Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Connor's Quilt top (Finally)

My youngest son graduated high school back in May 2012.  He didn't decide what quilt he wanted until that Spring, before he graduated.  I'd found a block, way back when I was first learning how to quilt, in the Winter of 2001-2002, and thought it would be easy (it wasn't) and bought enough material to make both my son's a quilt, using this block.  Well.... as someone who had never sewn, and was just learning how to make a quilt (I'd only  just finished my first quilt, 13 inches square, and all by hand) I found out that I was trying to take on way too much at that stage.  I cut out all the pieces and tried to sew them together, properly.  Grrr!!!!  I had to rip out and re-sew every single piece more than once.  Grrr!!!!  After making one block, I showed it to my boys, and told them that they wouldn't ever get this quilt, sorry.

First block ever made
Yes, I know, this block looks pretty easy, but, it is NOT for beginners!  This block started teaching me how to place my 1/4" seam in the correct place, and how to trim blocks to make them square.  I wish I'd had a teacher, or, an experienced quilter to get help from, but, the lady from my church who'd taught us the mini quilt (by hand, not machine, no less) had gone back to work, and the other ladies in the group were still meeting, but, didn't know any more than I did at that point.  That is why I abandoned this block/quilt.

Skip to Spring 2009, when I asked my oldest son what he wanted in a quilt for his high school graduation.  He didn't want a quilt in his college colors, or, any other quilt, he wanted 'that quilt' for his dorm bed.   Oh no! 

Well, if I was going to make that block, I was going to string piece the blocks and make enough blocks for both boys.  I found that pattern and the stencils that I'd made, way back when, along with all the fabric that I'd bought.  I made enough blocks to finish one whole quilt, and left the other blocks, since I still had 3 years before the youngest one  would graduate.  This is what I came up with for the oldest son.

Christopher's quilt
Since I've never made a pillow sham for Christopher, I have 14 blocks left (including the original block made).  I figured that would be plenty of blocks to make another quilt for Connor, when the time came.  Well, guess what!?!?!  When the time came, Connor didn't want those blocks in those materials any more.  He still wanted 'that block' but, he'd picked out several fabrics the summer before (he was going to make a quilt, but, never found the time), and he wanted me to make 'that block' in his fabrics, BUT, he didn't want the same setting, either.  He wanted everything offset and slightly wonky, and HE wanted to design his quilt. 

Ok, Connor decided what fabrics went where in the blocks, then I cut them up and sewed them together.

Connors blocks, waiting for the next step
Yep, I made 28 of those blocks, just in case, since I didn't have a clue how they would be put together.  He kinda wanted a layout like above, but, that is way out of my math skills to make them that wonky. 

Connor wanted to design his own quilt top.  Well, the blocks were finished before the end of March 2012, but, with graduation activities going on, he didn't have time to sit down and start designing.  He left for the summer less than 10 days after graduation (he worked at a summer camp in another state), and only came home for a whole 3 days before he left for college.  So much for having time to design the quilt.  He finally agreed to let me start setting the blocks on point.  I didn't get very far before my trusty hand crank got tipped over, and didn't work properly anymore.  Eek!  I stink at fixing tension issues! 

From my previous post, you know that I attended the River Rat TOGA in September.  I took my 1959 Singer Spartan hand crank to the TOGA to see if someone could help me fix it.  I found out that it had multiple tension issues, but, after several wonderful sewing repair guys helped me, we finally got it up and stitching nicely again.  Yipee!    Now to get 'that' quilt finished. 

This quilt didn't like me!  Of course, it would have helped if I'd drawn out what I was trying to do, but, nope, that might have made sense, and made things easier, so, of course, I didn't do that.  I didn't think it would be that hard.  WRONG!  (did I mention that this quilt didn't like me???)  I've done more ripping out on this quilt than I've done in the past 2 years of sewing.  First, the blocks ended up a strange size (12" unfinished, 11.5" finished).  Then, I set them on point, not knowing how many blocks I would need, or how much sashing I would need to get this to a size that Connor wanted it to be.  That whole 'on point' thing with the odd size blocks was just too much for my math skills.  In the end, I mastered that quilt!  I won!  Here is the finished quilt top.

