Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Silvia...I'm so glad she's here!

In 1980, Silvia 'I' came to live at my house. She wasn't computerized, but she was the top of the line DSM made by Necchi, manufactured in Italy. And she was "Brand New"!!!!

I didn't call her Silvia - just my wonderful, wonderful, wonderful sewing machine. She could stitch almost anything and she did a bunch of it - many shirts for Mike and Rygh,  and matching Easter dresses for Mikkie, Mandie, Mollie, and me plus countless other clothes! She stitched up curtains, cushion covers, pillow shams and yes of course a quilt top or two. She patched countless jeans and shirts, fixed many a tarp, sewed up blankets and covers for show animals. Even stitched a little light leather on occasion. She stitched and stitched and stitched and her crowning achievement was this:

Mikkie's wedding dress. She sputtered a little as the last stitches were put  in and then...she just stopped. (That was in 2008). She visited two different sewing machine doctors...but alas, she had stitched her last and no replacement motor could be found (she was vintage, you know  - parts are hard to find for us old girls! LOL). So Silvia I was replaced with the next model (used of course, made in China) - she wasn't called Silvia any more - just a Necchi 4575 - same stitch selections, same basic mode of operation, and she didn't cost much off ebay - (you know, I always thought I could find "someone" who could resurrect Silvia, just needed something to sew a little).

But "ole" 4575 has stitched a bunch too. She does a fair job patching jeans (a true test for a rancher's wife's sewing machine!!), she's altered prom dresses, bride's maid's dresses, suit jackets and a couple of wedding gowns, and she's stitched a plethora of quilt tops. She's even helped me learn to FMQ. Not as sturdy as Silvia, but with frequent oiling and cleaning, and lots of prayer (and holding your mouth just right) she's stitched away right nicely (sure better than no machine - even if I was still pining away for "Silivia"!)

Well, Mikkie is sewing some now, and she liked "ole" 4575, so we talked about finding another one, so she could have one, too (right now we share the sewing room, so we were "taking" turns at times!) But I was tickled that Mikkie wanted to sew!! So, I was perusing ebay one evening and "what to my wondering eyes should appear..." (no not the reindeer silly, it's not Christmas yet!!) but alas, "Silvia II" was found!!

And she now lives at my house!! No she's not a new fancy one like others have gotten, but I couldn't be happier!!! She purrs (and I think I do, too!!) and just look at the harp space for a DSM!!!!! Her first test (after I adjusted the tension, etc) was to patch a pair of jeans!!! She passed with flying colors!!! Then she pieced a 3" nine patch - ooooo sublime! Now the real test - FMQ!!! But alas, my darning/fmq foot doesn't fit "Silvia II" - "ole" 4575 is a short shank and Silvia II is a high shank.. So...you got it: I ran right downstairs and got on ebay and ordered the right foot - should be here in a few days!! So, really, it is nice to have two machines and not just for two of us sewing - I can piece and normal stitch on one, and leave the fmq foot on and a quilt in progress on Silvia!!!

Enough of my sewing machine saga!
 Happy Stitching Ya'll!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tomatoes & Sunshine

...that's what I named my latest finish! A perfect match to a perfect summer day! I kept telling myself that I needed to post, but I kept saying when I finish just one more project - so this morning during the cool, Gracen and I sat outside on the porch and she played on the utility quilt (white one the porch) that was stitched by her great grandmother and I finished up the binding! It was a pleasant time - so relaxing and refreshing before the heat of the day runs inside under the AC.

I had fun (most of the time - except when it got late and I was a little tired - added those "character" stitches!! LOL) "practicing" my FMQ. I quilted "Snail Tails", "Whirlygigs" and "Wonky Echoes Diamonds"! and what better summer fabric, but red gingham for the backing!!

I've had several other finishes: two wee care quilts for our guild benevolence. One I forgot to get a photo before I took it to guild meeting, but here is the other. The guild received several big tubs of donated fabric and Marcella handed me a pile of fabric and said, "Here, doing something with this!" It was  panel fabrics with coordinated prints and I cut out the panels and added sashing and cornerstones.

