Sunday, May 31, 2015

Meet my Newest Pedal, Lois

A big "Thank You" to Becca with Sew Me a Song and Amy at During Quiet Time for choosing me as the recipient of their recent Giveaway. I absolutely loved this collection and had to put my name in the mix to win and believe me was I ever shocked when I got the email notice that I won! This little bundle puts me so much closer to finally having the stash to create my dream scrappy happy quilt.

Now about that new pedal...

Meet Lois my second Singer 301A.

Born in 1951, she's a tan long bed in lovingly cared for condition. She has an equally lovely trapezoid case and a number of accessories. Isn't she beautiful.

Until Friday she resided just a few houses up the alley from me with one of the most beautiful neighbors you could ever imagine, Miss Lois. 

One of the last front porch conversations I had with Miss Lois was about sewing. She shared that in her younger days she had loved to sew but she was a bit too tired lately. The last time I saw Miss Lois I spied her through one of my sewing/dining room windows as she walked her little dog, Lizzy. I stopped and wistfully watched them walk by.

Miss Lois was a classic southern lady in her 80s. She was one of those ladies who always stayed classically current but never trendy. Her home was beautifully decorated with meaningful items she had collected with her husband. She was a widow for a number of years and had overcome breast cancer. She felt she had lived a full and blessed life and was ready for God to call her home which he did several months ago just a few days after that last time I saw her.

A few weeks ago I was perusing estate sale photos with my sister when I came across a sale with a beautiful Singer 301. I marveled aloud how precious and tasteful the owner had been. Then, my sister noticed that the sale was in my very neighborhood. Miss Lois!

I had planned to be there when they opened the door as I wanted to ensure that Miss Lois's sewing machine would go to someone who would appreciate and adore it and I hoped that person would be me. But, as luck would have it, I noticed a growth on my dogs foot and my only shot at getting him seen by his vet last week was 15 minutes before the sale started. 

I took a chance and called the estate sale company to see if they would sell the 301 early and they would! I purchased the 301 and the newer model folding sewing/storage table in the photo sight unseen. 

I'm not sure what possessed me to buy that table, it's not my style, but my son is taking his bedroom suite in July and I will be able to move my sewing out of the dining room so I need more surfaces and storage. Well, I am so glad I bought it because all of the vintage accessories where stored in it! I would have missed out on some important accessories and special pieces.

Besides your standard green box and owners manual, which I have with my first 301, I got a button hole attachment, a Sewing Skills book and a darning foot.

It looks like Lois received this machine for Christmas around 1951 when she was a young bride in rural Georgia. She wrote a note on the cover of her skills book to remind her of her last class at the Singer Sewing Center on January 21.

She also doodled lightly on the cover and wrote notes on the inside.

I found a number of lovely things in the drawers, like these two silver thimbles, the wooden knitting and crochet needles, the darning egg and that classic pin cushion.

I also purchased this adorable little Tanker Table.

I found it in the garage. It may have originally been a school piece as it is a bit petite but still adult sized. It will be nice for my HuskyLock since the serger sits up a bit high for a normal table top. 

While cleaning the desk I found schoolwork dated 1967 tucked behind this drawer.

Miss Lois had been a school teacher and besides her daughter's math work there was also a homemade times table study aid written on card stock. I took these and some unused personalized sewing and knitting tags back to Lois's home to be given back to her daughter.

I feel so blessed to be able to care for the machine that was lovingly used by such a lovely lady. It just seems right that this 301 should carry her name and, for the first time, I am naming one of my sewing machines. I know that Lois and I will have many happy sewing days together.

On another sewing note...

I am participating in the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Hop. We get our first email tomorrow and I can't wait to see what I have gotten myself into. 

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Easy Ruler Modification - Tuesday Tip

Do you ever need to trim a block and you don't have the correct size or type of ruler in your tool box?

How about trimming a block and you just about go cross-eyed trying to line it up on all the little dots and the process gets more complicated because of that extra half inch?  You get the first one cut and then you need to replicate it several more times. It makes me get seasick just thinking about it!

Sometimes there is a highly specialized ruler that can be purchased. Who has the budget for that? Not me.

Many times the perfect ruler doesn't even exist. 

Here's my solution when I don't have the perfect ruler, I modify one I already own!

I recently used my technique when I had to trim 20 granny square blocks on point. That's a lot of eye fatigue when you take the time to line up all those off centered dots. Here's what the middle looked like.

