Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Sewing and a New Design Wall

I was asked to make some placemats for a friend.  She wanted something that looked like Spring/Flowers.  I'd seen something online years ago (can't remember where), and decided to do something similar.

I made 4 different blocks, using fabrics from the Pioneer Woman collection.

Then I cut each block into quarters, and stitched a quarter of each block into a center square block.

I then used some of the extra strips I'd cut to make side pieces.


I finished 8 of these placemat tops.  I have the center squares stitched to make another set of 8 placemats and a set of 6 placemats.  I need to cut more strips for the 2nd & 3rd sets.  Meanwhile, I spray basted the first set just before supper.  Hopefully I'll get them quilted in the next few days.  

At my little quilt guild's sew-in last Thursday, Sharon showed us a portable design wall that she had made.  She'd gotten the idea online.  Well, I copied her idea, and made me 2 of the portable design walls.

To make the portable design walls, you need one of the folding cardboard sewing mats, 2 curtain rods (48"-84" adjustable) and 10 large binder clips.  You also need some batting and some packing tape.

I already had several different folding cardboard sewing mats that I've picked up at thrift stores and garage sales over the years (they are great for protecting my dining room table when I spray baste small quilts).  These come in two different sizes.  I pulled out two of the larger sizes (72" long instead of 60" long).

2 sizes of folding cardboard sewing mats

I cut batting to cover these, and folded the extra batting around the back and taped it.

batting taped to the back of the folding cardboard mat

Next, you take your adjustable curtain rod and lay it along the edge of the mat, on the back, and attach it with the binder clips.

front of portable design wall

back, showing the curtain rods

I made two of these.

2nd wall is folded

Now I need to make some bags to store these in.  These will be great to take to sew-ins, etc.

Another lady at my sew-in, had a different portable design wall.  She'd bought a folding display board, then covered the front of it with batting, and taped the batting to it.  Her portable design board sits on her table by her sewing machine.  Both are great ideas for portable design walls.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Some Stitching This Week

 I've gotten some stitching done this week.  I finished some accessories for my black Featherweight that was given to me.  I made a bag for it, to protect it when it is in the rolling sewing machine case, and a cover for the fold down extension tray, to keep the screw from further damaging the tray.  I also made a bag to hold the foot pedal, so that it doesn't rub on the bed of the machine while it is stored.

extension cover and sitting in bag

in the closed bag

foot pedal and cords in the bag

This machine was missing the bobbin case when I got it.  I got a bobbin case for it at the Texarkana TOGA (Thanks Floyd) and she is running great now.  Her name is Carrie, after the lady who gave her to me.

At the TOGA, there was a demo on how to make a Tea Bag Wallet.  Missy cut out the pieces for me, from her material, and I finally got a chance to make mine.  I didn't have any tea bags in my sewing room, so I show it with Post-It notes and Post-It flags.



My little quilt guild had a sew-in Thursday.  I got several blocks stitched (below).

Treadle On, my hand crank and treadle group, is having an Advanced Block Exchange.  We are making blocks for the Radiant Suns quilt in batiks.  I've finished 6 of the blocks so far (only 42 more to go).

Radiant Suns blocks

I made one block with my regular 1/4" foot with a metal guide on the edge, and then I pulled out my Curve Master presser foot to see if it worked better.  The Curve Master adapter was a very tight fit on my machine, but I got it on.  I don't know if it was any better, but it worked for me (with some ripping out and re-stitching on some seams).  I got better after several curved seams.  I'll make a few of these blocks at a time.

stitching Radiant Suns curves

Curve Master presser foot, stitching a curve

I also finished 5 blocks using Pioneer Woman fabrics.

Pioneer Woman fabric blocks

When I finish the other 3 sets of blocks, I'll sub-cut these blocks into 4 pieces.  These will be turned into placemats.

Last night was my large quilt guild's meeting (Pride of the Prairie).  A new member brought several vintage quilt tops that he had been given.  He was given these quilt tops to find them new homes.  I got one of the vintage quilt tops.  Several of us are thinking that this is from the 1940's, and it is all hand stitched.

vintage quilt top

I don't think this will ever lay flat, so I won't get it quilted, unfortunately, but I can use it when I have my vintage sewing machine demo's.  

I have another sew-in Saturday, but I'll just be taking hand work.  I need to finish more sewing kits, so that I'll have one for the Sewing Kit Exchange at the Missouri TOGA in June.

