Sunday, July 02, 2006

Who needs a Vega-matic?

I've been faithfully cutting 2-inch squares from my sorted scraps. In my studio, I have drawers labeled in colors, and in each of those drawers are strips, squares, and a zip-loc of small scraps. When working on an applique project, I generally grab the scraps and pull from those first. My present project of the Kitty Corner blocks from Fons & Porter's magazine, seemed made to order to whittle those bags down a bit. I emptied each bag, and sorted out anything large enough to yield a 2-inch square. Then, sitting in front of the television at my little wooden sewing table, I rotary cut them, while simultaneously packing ice on my bursitis plagued hip. (This is a new treatment, along with some strengthening exercises, and it seems to be helping.) I'm not very good at just sitting and staring at the idiot box, so this seemed perfect to me. I was tempted to try to count my resulting bounty, but have so far refrained. I'm down to greens, the last color, so maybe I'll start counting when I finish those, knowing that I need 1020 for the 510 four-patch units of the block. I'll bet I'm pretty close to being there. The sample block I made looks exactly as I imagined it would . . . which always makes me giggle.

Several years ago, I decided I was going to make a Stacked Bricks quilt top from my scraps. Each day on my lunch hour, I happily cut 2 1/2 X 6 1/2" strips, and stowed them in a box. Finally, having accumulated a healthy looking stack, I decided I should count them. I reviewed the pattern, from Judy Martin's 1985 classic, "Scrap Quilts", and learned that I needed 232 strips. I counted the results of my labor, and found I had closer to 600! Undaunted, I made two quilt tops, and donated one to the Quilt America "Yes M'am" auction. Needless to say, even after making two complete quilt tops, there was still a healthy supply of strips, so I decided to improvise a border. I tried to get a surveyor friend to do the math for me, and he said he would look at it, but he didn't know what he could do that I couldn't. It made me mad, and so I attacked it myself, and found out he was right. I finished the top two days later!

DH and I went to an auction yesterday at a local retirement home. This is a very nice retirement home, and the pieces being auctioned were donated by residents, or left to the Foundation which operates the home. Among the treasures of beautiful furniture and glassware, were three quilts, a sewing box, a Singer Featherweight, and a couple thimbles. I was a bit surprised that there was minimal bidding on the Featherweight, and even more surprised when DH bought it! It's in great condition, but I oiled it all up last night, and test drove it on some of my squares. Makes a wonderful stitch, as they all do. Now, to find a home for this little honey . . . since I have one, and my sister-in-law keeps one at my house for some of our Retreat adventures . . . and there are two more in the basement . . . you can see why I was surprised that DH bid!

The quilts went for nice prices. Two were kit quilts; one an applique kit from the 30's for certain, with large sunflower type blocks. The other was a stamped applique kit of dogwood blossoms on a peach background from about the 1950's, as revealed by the blue markings still showing in places on the quilt. The third was a 1930's blue and white "Goose in the Pond" block. I managed to refrain from coming home and dragging out blues and whites to make one, but it's still echoing in my brain!

DH asked the ringman to sell one of the thimbles. It is a size 9, slightly out of round, and quite tarnished, but no holes in it. I was the successful bidder, and I happily put it in my sewing kit. Later, the other thimble, a small tailor's thimble, was sold and I got that one, too, for only $2. When we got home, I got out my silver polish, and started working on them. The tailor's thimble is clearly silver, but without much detail, so it only took a couple minutes to polish it. The other thimble is probably an 1880's or so, with several panels, some flat, and the others with designs engraved. But most surprising is that removing the grime revealed that the bottom half of that thimble is gold! I have certainly been lucky in finding lovely thimbles lately. DH thinks that I should cease looking, but I'll do that when he quits buying old canning jars, his passion, which require much more storage space.


Finn said...

Hi, and Happy 4th weekend! What a great job getting all those scraps cut up and organized. ANd equally wonderful to have made 2 tops and working on a third..way to go!!!

Love that you "got" the Featherweight and the thimbles you had hoped for. You have a true appreciation for the vintage stuff I think! Keep up the great work.

Shelina said...

Cutting three times the number of pieces you need. Sounds like something I would do. I'm afraid to count how may triangles I have cut for my kaleidoscope quilt.

Laura said...

I can't believe you have gotten this far already!

I can't believe Norm purchased another featherweight. You will have to go into business with Xeina before long!

Dawn said...

Oh Linda - I NEED to make that stacked bricks quilt! Are you doing this one for camp too??? I"m thinking now I just might have to start cutting bricks! I love this!

And I'm so tempted to email you about the featherweight. You don't know how hard it was for me to not buy one of the ones you had while I was in Paducah!

And the thimbles you find are just too wonderful! You have a talent!

April 1930s said...

What did you end up doing with your Featherweight?