Monday, August 31, 2015

Harlequin Johnny - Building the curves

I am deep into paper-piecing the Harlequin-Johnny piano key setting triangles.  What a lot of work this has turned out to be. Confusing too.  I'm trying to keep the colors in the right order, you can see my cheat sheet taped to the sewing machine for easy reference.

I had to cut lots and lots of strips, all about 1.5" wide, but of varying lengths.  All told, I need strips of seven different lengths.  I am running low on several of the fabrics.  That lonely pale turquoise strip in the middle of the cutting board is my very last piece of turquoise.  I am cutting it VERY close.  

I'm doing all strips of the same length at the same time, starting at one edge and moving across the paper.  Here I have all the strips of a single length sorted in order, waiting to be paper-pieced to the setting triangles.  They don't look like they are the same length, do they?  Well, at least they need to cover the same amount of paper.

Many of the strips needed ironing.  Larry helped me out with this tedious chore.

And here is my least favorite task:  ironing the strips after they have been sewn.  I'm sewing a strip to each of the sixteen setting triangles, then trimming all 16, then ironing all 16.  Lather, rinse repeat.  It is interesting to see the sets grow, but argh!  There are thirteen strips per setting triangle.  They are too large for my Clover craft iron, so I am moving the whole bunch to the ironing board between sewing on each strip.  I am ready to be done with these.

Is it time for a nice Dear Jane block yet?  I am SO ready!  Maybe I will do two blocks this time.  lol

Happy quilting!
Susan in Texas

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 16

I went up into the attic for Six on Sunday this week, to look through some racks of old clothing we had put up there years ago. Essentially all of the clothing up there was Susan's, so I brought some down, and she picked the items to let go of. 

Two coats, a suit, a dress, pair of slacks (w/ belt) and a sweater - 9 pounds

Since there weren't enough of my items to discard, I also pulled down a box of old computer stuff.  Some of the disks were for my old Apple IIe, which must make them nearly 30 years old!  Even if I still had a working 5.25-inch floppy drive, the information on them has probably long since been randomized by the heat of the attic.

Pair of sweatpants, manuals and disks from Apple IIe and Macintosh computers,
two different printers and at least 3 old games - 9.5 pounds

And, as a bonus, I also get to throw away an old, decrepit box!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Harlequin Johnny - Hope I have enough fabric!

For the Harlequin Johnny quilt, I have cut all of the light turquoise fabric that I have.

This is the last of it
I hope that this will be enough to finish the quilt...


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - One-Winged Dragon

I finally completed the first wing of the Minor Norwegian Flying Dragon.

Minor Norwegian Flying Dragon - One Wing Complete
It was very complex, using two shuttles at once almost throughout, and switching primary shuttle back and forth on alternate rows. And joined to the body in several places on the last row.

Now I can start working on the other wing!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Wordless Monday

Another Baby Jacket Complete!


Six on Sunday - Week 15

While visiting Grandma this weekend, we decided to do a Six on Sunday at Dad's house instead of ours. After a couple of false starts (big boxes of stuff that needed too much review time), we settled on a small box of items.

Small Box Contents
From this collection, we decided to sell nine things:

Airline fan, eyeglass repair kit, memorial coin, playing card holder, solar calculator, glass stopper,
earring, cross, hiking patch and pin collection - 0.5 pounds
And to discard another six things (1.0 pounds):
Silk Flower, Membership Cards, Chinese Shoe Polisher

Backpack Pole Caps, Projector Foot Pads

Old ID badges

The rest we can put to use ourselves.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Confetti Baby Jacket

Grandma has been keeping me busy with her baby jackets.  Isn't this confetti one adorable?  I still have to finish off the armhole edges and weave in the ends, then it is off to Grandma's house to select a ribbon.

Thank God it's Friday!

Happy quilting,
Susan in Texas

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gifts from Silverton

Larry got back from seeing his Dad and his sister's family yesterday.  He took the shuttle and the train, and I picked him up at the station in downtown Fort Worth.  Much better than driving out to the airport during rush hour.  And he brought me presents:  three darling cards, with actual knitting and a real nine-patch block on them!

I teased him about finding a fabric store, and he teased me right back by finding one.  It is apparently call the Hi-School Pharmacy and is an amalgamation of a drugstore, craft store and a hardware store... which had fabric too.  

Larry went straight for the batiks (I think I will keep him.)  I am thrilled with his selection, and also with the fact that he asked the locals where he could purchase fabric, then walked there.  It is very good to have him home; he is the sprinkles on my cupcake!

Happy quilting,
Susan in Texas

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Harlequin-Johnny: Setting Triangles

They are not much to look at yet, but I finally got the setting triangles for Harlequin-Johnny designed the way I want them.  Instead of using split Johnny blocks as I had originally planned, I decided to go with piano keys.  I created the design in Electric Quilt 7, but my printer refused to cooperate.  I took the partial output and copied the pattern onto tracing paper.

I took the pattern to Kinko's and had copies made on oversize paper.  They somehow managed to lose my outer seam allowance, but that's OK, I will just cut them out a bit larger all around.  This piano key border should be super easy to paper piece.  Also, the "log cabin" edge forming the right triangle should make it very forgiving as to size.

