Friday, March 26, 2021

More Harry Potter Blocks Finished

 I finished the last of the full sized blocks for the Harry Potter Castle quilt for our soon to be grandbaby.  I only need 13 full sized  blocks for this layout.  As usual, I'm making 2 of these quilts (extra one to show off at quilt shows, that the child will also get one day). For some reason, the photos got blurry when I edited them, sorry.

Time Turner

both blocks

Golden Snitch

both blocks

Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

both blocks

Round Eyed Monster Book of Monsters

both blocks

The Monster Book of Monsters is different than the one I made before.  This is one of the many alternate blocks that have been designed over the years.  This version was more difficult to make (200 pieces of fabric in each block) but I like the look of it better than the original version.  I used the same fabric for both versions.


I'm now prepping the smaller blocks that are left (half sized blocks).  I shrunk already small blocks (5.5" blocks) to 4.5" blocks.  Some of the pieces are tiny!  The small size will make them more fiddly to make.  


Tuesday was my best friend's birthday.  It was also the anniversary of the day we met (and became best friends at first sight).  It's now been 44 years since we met.  I sent her flowers for her birthday.  When I got home from work, guess what was waiting for me from her?

flowers from my best friend

Our flowers are almost identical.  How's that for knowing what we both like?!?!


On the weight loss:

I started my doctor supervised diet on Jan 28th.  As of Thursday morning, I've lost 20 pounds!  Hopefully the pounds will keep coming off so that I can reach my goal.  I'm learning how to change my eating habits.  I even got to eat a deli sandwich last week (half a Reuben sandwich was only 420 calories).  That was the first time I've gotten to 'eat out' since I started my diet.  I'm planning on a Chick-fil-a Grilled Chicken sandwich for supper tonight (only 320 calories).  I've even found a frozen pizza that I can eat when hubby and son eat their pizza.



Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Little Bit of Progress

 I'm running behind this year.  It's been a busy year, and I'm not getting as much done as I expected to.  I spent hours cleaning the machine in the last post, and I wasn't expecting that.  Today the machine went to it's new home.  It's always sad when I sell a machine, but I think this machine will be well loved.

I finally finished my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks for February.  I'm making these blocks as my leaders/enders while I sew the Harry Potter blocks for the Castle quilt(s).  

February RSC blocks

I started stitching the March (dark green) blocks today.  I cut out all the parts yesterday during a Zoom meeting where we were celebrating International Quilting Day.  I missed half of the Zoom meeting since I had to attend a memorial for one of my son's closest friends.  It's hard to lose someone who was only 26, and was such a fun, vibrant, caring person.  

I finished another quilt top March 2nd, but haven't posted it until now.  I still have to baste and quilt it.  This quilt will be for our 3rd grandbaby that is due late April.  The Harry Potter Castle quilt is also for this baby, but it will be late.  I still have more blocks to paper piece before I can start working on the castle.


baby quilt

It's hard to get a good contrast with yellow fabrics.  The contrast shows up better in person than in the photo.  I'm using purple Minkee for the backing.  I haven't decided what to use for the binding yet.  I don't know if I have a stripe that will match it. 


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Cleaning a Machine

 I have several machines that I've never cleaned.  Sometimes they come in the door, and I don't have time to clean them, so they get put away and forgotten.  Well, this machine came in the door way back in March 2016.  It came in a cabinet with a knee control.  I gave the cabinet away shortly after I got the machine.  I seldom keep cabinets unless they are in really good condition.  Cabinets take up too much space.  

Here are the before photos.  I'll add in a few of the photos after I've cleaned, to show the difference.  I've spent about 7 hours cleaning this machine.

dirty machine

The wiring on the motor was in shreds.

rust on the motor where the belt would attach

shredded wiring on motor and light

Someone had added a light at some point.  Instead of how Singer attached motors, using the round metal plate on the back of the machine, they had drilled a hole in the back of the machine and screwed the light directly onto the machine.

drilled into the cast iron to attach the light

The light rubbed against the decals on the back of the machine each time the light was turned on/off.  Thank goodness it didn't do more damage to the decals.  The word 'Singer' is scratched up.

cleaned machine, showing scratched decals on the word 'Singer'

The bobbin winder was really rusty.  When I started, the bobbin winder was frozen stiff.  I had to oil it before I could clean it.  Thank goodness the oil worked quickly.  I managed to get it mostly dissembled so that I could clean the metal parts.  Here are photos of before and after cleaning.

showing rust, before I oiled the parts

I took photos as I took this apart, so that I could get it back together again.  