I practiced (again) some more new designs that I found on  blog! Every Tuesday she does a FMQ tutorial and she has a tab with many of her designs for you to reference!! I LOVE her methods and designs, so added some to my quilting!!

In the sashing is what she calls "the twist". Of course mine are NOT as "perfect" as hers - but they turned out pretty cute!! I did "A string of hearts in the outer border and then practiced my straight line FMQ around each block and then on the cross hatches on some of the motifs like the star. The lines were pre-printed, so it gave me an opportunity to practice following lines. The other wee care quilt has similar blocks but is blue and yellow. I quilted loop de loops and stipples on it.

In that stack of fabric there was also a panel of a Mary Englebreit design from which I had made a wee care quilt several months ago, but there were two little 8" x 11" panels left over, so I made two little quilts from them. One I sent to a friend in Colorado and the other I'm going to give to Marcella! She has a collection of teapots and one is a Mary E. so I thought this would make a cute little mat for that tea pot!

I also have another finish. This one was for a client (a co-worker of Mandie's) and it was my first bed-sized quilt to quilt on my DSM. Adrianna had bought the top at a garage sale for $1!! (where was I when this garage sale was going on!! LOL) I added the border (her choice) and quilted it for her. She chose poly batting and much to my surprise it quilted up very nicely! There must have been over 100 different fabrics, and it was so fun to stitch along and see every one!! From what I hear, Adrianna's mother (who had suffered a stroke) was trying to keep it for herself!! So, I guess they were happy customers! As you can see in the photo, I just cross hatched the center and did a double cable in the border. I also did something new - I rounded the corners to match the rounded cable corners and I think it gave it a unique look.

Last, but not least, Karin and I met up again as she made a pass through town!! We always have such a sweet time together and this time was no different even though she could only stop for a few minutes to "stretch her legs" and "hug my neck"!! Of course we met up at the fabric shop and she helped me pick out binding for a baby quilt. AND this time I remembered my camera so you can see that we really do meet up!!

Aren't those fabrics just wonderful!!!! LOL!!

She had been shopping at another quilt shop in another town and she so very, very, very generously gifted me with some 1/2 yard cuts of some CW repros she had picked up! Aren't they wonderful!! She just blessed my socks off!!

Well, I've tarried long enough here! I do want each of you to know that your kind words of concern over my loss of Tate touched me deeply. He is still sorely missed, but my two young dogs Pete and Bess have stepped up and are attempting to fill his "paws"! Blessings to each of you!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Stitching Therapy

We all know that wielding a needle and thread is good for the soul, and that is just what I needed this week. One week ago today I lost Tate, my fully trained 5 year old Border Collie. He was my first to train for sheep dog trials, but more importantly, he was my right hand man. He and I took care of our goats and I couldn't have done it without him. (Click on the Tate photo in my side bar if you want to see more).

So in my grieving, I took to stitching. I quilt with a group of ladies from the Baptist church who have a benevolence quilt ministry. Each year they choose a big quilt to hand quilt and then as they (we) stitch we pray for whomever is to receive it. I wasn't able to go every week to quilt, but I assembled the top and then offered to bind it. This quilt is going to an older couple in West, Texas who lost everything in the plant explosion that occurred there this spring. I'm blessed to be part of such a heartfelt ministry. (and who wouldn't just love these stars!!)

Because of spring ranch work and other quilting commitments, I was waaaaaaaaay behind on the Barbara Brackman BOW. So, I'm almost caught up! I'm assembling as I go, and I'm liking it! A couple of my favorite blocks (besides stars of course!! LOL) and the whole view!

I also machine quilted another small quilt that I had completed last year. I quilted it with  "free hand" (did not mark it!) Baptist fans. It was fun, and I really liked how it turned out kinda Folk Artsy! That is saying a bunch for me because I'm"Miss symmetrical, straight line, ordered" kind of  person! But I'm getting the "hang" of this "FREE" motion thing!!

I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it - but found the perfect spot with my vintage apple tins on my side table in the kitchen! So I guess I'll keep it for myself - for now!

Hope this finds each of you well and full of joy!