Friday, March 27, 2009

Snowy Day And A Quilt Class

We have had snow every day since Sunday up here.

We awoke this morning to about a foot or more of new snow outside & DH agreed to drive me the nearly 35 miles into Montrose [the main roads were plowed but still scary for this Aussie raised woman] & even though DH said I would have been fine I could not help but notice how sedately he drove as did everyone else we saw about 20-30 MPH under the speed limit & I was very grateful to be chauffeured.
I had signed up to take a quilt class with Brenda Henning of BearPaw Productions, from Anchorage [in the beautiful state of Alaska] & I actually accused Brenda of bringing the weather system with her but this she firmly denied!

We followed the snowplow out for almost the first mile from the house & I can't even imagine how low the temperature went during the night but as you can see from the temp. gauge in the car, the horses must have been cold! Yep, that would be a balmy five degrees! Brrrrrrrrr.
The class was terrific, Brenda is a great teacher, talented designer & an all around great lady.
I would recommend her classes to any guilds considering inviting a guest teacher. Brenda is on the rt. here with our wonderful event organizer Gale, & behind them the quilt design we learned today called "Fireworks". This is a "color wash" design based on "quarter square triangles set with plain squares to create an explosion of color - like fireworks!"

I asked Brenda to autograph my book purchases, they are even more of a treasure with the author's signature of course!
The "I'd rather be quilting " apron I won as a door prize, woohoo! Now if only I had the presence of mind to ask everyone to sign it, duh, hindsight!
I had not chosen any suitable fabrics for the class so I used Gale's while she was busy keeping us all supplied with food & whatever else we all needed [chocolate] & now she has a bit of a start on her version of this quilt.This is how it looked at the end of the class when I had completed the blocks for the first four colors. I think it will be stunning & I can't wait to see how it will look when Gale adds the next 4 rows.

When I get back to Phx. I plan to pull out all my batiks & choose those I want to use for my Fireworks quilt but it will have to remain a project for the future until I complete a couple of other quilts that I currently have in progress!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday-Antique Treadle Machine

It's VTT again, I missed last week but I'm back on track for today.
I am fascinated by antique & vintage sewing machines-I have just four of them, so I am not a collector! I learned to sew on my Mum's Singer treadle circa 1940 & always thought that there is something very soothing about treadling. The stitch quality is hard to beat & these old machines sew forever with nothing but a drop or two of oil now & then, no mega dollar technician's tweaking for these babies!
My brother has my Mum's machine in Australia, & I had long wished for one of my own so I was excited when I found a beauty while "junking" during our time in Germany but it did not make the journey back to the USA because DH said it was too heavy to ship-not true but I fell for the line, these days I am much more assertive, lol !
A couple of years ago I saw this treasure on eBay & watched it for many days, no one bid on it so at the last minute I bid the reserve of $99.00 & won! Wow I was excited!
Packing, shipping & insurance cost $145.00 but I figured it was still a good deal it came all the way from Mass.
Imagine my disappointment when the machine was delivered with considerable damage to both the cabinet & the support structure of the machine head the result of completely inadequate packaging. I submitted the insurance request & the machine was "totalled" & I was re-imbursed the full amount of purchase & shipping etc. I was informed by the shipping agent that if the shipping company did not reclaim the damaged machine within two weeks it would be mine to dispose of as I chose!
Obviously, I still have the machine, my handy DH was able to reinforce the damaged areas & when I threaded it, to my delight it sewed perfectly! This was the very first sample of the stitching, I did not even need to adjust the tension dial.

So here it is an early 1900's Light Running New home Parlor Cabinet. In my internet searches I have not seen another quite like it. I love the graceful curved front & the little curved cubbies inside the doors.
Obviously the oak cabinet could use some TLC & I have info. from ISMACS on a solution to use to refurbish the wood this summer.

There is decorative molding on both sides of the cabinet......
and it even came with what looks like the original oil can!

A box full of attachments & the instruction book for each piece.
Tucks, ruffles & binding are just a few of the projects possible with these attachments & look at the beautiful results!

An elegant graduation dress.....
a very decorative negligee.....
a camisole.
I can't help but wonder about the beautiful gowns, children's clothing, undergarments, drapes & other household linens that were were constructed with this machine, I can see that it was well used from the wear marking on the wood & the machine bed.

