Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Fix and Some Starts

Now that I'm back from new grandbaby lovin' and preschooler playin' it's time to get to work on some new projects.

First up is tackling a fix for my treadle sewing machine. It broke in mid-December while I was quilting. I decided to wait until after my grandson was born to fix it because I didn't want to risk having it torn apart while I left town for 2 weeks. I was afraid I'd forget how to put it back together. The part I needed to replace was the bracket you see just below the spring on the presser bar on the left in the picture. 

Please ignore the gunkiness you see in the picture. When I bought the treadle I was so excited to just get it working that I never properly cleaned it. That may have led to the demise of the bracket. There is a little arm on the bracket that the presser bar lift lever pushes up to raise the presser bar. It cracked off. I could still use the machine but had to lift the bar by hand--difficult and annoying, and if I hadn't been quilting with a hopping foot, I wouldn't have been able to use it because it greatly increased the pressure on the presser foot. 
Poor bracket arm
Fortunately, I was able to find a replacement online, so this week I worked up the nerve to take apart the presser bar system. It took a long time to work everything loose, but with lots of DW-40 and sewing machine oil, I did it. My husband helped me hold everything together and lined up right to reconstruct it. The most challenging part was adjusting the height of the presser bar so that it would lift smoothly. But I got it done, and it feels so good to be able to say I fixed my machine myself. (And I'm not mechanical at all.) I must say I never could have done it without all the great resources on the internet for working on vintage sewing machines. Anyway, my machine is considerably cleaner now, and I'm back in business.

So, what's next? Right now I'm planning a BIG quilt--the biggest I've ever made--for my son and daughter-in-law. It's for a queen size bed, but the mattress is 24 inches thick (!). I'm agonizing over just how big to make the quilt, allowing for some drop below the mattress (I think most of the box spring will be covered by a wooden frame) and quilting and batting shrinkage. I'm thinking I might have to go with 120 by 120 inches. Does that sound like too much??? If anyone has any suggestions of how to plan for the quilt to be big enough, but not too big, please share. 

Here's a preliminary drawing of the plan:

Mostly it's chevrons with varying widths, but I've added some other little divisions here and there. I'll probably fiddle with them as I go. The quilt will be made with Kona solids. I just ordered the swatch card to help me plan the colors. I've wanted one for a long time and just came into a little gift money, so I decided to treat myself. The quilt is based on a pillow that my daughter-in-law admired on Dotandbo.com.

The other thing in the planning stage is a donation quilt. I'm using fabric I won in a giveaway. (Thank you, again, Southern Fabric and Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts!) I used the gift certificate to buy some Gypsy Caravan fabric by Amy Butler along with some coordinating fabrics from Freshcut by Heather Bailey and Chinoiserie Chic by Dena Fishbein. 

I plan to use Gently Down the Stream, a pattern by Christina Cameli from the Quilter's Newsletter's Best Fat Quarter Quilts 2014. I love the pattern, and will likely use it for several quilts. I like using ready made patterns for donation quilts to move the process along faster than I can work when designing myself.

So that's the plan for now. I'm linking up this week with Freemotion By the River for LInky Tuesday, with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday and with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social.


  1. If you pre-wash your fabrics you will probably get a little less shrinkage. I never pre-wash, though, and have been taking a lot of measurements of my quilts in the past year. I would plan on ~8% shrinkage to make sure you get the drape you want. Congratulations on fixing your machine, too! :)

  2. Congrats on fixing the machine yourself! I'm not mechanically inclined either so I'm not so sure I could have tackled that. Love your quilt design. Can't wait to see more.

  3. Congratulations on fixing that yourself and now I'm off to see the baby : )

  4. Great fabrics. Your quilt design for the quilt for your son and daughter in-law looks really nice. I couldn't help with figuring out the size, sorry. But you are the woman, fixing your treadle machine!!!!

  5. I hope you get your treadle sewing machine all fixed and have fun with the quilt, it sounds big but a 24 inch mattress.....wow!

  6. You must be much more mechanical than I. Actually most people are more mechanical than me now that I think about it! Can't help you with the measurements for the queen size quilt but I will say that I love the fabrics you are using for the donation quilt. I have a piece of the one on the far left and I love it! Take care.