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......
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