Just because its old doesn't mean it doesn't work!!!!

Among all the other things I collect,  I love antique tools.  Many years back I spied this and knew it had to be a hand siphon.  Doing the research I found it was patented in 1882.  I had it hanging on a wall in the barn.. You can see it obviously had a useful life and had been repaired often...

Last fall a friend gave me some help with my tractor and I offered the siphon to him..  He is one of the few people I know who would appreciate it... He was going to hang it on the wall of his shop.

Now I have his UNDYING GRATITUDE.   Last month we had a big snow and rapid thaw.  Everything was flooding.  He went out  to find 6" of water inside his shop, and more rushing in.  The drain was blocked and his  electric sump pump wouldn't run.  He thought he'd have to go to town buy a new pump right then  The siphon I gave him caught his eye, and he made holes in a 5-gallon bucket, wrapped it with ground cloth, and set the siphon up inside, with rocks holding it up.  He ran 150 feet of garden hose out to the low spot in the pasture, and  started the siphon by pumping the wooden plunger.  It  pumped over a thousand gallons of water at last estimate. 



"1,2,3, prick" did the trick!

In order for my suffrage quilt to qualify for entry in some shows it must be quilted through at least 3 layers... so I set about to do that.
To have virtually NO stitching be visible on top of the quilt.
All the stitching showing on the back of the quilt to be tiny, even, and visible.
I haven't hand quilted like this for 30 years...
My hands are crippled and my eyes are shot.
When I inserted the needle in with teeny stitch on top I couldn't see where to come up. (I started using transparent thread but it reflected light so I took it all out and went to black thread.)

So here is what I did:

I decided to use tiger tape (9 stripes to an inch) as a guide as I use it on my CQ seams and love it.
At first I tried using my thumbnail on the reentry mark. But if I lost focus and moved my finger at all I lost my reentry point...

So after I brought my needle up, I counted over 3 strips and made a prick... went down on the next mark and up on the mark with the prick.  Even if I left the frame I could always come back and see where I was. 

At first I actually counted 1,2,3, prick but soon it came automatically and the quilting went quite rapidly.  You can see a strip here with the pricks and how visible they are.  I could reuse a pricked strip 2 or three times.

This morning I took it off the frame to rotate it as I have problem stitching vertically and am quite pleased with the result. There is NOT A SINGLE QUILTING STITCH visible on top of the quilt but all the quilting on the back of the quilt is even and tiny. Well quite good enough considering....

With my eyesight problems I can definitely see a use of pricking strips in CQ seam work.


Handsome Downy and lovely frame....

I kept a camera by the window today trying to catch a good shot of a downy woodpecker.  I have painted the red-shafted flicker and wanted to do the downy, the smallest woodpecker we have... It is so darn cute!!!  But is was perpetual motion and this was the best shot.  But it's good enough to paint from...

The quilting frame arrived today and after a few minor repairs and adjustment I put the quilt on it and am ready to go.... In the 70s I used to make a lot if sane quilt and really the only part I enjoyed was the hand quilting... So I am looking forward to this tomorrow when the morning light is good.   I still can't believe my good fortune to have a quilting frame turn up on my door step when I needed it.  I will do my cottage quilt on it also..

And not that I needed it I did get another good rabbit shot...  And that is snow you see.  It was 20 F this morning and snow.


His and Hers

It is all sandwiched and pinned and ready to start quilting... I was trying to figure how I was going to rig up a temporary frame and a dear friend stopped by and said she had a free-standing quilt frame that had been given to her and I could have it...  She is bringing it tomorrow.... and she brought me a white chocolate mocha besides... Friends like that are to treasure...

Yesterday I spent basting the "batting" to the back of the quilt with long running stitches... row after row.. Allie says this supports and distributes the weight of all the embellishments.  Important since quilting is limited...

So while waiting for the frame I'm making the sleeve for hanging and working on my 75-word statement for the label.

Since I have taken over our only table my husband has to eat and work here..

New birds are cause for celebration at our house.  We've always had mourning doves but last summer these Eurasian collared doves started showing up and I'm happy to see them back again this spring.  They are much larger than the mourning doves and besides the collar they have lovely dark gray feathers skirting their wings...


