Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vintage Treasures

Hosted by Colorado Lady.  Please visit her blog for more vintage treasures.

In the spring of 2009, I bought a 1950s Singer sewing machine in a cabinet with a matching chair for twenty dollars.  Included in the seat compartment was this little four pack of sewing books.
There was also this lovely instruction booklet.
I have never used Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound.  Every second page of Home Dressmaking is a an advertisement or testimonial of the remarkable healing powers of Lydia's vegetable compound.   No doubt this publication was complimentary.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Odds & Ends

In basket I keep little bits of fabric to experiment with. These are some of the scraps.

It is fun to try different quilting techniques and make something out of nothing. I even got to use up my last three red chicken squares.

Below is the finished wall-hanging.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Burgoyne Surrounded

This quilt took me twenty years to finish because I was too sensitive back then. 

In 1987, I cut and pieced the top.  I made the backing , then pinned the top, batting and backing together.

I showed my treasure to my loving husband. His only comment was he was not fussy about the colour. I immediately packed it up in a plastic bag and stashed it in my playpen.  At that time, I only had a playpen full of fabric, one sewing machine and no serger.

 As the years passed, sometimes I would share my unfinished quilt with my sewing friends.  I would pull it out of the bag and unfold it, tell the story about Doug not being fussy about the colours.  The comments I got were always the same, I should finish it as who really cares if he likes the colours.
Tammy's Craft Emporium began hosting Stitch n Bitch in the fall of 2006 after my son's bedroom was converted to sewing room.  Once I had a big closet, the playpen was retired.  Again I revisited my stash of fabric and incomplete projects.  In the summer of 2007, I finished it.  Twenty years ago, when I started quilting it I was using invisible thread and stitching in the ditch.  Two years ago, I scrapped the invisible thread and stippled the light fabric on the inside and the coloured print on the outside border.  When it was finally finished, I showed it to Doug.  He said it was really nice.
My Burgoyne Surrounded quilt is permanently displayed on the back of a comfy chair in my Craft Emporium.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Chicken Quilt

It really started out with these dinner napkins.  I made 30 of them and gifted away two dozen.  I had only six left.  The fabric is 100% cotton and very soft.  Every time I looked at these six napkins I kept seeing a quilt.

The fabric was 45 inches wide and my dinner napkins are 20" x 20".  So I ended up with 24 3.5" squares.  I have a magic closet in my craft emporium that is floor to ceiling fabric.  I looked high and low to find fabrics for the chicken quilt.  I wanted a nine-patch using as many colours from the napkin as possible.  I went back to the fabric store trying to find more red chicken fabric but of course they were sold out.  So I found another chicken fabric with a green barnyard country background.

My daughter Shannon designed the layout on paper, then we meticulously cut out the strips and pieces.  Unfortunately, when the piecing was done on four different sewing machines at stitch n bitch, I neglected to calibrate every sewing machine to make sure all the 1/4 inch scant seams were identical.  What ended up happening was the blue and white nine patches were not all the same size. 
By the time the problem was realized over half of the larger nine blocks were finished.  So I squared the big blocks to 10.5" instead of 11".  The inside and outside boarders are square.  If you look real close you will see that some of the small nine patch blue and white blocks are not square.  Ooops. It is a queen size quilt with 100% cotton batting and flanelette backing.

I was short six red chicken blocks, two of my dinner napkins were cut up for the cause.  Then I had an extra block so I made a matching pillow.  The pillow was my first attempt using welting string.  I looked it up on the net and thought I can do that.  Well it was not quite as easy as it looked on the net.

Grandma Rose

at  93 yrs young - this photo taken July 2007
My grandma is 95 years old.  She was married at 17.  Grandma got her first and only sewing machine a Singer treadle in the 1930s.  She has not sewn very much in the past five years due to poor health.  Grandma lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Canada (434 miles or 700 kilometres west and north of me).  When I went to visit her in August 2009, she insisted on giving me this quilt.

