Monday, June 22, 2015

Design Wall Monday

A little inside look at what I've been up to!!
Adding the Queen Borders to a Glacier Star Quilt

Stuffing a cat bed with the scraps from a Glacier Star Quilt

Learning to free motion quilt on my Vintage Singer 201

Just a little quilting left to do on my Grandson's quilt!

Red Barn from a Picture Piecing Class taught by Cynthia England. 

You can view what others are getting into over at Patchwork Times - Design Wall Monday

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Vintage Singer No 36806 Needle Threader

Being a VSM (Vintage Sewing Machine) collector\restorer\ get excited about the weirdest little things.
Vintage Singer No 36806 Needle Threader
I picked up an adorable little Singer Model 99 in a bentwood case at a garage sale yesterday.   These little darlings are near and dear to my heart because my very first restoration was a 99 that I accidentally bought a few years ago.  I say accidentally because the internet post was for a $10 sewing table.   They never mentioned that a machine was inside....

Vintage Centennial Singer Model 99

My first Singer 99 I deemed "Susie Centennial".  She was frozen solid, rusted inside and out and had no accessories with her, other than the rusted foot that was bound to the presser bar.   I must've spend 100+ hours gingerly wiping with sewing machine oil on every inch of her before I decided to dissemble every single piece.  I started to research what would REALLY work to bring her back to life.   $10 investment....why not?   I was bored.  LOL  By trial and error, every piece had the rust removed, wires replaced, put back together, timed, tweaked and Viola!  Not a single part was replaced.  Only the bobbin cover was added.

Since then, I have restored, serviced, and in some cases sold about 4 dozen machines (or maybe more, I stopped keeping track).   "Susie" will always stay with me.  She's my go-to machine for every day quilting\piecing.   And when I acquire more Model 99's, she gets all the best accessories handed down to her.   In this circumstance - the Vintage Singer No 36806 Needle Threader.

Hunting for information, I found very little.   One pamplet was in German....but the pictures helped!

When I put my glasses on - I see that there is half of a hook on here.

First, let's get that screw out

Removed on of the little hooks from the key ring and screwed it in place

Now let's take it for a test run...

Now that needle hole was SERIOUSLY easy to find with this...didn't even need my glasses!

Loop the thread behind....oh boy - that was easy to hook on there.....

Oh I am officially in LOVE with my new toy!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

FMQ with my Vintage Singer 201!

So excited! At the quilt show, this past weekend, there was a first time vendor with parts for VSM's. I bought 2 different kinds of low-shank darning feet.

Just tried the first one on my beloved Singer 201 and we are movin' and a groovin'!!! 

First things first - we need attach the foot

Next....drop the feed dogs.

Gently lift the machine so you can see her underbelly.

Right there towards the front is the lever that needs to move.   Gently unscrew the screw (it doesn't come out all the way) and when it's free, pull out gently, move the lever and seat the screw in the hole closest to you.

Next - we set the stitch length to ZERO (all the way down if you can't see the numbers anymore)

Then we pull the bobbin thread up through the fabric 

And AWAY we go!!!

I noticed that when I go really fast, I get a few skipped stitches. Watching the thread come off the spool pin I see that there are times that the check spring doesn't get to do its job. The thread ends up with a little slack because it got an uneven spin off the spool. 

Going to dig through my stuff and find that standing spool holder that I've never used and see how that fairs!!

I can't wait to find my comfort zone with Free Motion Quilting on this beautiful classy girl!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

VSM's Adopted Out - Singer 301 Restored

One of my favorite things about restoring old sewing machines is seeing the excitement from the new Mommies (and sometimes Daddies) that adopt them!  

Two of my girls went to a new home today along with a sweet little Singer 221 Featherweight that came in for service!  A Vintage Singer 301 and a Vintage Singer 201!

The stellar Singer 301 Long Bed was my first 301 restore some time ago. I've done several since then and it's one of my most popular models and one of my favorites to brag about!  Amazing machine!   It's been sitting on my shelf for a while waiting for its new owner.   After a year long wait, I decided it was time to look for a different person to adopt it.   Denise, one of my quilting friends, didn't hesitate... SOLD!  LOL  

It was an amazing learning experience.   When I started this fascination with old machines, each new model I acquired became a long experiment.   There was no rush, I wanted to learn.   I experimented with cleaning methods, bought new tools, learned about dremels, screwdrivers, wiring, you name it.  I was that kid that took all of her toys apart.   Drove my mom nuts.   When I got into my 30's, I started to actually put things back together.  (grin)

Here's the auction photo that started this girls journey....

