STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Monday, February 25, 2013

Style File Finish

Front view
Here is my finished project from Saturday's workshop. It is called a Style File. The original pattern is from The Quilt Company in Allison Park, PA. We also had the option of making a smaller version to use as an Ipad cover. I believe one of our own members worked it up and figured out the proper dimensions (Gail, was that you?) Since I don't have an Ipad, I chose the Style File. It was a quick and easy project and everyone was finished shortly after lunch. It is so nice to go home from a workshop with a finished project in hand, rather than what will often become another UFO.
Back view
It is basically a padded zippered file with a front pocket. The best thing about this project was learning a new and very easy zipper application technique. Foolproof and great for those who have "zipper phobia"!! It can even be sewn in without a zipper foot. The first pocket I did was what I was not happy with, so I re-made it today. It is sometimes  difficult to plan fabrics and cut pieces when you haven't seen the project or you don't have a clear idea of what it is to look like. The strips for the front of the pocket were supposed to be angled. I didn't angle my first ones enough, so to me they just looked crooked. I knew it would drive me crazy so I re-did the front pocket, with new fabrics, and cut the strips a little more angled. Now that it's done, I'm happier with it but if I was making another, I would angle them even more - wider at one end and narrower at the other. I used batiks in my favourite colors for the pocket, the rest of the file is a blue-grey Fossil Fern fabric that I've had for ages. I quilted it with Sulky threads in green, blue and purple. The overall finished size is about 14" by 11".
Zipper Pull from twisted perle cotton
I will look for a cute sewing charm and then make a proper zipper pull with some nice beads, but for now I've just made one quickly with some size 5 Perle cotton. I took four equal lengths (2 purples- one light, one dark, a green and a blue) and knotted them together at one end. At this point I usually put a safety pin through the knot and pin it to my jeans.Then you just twist and twist until the entire length is tightly twisted. Then you grab the twisted length in the middle between thumb and index finger and bring the other end toward the knotted pinned end and the whole thing will coil upon itself. (Is that clear as mud?)  Just try it, it's very easy.
A fun project and a great day (half day!) spent sewing with friends. Thank you Jennifer for doing this class for us!


"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." ~ Beverley Sills

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Full View.. Ta Da!

Well here it is in all it's glory! lol  I have been trying to come up with an artistically beautiful setting to photograph this finished top. However.. when I am dealing with a red quilt, which I do not, under ANY circumstances want to get wet, and it's winter.. with lots of snow on the ground, well that limits or eliminates many choices. I've been keeping my eye peeled for an attractive old fence, but I think I'll have to keep that option for when it's quilted and finished, and it's a dry day. If you have ever worked with red cottons, you know that even if they've been pre-washed, that is still no guarantee that they might not run or bleed.
Just last week my buddy Sue called me for some Synthrapol. She has a small red and white quilt which she uses as a runner that she had set a vase of fresh flowers on. She must have spilled a bit of water while topping up the vase, and after it sat un-noticed for a while, the red fabric bled into the white. Even though this is not a new runner and all the reds had been washed before she sewed with them.. well it obviously still can happen. So I'm not taking any chances with getting this quilt wet. (If you don't know about Synthrapol, it is a product used by those who dye their own fabric, and also by quilters.. it will lift out excess dye, or color that has run or bled. Every quilter should have a bottle of this stuff on hand... seriously.)
 My plan had been to hang it on the clothesline (I know, I know, not very original, or pretty)... but it would have drug in the snow. So for lack of anything better, here it is laying on our deck. At least now you can see it in its entirety. Of course when photographing anything outdoors, there's always a challenge. Today it was the (very slight) breeze. Every time just as I was to click the shutter, here's what happened... lol
Finished size is 70" by 85". 

 The next decision is the quilting. I would love for it to be hand-quilted, but there are SO many seams and junction points, I think it would be a nightmare. Suggestions welcomed....
I thought I would have a new (small) project to show you today. I took a Guild workshop yesterday and came home with a finished project. But I was not happy with one portion of it, so last night I tore it all apart and will re-do that one section. I figured out one small improvement and although I'll have to re-assemble it slightly differently, in my mind it will work. We'll see... Hopefully it will be done tomorrow. Stay tuned...


