Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Technicolor Galaxy - SkillBuilder

So I COULD go on and on about my UFO's....    Not feeling it.   Instead...  Let's start something new! I've been eyeing this project for a year and a half.

Online Class purchased and the printer templates are in route.   I'm excited.  The class was the Skillbuilder BOM for 2015 and is now complete and ready to purchase without waiting each month. SCORE!

Technicolor Galaxy - Front View

Technicolor Galaxy - Back View

I gotta tell ya - right off the bat - MONEY WELL SPENT!   Wow is this lady impressive!!!   


I got my super secret Logon to pileofabric.com and to be honest?   She doesn't charge enough!   Printable PDF's, lesson by lesson.   Video tutorials.  Full color pattern is 119 pages.   And she makes you ORGANIZE the project before hand.   Love that!   While I can't officially say I've started this...the printer is on fire.   I'm excited!

This video Alyssa recently put on YouTube sealed the deal!!!  A Peek into the Technicolor Galaxy Quilt


Monday, June 27, 2016

THANGLES Sampler

So it was HOT and HUMID this weekend in Upstate NY.   I didn't want to do anything on Sunday except stay close to the air conditioner.     Since there was nothing nagging at my mind to work on, I decided to start something new!  

I went to the Paducah Quilt Show in April for the first time.  One of my purchases was from the THANGLES booth.   It's a Block of the Month Sampler in ITTY BITTY pieces.    So I pulled out a collection of fat eighths that I had been saving for a special project.   Best Press on all the pieces (I've heard this is REALLY helpful when doing miniatures) and started cutting!   

Blueberry Stars Thangles Pattern
3/4" THANGLES
Woah!   Tiny!
So Stinkin Cute!
1/2" THANGLES!   (Not kidding)
WOAH - these babies are small!
Slow and steady wins the race
I couldn't imagine playing with these without BEST PRESS
Best Press makes them really easy to handle
cute cute CUTE!
More 1/2" THANGLES
Super fun!
I left off on Month 4 - April.    This was the perfect project to play with when stuck inside!

Check out MORE design walls at Patchwork Times or Monday Making or Moving it Forward or Main Crush Monday or even BOMS away Monday!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Exclusive Retreat and Show N Tell Bag! (Design Wall Monday)

Sometimes you gotta stop "planning" a project...and just DO IT!   My sweet friend Kathy Case and I have been collecting "Sewing Notions" Fabric for as long as we can remember.    Never knew what we were going to do with them all.   But there was always this undeniable pull to buy them.   Usually just a fat quarter, sometimes yardage.   I mean what can you REALLY do with all these fabrics that call to us but have a 18-24" repeat??   How can you cut into it??  But you have to have them right?!

We piled them all into totes and started sharing, digging and cutting.   5 1/2" squares we thought, that's big enough to be able to fussy cut some of the really cute things in the fabric.  We were looking for a quilt to do together, but 5 1/2" squares seemed just too big to really have any kind of actual pattern.   Plus, this isn't one of those things you can really use a color palette for.  But every fabric has scissors, sewing machines, spools of thread, a quilt block, a pincushion....something!

Sewing Notions & Quilting Themed Fabric Pile
We made sure we had at LEAST a 5 1/2" square of each other's fabric.   Some of the prints where small, so those were turned into 4 patchs  (3" x 3" squares to get 5 1/2")  More importantly, friendship is in this bag.  Fabrics gifted over the years from Rosie, Lois, Kathy, Vicki, SueBabe... Just because.   Fabrics won in our guild silent auction at Spring & Fall retreats. They are all in there.   And to top it off!   We were contagious!   Jerilyn has one!  Lori had 5 and made two more with us!  Marlene has one!   And even Charlotte climbed up on the wagon!

