Thursday, August 26, 2010

1910 - when great grandma was a bride - and a giveaway!!!!

The difference a century  makes!
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Here are some statistics for the Year 1910:

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The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.  This was partly due to the many deaths from industrial and farm accidents. 
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.   Average folks took their bath in a washtub in the kitchen, which is where the hot water was.... on the woodfired stove!  Modesty required that a sheet was draped around the 'bathing area', or sometimes it was draped over the tub itself.  If you were single you probably lived in a boarding house and shared a bathroom with all the other residents.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.   (Guess which 8% that was!)  and you had to 'ring' the operator to place a call - area codes came much later!

There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads. Fuel for a car was sold in drug stores only.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph,  and most folks still got around on horses.
BUT, if the family owned a car, it was the focus of any family portrait...
and no, this is not my family, we didn't own a car until the 60's!  Notice the youngest member of this family is behind the wheel?  Nope, no age limits on driving in those days, either!

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower

England's King Edward VII died that year, marking the official end of the 'Edwardian Era'.

The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.   Child laborers made 3 cents an hour.  City children were expected to leave school by age 12 to help support the family.  Rural children stayed out of school during planting time and harvest to help in the fields.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year, and the average workday was 12 hrs. There was no such thing as 'overtime' pay, either!

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.   My great grandma was a midwife - after the birth, the midwife stayed on for up to a month until the new mother was back on her feet, or until another mother went into labor and needed her services.  Remember, there wasn't much info available about birth control, either!  Chances were good that there would be an annual visit by the midwife  ...and again, most birthing was actually done in the kitchen, because that's where the stove was.  Houses didn't have central heating, and the bedrooms would usually be too cold.

Nursing schools were in hospitals.  Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! 
Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.'   However, doctors did make house calls - they often didn't even have offices!

Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.  (and there were no inspection standards at the time - they were 'candled' to check for freshness; a growing chick in the egg would show as a shadow when you held the egg up to the light of a candle.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound, and you took the beans home and roasted/ground them yourself.

Most women only washed their hair once a month (or less), and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.

The Five leading causes of death were:
  1. Pneumonia and influenza
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Heart disease
  5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars .... (There may have been only 45 stars on the flag but there were 46 states.)

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.   Iced anything was rare, as ice was delivered on a wagon, packed in sawdust if you lived in a city.  It had probably been cut from a local river the previous winter and stored in an 'icehouse' until it was needed in Summer to keep the 'ice box' cool.  Most folks didn't have refrigerators, either!  Would you drink tea with river water in it?

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day....   and there were no paid holidays!

Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school....and those who did were considered qualified to TEACH!!!

Most folks could do basic math though.
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help ...  room and board were considered most of their wages.

There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !

...and home sewing was done on a treadle (self-propelled) sewing machine!

and if the house was too hot or crowded, you could take it outside!  they still have them - just ask the Amish!

Corsets went from having unnaturally tiny waists to a 'natural' waist.  My great grandma wore a corset until the 1970's - but she NEVER called it a corset!  undies were really unmentionable, remember?  no - they were referred to as 'stays' if referred to at all!  and they were expensive, too, so a lady only could afford one, and she wore it all the time - even when doing the spring cleaning, or playing tennis!

This post is in honor of my Great Grandmother, Anna Louira Allison, who was born in August, 1884.  She passed away at the age of 100 and left me with many fond memories and a lot of 'common sense' education.
She taught me to sew on a treadle sewing machine - and taught me how to maintain it and change the belt, which turned the wheel, which moved when you rocked the foot 'rest'.  I learned curved piecing on the treadle, as well as how to piece a Bethlehem Star which was all cut with scissors from a cardboard template cut with a razor blade from a cereal box.  Cotton fabric was 36" wide and cost $0.39 a yard, or 3 yards for a dollar the year she taught me to sew.

To commemorate the education (and a lot of great stories) my great grandma instilled in me I am giving away a FREE CLASS of your choice at Quilting Weekly - winner will be drawn at random from everyone who posts a response to this blog post.  There are 18 classes to choose from and even a free lesson!

deadline for giveaway posting is August 31, 2010

Do you have a great memory from your great grandma?... and if you still have a great grandma - give her a hug from me!
but remember to leave a comment before you go -   8-)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday already!!

