New Orleans House Project

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Blocks a la Orange

Today is the last Saturday brought to you by the color orange via the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I've made orange versions of all the scrappy orange blocks I've been working on since the beginning of the year, but I'm not finished playing with orange just yet.

Orange 16-patch blocks.  I need to get all the 16-patch blocks and alternate hourglass blocks up on the design wall so I can play with arranging the colors.  

Spool blocks in orange, a la Bonnie Hunter's Spoolin' Around Challenge.  This is a leader-ender project and will continue across the color spectrum as I slice through my stash of 1 1/2 inch strips/scraps.

This project will keep me playing with the color orange for a few more weeks.  I had seen this quilt several months ago and knew it was something I wanted to try.  Using the instructions here, I've been cutting and prepping for this quilt all month.  I finally finished all the prep work and started making blocks last weekend.  I didn't have time to make any more blocks this week, so I'll be working in orange for just a little longer.  I can't wait to see my finished version.  There's just something so appealing about orange and white!

I'll be linking up with the Rainbow Scrap Challengers today, so please stop over there for some scrap-happy inspiration!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Trade Card Tuesday: Wilson Sewing Machines

I found two different dates for the start-up of the Wilson Sewing Machine Co.  The company was founded in either 1867 or 1871 by W. G. Wilson.  Originally operating in Cleveland, Ohio, the company moved to Chicago in 1875.  The company was out of business by 1885.

Although $45 sounds like a great price for a sewing machine, at that time it was a pretty hefty price tag.  One thing that led to the success of home sewing machines was the installment payment plan.  A new idea at the time (and originated by the Singer Sewing Machine Co.), folks could purchase a sewing machine and pay it off a few dollars at a time.  Another method that helped many families have the use of a sewing machine was a group purchase.  Families would go together to purchase a machine, then take turns sharing it to make clothes for the family.

Once upon a time I had a Wilson sewing machine in my collection.  Although in need of restoration, it was in decent shape and came with some great ephemera in the drawers.  The ephemera included a Wilson Sewing Machine Co. brochure illustrating all their available models.  Also included was a payment booklet showing the owner's payments on the machine; based on the payment schedule, it appeared the machine was purchased in 1876!  One of the features I especially liked about this machine was the foot-shaped treadle pedal.

From the Wilson brochure:  an illustration of what the original machine looked like.  For those with a fancy for such things, extra silver plating could be purchased for just $10 more!

Here's a card that may make you wonder about truth in advertising.  Illustrating embroidery work done on a Wilson machine, modern readers might be skeptical that such embroidery could be done on a simple, straight-stitch machine.  Surprise!  Intricate embroidery work was possible with straight stitch sewing machines and sewing machine companies used this as a selling point.  The Singer Co. eventually gathered a number of these embroidery techniques into a book titled Singer Instructions for Art Embroidery and Lace Work.  I have not personally tried any of these techniques, but I have no doubt wonderful results are possible.  Note that this card advertises machines made in Chicago, so dates to post-1875.

Instructions for a happy home - another common trade card advertising ploy.

The reverse of the "young husband" card has a nice line drawing of a Wilson machine illustrating the foot pedal.  Also, another price guide - note that machines may be bought on installment.

Although this card does not illustrate a sewing machine, it's dear to my heart!  It was gifted to me by another sewing machine collector because it references a Wilson sewing machine dealer on Canal St. in New Orleans.  I have searched the online databases available from the New Orleans Public Library, but have not been able to find additional info about the store.  Some day I will do a search in person and see what I can discover about this sewing machine dealer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grandmother's Choice #3: Union Square

The third block in the Grandmothers Choice BOW is "Union Square".  I wish there was a little more contrast between the fabrics in my center 9-patch, but I can live with it.  This block was straightforward and easy, unlike block #4, which will be challenging!  This coming week is going to be a busy one, so I may not have the opportunity to work on block 4 until late in the week, or next weekend.  Still determined not to fall behind!

After making my first two blocks, I decided I needed some additional fabrics to add some interest to my original fabrics.  I pulled some fabrics from my reproduction fabric stash and put them in the Grandmother's Choice working basket:
These are mostly blues and browns.  I had to photo them under artificial light, so even with some Pixelmator tweaking, they're not quite right.  They''ll look great with my original fabrics, though.

I picked these up this week at one of my LQS - The Quilted Owl.  They specialize in reproduction fabrics, with an emphasis on handwork of all types.  I think these reds will really add some POP to my Grandmother's Choice blocks!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Orange You Glad You Quilt?

Lots of prep work done this week!  I am often reluctant to cut fabric in the evenings after work - I'm tired and afraid I'll make mistakes.  But this week I pushed myself to cut anyway, as most of my prep work involved lots of simple, repetitive cutting.

I now have a stack of thirty-six orange squares waiting for their accompanying thirty-six white squares. Once the cutting is done, the block assembly will go quickly as everything can be chain pieced.  

I also prepped a good-size batch of leader-ender spools - as in Bonnie Hunter's Spoolin' Around challenge.  I used up a bunch of 1 1/2 inch orange scrap strips with this prep work!  I have a huge box full of pre-cut 1 1/2 inch strips in all colors and I also dug through those and pulled strips of the right length for the spool blocks.  This leader-ender project could generate a huge number of blocks from my scraps - good thing they're only 3 inch blocks!

