Monday, February 20, 2012

Thimbles and something extra...

Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville asked her readers about thimbles, which ones we use, how we like them, etc. So here's my take on it.

I have several that I use, all the same kind actually. I have tried several that have ended up in the sewing basket graveyard.
I have a modified stretchy-band kind that I use for my "thumble" when I quilt using my floor frame. When I quilt in a hoop I just turn the hoop to the direction I need so that I can use my middle finger thimble.

I recently finished a quilt for a friend of mine that her grandmother had pieced and assembled. It was already basted, and the edges were folded over from the back. About 3 inches from the edge I hit a thick spot that really slowed me down, it turns out the lady had added a layer of flannel to the poly batting before it was basted. I bet it helps keep them warm during those Colorado winters, but boy, was it hard to quilt through.

My favorite thimble, and the ones that I keep in every little sewing basket in the house, is a nickel plated steel from the local quilt shop.  I find them all over my house, it's quite funny actually. If I gathered them all up I might have a dozen or so.

The large size fits my knobby knuckles and stays on.  It feels secure when I'm pushing the needle through the thickest seams.


This next one has a wonderful brass "coin" in the end and feels fairly secure, yet the leather has stretched and won't stay on my finger. 


This next one I keep around mostly for sentimental reasons, it was given to me by a friend when she traveled to Alaska.  It's made out of a skin of some kind, it is leather and has fur on the outside.  She said it is what the Eskimos would use to stitch through tough leather.  Frankly, I can't imagine that.  It slips off the end of my finger and the tiny little band that goes across the back of my finger seems to fragile for much hard usage.



I always keep my eye out for sewing related things at the yard sales I see, and one day I found a particularly wonderful sewing basket of goodies. Here are a few of the pretties I found. It is a beautiful piece of "jewelry." It has little flowers around the edges.
In this picture you can see the thread guide. Does anyone out there know what this might be for? Do you know its age?

I love these needle books I found.  This one came from Gambles Paint Headquarters. 

This one came from House of Fabrics.  From an era where customer service and "good customer gifts" were commonplace.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quilt Block Tutorial

Many of my family members have asked for a tutorial for the quilt block for my brother's quilt.  He was recently diagnosed with leukemia. 
I decided to make a quilt for signatures.  This is what I came up with.

For this block you will need the following pieces:
beige center: cut one 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle
Orange outer "bricks" cut two 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles
and two 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles.
Lay them out as pictured below:
 Using a scant 1/4" sew one rectangle to the beige center and press toward the colored piece, away from the center beige rectangle.
 Then sew the next rectangle to the opposite side and press away from the center piece.
 Take one of the longer rectangles and place it face up on your table and allign the center section face down on top of the strip so you can make sure the seams stay where you have pressed them and sew one side of the rectangle on.
 Flip this piece out and press again toward the orange strip.
 Sew the remaining strip to the other side and press outward from the center. Your block should measure 6.5" x 8.5".  If it is too small, your 1/4" seam allowance is too big, try moving your needle over to the right, or making a line with a piece of masking tape on the sewing machine bed. 
Sign your block within the center rectangle and use a permanent ultra fine point pen.  Heat set the ink so it will not run.  I use Pigma pens, which can be found at JoAnn's, Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

Send your blocks to me quickly if you are making one, leave a comment if you need my address, I won't be posting it here on my blog.
 

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