Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Quilting Storm

Spring Floral Quilt - Feb 2015
(featuring Anita's Arrowhead Block)
Queen Size: 90 x 104
Fabric: Magical Garden Collection by M'Liss 

Here's a photo review of my winter work--5 queen size bed quilts I created the last four months and the 6th one ready to long arm quilt.

Back View of Spring Floral Quilt with decorative panel

I love to make queen size bed quilts--90" x 104" finished is ideal.  
About 17 yards of fabric, two large spools of thread.  

The process of loading the backing first, then the 
Warm and Natural 100% cotton batting, and the quilt top. 

Preparation to Quilt
 It takes an hour to clean the studio floor, clean the machine, and clean the wheels and rails, install new needle, wind 10-12 bobbins, thread the machine, oil bobbin race, adjust tension.  

Squaring fabrics--quilt top, batting, and backing is another hour long job prior to loading.  

My free style edge to edge long arm quilting designs take me 2 half days to do a queen size quilt.  

This is my design called Feather Bouquet.  A couple of evenings before I do the free style quilting I practice the design on my white board for hours to develop confident and free flowing muscle memory.  From that point forward--free motion quilting is a piece of cake.  I just grab the machine handles and start drawing.  It is relaxing and I travel to a zone where every other concern fades.

Feather Bouquet (free motion quilting)

I always add a pieced panel to the backing fabric to add interest.

Anita Goodman Solomon's Arrow Head Block.

Then next quilt I made was a simple framed nine patch block in Earth tones of coal, sand, gray sky, and ivory.  

Earth Tones - Framed Nine Patch - Feb/Mar 2015

My edge to edge design, Feather Bouquet

Finishing long arm quilting--and rolling it off of the frame.
Next steps: trim batting, square quilt, prepare 400 inches of binding, sewing on binding, turn binding and hand stitch.

Weird backing fabric with the barcodes, etc.  But I love it.
I'll have to look up all the fabric names and share details later.

Detail of free style Feather Bouquet design

Scrappy Corner Stone Quilt - March 2015

I pieced the backing and it really adds a lot of interest to the quilt.  

Corner Stones of turquoise and orange and navy print sashing pull these rail fence blocks together.

Feather Bouquet (edge to edge design)

I played with a wonky star block, and liked it, so I made 8 blocks.  They sat in my UFO pile for a while waiting for a scrappy quilt project.  I used the 8 blocks randomly to break up the routine of this quilt.

You may have noticed, I take lots of photos of my quilts from every angle.  Sometimes I can't decide which photos I like best, so I used them all.

Finished long arm quilting, rolling it off the frame.

December was the Scrappy Quilt 2, and January was the Blue Jeans Quilt, and you can review those  on my older posts.

Here's a peek at the Orange Applique Quilt when I started it.  I confess, I've never done hand applique work before, but I find it fascinating.  I would say I'm doing a good job for my first try at hand applique.  Surprise--they'll be bead work on it too!  

I have to piece the backing with a panel of left over orange quilt blocks, then I can load it on the frame for long arm quilting.  I'll share photos when its done.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Coming Home - circa 1880s Remington Treadle Sewing Machine

1880s Remington No. 5 Treadle Sewing Machine

Oh my goodness--look what hubby Jon found in our barn Sunday afternoon!  And if you read the entire post you'll discover who owned this machine!

Beneath all the rust and crud is a circa 1880s Remington fiddle base sewing machine.  Jon found its walnut half cabinet with three drawers on a wrought iron base too--its all there.  Well almost all there. We're searching for missing bits and think we have a chance at a full restoration.

Let me just show you how far we've taken the restoration in the last two days.

Yep--that's the same machine.  Our friend Jerry Johnson (expert vintage and antique sewing machine restorer) has 15 or so hours into cleaning, oiling, and removing rust from metal parts.

