Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quilt Progress, Tatting, Lucky Finds

If you came here looking for the give-away that runs through September 4, you will find it on this post.

I spent 2.5 hours in the office of the rehab doctor on Tuesday before he managed to get to me for a 10 minute procedure, there was no time left to run errands (in fact we had to do some car hopping and driver changes in order to get me home).  So yesterday I needed to head into Albuquerque for a couple of purchases, and on the way in I stopped at Good Will.  While I realize lots of people find great bargains at Good Will, it's much more rare here, although five or ten years ago I found wonderful things.  However, yesterday I did find some sweet things.

First the quilting progress:

 I'm trying to decide which of these two threads to use in the border of Little Miss Gardener, the quilt for the new great niece who will arrive in early October.  The thread on the right is Fil-Tec Glide and the one on the left is Fil-Tec Affinity, which is the same as the Glide except it's variegated.  (You might want to take advantage of their sale on Magna-Glide bobbins, which will continue for a few days.  No, I don't work for them.  I just love their threads. I use their size L magnetic bobbins in my Class 15 sewing machines.)

Yes, I will do a tutorial on quilting a feathery border, although I've decided to make it continuous around the entire quilt, which is not the way I do it most frequently.

 Here is the quilt so far, in all it's feathery goodness.  The tutorial for how to do the feathered plumes in the snowball blocks is here.

Good Will purchases:

 Two sets of embroidered pillowcases.   They are 100% cotton, so I'm guessing the cases were purchased in the 40s or 50s. Yes, I was amazed first that something of this quality was in that particular store, and more amazed that they had to have been destinedfor the variegated size 40 tatting thread I purchased this summer from Jess! at Tatilicious.

I suspect the pillow cases were never used  and that it was because an edging was never attached.  I have decided that rather than attach these edgings on the edge, I'll attach them on the hem.  A couple decades ago when I finished a set of pillow cases and sheet with embroidery and tatting, I did attach the lace at the the edge.  Despite the fact that I don't often use that set of sheets, the lace is coming apart in some places.  So I think this lace will last longer if it's on the hem.

Both of these lace edgings are narrow and my own design, because I had no idea how far 50 yards of thread would go--and I did end up ordering more.  I was going to come up with a tatted medallion for each pillow case, and I actually have finished one and have begun another, but the embroidery colors on these cases were so perfect that I just knew they were destined to have lace made from this gorgeous thread hand dyed by this wonderful young woman.

I almost didn't see these treasures.  The frames look like pecan wood--and the framing was done by Pic Frame in Alamagordo.  Beautiful stitching with all x's made properly and thread lying nicely.  We have hummingbirds all summer in our area and even more during migration season.  I'm thrilled to have these.

Okay, there were a couple of more purchases.  One was a file to sharpen the blades of my people-powered push mower because the vintage or antique (more likely) file I've inherited from Grandpa is not doing the job.  Neither the file nor the task is at all romantic, so no picture.

This was a splurge from Sunflower Markets/Sprouts  (they're in transition).  I have not had a slice of blueberry pie for decades!  No kidding.  By the time I was 11 or 12, pie making was my task.  My mom used a recipe from Mazola Oil  (at the time we had no idea I was allergic to corn products), and the pies were more like a tart.  My favorite was blueberry, but we rarely had blueberry filling.  (And now my favorite is cherry, but they had no cherry pies.)

Among my goals for today is to get at least the widest border of Little Miss Gardener done.  I'll take pictures as I work.

I'm linking to Melissa's Try New Things Thursday, despite the fact that attaching lace in a new place has nothing to do with quilting (except that bed quilts deserve to be accompanied by beautiful pillow cases).

Happy quiltmaking......

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quilt Progress and Stolen Blog Contents

We write blogs because we enjoying writing or enjoy sharing with friends and followers.
I admit that I'm pretty naive about a lot of things on the internet--especially a lot of yucky stuff that I don't even want my brain to know about.

However, I do very much care for the people who read and follow my blog because they have an interest in quiltmaking.  I hope my own negative experience will enable others to take  steps to protect their blogs too.

We really need to check our stats regularly and see who is visiting us.  It is a kind of strange feeling to know anyone can visit us and that most of the time we'll know nothing about who they are or why they visit.  That's happened to me recently.  I noticed a whole bunch of hits by myhealthscore, many hits from  websites that were mostly numbers, and from"filmhill" and "pregolom" that just didn't make sense. (Do *not* click on those websites in your stats because some of them will download more nasty stuff into your computer!)  I went searching for blog posts about them.  What has happened is that "Broken Control" is stealing our content so that when someone searches for us or for something we've written about, the Broken Control link comes up near the top of search engines.  When visiting the Broken Control website, the reader is asked to download what turns out to be malware (it doesn't have to be downloaded; at least, so far, it's a choice) and links the reader to the stolen content.  Of course it is illegal, but it's still happening.
Here's a post on someone else's blog where you can read more.
You can search for a stolen post by putting the name of your blog [a colon] and the name of a post in a search engine--or just search for the name of your blog.  When you get a link that includes "Broken Control", you'll have found the theft.

