Monday, February 24, 2020

Stay In Your Own Lane - a queen size quilt

I still have lots of 3.5" squares leftover from the White Star quilt.   

Quirky neutrals feature some fish, porcupines, butterflies, daisies, wheels, dots n dashes, stripes, feathers, assorted other florals, stars, checks and one that looks like black and yellow corn cob pattern).    

I combined those 3.5" squares with 5.5" and 7.5" squares and 4 similar white print fabrics for sashing.  The result is a low volume quilt.  I call my version of this multi-square quilt, Stay In Your Own Lane.

Row one:  3" sashing with 3.5" squares (17 squares).  Repeated 5 rows.  First Section.

I assembled first section, and added first row of the 5.5" squares.  Draping it over the bars of the long arm machine is a good way to check distribution of prints and  barely there contrast of colors.  

The studio lights come on in the late afternoon, hence the photos become a little yellowed.  The prior photo presents the real white background.  I added this photo, because I added a 5th row of small 3.5" squares at the top, and a 5th row of medium 5.5" squares to the bottom (fleshing out the quilt to achieve a queen size).  

Finished the long arm quilting  (free style feathers and swirls), and rolling it off the frame to photograph.  

DH Jon picked out the backing fabric (very light tan check).  I added an art panel to the backing to make the backing 100" wide to successfully clamp left and right margins to the frame.

A traffic jam of small 3.5", 5.5" squares, and 7.5" squares--all left over squares from the Seeing Red Quilt and White Star Quilt.  And get this, I still have more of these squares to sew into my next quilt.  In my brain I see 4-patch units and perhaps a light gray or blue sashing.  What do you think?  

Please notice the bottom of the quilt, where I put a row of flying geese units, top and bottom of the quilt to extend its length.  If the squares represent small medium and large vehicles, perhaps the flying geese triangles represent turn signals--commanding each vehicle to "Stay In Your Own Lane".  Ha. Ha.  What silliness, just to remember each quilt by giving them a fun name!

After trimming away the batting margins, I sewed 400+ inches of  2.5" wide folded strips for the binding installed around the perimeter.  Then about 5 hours to turn and hand stitch the binding to finish.

I shall sew on my 1992 Kenmore forever.  I keep her clean inside, and well oiled.  The bobbin race (black thingy) wore out and was replaced once.  I do have other vintage and antique machines to piece quilts.  My favorite piecing machines are: 1939 Featherweight, 1954 Singer 301, 1951 Singer 201, and this 1992 Sears Kenmore I bought new.  

The 301 is the fastest "sewing" machine I have, but it has a little bobbin like the Featherweight.  Both of those machines are light weight aluminum--the 301 about 15 lbs., and the tiny Featherweight 11.25 lbs.  The 301 is not the sister of the Featherweight as some incorrectly call it.  The 301 is the first slant needle machine Singer offered.  

I have a friend who finely cleaned, adjusted, and oiled his 301s to sew 1300 stitches per minute.  I don't know how fast my 301 runs, all I can say is--it sews like warm butter on glass.  

Update on my Sewing Machine Collection:  I had 80 sewing machines in January 2019 and by the end of the year I thinned the herd down to 50.  

The finished quilt is 94 x 102"  Thanks for looking at my work.

My first show of 2020 is a Saturday/Sunday May 23-24 Memorial Weekend at the Rising Star Mill Arts Show and Craft Sale in Nelsonville, WI.  I will be there selling my queen size quilts, quilted 54" long body pillows, padded fancy wool and denim beaded purses, farmhouse over-sized potholders, clip-on padded cell phone carriers, sachet hearts filled with lavender buds, and more.  

At the show I'll be demonstrating hand crank sewing machines.  I have several Singer 12 hand cranks for sale, c.1884-1887, as well as a Singer 12K Ottoman hand crank dated 1898.  And,  if you are interested in acquiring one or more Singer Featherweights--please let me know.  I'll bring a couple along.  See you in Nelsonville, WI at the Rising Star Mill Arts Show an Craft Sale, Memorial Weekend, May 23-24.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A Whole Bunch of Quilts -- Made This Winter (photos)

Black and Winter White Quilt - November 2019

It is challenging to free style stitch on a busy print  (light) background.  Tough to see where I was stitching.  Muscle memory gives me the confidence to stitch feathers on a serpentine line and make them consistently uniform (shape, size, spacing).  

