Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bee Block #1

I joined a quilt block bee over on Threadbias.  It's a bee for people who are new to quilting, or new to bees.  I figured since I can answer yes to both, it would be perfect.  They posted the January block already.  The woman in charge this month wanted scrappy, brightly colorful log cabin blocks with logs of varying widths.  Even though I'm in the middle of my own log cabin quilt I was excited to try this because this is the first time I've mad a log cabin block where the logs were different widths.  It was an interesting experiment! 

I hope she likes it.  Scrappy and colorful?  Yes and yes.  She named the colors she wanted in the block and included every color of the rainbow (except purple), plus white and gray.  I tried to include it all.  I'm also trying not to pick it apart in my head and criticize it.  This is for beginners, after all.  Hopefully everyone will be kind.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Reading Material

It's only been within the past few days that I've felt healthy enough to venture downstairs and start sewing again.  It's amazing how being sick can sap you of your creative energy.

I started repairing my nephew's Christmas quilt...I'll post a picture when I'm done, which will hopefully be tomorrow.  I think I may like it even more post-repair.

I also had my birthday yesterday.  I celebrated with my parents and siblings on the 15th and got a book called Sew One and You're Done from my mom. The blocks are on the traditional side, but it was neat to see how many quilt tops you can make from just one block.  I think I'm going to make some of the projects, because they could be updated with some modern colors or prints.

My husband also got me a quilt book for my birthday: Dare to be Square Quilting.  So awesome.

I love so many of the projects in this book.  It's also interesting to me because it departs from the usual quilt-making technique of making a bunch of the same block and stitching them all together.  I can't wait to delve into some of these projects.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Lately I just haven't been able to get into a sewing mood.  Maybe it's because I do most of my sewing after my kids are asleep, and lately I've been feeling so sick and tired that I just fall asleep as soon as the kids do.  I don't know.  But I've lost my sewing mojo lately.

At least the Christmas preparations have been going in my favor. My mom found a Christmas gift that she absolutely loved, so she already bought it and informed my brother, sister, and I that we could pay my dad and that would be our Christmas gift to her.  She also found a gift for my dad that my siblings and I could chip in on, so those are two gifts down.

Unfortunately I've had two setbacks.  My nephew's crib quilt tore apart in the wash (I'm still puzzling out how that happened - it's not like I washed it with razors) and will be in need of repair.  I'm going to ask the good people of Threadbias about the best way to approach that one. Also, today I went to find more gray fabric, which was the background fabric for my mom's quilt top (I'm still going to give it to her, maybe for Mother's Day) and found that the fabric I used is gone!  It's so hard to find gray solid fabric.  I'm going to bring back a piece of what I bought and see if I can buy a couple more yards...maybe the fabric was just on order or behind the cutting counter while I was there.  But I'm reluctant to make more HSTs unless I know I have enough gray to complete the whole thing.  Ugh.

In the meantime I'm going to start something new.  I bought some fat quarters and I'm going to make a hexagon quilt.  I found a website where you can print out hexagons of any size, and another site that teaches you how to draw your own perfect hexagons with a compass.  I just did the print site.  Hopefully I can make a rainbow of hexagons and that will get me back in the mood to sew.  Part of me feels like I should work on my son's teacher's mug rug, but really, that will take no time at all.  Why force it?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getting back to sewing

I haven't been sewing much lately - I just haven't felt up to it.  I actually stayed home from my local Modern Quilt Guild sew day today, but even though I felt too sick to do anything drastic - like getting out of my pajamas - I did feel up to doing a couple brief errands and then going downstairs and sewing.

Christmas is coming up fast and I'm not close to finishing my list of handmade Christmas gifts for my family.  Today I started sewing HSTs for my mom's big Carpenter's Wheel quilt, and I finished binding my nephew's crib quilt.  I didn't have much to go, I just hate binding SO MUCH...but at least now it's done.

I am pretty bummed out because I finally got an idea for my dad's Christmas gift...a while ago I bought the pattern for these drawstring bags.  I think there are seven sizes in the pattern.  I was going to make him a set of all of the sizes, and I was going to use ripstop nylon for the bags.  I figured they'd be handy for his camping trips, especially his big trips to the Boundary Waters between Minnesota and Canada.  My mom thought that was a great idea...until he bought a few commercially-made drawstring bags recently.