When I saw it in person, it looked even worse.   But I figured, let's see what it goes for, small investment, HUGE learning opportunity.

After 100's of hours of removing every single part, cleaning each one and putting it back together, a beautiful machine emerged.

Singer Model 301A (Long Bed) - Serial # NA213934 Born 1953 Anderson, SC (Start of 301A)

As much as I'd like to give you a documented journey of the 201 in the photo, she left almost as fast as she arrived, LOL   Same new owner!  

Friday, May 1, 2015

Acquisition - Vintage Singer Model 24

Well THIS was unexpected...   was perusing an Estate Sale of a man that was a generational Reverend.   The house was over 100 years old and had the coolest stuff!   In the basement there were two treadle sewing machines.  One was a Model 12 Fiddle Base (which I already have one in my personal collection) and this......

Vintage Singer Model 24 Chain Stitch Sewing Machine
I was so intrigued with this little lady!   A gentle wipe on the dust revealed perfect hand painted decals.   She's so tiny.  I wonder where she came from.   Who was her first owner?  What was she purchased for?    The production of the class 24 machines started in 1897 and continued post 1943. Most of which were industrial machines.   This is the simplest form of sewing machine; it has neither shuttle or bobbin, no tensions to adjust and the machine is ready for stitching when the needle is threaded. It makes the single thread chain stitch.  I haven't tried it yet, but I'm told that it's similar to the stitch across pet food bags.   With the pull thread that releases the whole thing.   

She came in the smallest treadle cabinet I have every seen.

Lots of cool stuff in the drawers

I love the engravings on the needle plate

Monday, February 16, 2015

Modified "String X" Halloween FRENZY

I was on a 4-day quilt retreat a few weekends ago as well as a few "sew days" here and there. I just had to share my project!   Those that know me, know that I am a complete SUCKER for Halloween Fabrics.  Have been collecting them for about 10 years now.  In that 10 years, I have fallen in love on sight and HAD to HAVE them...  but haven't cut into them or used them in a project!   Often I would pet them, dream about them, plan something around 1 or 2 of them....but never took the leap to slice in.   In my fabric cupboards, they have done nothing but grow to 2 full STACKS just in yardage. That doesn't even count the fat quarters and scraps!

Well....go big or go home right?   An idea....I decided to cut into EVERY one.  I started this cutting spree in October of 2013.  Not kidding.  Was 2 years ago that I started prepping for this quilt.  Slicing and dicing my way through at random times,  I took a 10" square from each fabric and stacked them up in one of those portable boxes and then a handful of sliced 5" scraps of varying widths went into a bigger bin.    Always on my cutting table for when the mood would strike!

Then one was time to start playing...  I grabbed a phone book, ripped out about 50 pages and sliced them at 4.5".   With a little Elmer's Glue stick - I glued 2 together to make the 4.5" page about 20 inches long.  I had to re-iron most of the scraps again because the bin had been moved, carried, tossed and dumped several times over the past few years.   Retreat was the best place to do this!   The String Piecing begins!   Watching Bonnie Hunter on Quilt Cam do this at various times gave me the idea!    Then when she mentioned hoarding phone books....I moved them down to my sewing studio! 

I bought an entire bolt of gray & white spiderweb fabric at some point along the way because it was on a clearance rack marked down 60%.  I think in my head it would be a great backing for the dozens of Halloween quilts I was going to make.  (grin)  I cut this into 1.5" Strips from selvage to selvage and then cut them in half  (about 22" long)

Using a slightly modified verion of Bonnie Hunter's "String X" pattern... the AHA moment finally came!

The 10" squares get sliced on the diagonal and become the large triangles.   This is a GREAT place to be able to feature large print fabrics! 

I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed working on this project at retreat.   It's been a very difficult 3 months for me.   To be surrounded by friends, working with fabrics that make me smile, it was the perfect vacation.

I get to have my ENTIRE Halloween one quilt.  :-)

and the more it grew....

the more excited I got....

There is LOTS more to do on this baby...because I can't stop making these blocks!   So I decided to make the entire quilt reversible!   It's going to have a wide piano key border too!