You see, its like driving a car in the fog--as I guide the machine with my right hand, I am constantly feeling along the serpentine line with my left hand to lay down the feathers.  

Sleep Until Noon Quilt - November 2019

I didn't have a minute to spare, and as soon as the Black and Winter White quilt was hemmed, I started on the Sleep Until Noon Quilt.  Lots of brown, blues, reds.  And I quilted a body pillow cover to go with it.  

Above is the finished quilt and body pillow. 

Then I built the Blueflower Quilt.  The dark border fabric features ghost-like images of dandelion-like flowers and leaves.  I pulled lots of dark blue, gray-blue, light gray, and taupe fabrics for the blocks with accent center squares of reds, golds, orange, etc.

Built this quilt during the first week of January, 2020

long arm quilting, Blueflower quilt

Reverse side of the finished Blueflower quilt

I finished the White Star Quilt January 23.  Lots and lots of seams and it took a long time to build.  A gazillion flying geese assemblies to make the white star and I confess I made way more geese than required for the quilt.  I chose ivory cotton print for the sashing and the backing.  

I became interested in "Low Volume" fabrics after reading several articles.  As an artist I would call it low value to be more accurate.  

So, let's just say--I think they call these neutral fabrics low volume because its like turning down the volume on your TV until you barely hear it.   

It is a light, calm, airy, quiet quilt.

Continuing on with the light, airy quilts , I built another low volume quilt (neutrals) with just enough red . . . not too much red . . . just enough showing until I could appreciate the red without over doing it.  Hence, I named this quilt "Seeing Red".  It is all that, plus it's very scrappy.  A real nice farmhouse queen size quilt.

This quilt grew into an extra wide, extra long (ample queen) with a 17" drop

Red gingham, red mattress ticking cotton print, other red prints.  And some quirky hidden critters in the low volume fabrics; 2 fish fabrics, 2 kitty-cats fabrics, porcupines, and butterflies.  

Lower right of the photo is the kitty-cat faces fabric.  A nice neutral you have to look at more than once to discover they are fun kitty cats.  

I threw into the mix some framed diamond blocks (made from leftover flying geese assemblies from the White Star quilt).  Note:  lower left of the photo is the bug-eyed fish fabric.

My intention on Monday this week (first week of February 2020) was to create a quilt with a range of purple accents on a gray and white field.  I build the first block and didn't like it at all.  Oh well, that happens.  I will end up making a table runner out of it by adding a couple more blocks, then long arm quilt it.

So the rest of Monday I was cleaning, and sorting fabrics in the studio, when low and behold I found a stack of 25 blocks left over from building the Blues Yo Yo quilt 5 years ago.  

I giggled looking at those 25 blocks--remembering I'd sewn yo-yos with buttons in the center of each block.

Let me show you the quilt I'm building with those blocks . . . called "Button Up" quilt.

Now then, 25 blocks doth not make a queen size quilt.  My plan worked out well to alternate with plain fabric blocks (like I did on the Seeing Red farmhouse quilt).  

Started assembling the "Button Up" quilt Tuesday.  Wednesday I had 3 rows assembled--half of the quilt. 

When I left the studio late afternoon Wednesday the last half of the quilt was nearly complete.  Three more rows pinned, fan-folded, and ready to take to the sewing machine.  

Thursday (tomorrow) I'll sew the backing with an art panel.  Then add compound borders around the perimeter to flesh it out to the requisite size of 92" x 104.  

I hope to have the quilt loaded on the frame Friday for the long arm quilting, then prep and install binding and hemming on Saturday.  

I don't want to forget to show you the quilt I built 5 years ago with the same button yo-yo blocks.  I called that quilt "Blues Yo-Yo"quilt.  Same blocks, but looks much different with white and turquoise/blue sashing.  For some reason I only have 3 photos of the Blues Yo-Yo quilt.

When I built the Blues Yo Yo quilt in 2015, I was reading Kaylee Porter's Graffiti Quilting Booking, and watching her YouTube videos. 