Come on, Dad!  Give me a break here!  I think I may have to buy him something, but he's impossible to buy for too.  Ugh.

Gift list:

Brother & his girlfriend: mug rugs
Sister & her fiance: mug rugs
Son's teacher: mug rug
Nephew: crib-sized quilt
Mom: quilt top
Dad: Who knows.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nothing to do with sewing

Yes, this is a blog about sewing.  But we all have lives outside of sewing, and mine includes my career as a speech pathologist and my family, which includes two little kids. 

If you're an educator (like me) or a parent (also like me) you'll want to check out Smart Apps for Kids.  I think I've linked to them before...every single day they post an app that's usually educational, always free, and always good.  And right now they're giving away some iPad Minis and a code for an app I've been looking forward to.

Go check it out!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Can I get a do-over?

So even though I have a lot of sewing to do for holiday gifts, I had to re-do a project.  My Mod in Milwaukee challenge project.  You know, when I finished it and immediately had the urge to take a photo of it for the competition and then tear it apart and turn it into pot holders, that should have been a red flag that I really wasn't happy with it.  But at the time I felt like it was such a headache that I didn't want to revisit it.

Well, after some time with it on my wall in my bedroom I realized I couldn't let it stay the way it was.  So I did the project over again.

I like it better this time.  Even the stitching in the middle of the squares turned out nicer.

Overall, I'm glad I did it over.  It's still not going to win anything, but I'm happier with it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Addictive little hexagons

I had pretty much vowed not to start any more projects until my holiday sewing was done.  However, my grandfather passed away about a week ago, and last Tuesday I spent a significant amount of time at my mom's house, watching her newborn puppies while she and my dad wrapped things up at my grandfather's funeral.  I didn't want to bring my hand crank machine along because my back has been acting up (its weight is the only thing that makes me occasionally consider getting an electric sewing machine), and I was afraid to use my mom's sewing machine for fear that it would bother the puppies (however, their ears are closed, so they wouldn't have been able to hear anyway).  So I decided to try English paper piecing by sewing some hexagons.

I hate hand sewing so I figured I'd hate making hexagons.  However, I love the look of hexagons and wanted to see how much of a pain they were to make.  I printed off this template and looked at a few tutorials.  This video was the most helpful for me.  Then I tried it.


Those little things are like potato chips - you can't have just one.  I made a whole bunch that day, and have made more since.  There's something so satisfying about ending up with that perfect little hexagon.

I think I'm going to make a bunch and applique them to a quilt...just a long line of hexagons down one side of the quilt.  I don't have the patience to make a whole quilt that way, and I don't really care for the hexagon flowers.  I love these little things, though.

I'm definitely motivated to get moving on my holiday sewing so I can spend my winter break making a whole pile of little hexagons.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Crib quilt

I'm continuing to work on my holiday gift list.  My nephew is getting a crib-sized quilt.  He's two and my sister has decided that he's old enough for a heavy blanket this winter, but when she priced toddler sets she decided it would be cheaper to let me make him one for Christmas.  Thanks, sis!

I made him a quilt where the top is just four wide stripes.  In each stripe I'm quilting some designs that appeal to him - his name, pirates, trains, and puppies.  So the interest will be in the quilting, not really in the piecing. 

This is my favorite picture so far.  Run, little puppy!
 This is part of a pirate scene.  There's also a dolphin and an island with a palm tree.  This is just the ship and the sea monster.
 One of the panels has a train, and it's my least favorite.  I'll have to think of some things to add to it to make it less plain.
 Finally, I'm stitching my nephew's name into one of the panels.  Since the letters are big it's taking longer than I had expected.  Those letters take forever to fill!  I still have one and a half of them left.
So that's my nephew's quilt.  Once it's done I'll move on to my son's teacher's gift.

