Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It is done and running strong!

   I need a drumroll. Finally, the 201 I bought in tattered wiring condition and filthy, is actually sewing. I could clean and polish, but it took a friend to do the wiring in the motor. It even took an entire day for me to finally hook it up and run. My husband said electrical stuff it like that. Sometimes it just has be the right time to fire. Today, I sewed with it. At first it was great gobs of loopy thread underneath. I took off the the tension knob and re-cleaned and re-oiled, re-assembled. I found some vintage bobbins, the new ones don't work. I had to hold down the bobbin winder, but it did the job. The bottom case is all finished also, looks terrific with the machine.

Ensconced in the sewing room

  Since this machine took a long time to find, to clean, to get wires right, I thought the first thing to sew were some blocks that Missy Shay requested for a prayer quilt she is making a friend. I had the right color scraps and was able to sew 8 of them, the stitching close to flawless, still need some tweaking. I had to oil a few moving parts again, but soon it was just humming. The 201 is such a stately machine. I still love the 301s, I feel I know them. Love the slant needle, metal gears, no belts.
Red and white Rail Fence Blocks courtesy of the 201

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Working away on different things

    Since I have a lot of projects going on at once, sometimes I just chip away at a variety of them. I needed a birthday card for a very good friend, so I usually make cards in a multiple of 4 because I have to drag so much stuff out. I wish I could take an entire day and make a whole supply of cards. I used batik scraps (always save them, rescue them from others) on a base of heavy interfacing sewing on my Singer 401 with YLI invisible thread, black aurifil in the bobbin. I added some novelty yarn at the edges instead of doing satin stitch zig zags.
     I have been cutting up jeans that some quilt guild friends donated to me. I am making another applique art quilt. I did not want to throw out so much, so it dawned on me that I could cut the pockets out in the shape of stockings. I got some recommendations on sewing them, like using a denim 16 needle, and hammering down the seams. I sewed two just to see if I coud do it. I used the 401, invisible YLI thread, and aurifil in the bobbin. Here are the first two. I don't want to use Christmas trim, but how can I add some things to this to make them extra special?
One side

The other side  
 The landscape quilt in progress. Next step, cut denim out for each numbered template shape and start assembling on the hand dye. I am going to pin them down after applying Liquid Thread like Grace Errea showed on her applique quilts on The Quilt Show episode. They won't stick at this point, but be ironed later. The plastic overlay sheet will help me (hopefully?) position them. Then iron them down, then quilt adding the batting and backing first. Clear as mud?
The freezer paper templates

The plastic sheet line up guide on the hand dye background

The original sketch with values added

        Also, I finished quilting the leader-ender 4 patch quilt from a  previous post. All it needs is the binding. I quilted it with Glide, a USA made polyester thread, that I was dying to try. I bought some from Just Threads at the quilt show in Old Forge. A huge cone for $8.99. It is a little heavier than Isacord, but it is AWESOME quilting with it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Cleaning

   Besides the 301, I also have been working on a Singer 237 I bought that will go into the treadle stand that is not completed refinished. This machine was made in Italy, so now I have the US, Great Britain, and Italy represented in my sewing colony. It was not terribly dirty, but surprising, inside, it had a lot of surface rust. This machine is from the 70s, and all the older machines I have, have never had rust like this one. The casting is a lot rougher than my other Singers. A green scratchie and rubbing alcohol got rid of most of the rust. The needle plate was stuck to the insides with rust, yet the outside of the machine is pristine. I wonder if the quality of the steel was just not as good? I remember Fiats and Alpha Romeos from the 70s and they were a joke of a rustbucket- great interiors, lousy steel. Anyways, I coated all the metal with Tri-flow and hope that will arrest the problem. I am going to disengage the motor for use on a treadle so I can zig zag on a treadle. The belt that was on there was so stiff, that the motor wouldn't turn the machine, so I put on one of those rubber band types to see how it sews. The zig zags looked perfect. I had done a lot of digging out of old gunk in the zig zag gears with wooden sticks and alcohol and regreased with Tri-flow grease, so it paid off. Now, I have the refinish job on the treadle top to contend with and I can't work out in the garage anymore.
Before cleaning

Cleaning out the surface rust

The zig zag gears

All shined up, ready to sew

Just a cleaning machine

     My new base came in from Cindy Peters, an oak base to fit the 201 in when the motor goes back in. First photo is the unfinished and the second is one coat of Minwax Antique Oil Finish. I sanded it with fine sandpaper and wiped it with a tackcloth before the first coat. Tonight, I will put on the second coat. I plan about 4 coats. I like the color just fine without any stain. Wood mellows over time.

    I can't stand having dirty machines around, so I cleaned the newest 301 in the herd I got from eBay. I am including photos of the packaging, because it was great and there was no damage. The case was packed inside a sturdy box and then the machine was bubble wrapped and packed with styrofoam very well. 
    Although this was a very good cosmetic machine, the insides were the dirtiest 301 I have seen, check out the lint cake. All the insides had black, thick deposits. They cleaned well with 90% rubbing alchohol. Not only the gears, but inside the side cover, the bobbin, the handwheel, and all metal rods. I thought the machine breathed easier when it was clean. The drip felt was disgusting and moldy and I threw it out. Now where did that extra one I bought get put? Someplace safe, but forgotten for the moment. After cleaning, when I fired it up and test sewed, it hummed with that heavenly 301 motor to gears sound. No problems at all with the stiches. Just very dirty.

Cosmetically great pre-cleaning

Yucky, yucky underneath

Used the dental picks to get out all this fossilized lint

Deciding Placement

    I have all the crumb Attic Window blocks done. I have them on the design wall. They are 8 1/2" blocks. I have to make up my mind about the placement and then tape label the rows so I can stitch them together. All the crumbs were made on the treadle, the strips were sewn on with the 301.

Flowers for the season

     I do plan on posting sewing machine and quilting posts later today, but since I get so much of my inspiration from nature in my art, I am going to post some frost photos and the christmas cactus blooms that I shot. First, is my vintage sewing machine PLANTER. A friend bought this for me and at first I thought it was a sewing machine. I had to go to the Depot and buy some succulents for it and now it is on display in my window.
Vintage Sewing machine planter

Red Sunset Maple

Japanese Maple

Dawn Redwood

Endless Summer Hydrangea

Fall Anenome

Geranium leaves

Frosted Mums

Red Sunset Maple

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Quilts Unlimited in Old Forge at the View

     Every year, the third week of August for over 15 years, my family rents a house near Old Forge, NY and enjoys the Adirondacks (ADK). We saw the building over the years of the new arts center called the View. It is absolutely one of the best spaces I have ever seen. On Nov. 2nd, Quilts Unlimited opened. I had never been to Old Forge any other time of the year and now, it is pretty much a ghost town. Just getting a decent cup of coffee is a challenge. My sister in law I went to the opening as I have two pieces in the show. The quality of the quilts just blew me away. I don't think I can post the photos of others' quilts although I took many. Pat Pauly put some on her blog, I think. The View will have a slide show of them soon as they did for last year's show. We had a great time, stayed at the Water's Edge, and did some sewing in our room. I taught Ann to sew inset circles and thin insets. I met Elizabeth and Lisa there and got my new Singer 237 for my treadle. Photos of that later.
View from my room, McCauley Mtn at back

Old Forge Beach

Circle sewing practice

That's my quilt, next to the Sock Monkeys

Like I said, the space is beautiful