Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More of the Zig Zag Border

A bit later than I'd planned, here is a bit of the zig zag border I've been making for the Southwestern Sunrise Sunset quilt.

The top row shows several of the pieced 4.5 X 2.5 rectangles next to each other while the bottom row shows them sewn together.
The tutorial for how to cut and piece these is found here.
They could also be pieced in much larger sizes for rows or columns in a zigzag or chevron quilt top, although I do think that the larger the rectangles are, the more wasteful this method is.  I do have a whole plateful of waste triangles that will probably be donated to someone with kids for an art project.
This method is much faster than the traditional way I pieced them 20+ years ago.

Edit:  12-31-12  In response to questions and comments on the Quilting Board:  No, this is not "Strip Twist", and it was not copied from Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.  It is a variation of the border on the 1903 quilt from Oklahoma that provided the inspiration for this quilt.  If I ever decide to copy other people, I'll give them credit.

I'm linking (yes, a bit tardy) to Connie's Free Motion by the River so you can view the accomplishments of others.....and not so tardily to Esther's WIPs on Wednesday and Lee's w.i.p. on Wednesday.

A couple of weeks ago my oldest brother brought his first truck load through on I-40 in over ten years.  We were able to meet at a local truck stop, and Sweet Teen snapped this photo (along with a couple of others that were even uglier!).  I'd hoped to bring him home with me, but due to the nature of what he was hauling, he could not leave the truck stop.  I had not seen him since my dad's funeral three years ago.  I have to admit that we are both aging. Our visit was too short, but it was still nice to visit. (Just in case you are wondering, George definitely inherited a lot of physical characteristics from both the Scheers and Shreves, not so much from the Seastroms.)

Happy quiltmaking,......

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oh, My! and Zig-Zag Border Tutorial

 I'll fill you in on the "oh, my" later...but first the tutorial for making a zigzag border.  These dimensions are what I'm using for the Southwestern Sunrise, Sunset Quilt.  The 1903 Oklahoma quilt that has inspired not only this quilt but also another that I made over twenty years ago had a simple zig zag border.  The other day I found a photo of the original quilt, and I hope to scan it when I get a chance.  (We have a new router and some of our connectivity problems have been resolved.)

Since the patches of this Triple Irish Chain finish to two inches square, I'm coordinating the zigzag border by using pieces that will finish to the same size.  While for my first quilt I made the border of triangles and rhomboids drawn the old fashioned way with templates, I used speed methods to cut and piece this border. Yes, our methods have changed quite a bit in the last quarter century.  I remember carrying the pieces and border for that earlier Irish chain almost every where I went where I would have to sit and wait for a while.  I even remember putting the last pieces together as I sat waiting in the office of my optometrist in downtown Gallup.  In contrast, this border actually has more pieces but is totally machine made.

To make the triangles at the outer sides of the border, I cut squares 2.5 inches X 2.5 inches, and instead of rhomboids (some people just call them parallelograms), I used rectangles cut 2.5 X 4.5 inches (so the border finishes four inches wide).

Since the squares become triangles, I mark a diagonal on the squares, lay them on the rectangles, and sew on the marked line. 
 My tip for speeding the process is to layer four squares (which were already layered since they were cut from two layered 2.5 inch strips cut the width of the fabric). Since I like to work at my machine, I put the the four squares on a round of soft shape foam.  (I purchased the soft foam at the Dollar Tree--I used them to make manipulatives for my classroom, and this was a leftover circle.)
 I mark the diagonal through all four layers with an old tracing wheel.  (I don't know if these are still sold. [Update:  Cheryl says they are still available.] While I have a couple of vintage ones, I also have found some in thrift stores.)
 I layer a square on a rectangle and sew across the square. And actually, I sew just to the side of the marked line enable more accuracy when the square is folded.  I do chain one shape after another during this process.

 Then when I fold the square over, I get a more accurate seam allowance so the edges of the fabric all match.
 Then I trim just the the triangle that is the second [inside] layer to cut down on bulk but retain accuracy.
 I use the 4.5 X 2.5 rectangle to help me stay accurate.