Modified Chubby Charmer Bag
The pattern is called "Chubby Charmer Tote Pattern".   The Designer is Penny Sturges and the publisher is Quilts Illustrated.   You can get the pattern here if you are interested.  Or ask your local quilt shop to order it!   The pattern called for (48) 5" squares, great project for a charm pack!   Like I said, we modified the pattern. We went with 66 5 1/2" squares and left off the corners from each side. It was already a BIG bag to start with.  Now it's HUuuuuuge!   

Love this tote!
Those are REALLY big bananas mind you, but it gives you an idea.   The reason it's so big is because not only did we have MORE than enough Sewing Notions Fabric to make every square different, but we wanted to be able to use our bags specifically for retreats!   Nothing ever seems to fit our sheets, clothes, towel and a quilt for the bed.   Now we have one!    

Had to add Magnet Snaps 
I just added the Magnet snaps to both sides of mine so that when it's NOT completely stuffed full, the corners would fold in.   Otherwise, you can't get through doorways without rubbing up against something, or risking tearing the bag. 

The second reason we wanted them so big is that when we go to guild meetings, we are SO proud to be showing off our completed quilts.   How sad is it that we stuff them in a garbage bag or something equivalent in order to be able to "hide & carry" them until the moment of the big reveal??   Well no more for this girl!   I can fit two (or probably more) queen size quilts in this baby!!   Woot Woot!   

Holds TWO full quilts!
Kathy did her lining with this cute little sea-green fabric that appeared at the last minute!   So I took a piece of that just before I sewed the final seams and made an interior pocket out of it!    I'm going to find a pigment pen and write on it "Kathy's lining - had to have it!"

So that's what I did all weekend!!   Excited to be just in time to post it for "Design Wall Monday!" Take a peek at other design walls over at Patchwork Times and Monday Making!

EDITED & UPDATED: I forgot to mention a REALLY important detail!  My appreciation for the Singer Model 301 was completely renewed doing this project!  I used my Vintage Suzy Centennial Singer 99 to piece the blocks together.  But then I snapped the belt on her (my fault, it was an old rubber one that was cracked, I had been meaning to replace it).   So I bounced over to my tablemate's Singer 301 to finish up.  The side\bottom seams on this bag are as follows: (Main fabric, batting, Lining + Main Fabric, batting, Lining)... 6 layers.   This is where it gets good!!   With the plastic machines that I USED to use, I would have been hesitant to even try to top-stitch around the rim when I was done.   That sweet little 301 didn't even hesitate, groan or growl!   So that top-stitch went through 6 layers, PLUS the folded seam allowances from both sides!   That is 12 LAYERS!!   Perfect stitch all the way around.   That, in my humble opinion, is the end all to be all selling point of these beautiful gear-driven machines!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Vintage Singer 66 Red Eye Restoration - Joan

So often, I still find myself looking for resources that produce START TO FINISH instructions of Vintage Sewing Machine Restoration.   Still haven't found any that are truly complete, so I've started my own.   This is one of many draft posts I have saved, that eventually will be posted.   You can't do this in a weekend folks, not if you are looking for the best quality results that can be accomplished. Some of us "got the bug", did one machine and moved on to some other hobby.   Me - I'm still at it and loving it.   Learning new things every time.

As I type this, This horrific smell of APPLE CIDER VINEGAR is wafting around my workspace.  Why?   Cuz after a weekend of more research, I found a few great videos on ACTUAL tests of removing rust.  The ones with Vinegar seemed really interesting, so why not try it?  I have the perfect candidate awaiting restoration.

Rust Experiment

So here's "Joan" (Which is actually her owner's name) - The Vintage Singer 66 Red Eye as she came in the shop.  I have no idea where\how she was stored, but you'll be able to tell from the pictures that wherever she was - she was there...sitting very still.....for a very VERY long time.....