Can you begin to imagine the time necessary to complete these projects? And before the invention of the home sewing machine it had to be done by hand! Whew! I am tired just thinking about it! Thanks for visiting, now pop on over to Suzanne's blog to see all the others blogging for VTT.
I just had to add this little video-it's still snowing here, a real spring storm today, Button in her snowsuit cavorting in the snow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Double Delight

Today I have been working on the DD mystery & I had hoped to have the top completed today. Unfortunately I ran into a roadblock-the fabrics I had set aside for the setting triangles & borders never made it to CO. with us! Drat! Even if I were willing to purchase fabrics [& I'm not, this is a stash -using scrap quilt] we are a good 2 hour drive from the nearest quilt shop.

here are the blocks just laid out on the floor & this is as far as I can go with it I will have to set it aside to finish after returning to Phx. Darn & double darn!
I have one more small step I can do, the corner blocks for the border. I have these two options to use up a few of the left over 3.5" blocks, this one............

or this!
The border will be red so I am leaning towards the first choice.........anyone?

Yesterday we had a weather system come in, the wind blew wildly, temp. dropped & snowed!
We had a couple of inches overnight & this was the scene around 6 a.m. at 23 degrees!
Looking south ......
and up the driveway.

All day it snowed lightly on & off then on the way down the mountain at 1 p.m.[ we had a veterinary appt. for Button] it was snowing hard but by the time we got down to Ridgway there were just a few flakes here & there.
We drove into Ouray & walked up & down the nearly deserted street, had coffee at Mouse's Chocolate shop and chocolate and a giant scrap cookie [now doesn't that sound like just the perfect food for a quilter, lol] but it was very chilly & a bit windy & some light snow so we headed for home.
The rest of the day a few flakes continued to drift down but nothing that was "sticking". Currently the outside temp is only 27 degrees so perhaps there will be more snow overnight.
March has been devoid of precipitation up here & any addition at all is very welcome.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

UFO Number 8 For 2009

We drove up to our CO. mountain home on Wednesday after I was cleared by my Mayo surgeon to leave town. There isn't much snow left around the house & the roads are mostly dry, just a patch of mud here & there.
Tuesday before we left Phx. I quilted the Old Tobacco Road scrap mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter. It is a "kitchen sink" scrap quilt & has turned out quite large, 80"x102", and it's busy so I decided to do a leaf panto because I knew I'd have problems seeing where I had quilted no matter what color thread & I also knew nothing I quilted would show up well. I used a Signature green/gold variegated .

I had to scrap the backing too, I am trying to use stash whenever possible. I bound it Thursday & it is done, done & I am pleased to have it off my list! I just counted up my UFO's finished for the year & they total 8! At this rate I will have a great year for clearing out UFO's & then I can begin on my PIGs [Projects In Grocery Sacks] I need to find another acronym for my PIGs because mine are actually all nicely organized in clear lucite boxes along with their patterns! maybe PIBs!
Just an FYI of trivia, friend Loretta informed me that Un-Finished Objects are also called COPS i.e. Creative Ongoing Projects & if you give them away or never finish then they become COPOUTS! I have a problem with that though because to my mind UFO's are mostly abandoned or forgotten projects!
I have no idea what I will do with this OTR quilt, too large for a QOV, & it is my least favorite of the mysteries so far but no doubt it will eventually find a home! I think the colors are just not me, I have almost no brown in my stash apart from a couple of CW repros I use for the HOB quilts & one or two Buggy Barn fabrics I purchased to team with double pinks for a PIG.

Yesterday evening I put together this 48" square Scrap Twist, also a Bonnie Hunter design with some leftovers from baby Matthew's crib quilt & a few more bits & pieces of B&W plus a pale green that his nursery walls are painted.
This "Twist" quilt goes together super fast from 2.5" strips, made into 8" blocks. I have more white Minkee for the back & it will be quilted as soon as we return to Phx. the end of the month.
DH saw it this morning & said "wow that is busy" and he is right, LOL! Now I am thinking I should have subbed some of the busy prints for a W on W like this beauty from Marcus Brothers .
I have a better pic on my camera which I left behind in Phx. but if anyone recognizes this fabric & knows a QS that has some PLEASE let me know & I will probably purchase the entire bolt! On the selvage is written "Faye Burgos for Marcus Fabrics", the company info is "R18 Elements, #N577-146W" & perhaps you can see from the above pic. it is a small [maybe 1/2" ] all- over gingko leaf.
I contacted Marcus & they tell me it is discontinued so my only hope is to find a store that still has some in stock. I have searched the 'net diligently without success & next I will post it on "Missing Fabrics" website.
PS: The little Koala quilt is on it's way to Pat Brammer whose name DH drew out of the basket.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Koala Quilt Drawing

And the winner is..............