Now add in all those outer points, factor in some warpage and layer on the occasional imperfect seam allowance get where I am going...lining up those corners and maintaining proper placement all around the block is near impossible!

My solution is to grab an Vis-A-Vis pen or a Sharpie. Sometimes I only need to circle a specific dot or dots so that my eye can quickly find them. Other times I need something more detailed.

For the Granny Squares I pulled out my 6x12 ruler and added lines to my 12.5 square ruler. Starting with a corner to corner line perpendicular to the existing printed line.

I use my long ruler to mark my lines and I ALWAYS MARK ON THE SLICK, UNPRINTED SIDE of my ruler. This is especially important if you are using a Sharpie.

The great thing about the Vis-A-Vis is that it does not rub off easily like a Dry-Erase or Expo pen would but it is easily removed with a damp cloth.

For my Granny Square Block I had to make two inch wide channels to line up with the rows.

First one direction and then perpendicular.

I did this by lining up the one inch mark on my long ruler with the corner diagonal lines.

Below is my fully modified ruler ready for use.

Now it was a matter of lining up my blocks under my modified ruler. I started with the center piece and worked out to all four corners.

When I was satisfied with my alignment I trimmed my squares.

It's a bit of a bonus that the points are taken out of the equation with this generous 12.5 inch trimming. They just sort of float in the white background.

Once you have all your blocks trimmed it's time to take your ruler back to its original condition.

All it takes is a damp cloth for the Vis-A-Vis marked ruler.

You will need alcohol if you use a Sharpie.

My rulers have been marked multiple times in this manner and they look great. 

Just remember to only mark on the clear side and not on the printed side that touches your fabric. 

Thanks for visiting!

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Monday, May 18, 2015

One Inch at a Time...My Micro-Stamp Journey Continues

One inch squares...I've been cutting my tiny scraps into one inch squares while watching HGTV here and there this weekend. I have been using these to prep for my Augusta Modern Quilt Guild Micro-Stamp presentation on Tuesday. 

I've repeated the process several times since I came up with it for the ring pillow for my son's wedding and I have made a few production refinements. I need to redo or update my tutorial. Updated on 4/19/15

These scrappy samples are slated for two pin cushions and the heart is for a journal cover. Can't let them go to waste!

Updated on 4/19/15

The squares finish at half an inch.

I also finished another quilt to add to the growing stack of quilts my traditional guild is making for our local VA hospital's long term patients. The goal is 70 and we are pushing 30 since the call went out about two months ago.

The back. 

All the front blocks are from fabric donated by Branum's Sewing and Vacuum, The red stripes and grays are from my Kona stash, the back is a clearance piece I bought at Jeff's Sewing and Vacuum during their 30% off Mother's Day sale, the coffee bean print used in the back piecing and for the binding was scraps from the stash fabric I backed my first VA quilt with. I actually cut the binding from the fabric I trimmed while squaring the first quilt! 

The quilting detail. 
This was fun and fast on my Grace/Juki setup. I recently upgraded the nylon rails to stainless steel rods and I am loving the improved maneuverability. I wish I could give credit for the blogger who inspired this pattern but I forgot to pin or save the link.

The front. 
Hopefully there are two Bulldog fans in the ward who will like my red and black quilts.

Thanks for visiting!

Linking up with:
Blossom Heart Quilt's Sew Cute Tuesday being Hosted by Blossom Quilts this week
Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday
Mabey She Made It's Do Tell Tuesday
Free Motion by the River's Linky Tuesday
Sew Fresh Quilt's Let's Bee Social
Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Caring, Sharing, Every Little Thing that We are Wearing

Sisters, Sisters,
There were never such devoted sisters

Lord help the mister, who comes between me and my sister...

I couldn't help but reference one of the classic Christmas movies that isn't really a Christmas movie. The tune was running through my head all weekend.

I had the honor and pleasure of spending Mother's Day weekend with my Big Sis. She's on the left up there played by Rosemary Clooney. But in our real sister act, I'm more of the Rosemary while Big Sis is more of the Vera-Allen. But guess what, a little movie trivia here, Rosemary was actually seven years younger than Vera-Allen! It must have been a real burn to be cast as the "big sister." I hope they paid her well for the slight.

The misters are a pretty close representation. The Height is right but you need to flip the hairdos. I think my follically-challenged Danny Kaye is pretty cute, mind you.