Singer 66 - Joan 1

Singer 66 - Joan 2

Singer 66 - Joan 3

Singer 66 - Joan 4

Singer 66 - Joan 5

Singer 66 - Joan 6

Singer 66 - Joan 7

Singer 66 - Joan 8

Singer 66 - Joan 9

Singer 66 - Joan 10

Singer 66 - Joan 11

Singer 66 - Joan 12
So after her "BEFORE" shots....there she sits!   People that are new to this hobby are wondering, good heavens...where do I start??   Everyone has their way....here's mine:

Nitrile Disposable Gloves, SMO (Sewing Machine Oil) & PB Blaster
Yep!   Sewing machine oil!   You'll hear from every hobbyist, USE SEWING MACHINE OIL.   You try it and think - my gosh - there has GOT to be an easier way!!   It does nothing for the dirt, grime, rust, etc.   Q-tips, cotton balls.....are you kidding?    This thing needs a power washer and some SUPER STRONG chemicals!     Yep - maybe.   But later.   Not now.    Let me explain why.....

First and foremost - every machine is different.   Over the decades, or in this case, a CENTURY... yes, you read that right.  Her serial number is G2561017.  That number falls into a range that was given to the factory on December 12th, 1912.   So she was born sometime between that day and March 19, 1913.  In March, according to records, another allotment of numbers was recorded for a run of Singer 66's. That puts this old girl at about 103 years old.    Anyway - my point....  each machine is different, because we have no way of knowing what elements, environments she's been exposed to for all those years.   What she in a HOT place?   Cold place?   Was she somewhere near an ocean?   Where the salt of the sea is always in the air?   Was she in a barn that was suffocatingly hot and moist? All of this matters when it comes to bringing these girls back.   It is, after all, painted metal.   Metal can expand, contract, etc.   Paint, clear coat...none of this is permanent.   If the clear coat is cloudy and yellowed like this girl - you have your work cut out for you.   But if you try ANYTHING but Sewing machine oil when you start out, you can ruin the clear coat even worse.   Better yet - the decals.   Those sweet little gold, green and red decals are just water slide decals, and are protected by that nasty clear coat (if the clear coat even still exists!!!)

Gloves, sewing machine oil, start oiling.....everywhere.    Every single moving part.   Soak it up good. PB Blaster, which is essentially oil with a little petroleum distillate and a CO2 propellant to make it shoot out, on all the moving stuff (THAT IS NOT PAINTED).   We've got to get everything moving. 

 IMPORTANT NOTE - THIS COULD TAKE HOURS OR DAYS FOR THIS PART

The oil will reveal what's under the dirt - cloudy clear coat, good decals?    BE GENTLE WHEN RUBBING!!   Let it soak in on it's own.   Once everything starts moving - THEN you can start removing parts.    Take pictures as you go, mark the parts, write notes.  I have put almost 100 of these together now, so I'm good throwing it all in a pan.   If you are new to this - do as I say, not as I do.   Take a billion photos!  


As I remove the metal parts, I'm setting them in a rubbermaid casserole carrier.  I'm excited to try this Apple Cider Vinegar experiment, because I'm at the point now that I don't look forward to cleaning, rubbing, shining every single part.   I want to get these girls back to their owners in less time than what it has been.    These machines can take months, from start to finish.   Soaking, shining, polishing, scrubbing.   There is no QUICK fix.  The container below is only half the parts, I'm still working on removing the insides.


Here we go!!    Pour in the Apple Cider Vinegar and cover it up.    This is a good time to mention that it took about 14 hours (in total) over the course of 3 days to free this girl up.  Take your time, don't rush.   It's worth it in the end!!!   See ya in a few days!! I can't wait to see what shape these parts are in after soaking in the ACV!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hand embroidery - Quilted Memories

I recently traveled to the Paducah Quilt Show with a handful of friends. While I have been steadfast in not starting another project until all of my other projects are done (quit laughing... You know you've said this too), I decided I had to start a few stemming from my Paducah experience/inspiration. 