Still waiting for my laptop to come back from it's THIRD repair! 

I've been quilting charity quilts and table runners and sorting out the leftover batting for smaller pieces.

Getting lots of quilting done - just not much computing! 

now what did all that mean, anyway?

so, I've been doing something a little less high tech lately, dyeing stuff with KoolAid!  These little bits & pieces came out so pretty, I did more..... this evening, I think I'll put my feet up and watch a movie while I do a little embroidery with this pretty fabric and thread - and try not to think of my computer woes!

Have a great weekend!  Only one more week of summer - make the most of it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Steamy Sunday

I'm steaming, not just from the heat and humidity, but because my laptop is in the shop again (3rd time since March of this year) and I'm using my dh's tiny little laptop to do a quick post to let you know that I'll be back - hopefully soon - and I've been very busy so I'll have lots of pics as soon as my own computer is either all better or replaced. 

In the meantime, here is an amazing, beautiful little birthday PC I recieved from Isabell.  You can check her other work at her Flickr page ....

Saturday, August 7, 2010

music and stitches go well together

I happen to live if a wonderful town.  I mean that.  In spite of the downturn in the economy and all the penny pinching everyone is enduring, I'm in a town that still has free concerts in the park every Friday evening during the Summer.  This is due to the efforts of volunteers and sponsors who produce wonderful concerts by talented troubadours of all descriptions - check this link to see what I mean....
The concert series is called SummerSounds, and includes 'something for everyone' as they say.  Last night was perfect for an outdoor concert - and the crowd was VERY appreciative of the outstanding efforts of the musicians in The English Channel
There was a second encore, even!  The band did an incredible job, and they were loud enough that nobody could hear me singing along.  Which was good, cause dh was singing, too!  All the English music from across the pond that we enjoyed s-o-o-o much back in the ??'s sounded just as good last night as it did then!  Yes, I know, some of you weren't even born yet, but I'll bet even you would still recognize some of these tunes!

Now, I realized just as we were loading the car that I have a deadline approaching for a piece of needlework, so I grabbed my embroidery box as we ran out the door.  While the light lasted, I worked on this little bitty quiltie for a 'Uniqueness of Women' challenge due soon.  The upbeat music kept the stitches flowing along and I accomplished more than I expected:
 that's a scrap of silk under the transfer of the Geisha so it shows on the busy background - still have to work on the other side and finish the edges....
second side is the "Princess" transfer.  Thanks to Lonnie Rossi and eQuilter, I was able to find small black and white images that I could use.... sure wish I could draw!  maybe in another lifetime 8^0
I used  a yellow highlighter to accent the robe and then transferred that to a scrap of yellow cotton.

This was my first experience with TAP, Transfer Artist Paper from C&T.  It was so easy!  Like pressing a hanky, only better!  The transfer even let me 'color in' with a highlighter before I transferred - although the colored pencils didn't work, only scratched the surface so the transfer medium was damaged - not good!!!
But anything soft or liquid, like a brush pen, will work great to color in details on a black & white transfer, and YES, you can color right on the transfer!  How awesome is that?

I had done the transfers earlier in the week and had them ready to apply, and the threads, needles, etc. from my last embroidery were still in the box, so I worked with what was there.

So now it's Saturday morning, and it's time to tidy up a bit. 
See you again soon!
Leave me a note so I know you were here, ok?
Happy stitching!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Curved Piecing Tutorial

The first step in curved piecing is to put a fresh sharp needle in your machine.... choose a Microtex, size 70/10  you want a fine needle to minimize needle holes in your fabric.
Choose fabric with a tight weave - you will be sewing a very narrow 1/8" seam, and a loosely woven fabric will just not hold up....  I'm using batiks and hand dyes in this sample...

My fabric is cut in assorted strip sizes from fat quarters, some are a little longer than others. 
Layer two strips the same length - if they are different widths, it doesn't matter at all.  I use a long ruler to hold the layers together while I cut the curve free hand with my rotary cutter.... the cut should be straight at the first and last inch, and  make sure there is at least 3/4" of fabric on both sides of the cut so you have enough to add another strip to each side without cutting into your curve (although cutting into curves is a possible design choice!)  The pic above shows two sets of strips that have been cut at the bottom, and above that are similar strips that have been separated and arranged side by side showing the cut edges aligned.  You take the right/left layers and switch them to get the sets....  in case that wasn't obvious.

