Monday, July 28, 2014

Grandmother's Vintage Sewing Machine

Years ago, my parents gave me a box that contained my Grandmother's sewing machine.  All I knew was that it was an Elna and needed repair.  I never opened it and packers put it into a collection of boxes over the years as it moved from place to place with us.  This year I finally opened the 4 layers of packing materials and this is what I found.
An Elna Lotus SP, designed by Raymond Loewy.  
I learned from the International Sewing Machine Collector's Society that it was made between 1969 and 1977. The Museum of Modern Art in New York selected this compact machine, with its clean lines, for their 'Design Collection.'
 Like a lotus, its petals open up to reveal a compact, but utilitarian machine, with a variety of stitches and functions. The top of the machine has its own built-in tool caddy, but a few of the tools are missing.
Raymond Loewy also designed the Avanti.
I had a friend in college who drove one. I thought the car was so James Bondish and he was just the coolest for driving it! Unfortunately, I never succeeded in getting more than a spin around the block (in the car, that is.)

How does it sew??  It has a beautiful stitch, but is probably better suited for garment sewing.  I have a very hard time getting it to stitch over bulky seams and I have to give it a little manual help every once in awhile to get it to start a seam. Each time I use it, I learn a little more on how to make it function the way I need it to.

Why am I sewing with it???  We moved up to Colorado in mid-July and I brought both my daughter's Bernina (lighter than mine) and the Lotus.  The Bernina will not turn on, so the Lotus is all I have to sew with.  I have restricted myself to sewing things I can over-size and custom cut to help deal with the lack of precision.  I sure miss Bernie and now have more empathy for students with older machines!

And besides, I have not done all that much sewing. Here is what I have accomplished:
From Kim Diehl's book, Simple Appeal.  The name of the quilt escapes me. 
I love the graphic nature of the quilt, but had a hard time picking the border.   
My progress on 'Sunflower Gatherings' by Lisa Bongean.  The wool applique extends into the pieced setting blocks, so each block is only partially done.  Wow, each block is so detailed with lots of embroidery...not my favorite thing to do!  Like my Pennies from Heaven quilt, I think this will also be a scaled down version of the original.   

And finally, 
'Mini Around the Pumpkin Patch'
Red Button Quilt Co.
16"x 19"

I did not lug my Sashiko machine up here, so this one will have to wait to be finished until I return home in mid-August.  

Now back to gardening, hiking or anything else we can think of to do in the glorious out of doors!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Laundry Day and a Winner!

My 'Laundry Day' flimsy is done!
I love the aqua and violets that Kim has in this line, and that limey green is fun too.
This quilt makes me smile.
It is rather small measuring about 20" square.

And Linda has won the market day bag.  Thank you to everyone who commented.  I wish I could send one to all of you. BTW, Linda, I have contacted you by email.  You have until Wed. evening to respond before I select another name.

Today I am working on a fall mini from the Red Button Quilt Co.
Those 9-patch blocks finish at 1 1/2".
I love mini quilts!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.
We are just trying to stay cool here in AZ.
Lots of indoor quilting time!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Another AMB giveaway!

In an effort to promote the Farm-to-Fabric Challenge, the folks of AMB would like to run another giveaway.

Stop on over at their site and read all about it. Leave me a comment with a fact from the info provided and I will draw one winner of this adorable market bag. Drawing will be on Monday evening, July 14th. Make sure I have an email address to contact you with and you must have a US mailing address.

Now what have I been doing...
riding my bike all over Normandy and Brittany!

Visiting Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery was very moving!
I was thrilled to see American flags next to the French flag in all the villages we rode through.  The Norman school children adopt a fallen soldier and honor them with flowers on their graves. They truly remember and are thankful for the sacrifice Americans made for their freedom.

But now, I am off to the quilt shoppe to pick up my kit for Laundry Day, the first quilt we will be making in the Kim Diehl Simple Whatnot's Club being offered at TOWQS starting in October.  If we get participants that do not live in the area, I will run tutorials on the shoppe's website for making each of the quilts.
If you want to learn more, go here.
Golly, I love being home in my sewing room!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Measure Twice!!

