Monday, May 24, 2010

Ready for Some "Vintage" Quilting?

Like an actress required to make her entrance down stairs so that the first things we see are her legs, Vernice makes her entrance:
Here's her head--now cleaned up and shining, although you can't see the dozens of pin scratches from the old fashioned pin-strip that must have been fastened around her sometime in the past.
She has two drawers on each side and one in the center,
a lovely face plate, 
(the tension assembly is mounted right on the face plate) 
and a spoked hand wheel.
She has a couple of spots on the wood, one to the right of the machine,  
and another near the left hinge at the back of the machine.
I thought I'd be stitching with her tonight.  I did get her top tension adjusted.  However, the wood was sooooooo hungry that once it was clean, I lavished it with lemon oil and beeswax.  I decided to let it drink up and wait until tomorrow to wipe her down.
 I'm so glad she's had some appropriate attention in her 74 years.  Someone did clean her decals with something that turned them silver, but there's a good chance she'll still be sewing in another 100 years!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Road Trip!

No pictures because I inadvertently left the camera at home.
Alex and I headed over to the Texas panhandle today.
We managed to find some needed wardrobe additions for 70% off.
We loved traveling through miles of spring green--usually we don't travel those routes until the world is much browner.
When we reached our destination and exited the car, we both gasped at the humidity we hadn't experienced in months!
In addition to our wardrobe additions, we came home with "Verniece"--a 1936 (I think) Singer15-88, whose original owner (of the same name) is entering assisted living with her husband.  She has a more modern sewing machine but had kept this one oiled and used it rarely.  It needs minimal cleaning.  Her son demonstrated how well it still work with its motor and controller--we drove several hours home with the smell of burning rubber--I'm guessing from the motor.  My plan is to use only the treadle anyway.
I'll try to get photos tomorrow.
I'm guessing this machine will work quite well for another hundred years.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

We Have a Treadle Quilt and Embroidery Group

Okay, we have a Treadle Quilting group.  Actually it includes people who use treadles, hand cranks, and even e-powered vintage machines for free-motion embroidery as well as for piecing and quilting.
I've issued invitations to people who have provided their e-mail addresses and have asked to be part of the group.  It's okay to e-mail me to ask to join the group so that you don't have to worry about putting your e-mail address in the comments--if you do choose to take that risk, please, for your own protection, use "at" separating your address rather than the symbol.  (There are programs that go searching for e-mail addresses by looking for the symbol, and none of us needs more spam, and certainly not of the less than savory kind.)

I'm going to be doing some more piecing on my Singer 66 Redhead treadle this evening, knowing full well that the swish of the treadle will not drown out the sound of our howling winds.

New Quilt - Butterflies and Feathers

Finally, another finish.  Actually, it's not quite finished, but I'm going to let someone else sew down the binding.
Here are some detail shots--not great shots.  I meant to take pictures last night, but then forgot and had to hurry up on take them this morning before I took my daughter to play at high school graduation.
These blocks started life as four patches that were then split each side of the center seam.  I think of them as constructed, deconstructed, reconstructed--but someone somewhere probably has a lot better name for this technique.

I used wonderful Fil-Tec Glide thread.  Fil-Tec was at the Machine Quilters' Showcase in Kansas City.  Someone who attended told me they sold out of their Glide thread within the first 24 hours. And I'm pretty sure someone told me that a certain famous quilter ordered every color they have!  They do have luscious colors. It is wonderful, wonderful thread--the kind of thread that has loved every machine and every quilt I've put it in.  I used a coppery gold for this one. I just love the way it glistens against the quilt surface and says, "This is a special quilt made with love."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Treadle Quilt Group, Anyone?

I'm wondering how many people in the blogosphere--or who are just online in one fashion or another--might be interested in forming an online group to discuss free motion quilting and free motion embroidery with our vintage people-powered machine.....I know lots of people piece on them, and I know of a handful of people who use them for quilting or for embroidery.  I wonder if there are enough of us to form a group, stretch our skills, share our knowledge.

I know some people use vintage sewing machines that aren't people-powered as well.  Frankly, I'm so old that the sewing machine I bought my first year out of university is now considered vintage--and it's still one of my favorites--and it is, indeed, electric.

There are already groups for people who collect (ISMACS) and use people-powered machines (Treadle On), but I'm not aware of more specialized discussion groups.

If you're a vintage machine quilter (or embroiderer), and would like to join forces, or more accurately, share ideas and experiences, please let me know.

