31 January 2011

Field trip!

     The family and I went down to Santa Cruz yesterday in search of some mid-century furniture.  Sadly, the dealer we wanted to visit was closed.  We took a walk around "downtown" Soquel and popped into a couple of antique shops (we had to issue dire threats to the kids in regards to touching things and horsing around before venturing inside).
    We stumbled into Soquel Village Antiques- so much eye candy!  Not too much mid-century modern, which is more to our taste, but there were lots of lovely things.  I fell in love with this quilt:

Heirloom quilt


Sadly, it did not come home with me.  But I would love to make a quilt like this one.   A little scared of the octagons, but I feel inspired to try.
    After our little antiquing jaunt, we met some friends at the roller rink in Santa Cruz.  Next door was the most amazing fabric store.  Hart's Fabrics (which I review here) has everything I've ever drooled over online.  It was nice to see the fabric in person.  The prices were pretty much in line with other fabric stores that sell designer fabric.  I left with this fabric for a sew-a-long apron project with a friend.  I most definitely will be visiting again. 

26 January 2011

New Toys

     My love of vintage and my new passion for quilting was destined to lead me to the purchase of a new (to me) sewing machine.  Strike that... make that two new sewing machines.

Singer 301 longbed
Singer 401a "Slant-O-Matic"

     How did I get here?  Blog-stalking is a dangerous thing.  It leads you to covet what others have.  I read about the Singer 301 and 401 on various quilting and sewing blogs.  That led to searches on ebay "out of curiosity," which led to searches on Craigslist, which led to me handing over money in exchange for these machines.
    My hubby incredulously asked how many machines I need (remember, I have my 3 year old Kenmore, and Martina's Singer 257).  Once I explained the advantages of these older, all-metal  machines (easy to self-maintain, will outlast my newer Kenmore with plastic parts, will outlast me), and he saw how beautiful they are, he stopped giving me a hard time. 
     To my credit, I did do my homework.  The Singer 301 is, second to the highly-coveted Singer 221 Featherweight, one of the best machines for quilting (lightweight for an all-metal machine, free-motion capabilities, beautiful straight stitch).  The Singer 401a (Slant-O-Matic) also garnered great reviews from sewers.  Again, a beautiful straight stitcher, but it also does about 27 built-in specialty stitches, plus it comes with 5 cams for a few more specialty stitches.
     I'm debating on whether to have a professional clean and service these machines or do this myself.  The manuals seem to be pretty detailed about cleaning, with diagrams showing the oiling points on the machines.  I suppose I should save myself a bit of money and try to do this myself. 

20 January 2011

Quilting can be fun

     About three years ago, my mother bought a sewing machine for me, mainly to do my own alterations.  The machine had been little used for about two years, until I became a stay-at-home mom.  Enter sewing.  Still haven't learned how to do alterations, but I've made a few bags, pajama pants and aprons.
     I'm currently in the midst of a quilting class.  Love it!  I'm struggling a little with the precision of the 1/4 inch seams, but with a little patience, I'll get there.  We're learning different piecing techniques each week, and will walk away with this quilt at the end of the 6 weeks. My version below features Moda Bliss- I really like the vintage feel of this line!

Week 1: Roman Stripes and 9 Patch

Friendship Star and Churn Dash