"I would rather die of passion than of boredom." ~ Vincent van Gogh

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Done feels oh so Good...

 So the red quilt is done. Well, the top is done, next comes the quilting process. Not sure yet what I'm going to do there... still pondering. There are SO many seams... I showed it at my Guild meeting last night, and you will see it full size just as soon as I can get some decent pics outside. Today is out as we are experiencing yet another lovely winter storm day- freezing rain, snow, rain-snow mix... take your pick. That's pick as in choice,  not photo!  (ha! trying to inject a little humour here to make up for this crappy weather.. I am SO tired of all this lovely "winteryness")
Here are a few shots taken on the livingroom floor - not great but proof that it is all done with borders on. As you can see I chose the more involved border with both piano keys and flying geese, but you knew that already didn't you? That's why it took a while. The piano keys just didn't look like they were "enough"...

Anyway the top is done and I am in the process of tidying my studio- folding and putting away what feels like a thousand reds and almost as many lights.  Hmmm.... what happened here? I did this quilt to deplete some reds but I seem to have more than ever... (note to self: need another basket for reds...) Please tell me I'm not the only one this happens to... (Are they multiplying overnight?)
As well as more variety of reds in my stash now, I'm left with a great number of little tiny triangles, both reds and lights. Like hundreds!! You just know I'm going to have to do something with these... I can't bear to toss them in the garbage. I think I feel another Miniature coming on... After all I am teaching a Miniatures class next week, so maybe it's time for a new Mini??? What do you think?


"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way." ~ Christopher Morley

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Of Kitties and Snowstorms and Blossoms...

Oliver is getting tired of  "watching winter" through the window.  I'm getting tired of winter too... Ollie loves lying on the back of the couch and it is his favourite spot on a sunny winter day when he can soak up the warmth of the sun. (I snapped this pic of him a few days ago when the sun was just catching part of his face.) But he's getting pretty bored with all this white stuff. We've had snowstorms the last three weekends in a  row and we have another doozy of a storm coming tomorrow. We're to get freezing rain and then 15-25 cm. of snow. Schools were closed yesterday and I suspect they'll be closed again tomorrow... I know we're now past mid-February and spring is only a month away (hopefully!!), but could someone please shut off the snow machine soon? Ollie and I are getting really tired of white...

So , assuming perhaps you are tired of white too, here's a little colour for you. I have been enjoying the blooms on another amaryllis. This one is a coral colour - I believe it's the same bulb whose blossom is in my header photo above. I've shared many amaryllis photos with you before so I have tried to look at this bloom with fresh eyes...from a new angle...  So just forget that snow outside and enjoy this wonderful colour - painted by Mother Nature herself. She's quite an artist. But  I am ready for her to put away her white paint  and get her more colourful palette out to once again paint our landscape...

 On a final note, my red quilt is all together. You'll see it soon....


"In all natural things, there is something of the marvelous." ~ Aristotle

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day to all my peeps! I'm sending some love your way! I've had a busy week and haven't made time for blogging...  I know, I know, you don't want to hear any excuses! So I'll spare you. I will be back soon to show you the red quilt though - with all four borders on (one left to do) - hopefully on the weekend at some point. I've been working away at it..  and I'm pleased with how it's lookin'.
I went to the movie Quartet last night - LOVED it. If you get a chance, do see it. Lots of good laughs and some tender moments too... Maybe you could convince your Valentine to take you on a date? Hope you're feelin' the love today. If you don't have a sweetie, treat yourself!! Flowers, chocolate, a movie, a new book... whatever makes you happy!!

Sending love to all my readers and followers today... and a big welcome to my new followers! Hope you'll visit often!

Peace and Love,

"Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, February 8, 2013

What a toy!

