Blockheads ~ Block 9

Week Nine!  And no, still no big nine-patch block.

Our friend Jo calls this block Ohio Star Variation.  To get Jo’s block – CLICK HERE.

(Since Jo is vacationing in Europe right now, we’ll provide the link to the block if there are any blog issues – no matter how well everybody has tried to time the posts for Midnight, the blog platform clocks aren’t cooperating.)

My Blue Reproduction block uses fabrics from 3 Sister’s Snowberry, Barbara Brackman’s Alice’s Scrapbag and Betsy Chutchian’s Rachel Remembered.

This is Tammy’s beautiful Fall-inspired block – there’s the pumpkin-orange from Bramblewood by Betsy Chutchian, a background from Reflections by Jo Morton and a rich black from Lynne Hagmeier’s – aka Kansas Troubles – Thistle Farm.

And the Fig Tree block – the background is Minick & Simpson’s Ann’s Arbor and Fig Tree & Co.’s Chestnut Street and Farmhouse.  I had extra segments from the four-patches so… Chained Star!  An Ohio Star variation!

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m going to need a few extra blocks so I made another Ohio Star variation block.

It’s easily done – it’s just a connector corner of a contrasting-coordinating fabric in the corner squares.  Cut 4 background squares – 2-1/2″ x 2-1/2″ – and 4 print squares – 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.  Lay the 1-1/2″ squares in one corner of the 2-1/2″ background square with right sides together.  Stitch across the small square and trim to a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press and assemble the block as shown.

Fig Tree & Co. – more Chestnut Street and Farmhouse.  (Yes, in addition to the scraps I managed to sneak out of the sample room, I wound up buying a bundle of both collections for my scrappy quilts.)

Question of the Week ~ Cleaning Sewing Machines.  How often do I clean my sewing machine?  How thoroughly?  And just because… have I named my machine?  Machines?  What kind of machine do I prefer?

When I wrote about needles and how often I changed those, I indirectly mentioned how often I clean my sewing machine.  Every five bobbins.  After winding the bobbins, I completely take apart the bottom part of the machine, moving every part that is supposed to come off.  It gets brushed with one of those little broom-brushes, then gone over with a lint-picker-upper thing.  Then – against most professional advice – I use canned-air to blow the last bits out of the machine.  The machine is then oiled in all the places the manual says to oil.  If I’m sewing a lot, my machine might get cleaned and oiled twice in one weekend.

I also take my machines in for professional service at least once a year.  Yes, machines.  Plural.  I used to wonder why anybody would need more than one – or at the very most, two – sewing machines, yet somehow, I’ve become a “crazy cat lady” for sewing machines.  I own seven.  And no, I haven’t named any of them.

As for what kinds of machines, I own four Berninas and three Singers.  Only one of those machines is less than thirty years old – a Bernina Activa 240 that I bought ten years ago for traveling.  It is currently in the office for Market sewing.  My “newest” sewing machine – the one I bought most recently – is a Bernina 530-2, built in 1949.

What about you?  How many sewing machines do you have?  And how often do you clean them?

That’s it for today, May 3rd.  Be sure to visit Lynne, Jo, Jan and Lisa to see their blocks and what other good things they might have made:

And don’t forget to check out the blocks popping up in #modablockheads on Instagram and Facebook for more pictures.  The Moda Blockheads Facebook group is also busy with folks sharing tips, suggestions and support.

Happy Blockhead Wednesday!

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29 thoughts on “Blockheads ~ Block 9

  1. Love your blocks I’ll make your variations too they are just too beautiful not to make.
    I’m always clean the dust from my machine when I change my bobbin and every two weeks (or so) I remove the plate and clean there too. I’m not so good with oiling my machine mostly because I forgot about it. And a service is on my to-do-list for the next month.
    My sewing machine is a 32 yo Pfaff 1027 an oldie but goldie and like people I think sewing machines only get better with age;-) Her name is Camille Kristyne McNelson (the Mc part is from Sherri) named after my favorite quilters/bloggers and so far my machine likes her name and sew like a dream:-)

      1. Thank you, David. We who are not so technically minded appreciate a point and click solution.

  2. Love the block, very nice without being too complicated and best of all, no appliqué! Your Ohio Star variation block is my favorite.

  3. I started last year with a Singer and then six months later a Juki TL2010Q. The Juki is super fast, straight stitch only. Luv luv both of these machines, but use the Juki for everything except the decorative stitches, I use he Singer. I also have in my craft room a children’s Singer Sew Handy from the 1950’s thst my husband found for me. I got it working after a good cleaning and oiling. I change my needle and clean my machine throughly before starting a new project, or after about 8 hours of sewing. It makes a world of differences in stitch quality, and thread breakage. My Juki is an oil hog and is oiled per manufacturer’s recommendation in seven easy to reach places every day, one drop each.. Gotta love a heavy duty workhorse of a machine that will outlive my grandchildren. No names for my machines, but great idea and will definitely do this as they all have their own personalities. Thanks for the articles, love reading these on Wednesday mornings.

  4. I have the perfect Tshirt for owners of more than one sewing machine. It has a line drawing of a sewing machine and says: “Think of it as a power tool with thread”. After all, how many saws, drills or sanders does a carpenter need?

  5. Loving all your blocks. I own four Bernina’s and I clean them with every bobbin change. I also have them serviced once a year. Taking care of my machines is important. If I take care of them, they’ll be there for me when I need them the most. Lol but true.