One of these is a hand embroidery project called "Quilted Memories" by Wellington House Designs.  There was a booth down one of the side streets in Paducah that had tons of completed hand embroidery samples that were just awe-inspiring. The woman manning the booth had her own project going and I spotted it immediately.  


It's supposed to be a "brown-work" project but she was doing it in color!!  One of the blocks has a Singer Treadle Sewing machine!   That was it, had to have it. Ring me up!   

"Sorry, we're out of that one..."  Gasp!  But, but!   She gave me the shop name and number to order one after the show. I couldn't wait - had to start hunting right away. I found the pattern as a digital download on Etsy. Ordered...printed...starting tracing and stitching in the blink of an eye. 



So mindless and relaxing!  I'm using a "split stitch" with two strands of DMC floss.   I can't wait to see these come alive!! 



Sunday, April 3, 2016

Putting the Presser Bar back together on a Singer 201-2

I've found that I have a LOT of bookmarks that are valuable resources to Servicing and Restoring Old Singer Sewing Machines.   Some of which I find myself referencing over and over again. As well as reorganizing over and over again!   The biggest downside to using someone else's notes & references are that they are never in the order that I need, when I need it.  They are also missing my personal experiences and observations.  And God forbid....what if they take their blog\site down???   I better start making some of my own posts!

When I tackle a machine on my bench for full restoration, I take apart every single piece.   Clean, sand, polish every screw.  Extreme?  Yep!   But that's why I take so much pride when my machines leave my shop!  I keep everything for each machine separate and in their own trays, cups, area. EXCEPT when they are all my personal stock!  This past winter I had some time in between customer machines, for a change, to work on some of my stock machines.   I decided to tackle a handful of 201-2's at the same time.   (NOTE: if a part varied on a machine (ie Chrome verses Black hand wheel, blackside parts, etc. - I kept a log to ensure that the original pieces went back to the machines they came from)  Not that anyone would truly notice the difference mind you...but authenticity is important to me.   Anyway - I digress.

Pieces & Parts for FIVE Singer 201-2's
Lotsa motors to go with all the parts 
Phew!   It took an entire weekend to take all those machines apart!   Some parts had to be oiled, penetrated...coaxed to separate from the head.   And at Midnight on a Sunday night, it's time to go to bed and head to work in the morning.   I'm excited to get right back to it after work!   The phone rings on Monday, some friends want to go out - ok!   Tuesday - big outage at work, gotta work late.  Wednesday - flat tire    Thursday - what a week!   Netflix and Wine!    Friday - a Sit N Sew with all the Gurlz!!   Woo Hoo!    Maybe next weekend I'll get back to the boxes of parts.    Well you get the idea.   I'd love to tout that I can leisurely work on these babies 24\7 but alas, I still work full time at an 8-5 job, have family and friends, and lookee there - I'm a human being and get tired!   

I thought it was a GREAT idea to tackle multiple machines at once.   And I still do, to a certain degree.   But when customer machines still come in, and orders, sometimes it's just this nagging "I have GOT to find the time to finish ALL of those!"   Over the next few months, I took a small tray of parts at a time and got to work.    Cleaning, dremeling, polishing, wiping, inspecting...every piece, until I could finally say all the parts were ready to go back on the heads.    Whoops....gotta do the motors.   You can see the process of cleaning and re-wiring those babies here

After cleaning, polishing
Don't even get me started on what it takes to clean the head - we'll get to that on another post.  Today, I want to point out what to do and look for when your trays and stuff have been moved around 42 times and you aren't 100% sure which screws go where!   Unless of course you have a fully intact machine sitting next to them all.   (Whew - thank goodness I do!)  But when I DON'T - here's a reference for which screw is which! Along with the part names & Numbers according to Singer for easy look up!   We're just going to focus on the Presser bar area in this example.  I threw the stop motion clamp & screw in there because the screw looks similar to the others.   Until you look closer!