more parts taken off

rusty and pitted metal

rusty, and old dirty oil on the metal

cleaned and re-assembled bobbin winder

The tension unit was really rusty, too.  I took it apart and cleaned each part.

rusty tension unit

rusty tension post

dirty tension parts (always take them off in order so that you can put them back on in the proper order)

cleaned tension parts

clean tension, re-assembled

I cleaned up lots of other metal parts, too.
rusty bobbin area

filthy and rusty bobbin case

bobbin area

cleaned parts

I don't remove the presser bar or the needle bar when I clean.  I did clean these while they were still on the machine.  The only rust was on the part that is next to the base of the machine.
dirty presser bar and needle bar & foot

clean presser bar and needle bar

The bobbin cover plate was missing on this machine.  I used one from another machine.  It also cleaned up nicely.

The previous owner used masking tape on the bed of the machine.  The tape was still stuck on in places (and brittle).  I cleaned the tape residue off the bed, but the adhesive had damaged the paint.  You can see in the photos where the tape was (in front of and behind the bobbin cover and also across the middle of the bed of the machine.  I'm glad it didn't damage the decals.  I've been adding sewing machine oil, letting it sit, then cleaning, then adding oil....repeat, repeat, repeat, for the past few days.  
masking tape on machine bed

the tape was across the decals in the middle

pitted paint where the tape had been (adhesive has been cleaned off)

this part had less pitting


Now you've seen why I spent 7+ hours cleaning this machine. 

Remember this dirty machine?
before cleaning


Here she is, all cleaned up and converted to a hand crank.

1922 Singer 66 hand crank, clean and shiny

I got nice stitches as soon as I tried to sew on her.  I was expecting to have to fiddle with the tension, since I'd removed and cleaned it.
pink is bobbin thread, blue is top thread


Not bad for a 99 year old machine.

Now to get some sewing done!


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Wiggles Quilt

 Monday is my granddaughter's 3rd Birthday.  She loves Emma and the Wiggles.  When I saw that fabric had been released for the Wiggles, I knew I had to make her a quilt.  The fabric was really hard to find.  I prefer yardage, but I managed to find a panel and lots of fat quarters.  This is what I came up with.  The photo looks drab (bad lighting) but it is a bright quilt.



Since I had so many extra fat quarters, I decided to use them in the backing.






I used the 2 extra pinwheel blocks for the center of the back of the quilt.


I decided to have fun with the quilting. I only do straight line quilting, and this is the pattern I came up with (yes, I use scrap paper to to take notes on and to try out ideas).

practice quilting pattern

I quilted it using a variegated thread (King Tut's Cleopatra).  I've used this thread many times.  I'm almost out, so I had to order more for the next quilt. 


I finished up by making a faux piping binding.  Since I didn't have yardage, I used 2 fat quarters for the binding, alternating the blue and red.

faux piping binding

The quilt is washed and ready to be shipped to Alaska.  I know, it probably won't arrive in time, but that's ok. She'll get to celebrate her birthday again when it arrives. 



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Snow Day!

I got a snow day today!  Yipee!  I really needed to work on my granddaughter's 3rd Birthday quilt.  Gwendolynn really loves Emma of the Wiggles (a preschool show).  I found a panel and some fabric late last fall, but hadn't had time to do anything.  Well, her birthday is March 1st.  Yes, I'm running late on this one.  

Using Triangluations, I made the half square triangles as leaders & enders while paper piecing.  Today, I finally got started sewing the HST's together.  I wanted to make pinwheels, since Emma is known for dancing.  


I pulled out Betty Sue, my trusty Featherweight.  I hadn't sewn with Betty Sue since last year.  

Betty Sue

The sewing machine cabinet I use has a large enough opening for most of my vintage machines, but Betty Sue is much smaller than my other machines.  There is a large gap behind the machine.  When I sew, all my blocks fall into that gap.  Not good.  I used some template plastic and some blue tape to fix that problem.


cheap fix for the gap

Hey, whatever works!  

Well, I turned all those HST's into a quilt top.
Wiggles quilt top

up close of some of the pinwheels



I still need to make a backing for this.  I have several more fat quarters of these fabrics.  I had to purchase fat quarters since it was so hard to find any yardage.  I do have a piece of yardage, too, thank goodness.  

Since I don't free motion quilt, only straight line quilt, I'm thinking of using a cross hatch for the quilting.  

I am thankful that we have power.  Several of our relatives in Texas don't have power.  Some don't have water now, either.  Water mains are breaking due to the cold.  Most of Texas doesn't have snow plows, so everyone is stuck at home until the snow/ice melts.  I know I'm not the only one who is ready for winter to end.