Friday, January 11, 2019

Happy New Year 2019

Like all "part-time" Bloggers, we take a break from time to time.    Life just hits us in the gut and knocks all our plans to smithereens.   I've been on this never ending cycle of LOSS for the past 5 years and once again, I'm really trying to pick myself up...  brush myself off...stand up straight...and smile.    This too shall pass.

The whole "new year" thing, whether we want it to or not, is a symbol of starting over, starting new, whatever you want to call it.   My Dad, Sue-Babe, Vicki, Ray, Piper-Kitty, Max-Cat, Tom-Tom and now my Mom.  They've all moved on to that beautiful place in the sky... I'm doing my best to pick up the pieces and make this life matter.

So here goes.   Hopefully I'll stick with it. Until, of course, the next gut punch comes.   My chin is up.  I'm standing like a superhero....

Bring it on.....

Monday, June 19, 2017

Remove (and put back) the Hook on Singer 66 99

Time for a little VISUAL help with these old service\adjusters manuals.   I have a tendency to look up everything and anything when I'm working on a machine.   And frankly, I'm tired of thinking, now where did I put that file??   So I'm making my own adjusters manual.  LOL  Kind of.

Remove (and put back) the Hook on Singer 66 99
Text reads:
To Remove the Sewing Hook
1) Remove the oscillating hook slide, presser foot, throat plate and bobbin case.
Note: if you are working on a REAL OLD 66, like from a treadle cabinet - the bobbin case is a bit more difficult to remove.   It will come out easier in step 3.

2) Turn the machine over on its hinges, take out the screw (N, Fig 8) and remove the feed dog. (I use Chapman Bit #93)

3) Also loosen the set screw (P, Fig 8) and lift out the bobbin case position bracket (F, Fig 5).

First item to note here - is that there are TWO versions of the bobbin case position bracket. So it's not going to make any sense if you are working on a hundred year old machine. See the picture below to understand the difference.

So this step is valid on a Model 99 and later Model 66's.  Solid Hand Wheel is a good rule of thumb here.   If it's a solid wheel - there is a set screw under the machine bed that releases the riveted Pin seating the bobbin case position bracket.  The next photo is the set screw they are talking about.  If that set screw isn't on your machine, then you are looking at the OLDER model, which I'll get into after.

So if you SEE this set screw - you'd need to loosen (or I would remove personally, so I can stick oil, PB Blaster or whatever it takes to get all that gunk out of there) to release the Bobbin case position bracket.  Once that set screw is super loose (or out) the bracket will come out. (yeah right).   I stick a screwdriver under it and gently pry it up.  After this is all clean - it's a moot point.   It drops in easily and you just turn that set screw back in to tighten it.  It's the dirt, grime, dust bunnies, etc that makes it seem difficult to get out.

The position pin on the bottom of the part goes into a hole under the hook.  The "Set Screw" under the bed is what holds it in place.

With the OLDER model 66's, with a spoked hand wheel, there's no set screw under the hook area.  It has a SOLID position finger that does NOT move and one screw that holds it down in there, instead of a riveted pin and set screw.  Most manuals tell you to move over the position finger to get the bobbin case out.    With this model - you can't.   You have to remove the entire bracket to get the bobbin case out.  I use a Chapman Bit #90 here.

4) Loosen the oscillating hook crank clamping screw (O, Fig 8)

5) Also loosen the presser bar bracket screw (M, Fig7) and raise the presser bar high enough to permit the sewing hook to be lifted from the machine.

This is another one of those steps that makes me chuckle.   Such a simple sentence but SOOOO much work to make it happen after these old girls have been neglected for so long.....

So let me show you what screw they are talking about.   The circled screw is the one that needs to be loosened.   I use Chapman Bit #25.

Do yourself a favor and lubricate this area REALLY well before you go after the presser bar bracket screw (blue circle).    I keep mentioning the Chapman Bits because they are, in my humble opinion, the most perfect fit on Singer Screws.