Here we are on Mother's Day in our unintentionally matching t-shirts. At the moment this is the only clothing item we own that matches and when we are together it never seems to fail that we both don it on the same day. The visiting sister always gets to wear it and the other has to go to her closet and change. But not this day, in honor of Mother's Day, I thought it would be fun to play twinsies!

My youngest son took this picture for us. He's the only one of our five kids who was with us for the day but Sis had just spent the week with her son and grands. We missed our other four kids, DIL, fiancĂ©e and Sis's grands but it was softened a bit because we got to spend the day with the funniest of the kid crew. It's okay to say that cuz I checked with the close second on the humor scale and even he agreed hands down that Son #2 is the most humorous. 

When he brought the iPhone to us so we could check to see if we looked okay in the photo, his comment was..."Looks pretty good, you can hardly tell you all are pregnant," then he walked away with a straight face while Sis and I absolutely lost it.

Hubs had his twins day on Saturday when he did the Up the Creek Without a Pedal ride in Rome, GA with his buddy who also happens to share the same first name! In this case, Hubs is the "Bing" on the left. I am not sure if their photographer was as witty as ours.

Sis and I had fun on Friday and Saturday too. The quilty, fabric kind of fun! Sis recently became a member of one of my guild since so many of her frequent visits include their events. Her first official member activity was a workshop on Friday put on by the Pizza Box Girls. Their concept is so much fun and they are sisters too!

One of my fellow guild members has a blog and she got her post out lickety split so I recommend that you go to Siobhan's blog, Scraps and Threadtales to read about the event. By the way, I am the last person in line in that shopping picture.

Here's what we made:

I want to make a whole quilt with my own fabric. For the class they issue everyone the same fabric kit, the pattern and a ruler. We all made the exact same two blocks. It made the presentation very efficient. I am going to make my blocks into Christmas Pillows for gifting. But look at the quilt below! I want to make a lap size in this flavor.

Cindy, the instructor also shared a number of great tips that had even the most seasoned quilters in the room oohing and aahing. A favorite was to make adding borders easier by treating them as part of the rows. Genius!

My Sis is still working through her sewing apprehension and she had a rough start when her travel machine decided to have tension issues. This is a machine that always seems to have perfect tension and it gave her fits from the get-go. She had to rip and start over several times and her nerves were making her tremors worse. She has an auto-immune syndrome that attacked her nervous system twelve years ago and she only recovered about 90% so she has to deal with some extraneous movement. 

Well, while rethreading her machine she had a stray jerk and she stuck the needle into her finger tip!  I was busy sewing and thought she had sewn into her finger-tip at first. It was wedged between the foot and the needle. The big problem was for some reason when you turn her machine's hand wheel either direction it always dips before it goes up! The instructor and I double teamed it and removed the foot and the needle to extricate her poor finger. Luckily, I keep band-aids in my sewing kit. There were two more calls for band-aids during the class so she didn't feel so clumsy by the end of the day.
We had to put the finishing touches on our blocks in my dining studio on Sunday but we are both done.

We followed the class with a visit to Joann's.

On Saturday we had a guild meeting. Great food, great people and more Pizza Shop fun!

We saw our first quilt trunk show. Amazing! I may be modern but I love to look at anything quilty. I also want to touch them all so I started to stand up when she asked for a helper but someone in the first row had quicker reflexes. 

Note to self...get a front row seat at the next trunk show just in case a helper is requested.

I am quite tactile. I am the reason they post signs and have people in white gloves at quilt shows. I love to pet anything I think might feel cozy. Think Lennie Of Mice and Men tactile; but not the Steinbeck kind, more of the Looney Tunes variety.

There was shopping! I bought the "Kaleido-Ruler" and the aluminum stiletto. The 15 degree wedge was our Pizza Box Kit tool and the "Purple Thang" is a few months old. I bought it instead of a stiletto and have never gotten the hang of using it. Now that I have a real, shiny, sharp stiletto I'm going to put that "Thang" in my travel sewing kit so I can keep the serious tool where I stitch more.

When show-and-tell started I was checking out and I almost left my purchases behind when I rushed over to see all the quilts. Like the huge trunk show wasn't enough quilt viewing for me! 

Most of the quilts shared went into the pile below. It's our first delivery ready for the VA Hospital. We have about 25 quilts! Two of these are my creations and I have another just about ready for the quilting frame.