I also did some Granny Square blocks in orange.  

I've been making Granny Square blocks as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  These may be my last Granny Square blocks, even though there are still 3 months left in the challenge.  I don't really enjoy making these blocks and I'm happy with the block colors I've completed so far.  If I start assembling a quilt from the blocks I already have, I might be able to gift it to the recipient by the end of the year.  I have been planning to give the finished quilt to my niece, who just announced she and her hubby are expecting their first child in March.  This quilt is for her though, and I'll come up with something else for the little one! 

Time to stop computering and go do some quilting.  I hope everyone has an opportunity to play with fabric and do some sewing today!  When you're taking a break, do go check out what the rest of the Rainbow Scrap quilters are up to!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trade Card Tuesday: Remington Sewing Machines

Yes, Remington sewing machines were made by the same company famous for firearms.  Sewing machines were manufactured during the 1870s and 1880s at the Remington foundry in Ilion, New York.  According to Carter Bays, in his Encyclopedia of Early American Sewing Machines, attachments for Remington machines were embossed "The sewing machine like the rifle gun, that beats the world is the Remington".

Here's an imaginative marketing image - a sprite riding a sewing machine on a butterfly!

And another fantastical image:  a sewing machine serving as a howdah on the back of an elephant.  Remington machines were manufactured as treadle or hand-crank machines.  The image in the lower right corner depicts a hand-crank machine; note the feet that support the machine base - they're often referred to as paw feet.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Grandmother's Choice #2: Amethyst

Here's the block for week #2 of Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice BOW.  Because of the Y seams, I decided to hand-piece my block.  I'd say it needs a little more pressing!  I'm thinking I will draft my own pattern for this and machine piece it without the Y seams.  

Juiced on Orange

Did I mention I have been feeling smitten with the color orange?  That orange and white color combination has been calling my name all week.  I scooped up all my orange fabrics and scraps, along with a nice chunk of white fabric and have been cutting pieces in preparation for an orange and white quilt.  Nothing to show yet, but I'll give you a taste of more of the oranges in my stash.

Orange Greek square #1

Orange Greek square #2

The fabric in the outer corners is a pale pumpkin color - yummy!

I love each of these fabrics!  Can't wait to see them in the orange and white quilt!

As I've been working through the orange fabrics, I've also been cutting leader-ender pieces for Bonnie Hunter's latest L-E project:  Spoolin' Around.  I've always wanted to make a spool quilt, and thought this was a great way to get one made.  Who else is playing along?

Don't forget to stop by SoScrappy's blog to see more orangey inspiration!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Concentrating on Orange

Another Scrappy Saturday has arrived, along with a new color:  pumpkin.  Or in my case:  orange.  I have LOTS of orange scraps and yardage leftover from making scrappy orange and blue Bento Box quilts for my nieces.
Yes, the colors orange and blue were chosen because that branch of my family are Florida Gator fans!  The quilt backs are made from Florida Gator fabric.  In fact, I have so much orange and blue fabric left, I could make several more orange and blue Bento Box quilts.  Good thing my alma mater (University of Virginia) has the same colors!

Still not much time for sewing this week, but I did manage to make some nine patch blocks in orange and white.  I like the orange and white combo so much I might just have to make an all orange and white quilt.  Yet another project to add to the list!

I have to run off to the camp to help DH with more cleaning chores.  I'll leave you with a link to Soscrappy's blog so you can see what other orange delights folks are dreaming up this month!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Grandmother's Choice #1

I didn't want to fall behind from the very beginning of the Grandmother's Choice Block of the Week project, so completing block number one was a high priority for me this week.  Since Hurricane Isaac kept me from my sewing room for several days, knew I needed to make some time for stitching as soon as possible.  I managed to cut and piece block #1 last night after dinner.  I also pressed my fabric and organized a basket dedicated to the project so all the parts and pieces don't get lost in my sewing room.

From what I have seen across Quilting Blogland this week, Grandmother's Choice is already a popular project!  I'm looking forward to seeing all the different interpretations of Barbara Brackman's block choices.  There's even a Grandmother's Choice Flickr group, which anyone may join.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adios, Isaac!

This was the site near my house yesterday evening.  Lovely work crews from Georgia Power did their magic while I sat on the front porch and waited to hear the hum of my A/C units kicking in.  I can live without air conditioning, but not having even a fan to help cool you at night is miserable.  Cold showers before bed helped - a little.

We came through the storm OK, but had several days worth of work to clean up all the storm debris.  Our camp in Mississippi had several feet of flood water under the house and when the flood receded there was sticky, stinky mud everywhere.  Turns out I'm pretty handy with the pressure washer!

Despite my good intentions, I did no sewing - by hand or people-powered machine.  During the actual storm (which lasted f o r e v e r), it was too dismal to concentrate on sewing.  After the storm, it was just too hot and and everything in the house felt damp and sticky.  Now that life is getting back to normal, I can't wait to get my hands into some projects.  

Thanks to everyone who wrote and expressed concern about the storm and sent good thoughts and prayers.  I consider myself an old hand at hurricanes, but every storm is different and the outcome is always uncertain.  We have friends who lost everything in the floods caused by Isaac, so we know how quickly life can be turned upside down.  I'm hoping we've seen the end of hurricanes for this season!