Friday, March 14, 2014

Run for the Border

This week, the last third of the batting was re-inserted in the garrison quilt, and by tomorrow the landscape scene itself should be finished, except for the girl. Yay! Haven't decided how to quilt the borders yet, but am thinking about using some of the machine's programmed stitches. That's because free-motion quilting has turned into a big pain in the neck (and arms) at this point. You can see why from this photo.

As mentioned in a previous post, this is the largest landscape quilt I've attempted, 42 x 54--and the most densely quilted. The wool batting is also heavier than the poly I normally use. Even with a slippery mat on the machine bed and the vinyl-covered ironing board giving support in front, I'm literally dragging this log of a quilt through the machine (you can't 'bunch' a densely-quilted landscape; it has to be rolled). I don't know what it weighs, but it's clear to me that my future landscapes will have to be either smaller overall or quilted on a larger scale. (The lines of stitching in this one are about 1/4 inch apart in most places, sometimes less, so it's been intense, to say the least.)

Ok, enough moaning and groaning. The run-away table runner from last week decided it wanted to be a door quilt instead. And the colors work really well with the silk flowers in the hallway.

Incidentally, the wooden bowls, vases and mushrooms were made by my VVHH--very versatile handy husband--as was the cabinet they're sitting on. (Same guy who turned the upstairs bedroom into a quilting studio. He's amazing!)

This week's take-a-break project was fun. Most of the sky fabric from my introduction to hand-painting (using diluted Tsukineko inks) was used for the garrison quilt... I wanted to add some more of it to my stash. This time I tried Jacquard textile paints, also diluted, and came up with a few decent sunset pieces. Notice what part of the studio got used for this project. ;) Cleanup was a cinch!

Back to VVHH. Look what he brought home from the thrift store yesterday--for eight dollars:

Anyone who has seen my Singer 503 posts will understand why I'm so excited about this Singer 403. It's practically the same machine, just four years older, and is in great condition...except for the smoking motor. Unfortunately, by 'smoking,' I don't mean fast. It literally smokes. However, VVHH has already found a good used motor for it on ebay. So we'll see how this $8.00 investment works out. If all goes well it may replace the 503, as she's worked really hard for 50 years and seems to be slowing down.

UPDATE: Saturday, March 15
Well, VVHH has done it again! He took the smoking motor apart (after it stopped smoking) and cleaned oil out of the bushings and brushes (and bearings, maybe?). Long story short, someone had either over-oiled the machine or had oiled it in places it wasn't supposed to be oiled. It's running great now, although it is having some tension issues with at least one brand of poly thread. It likes the old mercerized thread just fine. So I'm about to do some research on that and see if a couple of drops of Sewer's Aid on the spool of thread would be a good fix. Not taking any chances. This machine is a gem, especially for $8.00!

Linking up to Whoop Whoop Friday, where Sarah has several things to whoop about as well. Also hooking up with the person I consider my free-motion quilting teacher, Leah Day, at her FMQ Project Link Up. Things are progressing quickly on her group project. Check out the reader links at the end of each of these posts for LOTS of inspiration!

Here's to a great weekend...and approaching spring (we hope)!



  1. My Singer went to the sewing machine doctor a week ago on Monday... I bought a newer one for interim sewing. (It was more than $8, but it didn't smoke either, too young I think. Lol) I wasn't going to make it 2 weeks without sewing. My old one has been slow, too, and making an awful grindy noise. Hope yours is an easy fix... and mine as well.

    1. Good luck to us both; these old gals are worth it, aren't they? And the foot pedal for this 403...thank goodness it's original, nothing like that cheap replacement that caused such a hubbub last week on the 503!
      Hugs to you,

    2. And by old gals, I meant the machines, not us! LOL

  2. I love the sky and sunset fabric!

    Maybe one day you will have a WHH as a guest blogger and let us see more of his beautiful wood work.

    I love old Singers. I haven't considered the 503 or 403 until now. I have a Singer 15-91 and love it. It is a workhorse.

    A door quilt, what a neat idea!

    1. Thanks, Dena! Oh, and that's exactly what I think of the 503--a workhorse--and something tells me I'll feel the same about the 403 after using it for a while. Your idea about the guest blog is great! He got a chuckle out of it, but maybe he'll give it some real thought. I hope so.

  3. Well this old gal here is delighted to see you have acquired a new bargain machine to accompany your super modern machine on parallel projects. Very impressed that your husband not only spotted it, but brought it home and fixed it too.
    Enjoying the suspense with the garrison quilt...

    1. Muv, thank know, it's only 4 years older than my 503, and it turns out they're basically sisters! Not much difference. I got a giggle out of the idea of suspense regarding the garrison is kind of suspenseful, at least for me, because so many of the quirks and issues were unexpected. Who knew I would still be working on this in March, after starting it in September--crazy! And I didn't realize until the other day how much denser the quilting is than on most of my other landscapes. Quilting around every stone on the garrison and tower pretty much set the spacing for the rest of the quilt. That didn't occur to me in the planning stages. It will from now on! lol


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