Saturday, July 30, 2011

Singer Treadle Machine

Last week I found a wonderful Singer model 15-30 treadle machine.  This is my first one.  I got it for a really great price and she works great too.  With just a little oiling and cleaning I was able to start sewing. I had a little learning curve, but soon got the treadling part down okay.  Maybe being a wheel spinner helped with that because I found myself treadling and sewing without even thinking about it.  I made some blocks out of some scraps to start with, just some wonky houses and random piecing.
These are "Before" pictures.  I have since gotten the bobbin slide cover and the belt too.  A good site for ordering parts is:

I thought I would paint the iron part black, but after oiling it the dark color came back, so I think I will leave it that way.  I have some minor refinishing on the cabinet to do, but nothing difficult.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Free Motion Detail

Here is a picture of some of my machine quilting up close.  This is the green color family quilt I made, the bear paw pattern.  I put all my green fabric that I was tired of together and they took on a whole new life on a white background.  I used a green Sulky Rayon thread in the green sections and invisible nylon in the white sections.
Click on picture to see a larger view.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tumbling Blocks

I can't believe I didn't do a post on one of my favorite finished quilts.  I made this a couple of years ago.  I used the old fashioned english paper piecing technique.  I cut each little diamond out of paper and then basted the fabrics onto the paper, then whipped stitch the blocks together.  I love the quilt, but will never use this technique again.  Even though it is hand pieced, it is machine quilted.  I tried my best to make it look old.  It has three hidden animals in  it for the kids to hunt for.  They love it.

My Top Ten Quilting Tips

1. Spray starch and press all of the washed fabric you will be cutting, your accuracy will increase greatly.
2. Rayon thread is great for machine quilting, it buries itself in the fabric and looks more natural. I like Sulky Rayon. You can still use cotton in the bobbin too.
3. Curved lines look more flowing and natural in machine quilting than straight lines, so I gently curve my grid lines randomly as I go along with my walking foot. Just gently wave the line along. You can see an example in my older post called Plaids and Stripes.
4. I wash every completed quilt. The washing evens out bad stitching and even small puckers and hides your errors. Plus you get the benefit of the "old quilt" look. I use almost no agitation when washing a quilt. More of a soaking cycle with maybe one minute agitating. Then rinse and spin out. I put mine in the dryer for about five minutes. Then lay out flat to block and dry.
5. Pieced bindings look great. Connect the sections with bias seams and the connections will disappear. You can easily find YouTube videos on pieced bindings.
6. A binding done in a completely different fabric from anything in the quilt looks wonderful if you pick a great color that sets the quilt off. For example, in my green and white quilt, I used a light blue print binding. It looks great and makes the green pop.
7. When you get tired of the fabric in your stash, group color families together and the fabric will look new and exciting again. Grouping in color families also helps when you are indecisive.
8. For the authentic 1930's look, be sure and use old clothes in the mix of fabric. 100 percent cotton, of course. They used clothes back then and you can't get that look without doing the same thing.
9. I use striped fabric for making labels for the back of the quilt. The stripes help my writing look straight. I use an archival permanent pen made for fabrics.
10. For free motion quilting, if you do not have a machine that will let you drop the feed dogs, all you have to do is set your stitch length to "0". The feed dogs will not move. I do this all the time even though my machine has the drop the feed dog feature.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


After several years, I finally finished my huge flying geese quilt. I made the mistake of hand quilting it. I used Dream cotton batting, which was supposed to be easy to hand quilt, but I still found it difficult. I will never again be able to hand quilt a large quilt. I am sooooo happy this one is finished. I did my best to make it look like an antique quilt. I used reproductions and fabrics that just looked old. I used brown quilting thread in the brown parts, and couldn't see it, so I turned it over to the back and quilted it from the backside. It is approximately a queen size. I designed this version of a strippy setting.