Then I repeat the process at the other end of the rectangle.
 Because we wish to create this V-shape, we need to either stitch two sets in opposite directions or stitch pairs to form the V.  Because of the way this fabric was dyed, it made more sense to me to stitch the rectangles in pairs.
 Then the two rectangle units can be stitched together.  Because of the layers of fabric in this method, I press open the seam joining the halves of the chevron. When the fabrics in the V meet well, we know we pieced accurately.
 Above and below are closeups of how the thread runs just next to the marked line.
 I marked it the lines on these patches just to show you how I obtained accuracy.

On my vintage Singers and Necchis my marked line just kisses the inner edge of the presser foot.

I did stitch these in sets of two, pressed them from the front, and then trimmed out those inner triangles while watching a rerun of Downton Abbey--have some more to trim tonight as well.

I'll try to post a photo of a zigzag border strip tomorrow.

Okay, here are the "oh, my"s.

Oh, my, how wonderful to be working at a school where the culture is supportive of the students' efforts.
I do like my new job!

Oh, my, winter has arrived. We awoke to ice and snow this morning.  Not deep.  But it did lead to some accidents that kept I-40 closed for over four hours.  Fortunately, we were able to take Old 66 to church.
Low tonight is expected to be 11 F.--and when they predict 11, experience tells us it may well be much colder.  I'm thinking it's time to load the Christmas CDs into the player.  I have tomorrow off for Veterans' Day, but my daughter has school.

Oh, my, we do become accustomed to our conveniences.  Although I had spent well over an hour on the phone with a Wi-Power Technician a few nights ago, we were not able to get my computer connected with the new router.  So I've been playing around and gradually getting our devices back on-line.  Finally, this afternoon I was successful getting the laptop back on the network.  I'm sure I did nothing we hadn't tried countless times before, but this time it worked. A somewhat related "oh, my": When I visit blogs (something I haven't managed to do as much as I like lately), I notice that I'm identified as a "visitor from Oldsmar, FL.  That's the home of Wi-Power, but I live at least 1500 miles from there! (Update:  Wi-Power technician stopped by Monday a.m., and we added more cable and moved the router to a higher location.)

Oh, my, I do love old recipes.  One of my favorite comfort foods from my growing-up-days-on-the-farm was bread pudding.  The bread I made yesterday was not so great--affected by errands, bad timing, etc., so today I cubed it and am making bread pudding--which smells great, by the way!  On the farm we had bread pudding throughout the year, (because we always had chickens, milk cows, and plenty of eggs and milk) but for some reason at this point in my life, bread pudding and late autumn/early winter just seem to go together.  Whenever I have holidays, I seem to spend a good portion of the time cooking.  It's hard to get other people to comprehend that I really don't love cooking, but I do love cooking for people I love.

Thank you to all the Veterans who have protected our nation, too frequently at great personal sacrifice, and to our citizens who are willing to speak up and acknowledge them.

Happy quiltmaking......

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tutorial: Replacing a Treadle Sewing Machine Belt

This weekend I replaced the belt on one of my treadles.
While the path for the belt is pretty clear cut, most of us do not have the wonderful little tool for joining the ends of the belt.  So, over the years, with the help of other treadle sewers, I've developed a process that works for me and may work for others.

While belts seldom need to be replaced, they do stretch with humidity and use, and sometimes can need to be shortened even after several years of use.  The last time I shortened this one, I did not do a very good job of making a hole and inserting the staple, and with the shortage of rain and humidity we've experienced this year, the belt shrunk and pulled a hole where one end of the staple was inserted.  The belt was then too short to be trimmed again (and is available for postage to anyone who needs a shorter belt than my machine requires).

First I ran the belt through the complete path in order to cut it to the correct length.

 These are the two little tools that help me pierce a hole.
 I first pierce a hole with a push pin, being very careful to center it and push it all the way through the belt.
 Then I screw a tiny o-ring all the way through the same hole in the belt...
flip the belt over and screw the o-ring through from the other direction.
 Then I inserted the staple through the hole and pinched it closed with a pair of pliers.
 I use bow rosin purchased from a music instrument store and....
with the belt engaged (and the needle unthreaded0 run the belt over the resin by treadling for a few seconds.

Any time the belt starts slipping, I reapply the rosin.