Now I just have to decide on colors.  I am planning to use all five fabrics (red, gold, light turquoise, dark turquoise, and the batik) for the keys, probably with red as the edging.  I want the colors in the piano keys to vary.  I will probably just organize the colors in a set pattern, then start at one end and go.  Since there are 13 "keys" and only five colors, that should result in plenty of variation.  

Did you notice the curved edge?  That scares me to death!  I am going to try to add a border to the curved edge.  (If that proves impossible I figure that I can always cut it straight across.)  I am hoping I can find an online tutorial for handling curves; if not, I will just have to make it up as I go along!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tatting(-less) Tuesday - Strolling Through Silverton

Larry is in Oregon for a few days, but my tatting is still at home. I forgot to pack it! Oh, well, I will just have to catch up for next week.

In the meantime, I have been walking about lovely downtown Silverton, and checking out the shops.  In several of the antique stores, I found vintage sewing machines.  The first one was a bentwood case model, an Old Homestead II:

Old Homestead II model sewing machine and case - Top View
 It is apparently an electric motor version, although the motor is not currently installed, and I didn't see a belt for it anywhere

Old Homestead II model sewing machine and case - Front View
 I believe that is the foot controller, to the left of the motor.  If you look closely, you can just make out the worn lettering of the end of the name, inside the decal on the arm.

Old Homestead II model sewing machine and case - Storage Compartment
Included in the case was this storage compartment, to the right of the machine, with a few additional attachments and spare needles. A wooden top slides into grooves around the edges to close up the compartment.

Next I spotted a treadle table and machine in the corner of another store:

Treadle Machine - Front View

Treadle Table - Front View
 This appears to be a Singer machine, given the Singer Manufacturing Company badge on the front of the throat.  Also found there is a label from a company (based in Los Angeles) that apparently worked on it some time in the past.

Singer Badge and Repair Shop Label
 Here you can better see some of the detail of the artwork still decorating the arm and throat.

Front View

Rear View
Finally, at yet another shop, there was a machine (already sold!) that had been made into a lamp.

Singer Sewing Machine Lamp
I don't think this is the approved way to add a light onto your sewing machine!  The lamp works, of course, and the machine can still be turned, although I am unsure that it would actually sew. And I don't know if they had to drill bigger holes in the machine to thread the wires through, or if the original holes were big enough.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Grand Illusion - Blocks Complete

It took about an hour per row of five blocks, but I finally got all 25 Grand Illusion blocks assembled, though they still need to be ironed.  My next step will be to assemble the sashing.  I think I will put together the sashing for the tops and bottoms of the blocks next. 

Let's see how many steps are still left before quilting:

  1. Assemble sash for tops and bottoms of blocks,
  2. Sew vertical rows of blocks and sashing,
  3. Assemble vertical rows of sashing and cornerstones,
  4. Sew vertical rows of blocks to vertical rows of sashing,
  5. Piece borders,
  6. Apply borders,
Am I forgetting anything?  I still have not found the perfect backing material for this quilt.  I want a fabric that incorporates most of the colors except for the black: pink, yellow, turquoise and green.  I would like to find a nice, restful batik in those colors because I think this quilt might be displayed upside down as often as not.  lol

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 14

Larry is in Oregon for a few days, visiting his sister's family and his father, but before he left, he got the old washing machine tub ready for disposal.  This tub has been sitting in our backyard ever since we got a replacement tub... several years ago.

Washing Machine Tub - 4.25 pounds
Larry gets it down to almost nothing in size.

Broken Down for Disposal
Since Larry had to do so much work on the tub, I selected five additional items from my extensive cookbook collection for him to use as his weekly purge.  I used to belong to a cookbook club. Sometimes cookbooks just arrived, you know?  I did not even realize I had duplicates of two of them.

11.25 lbs

Man, those cookbooks are heavy!

I will never reread these Jan Kaon hardbacks.  I enjoyed all her books up until In the Company of Others, which I did not care for at all, so I decided to get rid of all the hardbacks.  I am sure someone else will enjoy them.  The first half dozen or so books in the "Mitford" series are really excellent; I have them in paperback.

8.5 lbs

Larry left with the camera card in his computer, so you will be seeing pictures from my phone until he gets back.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Singer Restoration Saturday - Singer Emblem Removal

The brass Singer Manufacturing Company badge, all shiny and new again.

Shiny again
Removing the badge on the front of the throat is tricky.  It is held in place by two brass pins, which are pushed through the holes in the badge and the throat, and then are bent over inside. It isn't easy to reach these pins, straighten them out, and push them back out again.

What is not as hard is to break the pins at the bend when trying to straighten them, and then gently pry them loose. With this badge, I was able to get one of the pins out intact, but I broke the other one.

The shinier areas on the badge are where dirt flaked off while working the pins loose.

What you are left with is a clean spot on the machine, and a number worked into the metal of the body.

Relatively Clean Spot

Sometimes I think the expected way to remove the badge is to clip off the pins, pull off the badge, and replace them with all new pieces.  And sometimes I think you're not supposed to remove the badge at all!