P.S.: You'll need to let me know with the e-mail address at which you wish to receive mail so I can issue an invitation.  (The list was set up as private to help avoid spammers or address harvesters.) If you comment on this blog and have yourself set to "no-reply", I will not be able to invite you. If you don't want to e-mail me *and* have yourself set to "no-reply" *and* put your e-mail address into a comment on this post, please use the word "at" instead of the sign, because using the sign opens yourself up to those drones who search for e-mail addresses.  Thanks.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fil-Tec's Glide Thread

 Fil-Tec's Glide is my all-time favorite thread for machine quilting.  If I'd been able to hand-pick my favorite qualities for a thread, it would have had all the qualities of Glide.  Absolutely trouble-free quilting! I am confident their Magna-Glide Delight bobbins will be winners too!  Try some!
Fil-Tec posted this on FB today.
"Tell your friends! We are giving everybody on Facebook who posts their thoughts on Glide, a free sample of our new Magna-Glide Delight bobbins, which have not been released to the public yet."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

End of School Year!

I don't dare start celebrating yet--the last week of school can be tremendously difficult.  Of course, Alex has finals.  I can't begin to predict what the week will hold for me.  I have students whose general ed teachers still don't have grades posted for their report cards.  I have reports to write and print--and there will be all kinds of record keeping surprises, things I'll have to do that no one has let me know about.  (I let the general ed teachers know about the grades two weeks ago and have reminded them frequently, but there are still students with no grades posted.)  We have a "Fun Day" scheduled for Wednesday--it will be fun for the kids, but not so much fun for me.  I'd rather dream about the things I'll be able to do over summer break, of course.

I frequently hear people complain about teachers and the three months they get for "vacation".  If we manage 10 weeks of not teaching, we're doing well.  There is NO paid vacation--nada.  No paid holidays either.  Maybe there's a teacher somewhere in the U.S. who has an easy job--but I've never had a teaching position that wasn't so exhausting that most times at the end of the day, I have enough energy left to be a vegetable, but little more. (Yes, it's true that I get the students with serious behaviors whose parents think I'm the bad guy.)

I love summer break--when I can stay home more, plan and prepare meals, work on a few other projects, read, and regenerate.

I thought I'd continue to coach Alex in reading and English, but haven't been sure of how much she'd need.  It's heartbreaking during the year when she has to work five or ten times as hard as any other kid for the grades that are so important to her. Last week I gave her some fairly quick, "down-and-dirty", reading tests.  She didn't learn to read enough to enjoy it until she was in fifth and sixth grade.  When she was in Kgn and 1st grade, I was told it was too early to diagnose reading problems. When she was in 2nd grade, the school finally agreed to do some tests--and then told me they would not qualify her for any services, that as a special ed teacher I should fix her.  Right.

The summer after 5th or 6th grade I offered her a dollar for every hour she read.  She did not have to read for an hour at time.  I purchased a timer from the dollar store.  She set it for an hour, stopped it when she stopped reading and turned it back on when she started reading again.  I encouraged her to read for at least a half hour after lunch, but that didn't always work out.

This week when she tested she came out at the 11th grade level on one assessment (more than a year ahead of her grade level) and above the cut-off on a couple of others. She was delighted.  I am too.  Now I'm hoping we can fill in some of the holes she has in phonemics, phonics, morphology, and grammar--a much less daunting task than we faced a couple of years ago.  She's also preparing for a flute recital June 4 and is planning to work on alto sax over the summer too.  It will be a busy summer--and will be over much too soon!

As for this week--we'll take one day at a time.  Her school's last official day is next Monday, May 24.  But unless something happens to cause her to be sick and miss a final, she'll really be finished Friday, May 21.  So will I. The principal has said we must be checked out by noon--and then we'll have to wait until the Central Office says we can leave.  I hope they are merciful.  Nothing makes me as crazy as not being productive!

Dreaming quilts......

Friday, May 7, 2010

May Whirlwinds!

End of school year craziness has begun.  Last night was the spring band concert.  Alex played Faure's Pavanne with the two other flautists.
Tonight was the band banquet.  As band historian, Alex prepared the PowerPoint presentation.  It was a big hit with the band kids (although Alex had already left for the Spring Fling dance).  I suggested we add movies of several performances--and presentation ended up being so huge that we couldn't save it to a CD--I think I need to learn to use Moviemaker!

Also in tribute to spring---
The single tulip that has been looking like it would try to bloom in my yard.
I've been keeping an eye on it since last weekend's snows and winds, hoping it would make it to the blooming stage.  I'm not sure--it's getting pretty windblown.  Maybe I should pick it and bring it inside.

I am so very ready for a weekend--although it too will be stuffed with activities!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's Spring!----Really!

Okay, so I don't have a great pictures to post.  However, despite 3 days with snow this past weekend, it is finally spring!!!!!
I am soooooooo happy!
And to add to the bonus--13 more days of work.
Wellllllllll, I did sign a letter of intent for next year---apparently it binds me but not the school district since they included the clause, "....This contract is contingent on the State of New Mexico providing adequate funding."
 Kind of scary--so we'll try not to consider the more negative possibilities........
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