Postage Sheet Quilt

Boy howdy!  I am on the final strips for this monster squared to the nth power.  I have made three sides of corners stones.  Here is the interfacing strip piecing firming up those vintage sheets as well as getting an accurate grid.

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After trimming these down, they are easily sewn to the perimeter of the quilt, placing this strip of squares on point making them appear they are floating while cornering two corners of the quilt.  This strip as well as another pink sashing all the way around is all I lack from having this baby ready to sandwich.

I am debating using my good cotton batting or taking this to the longarmers and having them use their poly batting.  The longevity of the quilt is affected by poly batting.  It gives a quilt great puff and lift, but at the same time through the years acts as an abrasive to the cotton on top slowing scrubbing it away.  I always thought my older quilts were oxidizing, but oxidation is something that happens on old quilts.  I recently read an article by Bonnie Hunter who explained my phenomenon best.  On the referenced article above, if you scroll down to the “T” block quilt, she starts talking about the use of polyester threads and batting.  This explains much for me.   Since most of these fabrics are poly blend and I plan on using a poly blend vintage sheet for the backing as well, I am on the fence about batting.

Here is the floating cornerstone.

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And here is a closeup.

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Sorry ’bout the wrinkly appearance.  Notice how the interfacing part is not wrinkled?  This is another reason to use this stuff, you only have to iron it once!

While sewing the last strip sets for the postage sheet quilt, I have also been sewing on my tumblers leader/ender.  I actually counted how many pieces I have cut which are all sewn now in pairs or quads.  I have lost count of how many I sewed this past weekend.  I have 596 cut.  The quilt will probably by about 24 tumblers by 24.  That means I will be digging in my stash again and fishing out suitable prints, plaids, neutrals, and solids to make up the extra 350 blocks.

This is what I did get accomplished last weekend on the leader ender project, as the pieced blocks are sewn into a 4 tumbler strip set.  This tumbler thing is growing on me.  And I am not out any extra time for its creation as I always leave a pair of tumblers under my sewing machine foot (and getting my stash used to boot).  As I piece a part of the quilt above, I start sewing another tumbler.  The thread savings is fantastic as you are putting your thread tails to use instead of cutting them away and discarding them.

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Next post this weekend is apple pie on my other blog, the cook book project.  And stay tuned as next weekend I aim to have the postage sheet quilt top completed and pictures posted.  Have fun with your projects and explore all your options!  🙂

 

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Field of Cotton, a bale of quilts

This is the time of year in the south you start seeing snow in the fields.  Cotton is a big crop and this year with all the rains, the cotton bloomed until two weeks ago.  I don’t ever recall such a long cotton blooming season and I do not know if the crop will be a bumper crop or a poor one.  However, normally you do not start seeing cotton until later in September and then as the stalks die off in October, snow appears with nice clumps of cotton balls.

As I drive by this fields each day I wonder to myself how many quilts are waiting to be sewn in that field?  So I researched my question.  Even though it never defined how much per field as they vary in size and bushels per acre, there is a definition per Bale.  Raw cotton is picked and a huge mass of rectangle is dumped and spray painted with a lot number waiting for it to be processed at the gin.  After it is cleaned, it is baled.  A cotton bale yields the following:

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215 Jeans
249 Bed Sheets
409 Men’s Sport Shirts
690 Terry Bath Towels
765 Men’s Dress Shirts
1,217 Men’s T-Shirts
1,256 Pillowcases
2,104 Boxer Shorts
2,419 Men’s Briefs
3,085 Diapers
4,321 Mid-Calf Socks
6,436 Women’s Knit Briefs
21,960 Women’s Handkerchiefs
313,600 $100 Bills

Incidentally one bale of cotton weights 480 pounds.

Interesting how many $100 bills can be made!  How many quilts has not been answered but, the yardage for bed sheets is probably a clue.  I wonder how many cotton balls pictured below I will actually touch after it has been combed, cleaned, and processed into cloth or batting or even clothing that I wear.

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So next time you pet some fabric and sew a project that uses cotton, think about how far it came.  It was seed, planted, nourished by the sun and rain and soil, grown, bloomed, picked, cleaned, combed, processed, shipped and made into _________________ fill in the blank and shipped again and again.  I wonder how many people actually have to move it around and how many times before it is delivered into my sack at the cloth store?  No wonder it can cost $12 per yard!