The bit fills the slot on the top of the screw so perfectly that unless you are being REALLY careless, you will avoid stripping the top of any screw.   But I digress.   The important thing to note here is that even if you get that set screw loose....that presser bar isn't going to move without some work.   Lubricate with oil, PB Blaster if needed.  The presser bar needs to be able to move up quite a bit to give the hook clearance to lift out.   I also unscrew the Presser Bar Pressure screw (blue arrow) up at the top as far as it will go.   If you take the Presser bar Pressure Screw OUT - watch you don't lose the washer that is right underneath it.  Below is a picture to give you an idea of how much clearance you need to get the hook out.

So after ALL of that...let's talk about how to ACTUALLY get that hook out.  Because you are probably looking at that picture and asking yourself.. "How in the hell did she do that??  That thing is NOT moving!"

Yeah - more lubrication, PB Blaster, etc.  Take a look at the next photo if you can't get it out.  The RED circle is the oil hole for the hook.   Load that hole up good.  The BLUE arrow is the screw that you loosened in Step 4.   It's what clamps that piece onto the very bottom of the hook.  If it's not loose enough - it's not going to go anywhere.   The GREEN arrow is the end of a screwdriver pointing at the bottom of the hook piece.   You can gently tap the handle end of a screwdriver to try to get it to move a little more.

Putting it all back:

So HOURS and HOURS later, after you have cleaned all the new areas you can get to and all the parts you removed, we want to put it back together.  Well it's not just put everything back where you found it.   We have a few things to tweak:

- We need to "time" the hook so that it will sew again!
- We need the feed dogs to be where we want them to be!
- We need that presser bar back in the right position and make sure our presser foot isn't crooked and applies pressure appropriately!

1)  Put the hook back in the machine.    Turn the balance wheel until the needle bar is in the lowest position.  Put the hook in so that the hook tip is right around where the tip of the needle will be. (Don't worry - we will adjust this more precisely when we "time" the machine.)

Make sure the bottom end of the hook goes back into that clamp underneath. Then gently tighten that clamping screw so that it grips the base of the hook to now turn when you turn the balance wheel.

2) Put the Bobbin Case Position Bracket back in the machine. Note: if you are working on the older model like i am - you will remove this again after the machine is in "time" and shimmy that bobbin case back in later.

If you are working on the more common model, you put the pin on the bottom of the bracket in the hole and tighten the set screw underneath the bed of the machine.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Remove (and put back) Feed Fork Connection Singer 66 99

So I'm working on a Singer 66 Red Eye.  I want to remove the Feed Fork Connection so I can CLEAN it!
Note: these instructions relate to Singer 99, 127 and 128 as well.

This machine, like many vintage machines that have been sitting in God knows where for 50-60 years, has so much GUNK and rust just caked onto all the metal that I had to take it apart down to the Head. This post is to remind me (and help you) figure out how I took this thing apart and how to get it back together so I don't have to re-invent the wheel (figuratively speaking) the next time I do this.   I usually don't need to take them apart this far, but this was an extreme case.  So without further's how to "Remove (and put back) the Feed Fork connection" 

Let's first identify some parts:

insert feed fork pic

insert feed rock shaft

Here's the text from an old adjuster's manual with HORRIBLE pictures.

 STEP 1: "To remove the feed fork connection, first remove the eccentric screw C2 (see pic 1) and nut D2 (see pic 1), disengaging the feed fork connection N2 (see pic 1), from the feed rock shaft O2, (see pic 1)."

Ok - so how...why, what???  The pic they have is a pencil drawing of the entire underbody of the machine..   NOT HELPFUL.   So here's the real deal. Put the machine in front of you on a table so you are looking at the BACK of the machine.   Lay it down gently with the front of the machine to the tabletop, exposing her underbelly.   Bottom left corner of the machine is where the Feed Fork Connection is connected on the bottom.    We need to release the fork from the bottom first.

Get yourself a 3/8 wrench to fit over the nut on the right side

Using your right hand, put the wrench over the nut so that you can hold it in place.

Using your Left Hand, fit the appropriate sized screwdriver to fit perfectly in the slot of the eccentric screw that is securing the Feed Fork Connection to the Feed Rock Shaft.  Note: I use Chapman bits - #98 is pretty close
Once the nut is removed, the eccentric screw will not come out until you remove the screw that tightens around the "eccentric" part of the screw!

Three pieces removed to get the end of the Feed Fork Connection Loose on the bottom
Ok great - Step 1 is done.   What's next?

