Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Than One Kind of Excitement

Yesterday I brought home a Singer Redeye. Here are a few pictures of what it looked like:

This is what it looks like now--after a few hours with cotton balls, q-tips, olive oil, Barkeepers Friend, and a little Wright's Silver Polish--oh, and with more than a few minutes of my fifty-year old Electrolux, which did a great job of cleaning out a lot of dust, dirt, and cobwebs.
It's also been lubricated with Tri-flow.
I did pick up a new leather belt, and new bobbins, but I forgot to get a new tire for the bobbin winder. Its presser feet fasten in the back and all mine (except the one that came with the machine) are side fastening. I'll have to see how reasonable it is to change the way they attach--don't know if it can be done, but it would be nice to be able to use the ones that fit my other machine.
The irons could use a little more attention from the Electrolux, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.
I can't wait to start treadling--I hope I can install the belt without any trouble. Just turning the handwheel, I can tell that it is already running pretty smoothly.

The other excitement in our little town included plenty of morning sirens and helicopters. The funeral of a former governor was held at the local high school. Alex's p.e. classes were cancelled the last couple of days due to the presence of the Secret Service securing the high school gym for the funeral--one former President was expected to attend. We didn't attend. By the time my brain started to process the fact that the sirens and helicopters were connected to the funeral, I was fighting off a panic attack--and glad to leave town to take Alex to her weekend retreat. By the time I returned this afternoon I was much calmer and all the excitement of the funeral guests was long past. (Not fun the way PTSD can burst onto the scene--I can't remember any siren and helicopter event in my past--but then I don't want to.) By evening I was so busy working on the new old sewing machine that I forgot to watch the news and see if a former President had actually visited.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Singer 66

This is the Singer 66 I'm interested in. I know it needs a belt, but I'm wondering if it's missing its Pitman rod too? Left clicking on a picture will open it in a larger size. (Or, right click and open it in a new tab or window.)

I need something I can use for free motion quilting when we lose electric power--something that can happen frequently because we live in a rural area.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

More Victory Quilts

A couple more Victory Quilts.
These were pieced by Judy, quilted by me.
Not the best pictures--but with any luck Davra was able to get better ones. The first is her Nature's Window log cabin.
Below is a bit of quilting detail. (I used a pale green Fil Tec thread.)

Judy's Citrus Logcabin.
And a detail of the Citrus Logcabin. I used a variety of Fil Tec threads for this one.
For the blue sashing I used a variegated blue so the feathers would show up at least part of the time.

I did do more quilting this weekend, but don't have pictures yet.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Some of the Latest Quilts

I've been planning to post about each of the latest quilts, but I just haven't managed to get it done. Therefore, this post features a photo of each of the quilts. Later, if I can manage the time, I'll post details of each one.

Below is Ms. Judy's Card Tricks. She was disappointed that she had given one of the blocks a quarter turn and not realized it until the borders were on. I think that gives the quilt character.
(As always, you can bring up a larger photo to see quilting in more detail by right-clicking on the photo and opening it in a new tab.)