There is a very neat tool for piercing the hole, but since I have only two treadles, it seems unreasonable to spend about $40 on a tool...instead of fabric, thread or batting!

Happy quiltmaking......

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

FNSI, Very Late, and Lots of Other Things

What happened with FNSI is that I did not even get an adequate amount of fabric cut to take a photo!
Aside from that, a lot has been happening.
Two weeks ago I had a job interview.  One week ago I accepted the job (actually about 5 days).  Yesterday I resigned from my teaching position and asked to be released from the 30 days' notice.
Last night the personnel director reported that the superintendent agreed.
Today I went to work and was told to gather my things and leave.  I had to negotiate being able to tell my students and say goodbye to them.  Interesting, since the district's excuse for so many things is that we have to put the students first.  I did say a very brief goodbye, and my heart aches for the kids who cried.  I wasn't even allowed time to write a note to send home with them.
Tomorrow I will report to my new job--much smaller school [a state chartered school in ABQ].

Because of being sent home early I was able to troubleshoot some computer problems with Wi-Power.  The router was bad, but under warranty, so I'll have a new one in a few days.  In the meantime my computer is tethered by a blue cord (remember those), so the placement is pretty inconvenient and I'll be spending more time doing something else--catching up on some reading, perhaps?

New job means two hours more choices every day since I won't be spending those two hours commuting.  I'll be able to go to bed later and get up a little later (and have more time to see my Sweet Teen), so I hope to have an extra hour for reading, etc., and an extra hour for quiltmaking.
Autumn is here.  Freezing temps every morning.  Mums are barely surviving, but pansies and dianthus have not yet given up their little ghosts. It will be interesting to see how many ghosts and goblins we have this year.  We've had none some years--and one year we had six!

I hope all my readers have a sweet old-fashioned and delightful Halloween!
Happy quiltmaking......

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quilt Progress and More

First the progress with Southwestern Sunrise, Sunset.
 Actually, I meant to post last week while it was still in strips, but just did not manage to do that--which meant I had no post to link to the blogs of some favorite friends.

It was very windy when I took the quilt outside to be photographed--so you can see where the wind was pulling against the pins.  I should qualify that "very windy".  It was what much of the U.S.A. would call very windy.  For where we live, it was a typical autumn afternoon wind.
 For some reason a lone sunflower had grown and bloomed by this building and then fell to the ground from its own weight.  I tried to get the pretty head in the photograph, but it was just too sunny for me to tell if I had it in the pictures, and I missed it. Leaves are rapidly flying off trees around here. 
It's a bit sad that photographs can't capture the true colors in these fabrics--and the angle of the sun didn't help either.  However,  I can see that the quilt has good movement, and I'm eager to get the border pieced and applied so that I can get to my favorite part, the quilting.

And, pictures from shortly before last Saturday's Homecoming Parade...
Yes, skies were that blue.  And yes, the pictures were taken from the non-crowd side of the float--no idea why they did that!
Where I grew up, we built our floats of chicken wire shapes stuffed with tissues.  You can tell we live where it's windy and have to use bales of hay and straw because light stuff will get caught in the winds and blow away!!
This is this year's officer team--I'd say the one young man who is on the team is enjoying himself!  FFA has three advisors, but only one made it into the picture.
It was so cold that a friend and I watched the parade while cuddling in coats and quilts.

I have no pictures of the homecoming dance attendees, and Sweet Teen forgot to ask anyone to take their picture.  The couple was accompanied by two friends who have moved on to other schools--and they had to jump through a few hoops in order to be able to take them along.  Very different from when I was in high school and we invited past classes to the homecoming game and the homecoming dances.  (Kind of sad that they no longer do that. Or, maybe they do that in other parts of the country but just not here.)

This week Sweet Teen and two classmates are competing at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis and will be joined by most of those pictured as well as other members of our local chapter.  It will seem strangely quiet around my home--but I'll have plenty to wear me out during the day since it's also the week of parent teacher conferences at my school, which will means I'll return home even later than usual each day.

When I get a chance, I'll link to Judy's What's on the Design Wall and Connie's Freemotion by the River.

Happy quiltmaking....

Monday, October 8, 2012

Stitching Pieces & Progress

 Here is one of the the twelve blocks that resulted from today's piecing.....

 along with some others peaking out below it.

