shoulders.  I can manage that.  He and his work group do Hawaiian shirt Fridays, and this will be a nice addition to his mix of shirts.  And, he and I now have our own perfect fitting camp shirt patterns.  I can use those to rework other shirt patterns for us.  But, honestly, camp shirts are what I'm most likely to make in future.  A lot of accomplishment, without all that fiddly work.

This is the machine I rewired.  Before I started, it was very loud.  VERY! LOUD!!  It growled and shook and rumbled and clicked and there was a very rusty hinge sound in the pedal. 

I replaced the plug in the back of the machine.  It's a three prong plug and the old one was worn out and kept falling off.  I had to use a rubber band to keep it plugged in and that just didn't seem right...electricity is dangerous.  So, it needed a new one.  And, while I was at it, I rewired the light fixture, which was very loose and flickered.  And, I slowly worked my way through the sounds, starting in the feed dog area and working my way backward.  I replaced that creaky knee pedal with a nice newer foot pedal and now, it's runs like a dream.  Rob came in the other day when I was testing and couldn't believe how much quieter it was. 

One of the things I replaced was this friction pulley that connects the motor to the handwheel. 

This is one of the easiest repairs ever and can make a huge difference in the sound the machine makes.  I had replaced the wiring and the pulley when I first bought the machine, but I wasn't very experienced at wiring and really didn't do that good of a job and the pulley, well, not sure where I went wrong on that.  The old one seemed like it was still working fine, but the new one is quieter. 

And, I needed to pick my next project.  Not a Linus quilt or a giveaway, but a me project.  I picked some applique. 

A very pastel Dresden plate.  I received these as a UFO from a friend of a friend.  And, I knew that one day, I'd finish the last block and make a beautiful quilt.  Notice that all the fabrics are the same print, but in different colors. 

There were 12 finished blocks and one block that needed a single fan and the center attached.  As I worked on that block, trying to fit in the last pieces, I realized that these blocks needed some construction assistance.  That's often the case with UFO's...mine included.  Probably why things become UFO's in the first place.

You may not be able to see much difference, but the one on the left was disassembled and put back together.  Notice that there's more curve to the ends of the fans in that one and the center is more circular.

This is a pre-cut kit.  The design is printed on the background fabric and all the pieces came precut to the same size.  I wish a knew the time period.  The printed fabrics could be reproductions, but the background fabric is very heavy muslin, like the kind it's hard to get anymore.  So, I'm thinking this might be an original, from maybe the 50's?  Or the 70's, during the revitalization of quilting. 

I'm doing a combination of hand and machine applique.  I'll do a post on this one at soon because I was able to remake a block yesterday in just a few hours, where it would have taken me days to have done it all by hand. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  It's the start to a new week.  Hopefully, a little less exciting week than last week. 



And, on Monday,

I went back to work for some rest. 

We had a cool and rainy weekend.  Very unusual for August.  It was wonderful!  And, I took full advantage of not being able to get outside.  So, I did things inside.  Including a good bit of sewing. 

I had Friday off.  The family went to a movie.  It's been so long since we could do anything other than a quick supper because Syd works anytime Rob and I aren't working. 

And, I finished this quilt.  These are so much fun.  The backing is simple wide stripes that I folded over for a binding. 

On Saturday, I decided to finish piecing this quilt top.  I think this is my favorite one so far.  I love the yellow stars in the blue background. 

I got so excited that I decided to piece this little quilt top.  This one is for a guy at the office who is going to be a dad for the first time.  It's made from the leftovers of the quilt back from the first quilt above.  42"x48".  Rob and I picked up a back yesterday and I got it laundered and ironed, so this one is ready to pin baste. 

And, yesterday, I started a shirt for Rob...more about that later.  And, I put the last stitches in the binding of the DWR quilt. 

I'm very happy with this one.  VERY happy.  I can't wait to wash and block it.  But, first, see that pin peeking out?  That's a problem.  As I've finished the quilt, I've found little problems...broken threads, odd things.  Things that need repairing before it's finished.  And, last night, when we flipped it over, I saw a bit of a pucker.  We'll see if I try to fix that.  Because I'm thinking I might be able to live with that one. 

Everybody have a great Monday!!  It's still raining here.  And, still watching the results of what fell in Louisiana.  Who'd have ever thought of 30 inches of rain, all at once like that! 



Busy quilting weekend

It was too hot to do much else.  So, I put my quilting hat on and I went for it.  First, I got the binding on the double wedding ring. 

I bought the binding on Saturday morning and got it laundered and then I ironed it in the garage and cut it in the kitchen, where I had plenty of nice flat space and I laid out a cutting mat and sliced it into diagonal strips. I'm using Sharon Schamber's videos as my guide to attach the binding.  I was too afraid to fold my fabric in that little square and cut into it...I needed to see the diagonal as I cut it.  That's working great!  It's not what I remembered or thought I was going to be doing, but it's worked very well and I highly recommend it.  . 

