Monday, April 25, 2011

Three Giveaways

#1 – 12 RJR fat quarters

#2 – "Discovery 1492" by Jinny Beyer for RJR fabrics (border fabric is over 1 yard, toile fabric is a fat quarter and 10 fat eighths)

#3 Wool and instructions for pumpkin penny rug

Leave a comment, letting me know which drawings you want to be included in, on this post by 9:00AM Monday, May 2. You can be in 1, 2 or all 3 drawings.

Featherweight Update –
The featherweight’s back and running and all I paid for was a regular service charge. Yippee!!! I know I would be curious so I want to tell you I paid $300 for it at the antique shop (originally priced $395). The woman acted like I was stealing it from her, which I didn’t quite understand. I guess I don’t know the business She initially said $325 when I asked about the discount (remember she is having a going out of business sale) and then when I was running the machine she said $300 in a huff and walked away. At the time I was thinking – I’m willing to pay $300, but should I offer her less in hopes of meeting at $300. She saved me the trouble. When I checked out she practically threw the receipt at me! Guess she was having a bad day. So all in all, I ended up paying $375 for the featherweight. I think that is a good deal around here. I see featherweights selling on a local quilters e-newsletter every once in a while and they are usually going for about $500. I’m sure condition has a lot to do with the price and mine has a few dings. That’s okay with me- I won’t be too upset if I add a few more ;o)
Last night I started stitching some crumb blocks.
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Want Fulfilled!!!

This past Tuesday I headed west to Manassas, Virginia. It is only about a 35 minute drive. I had heard about a new quilt shop out there – Aurora Quilts – and a shop with fabrics, yarns and needlework supplies – Old Town Needlecrafts. Aurora Quilts had a nice selection of fabrics for a very tiny shop and Old Town had a lot of quilting fabric even though knitting seems to be their main gig. 

 Church Street in Manassas Virginia. Aurora Quilts is in the building on the right.

 A church on the opposite corner.

The railroad tracks and a corner cafe.

I also visited a nice gift shop called Whimsical Galerie. Then, I headed for the antique shops. I spent quite a while in Iron Horse Antiques. I found several quilts I thought were charming…

 Double Wedding Ring

My head is spinning from looking in block books trying to find an exact match for this one.  An album block or postage stamp? What would you call it?

Love the red thread used for the hand quilting. 

 Whirligig or Flyfoot or something else? This one is a top that was both hand and machine stitched.

 I thought the barber shop cabinet to the right would be a fun place to store threads and other notions.

 another Double Wedding Ring - took some closeups of this one...


But the only thing that came home with me from Iron Horse was this kitchen scale. I thought it was cute and I could say we “needed” it for weighing fruits and vegetables when canning this summer.

My big find was at a going out of business sale. I walked in the door and in the first booth I went into found a black box on the floor. Hmmm. Grabbed the tag – feather light sewing machine. Hmmm. Dropped my purse and stooped down (ouch!), kneeled down. Opened the case, pulled out the top shelf full of attachments and a bobbin, pulled out the machine and started inspecting it. Looks like a Singer Featherweight! So I went up to the front desk and asked about their discount. She gave me a price. It was a good discount, but still a little more than I wanted to pay for something that needed service and possibly repairs. I went back to the booth and called my husband – giving him the serial number and asking him to look it up online - a 1938 221 manufactured in New Jersey. OK – it is a Featherweight – not just me wishing it so. She went down again on her price and it was sold.

I didn’t squeal until after I was in my car!

Here’s my new toy. It’s in the shop now. I can’t wait to get it back – just hope it’s not too, too expensive. 
These machines are so darn cute!

The view out the window above my kitchen sink.
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rollup and Shoofly

Here is my weekend project. It didn’t take all weekend, but it took longer than it should. I bought the booklet Pockets and Rollups for My Red Cape by Edyth C. O’Neill last year. I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for it because the pattern instructions were pretty sparse. Photos or drawings would have helped. It took some sewing and unsewing to finally figure out what I was supposed to do. To be fair, there is a lot of other informative text about textiles then and now and some nice photos in the book.

I feel really stupid! I just picked up the book to start giving the missing instructions (I was looking for the pattern piece letters) and FOUND DIAGRAMS on one of the pattern pages. Are you kidding! There was nothing in the text in the part titled "Instructions for making Pockets and Rollups" to refer to diagrams on the pattern page. Bother! Okay, so I'll just show you how I made the little clasp for the button.

I made a 1/2" wide strip much longer than I needed - about 2 1/2" long. I pressed it in half and then half again.

Pinned it - probably should have used my little applique pins, but they were upstairs.

Then I topstitched it. I had to coax it along some by manually advancing it and then pulling the back thread because the feed dogs didn't have much to grab.

Trimmed it and attached it to the rollup before sewing on the binding. Then I trimmed it again.