  6. These are all beautiful blocks! I’m excited to get going, but first I have to go make some buns!

  7. I have a Bernina 1090… she goes back a bit…1995… and I love her! I guess I call her “Bernina” which must by now be her name. Over all the years of using her to piece quilts and machine quilt them I have never had her serviced. I do brush her out and oil her frequently by removing the parts of the bobbin case. I use a small soft bristle paint brush to clean out the dust. I do this frequently, pretty close to every 5 bobbins. I have never done free motion quilting but have quilted king size quilts using the even feed foot very successfully. If I had a problem I would service immediately but I figure if nothing is wrong leave it be. My collie puppy (5 year ago now) did chew the power cord (unplugged, thankfully!) so I just wrapped duck tape around the area and the machine has worked fine. Love your blog! Have a great day.

  8. I own 2 “modern” sewing machines I purchased in 1991, a Kenmore computerized machine and a Bernette serger. The Kenmore may have finally bitten the dust, but I’m not upset! In the past few years I’ve discovered the wonders of vintage sewing machines (VSMs). They are solid metal, no plastic or nylon gears or computer chips that give out in the modern machines. These VSMs don’t need to be serviced by anyone but myself. I oil and clean every 8 hours of sewing. I now own a treadle, a couple handcrank machines, and numerous other machines dating from 1920-1972. I don’t name them, because I have too many to remember all their names! Plus, I don’t keep all of them. I’ll give them to someone who needs a machine but can’t afford one. Passing on the skill (and pleasure) of sewing is very important to me.

    1. This is so AWESOME! I started sewing 3 years ago with a little cheap singer. she is doing well for me. I would love to get my hands on a VSM around here for cheap but they arent. I live in NH and i look antique stores auctions yard sales. I see people all the time who get great buys on VSM but not me. GOOD for you and i am glad to hear of your enjoyment in sewing on them. some day

  9. I have two machines, both Bernina’s. An older 930 model, & Artistia 640 w/embroidery module. I have had the embroidery module on maybe 5 times in the last 4 years. I have had both machines serviced in the last 2 years. My daughter is probably getting the 930, she is studying Costume design for Theatre in college right now. I clean and oil my machine about every project. I try to plan taking it in for cleaning when I know I won’t be using it much, at vacation time, or just after the holidays when all the crunchtime sewing is done. We did a kitchen renovation which turned into the whole first floor, which meant my sewing stuff has been put away for a while. Will be getting it back out this weekend, yeah!! so needing the time to spend in my sewing space.

  10. I own 2 Bernina machines. One was my college graduation present in 1972 and I bought a quilter addition as my retirement present to myself. I clean about every 4-5 bobbins and have always serviced onced a year. Love. Out of my machines. Love the quilt blocks.

  11. I had my Juki cleaned professionally early in December after our silly kitten tore the tension unit off. It was all laid out on the floor in a little trail for me after I so rudely left to go see my daughter and family for Thanksgiving. My grown son who was home didn’t play enough with Kalette to keep her amused. I still laugh about my $280 machine repair and cleaning…My Juki is my go to machine. I use it far more than my Bernina serger or my Brother Runway.

  12. I have 7 machines but two that I use regularly, both Vikings. One is a 870 Quilt that’s about 7 years old, and the other is just like one I learned to sew on in the early 70’s. On Saturday I brought home my first treadle machine — a gorgeous Singer 27 sphinx in a beautiful oak cabinet. I need to get a new belt (although the leather one in the drawer looks good enough to use) and then learn how to wind the long bobbins and thread the shuttle. I hope to use her fairly regularly too. I have named some of my machines; the treadle is Ethel after my grandmother (who was also born in 1912), and the Viking Quilt is Primadonna — we had some rough going the first year as we were getting to know each other, and she would not perform if she didn’t want to.

  13. I love sewing machines! I currently have a BabyLock Aria and Melody, a Singer 301 and a Singer 66 which I am refurbishing. I hate to say it but I have 2 Pfaff machines in storage (WHAT WAS I THINKING!) along with a Singer Featherweight and Singer 404. All great machines. I’ve also had Viking and Bernina machines. Needless to say I thought I had my compulsion under control until the 66 came along. Can’t stand to see a good machine go to waste when they still have some good years left in them!

  14. I have 3 machines… a “vintage” Viking I bought in the early 80’s named VictoriaViking … a Janome Skyline I bought a couple years ago; her name is Sylvia Jayne Janome… and a 1950 Featherweight named Frannie! I use Victoria Viking most often simply because we’ve been together many years now and she’s comfortable and familiar. I bought Sylvia Jayne Janome because I wanted a machine that had a nice blanket stitch – which she does have… and a fast stitch too… but I’m not as comfortable sewing on her. Frannie Featherweight was my most recent purchase and I use her quite frequently, especially when traveling. She quit working recently, so will probably need some “medical attention” from the Singer Featherweight people. Hope to meet up with them in a week or so. Will be happy to have her running again!!

  15. I own three Bernina’s (one is a serger) – and a small, lightweight Janome to carry around places. Used to have four Bernina’s but sold one. Newest is the 750 which I love due to the extra bright lights and big sewing surface. My oldest is my 930 that I bought when I was 19 because it was a machine and not a bunch of plastic junk that many machines were back then. Yes they are HEAVY but have been great machines!

  16. Only seven sewing machines? I collect, restore and use vintage and antique sewing machines. The oldest machine in my collection of approximately 200 machines is a complete 1860s Folsom hand crank. I a not a dealer and tell people that I have a No Kill Sewing Machine Shelter.

  17. I have five sewing machines. One brand new Juki, an old 830 Bernina I bought when I was in High School, two Singer Featherweights and my Mom’s Singer in perfect condition. She was not a sewer and I learned to sew on this machine!

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