Friday, July 31, 2015

Freedom Trail

Up Disclaimer: this post is history and photo heavy!
Lots to see on this walk through the city of Boston. Many who reside here have not followed the trail, but it is heavy with history for any who aspire to fill in the blanks of their historical knowledge.
So if you are not a history buff you may not find much of interest in this post- but I sincerely hope that is not so! Sadly much of our Nation's history is no longer taught in public school and the Santayana saying may well haunt those who cannot remember history and are therefore doomed to repeat it.
The first historic point on our walk was Ebenezer Hancock House built in 1767 by John Hancock and lived in by his brother, Deputy Paymaster General of the Continental Army.
Next item of interest was this sign,
posted at the Union Oyster house, the story of a traitor to the American Revolutionary cause.
We may have stopped to sample the fare but we had Button dog and so there was to be no fine dining today!
Fanieul Hall built in 1742 as a market place and meeting hall has served the city ever since, but the Marketplace now extends to three long granite buildings North Market, South Market and Quincy Market. This indoor outdoor market and eatery was designed by Benjamin Thompson and houses the museum and armory of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts on the third floor. It was the site of famous speeches by Samuel Adams and other patriots encouraging independence from Britain and is sometimes called "the Cradle of liberty".
Below is the memorial of the Boston Massacre.
I am not certain of the following but I have read that one or more of the soldiers involved in this incident were branded on their thumbs with an "M" for murderer. Last year a 113 year old time capsule in the head of the golden lion you see on the top left of the building was opened, and just recently replaced with addition of current items.
I thought I had a pic of this building but cannot find it. The sign tells the story and the bricks confirm the date of construction.

This beautiful structure is The Old City Hall.
Below King's Chapel, site of the first public school in Boston.
And the 1630 burial ground attached to the Chapel.
On a lighter not but important from a gustatory view is Parker's Restaurant, birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie and Parker rolls! 
My DH's favorite dessert is Boston Cream Pie so of course I had to learn to make it, we do not have it in Australia!
You can tell it is still raining (we did not bring umbrellas) as we walked by Boston Common, the oldest park in the Nation and actual starting point of the Freedom Trail. It encompasses almost 50 acres. Until 1830 cattle grazed there and until 1817 public hangings took place there. British troops camped here before leaving to face the colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord in April 1775. Many famous people have given speeches here over the years.
The current State House with it's beautiful golden dome.
This place below is historical for lots of Law students as the old Law School was just across the street, niece says she and her friends had quite a few beers at the Twenty First Amendment!
Last but not least of interest is a more recent addition to the city, the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial.
We have more to explore for another day but it was late and we were all wet, and little dog was nursing a cut on one pad so we had take-out for dinner and headed home!

Thursday, July 30, 2015


This morning a little more sewing with Grt niece-yesterday we took a few bits and pieces from her Grandma's stash and made a mug rug for her Mom.
This morning she completed one for her Dad using more quarter square triangles and flying geese.
All I did on this one was to sew down the binding which was folded over from the backing niece did all the rest.
As for me I have a couple of completed DP's to show at this rate I may be done by the time vacation is over!
This evening we walked the Freedom Trail with Button.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Row By Row H2O

Are you joining the fun? Hundreds of quilt shops in all 52 States and Canada are participating in what is now an annual event. It went right by me last year I had never heard of it until I was in CO.Springs recently and picked up a CO. Row pattern from Ruth's Stitchery.
Here is my quick and easy row, still needing some embellishment.
I have a very cute row from VA, and plan on getting some from TX, MA and DC. I didn't think I would get involved but after seeing a few rows I am hooked! I haven't bought any of the number plates at $5.95 each it's a bit pricey for very many and I haven't figured out how to use them yet.
There's a nice row at a QS in Prescott Valley with quail on it with umbrellas! Might have to take a ride up there soon, I think BJ may ride along with me and she knows where that QS is.
I was not inspired by all the cactus heavy rows from AZ but I guess I can always leave them off. I was hoping to find one with a Route 66 sign so I may have to make my own!
I have a new addition for my studio -which is a very small room and tight with everything I need to have to work in there. The chair I have been using is an office chair, big, black and very bulky so when I saw this one in Costco it seemed to fit the need well and was reasonably priced so it came home with me yesterday!
It's very light, clean lines and white so it blends in well and rolls super easily. If the arms are ever a problem I can leave them off but so far I like them and I am very happy with my new seating!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pre-Vacation Projects

With the banner done it was time to turn to a couple of projects on the Domestic Sewing Machine! First up, making a little case for my nifty portable charger. It is a Jackery and can recharge multiple devices at the same time and holds a charge itself for a very long time. Great tool for any time you are away from home.

