Friday, July 31, 2015

PINK is the word for

My Repainted Pink 'n Black
1950s, Model 902 Penneys Sewing Machine

It started out as a light grayish brown body with dark gray dial plates . . .

Ooops I did it again, crossed the line into madness . . . and forgot to take a BEFORE photo! 

But I did take photos of the tricker machine parts I removed, labeled, bagged and set aside.  Those photo are still on my camera, and I referred to them yesterday as it took me most of the day to re-assemble all the springy things, and dials.  

Let me show you some pictures taken during sanding, taping, and repainting

Jon was frustrated watching me spray paint, so he volunteered to show me "how it really needs to be done"  I admit, he did a great job.  He is sitting in the background of this photo--taking a break to admire his work.

We let the machine sit in the summer kitchen for the week, and then Jon took it outside and sprayed a second coat of pink.  Then I let it set for several days again in the summer kitchen.

I removed the blue masking tape and plastic off of the front end (door) to paint it glossy black and bagged the rest of the machine to protect the pink.  We let the machine dry a couple of days in the summer kitchen.

One more step--I did some light sanding with 800 grit, cleaned it thoroughly, and sprayed two clear coats with all the important mechanics still covered (taped and stuffed with leftover cotton batting pieces). 

Sitting in the summer kitchen

Yep - it was getting exciting, peeling off the tape.

I was so glad I took dis-assembling photos that were still on my camera.  Good reference to put parts back where they needed to be . . . a slower process than taking it apart, for sure.

Fitted with a hand crank

For the moment, I've removed the solid wheel and replaced it with a 9 spoke balance wheel and hand crank.  I just love hand cranks.  When I get a moment I'll get the electric motor housing repainted pink.  Then, if I sell this one--it can be powered by electric or people powered.  

My group of friends--we call ourselves "The Kranky People"--we all own original hand crank machines, and we get together about twice a month to work on restoring other vintage and antique machines.   We learn, we laugh, we snack.  Relaxing and lots of fun.  

I think I have some photos on my camera of the Kranky People working on their machines  I'll find those photos and update this post.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that bling . . .

For sometime now, I've been making hand made polymer clay beads, and pairing them with metal and glass store bought beads, to make strings of bling for purses and eye glass cases.

Here's how I made my own quilted fabric:

I loaded a yard each of the black fabric with lime green peace symbols, and printed cotton backing fabric (turquoise and lime green), and two layers of 100% cotton batting on the long arm quilt frame--just as I do when I'm free style quilting queen size quilts.

Free Style Quilting - Feather Bouquet

Forming the "S" stem, and filling with feathers

Feather Bouquet in Progress

The small zippered purses I made from the quilted fabrics are 8.5 inches wide by 7 inches deep--just the right size for a phone. 

It's so much more fun to zip zip zip with a handful of bling beads.

Shown here are beads I made: shaped like an olive, a square, and a tube.  The metal beads, one glass bead, and one yellow wooden bead adds interest.

Second purse - same quilted fabric, different bead bling.

Detail of glass beads, metal beads, and 2 handmade polymer clay beads in lime green shown at the top.

The eye glass cases are fun to make.  The bling of beads has only one function--decoration.  

Notice there is an enameled snap head just right of center that is an easy closure to keep the eye glass case closed and secure.  

There is a swivel clasp on a fabric loop at the top of the eye glass case--so you can wear it attached to your neckline, or clipped to your jeans belt loop.  It is also, just the right size to carry a cell phone and mad money.  
P.S. - the white string you see in these photos is the price tag (I didn't hide it very well, did I?)


Lower third of the photo above, there is a caramel striped tube bead I made from polymer clay.

It is an easy technique to make tube beads:
1. Condition several colors of clay and stick them together.  
2. Roll into a fat tube shape and twist them several times. 
3. Run the clay through the pasta machine to make a uniform thickness (1/8").  
4. Cut a long rectangle with clay knife; wrap rectangle lengthwise on a metal knitting needle.  
5. Pat with fingers to close the wrap forming a tube around the knitting needle.
6. Bake 265 degrees F for 30 minutes.  
7. Cool for a few minutes.
8. Slide warm polymer clay tube off of the knitting needle.
9. Slice into small tubes sections.  (As if you were cutting a straw into small pieces).

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Midsummer Night's Dream

I can rest on this one . . . a great summer quilt
I was inspired by Jenny Doan's YouTube tutorial on her Irish Chain Quilt.