Friday, May 13, 2022

My New Treadle!

 Last November, I heard about a Willcox & Gibbs treadle on the Salvation Army website.  The treadle was in Santa Monica, California, and they didn't ship, it had to be a local pick-up.  One of the ladies in one of my vintage sewing machine groups said that she lived an hour from there and would be happy to pick up the machine and hold it for me, so I went ahead and bid on the treadle.  

Well, I bid on the treadle, and at the end, there was a bidding war between me and one other bidder.  It was going up, $1 by $1 for a while, but, in the end, I won the auction for a whopping $32!  Woohoo!

Nancy picked up the treadle a few days later, and when she got there, she discovered that the treadle drawers were full of goodies (not mentioned in the ad).  Woohoo, even better!  Nancy was drooling over the decals and the lovely attachments in the drawers (these seldom come with any of the attachments).

Well, Nancy held my treadle until Kim could pick it up.  Kim drove it to Flagstaff, AZ, where Wendy held it until my nieces friend could pick it up and drive it to Albuquerque, NM, where it changed hands 3 more times, and then it headed to Silver City, NM, where Anne and Bob picked it up.  After they picked up the treadle, it got to vacation with them across several states for the next 3 months before it finally got to their home in Wisconsin.  Last Saturday, hubby and I drove up to Wisconsin to pick up the treadle (and eat some yummy venison with Anne & Bob).  

This week, I've cleaned the treadle irons and the wood cabinet, and today I cleaned the sewing machine.  The entire treadle is in great shape for a 109 year old machine.  It was dirty, especially the treadle irons, which had some rust on them.  

before cleaning

before cleaning

lovely treadle peddle

I cleaned the irons outside (in the 90+degree heat).  You can see the rust on these 'before' photos.

belt guard

Here are the irons after cleaning and then waxing (Howard's Feed 'n Wax was used).

belt guard


One of the feet that holds the wheels on the treadle is broken.  Nancy found 2 treadle wheels in one of the drawers.  Since the metal foot is broken, there isn't a way to fix this (the broken part wasn't in the drawer).  At least it is the back wheels that aren't on the treadle anymore, so it tilts a fraction of an inch backwards.  Not a problem.

Front wheels

back wheel (not broken)

back wheel, broken off

Next was cleaning the wood on the cabinet, then waxing it (also with Howard's). 



after cleaning & waxing

Today it was the machine's turn to get cleaned & polished.  First, the before photos (it wasn't very dirty).
before cleaning

before cleaning

Serial #A586194 (from 1913)

thread and lint in the looper

dirty hand wheel

After cleaning the lint out and finding a whole bunch of thread wrapped around the hand wheel (I've not seen that before this machine)....
lots of lint around the feed dogs

threads wrapped around the hand wheel

the thread I got off the hand wheel

Finally, the treadle is re-assembled (except for the treadle belt, which will happen after I post this).
1913 Willcox & Gibbs treadle

I did test it, and it sews nicely!  This machine makes a chainstitch.
stitching from the top

stitching showing the chainstitch underneath

I told you that this treadle came with several attachments in the drawers.  Here is what came with it.
ruffler with original instruction sheet

original manual (109 years old)

Tuck Marker in original box

Wide, Narrow and Linen hemstitchers

wrench, gathering foot, quilt bar and seam guide

Oh yes, and Anne gave me some original W&G needles from her Boye needle case (Thanks Anne)!
2 Boye needle cases for W&G's

I have done some other things this week besides cleaning the treadle.  My Treadle On group is having an Advanced block exchange using the Radiant Sun's pattern (curved piecing).  I was smart and bought the templates, not just the pattern.  Those templates are worth every penny!

Earlier this year, I went thru my batiks and pulled fabrics, then bought the few colors that I didn't already have.  This week, I cut the pieces I'll need for the 3 different colorways (24 blocks in one colorway, 12 blocks each in the other 2 colorways).
24 blocks worth cut

12 blocks worth cut

12 blocks worth cut

Cara Gulati, who wrote the pattern, has a great YouTube video telling how to make this quilt from picking the fabrics thru stitching the blocks.  Hopefully the curved piecing goes as well as the cutting did.

I have two different sew-in's next week, so I'll be prepping some things to work on for them.  What are you working on this weekend?