STEP 2: "Loosen the thumb screw J2, (see pic), turn the arm side cover up, as shown in Fig 43, and retighten the thumb screw J2."

Yet more terrible pictures.  So what are they saying??

Open the back cover.... or remove it
This next part just cracked me up...

Step 3: "Loosen the set screw K2, Fig 45, in the feed cam and move the feed cam Q3, Fig 45, toward the arm rock shaft F3. Fig 45.   Remove the feed fork connection N2, Fig 45 and roller P2, Fig 45."
Here's the image they provide.  A Skeleton pic - with no head.   Yeah...

So what does that step really entail?   Why?  How?  "MOVE the feed cam??"   You're kidding right?
So this sent me on a search through my files for a parts list with pictures of the part.   This thing is so dark and filthy I can hardly SEE screws or anything else in there!   And there's a cast iron WALL blocking me from pulling the fork doesn't bend people. Who WROTE this thing??   And there's a Stitch Length knob in there and pieces attached to the side??   Hello?

Ok - so again, here's the real deal:

The  "K2 Set Screw" is the screw in the feed cam. 
So here's where I kinda started scratching my head and laughing.   I tried a screw driver and a small hammer.   They said the feed cam moves.... it doesn't.   Is it supposed to?  Does it really need to?    So I tried wriggling the Feed Fork Connection out ignoring that part....cuz it definitely doesn't move...    I scratch my head some more....   Finally I look up the feed cam in an old parts manual to see what the part looks like....

Feed Cam
Well lookit that...   it's a separate part.   Not a great image, but it helped me figure out that that eccentric tear drop side on the left will likely need to be pointing down in order for the fork to come out.    That's helpful, but the Feed Fork has a piece sticking out that is engaged into the Stitch Length knob on the front.  That thing is NOT coming out without moving the feed cam, that's for sure.

I looked closely at the set screw I took out - it's got a pointed tip, that goes into the groove on the main shaft to hold it in place!  

Well I'll tell you what, I don't think that set screw was necessary after all these years, because that thing is ON there.   With Rust, crud and God knows what else...   So to MOVE the Feed's the "real deal".    PB Blaster....Oil - cleaner, Q-tips, whatever you can get in there.    You gotta get that crub gooey to get her moving.    It's the only way.   After you get it nice and gooey (I let PB Blaster soak in under that groove for about 15 minutes) THEN.....Get out some Locking Pliers (Vice Grips)!!!

Important!  Wrap the metal you are securing and moving.  Slippage will cause DAMAGE!  I locked the main shaft with one pair and gave it a confident turn on the Feed Cam with another pair.

Feed Cam flush against the Feed Fork Connection prior to moving the Feed Cam towards the Main shaft.

Feed Cam moved about 1/4" towards the shaft AFTER lubrication and careful turning with 2 pairs of vice grips.  See how the groove on the main shaft doesn't line up with the set screw hole anymore?   It really does move!
Once I got that feed cam spinning freely - I was able to move it over just enough to give me some wiggle room with the other end of the Feed Fork Connection.    You've got to be able to angle the fork enough to get the "ROLLER" that they mention out of the Stitch Length Regulator slideway piece that is screwed onto the inside of the head!

From the bottom, grab the end of the Feed Fork Connection and bring it up to the backside of the head

Turn that Feed Cam so that the teardrop shape is pointed down.  You have to shimmy that ROLLER that is attached to the Feed Fork Connection OUT of the Stitch Length Regulator piece before it will come out of the bottom.  TIP : The Stitch Regulator screw on the front of the machine should only show about 3 or 4 threads, this is a good position to get that roller free.

Once you clear the roller out of the slideway on the stitch regulator and position the Feed Cam just right to get it out, there is one little sweet spot (turning and shimmying) that will let it free and you can pull it out of the bottom of the Head.

Here's the "FREED" Feed Fork Connection with the Roller removed off of the center Pin. YUCK!

At this point - of course, I'm going to take all the Stitch regulator pieces out and clean those too.

Remove Hinge Screw, washer, Feed Regulator and the big ol screw knob on the front.
You might be wondering at this point why I didn't tell you to take the Stitch Length Regulator out before the fork.   Well, you gotta put the Stitch Length Regulator back in FIRST, so all the work to move the feed cam was necessary anyway.