Pick your favorite artist!

When I was searching for an image for my spring header I came across this piece I did for Ritva in 2011.  It was a round robin in which each stitcher picked her favorite artist and the rest of us had to translate that to stitchery.. The other stitchers chose an artist and we had to research their work for a painting or their style.

But Ritva did hers differently.   For each block Ritva pieced, she included a picture of the artist’s painting for inspiration.  She cleverly matched the piecing to the painting... Unfortunately I stitched over most of the piecing...  Ritva chose a Finnish wildlife artist -  Ferdinand von Wright.

Ritva's choice was a Finnish artist who painted the most lovely nature scenes and of course the birds stole my heart.

The artists chosen were very diverse including modern artists such as Georgia O'Keefe and Klee.
You can see the entire series of blocks on the CQI blog. 

Themes for RRs are quite predictable.... flowers, gardens, lace, Victorian, etc. So favorite artists was really out of the box, so to speak... It was one of my favorite RRs because it was such a challenge.


And a whiz of a wizard!!!

Allie knows so much about quilting everyone felt she should write a book and she did....in fact two... The second is with Valerie Bothell and about to hit the market.

As I go into the final finishing stages with the suffrage quilt I wanted Allie's opinion and several years ago she offered to look at it when I got to this stage.  I knew I could trust her to be honest about where, how and IF to proceed.  Also I had heard of so many negative attitudes  toward CQ by the juried quilting shows.  Allie has seen the very best and knows all the little details the judges look for when making decisions and readily admits much of what she knows she learned the hard way.
So I gathered all my parts and headed to see her and here is MY quilt with its parts hanging on Allie's design wall... No matter where it hangs in the future, this has been the best...  I showed her my choices for border, border trims etc.,  interlining and lining.... We spent a good deal of time examining her quilts as she pointed out various finishing techniques, trims, labels and other fine details...  Her body of work  is extraordinary and photos could never do it justice.

I took copious notes but a few of the immediate important things are that Allie uses a drapery liner in place of batting in her CQ quilts.  It almost has the feel of flannel.  A quilt with a black border needs to be edged so it doesn't fade into the black backgrounds at quilt shows (And I didn't know they used black backgrounds) The 75 word entry is critical in selling your quilt to the judges and to start writing it NOW! . I also learned many ways of stabilizing the quilt besides quilting but quilting will indeed be required.  It  will take me days to sort out all the information that I got from her... I will be forever grateful..

AND I learned about French facing in place of binding... This I immediately loved and will use on all my pieces.  Allie blogged about it once. http://alliesinstitches.blogspot.com/2007/04/finishing-purple-heart-crazy-quiltlong.html 

She couldn't have been more generous or encouraging.  We had a lovely day and it ended with a nice  evening with our husbands where we talked very little about quilting then.

I am eager to get at it and could easily shut myself up in the house and just work but on the way home I received a call that my mother has been admitted AGAIN (the 10th time in a year) dehydrated with bladder and kidney infections.  It has been a vicious cycle because she refuses to drink fluids... they will hydrate her and release her and then it will start over.


This and that and I'm off to see the wizard!!!

Lest you think that I am just dilly dallying around I am working on all 7 birds at the same time.  It is so nice to have projects small enough that I can work at my little work station by the window.  The light is phenomenal and I can glance frequently at the bird feeder... 

Today was a special treat as I had a varied thrush picking at the sunflowers seeds in the snow under the feeder.  We only have them passing through, and seldom at that, so it was exciting.

We had planned to drive 120 miles yesterday to play in a bridge tournament with another couple.  But a big snow storm moved in and authorities urged everyone to stay off the road.  So I had an impromptu dinner for us by the fire....

And since nature gave me lemons I made a lemon sponge tart...one of my favorites... especially when DH is doing the dishes as it dirtied the entire kitchen, the stove, about 6 bowls and two pans...

Morris and Molly butt to butt on the new bench... They spend hours watching the birds at the feeder also... And I feel like Alice because early Wednesday I'm off to see the wizard with my suffrage quilt and won't be back until the end of the week... I promise pictures.
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