Simple Irish Chain
getting the layers loaded on the quilt frame

Lots of 2.5" scrappy strips (leftovers) to build this queen size quilt 90 x 102

One great thing about loading a quilt is--it forces me to stop and super-clean the studio floor so I don't draw up crazy lint and threads.

My Feather Bouquet edge to edge free style is relaxing to stitch

I used up the last bits of some of these scrap fabrics.  

Some of those fabrics I'll really miss--like the Robert Kaufman "hidden cove", a watery blue with fish swimming 'round.  Sliced up into little sections, only parts of fish show up here and there.

The nine patch finishes 6".   On a field of crisp white, I'm happy having so much negative space to quilt to show off the feathers, interrupted by 2" chips of color.

A full day's work to long arm quilt, and less than a week to piece. 

When presenting a variety of color, I sure rely on basic color wheel to make quick decisions, but not too obvious, and expectations of a random look.

 No problems quilting this one--I used Glide thread, and 100% cotton batting.

Rolling it off the frame

Swirl sequence of the Feather Bouquet design

Light streaming from the south full glass doors.
Quilt looks great.

I took lots of pictures of the free style quilting.  It is fun.

I flipped up the bottom, so you can see the backing with panel insert.

View of the backing

I finished the quilt just as we lost our precious little dog Rainie.  
I wish it were all a dream.  Jon and I miss her so much.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Falling Triangles Quilt and Goals for 2015

My goal for 2015 is to build 15 queens size quilts, using larger chunks of fabrics (leftovers) from other projects.

Falling Triangles Quilt is my 7th this year as we begin the month of June . . .

 I pieced the Falling Triangles while visiting my mother in May.  My Mom has a wall mounted quilt in her dining room.  I used Mom's wall mounted quilt as a design board--to pin and review finished blocks.

Assembly:  I selected and sewed 4 blocks together--as it was easier for me to keep each triangle rotating in the correct position.  

I took this photograph after completing the first row of long arm quilting, featuring my own free style edge to edge Feather Bouquet design.  

At the left of the photo is the take up roller bar--where you can see the backing fabric of gray and white chevron with turquoise center panel wrapping around the take up roller as I roll and advance the quilt to stitch the second row.

This photo shows all the layers loaded on the quilt frame.  After stitching the first row, I stopped, and pulled the quilt top to the side so you can see the polyester batting.  

To the right of this photos--I did a stitch test sample on the extended margin of the backing.  

The extra margin of backing fabric is great for testing thread tension, gives me a moment to see how the loft of the polyester batting will behave before starting the quilt, and most important the extra fabic margins (left and right) are need to attach side tension clamps.   

On the right--I am doing test stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. 

My Feather Bouquet free style design is stitched right to left.  Begins with a graceful S stem that finishes in a loose spiral, then back track to build feathers.   Two days work to long arm quilt, and a third day to add binding, turn binding, and hand stitch.  

I was inspired to make this quilt after reviewing Jenny Doan's Missouri Star tutorial on the Falling Triangles Quilt.  I hope you will give it a try also.  

Tip:  I use Heavy Duty Spray Starch to prepare fabric for cutting and during assembly--makes every cut, every bias seam behave perfectly and finish accurately.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

No Time for Naps--There Are Quilts to be Made!

I finished this Tangerine flavored queen size quilt.  It was sitting in the studio for a month.  I confess, I made the backing twice because the first backing offered little contrast.  The second backing was much better.  I photographed the quilt on the Stearns and Foster mattress in the north bedroom downstairs.  It is such a comfortable bed--and a great place to take a nap.

Here is a look at the quilting process in my studio.  I used a 8" high x 12" long repeating design I call Feather Bouquet stitched from right to left, repeating the design to finish the row.

There are lots of long arm quilters like me who "float" their quilts.  This means the backing is rolled snug between the take up roller and the belly bar, while the batting and top are draped and smoothed by hand.  Clamps at the right and left margins provide tension during quilting.

Close Up of  Feather Bouquet design.
After stitching "S" spine I back track with feathers on one side of the stem--then back track again adding feathers to the other side of the stem.

I created the Feather Bouquet design on a whiteboard with dry erase markers.  The size of the design sequence 8" high by 12" wide is based on the size of my whiteboard.  I spend hours developing a continuous line sequence, and more hours repeating the design until I develop the muscle memory for great spacing and fluid motion.

