Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Singer 328.

My first FREE Singer was a 328. In that case the lady had inherited the machine from her mother-in-law. The new owner kept having trouble with the thread breaking when she was sewing. Thinking there was something wrong with the machine, she gave it away. In reality she was probably just threading it wrong. Other than having a broken light and a missing spool pin, it was in great condition. I recently sold that machine in a feeble attempt to downsize my sewing machine herd. In the meantime (back when I still had that first 328 in my possession) I noticed another 328 on Craigslist. Knowing these are sturdy, dependable machines I put the word out. The fellow was asking $25 which was a very good price. And there it sat for over a month. Unclaimed. Why? Perhaps because the fellow knew nothing about sewing machines and wasn't able to determine if the machine was in good running order, or not. He told me it seemed to be "running slow" and I could have it if I wanted it. Yesterday I enlisted my husband to drive me up to Everett. And here she is. It looks just like the one I sold, except this machine is in better condition. The light works and it has all 3 spool pins. It even came with a carry case.

Why did the previous owner think it was running slow? I like to open the machines up and give them some attention before plugging them in and testing them. This poor machine was dry as a bone. There was barely any lube on the gears and no oil anywhere. No wonder it was slow. It was thirsty. It was also packed full of lint. I pulled a big chunk out of the bobbin case. At first I thought it was a 2" long piece of fabric, but it was just compressed lint. Maybe 50 years worth. Once I had her cleaned, oiled and reassembled I plugged her in. The motor runs strong. The only problem I noticed was her upper thread tension was wonky. It wouldn't tighten and the knob didn't look right. Turns out the knob was on backwards. I flipped it around and it seems to work properly now. The machine came with a box of feet, attachments and bobbins....

....the original manual, some needles, a spare belt (in the original packaging and marked with a price of 30 cents)...

...and what appears to be a bottle of oil from the 50's or 60's. And yes, it is almost full.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Jo-Ann's Loot

This will be my last big sewing shopping spree for a while. I had a coupon that was good for 30% off EVERYTHING (even sale items) and I felt I should take advantage of it. I ended up saving about 60% on my entire purchase. Here is what I got:

Lots of thread, needles and basting pins.

Locking storage bins & D-rings (for Reggie's shirts).

Batting for quilts for our beds.

9 yards of this fabric to back a quilt from this kit.

I hit the remnant bin. This piece looked familiar. 
Also got the following remnants. All 100% cotton.

This Celtic cross plaque for my bedroom.

And my Find-of-the-Day, underbed storage (meant for holiday wrap) marked down to $1.49. And I got 30%  off that. I bought 2 for storing fabric under the guest bed. I've almost outgrown that Butterick file.
Lots of room for fabric storage and it has zippers for easy access.

Monday, January 23, 2012

And It Is Finished

Whew. All done. I learned a lot on this first foray into the world of quilting. Singha's quilt should go much faster. Here is Reggie's finished blankie. 

He could hardly wait to test it out.

I have been commissioned to be a military laundress by my middle daughter, the Beanster. Every few days she brings me a laundry basket full of work. This poor shirt was in sad shape. But she refuses to let me toss it out. What is she doing in her spare time? Wrestling tigers?

"But mom, I always wear it over a black shirt." Seriously? I can't let my child run around wearing this. I decided to try and darn the poor thing, and extend its life. Now it looks like a "Franken-shirt" but at least the damage won't get any worse.

A view of the underside. 
I reinforced it with a piece of old sheet.

I wish I could find my pinking shears. I have a couple of pairs buried around here, somewhere. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Reggie Quilt is All Quilted

I think he likes it. :-)

All that's left is the binding. I used white thread for most of the quilting but added some red icicle embroidery to the red frame. How appropriate for a quilt made during our ice storm of 2012. I think I will secure the binding with some blue icicles. Here's a close-up of that stitch.

And this is how the quilting looks from the back.

Both the husbeast and little Reggie have been very sick the past few days but they are feeling much better today. Odd, but they've both had similar symptoms. Reggie has one more day of his bland diet and then I'll start switching him back to his regular food. He's not going to be happy about that. He finds this anything but bland.

Rice, salmon and cottage cheese.


Further Down The Rabbit Hole....

...I fall. 2 months ago I began thinking about "maybe" sewing again. At that time I had one newer Kenmore machine which had seen precious little use since I'd bought it. It had sewn a few knitting needle cases and mended some clothes. I hadn't done any serious sewing in years and years. Then, on November 19th, 2011, I was given a Singer 328. And it was all over. Love at first sight. I enjoy the lines of vintage sewing machines as much as I love gazing at classic cars. So pretty! Flash forward 2 months and I have converted the guest room into a sewing room (or sewing machine storage room) and have collected 5 vintage machines (not counting the treadle Singer I already possessed). I have since re-homed one of them (the 328) but kept it's cool 1950's cabinet (where my 600E now lives). I have also amassed a nice sized fabric and quilting book collection. All in 2 months. Because that's how we obsessive compulsive hoarder types roll. My husband has long joked that when I like something, I REALLY like it. Good thing I like him. ;-)

All that to say this, when I'm into something there's no half way about it. I am fully committed. Anything worth doing, is worth doing right. So here I sit gazing at my newly acquired Jelly Roll.

I had initially wanted one of these to sew this project, 

which looks like a fun but it only produces a small quilt. With its $39 price tag, my jelly roll is too precious for that use. I need a quilt large enough to fit a twin bed. Change of plans. I'll use the roll to make quilt blocks and then add sashing and borders to make my quilt the desired dimensions. I am thinking of using one of these patterns, Trade Winds or Boxy Stars. It would be easy to find some smallish prints for the frames and borders that would not detract from the larger Moda prints of the roll. I think I'll use the blues and greens shown here, to tie it all together.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Road Trip To Catch A Grasshopper

ETA: I have since realized that the Supermatic is not a true Grasshopper, but its larger (and later) relative. Oh great, another machine to desire.

