Saturday, June 23, 2018

Square in a Square Quilt in Blue

The Square in a Square Quilt in Blue--accented with colorful cornerstone sashing. 

 I made more queen size quilts last winter, piecing them with some lovely machines:
 1951 Singer 201-2 (Christmas present from Jon)
1954 Singer 301 outfitted with a modern 1/4" scant foot.

I can build the backing with art panels in one day.  The following day is a two hour set up--loading  the three layers: backing, batting, top. 

A most important concern is adjusting the frame, keeping it square and level.  The distance from belly bar (front) to the take up bar (back) is something I have to tweak for each quilt project. 

First, I pin the backing fabric squarely to the belly bar and turning the cranking mechanism rolling the fabric around the bar until the backing is pinned to the take up bar.  I can tell at the end of this process if the frame requires adjustment because I am noticing the backing fabric on the left side of the frame is slightly looser than the right side.  

I think the Grace Majestic queen size frame gets out of adjustment because of the design of the frame.  The cranking mechanism is located on the right of the frame, so it is possible there is a little more pull (more tension) on the right each time I advance the quilt--turning the cranking mechanism rolling it forward during the quilting process. 

Blues, Greens, Grays, Turquoise

Here's the finished Square in a Square Quilt.  It sold June 16, 2018 at the Reedsburg WI Butterfest.  I'm in the studio this weekend building another one.  This is an ideal quilt project to use up smaller chunks of leftover fabrics.  I bought a bolt of the sashing/border steel blue fabric, more than enough to make two quilts.  

Made in Italy--this is my new favorite, a Necchi BU, the first zig-zag Necchi built (1948-1952). It really rocks the chrome.  Budda bing, budda boom!  Came with a lovely cabinet, and it is a knee lever speed control.  

Hah!  I'm too short to operate the knee lever speed control, so Jon built me a platform, a four-stack of 3/4" plywood nailed together and sanded.  Looks like a large loaf of bread resting on the floor.  I put a rubberized drawer liner under it to prevent any shift, and the loaf is resting snug between the right wall of the cabinet and a support cleat in back.   Now I have no trouble reaching the knee lever speed control.  

I removed great chunks of lint from the feed dogs and underneath the hook assembly.  After deep cleaning, oiling, and two coats of  Zymol wax on the surface,  it is now my beautiful go-to machine for multiple seam layers of upholstery, cotton linings, and batting to construct padded purses, cell phone carriers, and fabric journal covers.  Its a quiet machine--runs smooth.  I love it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Black and Winter White Quilt

I made this Black and Winter White Quilt in April 2018
Sold ***Memorial Weekend at Rising Star Mill Art Show, Nelsonville WI

For the backing fabric I wanted something dark, where I could adds some contrast with two art panels from the fabrics used on the quilt top.

Here are some photos of the long arm quilting process, and a chance to see the winter white fabric up close.  Love, love the fabric.

I'd like to make this one again in black and white, but with a different color for the center of the 9 patch.  It would either be ugly or beautiful.  

I don't pre-draw my quilts on paper before I start building a quilt.  Just an idea, and I don't know exactly what it will look like until it's finished.  That is the joy of designing.  

I made several quilts this winter--I'll be posting more of them later.

Thank you for looking at my stuff.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Navy Blue Diamond Scrappy Quilt

The Navy Blue Diamond Scrappy Queen Size Quilt is a treasure of scrappy fabrics.  

On the frame--finishing first row of edge to edge long arm quilting

My favorite scrappy fabrics - I used the last but of orange coy fish fabric in this photo.

I picked a light olive green fabric for the backing and beefed up its appeal with art panels.

The cutaway triangles from snowballing the corners are never thrown away--because they make beautiful borders.  

This quilt was pieced using my 1954 Singer 301--a wonderful machine.

Here you are looking at the discarded triangles, sewn together to make half square triangles.  (320 pcs).  Sewn together a second time, end for end to make the artful border around the perimeter of the quilt.  This takes forever to do--but the impact is worthwhile.

With 320 half square triangles, there's plenty left over to build art panels for the backing.

This photo shows 1/2 of the backing construction.  For quilting--I need backing fabric 100" x 110".  Two art panels helps me reach 100" width required.  

Photo taken before starting the long arm quilting

I will be selling my quilts, purses, cell phone carriers, fabric/rope baskets, fabric journal covers, and potholders.  
Memorial Weekend, May 26-27
Rising Star Mill  - 10a until 5p
Nelsonville, WI

At the show I will be demonstrating on a 1920 New Home hand crank sewing machine. 

