Monday, February 24, 2020

Aussie Stars

This gorgeous block has been on my to do list for a while. The Arkansas Traveler die is currently only available if you attend a class at an Accuquilt dealer. Unfortunately, there are no dealers or classes near me.

Thankfully, I found the Traveler's Star 12” die (same design) by Blue Wren from A1 Craft and Quilting in Australia. I also ordered a 1” finished strip die, and both came with free mats. Including international shipping to the USA, the total cost was only $106. Not bad for 2 dies and 2 mats. The dies work perfectly on my Go cutter.

Aussie Stars
Aussie Stars is 43” square, made up of nine blocks in teal and bright green with black bandana print and cream prints. I've had the teal and green leaf print for a while; it gives a modern look as sashing and borders.

It takes precise stitching, pressing, and alignment to get a perfectly flat block. I'll admit to using the seam ripper on the first two, but my practice blocks went in the quilt after I got them right. The rest were a breeze.

The back is an extra block that I framed off center with leftover wide strips of teal, green, and black. I quilted with a dark cream thread in long serpentine patterns with a walking foot.

I'll be making more of this classic design, and I'll definitely order more Blue Wren dies.  Good customer service from Norma by email.  My order took a little over 3 weeks to arrive, but it sat in customs here for days.  

Blue Wren dies used:
Traveler's Star 6361
1 ½” strip 6015

Leap day is this Saturday

Monday, February 17, 2020

Sweet Talk

Sweet Talk

I like to experiment with designs, colors, and stitches. Today's little quilt was so fun to play with, and I used up a few more remnants.

Drunkard's path blocks in pastels and gray are set with colorful polka dots in two sizes and tiny black and white stripes. Borders of blue gingham frame it up nicely. Sweet Talk is 28” square.

Quilting on this is the best part. I've been practicing free motion ruler stitching on my Janome Memory Craft 9400. I used the Squiggy ruler by Angela Walters, aligning along the seams. Using gray thread, I created two different designs.

I enjoyed this project very much, and that's what sewing is all about for me. Relaxation, enjoyment, learning new skills, playing with fabric: my retirement dream come true.

Accuquilt dies used:

55107 2 ¼” x 4 ½” rectangle
55395 2 ¼” squares
55743 and 55739 4 ½” Drunkard's Path
(in 9” Companion Set)
55032 3 ½” strips

The key to retirement 
is to find joy 
in the little things. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Purple Blaze

Purple Blaze
The Blazing Star quilt block looks complicated but it's pretty easy to sew, although it took a while to put together 25 blocks. 

I designed it in Electric Quilt 8 so that I could experiment with purple shades for the star pieces and audition different fabrics for the borders and sashing.

I used Accuquilt's 55051 Blazing Star die, which made cutting a lot quicker. You just have to pay attention to which sections are placed right side or wrong side up for the cuts.

After sewing all the blocks, I added sashing and cornerstones before sewing the rows together. The backing is a wide dusty lilac paisley print. It took some time to sandwich and pin this too. I quilted rows 2” apart with a walking foot in a serpentine stitch using light lavender thread. I cut the binding with the AQ 2 ½” strip die.

Purple Blaze is 87” x 92” and I just love the end result. Of course, that's pretty predictable since any shade of purple is a favorite. This beauty ended up on the bed in our spare room. 

Start to finish, I worked on it for just over two weeks, with a couple of days off to cut other projects and clear off my tables before quilting.

Side note: I hope you liked last week's Singer Model 20 restoration. I've been so bad...on Friday I bought another vintage Singer machine (1960's), so watch for future updates.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Singer Model 20

Singer Model 20 - before

I picked up this darling little Singer toy sewing machine at a yard sale last spring. It was rusted solid, nothing moved on it, but I loved it anyway. 

The Model 20 was first produced beginning between 1914 and 1922 as a child's toy. Hand cranked, it clamps to a table and sews a functional chain stitch. It reappeared in the 1950's and 1970's, also in electric and battery models. Early ones in the 1920's and 30's were cast iron, like mine.

Singer Model 20 - After
I fully intended to clean it a little bit for display only, but my talented husband had other ideas. He worked to remove the rust, and freed it up enough to take completely apart. After sanding, nickel plating, painting, and polishing the pieces, he put it back together, replaced the decals and ordered new needles.

Model 20 back view
We made some adjustments to the tension and stitch length; now it sews a pretty chain stitch. While I won't use it often, I love that the Singer is all polished, shiny and functional.

What a guy...he took time from his own projects for this time consuming refurbishment. Of course, fixing stuff is one thing he likes to do.  

I got me a good man 
and I'm gonna keep him!


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