Gift list:

Brother & his girlfriend: mug rugs
Sister & her fiance: mug rugs
Son's teacher: mug rug
Nephew: crib-sized quilt
Mom: quilt top
Dad: Pot cozy?  Or...something?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I finally finished my double-slice quilt.  We're having an unseasonably warm couple of days here in Wisconsin so I'm not going to curl up with it yet.  But it's going to be back down into the 40s by the end of the week, so it'll be put into good use then.
 I like the texture that the spirals give the quilt.  I can't wait to see it after it's been washed!
 The loops in the border were my first project that was done with the 115.
My first quilt that was made entirely with people-powered machines!  I'm so proud of it!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Handmade Holiday

This year my brother, my sister, and I decided to make handmade gifts for Christmas.  Actually, I decided, and my sister jumped on the bandwagon because it would be cheaper.  I left a voice mail for my brother outlining our plan and saying that the kids and I would be very happy to get cookies, banana bread, or anything else he could bake for Christmas.  I assume he's in.

I have a long list of handmade gifts for Christmas.  For my brother, my sister, and their significant others I plan on making mug rugs.  The mug rugs came together really quickly...piecing, basting, and quilting took only an afternoon and evening.  Tomorrow I hope to bind them and cross them off my list.

I love log cabin blocks.  I figured this would be a good way to make the couples' mug rugs coordinate without matching exactly.  The blue ones will be for my brother and his girlfriend, the purple for my sister and her fiance. 

I'm going to buy some cheap mugs and roll up the mug rugs in the mug.  Then I'll add some homemade cookies if I have time, and candy canes if I don't (who am I kidding, I may as well buy the candy canes now, that's totally how I'm going). 

So, that's four gifts nearly knocked out and it's not even Halloween.  That's good, because there are some others on my list that are going to take a ton of time.

My list:

Brother & girlfriend - mug rugs
Sister & fiance - mug rugs
Son's teacher - mug rug
Nephew - crib sized quilt
Mom - Carpenter's Wheel quilt (at least the top)
Dad - pot cozy

I went to my local modern quilt guild's sew day and squandered my precious hours working on my scrappy log cabin quilt and my double slice quilt.  I should have planned ahead and done these instead!  I'll know for the November sew day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another addition

This weekend was my sixth wedding anniversary.  My husband and I went out to lunch and then went thrifting, which is what we did on our first date.

I was amazed when I saw this at Goodwill.
It's a badged National brand sewing machine, apparently made for the Montgomery Ward company.

The flowers were pretty a hundred years ago, and might be pretty again when I'm done cleaning it.

I usually don't buy non-Singer treadles because it can be tricky to find parts if things are missing.  But this one came with a bunch of attachments, a spare shuttle and several spare bobbins.  I think it'll work once I get a belt on.  It came with a long piece of wire that was being used as a belt.  It's so cool to see evidence that the previous owners used it.

I need to find a manual for it...that metal part on the top is the tension mechanism, and I have no idea how to thread through it.  I can't wait to try it out. 

However, this is my ninth treadle and my third that is complete in its cabinet.  I love getting them, cleaning them up, researching them and discovering their stories, but I don't have space to warehouse them.  I emailed a museum to see if they'd be interested in some of my non-functioning machine heads.  It would be nice for them to go somewhere where they'd be appreciated and admired.  There just aren't that many people out there who want them.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zip it

Last month my husband and I went camping with our kids.  It was a miserable time...they're usually good campers, but everything was going wrong that weekend.  On Sunday we went to a flea market in a little town near our campsite.  I was on the lookout for antique sewing stuff, as always.  I found a plastic spool box with some feet and class 66 bobbins.  It was cheap, and I figured it would be worth it for the bobbins, which were the old kind and not the new cheap kind that Singer makes currently.

I didn't look too closely at the feet until later.  But when I did get down to looking at them, I noticed one that was different.

Is that a zipper foot?

I don't know if it really is or not, but it certainly functions like one.  I used it for the first time this morning and installed my first-ever zipper.  It was a little fiddly and took two tries, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

I'll be excited to start making pouches and other little items with zippers.  I'm pleased!  It doesn't quite redeem the weekend, but it comes close.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Finished wall hanging

I finished my wall hanging.  Although now I think I may cut it up and make it into a tote bag, or little pillows.  I just can't leave well enough alone.

The writing is kind of hard to read, but it says, "Home sweet home Milwaukee."

