Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - Snow Dragon Progress

Last week I had finished the body of the Snow Dragon from the Flying Minor Norwegian Dragon patterns, and I was looking forward to completing the wings and putting it together. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten very far on the wings.

Snow Dragon Wing (started)
I found out that these dragon wings are very complex, working with two shuttles and making rings, chains, and split rings with both. It is especially hard to keep straight when worked in the same color thread. I have started working a test piece in different colors so that I can see better how the different threads work together.

Dragon Wing Test
From the pattern, this is how the wing is to start, with the upper ring and the outside half of the split ring (on the right) in one thread (that is, from one shuttle), and the rest of the row worked from the other thread (from the second shuttle).  Then it gets really complicated.  

I think I am going to have to work out how to break the pattern down even more, so that it tells me not only what stitches to do, but also which shuttle to do them with.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Dear Jane C-7, Megan's Mountain Laurel Completed

I finished Megan's Mountain Laurel.  I love how the paper-piecing came out, but the applique is only OK - those extra sharp points are a bear to get perfect.  Clocking in at 45 pieces, this block took some serious time to complete.  I finished the paper-piecing on Friday, prepared the applique on Saturday, then started working on it Sunday at the Blanketeer Bee.  With those sharp points, I should probably have attempted reverse applique, but all my previous attempts at reverse applique have turned out just awful! 

The next few blocks in Row C are much simpler than "Megan." What a relief!  Looking at it objectively, the case could be made that Row C is one of the most difficult rows in the entire Dear Jane quilt.  Sure, it does not contain "Papa's Star", but Row C is full of blocks with pointy appliques, and lots of complex paper-piecing - sometimes on the same block.  It makes me look forward to D-13, everyone's favorite siggy block.  

Six on Sunday - Week 12

This week we are finishing up with the pet equipment from the coat closet, plus some clothing from a storage box in Susan's closet.

Tops and sweaters, an old electric toothbrush, a dog sweater and dog collar,
set of eyeglass cases - 8.5 pounds

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Singer Restoration Saturday - Preparing Stencils and Cleaning Parts

Last week, I was only needing to get a few more pieces of the Model 66 I'm working on, and I could start stripping the head.  I wound up having to get a new screwdriver, one with a narrow enough head to fit through an access hole in the back of the faceplate area, and short enough not to bump into the arm with the handle.

My other screwdrivers were too wide or too long
Now I just need to get the brass Singer badge off the side of the arm, and I am ready to strip off the paint.  I will have to reach in and straighten these pins so that I can pull them out and release the badge.

Not as badly bent as in a Model 127
And, of course, there is the cleaning of the parts I took off.  A little scrubbing with soap and water and a toothbrush really makes a difference.

These two parts used to look the same
And finally, I am trying to work with stencils, rather than decals.  I have captured a photo of the Singer logo on the arm, and will try to 
use it as a stencil when repainting it.

That's all for now!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday round-up: Crocheting, Tatting and Knitting

Grandma has been on baby jacket kick again, so I have brought her latest creation home to complete the fancy edging.  She does not like to do that part anymore!  I don't mind; this is the yarn we gave her at Christmas, and it is very soft and lovely to work with.

Larry has completed the tatting for this handkerchief that Grandma started.  His tatting has gotten so good!  The only difference I can tell between his tatting and Grandma's is that his rounds are a bit further apart from one another.  I will have to mind my stitching to keep the rounds the same distance apart on the hankie. Constant vigilance!  lol

I finally finished the scarf I have been working on at Grandma's place.  The skein seemed to be endless.  There was a large, poorly handled knot towards the very end of the skein.  I decided that was a sign, and ended the scarf before I had to deal with the knot.  It is certainly plenty long.

We are having a bee this Sunday.  Perhaps I can finish edging the baby jacket and the hankie there, then I won't have to schlep my sewing machine along with me.

Happy stitching,
Susan in Texas

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dear Jane C-7, Megan's Mountain Laurel - a good beginning

You know it is going to be a fiddly block when getting this much done feels like a big accomplishment.  There are 45 tiny little pieces in Megan's Mountain Laurel, including four tiny little appliqued diamonds.  Megan is going to take awhile!  

I do love the "kite tail" stage. This took so long that my Clover iron got really hot waiting for me.  I had to use a press cloth to avoid scorching the muslin, but on the bright side, these tiny little pieces now lay perfectly flat. :O

And, of course, I just love the batik.  I believe the blue was a recent acquisition last Christmas in Green Bay.  So pretty!

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wordy Wednesday: Harlequin Johnny - Conquering Inset Seams, a Tutorial

I am so happy!  I got all 100 inset seams completed on the Harlequin blocks.  All the seams lay nice and flat, with no puckers, and only a few garbled seams on the underside to vex me.