After the meeting we went to our two LQSs because they had Mother's Day Sales! I bought five yards of RK Quilters Linen at 30% off. 

I have developed a slight addiction to this stuff. I am blaming Heather and Meg of the Augusta MQG for this affliction. They chose it as the solid for our last guild challenge and I absolutely fell in love. It is so elegant that I had to have it for my personal bed quilt. I am ready to start cutting now.

After the meeting and shopping we put together an ironing pad for Sis to take home for her craft room. Isn't that cute Ikea home dec!

That pink T looks great in my green room. Shocking!

Sis left for North Carolina on Monday but she'll be back May 21st and we have fabric plans in the works already. I love having her close enough to visit often. It's such a bonus that she drives through my area on her way to visit her grands.

BTW, my email has been on the glitch for a couple months so if you are feeling slighted because I haven't replied to your comment lately it's because I am rarely able to get an email to send. I hope to figure out the magic fix soon. In the meantime, I will be using the blog comment section reply feature for comments that require an answer. Sorry about that. 

Thanks for visiting!

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tour de Cashiers

Look, I stocked up on batting....

12 yards of Pellon Nature's Touch Cotton batting. I'm switching things up from my usual Warm & White. The 1995 cotton batting on my old WIP that I just finished was so thick and fluffy that I decided to check some other brands for a beefier loft than the Warm and White. The Pellon seems to be an improvement so I bought 12 yards at Joann's with a 50% off coupon. I have one of my VA donation quilts on the frame now. The pellon seems to have less stretch so I am already impressed. We'll have to see how it feels after a wash and dry.

It's not very exciting but that's all the fabric fix you get, it's bikes from here on out.

Except for this:
I was featured on My Quilt Infatuation's Needle and Thread Thursday! Thanks a bunch

Last weekend the Hubs and I rode to Athens, GA with one of his riding buddies (Dave) and his wife (Libby) to take in some of the Athens Twilight Criterion. We had some locals participating in the racing so that added to the excitement. I believe #122 above is one of our guys. He qualified along with another Augusta rider for a first row call-out on the main event! He was Four and the other was Two. Not bad for two local amateurs in a field that included a two-time Olympian and a large number of pros.

If you can make out the guy in the pink helmet, fourth from the left, he's our other front row guy.

They didn't win but one did hang onto the peleton for a majority of the race. Crits are crazy scary.

On the way over to Athens we stopped at an antique shop in one of the no-light towns that dot the southern back roads so Libby could purchase a vintage lamp she spied on Craig's List.

This is the style of the lamp but not the exact one she bought. I snagged this photo off the Internet. It was beautiful and I may be just a bit jealous.

I had met Libby one time about 20 years ago and it was nice to reconnect. Who knew Hub's best riding buddy's wife was transitioning to modern furniture! Her process is just getting started whereas I've been at it for years. She grew up traditional and I grew up modern so she is starting from scratch unlike my journey back to my roots. 

Now for what I have been up to this weekend.

This is my view at the start of the 2015 Tour de Cashiers Quarter Century.  It was my most brutal mountain ride to date. Once we turned left at the end of that straight stretch in the photo we started one of the most crushing climbs I have ever done, on cold legs!

Here's a goofy photo of me that a kind lady offered to take prior to the start. I look so oblivious to the torture I am about to endure. 

I am calling this my first Bike and Hike because I actually got off my bike about 5-6 times and hiked  up some of the inclines. I have never done that before! I shot this photo about half way through the ride just before I hopped back on my bike for a winding white knuckle descent.

Not only would I rank this my hardest ride but it was also the prettiest and the best smelling if you eliminate the rest stop next to the donkey ranch. 

I'm not sure who came up with that spot for a rest stop but not only was it adjacent to a donkey ranch, it was at the bottom of a brutal climb. I set aside my pride and walked up that incline even though all the volunteers could watch my walk of shame. The fact that I wasn't the only walker did soften the blow a bit.

So, long story short, I did finish and was never tempted to let the sweeper car pick me up. 

What I learned along the way...

I need to spend more time in this seat...

...than I do in this seat.

I know what you're thinking..."How can anyone sit in either one of those seats!" I happen to like them both.

And, I need to drop a few pounds. Starting with the five that I didn't have on my last mountain ride and then continuing on to the 15 that I needed to lose even when I successfully drug my carcass up that last mountain ride!

Next post will be dripping with fabric and quilting, I promise.

Thanks for visiting!

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