I'm still improving my method on the inward points that make a scalloped binding what it is. 

I rolled the binding on a leftover piece of pool noodle and laid it in my lap when I was sewing it to the quilt. 

Before I cut my quilt, I did practice a couple times.  It would have been a fine quilt left square, so I needed to make sure that I was up for the scalloped edges.  I tried three different methods, including the one I remembered and it didn't take long to know which one was the best. 

And, as if that wasn't ambitious enough, I decided to pin baste one of the Linus tops and piece a back together and get it started.  I got about half way before I had to walk away from all those straight lines. 

And, I started cutting the leftovers from the DWR into small pieces for a double nine patch.  Because, like...waste not, want not, right? 

Except I have about four thousand yards of fabric and don't really need to save the tiny scraps. 

It's the quilter in me makes me do it.  There's something about making something big and useful out of the tiniest of leftover things. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  I hope it marks the start of a wonderful week for us all.  And, poor little working girl Sydney, who I feel like I never get to see anymore because when I'm not at work, she is. 

Life is change. 



Short post

I've been busy piecing the starry night quilt on the Kenmore Rotary machine. 

This is working great, but it's still a loud machine.  This weekend, I'm going to try something.  I have a Bernina 730 that was a home ec class machine.  It made a loud growling noise and I struggled with it and worked on it and had given up and was about to send it back to Goodwill when I just happened to take out the carbon brushes and wipe them off and put them back in again.  And, it worked. 

So, with nothing to lose, I'm going to try that on this machine.  Who knows.  They're like the easiest part to replace on a machine, so it's a 15 minute investment, right?

These little mysteries are why I love owning and tinkering with these vintage machines. 

Everybody have a great Friday.  I'm already planning the things I'd like to do.  I'm always too ambitious tho. 



The design roll

Most of the time, when I make a scrappy quilt, I just let things happen as they will.  Sometimes that means the quilt isn't "even" as in there might be a light spot or a dark area or a place where there's too much green.  The easiest way to deal with that is a design wall, which I don't have.  I have a design floor.  But, in my studio, floor is a limited quantity and I can't really lay a quilt out and just leave it there (even though I used to do that all the time).    And, while I've done it before, I don't want to lay one out in the living room and leave it there for as long as it takes to piece. 

So, I needed a new solution. 

My solution was a plastic tablecloth with a flannel back and a pool noodle.  I laid the table cloth out and laid the quilt pieces on it.  I was able to spread my fabrics out.  I went into this quilt not quite sure how many pieces I needed.  So, as I laid it out, I was continuing to cut and add pieces.  I could have let all those new pieces go into the same area, or I could integrate them into the quilt.  That meant I needed the whole thing laid out. 

Anyway, when I got done on Saturday, I rolled it up.  And, Sunday morning, when I wanted to work on it again, I unrolled it.  And, it unrolled perfectly. 

Nothing stuck to the plastic side of the table cloth. 

The blue and yellow sub units are pieced with their diagonal lines.  But, the quilt is still all in 2.5x6.5" strips that need to be pieced into blocks, then rows, then a quilt top. 

Then, I took the roll into the sewing room and am piecing it one row at a time.  That way, it's near the machine and I can sew a couple blocks at a time. 

While I was in the stash, looking for dark blues, I found the perfect back.  It's a dark-ish blue with yellow stars and moons.  It's not enough, but then I found some dark gold fabric with stars on it, too.  So, I'm pretty sure this one is moving forward at a rapid pace.  Three rows are pieced so far. 

The DWR quilt is nearly finished.  Woo-hoo! 

It took most of Saturday morning, but I got those feathers in all the way around.  I still have some safety pins marking errors that need correcting.  Somehow, I snipped a thread in one block and there's one line, about 5 feet where there was no top tension in the thread...how does that even happen?  I've decided not to quilt anything in the rings, but those brown squares need to be outlined to give it the dimension I'm looking for.  But, once those last few steps are done, I'll be ready to bind.  Unfortunately, now I get the true joy of trying to color match that olive fabric for a binding.  I used all of I had except some scraps and a strip about 6x48", not enough to make a binding.  And, I bought all there was on the bolt, so there's no more of that available.  I'll cut the extra fabric away so that feathered border is scalloped, so it's going to take a LOT of binding.  I've never done a scalloped edge, so it's a good thing there are tutorials on the internet for it. 

We had a good weekend.  It was HOT.  I quilted.  And, cleaned.  I managed to find a couple hours for yard work yesterday morning, but it was all pulling out dead leaves and tying up things that have gotten huge.  We had a lot of good rain last week, so things just went nuts.  And, I cut some limbs a few weeks ago. so now there's balancing the sunlight again and moving flower pots around so nothing gets too much or too little sun.  But, that's the good thing about gardening and quilting.  There's always something to do.

Work is strange.  After all those weeks of being too busy, now there's not so much to do.  It's a good reprieve.  But, I don't want it to last too long.  It does make the days pass slower. 

Everybody have a great Monday!!  It's the start of a new week.