Planning to take it on vacation with me it seemed appropriate to find a way to protect it, I'm a quilter so of course it's a quilted case. I measured the device including the charging cord and dug into my scraps to come up with some bright pieces and a cute button from my large collection!
Done, and it cost me nothing but an hour of my time!
Next onto a project that has languished long, a Work Hidden In My Mind! WHIMM.
These lovely vintage 30's/40's Dresden plates came from a long gone quilter's UFO collection, you can find blocks and partial blocks at estate sales and if you are really lucky at a yard sale.  I purchased these a few years back at an estate sale and I know the quilter is happy I am going to make all 26 of them into a quilt! They are nicely hand pieced, it's a sad thing when you see these in an incomplete state, some woman spent a lot of time cutting the fan blades individually with scissors and then sewing them painstakingly by hand. I need a hand work project to take on vacation and this will do nicely, I can applique all the circles in the centers but first I have to applique the fans onto the blocks - by machine though!
OK so this next step was a bit tedious to attach fusible to the outer edges of the fans only. It took a while but they all look nice, using the buttonhole stitch on the Activa they are secured to the blocks. I tried out half a dozen or more 30's/40's repro fabrics and came to the conclusion that the yellow looked best, had to use two different ones because they were only FQ's. I ended up rejecting the fabric on the left in the picture below.
Next up, how to attach the circles- if I used freezer paper I would have to cut the backs open to remove it so I chose to make two cardboard templates, one to cut the fabric circle and the other to shape it to the right size.
 I think this is how I did it last time, making a large running stitch around the outside  and pulling it in around the smaller template then hitting it hard with a very hot steam iron before removing the template!
 It worked and now they are ready for vacation sewing!
 I am using Superior's Master Piece thread a fine 3ply, 50wt. cotton perfect for applique and I actually have just the right color yellow.
Another project the last few days was this cute potholder and funky chicken pin cushion.
 They are for my friend Gale, I made her an apron a couple of months ago and had enough scraps left to make these, I just need to mail them off to her I think she will be surprised.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Forever in our hearts

                                                You took a piece of my heart with you Matt 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Finally Finished, Fourth Of July Banner

Linking up with Heather and her Needlework report.
I haven't posted for almost two weeks, most unusual for me, but I have been working on the same project I last blogged about. I could have chronicled my progress or lack thereof, but I chose not to so you will get it all in one large data dump! If I had worked on it continuously I would have been done sooner but life got in the way!
 There is a lot of thread laid down in this quilt much more than appears in a photo of the back, a few hours of just stitching over and over the same areas. Still it should not have taken quite so long.
I haven't had any issues in the past with metallic thread because I use Superior brand but for whatever reason my machine just did not want to play nice with it. I thought I would describe my struggles hoping it might be helpful to anyone else sewing with metallics on a longarm - the issues are a bit different with a domestic machine.  There are half a dozen things to do/check first is to reduce the speed, usually I quilt at high speed, #7-8 in Cruise Control on my A-1 machine, but I lowered it back to about #5 for the specialty threads.
It is necessary to use thread socks with most specialty threads so that was a given but I fussed endlessly with tension both top and bobbin taking almost all the stress off the thread, and even tweaking the timing and spreading silicon over the spools. I also increased the size of the needle, usually I can sew these threads with the same #16 I use for most others, but Superior recommends #19 for the LA.
When I returned to a trial of Sew Fine it was stitching perfectly telling me that I still did not have the sweet spot for the specialty threads. Finally what seemed to help was to take all tension off the quilt sandwich - normally I do not torque quilts up tight, just firm, but when I sort of allowed it to almost sag a bit the thread breaking was reduced markedly, something to remember for the future that may save me a lot of time.
It's bound with a matching dark blue and includes a sleeve to hang the banner but I have not yet installed the twenty LED lights.
The stripes on the flag are quilted with a neutral SF to give the idea of movement without the glitter.
I persisted over the last 2 weeks with silver and gold threads and a final inspiration with a light over-layer of Pearl Glitter Hologram which for all it's fragility sewed beautifully and adds that extra multicolored layer -I did need to use a thread sock to prevent it unraveling uncontrollably!
The banner from last year only had silver thread and it seemed a bit one dimensional, hence the idea to add other colors and I think it worked nicely. I only used Hologram over the silver since the gold seemed loud enough on it's own!
Gold shows up nicely here. I have tried to leave a few open spaces to place the LED lights and I plan to secure the holes with Fray Check - they must be made to push the bulbs through from the back. 
In this one I was trying to photograph from an angle to show the Hologram thread effect but it's hard to do without a professional's camera, the one below actually does show some flashes of green .
Altogether a happy result and in spite of my uncooperative machine still mostly an enjoyable project.  At the urging of DH I had purchased half a dozen of these kits last year complete with LED lights and they are sitting there patiently waiting, so maybe I will quilt one - or two - a year, they would make nice gifts. I might put this one in the "for sale" album since I have no designated "giftee" at present.
Additional information:
 Bottom Line neutral thread was used in the bobbin at all times, and the batting is two layers, a light poly on top and Quilter's Dream Angel under it for stability.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Independence Day

Happy birthday to our Nation, the greatest country on God's green earth - still, in spite of everything!
God bless America and heal and prosper her.
To celebrate the day I decided to work on a fireworks banner.
 Click here to see the one I made last year complete with LED lights which this one will have also.
And, the Vintage Fan quilt is bound another one moved off the UFO list, yeah!
A productive day.
A day without quilting is a no good, very bad day, LOL!