Monday, February 29, 2016

Two for Eleanor

First up is this awesome "I Spy" quilt made by Eleanor.   Once again I am taken by Eleanor's artistic flair and love her placement of the fabrics focusing the lights in the center and the dark around the perimeter.

There are over 300 unique fabrics in this quilt.  Eleanor's daughter Dawn could pick out who in the family they represented.

  I had a lot of fun discovering all the fun fabrics in this quilt. Where does one find hog riding hog fabric?? 

One thing Eleanor did that I thought was really smart was to add a rectangle every once in a while when the fabric called for it.  This student below is one example.

Dawn chose the Breathe of the Gods panto on her mom's behalf and I think it just adds a nice finish without taking away from all the special fabrics.  My go to blending thread when faced with black, white and everything in between was So Fine #469 - Lewis and Clark.

This is Eleanor's scrap quilt.I assumed this quilt would get an all over design or a pantograh, but  Dawn once again worked with me to come up with a quilting plan that was a little more out of my box.  We decided on an organic wreath with ginkgo leaves, berries over a group of 4 of the scrap blocks.   Credit for this kind of quilting technique goes to Bethanne Nemesh of White Arbour Quilting and her book "If you Can Feather You Can Freehand".

The quilting is much easier to see on the back of the quilt.  It was a lot of fun to quilt, and the back is very pretty.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dorothy's Leaf Row Quilt

This is Dorothy's Leaf Row quilt.  Dorothy was one of the leaders of this project for the Nimble Thimbles guild.  I think her quilt turned out fabulously and makes me want to get mine finished!

Dorothy used some lovely batiks, but isn't a batik snob like I am, and can easily mix prints, orientals and whatever else catches her eye. It is always fun to work on Dorthy's quilts and discover all the cool fabrics they contain.

I was a little bit surprised when Dorothy asked for a panto on her quilt, as normally I do more elaborate quilting for her, (and she did some hand applique) but a simple panto was all this quilt needed.   The busy border and sashing fabric would have hid most of the quilting and the Breath of the Gods panto gives the feeling of wind swirling the leaves around in the fall.

The Stonehenge wide backing fabric was the perfect compliment too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gail's Leaf Row Quilt

This is Gail's version of the Leaf Row Quilt.  You can read more about the guild project and see another quilt in this post.  I currently have five of these beauties in my possession (plus my pile of unfinished blocks!) and they are all very different.  Gail chose the most unique color palette and I think it is very striking.

Discussion came up at one of our recent meetings about whether or not I would put a panto on a quilt like this.  There are some appliqued blocks.  Some are done by hand and some by machine, and I usually don't choose to panto over hand applique.   In this case I thought Gail's quilt was the perfect candidate for a pantograph as the printed border and sashing fabrics would not show off custom quilting, and the extra cost would not be worth it. There is always more than one way to approach quilting a quilt.  Sometimes budget dictates the choice, in this case it was the fabric.

Gail chose the Raindrops panto and the even texture is very pleasing.  I used a stone colored thread and in blended in very nicely, only really showing up on the medium grey you see below.

A lot of work has gone into getting this quilt top together, and I am happy to be able to assist getting it to the finish line.  Gail recently moved in to a new house and she is putting this quilt on her bed. Quilters give so many things away, that it is nice to hear they do keep one for themselves every now and again!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Puzzling Pieces

This quilt was brought to me by my friend Dawn, but was actually made by her mother Eleanor. 
Dawn snagged a few of her mom's unquilted tops when she was home in Michigan and brought them to me.  Besides being a quilter, Eleanor is also an artist and her talents shine through in the color composition of this quilt.  As quilters we often try to spread out the reds, and blues and oranges evenly throughout the body of a quilt, and heaven forbid they touch!  Eleanor's take is exactly the opposite and I think it is stunning!  I believe the pattern is called Puzzling Pieces and you can find it at 

Dawn and I picked the quilting plan together. I was doodling ideas and Dawn knew exactly what she liked.  My version of "3's and e's" that had points, and large pebbles in the black.  Dawn also knew she wanted a bold variegated thread - Fantastico #5114 called "Playhouse".