IMPORTANT NOTE - Be sure there is SOME play between the feed cam and the Feed connecting fork!    It machine feels like it's "binding" - this might be too tight.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Machine Quilting Block Party Update!

I've had a few "sew days with the gurlz" and a retreat weekend in the past few weeks so I've made some progress on several projects!!!   I think my productivity has a lot to do with cleaning out my sewing room to be honest.   I can actually find\organize stuff.

One of the projects that I mentioned that I'd be starting in my Top 10 UFO's for 2017 post was the BOM (Block of the Month) Machine Quilting Block Party hosted by Leah Day.

A very good friend of mine, that less than 2 years ago was a COMPLETE beginner, did the "Block Party" called Sunshine Surprise in 2016.  She took a fast liking to free-motion quilting so I sent her looking for Leah Day.   All I knew about Leah Day at that point was that she had a fast-growing internet presence when it came to quilting on a domestic machine. The more you googled...the more she came up in results.  12 months later, Sabrina presented the most BEAUTIFUL finished quilt!   I couldn't be more proud!   Her skills with piecing, cutting, points and quilting increased 10-fold!!  

Sabrina's Sunshine Surprise
When it comes to free-motion, if you've followed my blog over the years, I'm still a less-than-confident novice.    I can TELL you everything you need to do, but still have this internal hesitation on doing it myself.   Last year - I quilted my first quilt on my Vintage Singer 201 Sewing Machine. You can read about that fun journey here.  After seeing how much Sabrina excelled with Leah Day, I was ONBOARD for doing the next one with her!  

Join us!   Machine Quilting Block Party - Flower Festival.   Block 2 was just released on Feb 1.  First of the month, every month, the next one gets released.  You get the instructions for the block, the template for the quilting and there are many many many videos to provide instruction and confidence along the way!  Tutorial Videos.

So here's how far along I got!

Fabrics Picked!
It's hard to see in the picture - but the background fabric is a light blue\gray batik with Light blue impressions on it. That I bought at Miller's Amish Shop in Lyndonville on a road trip with Rose & Sabrina.  The other Batiks are from Vicki's stash.  The LOUD batiks are going to go on the back of each block.   This is a Quilt-As-You-Go Quilt so all the quilted blocks get attached at the end.  I have a bunch of amazing batiks that I inherited from Vicki that I would never have the heart to cut into.   They are just so gorgeous in BIG pieces.   The back of this quilt will be a cool mish-mosh of some of these fabrics.  The night before retreat I even got these all in the washing machine and dried.   I don't normally pre-wash but Leah Day said so, so I did.   I am a BIG advocate of when you are taking a class\instruction from a teacher, you do everything their way when you are learning.   No matter how skilled\advanced you think you are, there will ALWAYS be something, even if it's just a teeny-tiny tid bit, that you will learn.   Nobody likes a know-it-all student.   If you know it all, why are you taking the class?  Anywho, I digress...

OH - Important to mention!!!   Speaking of learning a teeny-tiny tidbit....let me tell you about the octave my voice reached when I threw in a purple batik fat quarter last minute and the water in the washing machine immediately started turning HOT PINK.    OMG, I totally started to panic.   I ripped that purple out of the water sooooo fast!   Threw it in the laundry tub and tried to rinse it and it just kept flowing, and flowing and flowing hot pink\purple down the drain.   I finally grabbed it like it was a spider body in a kleenex and threw it at the garbage can!!

I had a batik\hand dye discussion with my friend Sandy over at Quilting For The Rest of Us.  (Go on, visit her a minute and then come back.    She does a fabulous "pose" when told to.  (grin) )

Anywho - Vicki was dabbling in dying fabrics, so there is a chance that the purple "batik" I threw in the washing machine was a hand-dyed fabric that had not yet had the color set.  Sandy does a LOT more than dabble with it.   So I peppered her with questions on retreat.   The result is this bulleted list:
  • do NOT wash anything that COULD be a hand-dyed fabric until you soak it in RETAYNE.  Retayne FIXES dye to fabric and should be used in cases where you are concerned that a fabric might bleed.   She recommended only putting LIKE colors together.
  • SYNTHRAPOL is a special detergent that does all kinds of cool stuff.   It suspends dye particles so that they do not reattach to fabric.  Removes sizing, oils, fingerprints and other impurities.
  • a COLOR CATCHER catches loose dyes found in the wash water and prevents the dye from running or bleeding onto other fabrics.   
  • I got REALLY lucky that I caught the only bleeding fabric.

