Friday, January 17, 2014

The Wild Goose Chase Quilt

I love red and white traditional pieced quilts.

 Drafting the quilt pattern and hoping I have enough fabric to make an 84" x 84" quilt.
I  really like square quilts....  no edge becomes more worn than any other as any edge can be used at the top of the bed.... 
and I do like quilts to be used and not just looked at.
 This is a gift for Max's 20th birthday(which was on Christmas day)
 so I'm sure it will get used when I have it finished.

 ...laying out the pieces to see how it looks in real fabric.

 I like to piece on the machine... it makes stronger seams.
I made the first block for the quilt using this vintage all metal construction 1971 Zig Zag Kenmore sewing machine that I picked up on Kijiji ...

 It is a gift for my older son Zachary, he has been doing some very creative work with recycled materials.
When I got it, the stitching and tension was way off but after giving it a through oiling and cleaning and doing some adjusting and testing I had  it stitching great.... runs smooth and had a powerful motor. The lady I bought it from, who  received it as a wedding present from her mother-in-law back in '71, had rarely used it.
 It is an amazing machine and is in almost perfect shape. 

 ...each block requires 32 white triangles. I cut the templates from a plastic lid... the edges don't wear down like cardboard.

 I need 53 pieces for each block.... and I need 36 blocks.

 Most of the rest of the quilt was pieced on this vintage 1955 straight stitch Kenmore (electric) that I also got a good deal on, off Kijiji in November.  It came in this little maple cabinet. I gave it a good oiling and cleaning too.
The paint job and decal designs were in almost perfect condition. had a fold out table top on the side.

 and this great knee throttle!
 First time I ever used a knee throttle and I am in love with it... so much simpler than a foot pedal.
You sort of become one with the machine when you are using it... you don't even have to think..
it just happens...  it becomes second nature 
 I can't believe the difference.... wish I had one of these a long time ago.

 Johnnie replaced the motor for me... that's the little silver shape on the back (upper right) of the machine.. it's a 0.9amp...  the one that came on it had a missing bushing...  he found this used one at a sewing machine repair shop in Saint John and made it fit.
 The fellow had a whole drawer full of old motors that he had saved off old machines..
good thing to as a new motor would have cost $100. and we were able to get this one for $15.

If you ever have an opportunity to pick up one of these solid old cast iron machines that hasn't been abused, I would recommend it.
You can easily maintain them yourself, just a little oiling, cleaning some lint.
They last a very long time.... and they sound so good when they are running.

I am on the search for a Treadle Sewing Machine now, so I can sew without electricity.
Then I'll be ready for the next power outage or just be able to treadle for the sheer joy of it only with foot power.

 While I was sewing,  the bread machines were mixing up some dough.. 
I don't cook my bread in them, just mix and raise it in them, then I put it in pans, raise again and cook it in the oven. It turns out better that way. (*I got these both second hand a few yrs. ago)

 I like to sew the pieces in long strings without snipping them apart 'till I finish all the pieces for each block.

 One day when I was piecing at the start of January... a very cold day... the seasmoke was rising  and forming clouds over the Bay (as seen from the front living room window)

 It is truly gorgeous when this happens.

 these are the small 9 patch blocks that will be used in the sashing, which are the borders between the blocks
 ...each little piece will be 3/4"sq. when the seams are done.

 Decided to make Baked Beans that day too.
 One of my loaves of bread stuck to the wax paper that I had on top of it when it was raising so it looks kind of strange....
 turned out ok tho.

 the finished 9 patch blocks are only about 2 1/2" sq.
I need 49 of these small blocks. They are just so little and cute.

 These strips are 3/4" wide by the length of the bigger block... about 10 1/2" sq.

 I need 84 finished sash strips.

 This old Iron was given to me after my house fire back in 1991 by an elderly neighbor,  Ause Gustavsen... a retired nurse,
I think the iron is from the '50's.
It had belonged to her mother. It is the only one I have used since then and it still works great. 
 I don't use the steam. I just use the heat... and it never fails.. 

Why can't they make things to last like they use to?

 here are all the pieced blocks that I need for the quilt.... all pressed.

 Stitching the sashing and little blocks,

 First two strips... I need 6 of the strips on the left and 7 of the narrow strips on the right.

The homemade bread fresh out of the oven... the lumpy one raised and turned out ok.

 I had to ease a few pieces... I didn't stitch over the pins, I just needed that many for a few blocks to make the blocks fit easier...
I took the pins out as i went along before the needle got to them.
 we had some rain and the snow is almost all gone ... much easier to get around.

 This is the rising sun from this morning, January 17, 2014.

 I thought the back was  interesting too, so I am  including a picture of it.

