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The Mariner's Compass:

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SelBean's new quilt

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Finally finished piecing the Facade quilt for DGS2. The fabric line is Giraffe Crossing by Riley Blake, and the pattern, Facade, is by Rachel Griffith.

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And I've got three out of 12 vintage blocks from Vintage Quilt Revival (by Katie Clark Blakesley, Lee Heinrich and Faith Jones) complete. These will be set on point with setting blocks of white with a center colored square.

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Exploding Star

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Geometric Star

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Crown and Cross

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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I got the pattern from Red Farmhouse Blog from 2012. It's adorable and super simple.

Here's mine; I don't know about using rice as was suggested, although I didn't grind it, which might have made the difference.

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I'm calling him Ghengis.

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It's been a while since I blogged, so I thought I'd show some of the things I've been up to.

I finally took the time to play with my embroidery unit on the sewing machine and made some burp rags for the new grandson.

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I also made him a baby quilt, but it's awfully small (yet adorable, speaking completely unbiased, of course) ;)

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I also took some exchange blocks from a block exchange years ago--2007, maybe? and pieced them into a quilt top.

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And then this past weekend, I completed a Pinwheel Sampler (pattern, Rachel Griffith)

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And then finished the main part to my Mariner's Compass quilt. I still have the queen extensions to do, but that's work for June :)

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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

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Recently, I attended The Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Baltimore and attended a class where the instructor demonstrated a way to pre-sew each individual piece from a pattern together with its lining piece, in order to have finished seams. It's a cool technique and but hard to describe with words, so I promised some folks I'd do a quick tutorial.

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Before I start, I should introduce the major players. Here is my 1925 Singer 99--previously featured in this blog in handcrank form, but last summer I scored a 3/4 sized treadle table (which isn't really 3/4, but describes the size sewing machine that will fit in it). Barney (the 99) is really enjoying life as a treadle, but he was born to sew, so it was a no brainer :) Also pictured is my supervisor, Trini.

Now to get started, suppose you wanted to make a very simple lined skirt with an elastic waistband (I've reduced the size of the pieces for the purposes of the tutorial)_. the top and bottom seams to the skirt pieces would be finished when you rolled over those edges (the top for the elastic waistband, the bottom for the hem. The two side seams would be raw edges inside the lining, but installing the lining would be done after sewing the outside facing pieces of fabric. This method shows how to make each piece of fabric and its lining as one piece of fabric before sewing the garment together as usual.

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So here we have the two outside facing pieces of fabric along with their lining pieces. Note that the lining pieces are 5/8" wider than the other pieces. Take one piece of the skirt fabric and one of the lining. Put them together with right sides facing in. Sew a 1/4" seam allowance with raw edges matching.

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Note that when sewn together, the lining piece will not lie flat.

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Turn the pieces right sides out and iron the skirt fabric completely flat, edge to edge. This will result in the lining fabric wrapping around the raw edge of the skirt fabric.

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Now sew the pieces together as normal, with the skirt fabric pieces rights sides together and the lined side facing out.

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Press the seam open, sew the other side seam, and there you have it. A lined skirt, with the side seams already finished by the lining. Now it's ready for the waistband and the hem.

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Check it out! I have a granddog!!

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He's a beagle mix, but I wouldn't fall over from shock to learn some of the mix included basset hound. See what I mean?

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Either way, he's adorable! Can't wait to meet him!

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Even after moving the non-sewing storage out of the sewing room area of the basement, I realized that I was constantly cleaning down there because the open joists above meant dirt and dust were constantly falling onto the work areas below. And the room was pretty dark; the walls were dark and the joists swallowed up the light. So to help with both problems I decided to bring in a beadboard ceiling. I had no plans to formally finish the room; just put up enough of a barrier to make for a cleaner work area.

Here are some before pictures.

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Keep an eye on that metal cabinet in the left corner of that last picture; you'll see it again.

The first thing I wanted to do was brighten up the walls. The old white paint was dirty and peeling in places so I scraped where necessary and dusted and vacuumed the walls and then painted the cinder and red bright a light creamy yellow.

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That was the easy part. :) Adding the bead board was labor, but I think it did the trick. (I used a ladder with a box inverted on top of it to add height to hold up one end of the pieces of beadboard while I attached the other end.

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With the ceiling in, it was time to work on layout. And to unpack an Ikea Expedit (2x4) shelving unit with a desk attachment. I'd already brought in an Ikea kitchen island as a cutting table/ironing station.

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For a more close-up view:

The Work table where I can clean and restore machines:

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The "old ladies"--a work area of my antique Singers:

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And the desk for my modern machine. It also shows my cutting table/ironing station with the ironing cover on it. It's just a rectangle of fabric, pinned at the corners with batting underneath. I have two other covers, so I can swap them out to wash.

