Saturday, June 28, 2014
I hate ironing clothes. When I was a young teenager we had to iron everything, even my Dad's pajamas and handkerchiefs. After I was married, my husband had a couple of cotton shirts that needed to be ironed, and I have to admit they spent more time in the ironing basket than they did in the closet. I hardly ever iron anything any more--unless it has to do with quilting.
Somehow, I actually like pressing quilt blocks. It's the finishing touch. I finger press at the machine, and then press with the iron when the whole block is done. The blocks look crisp and neat after pressing.
But I have never had an ironing board cover I really liked. Even when I spent decent money on them, they were just so cheap--thin fabric, thin insulation, no lining, and the last one I had even used a cheap see-through nylon for a casing for the cheap string that held it on the board. Which I did not know until I got it out of the package. Yuck.
We're making over a bedroom for a sewing room, and I wanted to have a nicer ironing board cover, especially since the old one was falling apart.
I took some ideas from this web page:
Moda Bake Shop: Quilted Ironing Board Cover
although I didn't follow the pattern. I wanted elastic in a casing instead of a ribbon.
Mine is more like this one, although still not quite the same:
Desiloop Quilted Ironing Board Cover
After I made the long narrow quilt top, I layered it with cotton batting and backing, and quilted it in the ditch on my new Pfaff.
Then I trimmed it into an ironing board shape. I used what was left of the old cover as a kind of pattern, but I cut mine about 2 inches wider on each side.
I made my casing from some wide cotton bias tape I had in my collection, adding it like a binding on the front, and stitching it to the back by machine.
When I had it nice and tight, I tried it on the ironing board, and was amazed that it fit PERFECTLY.
Pretty and functional, used only stuff I had on hand, and didn't take long to make.
Now that's my kind of project!
Thursday, June 19, 2014
We thought it was funny. Rummage to us foreigners was a verb, as in, "She rummaged through her closet, looking for something she could still fit into." On the signs, and in the newspaper, it was used as an adjective, and even as a noun, as in, "They really have some great rummage." My favorite new word (after bubbler) was Rummage-o-rama, which was a big event held every so often at the fairgrounds.
Of course we had similar sales in Ohio and Indiana. We called them yard sales, which makes perfect sense because they were held out in the yard. A friend and I used to go "yard sailing" with our young kids. (Where else can you buy a kid a toy for 25 cents?) There were also garage sales, which were the same thing as yard sales, except that the sellers had an actual garage and so were snootier.
Whatever you call it, I love it. It really appeals to my bargain hunting/recycling side. But it can take all day to hit all the rummage sales in the area, and sometimes you don't find anything beyond baby clothes, bar stools, and VHS tapes.
Unless you go to a special fiber arts rummage! Which is where I got the loot pictured above. And below.
The picture at the top of today's blog is of most of the things I bought at the annual rummage sale at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts last Friday. The items for the sale were donated, and then sold to raise money for the museum. The immediately above picture is just the fabric. Yards and yards of cotton fabric, from small scraps to several yards long. Some items were priced separately. Most of this fabric I stuffed into a bag for a low, low price.
My eyes glazed over after a while, but I did manage to find 3 books. They had hundreds.
The basket blocks are OLD. There are 30 of them. Three of them are basted, ready to applique. The other 27 are finished. An amazing deal for $10. (Of course this adds to my project list. But it was such a deal! And the blocks are an unusual pattern. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)
I overheard this exchange at the table of fabric, while we shoppers were stuffing our bags.
Shopper One: "You know, we women are gatherers.."
Shopper Two: "Really? I just thought we were hoarders."
All Shoppers: (laughing)
In my opinion, we're not hoarders if we USE what we buy. Or at least pet it once in a while.
I've already used a small piece of my amazing loot, as the binding for this little lap quilt:
This little quilt will probably go to a nursing home patient, where I hope its colors cheer her day.
Most of the fabric pieces and scraps I bought at the rummage sale will go into my charity quilts. Some pieces are even big enough for backing. I also made sure to get some bright colors for the quilts I make for kids.
There is nothing like new (old?) fabric to stir up new ideas.
Many thanks to the museum volunteers who run the sale, and the generous people who donated the items.
Happy shopping, and happy quilting!
Saturday, June 14, 2014
This was a big step for me, and I didn't take it lightly. I've been using people-powered machines exclusively for over twelve years, and I love them. There's just something about the combination of history and function, the beautiful iron ladies, the wood cabinets, and that tick-tick-tick sound when they're sewing. I'm not giving that up! My piecing will still be done on my treadles. And I'm confident I'll get the Davis going again eventually. But I've got a lot of quilting to do, and this new machine will help me do it.
As you can see, I bought a Pfaff. This machine is a Select 4.2, which is a mechanical machine, not an electronic machine. The main reason I chose it was the built in walking foot.
My first projects while learning this machine were some baby quilts for charity that I had already pieced, layered, and basted.
Here's what I've got done so far.
Sadly, this is another fail. I'm not sure if you can see the reddish discolorations in the blue border. Those are rust stains. Yep, I left the pins in it for all those years! I've tried a couple of rust stain treatments, with no luck. So I can't donate this one either. Sigh.
I used 3.5 in. squares (cut) to make 4 patches, and made the square in a square blocks with white squares cut 6.5 in. and more 3.5 in. squares on the corners, sewn on the diagonal. I had to make half blocks for the sides and top and bottom. If I was doing this again, I'd just make stars.
As I was quilting these quilts, I found that the new machine is really not as good at quilting as the Davis. I almost never had any pleats or tucks with the Davis, no matter how I basted. I think this is because the Davis is sort of unique, with not having any feed dogs and just the foot advancing the fabric. Some things were definitely better in the old days.
Overall, I'm satisfied with the new machine, at least so far. On the plus side, it's really fast. It takes me about an hour to quilt one of these little quilts. And you should see how many bobbins came with the machine! (I only have 4 for my Davis.) It's fun to have a few decorative stitches, too. One of the best things is the foot--it's the same size on either side of the needle, which is great when you're using the presser foot as a guide.
On the other hand, it's loud! I had forgotten what sewing with a motor sounded like. I'm learning to have more control with the foot pedal, but it's not like the control you have with a treadle. I was warned at the shop to plug the machine into a serge protector like a computer so lightning strikes can't fry the pedal, which is something you never have to worry about with people powered machines. If anything goes wrong with the machine, I am going to have to take it to the shop. With the treadles, I can solve many problems myself. There's just less to go wrong.
I hope all my friends in the treadling world won't think I'm a traitor. I'm considering myself more of a hybrid. A blend of old and new, to get the job done.