I printed off all the entries, cut them up, folded them & placed them in this basket.
Then I asked DH to take a moment off from his computer work & draw a name, drum roll please.......

it's Pat from Iowa!
I wish that I had a Koala quilt for each of you & I appreciate all of you for taking time to come by my blog & maybe learn something you didn't know about the beautiful country of Australia & the very unusual creatures that are unique to the land.
I will stop by Pat's blog & let her know that "Koala's in the Window" will be on it's way to her after I get the mailing address.
I have a few other things in mind to give away so I will be doing that from time to time.

Yesterday I went to the AZ Quilter's annual show, this year at Mesa Convention Center.
I did forget my camera so I borrowed Loretta's & she will make me a CD of the photos I took.

After much indecision I purchased this vest pattern "Tack Room To Tea Room" from Lady Hawk Designs & a couple of the needed notions for the all black version Julie had on display- it was so very elegant & although I really did try hard to resist [Loretta will attest to that] I finally capitulated! I have pics. of the black vest-on Loretta's camera of course!
Julie said that her students estimate it takes 30-40 hrs. to construct one of these gorgeous vests & that is a considerable investment of time but I love vests so I have added another WHIMM to my collection!
I found this tiny pair of scissors to use at the long arm, those I have aren't sharp enough & these have just the tiny blades for thread snipping & handles large enough not to trap my arthritic distal phalanges! I wear my snippers on a cord around my neck & if they have longer sharp points, when I bend over to check tension underneath the quilt I have been known to stab myself in the thigh with the snippers! Ouch!

And have you seen these "handy handbag hangers"? I never like to put my purse on the floor so it usually shares my chair when I am out & about but with this hook I can hang it right beside me, cool, huh?
The only fabric I bought was a little $1 FQ for a friend!
Then as if to reward me for my"no-buy" fabric Loretta gave me belated b'day gifts.
These delicious Valori Welles fabrics- LOVE her fabric designs- along with a little wallet & a notion tote for classes & guild meetings that Loretta made from the same fabrics. The button collection is for me to choose my favorites for the wallet & the tote.

The tote opens to reveal multiple pockets & Loretta had included a wee Olfa mat just right for trimming all those Bonnie Hunter 9P's & HST's, a handy 6" ruler & one of those fabulous new ceramic marking pencils I have been reading about.
I felt totally spoiled!
I did purchase a couple of Secret Sister gifts which I can't show, just in case!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Esther's Asian Quilt

I got two quilts off the LA today,this is Esther's Asian quilt, a small wall hanging for her grandson at college.

After quite some uncertainty I decided to quilt a circular motif with four cranes around a petal -like image in the middle of the quilt & bamboo straight up and down on the rest.

I used red thread & it's hard to see the quilting, especially on the red fish backing!

If you look closely you may be able to see the cranes surrounding the center of the motif, especially in the top left corner.
My conclusion is that I might as well not have bothered with the motif, it's barely recognizable, & I had hoped it would show up better but at least I tried to make it special. Oh well, lesson learned!
The other quilt was a single bed size which ended up a little short on the backing, I had thought I could squeak it out but not! So I had to take it off the LA, add a few inches to the last side & remount & finish the last 18" of the quilt. I forgot to take a photo, it was stripes of black ,blues & green batiks & I just quilted the freehand peacock feathers in a turquoise thread. It turned out well I think & maybe I can get the owner to send me a pic. once it is bound.
This morning I am going to the AZ quilter's Guild show in Mesa, meeting friend Loretta from Tucson so that will be a fun day to soak up lots of quilting eye candy! Perhaps I'll remember to take the camera & get some photos.
Oh, and today until midnight is the last chance to sign up for my Koala quilt give away, Sunday I will put all the names into a bucket & DH will pick one out. I had better get busy later & make a label for it.
Scroll back about ?4 posts to sign up!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday, Quilts

As a quilter I thought I'd show a few of my vintage quilty things this week.
Recently I bought a few blocks from eBay, some Dresden plate blocks, some Grandmother's Garden & a quaint little pink plaid/muslin top. They are all circa 30's I'd say & will be fun for me to complete. I love the idea & the satisfaction of finishing something that was begun so long ago- I think the originator would be so pleased by that, I know I would be & I hope that anything I leave behind unfinished will be completed by another generation quilter. Of course I also hope that won't be much, I am really trying to finish what I start!

There will be 25 of the Dresden plates to make a nice sized quilt, the plates themselves are 12" across, the muslin blocks 14". I will probably have to keep this one, I love these blocks they are very nicely made & well preserved. I have really fallen for these vintage fabrics if you look closely I think you will see why, they are adorable!

