Thursday, January 19, 2017

Women's Nerves Often Ruined by Sewing


Are your nerves ruined by sewing?  Are you strained by "working the machine?"  Or does machine sewing cause you eye strain? 
The Steubenville Herald-Star, Tuesday, March 8, 1910

You could try Dr. A. W. Chase's Nerve Pills -- if you can find them.  But since this is from a 1910 newspaper you're unlikely to  meet with success.  I never see them at the pharmacy these days.  

This ad's not very clear because I printed it from a microfilm reader.  It's uncommon -- in my experience, at least -- to see a woman at a sewing machine in an old ad.  I was surprised and delighted to see it but sad to think that the women of 1910 had such a hard go of machine sewing.  I know their burdens were much heavier than ours.  We have so many labor-saving devices that hadn't yet been invented in 1910, and I'm grateful for them.  Still, machine sewing has never caused the ruin of my nerves.  If anything, I find it somewhat soothing, especially if I'm sewing simple shapes together to create quilt blocks.

How about you?  I hope machine sewing isn't ruining your nerves.

--Nancy.

P. S.  I usually only read newspapers on microfilm when I'm doing family history research.  I'd rather sew than go searching for sewing ads in old newspapers.  ;-)
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Monday, January 16, 2017

A Few More Blocks for the Buckeye Beauty

I made 18 more blocks, most medium/dark in the green/blue color range, to add to the others.







I also added a few brown blocks from the original group I'd made.  And now the layout looks (almost) like this.  I made 18 extra blocks thinking I would go for an 8 x 9 layout but it seemed too wide so I've left it (for the moment) at a 7 x 9 layout.


I know there will be some more rearranging of blocks tomorrow.  And them I'm hoping to sew these them together soon so I can move on to the red Buckeye Beauty.  While this quilt is not one of my favorites I think it will be okay.

I'm linking this post to
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Design Wall at Patchwork Times
> Moving It Forward at Em's Scrapbag
Thank you for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, January 7, 2017

January's Goal:  More Buckeye Beauty Blocks

I once took a drawing class in which the professor gave us the assignment to use texture to create interest in the drawing.  She told us that if we are bored with our mark-making, the viewer will recognize it and our drawings will project that boredom to the viewer.

I remind myself of that as I sew quilts.  If I'm bored while creating a quilt I imagine if it will also be boring -- a ho hum quilt -- to those who see it.  Somehow, I think our emotions -- excitement, interest, enthusiasm, or boredom -- move from our minds, through our hands, to the fabric, the quilting, and the finished quilt.


I can't say that I'm bored with this quilt but I don't have much enthusiasm for it.  I personally like  blue and green together but there's something not right with this quilt as it is.  (Too many lights and too few mediums?  Too many light/dark blocks, not enough light/medium, medium/dark blocks?)  Yet, I'm committed to sewing more blocks to see what I can make of it.  At this point I have 7 blocks by 8 blocks (minus 2).  The blocks will finish at 6".  Were I to stop after making 2 more blocks, the quilt would finish at 42" x 48".  Certainly large enough for a baby quilt, but then figure in the shrinkage from quilting and washing & drying and it might be a mite small.

My goal in January is to make 18 more blocks and play with layouts.  Perhaps some of the blocks will not be used and the quilt will stay the same size or become square.  My goal does not include choosing a border (which the quilt may or may not get) nor sewing the blocks together but if I get that far, all the better.

This first week of January has been hectic.  My daughter who wasn't able to come for Christmas came for New Year and spent five days with us.  She left on Wednesday (the day before I had a colonoscopy - ugh).  I'm always sad to see loved ones go.  At my age I never can tell whether it might be the last time I'll see them, so I savor the moments. 

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal - January Goal Setting Link Up at Elm Street Quilts.  From the number of quilters linking up (113 right now!) there are lots of us ready to set goals and play with fabric again.  Click through to see thumbnails of others' goals for January.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Embossed Wooden Thread Spools


Maybe some of you are like me and love vintage sewing notions and supplies.  Whenever I see old wooden spools of thread at a good price I buy them.  Sometimes the thread is too old and fragile to use, in which case it sits on a shelf and looks pretty.  Other times the thread is just too beautiful to use and sit on the shelf with the fragile thread.  Sometimes I use the old thread, especially if it's strong and a color I need.

But this post isn't about the thread. The person who writes the blog Scrapiana published a post a few days ago asking several questions about American embossed thread spools.  One of her questions was whether most were for silk or if cotton thread was also sold on embossed spools.  I found that my eight silk spools were all embossed (though that doesn't necessarily indicate that paper labels were not used for silk).


The spools of silk thread I have were made by Belding Hemingway Co., Hemingway & Bartlett (Paragon), Thresher's, Clark's, and Belding Corticelli Richardson.  Some have 50 yards, others 75 or 100 yards.  None of the spools has the price embossed on them.

My favorite silk spool, a Belding Corticelli, recommends I sew with silk.  Silk is certainly smooth and sews easily but it isn't good for all situations.  Another spool claims the silk is boilfast.  Perhaps that indicates the color will not fade with boiling but I don't know how silk stands up to water or the heat of boiling.
 

