Sunday, March 30, 2014

Iron Lady, Day One: Cleaning up the cabinet and base.

Day one was very productive.  Likely the most productive day I'll have during this entire process.  I just won't have another dedicated day until next weekend.  

Step one:  figure out how to remove the machine head from the cabinet.  Seems easy enough, right?  Actually, it wasn't very difficult.  Two little set screws, one that wasn't even very tight, was all it took to lift the machine right off the hinges.  Getting it back onto those pins will likely require another set of hands.
This is probably the best 'before' picture of the top finish I took.  The day was rainy and overcast and all these were taken either in natural light, such as it was, or with the flash.
I sat down and wiped the cast iron base with my machine-oil-soaked rag.  This removed dust and gave the finish a nice shine. 
Isn't that pretty?  After I brought her home, and did some more research, I realized I do not have the belt shifter.  I will have to do some homework to find one to replace it.  I don't need it to sew, but it would be nice to have to lower the machine into the cabinet.
There was only one spot that needed to be glued.  The veneer on the bottom of the front plate was peeling back from the plywood core.  Since this piece holds the machine when it is in the sewing position, I wanted to make sure I addressed it.  I completely removed the cabinet from the base.  This let me oil all the moving bits, turn the base upside down to oil the wheels (one wheel will never turn again as the pin has completely rusted and the wheel is totally seized).  To make sure the oil got worked in I pumped for a few seconds after adding oil to each moving part.  She just hums along, no squeaks or jumps or starts.
I didn't use a board to keep from creating tool marks with my clamps.  These plastic clamps don't really have that much oomph, so I just went for it.  I applied too much glue, and ended up wiping a bunch away after clamping.  At least I know there was enough glue.
I cleaned all of the wood cabinet and used Restore-A-Finish to clean up and cover some of the blemishes.  The final step was a coat of wax.  I will likely wax again tomorrow to deepen the shine.  When I put on the wax, the wood just sucked it up.  I even waxed the undersides and inside the machine head storage space.  I don't want them to shine, but I do want them to be protected.
She isn't perfect, but she does look healthier than she did. 
I'm really looking forward to the next part of this journey.  I'll be working on the machine head next.  Cleaning off the old, yellowed oil and making sure she is ready to sew.  I anticipate the machine head taking most of the week.  I might bet get to sew next weekend. 

My references for this project include:

The Treadle Lady
Etsy Shop:

Our Handmade Home

Granny Miller:  A Journal of Agrarian Life & Skills

I am not an expert at refinishing.  I am not an expert and sewing machine care or maintenance.  I am a quilter, sewer and sewing machine enthusiast.  My goal is a working treadle sewing machine.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Iron Lady, beginnings

First, let me say I'm sorry about the lighting. Second, this is why I have been so quiet the last week.
I have been scouring the Internet, doing my homework, shopping for supplies and picking up my first treadle.
Her birthday was October 29th, 1919.  Born in Elizabeth, NJ.
I have my work cut out for me. I'm looking forward to cleaning her up, replacing the belt and stitching. I'll take pictures along the way to document. This is my first, so I hope I don't muck up too badly.

Have you ever refinished an Iron Lady? Do you have a treadle at home? Is she collecting dust or do you take her for an occasional Sunday spin?

Links to the other parts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Projects more than half done...

In January I joined a PHD group on Facebook.  Basically, the wonderful Kelly at Kelly Ann's Quilting asked for a list of six PHDs (Projects Half Done) from everyone who wanted to join in.  I sent in my list and on the 15th of the month, Kelly picks a number and we all dig out that one and work on it for the month.  On March 15th she picked #1.
This is that PHD. I looked to see when I made this top.  I remember buying the fabric in Virginia.  Other than that, I have no idea when I picked it up.  That isn't important.  What is important is getting this from a PHD top to a real quilt.  I pieced a backing from four yards of batik that I had picked up for... something.  That isn't important, either.  I pressed it all and loaded the long arm.  
I spent some time with my marker and the paper from my batting trying to figure out what I wanted to do.  I thought these big flower-like shapes around swirl base would be good, along with some simple loops for the background/filler.  This isn't how I figure out all my quilting designs, but I think it really helped me get the plan in my head before I committed thread to quilt.  You can see where I tried out little swirls and a simple meander for the filler.
I used Superior Threads Fantastico for my top thread and Omni for my bobbin thread.  Since I had used similar weight threads on a previous quilt, this made for very little fiddling with tension and I got started with the stitching. 
I love how this design really brings another dimension to the quilt top.  A jelly-roll race quilt isn't the most exciting top, but I think it moved from mundane to something amazing with the quilting.
After about four hours of quilting, I finished up and could take a picture of the quilt off the frame.  Sorry about the shadows from the doors; the sun had gotten pretty low by the time I took these last couple pictures.  The flowers don't overwhelm the surface of the quilt, but they are rather large.  The strips are 2" and some of the flowers take up four or more strips.

