Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stitching along...

painting aprons
This week the sewing room was busy - a retreat from dealing with the impending sale of our childhood home.  I've machine embroidered 8 aprons for a family Women's Retreat day this Saturday.  The pattern was free from Urban Threads a few months ago.  The "sisters"and their "daughters" (by birth or marriage) are going to get together for some family time, games, a painting lesson and lunch.  Should be fun!

The other thing I've been up to is playing  with log cabin blocks for my Basket Medallion quilt.

The first round in this sew-along was "a basket", and I used an orphan block.  Second round was "childhood" and I made Sister's Choice blocks because my childhood memories always include my sister. Third round is "log cabins", and my Circa 2016 got me started on these tiny ones using 1-inch strips.  I had to press and re-square each round, but they turned out pretty well.  Here's an update on how it looks so far....

Basket Medallion rows 1, 2 and 3
The next round will need to have a dark background, don't you think?  We'll see what happens when the next theme is revealed in August.  This has been such fun, because the parameters are so open that every sew-along quilt will be totally different, yet we're all working together.  

On another note, it's been odd to see my page view statistics lately.  Over 200 views from Russia in the last week. What's that all about????

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A new home for Peggy

For several years I have had a quilt demonstration booth at our local Heritage Day festival.  I've always thought it would be great to have a treadle sewing machine that could be a hands-on part of the display. (Maybe feet-on is more accurate.)

The Museum has several machines, but the only one that appears to be in working order is an 1870's Wheeler & Wilson.   I don't want to risk moving it around and using it outdoors at a community festival.  Way too much risk of damage!

So, on a whim I checked out Craig's List for a treadle machine this past week.  And I found "Peggy."  She runs like a charm, and as soon as I can get some practice in I think we'll make a great demonstration team.
Introducing.... Peggy!
Her Damascus badge and decals are very worn,
but she runs smoothly and sews a nice seam.

She's a Damascus Vibrating Shuttle Treadle sewing machine sold by Montgomery Ward.  I've been trying to find out more about the machine, but very little is available.  It seems that "Damascus" was a badge name put on a National Sewing Machine 'Eldredge' model made specifically to be sold by Montgomery Ward.

Her serial number under the bobbin cover is 2901079 with the letter Z stamped above the serial number.  Unfortunately, it looks like nobody kept a listing of serial numbers and dates for the National Sewing Machines.  The machine belonged to the seller's grandmother, Peggy, and they thought it was made around 1902.  Without a doubt I had to name her after Peggy, don't you think?

There might be some clues in the manual that came with her.  First, there is no copyright date.  This might indicate that it was made before copyright dates were printed on the manuals.  I found a manual on line with a copyright date of 1925.  From the photos in that manual, I can see it is clearly a newer model machine version than mine, so I will conclude for now that "Peggy" was made before that year.  Montgomery Ward was an Eldredge customer as early as 1889 for badged machines.  The chain lift technology for the cabinet was patented in 1902-1909, so that gives me an earliest possible date.
Original manual!

A second clue is a number in the top left corner of the manual cover. 10M-2-23-Irwin   So, maybe it was made as recently as 1923.  So, for now I have about a 20 year age range: 1902 - 1923.

 There are a few people who have on line conversation threads about Damascus machines, but the conversations I have found are three to ten years old.  In fact, some of the sites haven't been updated or posted in years and many of the links don't work.  I doubt they are still checking or involved in those web sites after all this time. (Maybe there is hope that what we put on the internet won't last forever after all!)

Monday, July 11, 2016

Piecing away in the rain

It's been a wet and stormy couple of days here.  Lovely weather for time at the sewing machine!

First off, I completed a UFO row from a row-by-row that I started a couple of years ago.  Each month has a row.  Whoo Hoo!  August is finished!  (I have now also discovered that long skinny rows are super hard to photograph. But here it is lined up on the patio steps.)


And, I've been keeping up with Circa 2016 blocks. The little Shoo-Fly blocks from last week are adorable!  I had such fun making a whole bunch.  Yes, I know I only need two.

Shoo Fly blocks
This weeks' blocks were Friendship Star.  The little gray and red one that didn't want to lie flat for photos is so sweet, but it won't make it into Circa 2016.  My background fabric is also gray, so it won't show up well.  Not to worry, I'll find another use for that little cutie.

Friendship Star blocks
As for the rain... There was a thunderstorm late Saturday night that gave us 3.1 inches in the rain gauge.  Then another storm swept through Sunday night, and Monday it continued to rain.  We dumped another 3 inches out of the rain gauge after lunch.  By dinner time an additional 3.5 inches had fallen.  My sister stayed up for the week, and we'll get a final total tomorrow, but that's already 9.6 inches of rain in less than 32 hours!  

And at home a mere 2 hours drive south... not a drop.  The storms are tracking north.  But, the evening meeting I came home for was cancelled. Yippee!  Time to do a little more piecing.  Log cabins are on the agenda.