Above is a sample of those appliqued already......

and two of the half dozen that still need to be appliqued onto muslin.

Then I have 28 Grandmother's garden blocks, not all quite as well sewn but ok. They each measure 9" across & I will probably combine them with some solids to make a quilt.

This sweet little top is 60"x73" & I have no idea at all how I will quilt it or what I will do with it after that but I thought it quite dainty looking & feminine & the price was very reasonable. No one else seemed too interested in it it so I sort of felt it needed a new home & someone other than the maker [now long gone from this life I suspect] to love it! I think that it needs a muslin border to set it off & that would make it about 70"x80", reasonable single bed size. Perhaps if I ever have a granddaughter I can give it to her as she grows up, I might even be able to teach her to quilt-if this family can ever make a girl!
I also have no clue if there is a name for the "pattern" or if the piecer just invented the design?

This Double Wedding Ring quilt[DWR] was a top given to me by a friend in TX in the early 70's. It had belonged to her husband's aunt & she had lots of the aunt's quilts & tops & I was thrilled to get this one, I think I knew I would not be making a DWR. I started to once, made about 4 or 5 blocks & gave it away !
I purchased the stripe in the border of this one, added on three sides to make it KS & paid two little old sisters in their 90's to quilt it for me.

I think they charged me about $25, the simple outline quilting stitches are rather large & I suspect their eyesight may have been less than perfect but I was grateful to have it done, I knew little about quilting at that time. It remained on our bed for many years, now it is displayed on a quilt rack. The wedding rings are not very round & they are rather large perhaps that was the problem but to me it is a treasure & I believe somehow that the maker is pleased that her work is in loving hands.

As I always tell others, no quilt police allowed here!
If this has whet your appetite for vintage things you will love visiting
Colorado Lady
& a list of other VTT participants, it's always entertaining.
PS. Just three more days to sign up for my give away, the "Koalas In The Window" quilt, scroll back three posts to leave your name & contact info.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Koala Sunrise

I thought today I would show a photo of another koala quilt, even though it hangs in the loft over the TV it had "slipped my mind" when I was talking about the one I am giving away next week- end[see two posts back for info]

This quilt was a rescue of a failed experiment several years ago in the Ricky Timms Convergence method. I say "failed" because the hand dyed fabric I chose had too little contrast & being very discouraged by the result I was tempted to throw it in the "rag bag", literally!
The colors look washed out from the flash, they are more vibrant in reality. I really need to learn more about this camera that I have had for a year because I know it has ways to reproduce color more authentically.
Back to the quilt- my frugal side forced me to search for ways to use it & I decided that it would make a good background for applique, but what? I began to search through my stash & came across this koala fabric that I had bought way back at Joann's on sale with the intention of making a blouse. That was long ago because that particular Joann has long since closed down, & it has also been many years that I no longer sew clothing, I can buy it cheaper & faster than a pattern, fabric & notions etc. & I'd rather be quilting! The design & colors of the koala fabric appeared to be a perfect foil for the muddy looking convergence, so I cut out a koala & then used the same fabric for the borders.

I had some hand dyed Aussie fabric in the salmon tone with Aus. animals on it-I purchased it in Brisbane from Oz Dye-Art before they closed their business some years ago. Incidentally I was very sad when they did close, I had often ordered their unique patterns & fabrics & I hope some day when their families are grown those two talented women will be back in business.
The gum leaf pin is brass & too heavy for clothing but it has found a home on this quilt.
I quilted the whole thing with gum leaves.

In case I have piqued your curiosity about these items I took a few pics of just a small selection of their fabrics & very cute patterns, none of which said patterns have I made yet though I have used the fabrics in several quilts. The icons on the yellow fabric are too monotone to be seen in the photo, sorry about that!

There is an enormous amount of applique in this "Land DownUnder" pattern that was as you can see a "row of the month" originally. I don't do very much applique any more all those little bitty pieces are so fussy but it would be fun to get these made up.
The patterns above are titled with a couple of iconic Aus. sayings; Santa doesn't use reindeer in Australia[maybe it's just too darned hot at Christmas time for such cold weather animals, summer after all] Santa employs the services of white kangaroos, called "boomers".There's a Christmas song by Rolf Harris about the "Six White Boomers", go ahead & listen it's fun!
"Kangaroos loose in the top paddock" refers to the popular saying denoting lack of either intellectual ability or sanity!
That covers today's Australian cultural lesson!