Ever since I bought my 600E, and the fellow showed off his herd of Elna Supermatics, I've been lusting for one. It's another sturdy old 50's vintage machine but it's a free arm who's case converts it to a flat bed. And it takes design cams. Lots and lots of cams. Another Elna SM owner once showed off their embroidery cam design of little ducks in a row. I was smitten. So when I found a Supermatic for sale in Port Townsend with at least 20 cams...I had to get up there and take a look. These machines are rumored to be built like a Swiss watch. They do have problems, though. Their paint doesn't hold up well, their metal cases rust like a dickens and they have some kind of rubber cone inside that gets a flat spot when they are left to sit too long. That flat spot causes the machine to growl. The seller was firm on his $95 price. That's a bit steep for a  Supermatic. But the cams sell for about $5 each. This machine came with 21 cams, so it's like buying the cams and getting a free machine. That's how I'm justifying this purchase. This morning the husbeast, Beanie and I headed to the top of the Olympic Peninsula to have a gander at this machine. I was prepared to either try to convince the seller to accept less, or walk away, if the machine had issues. But it was in amazingly good condition. He had purchased it from the original owner who was elderly and had let the machine sit idle for many years. Yes, it growls and I'll have to replace the cone. But the machine itself looks great. No missing paint.

No rust on the case. 

It came with some feet, bobbins...and the cams.
No duck cam, but there's a cool one with leaves. 

I decided to give the man his $95 and bring my new baby home. I don't think the cones cost more than $10. Not a deal breaker. By that time we were getting hungry and headed into The city of Port Townsend to feast at the Courtyard Cafe

This is a cozy little place. rather like going to your friends house and they fix you a plate. The service is kind of slow but the staff is something like 3 people. Coffee is self serve. I opted for the chicken pesto sandwich....which is a monster. I'll get 3 meals out of this. The bread is 1 1/4" thick.

That's a quarter in the foreground, for scale. You could repel off the side of that sammie. With a very full tummy (and a to go bag) I headed to the next stop on our adventure, Creative Union, a quilt shop.

Another quaint location. The building looks to be a former model home (?) in a neighborhood of other homes turned shopping plaza.

I was on a mission to obtain the coveted "jelly roll". Of course I couldn't stop at that. I will not be making frequent trips to quilt shops. I have no impulse control when it comes to cute fabric. This is what $65 bought me. That roll of strips is a jelly roll which is destined to become a quilt for the guest bed in my sewing room.

The other items are called fat quarters. Mine have themes of wine, sewing, coffee and vintage aprons. Adorable! I am on a serious fabric induced high right now.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pinning Reggie's Quilt

I've been up since 3am with a sick baby (dog). He finally fell asleep but I was wide awake. The TV is still out, due to our lovely ice storm. I'm bored. What can I do that doesn't take much brain power? I know, let's pin the quilt together. When I purchased my safety pins I knew I needed them, but wasn't sure what size to get. I got a 200 pack, 100 of  1 1/2" and 100 of 1 1/16". More on this later.

After watching a few YouTube videos on making a quilt sandwich, I set to work. I couldn't find masking tape (we probably have some in the basement but it's not worth falling on the ice to try to go get it). My choices were packing tape or Scotch tape. I feared the packing tape might be a bit too sticky so opted for the Scotch variety and set about taping down the quilt back.

Of course you can't see the tape because it's transparent. Take my word for it, the back is taped down securely. Next I cut a piece of batting just slightly larger than the back. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that step. The batting was laid over the top of the back piece and smoothed out. I then placed the quilt top onto the batting and smoothed it out, as well. From what I saw on those videos it is good to have your back piece larger than the quilt top, so maybe I did it right after all? Once the pieces were all layered and smoothed it was time to baste it all together with the safety pins, to keep the fabrics from shifting during the machine quilting process. Which brings us back to my safety pins, above. Before you pin your quilt together you have to decide where you will be stitching. I am going to attempt the "stitch in the ditch" method which means I have to keep the pins away from the seams so they don't interfere with the presser foot as I'm sewing. It was glaringly apparent that the 1 1/2" pins were too big for this purpose. I liked the 1 1/16" pins. It might be difficult to open and close them if they were any smaller. Another thing that became apparent? I'm going to require a LOT more pins (not for the little dog and cat quilts but for when I make one to fit a people bed).

I want to make sure the layers are going to stay put. I figure using more pins and taking my time will save me a lot of grief. The red frame piece was too narrow to use the safety pins on. I opted to use straight pins to anchor that area and will also begin sewing there, so I can remove the pins and they won't be in the way while I sew the remainder of the quilt. Now comes the fun part.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reggie's Quilt Top

I finished it this evening.

Earlier today I sat down with the monogrammer attachment and the instruction manual. It was really easy to use and less than 30 minutes later, after 2 test R's, I had the center heart square monogrammed.

It even looks nice and neat from the back.

That's a fun little gadget. I am resisting the urge to monogram everything in sight. If you have a Singer you can get those monogrammers on Ebay for $10 to $20. They're worth it for the entertainment value, alone. Once the initials were in place it was time to sew the blocks together and add the frame pieces. Not too shabby for my first attempt.  Singha wants me to hurry up so I can start his quilt.

The top turned out a little bit smaller than the back piece. I'll have to try harder to achieve a "scant" 1/4" seam.

It's turning out just like I envisioned. Planning a quilt is a lot of fun. Now to learn how to get the batting inside and machine quilt it. Time to make friends with the walking foot.