Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn Victoria

If you have been following my blog this past year, you've probably seen pieces of a very "October" looking quilt in progress.   The quilt is finally complete, in Loving Memory of my irreplaceable Bestie - Vicki Steffenhagen.   1950 – 2015

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one, I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun, of happy memories that I leave when life is done.

“Thinking about you a lot today as I look through your unfinished projects. Reflecting on how amazing you were. How big your heart was, how vast your mind and how kind your spirit. Always learning and always teaching. Together, we were an unbeatable team. There will never be another like you. I love you and miss you every day. But I'm doing better. Day by day, week by week. I feel your watchful eye on me. Your silent strength and I love you for it. Thank you for your unwavering friendship for so many years.”

Quilt Name:
Autumn Victoria

Vicki R. Steffenhagen
Janet A. Mercer

Amazingly talented
Long Arm Quilter:
Kim Werth

The "Story" - Once upon a time, the Lord graced the world with a special Angel. Everything she touched, everyone she met, was better, forever changed, because of her. She was my BFF, my soul Sister, my guardian angel. She bought this pattern almost 2 years ago (Glacier Star + Queen Borders by Judy Neimeyer), signed up for classes at Mt. Pleasant to stay focused on it and set to work.   Ray, her husband, shared “I remember spending an entire day going to one shop after another looking for the right fabric and colors so my bride could make this quilt. At the time it was nothing more than a lot of shopping bags.  As she began to sew the sections I saw the idea she was embracing. She never got many areas complete before the Lord called her home.”

Before Vicki passed away, she had completed the large center star pieces, the inset squares and had begun working on the spiked star outline pieces. The pieces were lovingly folded into a carrying box with all the tools needed to pick it up and work on it whenever the mood hit her.   I inherited many of her beautiful things and this quilt was the one that I decided to focus my effort on to complete in time for her guild's show.  My tears are woven into this quilt. Some of my healing came from this quilt. Its beauty is nothing compared to the beautiful soul we had the opportunity to know.

Special thanks to more of my besties that also laid their hands on this quilt. Kim Werth (The Long Arm Quilter),  Mary Christopher & Kathy Case (the paper-puller-offer-team), Lois Marvin, Lori Zappala, Charlotte Hawkes, Kathy Rochette, Lona Mahoney, Denise Hare, Anita Kile, Jerilyn Prentice (the CHEERLEADERING TEAM!!)   Whether it was to position pieces, make color choices, change things, change them back, encourage me, sit and peel papers off, do the breathtaking quilting and help to stitch the binding.      Friendship....is what quilting is truly all about. 
…………….    “Do What Matters!” ……………….

Vending at the Brockport Quilt Show!

What a FABULOUS experience I had vending for the first time at a local Quilt Show.   The Show was in Brockport, NY and called "Ladders to the Sky".  I've done lectures, classes, demo's, talked people's ears off in grocery stores, but never my very own booth at a show!   They were running short on vendors and asked me if I'd be interested in filling a spot for them.   Well why not??

My shop\service is usually people bringing Classic Singer Sewing Machines to me and I give them life again.  I love everything about them.  The look, the workmanship, the nostalgia.   So it didn't take me long to figure out that my "booth" wasn't necessarily going to be to "sell", it was going to be to make people EXPERIENCE what Singer was all about.   I decided to bring 4 machines with me and set them up, threaded, ready to go and make people WANT to try them.  They gave me the sweetest sitting room to set up in!

To the far left, we have "Queenie"....my classy Vintage Singer 201-2 Sewing Machine.   People have been listening to me go on and on about this beauty, the quality, the ROYAL feeling to this amazing machine.   This was my opportunity to really make them understand.    I brought her in a Queen Anne Style Singer Cabinet No 40, and had the foot pedal mounted for the knee bar.   The ooh's and ahh's and GASP'S when people used her was so satisfying!!  

My Suzie Centennial Vintage Singer 99.  Was disappointed that no one tried to use her, but since she was my first restore and is my PRIMARY piecing machine, she had to come with me.

A Vintage Singer 15-91 in the back.  She has the sweetest "ticka-ticka-ticka" sound. A Card table full of reproduction feet and LED bulbs.

And of course a few Featherweights (Singer 221).   Everyone seems to want those!   I also had with me several Vintage Featherweight Card Tables.   Only have 3 left now!

And for nostalgia purpose, a sweet simple treadle.   On top I had a Singer 66 Red Eye that is "in progress" of restoration.   Coming out beautifully I might add.  :-)

One of my besties took it upon herself to make me an official BOOTH Sign the night before.  She decoupaged pieces of Singer Sewing machine manuals to the background.   Just LOVE it!

I would definitely do it again.   I really enjoyed myself!  And I think all my visitors did too!  

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\repairer...you 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!