Ruth pieced this "Plains via the Southwest" and I quilted it.
Ms. Mary gave me the locomotive fabric. I pulled the blue from my "ancient stash", and paired it with clockfaces, a brown/white dot, and a bit of red.
Ms. Judy designed this quilt in EQ6, pieced it, and let me quilt it.
Ms. Judy also pieced this 30's looking quilt. She used mostly Mama's Cottons from Connecting Threads and added similar fabrics to fill it in.
This is one of the most impressive quilts Ms. Judy has pieced. It was a lot of fun to quilt, probably because it challenged me because it is so different from anything I have ever pieced. (I love quilts in this technique, but I'm too impatient to collect the fabrics.) In any case, Judy has a fabulous artist's eye, so this is a scrumptious quilt.
One of the last of the John Deere quilts.
....And probably the final John Deere quilt. The John Deere logo is scattered on the blue bandana print--so the observer has to look closely to see it. The back of this quilt is a hog fabric..such fun!
This is a violet/yellow complementary colors quilt that I started back in the '80's. I'd planned to use it when as a demonstration item in a color course I taught for Chandler's Fabrics back in the 80's before I went back to teaching special education. I loved this block; it's a replica of a block made in the Tennessee/Georgia/Alabama area that one of my students brought to class. I loved this block because apparently the original quilt maker combined a basket from a 5-patch grid with half of a LeMoyne star; that makes the basket jut out just a little from the diamonds. All these blocks were drafted from templates, each fabric piece traced by hand, and then pieced by hand (something I may never do again since there are so many more quilts I want to make). Since it will go to a Victory Quilt recipient, I'd love that person to be one who has some knowledge of what all that handwork entails. (Of course, once the quilt is dedicated, I'll find out only after the fact who the recipient is.)
And the final's one Ruth pieced and I quilted for Ms. Barbara, who is one of the supporters of our quilt ministry.

I also made quilt for my newest niece, Serenity. It has busy bunnies all over it and reminds me of some of my favorite children's books from my childhood. Alas, I forgot to take photos. Hopefully, Serenity's mama will take some and send them to me.

Now I need to get back to quilting a Victory Quilt for Ike--cowboy boots, cowboys, and broncos; then I have several more quilts on which to finish bindings.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm Still Here

I'm still around. I have *not* disappeared into the vast wilds of New Mexico. I just counted at least eleven quilts I have quilted in the last two months and have not posted about--although that certainly helps explain why I haven't managed to post.
The one above is the finally-completed first version of Mrs. Lebo's Kitchen. It's name was chosen because it reminds me of the kitchen of my first grade teacher, Mrs. Esther Lebo, when I visited to play with her daughter Sarah.

Alexandra claimed the other version--has even slept under it several nights.

Unfortunately, she never had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Lebo--and I'm not at all sure of the whereabouts of Sarah Lebo--although I'd love to reconnect with her.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Memoriam

George Frederick Scheer
born January 24, 1922
rural Gridley, Illinois, 3/4 mi. N of Enright,
son of Emerson Louis Scheer &
Dolly (Dora Maude) Shreve Scheer
d. October 15, 2009
Pasadena, Texas
factory worker-Peoria, Illinois
farmer, Gridley, Illinois
World War II Veteran, German POW
bombadier and rear gunner, US Army-Air Corps
US Air Force - Reserves
married to Dorothy Ardel Seastrom Scheer (deceased)
father to Dora, Julie (Roberts) & George
married to Maria Elena Pons(deceased)
father to Frederick, Thomas, & Katherine (Scheer-Perry)
12 grandchildren
with his newest grandchild, Serenity

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Marguerite's Butterflies and Thread Candy

The evening of my school's open house, I was able to get together with Marguerite and give her the quilt I had made for her retirement. I so miss her; she was my main support at school over the past five years.
Below is a photo of the back of the quilt.
And here are a couple of detail shots.

I quilted the borders with holographic thread, but that seldom shows up in photographs.

And here's the "candy", variegated threads from Thread Art in Cypress, TX. They were very speedy with delivery. I've already begun using several on a rose-colored Card Tricks Quilt that Judy R. pieced for Victory Quilts.
I also ordered more threads from Fil-Tec; but they are on the East Coast, and the order was sent to me via UPS, so it's caught somewhere in the delay created by Labor Day. The Fil-Tec thread is not variegated--although I would sooooo love it if they made their Glide thread in variegated colors! Nevertheless, I'm eager to receive that thread too; I ordered Glide thread for quilting and some much finer thread for piecing.

Busy, Busy, Busy Month!

Before I had to return to school on August 10, I was determined to get a slipcover made for this $6 apricot colored velvet chair that has been languishing for several years.