The back of the quilt hides most of the quilting, too.  Sometimes, I like the backing to really hide the bobbin thread.  Other times... I am sad when I can't see the detail of the stitching equally on both sides of the quilt.  Now, I just need to finish the binding and add a label to move this from PHD to the hands of a loved one.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Quilts for Kids on my Monday

Today, I have a one-day holiday.  It is going to be filled with chores that haven't been done over the last week or so.  Filing of taxes, laundry and some quilting. 
This quilt is a charity quilt for Annapolis Quilts for Kids that was pieced by another member of the group.
I loaded the long arm with a light gray top thread and a pink bobbin thread.  I'm not doing a set design.  I'm putting swirls and pebbles together on this one.  These fluid designs are fun and very freeing. 

If I can finish up this one, I can work on my PHD #1 (Project Half Done).  It will be nice to get another one off my list.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Quilt as Desired: Dolly Madison Workbox

Economy top c. 1900, Quilter: Page Johnson, Eagan, Minnesota.  Learn more about Page on her website The Quilting Page.  
The feathers on this quilt reallly turn what is a simple design into something so much more.  I must admit that I spent some time on Page's website looking at things, clicking things and watching a video.  There is so much about quilting I still need to learn.

Please check out Mary Kerr's site to see the schedule of when and where these quilts will be throughout the year.  My photographs do not do them justice.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Quilt as Desired: Laissez Les Bon Tempes Rouler

G-mother's Flower Garden top c. 1930, Quilter: Sue Patten, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada.  I was not able to confirm the web address so I have not included it here.  
I know it isn't easy to see in these photos, but the use of two different color threads creates another layer on the surface of this quilt.  I like the improvisational look (even if the planning was very precise) of the different designs.  I know that trying to decide what to quilt is never easy.  Sometimes I have to listen very carefully to a quilt.  Maybe I should play with some different thread colors.

Please check out Mary Kerr's site to see the schedule of when and where these quilts will be throughout the year.  My photographs do not do them justice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quilt as Desired: Fancy Plates

Fan top c. 1930, Quilter: Barbara Dann, Bellefonte, PA.  The web address on the card is incorrect.  You can find more information at Alleycat Quiltworks.    
I love all the different quilting designs that are included on this wonderful top.  Feathers, and curls, and pebbles, and just loads of beautiful quilting.  Look at that binding!  This makes me want to try Dresden plates and just about anything with a white background.  I think I have some Moda around here that is reproduction prints.  I should find it and make something.

Please check out Mary Kerr's site to see the schedule of when and where these quilts will be throughout the year.  My photographs do not do them justice.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Quilt as Desired: Pansy Pride

Applique top c. 1940, Quilter: Wilma Cogliantry, Berlin, CT.  I was not able to confirm the web address so I have not included it here.  
The feathers quilted on this quilt are just beautiful!  I should have gotten better pictures of the quilting.  I would love to be able to stitch feathers like this.  I've got some practicing to do, though.

Please check out Mary Kerr's site to see the schedule of when and where these quilts will be throughout the year.  My photographs do not do them justice.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Snow Day, Sew Day... well, almost...

This morning we had a small delay due to the piles and piles of snow that showed up overnight.  Only a 3-hour delay, so there wasn't much time to get things done.  I did manage to clean up my sewing table a little, trim a charity quilt that I quilted yesterday, and cut out this kit for Quilts for Kids.  I don't have a backing for it, but I do have all the top and the binding cut and ready to go.  This one was cut using the 4-patch pattern you can find at Quilts for Kids.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Quilt as Desired: Bountiful Baskets

Nancy Page basket top c. 1935, Quilter:  Sue Papalia, Warren, Pennsylvania,  Each little flower is different and has its own personality. 
The quilting on this quilt really uses the negative space beautifully.  Different motifs in the setting squares and borders.  The simple parallel lines is my favorite outer border quilting design.  I'm not sure why, but I think it works well on modern and more classic quilts.

