Sunday, July 17, 2016

Quilt Backing Talk

A few weeks ago there was a discussion on the hearts2hands group about how different quilters with mid/long arms attach their quilt backing to their frames.  There seemed to be a lot of
  • pinning one side to the leaders on the take up bar, 
  • rolling the backing onto the take up bar, 
  • pinning the opposite side to the leaders on the backing bar, 
  • rolling the backing onto the backing bar, 
  • then re-pinning the backing to the take up bar so the backing lays flat. 

I'm not that patient.  I pin one side to the take up bar leaders. Roll the backing up until the opposite end just reaches the leaders on the backing bar.  Pin that side to the leaders.  A quick look shows me if the backing is square.  If it's not, then I slide the leaders to the left or right until the backing is square.

Not square:

Squared by sliding the front leaders to the right and the back leaders to the left:

Notice the diagonal seams?  What's that all about?

If your backing is to narrow or short extra fabric naturally must be added.  But if extra fabric is added to one side then there will be bulk where the seam lays on top of itself as the quilt is rolled up on either the take up or backing bar.  Definitely a problem.

Diagonal seams do not stack.  This means no bulk throwing off the even advancement of the quilt onto the bars.

Is there any benefit to quilters who use domestic machines for quilting?  I think so.

Say you have the perfect piece of backing but it's just a bit too narrow or too short.  The problem is solved with a diagonal cut.

Here's a rectangle.  It's either too short or too narrow.

With a diagonal cut like this:

We can make it longer by sliding the two sides:

Or wider by sliding in the opposite direction:

If the backing needs to keep it's length but needs to be wider, then this just might be the answer:

By adding the rectangle between the diagonal cut the backing keeps it's length and is made wider.  If the quilter does not have the same fabric for this step, another fabric could be used.  Adding the second fabric this way does not yell "I ran out of the fabric I needed".  Which is what happens if the quilter just adds the different fabric to one side of the quilt.  Putting the fabric on a diagonal through the centre makes this a design choice.  Not an oops.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Not another machine!

This time it's DH's fault.  Okay, maybe a little bit mine.  I spotted an older machine on kijji and made the mistake of telling DH about it.  In my defence I did tell him we shouldn't buy it.  That we have too sewing machines already.  But he felt sorry for this forgotten gem.

Made in Germany, approximately 1890, this Saxionia Fiddle Base hand crank was shipped to Poland.  The family moved to Canada and the machine was passed down from mother to daughter and then to the daughter's son.  His children and grandchildren have no interest in this piece of their history (they weren't interested in the antique dolls that belonged to their great great grandmother either).  So the sewing machine became ours for $45.

DH has spend a few hours removing the coats of oil, tar, lint, dust, pet fur, etc.  The feed dogs move, the hand crank turns, and the needle goes up and down.  There will be hours more involved in the cleaning and polishing.  But this is the first machine we've found with Mother of Pearl inlay.  And the first Fiddle Base machine I've seen in person.

On to the quilting front:

Many moons ago the hearths2hands group had a virtual retreat.  Anna gave us instructions to make the LBlock.  I kinda got carried away.  Here's the first of many quilts made from the block.  And the practise doodling I did before quilting.  I'm happy with my first attempt at doing this style of all over quilting.  Out of my comfort zone, but fun!

Another LBlock quilt is loaded on the frame and I'll be using the same pattern for the quilting.  Hopefully the quilting will be a lot better!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Oops I did it again

Did I just break a copy right law?  Oh well.  I, or I should say we did it again.  DH knew I wanted a sewing table for my vintage machines.  I've been using a plastic folding table from Costcos that uses up quite a bit of room in my sewing room.  He spotted a small table with a machine on kijji and the seller was only a few blocks from home.  For $35 it was worth a trip over to see it.

The seller thought the table and machine was about 40 years old.  It was her mother's and she had no desire to keep it.  When we brought it home DH checked the serial number on the treadle machine.  It was made in Scotland in approximately 1912!