I recently got the New Home hand crank up and running after acquiring original parts from Steve in California, and Skipper from Alabama--members of Victorian Sweatshop Forum who are collectors of old machines.

Parts found: an original New Home hand crank and grey hound New Home shuttle.  Uses Boye #14, 20 x 1 needles.

Tip: I use a modern Universal 15 x 1 needle, by lowering the shaft of the needle slightly when I install it.  The antique Boye needle is slightly longer, harder to find, and cost more than a modern Universal 15 x 1.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Teal Diamond Quilt and the 1951 Singer 201-2

Joining half square triangles to make the quilt border 

Smooth sewing on the 1951 Centennial Badge Singer 201-2 with knee lever speed control.  I don't care for knee levers, so I plugged in my stand-by 3- prong power cord (2 wire) fitted with a 1960s clam shell foot control (preferred).  

How to make the quilt:

Grayed-green background fabric:  Cut 10" Squares (80 pcs).

Scrappy Fabrics: 4" Squares.

Draw diagonal line wrong side of scrappy 4" fabric squares.  Pin one 4" scrappy square at each corner of the grayed green 10" square.  Sew on the diagonal line.  Cut off excess fabric 1/4" from the seam line.  This is called snow-balling the corner to make a block.    Keep the excess cut off fabric triangles to make the border (see first photo above).

Sew 8 gray green/scrappy corner blocks together to make a row.  Makes 9 rows.

Sew the rows together.  Suddenly, you have a Diamond Quilt.

I pieced the backing fabric with lots of scrappy fabrics, using the leftover 8 snow-ball blocks and leftover borders of half square triangles.

Frame loaded with backing, batting, and quilt top

Floral Feathers sequence begins with a spiral (spine) ending in a feather loop, then back tracking with feathers the entire length of the spine back to the starting point (upper right).

Now back at the starting point, fill the other side of the spiral spine.

Finish with feathers around the curl, then back track echoing those last feather back to the top.  Sequence begins again from that point.  And that's my Floral Feathers.

It was love at first sight when client Ellen saw the Teal Diamond Quilt.   

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Linda Sewing Machine

While you know me as Mrs. D--my given name is Linda.   This is my new arrival, a vintage sewing machine from London.

Our friend Dwaine buys lots of sewing machines from Europe via online auctions.  He called me in March when the Linda sewing machine was being sold on EbayUK.  

Holding My Breath During the Bidding:

It was just Dwaine and one other bidder.  There was no back and forth volleying.  Dwaine bid first, then outbid by the other bidder.  And there the auction sat for hours and hours.  

Dwaine waited until the last 15 seconds to launch his bid, but then his computer slowed and that dial thingy spun round and round for 13 seconds.  With only 2 seconds left in the auction, Dwaine's bid landed and he won.  My eyes were as big as saucers--I thought we'd lost for sure.  When I exhaled, it was time for the happy dance.

Dwaine's ending bid equaled just under $20 U.S.  But I knew going into the auction shipping fees could be $150.  Dwaine contacted the seller in advance of the auction to ask the question--if she'd consider packaging and shipping the sewing machine to the United States.  So thankful she said YES.

I am delighted with the Linda machine and have corresponded with Ms. Hemmings who was selling this flawless machine.  She was happy too, knowing the machine was traveling to the States to come live with me.  

Don't know much about the Linda Sewing Machine Company, other than the badge says it was imported by Lindeteves, from the Netherlands.  It is a Clone of a Singer Class 15 built in Japan. 

The knob shown here is to raise/lower the feed dogs.  Darning?  Free Motion Quilting?  With a Hand Crank?  So I asked some experts about these features and they say the Japanese manufacturer chose both features.  I guess the idea is, it could be motorized or people powered.  Hand crank machines are common in the UK.  More research to do; hoping to find out what year it was manufactured.

When I took this photo--I hadn't finished polishing the backside of the machine.  But as you can see from the shine in the other photos--it took no effort at all to surface polish to a mirror finish.

Dwaine he had it all oiled up and ready to go when he delivered it to me.  

I'll take this machine with me to shows this summer to demonstrate.  It sews perfectly, like the day it was made.  I am the lucky one.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Making Your Own Labels - TUTORIAL

I want to share with you how to make your own labels for your sewing projects . . . 