A hard lesson to learn! I bought the background and border fabric for this quilt 4 years ago.  So when I cut one border 1" short, I had to piece it together...boohoo.  Hoping the applique and quilting will disguise my mistake.
Christmas Magic by Kim Diehl.
Good news is that this blockhead project was successful...I met my goals and now I have all the flying geese done! Next step is to complete the applique.  My goal is to complete at least two corners each month. 

I have another Kim Diehl quilt pieced, but I am having a hard time settling on borders.  And I succumbed to the Primitive Gatherings BOW.  Boy, I bit off more than I can chew!  A very labor intensive project.  
Needless to say, I have lost my focus and need to find it again.  No other progress has been made on finishing all my WIPs. I have some other obligations (another mystery quilt and the Simple Whatnots Club) to work on this summer, so I plan to get back to my WIPs in the fall. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Winner and Arizona Block Tutorial

First, I loved reading all the comments and apologize for not responding to each and every one of them, but the response was overwhelming!  It seems visiting the Grand Canyon is high on everyone's list, as well as going to Sedona. I enjoyed the fact that the Indian ruins scored high as well. Thank you for taking an interest in my adopted state...I was born in California and we have retired in AZ.
And the winner of the AMB fat quarter bundle is Abbigail, who has been to AZ and would love to return to see the Anasazi ruins. 
Brenda is the winner of the bundle of my leftover AMB solids.  She has visited the Desert Botanical Gardens near Tucson and enjoyed learning about the Saguaro cactus.
Congratulations ladies!
I have notified you by email. 

And now for the block tutorial...
The background of the block was made by piecing together strips as follows:
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of AMB #34 dark aqua
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of AMB #23 aqua
2 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of AMB #32 light aqua
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of #10 dark yellow
1 1/2" x 12 1/2" strip of #69 dark gold

I pressed the seams open.
The background should measure 6 1/2" x 12 1/2" after it is pieced together.

Go here to download the pdf of the applique. When I printed the file, the mountain shape was a tad short.  Just extend the shape about 1 1/2" so that you have a 12 1/2" long shape.

 The shapes are reversed for either fusible or the starch & freezer paper method of making applique shapes.  There are plenty of good tutorials for either method. Here is one for the freezer paper method.  Here is one for fusible applique.  Both tutorials are from participants in the tour.  I used the starch & freezer paper method and hand appliqued the shapes to the background, but you can also machine applique it down.  Here is a great tutorial on how to machine applique. 

To make the Saguaro cactus, begin by tracing the shape on to the paper side of a piece of freezer paper.
Iron the shape on to the right side of the olive fabric (AMB #24 olive) and cut it out on the drawn lines.
Repeat 3 times.
Glue all three shapes together.  I used a glue stick.
Place the three layers of olive fabric on the background and secure with a little glue.
Using a fabric marker (I used a Clover white marking pen), draw a line in the middle of the arms and body of the cactus as shown (the arms measure 1" wide, so draw the line at 1/2".)  
Decrease your stitch length to about 20 stitches per inch.
Using a matching cotton thread, stitch down the drawn lines and 1/4" on both sides of the lines.  Note that the stitching of the side arms stops where the arm joins the body of the cactus.
Using a sharp, small pair of scissors, cut the top two layers of the shape between the stitched lines.  Note that I also cut where the arm joins the body of the cactus.
Spray the shape with water and use a chenille brush or other stiff brush to fray the cut edges.  I find it works best to move the brush side to side.
Once you have achieved the desired amount of fraying, trim any long threads.
And there you have it!

Now make the lettering using the reversed shapes on the pdf found here.

 I used AMB#3 black to make the letters.
I applied them using fusible web and then stitched around them with a tiny zigzag stitch and matching thread.

Hope you enjoyed the AMB blog tour as much as I did. 
Thank you to Clothworks for asking me to help promote this wonderful AMB fabric line!