A QUILTY Caturday

Holiday weekends for me involve more sewing than most weekends.  Most two day weekends are dedicated to cleaning, cooking, mowing, and whatever else can be fit in.  So this extra day has me excited!

I have counted my seams once again.  Even though I have worked overtime this past week, I have managed to complete just as many seams as last week, 53 to be exact.  I am really liking my leaders/enders piecing as I finish a seam, I can stitch two tumbler blocks together.  Sewing 2 quilts at once, which is saving time on cutting thread tails as well as getting more done with very little effort.

The postage stamp quilt has all 4 sides stitched with squares as well as a solid trip around that world.  I am now working on a very small strip/corner stone for all 4 sides but two corners.  I hope to have this revealed on Monday.  I will be making another pie this weekend and have determined it to be american as apple pie.  You will be able to read all about that post soon visiting my other blog TheCookBookProject.

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And now about Caturday…….Today is Saturday and I have cats.  Cats self propagate, but I must share a weird story with you.  Right now I have a momma cat outside and by counting boob-age probably has 3 kittens.  The indoor cat has had SIX…..egads!!!! and they are just 2 weeks old.  I have an older momma cat that currently does not have a litter, but her need to be a momma cat is very strong.  So strong in fact, she stole the outside momma cat’s kitten.  In the rhelm of time, this kitten is probably around a month old.  So we allowed her in and brought this baby kitten in with her.  Oh she sits there so proud and cleans that kitten and has fully adopted it.  This cat has now been inside with her, trying to suckle her and by golly somehow it is managing nutrition.  I checked this kitten repeatedly to make sure it was not dehydrated.  This cat is actually getting milk from this adopted mother.  How in the world is this possible?  She will not let the other momma cat who is inside even glance at this kitten without trying to raise a ruckus and protect it’s adoptee.  Has anyone ever heard of this caturday phenomenon?  Can milk production just begin without the pregnancy hormones?  Is this feat a miracle?  In all the cats I have had in my lifetime, this is a first.  And this cat’s wisdom has taught me something.  The jury is still out on what exactly that is.

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Progress times 2!

Last weekend I worked hard cutting up some of my stash, inspired by a leader ender method that is promoted by Bonnie Hunter.  You can read all about this adventure here.   This morning while thinking about it, I can actually know the exact amount of seams I have sewn this week.  Here is my stack of tumblers.  The cows on the top have been in my stash since I made my grandmother a Cow broom in 1993.  This is too long to be carrying around fabric baggage of cow kind.

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Drum roll please…….I have sewn 57 seams in the postage stamp sheet quilt.  This is just one side of the inner squares border.

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Some of the fabrics in the pile of tumblers below I acquired last month.  By the looks of them they are probably from the 70s when rust and orange was trending.

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The idea of my leader ender is to contrast with every other one, dark and light.  Sometimes with the right darkness I can use a dark neutral for the light.

Sew, how many seams have you sewn this week?

Stumbling…er tumbling? along

I am still fumbling, stumbling along with the postage stamp sheet quilt.

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It now has 3 sides and the fourth one is in progress.  I have not sewn much lately because I have not been feeling up to it.  The Texas heat with all the rain and humidity has made deplorable conditions for my hobby.  It is in the hot corner of the house.  And so, sewing is limited to the cooler hours of the morning.

During our power outage today I wanted to work something so I decided to gather some of my stash and cut it up.  After being inspired by Bonnie Hunters method of her scrap users system, I decided to take my left over charm squares, all the 6 inch squares I recently acquired, as well as some fat quarters and left over layer cake and cut them into a leader ender to sit beside my sewing machine.  I did not count how much yardage I actually cut, but I utilized the power outage to do something that did not require any kind of electronics or power other than that of my own.

These blocks will sit beside my machine and get stitched one at a time as I progress with whatever project is currently under the needle and foot.

I have no plan for this other than to use up my stash and free up real estate in drawers to make way for new?  NO….to just minimize what I have using every last scrap of fabric.  Who knows, I may stitch my scrap strings together and then cut them down tumbler size as well.  That would make an interesting quilt.  In the meantime though…….I am stumbling with one project tumbling into another.