I started with this using small pieces of fabric to label the rows I had cut over the weekend--actually finished this part of the cutting this morning.
and progressed to this...
 until I got to these:
The blue green squares for the X across the blocks work just as I had hoped--and I'm looking forward to seeing more "trails" as I get the secondary blocks made.

These are the best pictures yet to show the lusciousness of the fabrics I'm using.

Much slower progress than I had hoped for.  But all this was accomplished with all sorts of interruptions, including, over the course of more than an hour, traveling over some back roads I'd never seen before--from which there appeared to be no outlet. (Country roads are a lot easier in the Midwest where they are set out in squares with no mountains to interrupt them!)

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a good day, but I know it will have its challenges.  My schedule has me teaching as many as four classes at once--I rather doubt that is possible.  Many essential materials disappeared while I was gone.  We have a new principal, and she wants to know which ones I need, but I'll have to get with someone at another school to determine that since I don't remember the names of all the books.  (The sad thing is that there were at least two sets there since the previous teacher had left a partial set and I'd left everything--because those things belong to the district, not the teachers.)  Sadly, I think I'm just in survival mode. It's next to impossible to be sure students are as productive as they need to be with so much missing.  And then there are the headaches and the nausea--so I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I'd meant to take pictures of some of the colorful trees in our community--but I left home without the camera.  This is one of the most colorful autumns we've had in years.  If the weather cooperates, there should also be some balloons airborne as I pass through Albuquerque tomorrow morning.  The trick, of course, is keeping ones eyes on the road and avoiding the misjudgements of drivers who watch the balloons more than the road.

I forgot I had this picture of Sweet Teen, taken right after her hair appointment last month.  Yes, she was happy.
This is homecoming week in our community.  And homecoming during senior year is a pretty big deal. Lots of activities--including Friday night football, Saturday morning parade, Saturday night dance, several girls for a sleepover--and then we'll need to be at McCall's Pumpkin Patch to park cars Sunday morning.  (Proceeds to benefit her civics classes' fundraising for a trip to Washington, DC next spring.) I do hope I can get some more sewing time--and another blog post or two.

Linking to Judy's Design Wall  Monday and Connie's Free Motion by the River ).

Happy quiltmaking....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Quilt Progress & Back to Work

 I managed to get these strips and squares cut over the weekend.  I'm hoping I counted correctly.
This is the best these fabrics have smiled for their photos yet.  Taken after dark in the light of an Ott lamp. No, it's not a design wall--just some stacks of fabrics.

I did get the plants watered before dark--but I may have some dyeing pansies.

Today was my first day back at work.  I had to deal with headaches and nausea all day, but I also had lots of hugs from students who were so glad to have me back.  They are still putting more students in my class.  Probably one of the best things that happened to day was that one of those new students told me how much he likes the class already.  Their schedules are a mess.  I'm supposed to be teaching reading, writing, and math at the same time several times each day.  The kingdom is ruled by the "Master Schedule" and with students in first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade (I hear a sixth grader is coming), there is no doubt that the Master Schedule overpowers common sense and assuring that the programs are delivered with fidelity.  (Guess I should just chill since the teaching materials have disappeared.)

Anyway, I don't think I'll manage even 15 minutes of sewing today since I need to get the various conflicting schedules into one color-coded data base so I can find some solution to the scheduling issues. I'm hoping the job goes quickly because I also need a relaxing bath with a couple of cups of Epsom salts to see if that might help the awesome headache.

I'm going to link to some parties, because who knows how much time I'll have to blog now.  (It was almost 6 p.m. when I got home after having to stop to pick up a few groceries and a prescription. Tomorrow I'll probably have to drop by the neurologist's office because I still haven't received a copy of their release for records, and I need the records.)

For more quilting goodness from other bloggers, stop by to visit Judy at Patchwork Times and Connie at Free Motion by the River.