Got it made with the $5 per yard Laura Ashley fabric that I purchased years ago when we still had a Laura Ashley store and that I've had even longer than the chair--and which has gone into several other slipcover projects. Here's the back detail.
And the finished chair!
The day before I headed back to school, we had another quilt dedication for the Victory Quilts. The same Sunday, Alexandra and her friend Kaeli played for the anthem in the traditional service. I did not get pictures of all the quilts--I'm not sure why--probably because I had to play and sing in the contemporary service and ran out of time for pictures.
The other fun thing Alex did that day was get a much belated birthday critter. She had wanted one on her birthday, but the bakery was out of them. She took quite a few pictures of her critter--but I'm posting only one.
I've been so busy with school that school is about the only thing that has happened. The open house at my school was last week, and the open house at Alex's school was this week. I'm glad she is able to attend our local high school--it's much bigger and has more opportunities than the one I attended, although the band is smaller. However, as we walked through the halls, we saw the local class from the year I graduated--it had 23 students, less than half what my graduating class had. Now my high school is now much smaller than this one. That seems to be because there was no more available farm land where I grew up. In the intervening years, much of the land that was once ranches and wide open spaces here has been covered with housing developments.

I'm so grateful that Monday is Labor Day and that the only driving I'll have to do will be to nearby places!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nw OSM - Part 2

Okay, I've had quite a few e-mails from people with information about my new old-sewing-machine. I phoned my friend, and she will look for the power cord for me. Therefore, I will use this lovely Singer 15-91, which is gear driven rather than belt driven, to do some free-motion machine quilting--as soon as I have a chance to pick up the cord and to go purchase some more Tri-Flow and do some minor servicing.
I'll keep looking for a Singer 15-90 or a Japanese clone that I can convert to a treadle. Or maybe I'll get lucky and someone with a rotary Singer treadle will offer me a machine. (The reason I think I need a rotary bobbin is that those bobbins hold a lot more thread than the spindle type; free motion quilting, especially the fancy feathers I love quilting, takes a lot of thread!) However, since I've spent a good six months trying to find one, I suspect I will have to keep looking for a machine I can convert.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New OSM (Old Sewing Machine)

This is the Old Sewing Machine that came home with me today. Actually, it's not all that old--1951. One of my friends purchased it ten years later in Palo Alto, CA (she was a student at Stanford) to make her wedding dress.

It has a striated face plate with the tension control on the rear.
It has the electrical posts for the same kind of plug and footcontrol as my Featherweight, but the power cord that goes to the outlet is missing, so I'm not sure what it looks like.

It has a cord going from the motor down through the plate on the right to the foot control.

The cord to the foot control is worn through where it enters the button-type foot control, so I don't feel I can plug it in, and I'm not sure if just binding it with electrical tape would make it safe enough. (At the moment, it's a moot point since I do not have the cord that goes from the machine to the electrical outlet.)

Here's a view from the top of the machine that shows the motor and where it's screwed onto the machine.

There is no belt. My friends said the gears were directly driven by the motor. I do not know how this affects the fact that I'd like to convert it to a treadle.

Anyway, there is a lot more I'd like to learn about this machine, and I welcome comments.

Thread, Needles, and Batts for Quilting

I've been asked about needles and thread for machine quilting.
First, most often I quilt on the Viking/Huskvarna model 6430 home sewing machine I purchased after graduating from college. Occasionally I quilt on the model 6020 I purchased a couple of years ago from a lovely lady who was moving with her husband into assisted living.
For quilting, I love shiny threads; I think they make feathers and other decorative yet functional quilting just glow. One of my favorites is Fil-Tec Glide thread. These threads really do glide through the needles, and they come on 5000 meter spools. When using this thread, I sometimes use the same thread in the bobbin or, if the backing I've made for the quilt is fairly busy, I use Superior Threads Bottom Line, which I also use on the top when outlining the print of pictorial or toile fabrics. Unfortunately, the person from whom I purchase most of my threads has found the demand for Fil-Tec threads to be so low that she's discontinued them so she can use the space for items that are in greater demand.