Moving onto Block 1!    "Blooming Nine Patch Block"   I spent about 2 hours starching and pressing all my nice clean fabrics before I started cutting.   I joked a few times...  "why did I wash, dry and then stand here making it stiff again...."

"Bleeding and Shrinking" I was reminded.... I have to admit - working with this fabrics after all this preparation was REALLY worth it.   I have never felt more confident putting pieces under the needle.

Just keep piecing, just keep piecing
Block 1 - NOT yet Quilted
Block 2 - minus the center
Block 2 went together beautifully as well.   It's not sewn down yet and somewhere between my dryer and retreat, the yellow batik disappeared...  I had a small piece with me for the center of Block 1, but not enough to do the center of block 2 and I wanted yellow there.    This one is an applique block.  I want to watch Leah's video on how SHE does the applique steps here.  I was going to hand applique it down, but again....why take a "class\guided instruction" if you are just going to do it your way??

Home on the design wall
I worked on several other projects at retreat, which I will cover in another post, so these two blocks made it home and up on one of my design walls without being quilted.    I kept feeling this little "tug" about which machine to use to quilt this quilt.    By the time I got set back up at home....I knew what I was going to do...

Meet "Emma"....   (gasp!)  Did you even know that I had a computerized machine?? This is actually "Emma II".  My first machine was a Viking Designer 1 that I purchased as a house-warming gift to myself back in 2003.  My first love was Machine Embroidery...not quilting.  More on that some other time. A few years later, I had an opportunity to upgrade to a Designer SE, so I did!  Anyway... a long-time friend of mine happened to mention that she was looking for a new home for HER DSE.   We bought them\upgraded them at the same time.   So this little nostalgic tug pulled at me....  Lula... Lula is Emma's SISTER!   Don't ask me why, but she's coming home with me too.  So Lula and Emma will live happily ever after together...    Ok yeah - getting off track here...

So I set up my Viking (Emma) in my cabinet and grabbed an old practice sandwich to take her for a spin....

Practice, practice
The BLUE thread is from a show I did.   We were testing tension on an old Singer 15-91.  I loaded up some rainbow varigated thread and just started testing out some of the blank space that was left on this scrap.   Once I got my rhythm going, I slapped a 10" square light blue batik right on top of it and loaded up a different thread.

Really liking this thread Weight!

Looks like a 40wt cotton
So after playing around a bit, I've decided I'm going to DOUBLE my batting on my Leah Day blocks, and try using a heavier thread with the quilting.    Stay tuned!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Splendid Sampler Happenings

I remember hearing something about this "Splendid Sampler" thing somewhere.   And a few of my Besties asking "Are you doing it??"  My besties and I do a lot of projects together.  I opted OUT of this one because I work full time and have machines to finish for customers.  This is a VERY active bunch of ladies!!!   New blocks are released twice a week (Sundays & Thursdays) and are not just shapes thrown together.   There are some VERY cool blocks here!  

So while off in Syracuse this past weekend for the AQS show, I get wind of an event at Calico Gals on Thursday night!  "Meet up in the Middle" -Pat Sloan called it.   "People are bringing their blocks, Pat Sloan will be there, etc and so on".  Lori couldn't make it, so I took her place with Charlotte.   Can I just say....WOW.   What a fun, crazy, awesome group of peeps!!   Here's some pictures from the event!!

<<insert Pics>>

It was nice to see Joan Ford of Hummingbird Highway again.   We had a class with her a few years back and had an absolute blast.   She even blogged about it here.  My Jewel Box Journey is one of her patterns!

Needless to say - upon returning from my trip and having the luxury of an internet connection (which was non-existent at Quilt Camp de la Charlotte... I started sifting through the Spendid Sampler site and downloading my favorites.  I'm not interested in making them all, but as a result of seeing so many design walls...there are a few I DEFINITELY want to make!!!

The first one that caught my eye was "Blossoming" by Jenny Reynolds.
Nature's Walk
Stitch Crazy By Kathy Schmitz