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Two parlor cabinets with treadles inside and the metal cabinet, all spruced up and ready for my fabric stash.

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As much as I like the bushes in front of my home--okay most of them anyway--they need annual pruning and it's been several years since they've been seen to. Mostly because having to maintain bushes is a new thing for me. But also because the house stood vacant for a couple years even before I moved in. Granted, they got a good make over for the sale brochure.


However, even with some hackery masquerading as pruning this past spring, the bushes were getting out of control. This is where we stood on December 24, 2012.


Yes. I was starting to worry about the bushes overtaking the house :) So this past weekend, I got to work and took care of everything but the holly bush. That's also going to get a good pruning, but I'm going to give myself a week or two to recover. In the meantime, house!


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it's been a while since I shared a quilt, so this is this summer's project. John's cousin, Jessica, had a baby in June, and I'm only now getting around to making the quilt (Bad, SortofAunt!!!).

The predominant colors in the top are mint green and chocolate brown, and the motif is monkey. And since there are little bits of yellow in the fabrics *and* the quilt mostly reminds me of mint chocolate ice cream, the backing fabric will be banana yellow flannel. Hence, Mint Chocolate Monkey. :D

Here are the fabrics:


I wanted to make a fairly simple top, in terms of piecing, since I was so delayed in making the quilt. But I also wanted to do a feature block that had a monkey face centered. I thought about, and quickly rejected, applique. I wanted the quilt finished before Baby Colby started kindie, after all. then I thought of a bow-tie block, origami style. These are fun to do, and fast and by making all but the center fabric the same, I would get the effect I wanted.

Here's a quilt top I made with traditional bow tie blocks.


And here's a fun little website to show a fun way to make them without a lot of different sized blocks and trimming and such--it's often called the origami bow tie, but I kind of love how these folks call it the "cheater" :)

The Cheater Bow Tie Block

Anyway, what I wanted was to feature the center square in this block, so I made all the outside fabric blocks the same and my little fussy-cut monkey face took center stage!


Originally, I wasn't going to make more than 7 or eight fussy monkeys, but as you can see, the quilt top just needs more monkeys!


So I made more fussy monkeys, and took out the dots/stripes fabric. I'll be using that as a wide border on the top. and I'll use more of the brown with white polka dot fabric as the binding. Here's a picture of the top (Now, With More Monkeys!) but without the border.


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It's been nearly 18 months now that I've been in house and without a dedicated sewing space. Longer than that, since I dismantled the sewing room at the condo in January 2011 when prepping the condo for sale.

After setting up the dining room area to be a shared dining room/sewing space, I turned my attention to the basement and the area (under the living room and master bedroom) which will become the sewing room.

Here's the "before" (quotes because I've been working on moving non-sewing storage out of that space to other areas of the basement).




Since these pictures, I have dismantled the empty set of storage shelves and they're ready to head to the scrap metal pile at the dump. I have also moved the full storage shelves into the space by the oil tank and the furnace. Then I scrubbed the every-loving potty words out of the floor in there. That was heinous--possibly even worse than dismantling the shelves with all the screws underneath and covered with the spider web/spider egg sack nirvana. Ack.

Anyway, the metal storage closet will move into a corner at the back of the house, near the metal shelves with the extra machine heads. The sewing machines (most of them) will move to the front of the house. There will be space in the center of the room eventually, for a set of kitchen cabinets for storage with a butcher block counter (with at least a foot of overhand all around for a cutting table/ironing board.) There will also be a work table (probably the yellow formica table Mrs. Ridgely left behind) for working on cleaning/restoring machines and a set of the 5x5 Expidit shelves.

Here is the newly cleared out front of the room. Well, cleared out of the storage shelves; then all the machines got pushed into this area so I could scrub the floor in the back half.


The back half, cleared of all but the sewing machine shelves.


The ceiling is my next project. I'm going to partially finish it. I'll use full sheets of bead board, painted a bright, glossy white, tacked into the joists with dry wall screws. They will NOT be closed up to make a full, connected ceiling. This is deliberate, because it prevent my needing a building permit at this stage of setting up. I just want something above the machines and the future cutting table to keep dust and dirty from the ceiling above from falling onto sewing projects. Also, painting the bead board bright white will make the room brighter and show colors more accurately when I'm working on projects. I plan to buy the bead board next weekend and paint it and then hope to borrow my son for an hour or two while we tack up the boards (fingers crossed :)

Eventually this space WILL be completely finished and I'll get the permits when that time comes, but for now I'm just trying to make the space functional. I've missed having a dedicated sewing space :)

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