Posts

The 1876 Centennial Quilt Project. A 19 Month Adventure

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In October of 2015 eighteen of us began an interesting journey. Recreating a quilt that was made in Connecticut in 1876 as a centennial remembrance. This quilt was purchased at an estate sale in about 1998 by a Connecticut resident, Barbara F. Menasian for the small sum of $25.00!  We know nothing of the maker except for her initials, and we are not even able to decipher how those initials are read. 


Fast forward to 2015 when Barbara posted an image of it on a FaceBook group where Karen B. Alexander, a quilt historian and contributing member of the American Quilt Study Group chanced to see the photograph. Well, the rest of this happenstance becomes the story of our 19-month project. it was filled with highs and a few lows for some of us. Anne Dawson, quilt restorationist, quilt shop owner, quilt pattern drafter and quilter extraordinaire, became the person who painstakingly drafted these intricate patterns as she created her reconstruction of the quilt. her quilt followed the original …

Zirkel, Zirkel, Who's Tried a Zirkel?

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I had been looking at Zirkels for some time, but I kept deciding that it was one, albeit small, expense that I did not need to follow through on. There are many less expensive options for magnetic pincushions. I had never considered buying one and I am unsure why, other than the fanning, the Zirkel caught my eye while the others didn't. Of course there is a caveat here....or it wouldn't be worth a post after so very long an absence. I am working on a project that, like it or not, requires using a whole lotta pins...many, many more than I generally use ...which is usually as few as possible. I used my well loved wool felt pincushions until one day, as I sewed, I considered how much time I was spending taking the pins out ahead of my sewing and tucking them safely back in the pincushion. My mind turned to the Zirkel again. Would using one be any faster than using a wool felt pincushion? Keep in mind that I am most decidedly not a "quick, fun and fabulous" kind of sewer…

Santa Came Early! Why I Chose a Babylock

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After several years of serger lust Santa came early - delivering my wish for a Babylock Imagine serger. A good friend gently seemed to suggest that I explain why I chose this brand and model. Babylock air threaded sergers dorank as the more expensive models and many brands offer excellent sergers at a much lower price point. So why Babylock and why an air threaded Imagine?My first-and only- previous serger was a circa 1992 Pfaff Hobbylock 788. My sewing life went into an almost "quilts only" phase not long after making this purchase and making a few fleece garments (that I still use!). At this point having a serger that I liked using became a rather moot point. However, after reading some influential books about "fast fashion" I became interested in making clothes again a couple of years ago though. Usiing a serger returned to the "front burner". The Pfaff is a solid machine; well built and sturdy. From the 'get-go' however, I had fits with th…

A Sappy Fall Tale & Lessons From Tilly

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It's been a bit of a trying time for me. A week ago last Thursday I had a fall...tumbling backwards into a few immovable, hard objects. The pain was the worst I have experienced to date. Breath-taking...quite literally. The following day I decided that a trip to the doctors might be in order since the weekend was fast approaching and I worried about how I was going to mange if it got worse. DH carefully loaded me into the card and off we went. After a couple of hours and 15 x-rays I went home to wait for a call. The initial thought was that I had a broken hip and/or collarbone. When the call came there was good news and bad news. Good news that my hip and collarbone were fine, and, best of all, that the metal-works in my back were still in place. The bad news was that I had two spinal fractures (L4, L5...near where one of the fusions is).
I have been encamped in/on my "easy-chair" for a week. Sleeping in bed was much too painful and although sleeping in a chair is less th…

Aurifil's New 80wt Appliqué Thread

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The changes that getting older bring can be amusing at times. When I was younger I eagerly awaited hearing about a new job or pay raises, what the weekend might bring, what art I hoped to make soon...those kind of life experience kind of things. Lately though, my 'awaiting moments' are far more simple. Thread! Yes, I have been eagerly waiting to try Aurifil's new appliqué thread...an smooth, strong, 80wt cotton. It seems that my 'making' life has been dominated by hand sewing and hand appliqué lately. Therefore, anything that tends to make my stitches look smaller and blend better is on my radar. Over the years I have used a lot of varieties of appliqué thread. Who doesn't love stitching with silk thread?! It's soft, lustrous and blends so well! My issue with sewing with most silk threads was that it tended to break a lot. I tried to love Superior Threads Bottom Line poly and Wonderfil's Invisifil poly. The problem? I really tend to be old school and …

A New Dress No.2

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Lately, most of my time has been dedicated to the several large quilt projects that I have in progress. One these projects is quite fiddley and requires focus, attention to detail and commitment! Sometimes I just need some more or less instant gratification and lately that has meant making a new garment.I love this simple dress/tunic from 100 Acts of Sewing. Called simply Dress No.2. One of my pet peeves seems to be untidy, unfinished seams and so this entire dress if French seamed. It looks so much nicer....better for this kind of of sew than even serger seams I think. Makes me pleased. I lengthened the sleeves and added a partial sleeve lining so that if I turn the cuff up it still looks nice.nect time I want to raise the front neckline just a bit and add a few other other details like in seam pockets. The fabric is more hefty than I general use. It is from Lonni Rossi and her "Geishas and Ginkos line (not recent). It is a deep Chinese red and black - not the pinker color that …

What Is A"Worry Bird" and Why Is One On My Dress?

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What, you ask, is a 'worry bird' (shown above) and why would I add it to a new top? Well, let me explain....... I was looking for a pattern for a simple but stylish pull over dress/tunic. As I searched for "the right one" I started to wonder if the image that I head in my head was just too simple to have a pattern. I did not want to 'reinvent the proverbial' if I didn't have to and, considering that I have not yet drafted a pattern, it would much easier if I could find the simple shift of my dreams! After a lot of time spent web searching among the "big 4" pattern companies and assorted Indie pattern companies I happened upon "the" pattern on Etsy. It is simply called, "Dress No.2" from 100 Acts Of Sewing (there is also a Dress No.1...more of a v neck and it too is on my list). I admire the look of a simple 'dress' (or call it a tunic) like this worn over slim pants...or leggings and I wanted simple design like this t…