Do you own a toy sewing machine? I mentioned a few days ago, when I showed you my old Singer with the beautiful decals, that I have an antique hand-crank toy sewing machine. It's a Casige- pronounced Ka-see-ge. It is German made, but I do not know when as there is no date or serial number on it...
Casige was one of the great German toy makers of the 20th century, although  the original company had been founded 50 years earlier and specialized in locks.You can see the company trademark of a great German eagle grasping a key in its talons on this little machine.
The name Casige came from the name of its founder and his hometown- Carl Sieper of Gevelsberg (Westfalen) Germany. Ca-Si-Ge.
In 1901, Carl Sieper II, grandson of the original company founder, was asked if he could supply small cheap sewing machines for schools. He must have had a good head for business because he  realized that to expand his company, he would need contracts and a school contract would be a very good start. Casige produced toy machines from 1902 until 1975. They produced millions of machines in endless patterns and designs. The one I have is very plain compared to photos of some I have seen, with intricate decals and designs. To give you an idea of its size, the base measures 5.5" by 9.75" and the hand wheel is 3.25" in diameter.
I don't believe one could actually sew with it as there is no bobbin or shuttle for a lower thread. However the upper part of the machine looks very authentic as there is a spool pin, a simple tension disc and thread guides for the thread to follow a path to the needle. The presser foot does raise and lower and there are feed dogs to move the fabric through, as you turn the wheel.

There was no needle in place when I got it years ago, and one of "today's needles" does not fit - I have tried! So I guess it is destined to be admired as a "decor" item in my studio... it won't be replacing my hard-working Bernina any time soon...
So - do you own a toy machine? If so, I'd love to hear from you.


"Adults are obsolete children." ~ Dr. Seuss

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Life Lessons

I'm sure, like me, you receive many jokes, stories, etc. via email. Every once in a while, one comes along that really makes you think, or you say to yourself  "yeah, that is SO true..." I was going back through some old emails today, deleting, and came across this one sent to me by my cousin Ron. It falls into the "So true" category, so I thought I'd share it with you.
It was labelled as the shortest speech by a CEO - 30 second speech by Bryan Dyson,  former CEO of Coca Cola:

"Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. They are Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit and you're keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls - Family, Health, Friends and Spirit - are made of glass. If you drop one of these they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it.
Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends  and have proper rest.

Sometimes we need a little reminder of what's really important.....

Have a great day!


"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." ~ Oscar Wilde

Monday, February 4, 2013

How Many Machines is Enough?

Do you follow Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville? If so, you know that she is a keen and devoted collector of sewing machines. How many machines do you own? I have four, but only one that I actually sew on - a Bernina. The others are merely "decorative". One is an old treadle in a lovely cabinet which I had  refinished and it turned out beautifully. It sits in my front foyer. (I'll show pics of it another day). The third is an antique toy hand crank sewing machine, made in Germany. Again, I'll show it at another time.
Today I really want to tell you about machine #4. Several weeks ago, on Bonnie's birthday (Jan. 23) she showed an antique Singer treadle machine she had purchased, adding to her (significant) collection of vintage machines. She was so pleased that the decals were in such perfect shape and showed close up photos of them. Several days later as I stood working at my ironing board, I glanced down at my fourth machine which I had picked up for $20.00 a few  years back at a local antique shop. It is missing one of the slide plates and is not in a cabinet; it sits in my studio on an old wooden box which is stamped with "Grown and Packed in California, USA  60/70"....  I'm guessing grapes? apricots? Who knows... fruit of some sort, for sure...  Anyway, back to the machine. What really caught my eye at the time was the perfect condition of the decals on the machine. There was not one bit of wear. They were perfect, but for a little dirt/grime/crud... So, as I stood looking down at it, I realized it is exactly the same machine Bonnie was showing!!! When I checked out the serial number (JA719602), it is actually one year older than Bonnie's machine, made in 1924. It will soon be 100 years old!! So, inspired by the great  job Bonnie does at cleaning up her antique machines and getting them working, I figured I should put a little effort into cleaning this one up. I used nothing more than a soft cloth and sewing machine oil, and a toothbrush at one point. Oh yes - and lots of  "elbow
grease". So - here she is. She's a Singer 127.  Isn't she a beaut? I can't sew on her unless I can find a slide plate which fits, and a bobbin - from what Bonnie says, it is called a "long bobbin" which goes in the "vibrating shuttle". Actually I'm not interested in getting her into working order, as I have no cabinet for her, nor room for one. I'm happy to just have her sit and keep me company. But I thought you might enjoy seeing her, in all her new (clean) glory! Aren't the decals wonderful?


"Priceless things matter not for their value, but because they offer us an enduring reminder of stability and permanence." ~ Barbara Taylor Bradford, Power of a Woman
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