Sunday, I'd like to start "Stay In Your Own Lane" quilt.  I have two versions of it in my mind.  But, the first quilt will have to be scrappy to incorporate lots leftovers from the last three quilts.  The other version will be low volume prints, and modern.  I'm rolling my eyes, talking to myself, "can pull off a modern quilt?"  We will see, we will see.

Last, I want to say February and March I will continue to build queen size quilts.  In April I will make purses, table runners, potholders, cell phone carriers, and padded fabric covered writing journals.  Getting ready for my first show Memorial weekend:

Rising Star Mill Art Show
Nelsonville, WI
Sat/Sun May 23-24, 2020
Lots of artists selling their items, good food, live music.  A great show.

Besides selling my things at the Rising Star Mill Art Show, I'll be demonstrating sewing on antique hand crank sewing machines. Come visit and sit with me.  Try you hand at hand crank sewing.  It's a hoot.  


June 13, 2020  DH Jon and I are hosting the Victorian Sweatshop Forum Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio Sewing Machine Extravaganza at my Victorian home in Scandinavia, Wisconsin.  This is a sewing machine clinic where you can have your vintage or antique sewing machines cleaned, oiled, and fussed over by expert restorers at no charge.  Anyone can attend.  

We meet once a year for a cookout and fun.  And, if you are interested in buying a fully restored machine with history, this event is for you.  In the afternoon, we will have sewing machine races in 3 categories: hand crank, treadle, and electric.  Prizes!  Popcorn is served during the races! And great snacks all day long.  Mark you calendar.  See you there, or be square.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Join Us!

The Wrolstad-Quien House
Victorian House Tour and Christmas Craft Show
Sat/Sun Dec 7 & 8 - 10a until 5p
255 Mill St. - Scandinavia, WI  54977

In the 1850s Norwegian immigrants received land parcels from the U.S. government.  They  cleared the land and settled  in the a community they named Scandinavia, Wisconsin located on the South Branch of the Little Wolf River.  They became farmers, loggers, and tradesmen.

April 28, 1854 a group of Norwegian settlers gathered for a meeting in the cabin of Hans Jacob Eliason to discuss what to name their village.  One man suggested Danger, using the name of the Eidanger Parish in Norway where many of the settlers came from.  Much to their surprise  a Swedish attorney present  Mr. Dreutzer informed the group 'Danger" in English means Dangerous Town.  Before the evening was over, the group agreed to name their village Scandinavia. 


Saturday and Sunday, Dec 7 & 8, you can tour my home--the John Wrolstad Victorian house at 255 Mill St., in Scandinavia from 10a until 5p.  The home was built in 1893 by Norwegian immigrant John Olson Wrolstad, on land originally acquired by Norwegian immigrant Peter Christiansen Gurholt in 1854. 

Original homeowner Wrolstad served in the U.S. Civil War and owned a successful logging business and flour mill.  Second owners were Thomas and Maren Quien family who owned the house for 90 years.   Currently the house is owned by Jon and Linda Durrant who restored the house over 8 eight years.

During the tour, you can review  the house's Queen Anne architecture--wrap around front porch, turned columns, bay windows, cutaways, and corbels.  The house has faux bois woodwork--considered lavish at that time, having artisans paint woodwork to look like quarter sawn oak, walnut, and mahogany.  

Windows and door frames are decorated with Eastlake spoon carved flower blocks, fluted rails and stiles.  You'll see original pocket doors, fancy wood spandrels, etched glass doors with herons, and a stairway stained glass window filtering colorful lights on the foyer floor.  

Jon and I invite you to join us Dec 7 & 8 to celebrate our Victorian house's 126th birthday, with refreshments, and a Christmas Craft Show on site, featuring handmade items for sale.

Quilts, purses, loomed rugs, chocolates, vintage and antique sewing machines, jewelry, Christmas decorations, fresh bakery fancy aprons, teas, infused oils, jams, jellies, salsas, pickles and much more.  Plenty of Parking.  A $2 per person admission at the door goes directly to the Humane Society of Waupaca County.

