Dick Wightman's Bulletin Board


Quilted Christmas Tree

I dug out the quilted Christmas tree, which fortunately had a few of the excess quilted and needlepointed decorations with it. We made many more than are here, but they have continued to be put on the real trees we have had in the years since we made and used this one. The extra decorations are in our regular Christmas box so I just made do with what I had for thse photos. Actually, it had been so many years since we used this that my aged memory was playing me false. I didn't recall until I got this one out that I had actually made two... the Mark I version had the separate divided branches that I had recalled, but I had a lot of difficulty in getting them to hang right. They wanted to droop. I ended up making this triangular version, which is much more effective. It does still require a rod across the bottom, though. I think these pix will give you enough of an idea to work with.


Here is the basic tree, as stored. You can see that it is actually a singlelarge log cabin rectangle cut from corner to corner and then joined. The trunk is added, as was the draped gold ribbon. The back is solid red. The quilting is large scale meandering. Overall size is 52" top to bottom of trunk and 52" tip to tip at bottom of tree.



There are quiting pins stuck in the tree vertically , and each of the decorations has a loop so it can be hung on a regular tree branch. I just hook the decoration's loop over the top of the quilting pin. The most colorful decorations are, of course, the ones that we kept using and that are in the other box, but I think these will give you the idea.

There is a flexible 52" rod across the bottom of the tree... a pocket at each end and a sleeve in the middle for it to go through. I used sectional fiberglass kite spars, but 3/8" dowels with a section of 3/8" ID aluminum sleeve will work just as well, or a thin wood slat. Use whatever works for you.

Ann also made a special needlepointed star that went on the top, but it, too, has stayed in service on our real trees every year.



Here's a closer view of the decorations and, if you look close, you can see the quilting pins they are hung on.





My New Upstairs Sewing Setup

While my sewing setup in the basement woodworking shop has been very functional, it is a cold and lonely arrangement now that Ann is no longer operating her Windrose Interiors business in the next room. There is also the increasingly difficult issue of the stairs. So, I have been, with help for the heavy work, moving things upstairs and "recreating" a version of the sewing room I had up there years ago. Things center around the new Bernina machine that I mounted in a refinished thrift store desk plus the Koala deep leaf table that opens up to a 6' work surface. Here are some pix of the room:


This is the inside wallto the left and a window on the side yard, then the dresser and a chair. The functionality of use as a bedroom is unchanged in this corner, just made more compact than it was.



Moving to the right, I've created a nice wall to display smaller quilts, with a small storage unit (full of quilts) below. Then the "sewing machine desk" with the Bernina. It has a nice selection of drawers. Next is the Koala folding table...



Continuing to move right, you get a better view of the Koala table, then the "guy wall' with my favorite books and hobby items. The door is the room entry, which is just past the end of the bed shown in the first pic.



"Straight Up a Brick Wall"

Feb. 6

The Brick Wall top is finished. Next comes the pinning. at this point the top is 96" x 98". That is going to shrink some with quilting and washing shrinkage. Here's a pic.


Whew! Finally got my Air back and can post at least a first look at the new project. Instructions are goiing to have to wait a bit. I'm still not totally happy with the block... still too stubby. However, here at least you can get an idea of what I'm up to.

This is about as simple a block as you can imagine... a color panel, with a white stripe added to a side, then a white stripe to the bottom. Ultimately, a white piece will have to be added to the top and bottom of the row that will start or end with a half block. When assembled, the white will become sashing without the need to to sew long sashing strips.



Here is an example assembly. The finished top will have at least 90 blocks, maybe more if by trimming these I end up needing another column. They make up really fast. I did all the cutting yesterday morning and assembled 25 blocks this morning in a couple of hours with a lot of time for experimenting.

I'll make up more detailed info and post direct to the projects page at QA when I get everything a little more firmly in hand.


Jan. 20

Here's a new look at how things are progressing. This is the 12 columns of the basic top layed out on the bed so I can judge its size. These will be sewed together and then I can determine the size of the overhangs and top tuck. Overhangs will have two rows of bricks.

This is really about as basic as quilting can get, but i wanted to do a project and the colors appealed, so there you are. The staggering of the rows doesn't show up well here as the columns are just layed out, not sewn. I'm reallly looking forward to comparing this picture with one of the finished item, quilted and shrunk for that traditional pebbled effect.s



Good progress today, though I lost a lot of time playing with the new Bernina 330, familiarizing myself with its various special tricks, some of which are really neat. Anyway, i decided on the side treatments, which will use a blue 30's novelty print plus one stripe on each edge of the brick pattern. Here is a picture of what that will look like, plus a pic of the top with all of the first blue borders on:




"Raccoon Sewing Cabinet"

Those who follow me on Quiltalong know that I am just beginning a journey with my first ever new sewing machine, which is also my first ever computerized machine. It is a Bernina 330 and so far I am definitely in love with it. I felt it needed a suitable cabinet, but after buying it, funds were/are limited, so:

Well I paid for part of the machine this afternoon with savings. I wanted a nicer table/cabinet for it than the folding leg generic sewing table I'm using. Of course, first choice would be a Koala with a center leg section and a drawer column on either side. Price: $699.