Atlast! Forming of a Postage Stamp Quilt

It has been a couple of months since I ran my machine for anything.  And this weekend, it happened.  I started playing with fabric and it got me in the mood.  Screw my tiredness and not feeling well.  It felt good to have cloth running through my fingers and under the foot.  I got two sides sewn onto the postage quilt top made from vintage sheets.  The squares are on point and are really making their statement.  I thought the mitering of the corners would be hard, but it wasn’t as the interfacing grid I am using already has the line drawn out for you all you do is cut and then sew.  I hope I can do this again real soon as it will not take me more than an hour to get yet another side attached and ready for view.

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After completeing one border of pink and then trimmed with squares, my plan is to go around again in pink and again in just one column of squares, perhaps cornering around just 2 corners or 4.   The jury is still out.

Prepping for the Ugly Fabric Swap

If any of you have been in any kind of internet swap, they are amazing.  You have access to fabrics that may have been retired or lingering in a stash for a long time that you have never seen before.  Usually fabric swaps have a theme.  I have participated in a polka dot swap, where all fabrics were polka dots.  That made an amazing quilt.  I had two difference pieces of polka dot yardage, trimmed it down to 10 inch squares, swapped with 35 people and ended up with 68 different 10 inch squares.

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Another successful swap I was in was with fat quarters and vintage sheets.  See those results here.

The most recent swap I was in was called a summertime swap.  In this swap we each swapped 10 inch squares in the theme of reds, oranges, and yellows.  You can see the results of that swap here.  One day this will be a fun quilt to make, I just have not planned that one out yet.

And here I am starching, pressing, and cutting fabrics ready for the Ugly Fabric Swap.  Yes that is right, there ARE ugly fabrics out there.  Some of these fabrics I am working this weekend were given to me.  They were good quality quilters cottons, so I hung on to them.

During the making of En Provence with the quilt along Bonnie hunter had, I used oodles of the ugly in that quilt.  The quilt turned out pretty good considering it was of fabrics I did not care for.  Go figure

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My plan with the ugly fabrics I receive in the swap this time around will make another tumbler quilt.  I have received one envelope of someone else’s uglies and I must say, I thought mine were ugly.  They are but not to that degree.

For those of you have a couple of fabrics in your stash that have been lingering a little too long, maybe it is time to swap them for something,,,er,,,,better?  Our group is currently closed, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have another one some day.  Learn how to join here.

And after much research, I decided to go out into the wild blue yonder called the internet and figure out what foot pedal I needed for my Bailey’s Home Quilter Pro15.

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Those foot pedals cost between $79 and $100.  My research paid off as I found a generic cord on amazon for only $26 and some change.  After studying this machine closely and knowing my mechanical knowledge I think I am just going to order the part for the sewing machine and fix it myself.  All I need is an alan wrench and a screw driver.

I am actually feeling good enough today to sew!  After touching and feeling all that fabric it has gotten me all worked up, with romantic quilting thoughts.  So my love affair will continue, hopefully hot and heavy today!!!!

A Drum Roll Please! Introducing……

A week ago, I received a shipment that contained my longarm quilting machine.  I bought this machine used and in unguaranteed condition.  I purchased this as a risk, gambling on the odds of it working for me.

This machine does not have a power cord, so I will be hunting one of those up.  After doing much research on the matter, I can either find an old machine with this foot pedal, or go purchase a new one directly from the man who manufactures the machine.

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Unfortunately, during the shipment/packaging process the bobbin housing was broken.  Cheap pot metal was used.  And it laying face down in bubble wrap cause the case to be pressed upon easily breaking the most integral part of the machine.

You see the bobbin, race, hook, and cap are part of the timing.  I called for an estimate on that and for the part would be around $100.  Can I fix this myself?  Hmmmm….that is to be determined.  The odds are in my favor.  Remember I have fixed my big screen tv and helped fix the car.  I will be ordering the part and finding out if I can fix the machine.  If I cannot, I reckon any sewing repair shop should be able to help me if I pay them enough.

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So, even though I am now an owner of a longarm, I cannot use it until the kinks are worked out.  I have quilt tops waiting patiently.   My Memory Craft 9000 does an awesome job, but it is quite a workout with the larger quilts since the throat space is only 6 inches.  I will now have a large 15 inches which will definitely get the job done.

