Friday 31 May 2013

Quilt As You Go - Adapting Leah Day's Method

When it comes to joining quilted blocks, I use the method described by Leah Day on her excellent video, which you can find here if the video doesn't show up on this post:-

Leah describes the method really well, and when I first saw this video I knew I had found the method I wanted to use.  There is just one snag - Leah recommends either a line of zigzagging or hand stitching for the last line of stitching.  I had to adapt the method so all the stitching could be done on straight stitch machines.  I also slightly changed the measurements.  Here is the method I came up with:-

I use strips measuring one and a half inches wide for the top binding, and two and five eighths of an inch for the back binding.  The seam guide is set to give a seam allowance of three eighths of an inch.  For the first line of stitching, I put the folded strip on the underneath and the top binding on the top of the quilted panel.  The machine I have been using is the 1949 Singer 15K hand machine, with the hinged regular foot attached.

Then I do the second line of stitching with the same foot and with the seam guide still in place.

Once these two lines of stitching have been done, I lay out the panels with the two edges together. With this project I usually find that there is a bit too much bulk for the edges to lie flat against each other.  This is because I have been using brushed cotton for the backing and polyester wadding - when I made the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt I used cotton wadding and  standard weight quilting fabrics, so the edges lay flat first time.

Rather than trying to adjust the measurements, it is easier just to shave off a fraction from the seam allowance...

... and then it will lie flat.

Then the back binding can be folded down and pinned into place.  The pins need to go through the quilted panel, but not the binding on the right side.

When the work is turned over you will see the pins, and a new line of pins needs to be put in on the right side.  Once they are in place, the first line of pins has to come out.

Now the last line of stitching can go in.  For this the hinged cording foot is ideal because you can stitch right alongside the top binding.  This means that on the right side, the stitching will be barely noticeable...

... and on the back it holds down the binding just a fraction away from the folded edge.

I love this method.  It makes home quilting possible when you haven't got acres of space in the house.

Linking up again with Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday - visit her blog so you can see what other bloggers are making!

Thursday 30 May 2013

German Bobbin Winders - No. 3

This is my Serata Vibrating Shuttle hand machine, the twin of my treadle.  Unfortunately it had already lost its original case and base before I bought it, so it lives in an old Singer base.  A shame really.

The bobbin winder is wonderfully efficient and easy to use.  This is how it works:-

First the thread goes through the hook at the top of the faceplate.  There is a little wire thread guide next to it, possibly originally intended to take the thread  to the bobbin winder if you were winding a bobbin and sewing at the same time.  However the thread has a tendency to jump out of the wire thread guide so I don't use it.

Next, the thread goes over to the little tension discs at the top of the upright bar above the winder.  It needs to go between the tension discs, then through the hole at the top of the bar, and then down the back of the bar.

The bobbin has to be put in with the thread coming from the back.

The winder pivots on a large screw underneath. 

To engage the winder against the balance wheel, just push it into place.

The winder is now ready to fill the bobbin.  The little steel plate that rests against the bobbin will automatically release the bobbin winder once the bobbin is full.

If you want to take out the bobbin before the release mechanism is activated, just press gently on the steel plate.

Welcome to three new members today, Jaylee Miguel, Edsmum and Jessie Cunliffe.  Thank you for joining!

Monday 27 May 2013

1930s Dutch Flower Basket

This is a detail from another of the quilts at the American Museum.  It was made by a lady called Alzona Maria Green in New York in about 1932.  It is thought to have been made from a kit.  The quilting was done by an Amish church group in Iowa.

The overall effect of the colours, soft blue and cream with pinks and greens, is wonderfully restful. No doubt it was more vibrant when it was new. 

Sunday 26 May 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Bluebell on the Riverbank

Bluebells and wild garlic - there's nothing quite like the woods in May.  Peace and enchantment.

Welcome to Rosemary Dickinson, the latest follower.  Thank you for joining!

Friday 24 May 2013

First Free Motion Spirals

Work on the bedspread for my daughter has slowed down a bit, probably because it is nearly finished and I am trying to get out and do some gardening when the weather will let me.  I have quilted enough pieces to make a border but haven't sewn them together yet.  These strawberries will be in the border somewhere... am I talking about quilting or gardening??

I ran out of the pink brushed cotton for the backing and have been using pale yellow.  I took the plunge and tried spirals for the first time.  They were easier than I anticipated, so I expect there will be plenty more spirals in future projects.

Linking up again today to Free Motion Friday at Leah Day's blog, so plenty of other blogs to visit to see what everyone is doing!

Welcome to the latest followers, Marcia and Kathleen.  Thank you for joining!

Thursday 23 May 2013

Out of Darkness Cometh Light

Some of you will remember reading about this quilt before in my post of 1st December last year. Today I am entering it into the Art Quilts section at the Bloggers' Quilt Festival so I shall tell you a bit more about it.

