Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tidy OOP

Do you remember in The Producers (the movie) when Ulla (payed by Uma Thurman) kept saying "Ulla tidy oop"?  It is one of our favorite expressions.  Not that we tidy up all that much.

Yesterday I was thinking "Ulla tidy OOP" as I was playing in the sewing loft.  I have an abundance of scrappy blocks. Some went into  Alice's Quilt.  I even had thought that I might sew them all together thusly.  Instead I came up with this:
The whole point of "tidying OOP" is to reduce the stash.  In auditioning fabric , though, I create quite the mess.  First I went through the larger pieces hanging on my rack.

I  pulled out a possible candidate.  Tangled in the loose thread of one of the fabrics was a trapped mouse.  Naturally I screamed, dropped the hanger and all, and ran to the other side of the room.  As if  a teeny, tiny, little mouse is going to hurt me. I'm weird like that. 

I knew that I had to deal with it myself.  The GWH (Great White Hunter)  was running errands (for me, I might add).  So, I warily approached and discovered that the mouse was still alive, caught in the trap only by his tail.  I screamed again, this time, feeling his fear and confusion.   The fabric hangs close enough to the floor so a mouse, dragging a trap, could get enmired in Moda.

I picked up the hanger and all, dragged the poor little thing across the floor, down the stairs and out the door into the snow.  He fought the whole way, trying to get loose.  I kept saying "I'm sorry"  over and over. 

Outside I placed the hanger on the chain link fence and went to retrieve tools to release the tail.  First I cut the threads loose and he tried to crawl off dragging that trap behind him.  "No you don't!" I stepped on the trap, lifted the hinge with a pair of pliers and freed him. He promptly headed toward the door to the loft.   "Don't do it!"  and he veered away, off to the weeds.  Somewhere there is a very frightened little mouse with a broken tail shrouded in Moda fabric threads.

 Since there was nothing on the rack suitable for this quilt, I turned to my smaller scraps.  I found just the color, my favorite; a piece just under two yards.

Luckily there was enough
Now to piece it.  This is a perfect project for today.  Mindless busy work.  I need that. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

The only Constant is Change

I finished a quilt today.  While I can't admit that I had a deadline, I was determined to finish this as soon as I could.  Change comes, life alters, energy shifts and I needed a goal.  So.

The front is quite lovely but the registration marks still show and detract from the quilting.  You saw a sample of it in the  previous post.  So far I have forty hours of quilting in this project.  That might count the frogging (rip it rip it) required to fix some minor errors and one major tension issue when the top thread wasn't threaded correctly.  Boy were those four rows of piano keys E A S Y to rip out.

I think my favorite part of machine quilting is when I tear those red snappers off the frame and flip the quilt to the back.  It is just SO COOL to see how it came out.

I want to let you all know that tinkering with machines is no longer an obsession.  I am divesting now.  The  South River NJ haul will go to a new home sometime this winter.  Likely some parts machines too.

It's been a ride.  I have had more fun than I could have imagined.  Betsy came over this weekend and we prepped a machine for a friend of mine.  We laughed and laughed as we remembered: The Pfaff, RUN, that piece of crap barrister book case and that fateful trip to Albany to fetch that unbelievably cheap 221.

I love old machines.  I was a happy camper in my shop.  Life has a way of offering gifts and right now life has offered me an opportunity to go, as Pema Chodron says, to  The Places that Scare You
Maybe this lifelong resistance to enlightenment has come to roost.  Who knows?   I never really cherished enlightenment.  I just hoped for some joy and fun.  That I have had tinkering with machines and now, that era is over.  The machines and all the attendant paraphernalia must go.

I likely will still blog away.  I might even blog about my remaining machines.  Hey, I love my 201-1, my 15-90, that wonderful Necchi BF and Super Nova.  I can't let go of the lovely Brother Zig Zag either.  I might be able to sacrifice the 237.  It isn't as quiet as the Brother and now that I have the lovely treadle work area that fits the Brother, well.....

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Little More Light

I have plenty of light in the quilting "studio".  It just isn't quite in the right place. I have an awful time seeing when I am using matching thread or white on white.  Halfway through this quilt I switched to a different dark thread.  It blends nicely and I can see it more easily. 

Still I struggled.  I showed Steven this  link to the You Tube video by Jamie Wallen demonstrating how to make a side light.   So out to the shop he went to cut and sand the piece of wood.  I spray painted it and the next day I installed the 14 inch under-counter light .

It works great.

When I can pry the light off the "extremely strong double stick mounting tape" I will shift its position; not quite on the edge to cut back on the glare. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Measure Twice

cut Once.

For years my sewing surface was a cobbled together collection of sewing machine stands.  These were the ones that I might need someday.  One is a Kenmore stand that fits my all time favorite Kenmore: (click to see her photo)  Lila .

The other came with a 404.  I had removed the machine and parked it at the Quilt Zoo, in hopes that someone, needing a machine, would use it and fall in love.  IT WORKED!!  So when the buyers told me they wanted a stand, I said HOORAY, and happily removed it from my loft into their truck.