Finally have the whole Wild Goose Chase Quilt Top pieced ....  took me almost a month of my free time to cut out and put the whole Top together.

The red and white striped fabric at the bottom of the second picture at the top of this post will be used for the back. 
Now I need to quilt it.  Not sure when I'll get started on that.... Feels good to get it to this point though.
Have to get back to making jewelry now.

Gwen Buchanan, Desideratum Art Studio, St. Martins, New Brunswick.


pRiyA said...

You never cease to amaze me with the many ways in which your creative skills and imagination branch out. I am in awe when I look at that quilt.
This post is beautiful. Its colours are black, white and red and the shapes in the pictures are bold ones. (That includes the beautiful sewing machine).
I didn't know of a phenomenon called seasmoke. It makes the landscape look wild and passionate and poetic.
I think you are pretty incredible to make what you do and to constantly notice beauty and bring it for us. Thank you.

Penny said...

I am not sure if this is enough, but WOW!

Maya Sara Matthew said...

That's going to be one incredible quilt. I love the colour red and when combined with white its stunning. You live in a very beautiful part of the world. Thank you for all the beauty.

Linda H said...

Gwen, your quilt is beautiful!! I too love red and white quilts. It's a great combination. Your photos are so beautiful, especially combined with the outdoor views. Awesome beauty, outdoors and in!

Faye Henry said...

Hello dear.. What a lovely quilt.. Red and white is such a beautiful color.. Your pics look like paintings. Really..
Homemade bread and beans.. You are certainly a girl after my own heart.. xox

Steven Cain said...

I. Love. Your. Quilts. Holy crap that is beautiful! I want one! What a crazy lot of work! Wonderful!

cathyswatercolors said...

You are beyond amazing!

Seth said...

Wow. Fascinating to see your process here. Thanks for taking the extra time to post this.

laura said...

OMG. You are truly a pioneer woman: making quilts and baking bread simultaneously!
I always wondered if I would be able to make a quilt; I see now the answer is no!
I love red too, and love the quilt and all the pictures, esp. the pictures of your drawings for the quilt: those would look great framed!

Guillaume said...

The pictures of the snow are stunning.

jerilanders said...

Fabulous! What more can I say. love this entire post. Fresh bread and piecing a quilt, what better way to pass a wintry week. I have that same 1971 Kenmore and have been sewing on it all week long. I love your antique one, I never saw an olde Kenmore. You did an incredible job on the quilt, I just love it! You are a true artist in every way. The work involved in making a quilt the old fashioned way ( which in my book is the ONLY way) is tremendous. Bravo Gwen, I admire you.

Gwen Buchanan said...

You guys are All Too Amazing! and way Too Kind!
I so appreciate that you all even took the time to look at such a long post... especially since I admire each and everyone of you for what you do and share with the world. I feel very privileged that you visit me a way out here on the edge of the ocean... Thank You so very much!!! xoxoxo

Jennifer Rose said...

gorgeous quilt!! lots of work but so worth it

the snowy bay pictures make me miss going down to the lake in the winter, very pretty

i have an old singer, from 1939, still works and works better then a lot of the new machines

rachel said...

I'd like to tell you that you are an inspiring person, Gwen, but that would (wrongly) imply that I was about to emulate you, to bake wonderful bread and sew glorious quilts as a result of seeing yours. So I shall just say that you are awe-inspiring - and that's the truth. Thank you for posting so much detail - fascinating!

Sharmon Davidson said...

Wow, you really are a multi-talented and very busy woman! That quilt top is just to die for, and I'm sure your son will be thrilled! Your old sewing machines are impressive, too. I have an old treadle machine I'd like to use, but have no idea how to get it in running condition. i guess I'd have to find someone who knows how to fix them, but where?

BumbleVee said...

I knew there was a reason I don't quilt..... it needs math..or at least arithmetic... which I failed ... hahhaha..

oh, and Gwen.... sift some flour over the top of your dough and just use a light tea towel.... shouldn't stick....

jerilanders said...

Gwen, Had to come back and see the quilt and the old sewing machine again. You have inspired me to do two things; find an antique machine in good working condition and make a quilt the old fashioned way. (I'd bake the bread too, if I weren't trying to lose a few pounds!) I am just in awe of that quilt, what a remarkable treasure you've created.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thank you Jennifer, I have put an ad on Kijiji looking for a Treadle... I just have to wait it out to see if a good one surfaces for a good deal.

Thank you for the kind words, Rachel, I'm sure I drive most people crazy by being such a freaking detail person... can't help it but I appreciate that you don't mind my habit!