I'm thinking I'll probably start being late linking up with other blogs--sometimes too late to link up at all.  That won't break my heart--but I definitely will not be so happy about not reading and commenting so often! Also, I love the new-to-me blogs I discover through linky parties, so three hours or so each day commuting will definitely impose some unwelcome limits.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quilt Plan and the Turn of the Century Home

I've been working on the plans for Sweet Teen's Opportunity Quilt.
 Here is the plan for the quilt.  I decided that due to it's size, I wanted the simpler blocks  in the corners so the quilt will show itself off better on a bed.
 I'm still figuring yardages for cutting since I want to strip piece it and EQ7 can't really provide me exactly the information that I need. This quilt was inspired by a 1903 triple Irish Chain made in the Oklahoma Panhandle that by the mid-1980's was living in East Tennessee.  I made a rather close copy of that blue and white quilt, but I no longer have the quilt.  I'll look for a photo of the original or of my quilt and scan it so that I can share it at some point while I'm making Sweet Teen's quilt.

These are the main fabrics.  The one in the Lower left barely shows, but it has many colors in it, is much more intense than the background fabric, and will show up in the quilt. I think one of the challenges of making quilts is that complicated fabrics don't usually show up well in photos.

I've also been very busy painting in preparation for the likelihood that I'll be back to work on Friday (after I see the rehab doctor on Thursday).

I repainted the fireplace surround in the livingroom and changed the display to seven of the pitchers I've collected over the years.  The one on the left is the oldest--from the days when my grandparents lived in a house without indoor plumbing.
 When we first bought this house, we used the fireplace all the time, and I didn't understand that the reason we were getting smoke in the house was that our chimney just isn't tall enough.  Now we never use it.  It's pretty, but it's just not worth the work and the mess. In any case, the mantle and the surround direly needed painting.
 This is why I'm questioning "The Turn of the Century."  When I was a child I always loved visiting homes that were much like they had been at the turn 19th to the 20th century.  I'm sure almost anyone would say I have just too much in my house, but since I'm not trying to sell it right now, and since my house is definitely my haven, I love being able to see things I treasure.  These boxes are full of yarn and needlework.  The lovely spider plant is one my assistant gave me a start of when she moved last January or February.  Clearly, it loves living in my haven too!
In any case, we may have passed the next turn of the century, but I still have a seventeen year old turn of the century house.

I rearranged another wall in my living room--putting up more plates that need a new home now that my buffet has a "hutch". Two of these plates have been in my family for at least three generations, one is fairly new, and the others were gathered from thrift stores, antique stores, friends, and a flea market over the course of many years.

Although my computer shows the wall color as somewhat lavender, it's actually a pale orchid.  Because the living room is on the north side of the house, blue would have been too cool a color (although I did use blue and yellow in the kitchen).  The orchid shade looks cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
 I really was a Victorian when I rearranged the piano and the wall above it. I will be putting more doilies along the edge of the shelf when they are dry.  I just love the little things I've collected.
The plate on the wall to the right is a commemorative plate from my hometown's centennial in 1954. (My daughter loves that it has a picture of my high school--apparently built from a plan used by many different communities.   Some people bought enough of these plates for a table service.  My mother had a few, but this is the only one I have.

 I love the antique candy dish my cousin Joy gave me a few years ago, and the inkwell is one that has been in my family for many years.  I have no idea what happened to the lid.  It had been a while since I polished the tray it sits in--but it's no long blue and black with tarnish!

 The rose plate at the rear is very old, but I found it cast aside at a thrift store.  The silver birds are a salt and pepper set my mother received as a wedding gift (the salt has corroded the head and neck of one).  The little blue iridescent bird is dated 1990 and was a gift from my Aunt Louise.

This little harp playing angel was part of a set my mother purchased decades ago, but it's the only one left, the others having been seriously chipped and broken over the years.

See?  Lots of little treasures that I still treasure (and which make my daughter crazy).

 And here's the freshly painted "hutch" that is actually an Ethan Allen Nutmeg book case from the 1950's  I bought it because I've been looking for about 15 years for a hutch that matched my buffet.  The irony:  you can't even see the lines at the top that match the bottom and top of the buffet.

I'm going to link to Esther Liu's WIPs on Wednesday and Freshly Pieced, as well as Connie's Freemotion By the River  and will hope that none of my visitors mind seeing the redecorating endeavors.

Updating to add a link to Vintage Thingee Thursday over at Suzanne's blog.

Happy Quiltmaking.....
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