 I am not lacking for sewing machine stands.  So when a nice lady from Vermont called me and asked if I had any sewing machine stands, specifically a Queen Anne or a Model 44, I said COME GET IT!
She has a 201 and was looking for a stand for it.  She would cruise Craig's List looking for machines with stands,  thinking that she would buy the machine, use the stand and ditch the machine.  Just the opposite of what I used to do.  Perfect match. 

The Queen Anne was in the living room holding a lamp and a photo and one of my Red Heads.   I needed to replace it, so I moved Lila's stand from the loft to the living room.  

That night, at dinner:  "Honey, do you remember how you promised you would make a new table top for my treadle stand?"

"Yes, I do."

"Do you think now would be a good time to  make good on that promise?"

Turns out, he agreed.  I wasted no time in designing the top.  I wanted plenty of space to my left to support the large quilts as I pieced rows together, added borders and binding.  I also wanted space to support the fabric as it passed under the needle.  We decided on a 48 inch square with a cutout for seating.

By now all that was left in the loft was the treadle stand itself.  When Steven asked how big to make the cut out, I merely measured the length of the treadle stand.  

I decided to live with it.
I positioned a school cabinet underneath the left side of the top.  We trimmed the feet just 3/4 of an inchso it would slide right under it.  I moved all four drawers to the left side of the cabinet and Steven added two more to the right. 

I love it.

The only problem is that I have to use the Necchi hinges because Singer hinges don't fit the Necchi.  I am in love with this Necchi.

But not to worry, thanks to Betty, who sent a link to the McKenna Linn's site, we drilled out the holes in the Necchi and now I can switch out machines at will.  Oh and Steven decided that yesterday would be a good time to add an extra piece to the top to correct my measurement error.

I finished the quilt so I have time to sand and paint this repair before its time to attach binding.  If you notice, that is a Singer 15-90 in the stand.  I like this machine.  It is noisier than the Necchi; much noisier.  The Necchi dislikes my polyester thread.  My Super Nova is just as fussy. I think it has to do with close tolerances in the machining.  I doubt I will give up this machine in favor of the Necchi, but if I had to choose between the Necchi and this one, well, I'll let you guess.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Don't sweat the small stuff

I'm not sure that it is all small stuff.  Some of my stuff is big.  Some, not so big  But there is one certainty, I have a lot of stuff.  All this stuff creates chaos and the shop was ground zero.   Betsy came over on Sunday and we cleaned it up.  It really didn't take so long.   I should have done this ages ago; I just couldn't.  All that stuff. It paralyzed me. 

I had some interest in the Vibrating Shuttle I have posted on Craigs list.   No bites. I love this treadle stand but I prefer the action of my other irons.  I need more working area,  too.  Maybe I will pop a different machine into this stand to see if that garners more interest. 

 I need to address this chaos so it's time to move some machines out.    I had a 15-91 with no foot controller  because it came in a cabinet hard wired for a knee controller.  The wires are in pretty good shape and I am not going to re-wire its motor.  OK OK  maybe I should it is 82 years old.  I will at least service the motor.  Maybe.  OK  change the brushes and put n new wicks and grease.  Oh, yeah, that's servicing the motor. 
It's in remarkable shape.  Today I cleaned it and oiled it.  I even took apart the tension assembly.  Betsy found a foot controller in my chaos when she was cleaning.  So this one could be ready for a new home.  Once I service the motor; or not. 

I also found a 201-2 tucked away.  It's had the whole re-furb.  New motor wires, new foot controller wires, cleaned oiled.  I am sure the motor has new wicks and grease.  It's not as old; AK serial number so it's after the Singer Centennial.  Nice machine, though.  Decals in great shape.

It felt good to be out in the shop again.  There simply isn't enough time to do it all.  At least I am never bored.


Friday, October 14, 2016

It's the Little Things

For some reason I decided to put this Necchi in the treadle stand.  The challenge: hinge pin holes were larger on the Singer than on the Necchi by about 1/16th of an inch.

I got out the chisel and the drill, made room on the stand for the Necchi hinge pins and voila.

Big problem.  The treadle stand is O L D.  There isn't enough wood to hold the hinge pins to my satisfaction.  I guess the time has come to design a new top for the treadle stand.

I have several machines that I like to treadle: the 201, the 15 90, the 237, all Singers.  I would love to get the Brother to fit, too.
I would love a large smooth top with an area just to my left that will support large projects.  I am sure it can be built.  I know just the person to do it.  For now, though, I will be happy to play with the Necchi.  It is very smooth and quiet, making sewing a true pleasure.  It's the little things.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival

My vote is for Gene Black's quilt "Grad Quilt" in the large quilt category.   You can see his blog about it here:

I looked through the other entries and decided that his is the only original design.  I could be wrong; Moscato consumption is to blame if I am incorrect. 

And here is the link to the Actual Festival .

Vote your conscience.