Karen writes about life as a Quiltmaker in Austin, Texas; surviving in an empty nest, marriage, cooking, gardening and (did I say?) Quilting...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Ta Da!

Today I finished my FEBRUARY Charity Quilts, resulting in a SECOND month of quilts COMPLETED.

TA DA indeed!

My resolution for this year to do one small (45" x 45") quilt each month for the Austin Area Quilt Guild "Baby Bundle" project is 2 quilts closer to completion.

What great satisfaction is gained when one puts that last stitch into a quilt!

This quilt also came from the "Sew One and You're Done" book by Evelyn Sloppy. (Yes - that's her real name... the book does not elaborate!). The idea is to take classic single blocks, that normally would be done in a 12" inch size, and blow them up to a size that makes them a single quilt. It's a great way to try a quilt block design to see if you might like to do it in a small size. Though after working this large, it might seem to be a miniature.

These big quilts have few pieces, all of simple design (square, triangle, etc.), with no fancy work, so they go together well. This quilt used up a small amount of flannel that I had in pastels. The back is pieced of the remaining pieces, so it's almost two quilts in one...

I also was able to make use of the wonderful training in machine quilting I received from Sue Nickles at her workshop here on Saturday.

And finally, this was my first use of "Big Red" my 1927 vintage industrial Singer model 31-15 in her new table.
Last week we purchased an old 1944 Singer 143 - another large commercial machine - this one with table, motor and all the "fixins". I'll probably sell the 143, as it is a REALLY heavy duty machine - for canvas, leather, upholstery, etc.... a constant oiled machine! And the traditional clutched motor will also probably end up on eBay. The 31-15 is still powered in this picture by the old PFaff 130/Weber motor (not seen - but mounted behind the machine. NOTE that fabulous Hard Rock Maple Table! It's almost 1-1/2 inch thick... like butcher block. I wish I'd taken a picture of it in original condition - it was almost black with grease and wear. DH sanded it down and I will finish it to give me a nice slippery surface for quilting. Next, I'll be in the market for a new SERVO type motor - no clutch - unlink traditional commercial sewing machine motors which run constantly, the servo motor only runs when you need it. I'll try and get a picture of the complete set up when it's finished.
Yes, this is the same quilt with machine quilting underway... note how I safety pin baste for machine quilting. When I hand quilt, I use thread basting. The problem with thread basting a machine quilt is that the quilting foot get's caught up in the threads, and you don't want to sew over the threads anyway, as it will make it harder to remove them. Stopping to trim them away from the sewing path serves to interrupt my "rhythm" when quilting, especially when doing free motion work. With pin basting, I can pin "around" my quilt marking, limiting the amount of interruption to the work as I sew!
QUILTER's TIP of the DAY: You can use a size E or zero (0) crochet hook to open or close safety pins when pin basting your quilt. Saves your fingers which will get raw if you try pinning a large (or even a small) quilt. You can also buy a tool, called a "Quick Clip" - for a little more than what you'd pay for a Crochet hook! I have a very old crochet hook that has a wooden handle, that is REALLY comfortable. I can do a full sized quilt in just a couple of hours (ugh - this is one of quiltings most boring, un-wanted jobs!).

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