When I looked at my cotton spools I found that most of them had paper labels, but some were also embossed.  The small ones, with 100 or 125 yards, were made be Trusew, Belding Corticelli, and Belding Corticelli Richardson companies.  One was priced at 15¢ and another at 19¢.  Not all spools had embossed prices.


Every large embossed spool of cotton thread I have is embossed with "Belding Corticelli."  The spools have 275 yards or 600 yards.  The spools with 275 yards cost 25¢, 30¢, 40¢, 45¢, and 55¢.  The last has a paper label attached to the end which covers an embossed price of 45¢. 


I have no dates for any of these spools but a search of old newspapers for advertisements for sewing notions could possibly reveal the price of thread which could thereby date some of spools with prices embossed on the ends.


To answer Scrapiana's question about whether embossing was reserved mainly for silk spools, I'd have to say no -- at least my own collection doesn't indicate that.

Do you collect old spools?  If they have thread on them, do you use it?  What other sewing notions do you collect?

--Nancy.
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Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Truest Wishes for the New Year

I had forgotten about Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "In Memoriam" (sometimes known as "Ring Out, Wild Bells" and sometimes set to music) until this afternoon.  My truest wishes for the new year echo those of the poet.  What a world we would live in if our world changed to mirror the words of the poem.

            In Memoriam
       Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Happy New Year to you.

--Nancy.
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Happy New Year 2017, Blogging Friends


My wish for you in this new year is health, happiness, love, friendship, and joy.

Happy New Year!

 --Nancy.
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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Planning Quilts for 2017

About a month or so ago it was July and just a few weeks ago it was September.  How did December 31 come round so quickly?  Or maybe it's just me?  Time flies faster than I can take hold of it.  I'm actively involved in one thing or another most of the time and yet I have so little to show for my efforts.  I could quit and go take a nap or two, or I could think about and plan for the future and what I'd like to accomplish.  (Or maybe I can do both, alternately?)  I have a friend who says, "Doing is better than dreaming."  I agree.  So I guess I'll plan for the future and begin/continue doing.

I have a few quilts in progress that need finished.

There are those Buckeye Beauty blocks to finish making, then sew together.  There's one in greens and blues . . .

. . . and a second in reds and lights.  I think I will like the red one much better.  I'm putting it off until the blue/green one is finished, anticipating the joy of sewing these blocks. 

I have a stack of these blocks (below) left over from another quilt that need a setting then sewn and quilted.  Sashing, alternate plain blocks, alternate blocks with sashing to carry the lines through the whole quilt?  I'll play a little and decide.

And these blocks have been taped to a wall for nearly a year.  Should I make more for a larger quilt?  Should these become a "center medallion" with a border or two?   Other than seeming them there every day I haven't given them much attention.

The little plaid baskets are still sitting, awaiting placement and sewing on backgrounds.  I've made no progress on those since I cut them out.

And, of course, my Gwenny Medallion needs its last border.  It would be fun if someone had already created a large-print fabric with stars and vines.  (Wishful me!)

I was kidding myself into believing that I didn't have any UFOs.  Ha!  Finishing those looks like a year's worth of work to me.  And yet I keep imagining new blocks and quilts to make.  I have a few ideas for blocks swimming around in my brain, and I want to explore some color combinations I haven't used before.

As far as specific blocks, Wheel of Fortune has held my attention for a good while.  I don't do well with others' patterns (which usually give cutting directions for making all the blocks at the same time) but Wheel of Fortune is one block I know I could not make without a pattern.  The book History Repeated had directions for just one block.  I think that will work for me.  And I saw a pattern for a feathered star that I might be successful in making.   And there are Maple Leaf blocks I want to make.

Two days ago I had not given a thought to what quilts I would work on in 2017 but I'm feeling some energy to get back to quilting.  Who knows what will take my attention as the weeks and months go by.

What quilts are in your future in 2017?

I'm linking this post to Yvonne's 2017 Planning Party at quilting JETGirl.  Thank you, Yvonne.

--Nancy.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking Back at 2016

There are so many ways to evaluate a year's worth of blogging.  For this blog I've chosen to share the five most viewed posts.  Most of them were viewed because they were finishes linked to Amanda Jean's finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.  I'm grateful for all the bloggers who have link-ups where other bloggers can share their posts.

In reverse order, these were the five most viewed posts.

Fifth.  Proportion, Size, Symmetry, Balance -- How Does a Quilter Decide?
There were many comments and lots of great feedback on this post.
Vintage 9-patch quilt set on point with alternate setting blocks

Fourth.  Morning Stars for Isaac:  a Finish
I like the symmetry and rhythm of this quilt combined with the uneven stars.

Third.  Scrap Hot Pads
Who would have thought a post about scrappy hot pads would have so many views?!
quilted hot pads

Second.  A Finished Top
This post published before the fourth place one, above.
Morning Star quilt with liberated stars

First.  Little Four-Patch, Finished!
This was my first finish of 2016, a very small one.  But a finish is a finish, right?
Four-patch doll quilt

I'm a slow quilter and most of my quilts get posted several times during their progress from first cut to finish.  Thank you to you readers who visit and read, and especially to you who leave kind comments and are patient with the repetition. 

I'm linking this post to Best of 2016 Linky Party at Meadow Mist Designs.  Thanks for hosting, Cheryl.

Happy New Year to you!

Nancy.
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