Once we get them to respond to our [courteous] e-mails, we need to check to see if content was really removed (apparently they remove some older content anyway) and then we need to change our passwords (although apparently they didn't need our passwords to steal our content).

While my heart goes out to anyone whose quilt is stolen (it happened to me at a quilt show years ago and the quilt miraculously showed up six months later at the shop where I was teaching), it seems even creepier that someone would steal our content and perpetrate on our readers.

Update:  It took Broken Controller alias alias M. B. Julien, Director, Evershark about three hours to remove any content that I could find in the Google search engine.
Please, as someone else has commented, refrain from clicking on suspicious sites on your stats page--that's a good way to download things you do not want to see, malware, etc.  We want our friends to stay safe.

Update Two:  To help us all prevent or at least deter stolen blog posts, here is a post from Susan at Between Naps on the Porch with more information on how to protect our blogs.

On a much, much happier note, here is some quilting progress on Little Miss Gardener.  I'm at the light yellow quilting thread stage, so the feathers and plumes don't show up all that well, but I am making progress, nevertheless.

Need to finish the outside of this plume.  (Yes, I was stopped in the middle, but notice the needle is down so the quilt will not shift.)

 And for a bit more joy, some late summer morning glories.
If you came here looking for my Blog Hop Party Give Away, that post is here.

I'm linking to Esther's WOW [WIPs on Wednesday] and Freshly Pieced.

Please feel free to share with your friends and bloggers about stolen content so they can protect their blogs too.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tutorial: How to Quilt a Plume in a Snowball

...or in an alternate plain block...or in just about any space.

This is a tutorial, so, yes, it is a very picture-heavy post.
The quilt I'm quilting is Little Miss Gardener, which consists of 6-inch nine patches, snowball blocks, and three borders.

I'm quilting on my vintage Necchi BU Nova in 1919 Singer treadle irons.  This technique is so generic that it can be accomplished on most domestic sewing machines with or without tails [tails are sometimes called power cords] or longarm quilting machines.

Captions are beneath the relevant photos, because pictures can speak louder than words.....

 The plume begins with a circular spine, so we set a spool of Glide in the center of the block....checking from the top to be sure it was more or less centered on the block. We could just as easily have used a round container, cup, glass, but the spools of Glide are so handy.

 I used a tracing wheel that I've had since the 1970's to trace around the spool of thread.  (Yes, that little arm on the tracing wheel is because back a few decades ago, we always used 5/8" seam allowances on our clothing.)

 When I moved the spool away, I could see where to stitch the spine.  The marking could just as easily have been done with a Hera Marker or a .05 mm mechanical pen with no lead exposed.

We need to know where to begin and end this plume, so we select the half way point of the circle, and the corner from which the plume will grow.

 To make it clearer for you, I marked the half way point with the tracing wheel....

 and the diagonal from the corner triangle.

Important!:  At any point during the stitching process, when we stop, we need to be sure the needle is down.  It is so very easy for the quilt to shift just a bit, yielding an ugly stitch.  With a treadle it is very easy to stop perfectly, but with an electric it's almost as simple to extend our right hand and stop the wheel when the needle is in the fabric.

 Beginning at the diagonal, we stitch the line around the circle,......
 and then, just before we reach the beginning of our stitching line (about an inch away, although it could
 easily be a little further), we stitch to the corner of the triangle and

  stitch a teardrop and then continue stitching smaller feathers as we travel up the left side of the spine, because we have to feather our way through the opening in the circle.

 Of course, we could just as easily begin by stitching the right side [outer side] of the feather, but the inner feathers need to be smaller than the outer ones, so I prefer to do the fiddly part first,.....

so I can move on to the more pleasurable part.

 We continue around the inner spine with the feathers.....

 creating smaller feathers as we reach the tip [top] of the spine.

 At the top of the spine, we make an elongated, roundish feather and then travel around the circle in the opposite direction, stitching about 1/8th inch away from that original spine.  The 1/8th inch is not set in stone--it just looked good on this feather.  If we were quilting a twelve or fifteen inch block, we might want 1/4 inch between the lines of the spine.

 We stitch all the way back to the base of the spine.

Then we stitch an elongated teardrop shape--or, as I like to think of it, one half of a narrow, graceful heart.

 We stitch a nice curved line until we reach the top of the tear drop,...

 retrace the top of the feather,...

and add the top and side of the next feather [above view from the back of the presser foot].

 Here's the same point in the stitching viewed from the front of the machine.

 We continue on our merry way, adding new feathers, retracing the tip, and stitching a new feather.

 I like this part of the stitching because the feathers can be fuller since the curve is not so tight.

 We're at our third corner of the block,....

 and we continue to the fourth corner,...

 and we continue to the fourth side of the block.

 At this point our feathers are pretty full,.....

 but since we need to rejoin the tip of the plume, we need a much smaller feather.....

 and a couple even smaller ones to complete the tip.

 We snip our threads.....

and have a look at our very happy little plume.
Easier done than one might suppose.

Jeane says I should be sure to tell you that I do not turn my quilt when I'm stitching these plumes.  It may look like it because I used some different angles for the photos, but the orientation of the quilt did not change.