While visiting Scandinavia, Wisconsin--our local businesses welcome you for lunch and more Christmas shopping on Main Street: Sliced (pizza), ScandiHus, Trout Bum Bakery, Country Chic Boutqiue, and Adeline's Antiques.  

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Windfall, queen size quilt

Windfall quilt, 92 x 104

Cut 100, squares of dark gray background fabric, (10" squares).  

Cut 200+ colorful 4" squares for the corners.  

Place 4" squares, one at each corner, draw one diagonal line from corner to the opposite corner (like cutting a grilled cheese sandwich).  Stitch on this center line.

I drew a second line, a distance of  1/4".  Stitch on the line.  The second line is optional, and when stitched and cut away, it makes half square triangles for another project.  I'll explain this option later.

When I stitch quilt pieces I reduce the stitch length to 1.8  (stronger seam).  

Cut between lines to separate.  Next step is pressing.

The half square triangles are the corner discards from the quilt blocks.  I'll use the half square triangles on another project (probably to decorate purses I make).

I prefer to use spray starch to press seams.  Not all fabrics are created equal.  Some fabrics are nice and firm, where as other fabrics are limp like noodles.  Give those noodles some starch and you'll be happy when it comes to sewing/assembling rows.  Crisp fabric = accuracy.

Above photo: I pay attention to the first 3 or 4 rows, making sure to select colorful corners are random and not duplicated.  

What I'm showing you in this photo is: using the belly bar on my long arm quilting frame to pin and display 4 completed rows.  Once I am happy with the variety of colors, I repeat same color selections for rows 5,6,7,8,9,10.  

Once the quilt top is pieced, I select the main fabric (ivory with black print) for the quilt back, and add art panels.  

The art panels add width to the backing, to reach a width of 100".  And, they are a personal signature I offer on all my queen size quilts.  

I used a taupe thread that blends nicely with the backing and the pieced top.  It is important not to match thread perfectly.  I chose taupe so I can see where I am free style long arm quilting.  The pattern is guided by me, (not by computer).  It is my design I call Floral Feather with a Swirl.

Top, left to right is the take up bar, and you can see the quilt backing with art panels as I roll the quilt forward to finish quilting.

After the long arm quilting is finished, I cut it loose from the frame, and take it to my layout table to trim away the excess batting and backing fabric.  

I cut 400+ inches of  2.5" wide fabric strips to make the binding for the quilt.  Folding and pressing the binding lengthwise, and sewing the binding around the perimeter of the quilt.  It takes me about one hour to prep the binding, and 20 minutes to sewing it around the perimeter.  

Tip:  I sew the binding on slowly, advancing only 4 inches at a time.  

Because the quilt is one great big bulky thing 92" x 104", every 4 inches of sewing I stop, adjust fabric, to make sure it is sewn straight.  My goal is to be accurate.  After all this work, I'm not in a hurry to mess up.

Sew 4 inches, adjust fabric.  Sew 4 inches, adjust fabric . . . 

I worked on this quilt 16 hours yesterday (from long arm quilting, to squaring, to adding binding took 12 hours.  The remaining 4 hours (evening) I sat with the quilt on my lap and legs, feet up on a foot rest, turning and hand stitching the binding on the back of the quilt.  

I back stitch every stitch, and every sixth stitch I tie a knot.  Six stitches = 1-1/4" travel.  It is my guarantee the binding will never come loose for any reason, except having it chewed off by your dog.   

Oh dear, don't laugh too hard.  My little Buddy punished the center of three quilts, and he is death on quilt bindings. 

Buddy on the left.  And his friend Sammy, right.

Just a note:

I am hosting

Christmas Craft Sale
at my Victorian home
Sat and Sun -  December 7 and 8 - 10a until 5p

Handcrafted Items for sale:  Quilts and Decorated Wool Purses by me-Linda, Chocolate Candies, and Loomed Rugs by Jerry, Jams, Jellies, Salsas by Debbie,  Silver and Gemstone Jewelry by Patti, Christmas Ornaments and Bakery by Lorene, Aprons and other sewn items by Karen.  Lovely Teas, Balsamic Vinager, and Infused Oil by Deversi-tee.

Tour the Victorian
Snacks and Samples
Plenty of Parking