Three from the Past

Tragedy struck in my sewing room a couple of weeks ago. My machine died. 😢….It was not heartbreaking. This was the machine my daughter passed on to me when my previous machine came to an untimely end. It has been a good machine for a few years, a computerized Brother with many good features. I was able to do pretty much anything I wanted to do with it, however it had a few drawbacks. The harp was only about 6.5 inches wide and I had not tried free motion quilting.

The lever to lower the feed dogs was on the backside of the machine, quite unreachable with my customized SewEZ table. When I finally decided to get at that lever, it was stuck. With a friend’s help I got it moved to lower the feed dogs but now the lever was stuck in that position.

What is a quilter to do without a sewing machine? Buy a new one, of course! 😁 I had been looking online with this in mind for quite a while and had narrowed it down to the features I wanted. On Memorial Day my daughter and I went shopping for one. Fortunately, I found exactly what I wanted in my price range. It had to be ordered and I expected it to come in this week, but it turned out that yesterday it had not left the factory, so now I have another week of waiting.

So last week, as a faithful blogger since 2012, with nothing new to share, I posted about my first and oldest quilt. Now I would like to share a series of wall hangings that I made in the 1980’s. I used a quilt block that I found in a Michael James book. I really liked the diagonal movement in the basic block, which I repeated twelve times.

The starting point was a piece of tie-dyed fabric which I had dyed years before. I made plastic templates and began adding any type of fabric that seemed to work, including satins and a plaid. It reminded me of sitting around a campfire at night, so I called it Firelight. I stitched in the ditch.

The second piece I made was to continue the theme of light, Moonlight.

Here I pulled out all the stops in order to produce the gleam of moonlight on the snow.

For the shadows I used dark purple and blue cottons as well as velvets and a few prints.

Now my final challenge was Sunlight. The rays of the sun slanted down between the branches of a tree.

On the dollar rack at a thrift shop I found a silk sheath dress. It had a leafy print which was perfect, so it got chopped up and added the touch I needed. Yellow ribbons slanting down provided the rays of sunshine.

There was much trial and error on the design wall. I learned a lot about color. For instance, I bought a fat quarter of dark green for the shade. When I added it, it stood out like a sore thumb, dull and boring, so it was discarded.

The most important insight I had about color was the difference between pure hues and grayed ones, which for the most part don’t mix, so I used purple rather than brown, black or gray for the shadows.

This series is one of my favorites. If my new sewing machine does not come by next weekend I will be sharing another series of wall hangings.

GREAT NEWS – my machine has arrived in the store and I’ll be picking it up on Monday. Wahoo!

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

17 thoughts on “Three from the Past

  1. You are making great use of your enforced down time — but, oh, how you will love the new machine! Your wall hangings shimmer with the silk and other non-cotton fabrics. I got Michael James’ Quiltmaker’s Handbook as a book club selection way back when. I had no context in which to put his design theories (what I could have used (circa 1987) was a book of quilt patterns) so the book sat on the shelf. I eventually discarded it though I’ve picked up another copy. I ought to go back and actually read it…..


  2. What a wonderful series of quilts Paula, thirty years old? You were before your time. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, you have the most wonderful sense of colour, your colour combinations are wonderful. I especially love moonlight, it truly lives up to it’s name. I can feel your excitement about your machine, I hope you will post a review of your findings but in the meantime it’s been great to discover your past triumphs.


    1. Thanks a lot, Kate. I am right at the beginning of learning the new machine, winding the bobbin, threading it. Lots of bells and whistle‘s, buttons to push, but not until I check the manual. I love the walking foot built in system, no more fiddling for hours trying to get the foot on.


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