I will also have to fabricate a piece of plexiglass to use as a platform for quilting until I can get a table that I want.  I am still debating on a used ping pong table with a modification to the right corner to drop the machine into.  And when I am done for the day I can just fold it up.  This machine is considered portable weighing less than 30 lbs.  Or I could buy one of the manufacturer tables for $600.  As simple as the footprint is of this machine, a piece of plexiglass for any table I find should be easy enough to cut, hinge, and use.  I will have to have plexiglass for the front portion anyway because it has the singer class 15 bobbin case and bobbin which is awkwardly at the front.

As crude as this machine is, there are online videos showing you how to fix and maintain your machine.  This was a selling point to me because I would not be out an expense of cleaning and maintenance.  Once a year the Janome has to go into the shop for this purpose and that cost $150.  So it is another form of savings in the long run.

A drum Roll Please!  Introducing the Bailey Home Quilter Pro15

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Crude looking machine, but all mechanical.  If you start at the bottom of the barrel there is only one direction you can go….up!

 

Acquisition

The word acquisition means to obtain or acquire.  When I look at this word, I see many other words.  I see accurate.  I also almost see the word quilts.  My brain wants to turn that second letter “i” to the letter “l”.

These blocks that I have recently acquired, once sewn together in their hodge-podge vintage selves, I will probably name “The Acquisition Quilt”  A fun play of a word that describes simply that I acquired them.

Many many 6 inch blocks.  Just look at those calicos.  I wonder how old these fabrics are?

6inchblocks

And as an afterthought, I decided to check these pieces for accuracy.  Bingo, on the line, trimmed just fine!  I wonder if the previous owner of these was a Bonnie Hunter follower?  She preaches on the line cutting.  Helped me tremendously by just a simple little gesture.

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I received oodles of blocks, above are 6 inch.  Not pictured are gobs of 4 inch and some 4.5 and still yet more 3 and 3.5.  I did not picture these.  They will reveal themselves soon enough.

And then the amazing 3.5 inch unfinished blocks of the friendship star pattern done in what I think is reproduction fabrics.  I say reproductions, because the fabric is not thick as if they were genuine feedsack.

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Look at the hand stitching and scant seam allowance used.  Wowsa!

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And lastly there are 39 sailboat blocks.  These will be a challenge as they are not square.  Easy enough to just sew them together, however to balance them I would need to acquire just the right white fabric which may become impossible.  Perhaps these will become part of a medallion or row quilt.  These are vintage, I can tell by the quality and feel.  The person who made these was quite the quilter.  Some of the pieces hand stitched, and some machine stitched.

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See the back.  Look at the fine, even, perfectly spaced stitches.  I can tell this person had done lots of hand quilting and had perfected her 8 stitches per inch.

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So I have more UFOs.  My UFO is quite a pile now.  If I were to have a life altering event that prevented me from ever buying another piece of fabric.  I would be set for quite a while.  I have planned much.

On a more machined note, my longarm machine was shipped to me.  Not sure (because I purchased used) if the bobbin housing that connects to the shaft was previously broken or broke in shipment.  For those of you familiar with bobbin guts, some machines that have the front load bobbin have two black eared tension  knobs that you move to remove the hook, wing and race in the bobbin area.  The potted metal that was used for the whole assembly of the bobbin is what broke.  It was actually cracked in two places and then when I removed it from the machine, was able to snap it into another two pieces.  Odd, perhaps a titanic like defect of alloy used.  Because this deals with a potential timing issue, I am not sure what my next step will be.  I will be talking with the original engineer of this machine next week and find out what my options are.  I am hoping I can just purchased a whole knew assembly with shaft and gears that will just slide into the machine and await some oil.  But I am excited…… and feeling better.

Summertime Fabric Swap Complete

A small group of us gals in the Missouri Star Quilt Co forums got together and swapped orange, red and yellow fabrics,  The results came in the mail today.  This was a very successful swap.  The colors selected are beautiful together and will make a marvelous quilt one day.  I can’t wait to start cutting and stitching on this beautiful fabric.  Perhaps soon.  So did the group do well?  You decide.

I am currently in a similar swap like this that closes Aug 1st and deals with 10 inch squares of ugly fabric.  If you are interested in joining, read my previous blog post and learn how to join.

I look at these colors and it definitely communicates summertime to me.  Reminds me of heat/ flames and the hot sun.

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I contributed the 4 on the right.  All of these were fabrics given to me by a work mate.  Nothing spoken for as far as projects, but workable.  Nothing like taking fabric from your stash and making a layer cake of so many different prints.

Two Thumbs up!