Saturday, February 28, 2015

Quilt Day!

I did shovel snow yesterday.  Lots more came and lots blew away.  Here's what we are left with this morning; a lot of little freshly hatched snowflake siblings are joining this.

Still no mountains in sight.  Happy to be inside, safe, warm, and with a lot of choices for hot meals and beverages!
Albuquerque is claiming they experienced their highest single-day snowfall since records were started in 1931.  Far from our highest out here in the country (about 40 miles away), but it is plenty; however, there is more on the way.

A perfect day for quiltmaking in a nice, warm house--nice hot meals planned and probably some made-from-scratch-with-almond-milk hot chocolate to be consumed.

 More quilting to be done on a Victory Prayer Quilt for a Kansas cousin who had a heart attack and by-pass surgery a week and a half ago.

 I need to change to a Bobbin-Line thread to quilt the picture panels.

 I'm using one of the new cones of green for most of the rest of the quilting.

I've lost count of the number of prayer quilts ready for quilting (I think I'll line them up for a count this afternoon), and I'm really longing to remove a Singer 15-88 from my treadle cabinet, drop this treasure in, and try her out.  She needs a new name, and I'm open to suggestions.

For all my friends farther east wondering about what we're going to do with these storms, be aware that although they are stalled over Northern and Central New Mexico for the moment, they are not wearing themselves out, so we will probably send them east so we can be ready for the next ones.

And, I just looked out the window, and the high school senior from the farm across the road is out there shoveling for the little old ladies who live on our little street--there are some benefits to getting older!

Happy quiltmaking and knitting,

Friday, February 27, 2015

Candy for Quilters & What Mountains?!

I don't have another finished quilt, but hope to have one soon!
I do have some Candy for Quilters!

I started calling Fil-Tec Glide thread "Candy for Quilters" several years ago--because that's what it reminds me of--minus the calories of real candy, of course.

 At some point Fil-Tec started calling it "Candy for Quilters" too.  This is my latest order, which arrived Wednesday, but I didn't want to fight with the hard working local post office people and didn't have the tracking number with me, so I had to wait until I got home, just after they closed, to look it up.  I found out they had communicated "attempted delivery" to the shipper, but they hadn't really attempted delivery, because they didn't put a card in my post office box.  However, I was able to pick it up yesterday.

In addition to the 5000 meter spools, I ordered some Magna-Glide Classic bobbins, size L.  I chose colors I thought would most readily work on some awaiting quilt backs.
(I do have some crystal candy dishes/plates somewhere, but this favorite old Taylor Smith Taylor saucer is also one of my favorites.)

I do use these bobbins in my vintage sewing machines.  The magnet side goes toward the metal on the bobbin case (but probably would not have to if the bobbin threaded differently).  The magnet keeps the bobbin from spinning out of control when I'm going fast and just feeds very evenly through the machine. They've done well in my class 15 machines as well as in my machines that use a class 66 bobbin.  I haven't tried them on a Singer Featherweight because that uses class 60 bobbins, and is much too small for me to quilt on--yes, I've tried to quilt on it.  I'm sure I could set the stitch length at zero since the feed dogs don't drop.  But I'm just not a fan of tiny projects, so I've never done that.

Yes, I could wind Glide thread onto bobbins and have often done so, but the pre wound ones are wound more tightly and are ready to pop into the bobbin case.

Now for the mountains....there are none visible today!  I live on a high plateau, sometimes called the llano stacado and sometimes called the Estancia Valley.  We're about 6200 to 6400 feet in elevation and surrounded by mountains.  However, we are in the midst of our third/fourth storm this week and have thousands of feet of clouds and a bit of fog and, currently, snow.  The snow is so low that doppler radar is reporting it's not even here.  The mountains surrounding us are all hidden today. (When the mountains disappear, this little town reminds of the little town in Illinois near our family farm.) We have icy, treacherous roads, and more snow.  I got up very early, recognizing I'd need to do some shoveling.  There is a lot of ice under our snow.  I was worried about getting even to the highway, let alone 40 miles down the interstate to my school.  "Down" doesn't quite describe the commute because first we have to climb several hills (which are like mountains back east) and then descend into the city of Albuquerque. Albuquerque  posted two-hour delays for the East Mountain schools and within a couple of hours posted that they would be closed. Then the district I live in posted a school closure.
The state of New Mexico had already posted difficult driving conditions and some road closures.  The police in Albuquerque began closing streets/roads/interchanges due to ice.  Eventually Albuquerque Public Schools cancelled school for today.  Their closure then triggered the closing of a large number of private and state chartered schools as well as Central New Mexico University and the University of New Mexico.

Perfect license for quilting--except I need to do a lot of other things around the house too.  I really hope I accomplish a lot. Perfect day for a few pots of hot tea too!

May you all be warm, safe, and well-fed!

Happy quiltmaking and knitting,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Unexpected Acquisition!

I've spent years looking for a sewing machine "of color" in the hopes that someday the right one would turn up.  The wrong ones have turned up in places as much as 1400 miles away, but there is no way I dare trust anyone but a friend to pack and ship.  (I don't even want to think about the horror stories I've seen and heard, all of which go back to an unwillingness to follow directions.)

Almost two years ago one of my young colleagues was telling me that she sews a little, her husband can sew much more, and they'd been using a sewing machine a friend had loaned them, but they'd had to return it.  We talked about it, and I offered to keep my eyes open for one for her.