Spring Blogger's Quilt Festival -

This quilt was made for a doll quilt swap where the theme was to show where you are from.  I decided to represent the town where I grew up, Wolverhampton.  The sunset behind the factory is based on a view I would see from the bus on my way home from school.  All the fabric was already in my cupboard - I didn't need to buy anything new.  I absolutely love the rusty brown, which is a shot cotton, which together with the black is perfect for a quilt showing an industrial town with lots of old red brick buildings.  The smoke from the chimney is a batik, which has swirls which were just right to show the billowing, and the top strip of the sky is a section from a print cut so that I could use the dark patches as clouds.

All the piecing was done on my Serata treadle machine, and the appliqué was done with my 1927 Singer 99K.

The smoke, sun and feather are all stitched with three lines of stitching around the edge to prevent fraying.  For the sun I used red cotton to make it glow.

For the town's motto (which appears on its coat of arms) I used the Singer 99K to do two lines of straight stitch.  One line didn't stand out enough, so I had to do a second line immediately next to the first. 

To get the flow of the writing, I made a stencil on greaseproof paper.  First I wrote out the words in pencil on a piece of ordinary paper, then laid the greaseproof paper on top, then "stitched" (no thread) along the line of the writing with the 99K using a thick, blunt needle.  This gave a perforated line in the greaseproof paper, which I then laid over the pink material, and then I sewed in the writing with black thread.  The greaseproof paper tears away easily afterwards.  

For the quill in the border I added the appliqué by machine, with a few machine stitched lines for detail, and hand stitched on a piece of cord down the centre and a few little wisps at the base of the feather.  I put the quill at the right, to balance with the chimney and smoke on the left hand side of the picture...

... and the button is on the left hand side of the border to balance with the sun.

All the quilting was done by hand, and the three birds in the sky were stitched at the end, so I could judge exactly where I should place them.

This quilt now belongs to Peggy in Georgia, so I can only tell you from memory how big it is.  So far as I remember, it is roughly 21 inches by 17.

If you are slightly puzzled by the quill and the button in the border, here is an interesting video for you to enjoy, and you will see why I asked for a partner in Georgia.

Welcome to the latest follower, Mireille Solbes - thank you for joining!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Using the Braiding Foot

Yesterday I finally got round to using the braiding foot that came with the Serata treadle.  I put it on the Singer 15K hand machine and fed through some teeny tiny ric rac.  The braid waved a bit from side to side as it went through, but lined up perfectly with the needle and the stitching went straight down the middle.

I think I might have to stock up on more braid.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Hopping Feet and Singer 201s

This is a bit irritating.  I was looking forward to trying out a bit of free motion work on the 201K treadle and found that my hopping foot wasn't compatible.  The lever above the needle clamp stops dead when it reaches the screw on the cylinder that contains the needle bar, so the needle can rise no higher than shown in the picture.  The screw is essential because it fixes on the last but one hook that the thread passes through.

My brother in law looked at this picture and suggested that because the lever doesn't actually need to be so long the end could be sawn off to give it clearance.  He tells me he has the tools if he wants me to do it.  Otherwise, I can get a different type of hopping foot.

Agonising decisions.  

Update - Decision made...

I've had a think and had good look at how much extra lever there is to play with.  When the foot is attached to the 15K and the needle is in the highest position there is a good quarter of an inch spare at the top.  You can guarantee that if we tried cutting the lever to fit the 201K we would shave off a fraction too much.  I am going to get another type of foot for the 201K - could be interesting!

Sunday 19 May 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A Field of Rapeseed

The world has turned yellow near our house - about six adjacent fields of rapeseed.

This photo was taken just before sunset on 13th May in a freezing cold wind.  

Saturday 18 May 2013

Needles and Threads Guide on the Naumann Vibrating Shuttle

It was all stamped on the front inspection plate so you couldn't possibly lose it - needle size, thread thickness and stitch length.  If only the range of threads were still available now.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Day Trip to Malvern for Quilts UK 2013

Today was my first chance to get a picture of the whole of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt.

It was quite a thrill to see the Judges' Merit rosette attached to it.

There are lots of firsts associated with this quilt - first large quilt with appliqué, first large quilt quilted entirely at home, first quilt made using the quilt-as-you-go method, first quilt show, first ribbon...

When watching Leah Day's videos I remember her saying that to really get to grips with free motion quilting you just need to jump in and do a whole quilt, even if you just use one pattern on the quilt. I'm so glad I took her advice!  The meandering pattern I did gave the quilt an all over texture which set off the colours and shapes of the appliqué in a way I really liked. 

I often wonder whether Leah ever imagined that people would watch her videos and then get started with free motion quilting on a treadle! 

The show is well worth a visit if you can get there.  So many fabulous quilts!  I took loads of photos, but at the moment I'm not sure whether I will be able to post them here.  Show rules...  

Update Friday 17th May

This post is now being linked up to Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday.

Welcome to the latest follower, handMADEina - thank you for joining!

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments!  They are greatly appreciated.


Wednesday 15 May 2013

Wooden Legs for a Treadle Sewing Machine

The illustrations are from the October 1942 issue of Woodworker magazine.  I've seen pictures of treadles with wooden legs before and wondered why they hadn't got the standard iron legs.  Now I know why - over-enthusiasm in the DIY department.  Wooden legs were considered more modern and a way of increasing the value of the machine.  I can't believe they could ever have been as stable or as long lasting as the original iron legs.