I make and sell these lovely padded cell phone carriers that clip-on at the neckline, lapel, purse straps, or waistline.  The carriers feature a lasso stitch beaded closure.  This one is typical, decorated with couching, hand dyed yarns, shiny bits stitched in place.  

The polymer clay beads I make by hand--about 50-60 pieces is an evening's work.  Other evenings, I embroider wool medallions, adding a few glass beads.  To make my purses and carriers--recycled wool and corduroy men's and ladies jackets, and the linings are cotton prints and batting leftovers from quilting projects.  A great project for scrap busting.

Getting back to the reason for writing this post . . . to show you how tot stamp labels.


Purchased two tins of COLOR BOX permanent fabric inks in WICKED BLACK and in PUTTY.

The Putty color ink is more transparent, and didn't show up on any fabrics!  However, it did produce a stamp image on the white price tag example.  

I returned the Putty ink for refund, and purchased a WHITE permanent fabric ink by VersaCraft. 

The stamp was created for me by Ashley from her Etsy Shop SayaBellStamps.  The stamp size, the fonts--it is PERFECT.  Great customer service--likes working with her clients.  Wonderful!

Experiment #1
Working with Contrast and Fabric Texture

1.  White VersaCraft ink on the Black Linen Upholstery fabric doesn't make a good stamp transfer. 

The problem is the Black Linen Upholstery fabric has too much texture (too bumpy, not flat enough to make a good imprint).

Stamping the back, (lighter side) (smooth side) of the Linen fabric with WICKED BLACK ink by COLOR BOX works well.

 I use a sewing machine to sew-in upholstery fabric stamped labels to purse or soft luggage linings during construction. 

While a perfectly wonderful label making material--some upholstery fabrics even though they have a nice stabilizer backing on them can have a tiny bit of hairyness, or fraying along their rotary cut edges. 

BUT--this can be eliminated with a finger dampened with Fray-Check around the perimeter.  It takes only seconds to do.  

The Olive Green Upholstery micro suede fabric has a smoother surface than the black linen.  Here, I've stamped with the white ink, and again with the black ink.

One more important thing about these fabric inks . . . they take some time to dry--otherwise the ink will smear.  

Allow several hours drying time.  Clipped the stamped strips to the window curtain in my studio, a safe place for them to dry.

2.  The Stamping Fixture

I asked my husband Jon to build a fixture for stamping.  He selected a 36" board, and screwed two metal yard sticks to the board.  My drawing and instructions asked for a WOOD YARD STICK, cut in half,  glued to a 24" long board.  Ok.  well, so much for the drawing and instructions . . . 

There is an advantage to using the WOOD YARD STICK.  Because it is a thicker material, it provides a deeper channel to hold the 1 inch rotary cut strip of fabric.  And if your fabric strip wants to curl a bit, you can use a dab of stick glue here and there along the length of the channel to keep the fabric in place.  

3.  Another Approach

Since textured fabric has issues, I decided to try some dark blue cotton fabric with the white opaque fabric ink.  Very pleased with the results.  Here's what I did . . .

Cut the blue cotton strip of fabric wider (1-1/2 inches wide), and this time I didn't use the stamping board fixture. 

Lay the 1-1/2" wide fabric strip horizontally on an old cutting mat, and go ahead and dab with some stick glue if you want.  Used the old cutting mat grid, stamping as straight as possible, producing about 10 labels and hung the strip up to dry for half a day--while I worked on a quilt.

Separated the 10 dried labels cutting them using the rotary cutting mat grid.  Then, took the labels to the ironing board and carefully turned the edges under and pressed.  Threaded my needle with matching blue thread and pinned a label to the cell phone carrier, stitching it with tiny applique stitches (about two minutes work--not a problem).  

I like the stamp imprint and the soft cotton fabric and how easy it was to stitch in place.  This is a winner.  

I hope you'll try this.  It is fast and fun.  You deserve something fast, fun, and economical.  

Consider this--every stamped label I save 40 cents.  That is the price I used to pay to have an online supplier make 120 labels for me ($60.00) plus shipping. 

After years of buying printed labels from this same online supplier--most of the time waiting as much as six weeks for my label orders, I sent her many emails begging her to get off her butt and send me my label order, and she would ignore my pleading.  Finally, I decided--THIS STINKS.  I'VE HAD ENOUGH.  I'LL MAKE MY OWN LABELS.