Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Treadle String Blocks Galore!


   Good morning- Good morning-Good morning! Nothing like waking up and walking into your sewing studio to put you in an instant good mood! I love it---I feel so fortunate that I can do this. This is the first thing I did----well, after I let the dogs out and I made my cup of " morning jump start", aka: coffee. The sun is not totally shining in all of it's glory--but it is out there enough to shine through my sky lights in my studio to greet me in a warm and fuzzy way. I walked right over to the treadle that I have been working on for the past couple of days. I have been working on a different WIP.  I have been shuffling between my crumb blocks and my paper string blocks. I just love it.

    String blocks are the best! They are so fun, simple, mindless, relaxing and of course- addicting! I have been working on my string blocks for some time now. I have a little over 200 of them. I have made mine 5 1/2 by 5 1/2.  I am not going with any particular color scheme--just plain ole scrappy. Now, I do have in mind down the road to do a string block quilt with a certain color scheme order. I have seen pictures of them and they are just so darn stunning. I can not really explain the draw to them-- it is like I become mesmerized and I just drift off dreaming about them. I know- crazy right?! Guilty as charged. I can't help myself.

    My scraps for the string blocks are a mix of my own and a whole bunch that are donations from my friends. You can call my friends my enablers. I think it is so darn cool when they drop off bags of scraps for me. I tell them---no scrap is too small, let me decide if it is usable. They always get a chuckle out of it. My scraps are like candy to a baby. I have always had a hard time tossing them in the garbage. When I was a new quilter, I didn't know what to do with them. Then I discovered Bonnie Hunter---that is when my whole quilting world changed. I have to say that it changed for the better. I took off with her ideas like a bullet out of the gun and never looked back. Thank you Creator!!!

    My way of doing it is not as organized as my wonder teacher Bonnie. My way is to--open up a tote of scraps- dump them out on the floor next to my feet and just randomly grab a piece and sew it on. There are times I have to snip the width or the size to make it the way I want it to be.  Like her, I sew it onto a piece of telephone paper. I use a stick glue to hold the first piece in place.  I don't worry about a quarter inch seam allowance---I just sew where I want to. I do make my stitch length shorter because it does help when I rip the paper off the back and it doesn't stress out the piecing. I like to keep my ironing board next to me while I do scrap blocks. For me, I find it helps to press the pieces into place before I sew on the next piece. When I am ready to trim it down, I like to use spray starch , press with a hot iron, let it cool and then block it. Works like a charm.

    When I do string blocks, I really love to do them on one of my treadles. I love my treadles so much. These iron beauties are such a treasure and a blessing. I love the stitches that they produce-excellent. I love the sound that they make as they are sewing. Their sound is so different from the modern electronic machines of today. Sometimes I sew in silence, but most times I play music in the background. Because I do not worry about a seam allowance--I don't mind switching up what machines I use. I like to share the love with all of my machines.

    Recently- I have been working on my oldest treadle. It is a White. It is a coffin top. It is my only coffin top. It does have a vibrating shuttle. I believe it is called a White VS II. The bobbin winder is really different from all of my other treadles. I had to do a lot of searching on the net to figure out how to wind a bobbin. I bought it from a local antique store for $100. It did not come with many attachments--but I do have 3 bobbins for it--that is fine by me. The table itself is in great condition. The decals are a bit worn and rough looking, but considering her age---I think she looks great. I believe she has been around since the time of the Civil War. Not exactly sure of her age. When I sew on her, I think about the previous owner or owners. I wonder about them: who were they, where did they live, what type of sewing did they do, did they like to sew? If only we could time travel and observe--that would be so cool. Maintenance of these machines are pretty easy. Keep them cleaned and oiled. Treat them with love and kindness and they will remain loyal and work hard for you for years to come.

    What do you think? Want to come join me? I promise you will have a ball!!!

 My White VS II. Isn't she a beauty?!!! Do you see my doily under the thread? I made it. I think it just adds to the charm. I am using Coats and Clark thread-- for some reason , my older machines work better with it

This is the back of her. Because she is a coffin top- she doesn't go inside the table when done sewing. Do you see the wood peg there behind her. That is to hold the wt of the treadle head when cleaning and oiling the underneath.

I use these sliders under all of my treadles. The treadle legs have wheels on them, but I do not find them easy to move. Plus they make an awful noise while moving. These sliders help me to slide on rug and floor. I like to move my treadles around my studio when sewing or even to move outside.

These are just some blocks cut up from telephone book paper.
I like to glue down the first piece so it doesn't slide on the paper. When I sew, I don't worry about the seam- I just make sure I don't have a too narrow of a seam.