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Sewing again

My lovely niece Hannah is getting married in July.  She lives far away, and I don’t get to see her very often.  I was very touched to learn that she still uses a quilt that I made for her when she was a little girl.     H-quilt Dec 2000

Hannah asked me to make a quilt as a gift for her maid of honour.  What an honour for me to be such an important part of her Big Day!  :)  She admired a quilt that I made for her Grandad a while back, and asked if I could use that colour scheme for her friend’s quilt.
Dad's quilt

I still had a lot of that fabric in my stash and thought how easy this would be!

2014-05-20 17.16.34

When I looked at the fabric selection again, I was less enthusiastic.  The colours were still nice, and the fabric was in excellent condition, as my stash lives in a windowless dark room under the stairs.  But I no longer have every fabric from the original, and it all looked a bit boring and dated and not very feminine.  These are young sophisticated working women in their mid-20′s, so I definitely wanted something more contemporary without being overly girly.

After a little trip to the fabric store and mixing and matching with other choices from my stash, I finally had the good mix that I saw in my “vision” of Hannah’s quilt.

The new fabrics:
2014-05-20 17.27.56

The two groups together:

2014-05-20 17.29.28

This pattern is a variation of a Victorian crazy quilt.  Here are the little components shuffled and ready to assemble into blocks.

components

And the first completed block:

Completed block
I love this pattern.  It’s called “Stack, Cut and Shuffle”, and it was designed by Marion Patterson.  It’s from the book, love…Quilting.    This is a great book, and I highly recommend it.  No affiliation, I just like this book a lot.  Every pattern looks like fun to make.

book cover

The finished quilt top at Stage 1:

Top Stage 1

The pattern instructions  are complete at this stage, but I’m going to make some changes.  It is 40 inches x 60 inches now, and I want it larger, so I’m going to add 5-inch borders all around.  Then the abstract blocks will look like they are “floating” on a green background.

 

As usual, I am behind schedule.  It’s been a topsy turvy couple of years for our family and our house.  My sewing room has been re-purposed (again), and I have become a sewing nomad, working in different areas of the house wherever there is a flat surface.  ;-)

I am also very slow at sewing.  I always chase perfection, but I realise now that is the first step on the road to madness for me.  I’m trying to be more relaxed now, do my best work and enjoy the process without stressing over it.  Especially as the wedding draws near, I realise that FINISHED really is “better than perfect”.  But it’s going to be as perfect as I can manage.  :) Happy Wedding, Hannah!  I hope you like the quilt.   XOXOXO

More later as the finishing stages are completed!

Happy Quilting!  :)

And I was just going to tell you what I did with my Summer vacation!!!

It hasn’t been a brilliant year for sewing or quilting, but I did manage to finish one project.  This was a birthday present for my friend Dena in June 2013.

She chose this Green string quilt from my stack of finished tops needing quilting, along with a burgundy print backing fabric to match her new sofa.

Quilt on Wall

I quilted it with a simple Free Motion meandering pattern on my domestic sewing machine.  Not the most skilled meandering, but I am improving.  :)

Dena quilt2

I attached the binding by machine using Pat Sloan’s method, which worked great for me.

Dena quilt

And when I visited Dena’s home last week, I was so thrilled to see her quilt on the back of her sofa!  She likes it!  That’s such a good feeling.  :)

quilt at D's house

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Quilting, too!

The Wedding

Our older daughter was married last weekend.  It’s been a busy time with preparations, and I was able to use my home sewing skills to make some special things for the big day.   :)

My daughter liked this style of ring pillow, so I made this one for her:

We purchased our bride’s wedding dress from a bridal shop, but we couldn’t find just the right dress for our younger daughter to wear as a bridesmaid.  So…back to the ways of my childhood, I did as my mother would have done, and we went to the fabric store to look at patterns and fabric.  We found just the right shade of pink silk dupion as requested by the bride, and my little one chose McCalls 5795 pattern as the dress she would like to wear.

This is a lovely pattern, and the instructions are easy to follow.  I had a few problems putting in the zipper, but I think that was my own fault from inexperience, as I had never sewn anything so complicated before.  I had difficulty managing all the layers — silk outer fabric, taffeta lining and tulle overskirt — even though I had carefully hand-basted everything together.   But after the second attempt, it was fine, and next time it will be easier!  :)  Now that I’ve made this one, I’m eager to try it again.