The needles: Schmetz size 90 topstitch or jeans needles. Sometimes when I use Warm'n'Natural batting for Victory Quilts, I need to switch to size 100 needles. I understand that long-arm quilting machines use much larger needles. In fact, it was Betty Standiferd who is the longarm quilter for Southwest Decoratives -- -- who first showed me the needles the longarms use who convinced me to use jeans needles.

My favorite quilt batts are Quilter's Dream Request and Mountain Mist Rose. We use Warm'n'Natural for Victory Quilts because we are able to order it on rolls and cut pieces as we need them; however, the batting is heavier and the finished quilts stiffer than with my favorite batts. We haven't been able to find the Dream or Rose batts on large rolls.
For my friend's Tuscany quilt I used a 50% bamboo/50% cotton batt. I'll be interested in hearing how it holds up, since it was quite expensive.

And, yes, I just love quilting feathers--to such an extent that some of my quilts should have been named "Tickled to Death"!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another Amazing Rain Shower

Alexandra managed to catch another amazing rainshower this week. Yes, the foreground is blurred because we were in the car--and I didn't stop because we were late for an appointment.
I love these sights!
Alexandra is now registered for high school and ready to start Band Camp Monday morning.
I'm not ready for her to be in high school, but I suspect I will always feel the years pass toooooo

Dresden Plates

This is the Dresden Plate quilt Judy R made for our church's Victory Quilts Ministry. She does beautiful work, and her artist's eye is always evident--as is the fact that she has been piecing for several years now.
She said she just wasn't sure how to quilt all those open spaces, so I begged her to let me be the quilter. I quilted with shiny gold Fil-Tec thread and a lovely bluish-green thread I've had for years, and as usual all the quilting was done freehand with nothing marked on the quilt top so I could have total freedom. The ribbons quilted on the plate sections are just barely visible--but it's easy to right-click on any photo, open it in a new tab or window, and see a larger closeup view.

If the binding gets finished, this quilt will be dedicated at our next quilt dedication Sunday, August 9 at our traditional and contemporary services.
I'm hoping I'll be able to have one or two quilts ready by then, although I have a tremendous number of things to accomplish before my school year begins August 10.
The good news about my school year is that I'll be teaching students with severe and profound disabilities as well as one section of reading to kids with far less severe disabilities. As is true every year, it's impossible to predict what the year will be like or what I'll actually be able to do to help many of my students--which could be a great challenge given the change in the way we must submit lesson plans. I'll adjust. One of the things I like about special education almost as much as I like the kids is the fact that every year is new and different.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Double Rain Showers

I wanted to join this at the end of the last post, but it didn't work.'s a new post. This is a sight I have never before seen. One of the wonderful things about living in the Southwest is that sometimes one can see a storm cloud just drop its rain. However, I've only caught a couple of pictures of such sights in all the years I've lived out here. Yesterday, on the way home from church, we saw these two storm clouds dropping their rain at the same time--and, I caught it with the camera. What a lucky day!
By the time we reached home, the two clouds had joined into one, so I'm very, very glad the camera was in my bag!
I love monsoon season--except when we lose electrical power!

As always, for a larger view, you can right click on the photo and open it in a larger format in a new tab or new window.

More Summer Song

Here's a picture of Ms. Bobbie's Summer Song on the patio of her lovely garden. (See those lovely pavers? Over 20 years ago she hauled them in, cut and arranged them--something it had never occurred to me that I could do myself!)

This is a view of about 1/4 of the quilt. At one point I wished I had had more of the brown floral and that I had used it to set all four strips of whirligigs. I just love the huge stripe Robin designed for this fabric line. Although I used only three due to limitations in the amount of fabric I had available, there are four stripes across the width of the goods. (I also wished I had bought two yards instead of just a yard and a half. If I'd had more, I'd have run the stripes vertically instead of horizontally.)
This view shows the wonderful backing I found for this quilt--picks up all the colors but reflects a slightly different time period.

And here's one final view of the quilting on the red border--so much fun to do!
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