What is neat about Grandma's quilts is that she never buys fabric to make a quilt.  She cuts up old clothes mostly fortrell and polyester then sews it all together on her old treadle.
She pieced the back together with scraps as well.
Then she puts something in the middle (I asked) she can't remember if it was an old housecoat or worn out blanket.  As this quilt is a wee bit thin I suspect it was the housecoat.  Her technique is simple.  She sews the top and bottom right sides together like a pillow case, then turns her quilt stuffs the filling in and sews the bottom shut.  She ties the layers together with yarn.  That's it, Grandma Rose's quilt is finished.

It is not the prettiest fabric, but I think it is beautiful as it is the last quilt my Grandma Rose will ever make for me.
For more vintage treasures please head over to Colorado Lady's blog.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nathan's Zoo Animals

Nathan is my great nephew. He was born in Calgary on my 50th birthday.

In 1998, I was into collecting beanie babies and buddies.  The creator of beanies made millions on these lovely toys.  When the line was discontinued and then reintroduced later they lost their appeal as a collectible.  So I ended put with two giant comforter bags full of buddies.  Every baby quilt I make gets a matching beanie buddy for baby to love  My two comforter bags  is now only one bag.

I love this quilt because it is so colourful.

Baby Quilt

This is a Precious Moments baby quilt with matching toy bag.  I have added ribbons to the bag and quilt as tots love to fondle them.  The bag has a front pocket for story books.

The quilt was sewn with my Husqvarna 500 for Elyssa.  I put baby's name in contrasting thread on the quilt as well as my initials and the year (ted 2009) in matching thread usually on the binding.

This quilt top was made of 100% cotton top, batting and back flannelette. The binding is 100% nylon and the ribbons are 100% polyester.

I hope the child will drag the quilt around everywhere.  So I straight stitch all seams, then serge them and iron the seams flat.  After that I top-stitch every seam with a zig zag stitch.  This quilt can be washed and dried several times without any seams letting go.

In the beginning...

Since I am off work with a fractured ankle, I decided to take the plunge to start my own blog, as I enjoy reading other people's blogs so much.

On Wednesday evenings I host "stitch n bitch" a sewing group where my friends and I get together to drink tea and sew.  We sew all kind of things including nylon reusable grocery bags, lunch bags, tote bags, baby quilts, crib sheets, tea towels, table cloths, dinner napkins, baby crib mattress pads, rag quilts, Halloween costumes, ball dresses, cafe curtains, sheer drapes, yoga eyeball pillows and of course quilts all kinds of quilting projects.  We really do not do much bitching but we sure do a lot of laughing.

Tammy's craft emporium is my huge sewing room which was my now grown up son's bedroom.  The emporium is filled up to capacity with sewing machines, thread (I love thread), knitting supplies, fabric, patterns, quilting books, tea pots, tea cups and tea.  The overflow is stored in my grown up daughter's closet and the rumpus room of our basement.  It was a very good thing that my kids grew up so I have their bedrooms to store all my toys.  I lay out my quilt tops on Shannon's queen sized bed.  My ironing board, cutting table, measuring rulers and cutting tools live in the rumpus room along with four sewing machines.  I even have a Piedmont (Pearl) sewing machine in my computer room upstairs!
I collect sewing machines, thread, fabric, books, dvds and patterns.  At the moment, I own 12 sewing machines and one serger.  My oldest sewing machine is a Bernard Stoewer treadle made in Germany in 1910.  My youngest one is a Pfaff QE 4 purchased in March 2009 also German design but made in China.  I have become my own sewing machine techie with my vintage and treadle machines.  I enjoy the challenge of restoring an old sewing machine that was completely ceased up back to sewing lovely precise stitches.  Some say treadle machines are good for varicose veins and circulation in your legs.

I am happily married for 29 years and counting.  My husband (Doug) is my very best friend, the love of my life and soul mate.  One day I was sewing alone in my craft emporium when Doug comes in.  He told me if I knocked out one wall I could fit five more sewing machines in there.  To which I replied "good idea!"  Yup,  I definitely married the right man!