Connor's finished quilt top
Connor wanted things offset, and a bit wonky.  He didn't want a 'regular' quilt setting at all.  I couldn't do exactly what he wanted (too much math involved) but, I think I got the idea.  The corners are also offset.

bottom right corner (same as top, left corner)
bottom left corner (same as top, right corner)
Connor's quilt was pieced on this sewing machine.
1959 Singer Spartan hand crank (3/4 size machine)
The top quilt was pieced on my trusty Janome 4800QC.  I didn't collect vintage sewing machines back when that quilt was made.  The top quilt was hand quilted (by me), but, Connor's quilt will be quilted by a professional long arm quilter from one of my quilt guilds.  It will be finished by Christmas. 

Now to go figure out scrappy backing for this top.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

River Rat TOGA (Minnesota trip, part 3)

Wow!  Not only have I not finished posting about my trip, but, it's been almost 3 weeks since my last post.  It has been BUSY around here since I got home.  Sorry!

The reason we decided to vacation in Minnesota was so that I could attend the River Rat TOGA.  No, I didn't wear a bed sheet and get drunk.  This TOGA stands for Treadle On Gathering & Academy.  It was a get together of my treadle and hand crank group.

Cindy holding the new sign
On Wednesday morning, hubby started his 6 day/5 night solo backpacking trip while I drove 350 miles south to Lake City, MN.  A few of us arrived early and met up with Cindy, the lady who puts on this TOGA.  Yes, there are other TOGA's all over the country at different times of the year.  This was the 2nd TOGA that I have been able to attend.

At a TOGA, we play with machines...
just a few of the toy machines at the TOGA
repair machines....
Jeff, Bill and Rick checking out some machines
sew on machines...
Sheila working on some charity blocks
do some demonstrations.... (I did one on paper piecing)
Judy talking about how to work a 2 Spool machine
socialize and have a raffle.

I took 5 sewing machines to the TOGA.  One to sew on while I was in Minnesota, 2 machines to get worked on...
my Spartan now stitches nicely again
another machine to try to sell (nope, it didn't sell), and a Standard Treadle that I've been trying to get to the BSA camp for a while now, but, it had 'issues' and wouldn't stitch.
Rick & Jeff working on the Standard treadle
The treadle is now working it's way to the BSA camp, thanks to someone else who attend the TOGA, too. 

One of the ladies who also attended the TOGA is a professional quilter.  Instead of quilting on a long arm machine, she quilts on a treadle.  She does lovely free motion quilting.  She taught others how to free motion on a treadle during the TOGA.
Cindy learning how to free motion quilt

The way the TOGA's expenses get paid is thru the raffle at the end of the TOGA.  The raffle is one of the highlights of the TOGA.  Everyone brings items to donate for the raffle, and everyone buys tickets, too.  Here are some of the raffle items on the tables.
one of the raffle tables full of goodies

another table full of goodies

machines for the raffle

more raffle items, including a Maxine quilt

more raffle machines and some blocks
Raffle are FUN!  Here are a few of the items I came away with...
denim jacket with this on the back

treadle fabric and pillowcase

some of the blocks I came home with

bags, notions, vintage post cards & and an old catalog

toy treadle and thimble hanger

this is a treadle add in the old catalog

some books written by a collector from England
Oh yea, I found out that there is a drawback to the raffle.  You can't 'pass' on your turn when your name is called.  Nope you have to take something from the raffle items.  Guess what is left at the end of the raffle???  Sewing machines, and lots of them!  I was lucky, I only had to take one machine from the raffle. 

Now remember that I brought 5 sewing machines to the TOGA (one a full size treadle).  The treadle left with someone else for it's new home, but, I still had the other 4 machines I came with.  Well, I was given a cute toy machine...
this is the largest 'toy' machine I own. 
I was also given a Singer 66...
this will become a hand crank when I get time
and I bought another Singer 66...
this will also become a hand crank
Then I got a machine from the raffle...
Alden sewing machine, needs it's tension rebuilt
AND< I also brought home a machine that I am holding for someone until January...
Frister & Rossman hand crank I'm holding for someone else (Darn!)
That means I came home with 9 sewing machines in my car!  Oops!  Glad I have a large SUV.  Yes, hubby and all his gear still fit in the car.  Before hubby walked off for his hike, he said "no treadles"!  Well, I didn't bring home a treadle!  See, I can follow directions!

For those of you who think that I have a large collection of sewing machines, well.... we stopped by Cindy's storage unit to check out some of her machines.  Cindy is my 'parts' supplier.  She also has machines in her home and garage.  I took a pictures of Cindy's full RV size storage unit with a 20 foot loft in the back.
Cindy's storage unit, full of machines
See, that makes my collection seem tiny!