My expectations are stitching 3 queen size quilts using the same design sequence.  After that, I'm ready to go on to a new design.

  The hand stitched appliqued flowers and glass beads remind me of the orange and yellow Fritillaria Imperialis we grew at our former house and yard on Elm Valley Road.

Fritillaria, Imperialis blooms in April in our zone 4

I always insert a panel to add interest to the backing fabric.

Repeating fabric from the quilt top onto the backing not only looks good, it adds and overall 10" or more width, providing a minimum of 4" extra backing material at the left and right margins while long arm quilting on the frame.

The extra 4" of backing material at the left and right margins is where I use side tension clamps to keep the backing fabric snug, smooth.

Three quilts are finished now with the Feather Bouquet Design:  1) Scrappy Quilt with Turquoise and Orange Corner Stones, 2) Earth Tones-Framed Nine Patch,  3) Orange Fritillaria Quilt (above).


My next project is the Blues Yo Yo queen size quilt, and features my random long arm quilt designs based on Zentangle.  And, I am inspired by Karlee Porter's new book  "Graffiti Quilting, A Simple Guide to Complex Design."

Blues Yo Yo is another variation of scrappy quilts I love to make.  Identical blocks were built from eight different fabrics.

A simple technique:  Begin with 10.5 squares of  two companion fabrics, right sides together.  Sew 1/4" around the perimeter, press with heavy spray starch. Cut twice diagonally.  Press open half square triangles.  The finished block is framed in white cotton, and decorated with a variety of fabric scraps hand sewn into yo-yo(s) with buttons.

Heavy Spray Starch keeps fraying edges (strings) at bay.  The crisp fabric is easier to cut, sew, and best of all--the spray starch keeps biased cuts from warping out of shape.

On the frame, ready to begin the long arm quilting.

The long arm quilting fun begins!

These next photos are random doodles, using my best continuous line short designs learned from Zentangle examples in books, and valuable live demonstrations on YouTube.

Crossing over lines is inevitable, especially when I consider all the rules, and breaking of rules I make up as I go along.  This is "where" and "how" I learn to graffiti quilt--by just getting in there and doing it.

There are some rules I follow when planning quilts.  In this quilt I want the watery blues and greens to ride along with lots of light/white fabrics.  I did this on purpose so I could use white quilt thread and the result is the quilting design is readily seen in the dark and light fabrics.

Notice how the middle tone fabrics hide the quilt designs?  Yeah, and its tough seeing where the heck I'm stitching in those middle tones.

   Next year I know I'll groan a bit, looking back at my first attempts at random quilt doodle.  But, I'll be glad that I tried something new..  Right now my mission is to discover the good, bad, and ugly, and improve.  I'll be showcasing my favorite doodles on future quilts.  And, the doodles that weren't so great--I'll find a way to improve them.  For the moment I'm feeling excitement.

Hurray for corners on quilts!!!  I always start at the top right corner of the quilting frame doing edge to edge free style work.  Above you can see I started out with a bang.  Maybe too much bang, eh?  As I moved away from the corner I relaxed more--allowing a bit more spacing.  The good news, the corner of the quilt will be draped on a bed, near the floor.  Hurray for corners!!!

As I quilted away from the corner I introduced some McTavishing (curvy worm like echoed lines), and worked out some strategies for small designs to spin around the yo-yo.  I could have played it safe and not added the yo yo (s) until the quilting was done.  But for me, I needed to add those important elements to fulfill my vision of what the quilt would become.

When in doubt of my next move, I added my free style Feather Bouquet design with it's elegant "S" stem and feathers.

Also, I feathered off of the pebbles following the rim of McTavishing echoed lines.  Ooooo, I like.  I'll have to remember this combo.  Glad I took these detail photos for future reference.

Yep, those Feathers/Pebbles/McTavishing are cool.

No time to get frightened over a missed spot--I recovered quickly with a large meander to maintain airy spacing.

I see in these photos--there are orphan threads clinging here and there--where the heck did they come from?

Upper right hand side--a big pointy leaf with many echoes, and outlined with pebbles.  I pray, my pebbles one day will be great.  The skill takes time.  But I'm really pumped about learning how to do them.

Random doodles colliding, good spacing.  I'm happy with the first row of quilting.  Not a bad start.

I have a weird leftover fabric for the binding picked out.  I'll save it for a surprise when I post photos of the finished quilt on the bed.  And, I think you'll enjoy the pieced backing I made for this quilt--so different!