Here’s the dress almost finished, just needing a bit of handwork:

It turned out really well, and here are our two lovely girls on the Big Day:

I suddenly realised that my “little one” isn’t so little anymore.  And my “big girl” is all grown up.  Where does the time go?

Happy Quilting — and Sewing!  :)

Esmeralda Comes Home

This is Esmeralda.  She is a beautiful green Singer 327K, serial number  ET670062, with a registration date of July 31, 1962.   She has just come home from the sewing machine hospital, where she was put right again after an extreme case of smokin’ hot foot pedal!
The official Singer serial number list shows this number as belonging to a 328K, but Esme is clearly marked “327K”.  The K just means that she was manufactured at Singer’s Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland.
I do simple repairs and maintenance on my hand-crank and treadle machines, but electrical problems are beyond my skills. My sewing machine guy is brilliant — he rewired the original foot pedal and saved the vintage casing and electrical cord to keep Esme’s green and brown colour scheme intact.
The sewing machine man was even able to get a new green bobbin winder tyre!
Esme uses Class 66 bobbins, which are inexpensive and easy to find.

and she has a lovely storage case that clips on…

She has a new needle plate, too…

and now she’s just as pretty as the day she came out of the factory, and she sews just as well, too!  :)

Happy Quilting!

On a recent journey down south in England, we visited Bletchley Park National Codes Centre, famous for World War II codebreakers and the mathematical genius Alan Turing and his colleagues.  The 2001 movie Enigma was filmed there, although that is a highly fictionalised account of the activities that took place there.

We saw Enigma machines and the Colossus computer, took a tour of the grounds and later had a nice picnic outdoors.

My husband loves computers, and my daughter and I are very interested in antique toys and household items.  While he was off looking at other computers, we were thrilled to find this antique Husqvarna sewing machine from the 1920s in a little museum.

The colours in the decals were still so bright and lovely.  We were allowed to turn the handle, and the mechanism was smooth and silent!

In the toy section, we saw a tiny sewing machine in a dolls house:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and we saw some of our other favourites, too — Mr. Punch (of Punch and Judy fame):

and a Batman joystick from an old computer games console!  We really love Batman at our house!

It was great day out with something for everyone!   :)

Happy Quilting!

I’ve been visiting this book  — Traditional British Quilts by Dorothy Osler — at my public library about once a month for the past two years.  It’s in the reference section, so I couldn’t check it out and take it home with me.  It was also published in 1987, and it’s been out of print for a while, so for the longest time, I couldn’t even find a copy to buy.  Until now!  I just found it last week!  :)

I fell in love with a wonderful quilt on Page 29.  It’s called Medallion Quilt in multicoloured cottons;  North Country:  c. 1880.  The photo is in black and white, so I can’t see the “multicoloured cottons,” but I know it must be really special.  Every time I looked at this book in the library,  I made lots of notes and little drawings so I could remember what the quilt looked like.

 

Then I came home and started making my own version of the Medallion Quilt in all the deep reds and burgundies I had in my stash.  I wanted my quilt to be rectangular instead of square, so I changed the centre design from 9 squares with sashing to 12 squares with sashing.

The borders and cornerstones will increase by 1/2 inch in width with each subsequent row.  Borders 3 to 6 are already cut out and ready to go.

Border 7 will be a Flying Geese “Goose Chase” flowing in anti-clockwise direction, and the geese will be made of all the scrap fabrics left over from the other borders.  Here’s an example of that pattern from the Quilters Cache website.

I haven’t done the maths, so I don’t know how big this quilt will turn out to be, and I’m not going to make myself feel guilty for taking a long time to finish it.  It’s been such an interesting project — I just want to savour it!  :)

Happy Quilting!

Next up, Scrappy Trips Around the World, using Bonnie K. Hunter’s free pattern on her website.

Sometimes I see a quilt pattern first and then visualise it in my own fabrics.  This time, we found a wonderful fabric first.  I bought this cute snake fabric because my little girl liked it so much.  And when I saw Bonnie’s pattern, I knew it would be perfect!

This is a Moda fabric called “Sss-silly Safari” and designed by Cheri L. Strole.  I’m going to use it for the outer borders.

I had lots of colourful scraps left over from another quilt I made for my daughter in 2008, which I combined with other brights from my stash for this project.  My little one loves these happy colours.

Here are the first eight blocks assembled:

And more strips pinned and ready to sew:

Thank you very much, Bonnie, for sharing your lovely pattern!  :)

Happy Quilting!

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