So, on the afternoon fun run, after we hit the fabric store, we hit the "What can I do with these old cabinets" store, i.e. Goodwill. There I found a quite battered small desk with a center drawer and two drawer columns. Solid walnut… not a piece of veneer or particle board in it. With my senior discount, cost: $11.80. Brought it home, took the center drawer out. There was a solid bottom under it. Carefully marked out square lines on the top, exactly above the drawer column edges and then across the back at the depth the sewing machine would need and then jigsawed that piece out. The depth was more than required but it was easy to layer up underneath and, "Voila!", a center pit sewing table with six drawer, in solid walnut. I will need to get a small walnut board and make a fill piece to pretty up the front gap and also make a solid one piece support bridge for the machine to rest on instead of the several layers of stuff I have there now, though that established the exact thickness of support that I need. I will also have to go over the whole thing with Howard's wood restorative products. Future improvements will consist of adding both a left side hinged lift up extension and another on the back. The top is 3/4" so these can be easily cut from a piece of 3/4" walnut topped craftsman grade plywood. Admittedly the "Koala cabinets" are beautiful, but they are plywood and particle board, while my genuine American made "raccoon cabinet" is solid walnut.

To this point, I stand at $11.80 for the desk vs. $699 for a Koala, or a savings of $687.20, which pays for over 1/3 of the new machine! I'm on a roll! At this rate I'll have that machine paid for in no time!

As to the open gap under the machine, tomorrow I will take the front off of the drawer I removed and use it to fill the gap. I will only fill it to the level of the bottom of the machine, so i ill have to narrow the drawer front, but it has no shaping to it, just a flat surface, so that should work fine.

Refinish of Cabinet and Creation of Its Environment

I made no progress on m quilt these past two days, instead spending them on tearing out the corner of my shop that I intended to make into a nice sewing place to put the new machine. This involved some pretty heavy work, as it included some wall structure in place. However, faith, perserverance, pluck and the American way of life (plus a good nap in the afternoon) saw it done this evening. Here are pix:


This is before. The photo actually makes it look considerably better than it was.


and this is what it looked like after 45 minutes with Howards products.



Here is my new sewing corner. You already know that the desk/cabinet cost $1.80. The double overhiead cabinet came from a re-use place this morning for $20. The white dresser was already on hand, but I do recall that it ws $13 from goodwill a few years ago. note the hanging cutting rulers on the wall, the neat clock and the cased Singer 28 handcrank on the dresser (vintage 1885). Behind me, my 3' x 5' cutting table remains in place, with the Pfaff 134 industrial tucked up to its edge. I'm not showing it because its a horrible mess, having served as the "pile it temporarily" place for everything that came out of the corner. :^)


All in all, a nice modification and addition to my space.



Cat Applique Quilt

Here is a computer scan/multiply of the block I am using for this quilt:

This is four of the blocks. I think you can see how each block goes together. They are 6 1/2" blocks. The green squares are cut to 4 1/2" the brown sashes cut to 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" and the accent corners to 2 1/2" x 2 1/2", assembling to 6 1/2" blocks. You can see how the blocks are rotated in assembly to give a sense of movement. This was a computer repeat of one block. In the actual quilt, each square will have a different color and shape leaf:

Here is a pic of the quilt I spotted at Pacific Fabrics that inspired me to make the pattern:

Here you can get a feel for the "movement" of the block rotation. The movement effect is also enhanced by the varied colors of the green blocks. I'm still debating as to whether varying the leaf colors on mine is sufficient or if I should get a couple more greens.

Now, the "hook" to this project is that the four block lower right corner will be a solid green block with an appliqued calico cat and a similar sized block will occur on the left edge 2/3 of the way up but will contan an appliqued black and white cat. The idea being that the cats are watching the leaves. Anyway, it seems like a good idea. I'm not sure I like the idea of a single green giving more of an impressio of the leaves being on a lawn or if I prefer the additional movement that several shades of green would give.

Further developments will be posted as I am able to complete them. Getting one block made and this much computer planning done was an accomplishment in present circumstances.