Friday, August 14, 2015

Dear Jane C-8, Hani's Crown

A nice simple paper-pieced block with a siggy at its heart.  Can you see it?  I fussy cut this batik to eliminate most of the pale, dull orange to get a block that would not be completely eclipsed by its near neighbor, Ashley's Aura.

I love this batik, it reminds me of ink in water.  There are only five blocks left in Row C, and three of them look pretty simple.  It is a good thing the rows and columns keep getting shorter and shorter, though Column C looks like it has some real doozies in it!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Harlequin Johnny - Trimming and Tidying

I purchased a 15" square ruler to help square up the Harlequin blocks, then I found out it was super slippery to use.  To get around this problem I taped a second ruler to my cutting mat to use as a backstop.  It took quite a lot of tape to get it to hold steady, but it worked like a charm after it was in place.

I needed to trim the extra 1/4" I had added to each side of the Harlequin block before I could take off the papers.  The back-stop ruler was taped down such that the 15" square ruler would cut on the 25" line on the cutting mat.

I aligned the block to overlap the 25" line on the cutting mat and laid the square ruler in place, making sure the cutting line on the paper was right at the edge of the ruler.

Having the back-stop ruler in place really made all this 1/4" trimming simple; however, having the extra allowance on the outside of this block turned out to be unnecessary.  I do not think I will ever add 1/4" again to a large paper-pieced block again.  Live and learn.

All the paper is finally off all 25 Harlequin blocks, and I think that is enough work on Harlequin-Johnny for now.  I am heartily sick of squaring up blocks and trimming excess seam allowances; it is time for some Dear Jane fun!

Take care,
Susan in Texas

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wordy Wednesday - Baby Jacket Presentation

Grandma had some pink ribbon, so we were able to quickly finish the pink baby jacket on Sunday.  Grandma was very pleased with the new cap sleeve version, which was good because I forgot to add any extra rows to the sleeves!

Her friend, Janice, has a brand new granddaughter, and was even more pleased than Grandma with the jacket.  Janice is the administrator at Grandma's assisted living facility in Shreveport. Grandma is by far the oldest resident there at 103, and they spoil her so much!  It is nice to be able to return the favor for a change.

Of course, Grandma already had another baby jacket ready for me to edge, but that's a post for another day.    

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tatting Tuesday - Dragon Wing Progress

I took the pattern for the Flying Minor Norwegian Dragons, which I had found to be very complex and confusing, and broke it down further into instructions for each shuttle used on each feature. Maybe I'm just too new to tatting, but I could not keep straight which shuttle was supposed to do what once I got past the first couple of rings.

With the augmented pattern, and working in two colors for clarity, I was able to produce:

Dragon Wing two-color test using Augmented Pattern
This is what the wing is supposed to look like, up to the point I ran out of gold thread on the shuttle. The fourth (and last) row on the wing is very similar to the third row, except for joining to the body in several places.  It should not be too bad.

With the tested new pattern in hand, I have begun an all-white wing.

Snow Dragon Wing using Augmented Pattern
I can see I've already made one mistake: the second ring on the left side should not have a picot on it. Oh, well, it should not disrupt the structure of the remaining work, and maybe the wing will look good with one more "claw" on the leading edge.  As long as I remember to make a matching mistake on the other wing, I think it will be okay.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Harlequin Johnny - Pulling off the Papers

Never under-estimate the task of removing the papers from paper-pieced blocks.  Don't leave it until the end, if you can avoid it.  I spent the entire season finale of "True Detective" removing the papers from just ten of the harlequin blocks.  Just look at all that paper, and that's not even half of them!  (And remember, I had removed the paper from all the center squares already.)

I needed to keep the papers in to do the inset seams, or I would have been taking them out all along, like I do with the paper-pieced Dear Jane blocks.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Six on Sunday - Week 13

We have made it to Week 13! A whole quarter of a year, pulling out a few items a week that we don't need to keep, and getting them out of the house.  So far our closets have been the main beneficiaries, but other rooms are beginning to benefit as well.

Susan continues to work through the clothes in her closet, looking in a box of older things tucked away. She has now managed to consolidate two boxes of clothes down to one, so that's one less box taking up room in her closet.

Six tops and shorts - 3 pounds
Some of these things were old favorites, and been worn until they were almost worn out.  And one had never been worn, never even had the tags removed! I guess this is one time I bought something for Susan, and she didn't really like it, but it never got returned for a refund.

Larry is cleaning out the cabinets in the master bathroom, and moving on to find things in other rooms as well.

Bag of expired meds, two free totes, old exercise program, old CD player, old pair of socks - 5 pounds
The medications in the bag were all expired, or boxes that were emptied and consolidated with another (who needs a box for 2 band-aids?). The free totes were sent unsolicited by various charities in their requests for donations. We tried the exercise program, but found it to be too vigorous, too hard on our joints. And I rarely wear brown socks; they just don't go with the pants I usually wear - black slacks, or jeans, or shorts.  In fact, the brown loafers that I've had for many years (because I wear them so infrequently they never wore out) have become my painting shoes, just so I can get some use out of them!