Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Monday, July 26, 2021

Featherweight Love

 I love Featherweights. They're cute, easy to maintain, extremely portable and just plain fun to sew on. I stitched my last quilt top on my 1935 one, a 221 Featherweight  (the quilt is now at the "long armer")


But this past weekend, while visiting very dear friends near Cary, North Carolina, and on a shopping excursion to Apex, North Carolina, I found another 221 Featherweight....... It had only been in the "junk" shop for one day. There was no price on it. And it came with a folding table.  Let's spell it "Trouble with a Capital T" as the song goes. The family brought it to this store after the mother had passed away.

I asked the store owner about it and the price (which I will not divulge so you don't question my sanity) and I gulped. He gave me a brief history and said they had brought it in the day before. Okay, I admit it: I'm a sucker for old sewing machines. I thought "too expensive" but thought again knowing what the machines go for, not even considering the table: more than the price of the two combined. My dear, wonderful, understanding husband said "I'll buy it for you...go ahead!". Well, I brought that case and table up to the register so fast and whipped out my charge card faster than you can say "sold!". And we loaded it into the car with me dreaming of the cleaning, restoration and researching yet to come.

The Featherweight is dated in the June 26, 1947 production run. It's in pretty good shape along with it's original carrying case. But it stinks because of the old, nasty drip pad underneath. So the restoration begins..... I've removed the bottom plate and was able to easily pry up the old, smelly pad and throw it away. Below is the underside of the machine with the plate removed.

The bottom plate had to be soaked in rubbing alcohol (I really didn't want to use kerosene, which is recommended) to remove any remaining gunk. It came out nicely and certainly smells a whole lot better!

So far, so good. I'm happy. Next I have to start cleaning the innards and do basic maintenance. If you ever want to learn more about these fabulous machines, I highly recommend The Featherweight Shop for their wonderful supplies, parts and goodies, plus their very informative videos and online instructions. Until the next Featherweight chapter: Happy Stitching!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Relating the Drunkard's Path Border

I've been working every day on the Wonky Drunkard's Path quilt top with the vintage purple and white squares. It's been a challenge for sure but I think it's going to be a cute and pretty quilt when completed.

I've written before about pulling designs together, relating the elements and colors in a garment. But this idea also works for quilts. Lets examine this one:

First, the purple and cream Drunkard's Path vintage squares (seen here when I'm squaring up the edges).

There was no way to match the original purple solid color so I chose a floral print that had the exact same color, plus other pleasing ones, colors pulled from the floral. 

Here is relation #1: Additional fabrics played on the colors of this particular print: pink, yellow, two greens. One of the greens will be the quilt binding. The floral print will be the backing. So colorwise, it's all related. The photo below shows the floral border being sewn to the purple and cream squares.

#2: let's look at the Drunkard's Path shapes:  convex and concave curves with right angles thrown in for good measure. The hand appliqu├ęd tulip squares (dappled with sunlight below) in the middle are tulips with curves and angles. The leaves are curved, too. 

#3: The tulips are in fabrics that tie in floral print to the purple and cream blocks. 

#4: And don't forget the green stems set on the diagonal that mimics the "X" of the purple Drunkard's Path squares. It all relates despite being two different types of blocks.

#5: The borders: well. it was much easier to use these to both highlight and hide design elements. The wonky Drunkard's Path squares would never match up seams to really anything...period. They were a distinct challenge.

So I eliminated the wonkiness and just surrounded the purple and cream squares with borders. Made things a LOT easier, and it highlighted the two distinct types of squares seen in the last photo below.

#6: The final outside border being sewn on below relates because it is a border of small Drunkard's Path squares in alternating colors of all six fabrics used in the tulip squares.


Again, with the solid green and floral print borders surrounding the wonky Drunkard's Path ones I didn't have to be concerned with trying to match seams with them and my border squares.....So much easier!!

As you can see, the top is done, although the photo does not do the tulip squares justice. It goes to be quilted some time next week. I've already made the binding so it won't take long to completely finish this 36-year-old UFO!!!! Another project off the shelf and out of the sewing room.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Wonky Squares

Drunkard's Path deserves its name. Sewing up these squares was a challenge. Working on the bias requires some different techniques but these were something else!

First consider the concave and convex curves that are sewn together: bias, bias, and more bias that can stretch no matter how accomplished a sewer you are. Even cutting them out can cause problems. I found a wonderful tool at the Fat Quarter Shop: the Non-Slip Round Up Tool to cut the pieces with a rotary cutter. It has many uses! And it's extremely handy for these Drunkard's Path squares.

I preferred to pin the curves despite some of the YouTube videos showing sewing with no pins at all. After folding both pieces in half and matching the centers, I first pinned the center, then ends together, and filled in between. This was the easiest for me because the raw edges fight each other and try to creep up or down. But I still ended up with wonky squares.....
Even with c careful pressing.......sigh....

Now I understand the original sewer of the vintage Drunkard's Path wonky squares! But what I did (that she probably didn't do) was to square each individual square up to be a perfect square. Each side had to be evaluated and maybe trimmed. Takes time but so worth it!!

And it makes putting it all together so much easier!
I will put these around the quilt so I have quite a few to do but the tool makes it go faster. I'm using all six fabrics to tie the design and colors together. But first I'll put two small borders around the vintage squares to prepare for this Drunkard's Path border. I think this quilt, though unusual in design, will be very pretty when completed!