Also, when I get to the tip of the plume, I just fill in with whatever size feathers are needed, making sure that the ones near the tip are smaller--they just seem to work out better all that way.  If I'm on the second side, I don't even concern myself whether the final feather is complete; I just join it to the feather at the tip of the spine.

The plumes could just as easily travel in the opposite  direction, and on this quilt I have both clockwise and counter-clockwise plumes.  You know, I really have trouble getting my feet to go where they need to when I dance,  and these little plumes almost convince me that I am dancing!

When you try this, please let me know how it works out for you.  If you are not quite ready to try it, you'll find more quilting help on this tutorial. In addition, if you try this and find that some of my instructions lacked clarity, please let me know where the breakdown happens for you so I can attempt to make this clearer and easier.

Oh!  Bonus information:  Fil-Tec Magna Glide Classics bobbins are on sale through Tuesday, September 4. My vintage class 15 machines use L bobbins.  Because the engineering on my Necchi is so close, I do remove several yards.  I didn't try these bobbins for a while because I just could not imagine how thread wound around the small magnetic core could replace a bobbin.  Folks, those Magna Glide bobbins are heaven sent--even in a vintage sewing machine!  They unwind soooooo smoothly--and the lack of tension issues is a real blessing!  I especially love that these classics come in one of my favorite colors for quilting--Bright Gold.

If you came here looking for my post for Michelle Foster's Blog Hop Party and Give-Away, click this link.  (Give-away closes Wednesday, September 5, 2012.)

I'm linking up to Judy Laquidera's Design Wall Monday, despite the fact that it was the bed of my machine, and not a wall, where this design was created.

I'm also linking up to Elizabeth at Pieceful Life's Little Quilt Monday. If you have a little quilt, from tiny to baby quilt size, I'm sure she'd be glad to have you link up too.

Happy Quiltmaking.....

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Little Miss Gardener, Blog Hop Party, and Give-Away

This Give Away is now Closed.

How about a Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways?

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

It's being organized by Michele Foster over at Quilting Gallery.
I'm taking part.  I'll share what I'm giving away in a bit, but first, a little more of Little Miss Gardener, much more quilted, but not yet done. Life just keeps throwing little surprises my way, but she will get done--hopefully, I'll have her completed before we get too far into the weekend.

As a reminder, here's the top, completed last weekend:
 And here are some of the quilted nine-patches and snowballs:
 Yes, quite a few thread changes.
 I especially love the plumes I'm quilting in the snowballs.  
While I'm using Fil-Tec Glide thread for most of the quilting, I'm using Fil-Tec Affinity on the pale aqua.  Affinity is much like Glide but is variegated.  This has soft blues.
 Yes, this quilt is being made on my Necchi BU in a treadle cabinet.
 And, yes, it's really easy to forget one is treadling--and the exercise is a great bonus.
 I've been asked to show how I do the plumes in the snowball blocks, so I plan to do that in an upcoming post.
 And now for the give-away.  These are eight of my hand-dyed fabrics.
I began dyeing some of my own fabrics sixteen or seventeen years ago--inspired by a lovely lady, a former student in Chattanooga, who wanted fabrics "in the colors I see in my head."  Of course, shortly after I began dyeing, children entered my life, limiting my sewing and quiltmaking time.  Every once in a while I'd steal some time and do more dyeing--which has resulted in shelves well stocked with an array of colors more likely to be found in someone's head than in stores.  I used unbleached and bleached muslin in 36" width and, occasionally, I splurged on Kona cotton. These were dyed from narrow fabric, so they are not quite the same size as the "fat quarters" most of us are familiar with today.

The colors above are a grape-y violet, dark fuchsia, sky blues, sea blues, and a blue green.  All were dyed by mixing Procion MX dyes from Dharma Trading and with very little movement in the dye bath (usually in Solo cups) so the textures are lovely.  About the same time my quilting friends back east were ordering their dyes from Pro Chemical & Dye, and here we are years later, still saying we should do some kind of exchange of our hand dyed fabrics.  (Pro Chem is having a sale on their dyes through August 31, including PRO MX Grape, which is hard to find in an MX dye.)

If you would like this little bundle of fabrics, here's what you need to do to enter the drawing:
1. Be a follower.  Leave a comment telling me you are a follower and something about your quiltmaking endeavors or your first quilt--or if you are not yet a quilter, what you'd like to be able to make.

That's it.  No other hoops to jump through.  We'll draw a winner September 5.  I'm willing to ship this little bundle internationally.
It would be a good idea to check your settings and be sure you are not a no-reply blogger.  I'll e-mail the winner and post the name of the winner on this blog. (And if the winner does not respond, I will do another drawing.)

Please be aware that if you are a no-reply blogger, I will not be able to contact you if you win.  It would be okay to leave your e-mail address in your comment.

You might want to head over to Michele's and check out more blogs and more give-aways. (She says she expects the list of links to be up shortly after midnight in the wee hours of August 26.) Sounds like fun Sunday surfing and the chance to make some new blogging friends.

Happy quiltmaking....
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