Here's the throat plate, needle shaft, needle thumb screw, and presser foot, frozen in years of rust.
Can't even see the feed dogs or its cover w/screw.

Polished throat plate, feed dogs cover, presser foot, needle shaft and needle thumb screw

The vibrating shuttle and long bobbin pins are missing.  I tried a 1904 Singer shuttle and a White (New Willard) shuttle c 1930s, but both are too short for this c1880s Remington No. 5 by almost 1/4".  But I'm searching for those items.  The original needle (now clean and rust free) is round and longer in length than what I expected to see.  So, there's still quite a bit of research to do.

Thursday 12 Mar - we borrowed a leaf tension spring and shuttle from a friend Cathy to see if my husband Jon can machine a new leaf tension.  Perhaps there will be a test sew on the Remington this weekend

Our friend Norm who owns/operates Barber's Sewing Machine Repair in Stevens Point reviewed the Remington on Thursday.  He said the borrowed leaf tension is a good fit, and identified the shuttle and bobbin as as a Boye No. 13.  Although Norm has many old shuttles in his stash, he didn't have a No. 13.  He measured the original needle; closest fit is a Boye No. 8.  He had 5 of those old needles in stock and I bought all 5.

This morning I found one  No. 13 shuttle with one bobbin on Ebay.  Quickly we're finding the missing pieces.  

Removing rust from the throat plate, sewing machine oil and fine steel wool

I've been working on removing rust from smaller metal pieces with sewing machine oil and steel wool: throat plates, tension screw, stitch length screw, and pressure foot.  I can only say--it is hours and hours of sore knuckle work.  Jerry says, it takes three things to restore an old sewing machine: Patience, Patience, and Patience.

Before and after of the throat plates

Patent Dates

The hand wheel shaft was frozen solid with rust, but Jerry managed to free it up over a period of several hours using WD40.  Nudging and gentle tapping--the stuck hand wheel and the needle shaft. 

At first nothing, then a bit of movement, then a little more, and gradually we were squealing like little pigs.  Jaws dropping--astonished as he got it spinning like a top--and enjoying the precious sound of choo-ga, choo-ga, choo-ga as the needle shaft and feed dogs sang their song.  

The leaf tension located on top of the machine.  
The metal tension springs are missing, but we are hopeful to find some.  

As a newbie to the wide wide world of antique sewing machines, I'd never seen machine tension presented as anything other than a dial with tension discs and spring.  So the leaf tension is a surprise to me.

At first glance you can barely make out the name Remington
To the right is a partial view of the rusty tension guide.

Polished stitch length adjust, and bobbin winding assembly

This is a very plain approach to bobbin winding--usually you see a heart shaped governor that guides thread left to right and back again dispensing thread evenly over the bobbin pin.  So until I ask more questions, I am thinking one has to hold on to the thread to guide it back and forth to fill the bobbin.  

The hand wheel is really big--bigger than I've seen on other machines.

Jerry believes the fancy designs could be hand painted rather than decalcomania (decals).  I noticed the hand painting is very faded (nearly non-existent) on the backside and top of the machine. I suppose it is the result of sun exposure in a window where one would sit to sew?

If you have more information about this Remington No. 5, please leave us a note.  I would love to hear from you.

This weekend, I'll work on the rusty wrought iron base, while Jon is making a new pitman rod.  I think I understand this correctly, as Jon showed me  the broken pitman rod--it is a wood arm with drilled holes--and it connects to the foot pedal and treadle wheel that turns the belt to power the sewing machine.


I saved the best information for last.  Looking over the machine cabinet Jon pointed out--some child wrote in pencil on the side of one of the cabinet drawers, "Gusta was sick today."  Oh my goodness, the second owner of our house Thomas and Maren Quien had three daughters and one son:  Ragnhild, Gusta, Peter, and Bessie.  I'm guessing this  Remington No. 5 Treadle Machine belonged to Maren Quien.  I'm so very happy.  Her sewing machine has come home.