Last fall I finally found one I considered acceptable for her based on what she had told me about their interests in using it.
This was at a Salvation Army Store about ten miles from here; as with almost everything at that store, it was grossly overpriced.  The manager condescended to let me plug it in and try it.  There was a major problem with the way it stitched.  In view of the fact that it wouldn't stitch, she condescended some more until we could agree on a price--but she argued with me for a while because she thought I should take the plastic one from the 1970s, which was missing some important parts and still priced much higher!

I brought it home and cleaned and oiled it for my colleague--but we haven't been able to find a time to get together for me to teach her how to thread it, so it's still living at my house.

I know people in the more populated areas of the country are running across some great deals on vintage and antique machines all the time (I watch a facebook group for vintage sewing machines), but they are rare and very seriously overpriced where I live.  However, some of those recent finds by others encouraged me to look at Craigslist for the first time in a couple of months.  One of the first things that popped up was this photo.

I'm guessing the holes where the cabinet knobs used to be gave someone a clue as to which part of the machine to photograph, so the photograph was from the front of the machine.  (If I ever have too much time on my hands and nothing to do, I think I'll calculate the percentage of machines that are not photographed only from the back!) Imagine my amazement to discover she was only about ten or twelve miles from my house and that she had been sitting there with her photo on Craigslist for over a month!  I phoned; the call was answered immediately; I went to see her.

 I brought her home!  She was badged by Macy's, suggesting her first owner was from the East.  (See the pre-drilled holes where most vendors attached their own badge?)We took her out of her table so I could transport her safely.  (Previous owner didn't understand why I wanted to do that--but then he only recently discovered there was a sewing machine in that table!)

When I got the table home, I took out the electricals and the mounting brackets--and some skeletons of daddy-long legs.  I took the sewing table to the thrift store about a mile from my house, the one that provides all kinds of help for families in need (unlike the one ten miles away where I bought the machine for Jessica).

She has no bobbin case.  Since this is what is often called a "15-clone," I can order one.  In the meantime, I can use one from the vintage Necchi that I'm not using right now.  And yes, she needs to be cleaned and given a bath with sewing machine oil. (Yes, that's a little spider web--and not the only one.)

She's a bluer teal than the one I got for Jessica and a little older too--and that's okay.

 How soon will I plug her in?
Probably no time soon, given that she could have served as an accomplice for an arsonist!  It looks like the back of this plug  has a piece of asbestos riveted into it, so I'll need advice about how to get that out if I decide to leave on the motor, rewire, and go electric. I think I can drop her into a treadle cabinet as soon as she's clean enough.  And I'm hoping, since she's a copy of a Singer 15, that I can replace her hand wheel with a spoked wheel and add a hand crank.  I have to investigate that. I'm thinking I'll check with a lady in FL whose elderly father makes wonderful wooden bases for tabletop models--that would work with this new-to-me machine whether it goes electric or hand crank.

I'm really eager to get to work on her, but what I must do first is work on a prayer quilt for a cousin who had a heart attack and heart surgery last week.

She needs a name, folks!

Happy quiltmaking and knitting,

Friday, February 20, 2015

Finished Quilting: February 20, 2015

I've quilted quite a bit over the last couple months and realized it would be wise to combine them in a single post.  My goal has been to increase my quilting output, and thanks to fellow members of our church's Victory Prayer Quilt group, I've been able to do that.  We've been handing out a lot of quilts to people facing serious health challenges, so we needed to get more made.  If I'm counting correctly, there are only about four or five of us making quilts plus one person who sews the binding down on the back. (Link beneath each quilt goes to its own blog post.)

Claudia's Nine Patch, posted here.

Aunt Louise's Flowers (Dancing with Daisies)

 David Orr's Prayer Quilt

Judy's Modern Paths (not on blog)

To visit more quilters, you may want to check out a linky party:
Sarah's Weekly Whoop Whoop Party
Amanda Jean's Crazy Mom Quilts
Sew Many Ways

Happy quiltmaking and knitting....

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Very Different for Me

This is another of our Victory Prayer Quilts.  It was pieced by Claudia, and she started to quilt it and then changed her mind.  I can't help feeling honored that she asked me to do the quilting.  She has a fancy expensive longarm to which, about a year ago, she added IntelliQuilter--so, yes, I was a bit intimidated because I just use my machine and my hands.  However, I'm more pleased with the finished quilt than I would have predicted.

 The fabrics in the block include themed fabrics representing Native American and Australian aboriginal cultures.

 I created a new quilting design for the center sashing rectangles.

 I debated and debated about the blocks but settled on simple Xs and a kind of crossed canoe thing in the center of the blocks.

 I used Fil-Tec Glide bright gold in the blocks, but decided to go with a Glide thread that was some where between a dark sand and a milk chocolate color so that the bright colors of the fabrics could really take center stage.

 I challenged myself to try to connect as many as possible of the interior feathers to the borders,

 I also connected some of the feathers in the outer borders.

 My favorite patch in the entire quilt was the one with this horse's head.

It's still fascinating (and I'm still grateful) that my mind is beginning to create FM quilting designs with an ease closer to which it creates quilt designs.

I'm also grateful that the other members of our prayer quilting group are giving me some of their quilts for quilting.  Their quilts are different from mine, so I'm challenged to come up with new ideas and to use familiar designs in new ways.

Our group is going to meet again this Saturday.  It will be just a business type meeting this time, and we will exchange more quilts to work on.  (And yes, I really should document  the quilts I've made and/or quilted over the last several months.  My goal has been to increase my output, and that is a challenge with a full time teaching job and how exhausted I am at the end of a work day. Of course, the time I spend quilting is almost always my happy time.)

Happy quiltmaking and knitting,

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