I knew that I wanted to try to get some outdoor photos and there really isn't any undisturbed snow in my yard as my friendly neighborhood rabbit has been enjoying the mild weather!

I did manage to get a few shots that highlight the texture and the colors.

But the wind made it a bit of a challenge.  The quilt rolled into a ball more than once!

Here is a little bit of the texture on the back.

This was a lot of fun to work on.  Thanks Dawn and Eleanor!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fancy Fox

This is Reneta's version of Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Fox quilt.  This was a bit of a stash busting project for Reneta.  I believe she only purchased the background and the black.  The beautiful variety of rusts, oranges and browns were fabrics that she collected over the years.

There are many versions of this quilt out there, and the vast majority have been quilted with a wood grain texture like the original.  Reneta loved that look and it was her request of me.  My version of wood grain still has quite a few knots, but more open grain that others.

Reneta made a couple of extra blocks and made this cute pillow front.

A brown Stonehenge backing really complimented the whole thing really well.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

My New Toy!


This is the new toy that arrived this week - a Singer Featherweight 221-1.  Isn't it cute?  I have to thank my hubby Nolan and brother-in-law Anton for making my dream a reality.  I have been looking for Featherweights on Kijiji and at local auction listings ever since I saw one in person.  I have been 3rd or 4th in line many times.  A couple of weeks ago Nolan spotted the listing for this one in Calgary.  The item had only been posted for 5 minutes, so I knew if I acted quickly I might have a chance.  The machine is not in pristine condition, but there seller was very upfront about the chip in the paint, and was asking a very fair price.  She even posted a video on You Tube of the machine being used, so I was very confident that is was in good working order.  My brother-in-law agreed to be the middle man, and purchased it (got a lesson in the process) and shipped it out to me.

I wanted a Featherweight to take with me to guild sewing days as I was getting tired of lugging my Janome 6600 around.  About 12 lbs as opposed to 30+ lbs is a huge difference! 

The case is in pretty good shape for something that was made in 1952!  My featherweight was born August 11, 1952 in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  63 years old. And the original key too.

The only thing that doesn't seem to be here from what would have been originally sold with the machine is the screw driver, which really is the easiest thing to replace.

The original manual is in amazing shape.

These are all the feet that were included.  The first 6 are original items, and the last three are add ons.  I don't expect to use most of these items much, but the engineering that went into them is interesting.

The one thing that I wasn't quite prepared for was the strong old smell that hit me in the face when I opened up the case.  No evidence of mold or mildew, but old oil and dust closed up for an extended period of time was not pleasant.  I did some quick research on line and found that soap and water are bad, but Kerosene and Carnuba wax are exactly what the doctor ordered!

We found some online tutorials with great information, so last night we took everything apart, tossed the old oil soaked drip pad, scrubbed and polished and it is much more pleasant to be around.  Luckily the original tube of motor lubricant was present, as it is still deemed to be usable and recommended.  A vintage machine also has many, many more oiling points that any other machine I have ever owned.

That is some chunky, gunky lubricant in the upper gears.

Today I figured out how to wind some bobbins with some modern thread and decided to try doing some real sewing.  Since I don't yet have a 1/4 foot, I attached the handy seam guide and it worked really well.

I am really impressed with the quality of the stitches, and had no trouble getting the tension adjusted with my thinner So Fine! piecing thread.

When I packed up the machine I included a bar of Irish Spring Soap in the bracket that was originally intended for an oil can. It should help freshen the case and is said to ward off bacteria.  Can't hurt right?

All ready for my next sewing day!

This is what I finished today.  I slightly adapted version of our Highway 10 Designs Detour runner.  I added two more dark chevrons to make it longer, and a small border to increase the width just a little.   Hopefully I can get it quilted soon!