P.S.--if you have difficulty opening the files and wish to make my block, just email me and I will get them to you! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

AMB Blog Tour Giveaway--Welcome to Arizona!

Welcome to Day 24 of the AMB blog tour. I am Cheryl, your tour guide for the Grand Canyon State, ARIZONA. I hope you have been following along and know that each of the 50 bloggers have designed a license plate block for a quilt that will be displayed at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston. At each stop of the tour, you have had a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of the vibrant solids used to make the blocks, in addition to learning about the states themselves.  So buckle you seat belts and bring your sunblock...let's visit my state!

My block is very similar to an actual license plate design used here in AZ.  I love the out-of-doors and our moderate winter climate makes Arizona the perfect state for tons of outdoor activities. 

In addition to posting a free pattern for my block and a tutorial on how I made the Saguaro Cactus, I will be giving away 2 prizes.  The first prize is a fat quarter bundle of some of the colorful AMB solids, sponsored by Clothworks.  The second prize is a bundle of the solids made up from my left over AMB fabrics, and includes some 'made in Arizona' products.

I live in the southern half of the state in the Valley of the Sun, which is mostly desert. This Sonoran Desert is one of the hottest  in the U.S. and the only place on earth where the Saguaro cactus grows in the wild. The highest temperature ever recorded was 129 degrees F (53 degrees C,) but everyone is a dry heat! The Saguaro cactus, the largest cactus found in the U.S., can grow as high as a five-story building and hold up to 9 tons of water. I love the pale yellow flowers that cover the cactus in late spring.

Arizona is also known as the Grand Canyon State.
The canyon is 1 mile deep, 277 miles long and the Colorado River runs through it.  Two of the most popular activities in the Grand Canyon are hiking from either rim down to the river or taking a river rafting tour.  Our family took a river rafting tour when the kids were in middle school and they still declare it as their favorite trip ever!

One of my favorite places to visit is Sedona.
The red rock formations are truly spectacular to see. And if you hike to the top of Cathedral Mountain, you might experience a vortex! I did...but I don't know if it was a vortex or an endorphin high from the exertion.

Before the Europeans came to this continent, Arizona was the home of the Apache and Navajo husband is a 1/4 breed Apache, but the kids with their blonde hair have trouble convincing anyone of that fact!  Today it has the largest percentage of its land designated as Indian lands or 'reservations.' Some of the best Anasazi ruins can be found in Canyon De Chelly in the northeastern corner of the state. 
 If you go, take a jeep tour with a native Navajo!  Several Navajo families still live in the canyon in much the same manner they have for many years. Navajo National Monument has a wonderful cliff dwelling and Wutpaki National Monument has ruins that are on the plateau.

Although Arizona has its share of big cities and museums, I have tried to share with you the places I like best. It is a little known fact that Arizona has more parks and national monuments that any other state, more mountains than Switzerland and of course, more golf courses than Scotland. It is not a wonder that it is a very popular destination for families over Spring Break! 

***To win either of the 2 prizes, just leave me a comment and tell me what part of my Arizona tour you would like to visit most.  
***If you are a no reply commenter, please leave me an email address where I can contact you if you win!
***You must have a mailing address in the US to enter.

I will select the 2 winners after comments close on Monday the 23rd at midnight.  I'll be back on June 24th to announce the winners; provide a downloadable pattern for the applique and give you a tutorial for the Saguaro cactus.  

Now drive on over to Dora Quilts for your tour of New Mexico!  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

AMB Blog Tour Collage!

I will be back tomorrow to reveal my Arizona block, but I just had to share the collage that Michelle has put together over at Quilts from my Crayon Box.  She has done a fabulous job promoting the tour!  
Make sure you click here and take a will give you a feel for what the entire quilt will look like.

In the meantime, I am working on a few new projects.  I self control! Hopefully, I will make enough progress to share a few photos.  
But, no post should be without a picture, so...
my granddaughter.  She is the one on the right.