Please check out Mary Kerr's site to see the schedule of when and where these quilts will be throughout the year.  My photographs do not do them justice.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Superior Mail

On Friday afternoon, I came home to find a box on my front porch. 
This label announced to me the contents of this humble cardboard box. Everything I get from Superior is amazing.
The most important thing in this box is the thread holder. I wanted to use cones with my DSM and this seemed the perfect tool.  Loads of other great stuff in the box, too.  Let's see what it all is.
The Masterpiece color cards will help me get matching thread for piecing. I also picked up Try Me specials of Masterpiece (five spools on the right) and So Fine! #50 (five spools on the left).  I love the Try Me specials. Best way to try out new threads.  A dozen pre-wound bobbins for the embroidery machine. The handy nets for the cones were thrown in almost as an afterthought. I also asked for a test color of the new Fantastico.  Well, not the new Fantastico, but one of the possible new colors.  I also received the brilliant Fantastico #5062 Glowing Green.  I'm going to use that to quilt a very special quilt.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quilts for Kids: Scrappy Fun

This is another one quilted by QBOT.  I'm trying to overcome my dislike of the thing.  I can tell you that I still like hand-guided work so much better.  I look at the computer-quilted designs and they are just so flat.  I like the irregularities of hand-guided quilting so much more.
This one is in the stack ready to go to the meeting on Saturday.  I can't think of a better way to spend National Quilting Day and World Wide Quilting Day than by making quilts for kids

How are you going to spend your Saturday?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quilts for Kids: Tropical

A friend pieced this one together.  Yesterday I did the quilting with a simple edge-to-edge design.  The QBOT got busy on this one.  I used the stitching time to get some things done around the house.

Today, I trimmed it up and added the binding.  Ready for the next Annapolis Quilts for Kids meeting this weekend.  I picked up this fun backing at my guild meeting last Sunday.  I didn't realize it at the time, but this is the perfect backing for this quilt.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quilt as Desired: Celebrating Cinda

While I was at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, I got to wander around and see all the amazing quilts that are part of the Quilt as Desired collection put together by Mary Kerr

I will share pictures of each of them and my thoughts.  Please check out Mary Kerr's site to see the schedule of when and where these quilts will be throughout the year.  My photographs do not do them justice.
Celebrating Cinda, applique top, c. 1940, Quilter: Pam Clarke, Spokane, Washington,

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful long arm quilting can be.  I have merely scratched the surface of what is possible.  I love how the large area of the background has been filled with beautiful stitching that makes this simple quilt really shine.  I love all the different designs and the lines placed in the negative space to showcase that quilting. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tropical Waves and Computerized Quilting

A friend pieced this quilt top for Quilts for Kids. Today I set out to learn more about QBOT, the computerized driver for my Pfaff Mega Quilter.   
I'm still practicing to get the designs lined up and charity quilts is the way to do it. I managed to get two loads of laundry done while this was stitching. I also answered a bunch of email, so the time was well-spent all around.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Big Bold Finish!

While at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, I had some time to finish the binding on this quilt.  It was time well-spent.  I can finally say this one is done!  I added the label yesterday.

I think the vines that travel up the solid patches really bring this quilt to life.  I know not all quilting is meant to be seen, but I just love this quilting.
I will have to take another picture, or two to show the border quilting. I used several different designs in the quilting of this quilt.  The vines that travel up the solid blocks are just one.

I also used a flower design with tendrils in the print areas.  Even with this great thread (Fantastico from Superior Threads) it just disappears in the prints.
The inner border is filled with different sized bubbles/pebbling.  The outer-most border is all done with a straight ruler and is very simple.  I'll have to take a picture or two to show that.  All it needs now is a good run through the wash to give it that amazing texture that cotton batting provides.  I love a good finish.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo Baltimore 2014, Day 3 (Saturday)

On Saturday morning, I had time between breakfast and the Expo opening to trim up the rest of my blocks.  I had them all put away before I had to get everything packed into the car and check out of the hotel.  I didn't need to bring anything more than the half-square triangle blocks.  Evidently, 300 of the little buggers is enough for one little trip.

When I got home from the Expo, I found that I had received the patterns I ordered from Serendipity Studios.  I picked up the skirt pattern at Bear's Paw, a local quilt shop and liked it so much I went to their webpage to buy some more.  Sorry about the quality of the picture.

I didn't spend much money at the Expo.  I had plenty of time at the Expo to think about my purchases, and speak with different vendors and find all the things I wanted.  There were other things I wanted, but only one thing I really, really wanted that was already sold out.  I did pick up some scrap bags full of batiks.  I have a soft spot for batiks.  Two one-pound bags of scrappy goodness.  I see some fun blocks in my future.  I also picked up the clear, 1/4" foot for my sewing machine.  I have the metal one, but wanted the clear plastic one.  The coolest find, was the Mini Hex-n-More ruler.  I think I love this little thing precisely because it is little.  It is so wicked cute!  I have no idea what I'm going to make with it, but I had to have it.  To make up for what I didn't spend at the Expo, I came home and bought some thread from Superior Threads.  I was a little let down that there wasn't a thread vendor at the Expo.

When I got home, I stacked up my squares for my Split 9-Patch Leaders and Enders project.  I'm looking forward to this one piecing up while I do other things.  It sits beside my sewing machine, ready to go.