First I removed the paper from the large center square on the block. The inset seams are much easier to align after the center paper is gone, because the blocks move much more freely without it.  I also ripped out paper around the inner point on both the top and bottom of the block to get a clear field of vision.

I swept my finger between the two pieces of fabric to get all the inner seam allowances out the way of the next seam.  I did not do this at first and my previous seam allowances got sewn to the front of the block.  Yuck!  

I then stuck a guide pin straight through the point, just underneath where the two seams came together, making sure to check the back to verify the pin was coming out in the correct location too.

I looked between the fabrics to verify the guide pin did not catch on anything it was not supposed to, and to verify that all the previous seam allowances are well from the next seam.

I placed a pin at the point, right underneath the guide pin, making sure it evenly bisected the angle.  I will start sewing at this pin, so it needs to be as close as possible to the guide pin.  After this pin is in place, the guide pin is removed.

I placed another guide pin at the outer edge of the block and pinned there just as you would for matching any two paper pieced sections. I also placed a guide pin through the seam line at the center of the seam, to make sure my paper pieces are properly aligned, then I place a pin there.  It is really important that the entire seam is properly aligned, and all this pinning really helps to insure that.  

It is finally time to sew the seam.  Place the point directly under the needle.  Sometimes my two previous seams did not quite meet. When that happened, I aligned the needle just behind the pin to avoid having a tiny hole at the point.  When laying the block beneath the needle, take the time to sweep back the seam allowances so they lay flat on the underside.  I skipped this step a few times and some of those underside seam allowances got sewn in all wonky.

With some of the paper gone, use the quarter inch foot to get the correct seam allowance, and aim for the line on the paper.  Always use a leader and ender for this type of sewing, you do not want a thread nest at the point! 

With 100 inset seams on 25 blocks, I got lots of practice in this technique.  It was not as bad as I had feared, and I got very good results when I followed all the above steps.

Now I just have to remove the rest of the paper, iron the blocks and trim them down.  I gave the blocks an extra quarter inch to allow for paper-piecing "shrinkage".  I do not believe I would do that again.  These larger blocks do not seem to experience shrinkage to nearly the degree that that tiny Dear Jane blocks do, and now I have to trim them all down, but that is a task for another day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - Snow Dragon Progress

My new tatting project is a Flying Minor Norwegian Dragon, from a free pattern posted on the internet by Anne Bruvold.  I stumbled across it while I was looking around for animal patterns, and I thought it looked mighty cool.

Flying Minor Norwegian Dragon - Head, Body, and Tail
This is a Snow Dragon, since it is all in white.  The linked pattern also identifies several other color variations, and suggests there might be others not yet classified.

The basic shape of the dragon is very easy to see, from the tip of the snout, down the neck to the rounded body, to the barb at the tip of the tail.  The threads where the neck joins the body are not part of the wings, although they are suggestive of where the wings will be eventually.

Part of the challenge of mastering these dragons is the use of a new (to me, at least) technique, the Single Shuttle Split Ring (SSSR). All the rings of the dragon's backbone are SSSRs. The pattern does not explicitly teach you how to do the SSSR, but does provide a link you can follow to find instructions on how to do it.

I am just starting on the wings, which are started separately and each is joined to the body as you work it.

Soon I should have a Snow Dragon to bring me cool thoughts during these hot summer months!


Monday, July 27, 2015

Grand Illusion - the Block Building continues

Back to Grand Illusion agan:  I have been broken up the construction of the Grand Illusion blocks into manageable sections.  In the last GI post, I put together the center strip.  This time I did the top of the blocks.  Of course, the tops and bottoms of the GI blocks are identical, so I was able to make up ten blocks and five half blocks on the design wall.  The rest of the strips are just grouped in a jumble below the blocks.

I will spend another session putting together the lower strips of the block, and then another session assembling the blocks.  Only then will I finally get to play with the green sashings.  It is hard to believe that yet another color gets thrown into this mix.  I wonder if a thread color exists that would help to tone this wild child down - maybe grey?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 11

While cleaning out our coat closet, among other things I found a collection of dog collars and leashes.  Since we no longer have any pets, we really don't need this many collars and leashes, so we decided to let most of them go.
Twelve dog collars and leashes - 4 pounds
I think I will take them down to the local animal shelter, although I fear they will try to get me to take a pet home with me!


PS  What Larry doesn't say is that we used to have three dogs, including a Saint Bernard.  His collar was the large red one in the upper left corner.  He was the reason for the extra sturdy red leash! I still miss him, but he has been gone for over 18 years now, so it is probably time we cleared out his stuff.