My Fall/Winter 2015 Quilt Activity

Here are the pix related to my post re fall/winter activity:


These are my left over 2002 Block of the Month blocks



This is the Amish log cabin that was one of my very early quilts



This is another log cabin, done in the Barn Raising arrangement and as a theme quilt. All of the fabrics are prints of tools and it was made for my buddy who shares all my shop and sports activities. This and the above are pretty much my favorite log cabin layouts.



Afghan Project - Result 1

135 crocheted squares, two balls of black yarn for sewing and between 55 and 60 hard pushing hours of hand stitching later, the Afghan Project is now officially half done. This is the first of the two. I've never worked with crocheted blocks before. They are surprisingly heavy, with the result that this is one really heavy afghan. It's also larger than the usual afghan, but both of the guys I'm making them for are tall. This is what they wanted and the blocks were available, so.... As an afghan, it should be very successful. I sure was warm while assembling it in my lap! 8^)

I'm going to take a break from afghan'ing, catch up on some backlogged chores, let my hands uncramp (that became quite a problem) and then do the floating blocks pillow project for you all before I go back and do the second afghan.



A long time ago I came up with a nice arrow block pattern. I made up a quilt with it as a shoot prize but never made one for myself until now. I'm real pleased with how it came out.


Back Yard Range

Obviously a composite picture, but it works. in the left corner is a double foam block with (currently) a bear target. Pavers in the lawn mark 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 yards. Pic is taken from 25. In the right corner is another double foam block with the turkey. Shooting at the turkey from the pavers gives a constantly changing angle and odd distances. Two shots from each paver is a "round", five rounds is a "set" or 50 shots. I try to do two sets a day if the weather is decent. For variety, I still have Herman, the foam javelina I made to practice for my hunt back in 2008 and I stick him in odd places behind bushes and shoot him from anywhere.


Stairway to Spring Quilt Finished

Finally, after a month and a half's work, Stairway to Spring is truly finished. This is the largest quilt I've done in about 10 years or so. This is the quilt I had actually finished as a smaller work ban my wife liked it enough to ask that I expand it to over queen size. I did that by adding extra borders and the side panels. I'm overall very pleased with it. The only problem that's bothersome is that it shrank from the quilting and washing more than anticipated. The width ended up OK, maybe an inch shy of target, but the length came up nearly 5" short. This will be alright because we had planned on a good bit of tuck in over the pillows at the top. As finished, it drapes perfectly all around and the top just comes up to the headboard with no tucking. That can be lived with. Washing brought on the expected puckering for a nice appearance. Special thanks to Rachelle Howard on Treadle On for suggesting the diagonal treatment of the quilting on the three adjacent borders. That worked very well to lock up a large area that didn't have adequate piecing seams to lock it up.










Rectangle Island Quilt







Star of Treadleonia Quilt



Floating Blocks or Shadow Quilt



Mockery is a Rokkaku kite I built nearly 20 years ago. It was very large, 12 1/2' x 7 1/2'. I found that I was no longer able to handle a kite that size, so cut the skin down to 6' x 5'. Here is a pic of the kite aloft.

This shot was telephotoed in from about 200'. The grey sky is almost like a studio backdrop!

Current Sewing and Light Woodworking Shop


Sewing Side 1

Here you see a Brother industrial needle feed machine which is specifically for handling slick kite material and for the quilting phase of making quilts. The work table/feedout is 3' x 5' and consists of 1/4" masonite over 3/4" plywood. All nylon cutting is done on the masonite by heat knife. When the masonite gets too marked up, probably about after a year, I'll unbolt it and turn it around. After both sides are gone, simply replace the masonite. I think I'm going to be able to put my 12 drawer rack of treadle drawers between the dresser and the treadle by nudging the dresser over to the left a bit.


Sewing Side 2

As you can see from the previous pic, this spot held a nice treadle. However, since my ankle/foot will no longer stand up to steady treadling, I decided to improve the overall sewing situation by locating one of my favorite big machines here after upgrading it substantiall. The machine is a 1970's Pfaff 134 straight stitch industrial. I found it in a chicken coop (!) roughly 20 years ago and used it for many years in an industrial treadle. I bought it a new stand and a DC servo motor and it is one of the smoothest sewing machines I've ever used... great for quilt piecing.

Three early vintage Singer 28 hand cranks are on top of dresser, which contains tons of sewing and quilting patterns and supplies.



Tool Side 1 - Drill Press and Tool Storage Area (Corner of incredibly messy workbench will not be shown in full :^)


Tool Side 2 - Roll around work table, table saw and lathe. Note: there is an alcove directly opposite this, behind the big Brother sewing machine, where a bandsaw and belt sander are hiding out. A drum sander and jig saw are stashed in the furnace room, so I still have a lot of woodworking capability.




Direct comments/questions to Captain Dick: rwightman@mindspring.com



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