Pin each set of strips at one end to keep them paired up.   Set your stitch length a little shorter than usual to make the curves easier and keep those narrow 1/8" seams from pulling apart!  Note placement of fabric on inside of presser foot - if you are using a regular presser foot, measure from the center to determine where the 1/8" seam allowance is on your presser foot.  Most sewing machines are marked in 1/8" increments on the sole plate as well.

Align the straight inch of the strip set and sew the first inch of the seam - stop with needle down - adjust the strips as the edges start to curve, keeping the raw edges together - sew another inch or so until the edges are not aligned.  Stop with needle down, realign edges, and continue to sew.  Do this in very small increments - sew, adjust, sew, etc. until you reach the end of the strip set.  I didn't say it would be fast, did I?

As you reach the end, you might discover that the ends don't meet exactly - don't worry about it!  The important thing is that the curvy edges are together all the way along the seam.

Once you finish the seam, check to make sure you have that fabric caught the whole way along - and don't ask me how I know that it's important to check....  trust me, it is!

see that narrow 1/8" seam?  yippee!  I did it!  Excuse me while I do my happy dance.....

Now press seam allowances to the 'dark side' and lay all the pieces out on the table while you celebrate!
These can be joined along the straight edges, or you can overlap the edges by an inch and do more curved seams to join these together.
I did some postcards with mine.... with an OCEAN theme!
Let me know what YOU would do with your curved seam piecing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August again - sharing the Process

It's been a week of quilting - FIVE charity quilts are quilted - thought I only had one more on the line, but in tidying up the sewing studio, found 2 more!  so, my goal for this week is to finish the one on the frame, and the three remaining charity quilts before Friday.  This is going to keep me busy - that's 11 quilts all together - these were already pieced and waiting (all winter) to be quilted - and I'm handing them off to others for the bindings.  They (QCE guild committee members) meet on Friday afternoons, hence the urgency to have these all done by Friday! 

Several people have asked me.... "How do you decide on a quilting design?"  Yes, a good question....
Sometimes, I admit, it is a matter of instinct - if there is a very busy quilt top where the quilting won't show anyway, I tend to go for one of two goals -
1, finish the quilt in allover stippling. or
2, practice a new design on a piece where the mistakes won't show anyway! 

After all, if I never practice, I don't improve!

Now, the hard part about practicing a new design on a busy fabric is that I can't see what I'm doing as well as if I were practicing on a solid with a contrasting thread, which is the best way to practice a new quilting design.  That way I can easily see my tension settings, stitch length, mistakes, etc.  If I can't see my mistakes, I can't improve.  It's a bit of a conundrum.

Several of the quilts I've been working on the past week have alternating plain white blocks - this has given me the opportunity to practice some of the new Follow-the-Line quilting designs by Mary M. Covey V. 4.  Her designs are printed full size for tracing, or whatever.  I usually use them with my laser pointer for the first  row, then put the pattern on the metal shelf in front of me with a magnet to use for reference.  By the time I've done that design for 8 rows - it's well memorized by my muscles and I don't have to look at the pattern, I can just look where the needle is going.  Not where the needle IS, mind you - but where it's GOING. 

Sometimes I get ideas that just don't work - they are too difficult for my skill level, so I keep those ideas in the notebook and try them again when I'm feeling more confident.

Here (finally.... I know you've been wondering!) are some pictures of the recent quilting efforts:
 this crib quilt has been waiting a long time for stitches!
took a long time to decide, but finally decided to practice these little 6" feathers... or plumes, or whatever...

a little hard to see the quilting on this one - I used a bright multi-colored tri-lobal polyester - which the machine seemed to love - - - 

I tried to reverse the direction on each row ....

of course the stitching came out a little differently on each block -
I'm a human, not a machine!

So that's it for today - I'm working on a curve piecing tutorial for my next post.  Check back in a day or two!

Thanks for stopping by!
Granny has to run some errands now.