Sharmon, I read recently that a lot of sewing machine repair shops have closed down and many people are asking the same question as you... but there are quite a few videos on YouTube and blogs on vintage machines that demonstrate how to service and oil a treadle and work out the tension. Not too hard at all. Oiling the old machines is really rewarding as they usually loosen right up and start moving like magic after it soaks in. That is what is so good about them, they are really sturdy machines, rarely need to go to a service person as they can be maintained at home by the owner. There is hardly anything that can go wrong with them, as long as all the parts are still there. maybe it only needs a belt or a rubber wheel for the bobbin winder... those parts aren't too hard to find.

Vee, I only do math cause I have to, anyway this is fun. I "had" to learn the basics to do my books for my business .. but I really just do the basics, nothing complicated.. I remember back in school I always "zoned-out" in math class. It was unbearable torture... actually every day after grade 4 was! and Thanks for the hint of lightly flouring the top of my bread when rising.. I'll do that next time!!

Thanks Jeri, Now I know what you were sewing all week on your Kenmore ... and what an AMAZING project it is. I absolutely loved seeing the "process" (I love the process of creating) of you creating your bear absolutely from scratch from your own book illustrations.. Thrilling! .. ... and about the homemade bread, a half a loaf at a time seems to go missing every time John goes into the kitchen.

Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers said...

Your quilt for your son is beautiful. That would be a year's work for me - but I hand piece, so that goes some way to explaining that. Your red and white colours are great, and looks really good for a young man's quilt - will add a splash of colour to a more masculine colour scheme.
I agree with you about the old things being built to last. I'm so tired of throwing things out because they can't be repaired.
As for your sewing machine ... well, it's been 34 years since my grandma died, and I was too young at the time to think of keeping her old singer sewing machine - but every time I see one of these old table machines now I get sad. How I wish I had kept it!
I hope your quilting is progressing nicely.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks so much Janice. Hand piecing is a wonderful way to make a quilt too, very relaxing. I admire you. more time for more love.

I wish I had realized that the older vintage machines could be maintained so easily at home I never would have given away my grandmothers treadle many long years ago to my younger sister. she doesn't sew and just has it as a memento... at least it is still in the family. But I was too young to know how to care for it and the information was not readily available, as it is now, all over the internet. ... kind of ironic.. the new wireless technology is spreading the knowledge to take care of the old mechanical machines.

Chris Daly said...

Wonderful to stop by your blog and see you working on a quilt again Gwen. What a beautiful design you chose. I can't believe how quickly you finished the top. Enjoy you free time while it lasts. Chris

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Chris, Glad to make contact again. I am really excited to see your new huge project. The very best luck with it.

sandy said...

You are so motivated! This is going to be a beautiful quilt. Loved seeing all the photos and your baked bread, beautiful scenery outdoors. Looks like you have spent your time well.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Sandy, Fresh homemade bread is one of our guilty pleasures. and sewing is purely for the joy of it. Cheers!

ELFI said...

un magnifique saison..! superbe!

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

I love your quilt and am embarrassed to have to say that mine has been in construction for three years. Not good. I am also very impressed with the sewing machines. I use an elderly Bernina which is fabulous. It is not its fault about the quilt. That is more to do with having lost my large table and then my quilting mojo. Maybe it will return.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Elizabeth, I don't know when or how long it will be till I have it quilted. But sometime...
If yo are anything like me, I find Mojo comes in spurts, sometimes it just needs a rest or a change.. then Wham-o, it hits like a hammer.

Thanks Elfi! You are too sweet!

Morna Crites-Moore said...

Drop Dead Gorgeous, Gwen! I love Flying Geese but I don't know how to properly make them. I have made them with felted wool but that requires no seam allowance - AND - my style allows for quirkiness and lack of perfection! I will study your photos like a turtorial. I have a really nice Bernina, purchased the year my stars were in Country Living magazine and I had orders galore. It has a knee lever and I LOVE that feature. I haven't used in it in a couple of years and it is time to clear away the mess and make it accessible again. True of my entire studio and mind. I also have a metal Singer Slant-O-Matic with Zig Zag stitches which are modified depending on which cam I use! My parents bought it for me when it came out in the early 1960s. One of its "remarkable" features was that you could stitch right over your straight pins and the needle wouldn't hit them. Pretty cool. It is a workhorse, to be sure, but it has been in the attic ever since I got the Bernina.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thank you Morna!!! I wish I had more time to do things like this. oh believe me, perfection, this is not, I just like seeing it all come together.
hey that is what a studio is for, to leave your things out and work in progress and not to ever worry about it. just have a go at it when the mood strikes. I'd love to try a Slant O Matic and a Bernina some day. Cool feature to be able to stitch over pins, where has it been all my life!!