After a clean up of machine and table, and oiling of both, the machine is singing.  Beautiful stitch and reasonably quiet for a treadle.  And it fits in my sewing island!  Bonus.  When the machine is lowered my other vintage machines can be used on the table.

On the sad news front, we went to Massey Sewing to pick up a spare belt for this machine.  They are closing the shop!  Time to retire.  Very sad as the guys have years of stories and experiences.  They will be missed.

I have a new sewing challenge ahead of me.  A good friend of my DS's called today.  She recently got married.  They decided to do a "trash the wedding dress" party.  Their version was to paint the bridal party's clothes with latex paint.  The couple would love a duvet cover made from the clothing.  Any pattern, but king size please.

I should be getting the clothes next week.  I'm really happy that there is no deadline for finishing.   The bride is bringing a king size flat sheet for me to use to make it easier (and less cost).

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Catching up in the sewing room news

June must have been a busy month.  I forgot to post anything!

Sew...on the quilting front, not only am I caught up on my Add A Boarder A Month project, I've finished July's as well.  Confession time.  I was behind on this project and needed to add May and June's borders.  I figured since I had the fabric and the project out I may as well do July's as well.  So I'm good until August.  And August will be a plain border.

I'm happy with how this is turning out.  But coming up with borders that will work with the fabric I have is going to be a challenge. 

I'm keeping up with the 365 Block of the Day project.  So far. 

There are 5, 6 or 10 projects on the go (probably more) that I keep forgetting about.

I'm really liking my sewing machine island from the last re-organization of my sewing room.  Having three sewing stations in the centre of the room has been working great.  Each machine is set up for a different part of the quilting process.  Piecing, free motion, etc.

My in-laws were out garage sailing and found this beauty:

It's a "nostalgic" Singers 15 made in the 1970's (we believe).  It still has the anti-rust coating on all the parts and has never been used.  At the moment it is being used as a decoration piece.  Reviews on the machine indicate that some of these reproduction machines have issues with stitch quality and noise.  Since we have no shortage of vintage machines to play with, we'll keep this one as is for now.

Speaking of sewing machines...A dear friend of ours who is on very limited income, took her machine (Singers 132 Featherweight) to a local repair shop.  She was told that the machine could not be fixed, wasn't worth spending the money on, and that she should just leave it at the shop for them to dispose of.  Since she walks or buses everywhere she left the machine.

Fortunately a friend of hers smelled something fishy, went with our friend to the shop and demanded the return of the machine.  My husband then picked the machine up so she wouldn't have to carry it and brought it home to look at.

The first thing we found was that there was no bobbin tension.  I'm the tension person in this family (I mean sewing tension, not personal!).  I could not tighten the tension.  DH took the bobbin case apart and it was full of lint.  That fixed, he then took all covers off the machine and used an air compressor to blow it out.  The repair guys probably never even opened up the machine.  There would be no way they could have missed seeing that
A:  the machine was in need of cleaning and oiling
B:  there was nothing wrong with the gears (which they claimed was the issue)

The belt is frayed a bit.  The bobbin case rattles because of some wear.  But this machine is now ready to stitch!

Our local quilt shop (Sew Divine) is collecting quilts in for those who lost everything in the huge Fort McMurray forest fire.  So you know where my last batch of charity quilts went!  Now to get busy finishing some more.

I currently have about 15 tops to quilt.  So the quilting goals for July...try to get some tops quilted!  I'm going to try for at least an hour of quilting on my Bailey each week day.  It will be interesting to see if I can discipline myself to do it.

I have some obstacles to overcome.  My colour vision, in fact my vision period, has suffered from all the laser procedures and eye injections I've had over the past few months.  So using blending thread is a no go.  I just cant see where I'm quilting.  Even with the magnifying glass I've attached to the Bailey.  So any error in the quilting is going to stick out like a sore thumb.  I'll have to make sure the quilt recipients have poor vision as well.  Then it will be all good.

And finally....Anna wrote an article about me in the July issue of The Quilt Pattern Magazine!  Sorry folks.  If you want to know what she says you'll have to subscribe!  (Or come over for a cup of coffee and a quilting session and I'll let you read my copy.)