Screws are different but VERY similar
Let's start with the screws that go with the Clamp Stop Motion Screw, Tensioner release lever and Presser foot lifter.   2 of these screws are what are called "HINGE" screws.  They are called Hinge screws because the parts that are held onto the machine move freely on the screw.   That's what the little solid part above the threads of the screw are for!   I put a sewing machine needle in the individual photos to help decipher the size.

Tension Releasing Lever & Hinge Screw 
Ref Singer No's 32573, 97
Thinner and smaller diameter than the Presser Foot Lifter Hinge Screw
10mm in length - 5mm diameter on the head
Presser Bar Lifter & Hinge Screw 
Ref Singer No's  66564, 85
Fatter and shorter than the Tension Releasing Lever Hinge Screw
12mm in length - 8mm diameter on the head
Clamp Stop Motion Clamp Screw  & Stop motion screw 
Ref Singer No's 51280, 45294, 45295, 45336   Screw - 246
11mm in length - 4mm diameter on the head - 3mm unthreaded at the bottom
Tension Releasing Lever & Presser Foot Lifter
Above is a visual of WHY these two parts need "HINGE" screws.   Both of these parts need to be able to "rock" freely on the shiny smooth portion just under the head of the screw.   If they aren't working in unison together, one of those screws aren't seated correctly.  This is just one example of WHY I take everything apart.   Those "hinges" should get a drop of oil, and with a drop of oil can lead to build up and prohibit "smooth" hinges!   Also - when you are putting this area back together, the Tension Releasing Lever should go in first, then the Presser Foot Lifter.

Next - we focus on getting the presser bar back in.  You'll need the Presser Bar Guide Bracket, set screw and the actual Presser Bar.
Presser Bar Guide Bracket & Set Screw
Ref Singer No 45237, 453

Presser Bar Guide Bracket & Set Screw
Ref Singer No 45237, 453
Roll the hand wheel until the needle is the down position - this gets the gears out of the way so that you can "side-shimmy" that piece back in above the Presser Foot Lifter Level.   DO NOT FORCE THIS PIECE.   There is a sweet spot where this piece slides right in.  This piece is another area that needs to always move FREELY - Up and down with the presser foot lever.  Hold the guide bracket in place with your fingers (with the set screw out far enough to not impede the inside of the bracket) and slide that presser bar down through the top - through the bracket (held by your fingers), and down through to the bed of the machine.  

Presser Bar & Presser Guide Bracket
Note - you can tighten the set screw on the presser bar guide bracket enough to hold it in place for now, but plan on going back to it later.   For later reference when doing final TWEAKS - Presser foot height needs to be set at not more than 19/64 of an inch between presser foot and the top surface of the throat plate.  The presser foot should be parallel with the feed dog when lowered. The needle should be close to (but not touch) the inner or right hand side of the large toe of the presser foot.

Slide the Presser Bar Spring right through the top until it rests on the Presser Bar Guide Bracket
Presser Bar Spring
Ref Singer No 32675
Then you add the Pressure Regulating Thumb Screw AND THE THIN WASHER to the top to keep all the pieces in!
Pressure Regulating Thumb Screw and Washer
Ref Singer No's 51228. 66773, 66772
Presser Bar back together
Almost done!   Don't forget to add the thread cutter back onto the bottom of the bar before you add your presser foot!

Thread Cutter
Ref Singer No. 26075
Now the most interesting part I found I needed to research was for that thumb screw that holds the foot on!   I honestly thought the thumb screws were all interchangeable.   But then again, I had never piled all the parts for multiple machines into trays before.    Interesting findings!

The thumb screw that measures a little more than 1/2" in diameter and 3/4" in length is the one for the presser feet as well as the shiny side cover on the back of the machine.   The one that is a little LESS than 1/2" in diameter and 1/2" in length is the one for the Faceplate!  Regardless - they are all threaded the same on the screw, other than the feed dog lever, so it's easy to put them in the wrong place.