Sunday, February 26, 2017

Slow Stitching and a Quilting Dilemma

Even though I brought my sewing machine with me to our rented home, I packed all my accessories and tools, so it has made quilting a little difficult. I did bring my English Paper Piecing box that I usually take on trips, so I finished piecing a hexie quilt. As much as I hated to buy duplicate tools, I needed a long ruler and rotary cutter to finish the quilt. I did have a regular sewing foot on the machine and managed to move the needle enough to use it as a quarter foot, and machine sewed the borders. Then I began hand quilting a simple outline of each flower and scalloped border. Then I really regretted packing away the sewing machine accessories - I didn't have a walking foot to put on the binding. I used my regular foot instead and managed to get it done with just a few puckers.

After the binding was on, I decided it needed more quilting and found that it is much easier, or make that less worrisome, to do it after the binding is on. Since the edge was already quilted, I didn't have to worry about the border raveling with so much handling. I've been experimenting with marking methods and right now I really love the Frixon pens.

Now that the quilt is together, it's not a trip project, so I started a version of a Jack's chain and got a good start on it last month when both my mother-in-law and my mother spent time in the hospital. My mother-in-law went in on the day we began building our new home, and my mother went in a week later. Since she is 350 miles away and I am an only child, we took off a few days to go see her.

Speaking of the building, it is almost closed in. Another month, and we should be out of this duplex. The cat and I are more than ready to move. It appears that we are both stress eaters and have both gained four pounds since moving here. For some reason, it looks better on him than on me. too. He's ready to have a little freedom and I'm ready to quit driving forty miles every day to check the building progress and take my daily pictures.

Now for my quilting dilemma. Have you ever been asked by someone to make a quilt? Not just any quilt, but a recreation of a quilt? No? Well, be careful when you answer if you are ever asked. I was asked to make a Sunbonnet Sue quilt. I thought, ok, I can fuse the pieces on the blocks and use a blanket stitch on my sewing machine. Easy, right? No. After I agreed to make it, she said she wants needle turn applique which I have never done. AND, she wants it to look like a quilt made by her grandmother that she hasn't seen in over sixty years. But she thought she would recognize the pattern when she saw it. Uh huh. We went to a couple of quilt shops and she found two patterns of Sue that looked like it and one pattern of Overall Sam. So is it Sunbonnet Sue or Overall Sam? She thought it had both. I thought I'd take a class, brush up on my hand stitching and make one. A few months later, she called and excitedly told me that she had a picture of her grandmother's quilt. Great, says I, send it to me. She'll give it to me the next time I come to visit because she doesn't know how to get the picture to me. It's on a slide. For those of you youngsters, a slide is a transparent image of a photograph which could be viewed on a large screen using a projector. They were popular when I was young, when people took scads of photos of themselves on vacation, turned them into slides, popped them into a remote control carousel, and bored their friends with a verbal description of each and every one. Kind of like facebook and blogs today, except in person.

Anywhoo, mom had this slide, and no way to make it into a photo except to project it onto the wall and take a picture of that. She tried that, except it was too grainy to see, especially with the wall texture distorting it. So my husband held the slide (they are about two inches by two inches) and I held a light over it and took a picture with my phone. Still very grainy, and part of it may be that it never was in focus in the first place.

So here we have it, a picture of THE quilt, and could I please duplicate it? Duplicate it? I can barely tell what it is. If I didn't know it was either Sunbonnet Sue or Overall Sam, there is no way I would have guessed that was the pattern. But now that I do know, I am trying to decide if Sunbonnet Sue is even on there. I see the outline of what appears to be overalls on one block. And the other visible blocks seem to have the same big shape (the overalls) which means it is just an Overall Sam quilt. Or maybe the same blue is part of a Sunbonnet Sue pattern? I dunno. What do you see, if anything? Any idea what the borders may look like? Ay yi yi.

Linking to Slow Stitching Sunday 39 at Kathy's Quilts.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

After the Harvest

Driving down the road the other day with my mother, we saw lots of cotton on the sides of the road where it had blown off the cotton trucks on the way to the gin. Mom remembered a drive with dad along the same road, which was near the area where dad grew up - son of a cotton farmer. She said there was cotton blown to the sides of the road then too and she remarked to dad that if his dad had been alive to see that, he would have ordered them all out of the car to pick up that wasted cotton. lol

I wonder what grandad would have thought of this cotton that was missed by the cotton stripper.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

DIY Silver Lamps

It's been awhile, hasn't it? I have been so busy getting bids and looking at building materials, that I haven't been getting online except to look up something. I've been quilting, but it's hand quilting and nothing new to show. So instead, I'm posting pictures of some lamps that needed a facelift before we listed our house for sale.

I bought these lamps at a few years ago. They were supposed to be white, but when I got them, they were more like bisque or off-white. And being made of resin, they looked pretty cheap. I bought a can of Krylon Sterling Silver Metallic and sprayed one coat on a lamp, and then used a black antiquing gel (sorry, I don't remember the brand on it) to age it.

It wasn't the rich silver of real metal, so I gave it another coat. Much better.

I wanted to protect the paint, so bought a can of clear satin sealer. On the can, it said a clear sealer will dull the finish a little. Well. It did more than dull it. It darkened the finish also, which wasn't the look I was going for at all. (on the right)  It made a great pewter finish though, so if I ever want a pewter, I know how to get it now.

So I sprayed it again (two coats) and got it back to the deep silver look, and then sprayed the second lamp and antiqued it.  FYI, the antiquing gel said to paint it on and rub off where you don't want it.  That didn't work at all.  Maybe if the paint had cured better - or maybe it still would have smeared everywhere.  Or maybe the instructions on the gel were not for a painted object.  In any case, the way that finally worked for me was to use a very fine artist's paintbrush and paint it on in the crevices.  Then, I let it dry a minute and wiped off the excess with a damp cloth, being careful not to wipe hard or in the areas I really wanted dark.

It took very little paint to do all this, and I had well over half a can left. But I never got to use it on anything else. Since we decided to put everything in storage, we had to get rid of all our paint and everything flammable. I hated getting rid of my collection of paint, especially that one.