Welcome to the latest follower, ok4now2000 - thank you for following!

Tuesday 14 May 2013

1930s Rambling Rose

Another quilt at the American Museum, a rambling rose from the 1930s, made in Pittsburgh.  I particularly liked this one for the lovely soft colours (faded, no doubt), the hand stitching around the appliqué and for the lovely delicate design of the rosebuds.

The hand embroidered detail has been so skilfully done.  It is such a shame that the name of the maker isn't known.

Monday 13 May 2013

A Mention for the Machines on the Quilt Label

Today was the big day - a trip to Malvern to deliver the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt to the Three Counties Showground for the Quilts UK 2013 exhibition later this week.  This is just a peep of part of the label on the back.  I thought the machines did so well, neither of them misbehaved once, so I gave them a mention on the label.

Exciting week ahead!

Sunday 12 May 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Lesser Celandine and Primroses

The scent from the primroses was gorgeous, and the celandines shone with the sun just a few days ago.  Nothing but grey skies again now.

Welcome to the latest followers, Maria and Kaye - thank you for joining!

Saturday 11 May 2013

Home Journal 13th February 1937

This magazine jumped up at me in a second hand shop.  Original price 3d, and the newsagent had written the purchaser's name in the top right hand corner.  It is a precious little snapshot of life when the nation was anticipating the Coronation of George VI, due to take place on 12th May.  There was still time to embroider tray cloths and napkins for Coronation Day, so the book of iron-on patterns was given as a free gift.  And there was time to run up a new dress from the free pattern that was also included.

Wonder of wonders, all the patterns were still inside the magazine.  Mrs. Millard obviously didn't have time for all that sewing.  Do you think I should make that wonderful dress?

There is also another dress pattern inside marked October 1937, but I have no picture to go with it. Perhaps one day I will be very brave and make a mystery vintage dress.  Could be interesting.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Naumann Vibrating Shuttle

This is the machine I have just cleaned up for a friend, a Seidel and Naumann Vibrating Shuttle.  Not only did I have to use paraffin to work its magic in unsticking the foot, but also the stitch length adjustment mechanism was jammed.  I had to take off the handcrank and the wheel to get to the lever, which is to the right of the pillar above the bobbin winder.  It was well and truly stuck, but eventually I freed it up and re-set it so that the stitch length can be adjusted and set to forwards or reverse.

This smart little tin is for holding the bobbins.

They slot neatly inside.  Unfortunately there were only three with the machine rather than the full complement of five to fill the tin.  I shall have to see if I can get two more.

The machine makes a perfect stitch.  I'm sure that when I return it it will soon be put to good use.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Using Paraffin to Unstick Stubborn Parts

Last week I collected a beautiful German sewing machine from a friend so I could clean it up for her. It had a few problems I needed to sort out, the most obvious of which was the foot.  I undid the thumbscrew so I could take off the foot and found that the foot was stuck on fast.  Someone had obviously been trying to get it off in the past and loosened the presser bar in the process, because it was loose and the foot could turn as if it were the hand on a clock.  Tightening the presser bar back into position was easy enough, but I still needed to get the foot off.

The answer was paraffin.  I tied a bit of cloth around the foot, spooned paraffin onto it until it was thoroughly soaked, and left it overnight.  The next morning the foot just dropped off.  The paraffin had broken up all the old oil residue that had dried between the presser bar and the foot.

The same trick worked at the opposite end of the machine and ungummed the stitch length mechanism too.

The machine is now cleaned up and raring to go...

Tuesday 7 May 2013

A Doll Quilt from Mary in Ontario

This is the little quilt that Mary made for me, a star in earthy colours which go perfectly in our house.  How did she know we have a house full of green? I love traditional pieced designs, and this star design is so timeless.

Thank you for being my partner Mary!

Monday 6 May 2013

Doll Quilt - 100th Birthday Quilt

This is the quilt that I made for Mary, my April partner in the Doll Quilters Monthly swap.  The theme was birthdays to celebrate the fact that the swap is now one year old.  I decided to add a couple of noughts and celebrate the fact that my beautiful Serata treadle is 100 years old this year, so I used it to piece the top, a 100 square chequerboard.

For the straight line quilting I used my star machine, the Singer 99K because I know it never lets me down.

In the pale floral panels in the border I used the Singer 15K treadle for a bit of free motion quilting, and then changed back to the 99K to do the binding.  The backing is from a piece of lightweight cotton that I have had for at least thirty years and never quite known what to do with it.  It was perfect for this little quilt.

Because all the cottons were dressmaking rather than craft weight cottons, the finished quilt was very light and yielding - just right for wrapping around a doll, like a real old fashioned doll quilt.

This quilt was a joy to make - I am so glad you like it, Mary!

This post is being linked with Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts so you can visit other blogs to admire lots of wonderful creations.

Also linking up to Leah Day's  blog for Free Motion Friday.

Welcome to two new followers today, and Sara Serfaty Garzon.  Thank you for joining!


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