The size of the loop was just big enough for the button to slip through.

This was intended as a gift, but I think I'll have to make another one.  The top fabric looks a little odd. There is another flower below and to the right of the flower showing, but it is covered by the first pocket. I'm also not happy with the color of the binding and the blue pocket. Also, the gathered pocket is a little too loose. I guess I'll just have to keep it for myself ;o)

The Shoofly is in the machine. I’m just doing some simple free motion quilting. I liked the designs in Eva A. Larkin's book Free Motion Quilting Made Easy and auditioned some of them on butcher paper (drawing the block pattern first).

It seemed like most of them were either taking too much brain power to execute or too many stitched points coming together at the center so I ended up with this.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Easter Decorations and My Neighborhood

The sun finally shone yesterday and it was warm enough to open the front door. This allowed me to get a good shot of my Easter decorations without using the flash. The wooden baskets are two my family put out for the Easter Bunny to fill when I was growing up. My mom made the cute stitched baskets for my kids when they were little. Love what my little French quilt adds to the display!

I recently realized I have a lot of bunnies. The print and plate were both yard sale finds.

I made these bunnies and quilt for my parents years ago. This is their guestroom bed.

My son and I took the dogs on a long walk yesterday morning. It was so reviving! The sun was out and the air was warm. My neighborhood is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is a nice neighborhood to live in and we have an active civic association. We have a lot of original owners and people who grew up here and returned to live as adults. Some people buy here thinking of it as a starter home and never leave. We have a small shopping center, business park and library within walking distance. I always see someone I know when I stop in the Caribou Coffee Shop.
These are serviceberry trees we planted a couple of years ago. They replaced a dogwood we planted 20 years ago when we moved in. Dogwoods are having a hard time of it around here. The serviceberry was recommended as a sturdy, native tree. We could make a pie with the berries it produces, but we'd have to beat the birds to them first! We have electrical wires and I made sure the trees were planted away from them. However, the one on the right is leaning and it looks like it is headed for the wires! Geez!
 The path to the park is across the street from us and up a couple of houses.

I love it when the violets bloom in the grass.
Some fun lawn ornaments.

 A bear?
 Hi,  Squirrel Nutkin!
 Love the redbuds.
 Every neighborhood needs a pink flamingo.

Not much in the way of stitching done this week…
I basted the Shoofly for Japan top. (Vivian, does that pink fabric look familiar?). I had just enough of the blue and white backing fabric. It is Romantic Legacy by The International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska for Free Spirit. I’m still thinking about how to quilt it. Most likely, I will do something in each block using a pattern exactly or inspired by those in Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy 186 designs from 8 simple shapes by Eva A. Larkin. This weekend is pretty free so I hope to get a good start on it.

I did a little mending on the colonial popcorn spread, watched Precision Piecing by Sally Collins on DVD and started reading Quiltmaking by Hand by Jinny Beyer.

And finally, last night I appliquéd one hexagon block. I changed my mind about using the black blanket stitch by machine – I’m going to keep going with the hand stitching. I now have 8 blocks appliquéd.

Have a great weekend and if it applies, spring break. Next week should be a quiet one for me. I’m looking forward to it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef

My mom and I went downtown yesterday to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to see the crochet coral reef. It was beyond anything we could have imagined. I’m sorry for so many, many photos, but it was hard to pick from the many I took. Remember to click on them to enlarge.

I think this one might have been made with some vintage pieces.

This woman is showing the crochet reef examples to these kids. The girl has a magnifying glass. There were a lot of kids around and they seemed to think this was very cool (or awesome or whatever they say nowadays).

 The top piece is made with hair bands, and notice the crocheted flowers in the center.

 A plastic bottle is used in the piece that has a lot of orange.

This display was 7 feet tall!


This is my favorite shot. Notice in the left, top the big clam shell on it's side. 

 This is a real one!

The HCCR is a project by the Institute For Figuring (love this name!). The HCCR was created and curated by Margaret and Christine Wertheim.  From the brochure – “The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is a celebration of the intersection of geometry and handicraft and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world. Launched as a response to the devastation of living reefs from global warming and ocean acidification, the Crochet Reef resides equally in the realms of art, science, mathematics and environmentalism.”

I learned to crochet as a teenager, but I haven’t done it since my 20’s. I’m remembering the afghan I made my step sister and her new husband back in 1976. It was made of black and neon yellow, green, blue and orange (maybe some other colors, too) granny squares. What a sight! I’m sure she got rid of that thing a long time ago. My mom is a knitter and I learned to knit a few years ago.  I made a few items, but knitting hurts my hands so I gave it up (I’m sparing them for quilting!). I haven’t tried to pick up crocheting again because I heard it is hard on the wrists. This is tempting me, but since I don’t need a coral reef (in the oceans, yes, but not in my house) I think I’m safe. ;O)

For more information, go to