The squares puckered up...I think that's because I put interfacing on them before I stitched on them.  I was trying to make them stiff, but I think it just ended up weird-looking.  What a headache. 

For now it's gracing the wall in my bedroom.  Until I do something else with it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

In progress

Progress on my wall hanging.  I haven't embroidered the words, "Home sweet home Milwaukee," yet because I didn't have the right color of thread. 

I can't wait to finish it up and get it on the wall.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mod in Milwaukee

My quilting is limited in a number of ways...I have limited experience, limited time, limited hobby allowance.  So when I decided against doing the Mod in Milwaukee challenge that's being put on by the local quilt guild it wasn't really heart wrenching.  It was just another decision being made because of my limits.

But then my husband went and bought the contest fabric for me for our anniversary because I liked it.  And when I got it I couldn't resist planning a quick project and cutting into the fabric.  And as long as I'm going to sew it up, why not enter it?  Not to win, but just for fun.

It's just four blocks, stitched together asymmetrically to make a wall hanging.  I'll use free motion quilting to spell out "Home sweet home Milwaukee."

I was still thinking about the bricks on my son's school, which was my original idea for a Mod in Milwaukee project.  I'll hang it in my room, or maybe by the front door.  I'm excited!

This sketch was made by using an app called Procreate.  It's not a quilting app, but I do use it to plan out my quilts.  Handy!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Collector's Day

Today was Collector's Day at the Milwaukee Public Museum.  I lugged all of my sewing machines downtown, and then lugged them all the way home again.  But it was worth it...I had a lot of people who said they'd look up the serial numbers on their mom's or grandma's old sewing machine, and I think most people walked away with a greater appreciation for old sewing machines.

Here's my table.

You can see the little cards I made telling a bit about each machine.

I didn't make the yellow card - the museum people did.  It even has a Singer model 15 on it!

You can see I had scraps of fabric in two of my machines.  I let people try out my 115 treadle and my hand crank Singer 66.  I don't know how educational it was for the kids, but the adults seemed to enjoy it.

The woman who runs it already said everyone that was here this year should come back next year, and I'm looking forward to it.  But I am glad it's only once a year, because those machines are heavy to move!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Former UFO

I finally finished my Floating Dresdens quilt!  

I really hate binding.  I haven't figured out a way to make it look great by machine, and hand binding takes forever.  I know some people machine sew the front and hand sew the back, but that doesn't seem easier than hand sewing the whole thing.  I have another quilt that's on hold because all that's left is to hand sew the binding and I just hate doing that.  I'll do it at my local quilt guild's next sew day.

Anyway, I bound this one with my Singer model 27... flipping the backing fabric over the front, folding it, and sewing it down.  Cheating!

Finishing a quilt is a little anticlimactic because after all these months of work it just winds up getting tossed onto the rocking chair in my living room, or stuffed into the basket where we keep our quilts.  But over the next weeks I'll see my husband and kids wrap themselves in it, build forts with it, and take it to bed with them to keep them warm all night.  That makes the work worth it.

This former UFO is finally done.

UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

Monday, September 24, 2012

Background quilting done!

I finished the background quilting on my Floating Dresdens quilt!

Long flowing lines?  Check!

Now I just have to quilt around the circles, and it'll be ready to be trimmed and bound.  I'm thinking of just doing cheater binding (flipping the backing fabric up over the front, folding it, and sewing it down) by machine for the sake of getting it done.  We'll see.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Finished mini-quilt

I finished my half-square triangle mini-quilt!  
I bound it by machine to save time, and I don't like how it turned out.  I'll stick with hand binding for now, even though it takes forever.

Now all of the attachments are stitched down and safe against curious fingers.  They are, clockwise from the right, a tucker, a ruffler, a button hole maker, a rolled hem foot, a regular hemmer, and a regular foot. 

I also had a chance to get some more thread (thank you, weekend!) so hopefully I'll have a chance to make some headway on my Floating Dresdens quilt. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Leaves and Berries

This evening I basted and quilted my mini-quilt.  Since it's just a wall hanging I didn't think it needed heavy quilting, like a quilt that's going to be cuddled, washed, and dragged around would.  I just quilted in the white areas and left the print areas alone.

The print is actually supposed to be leaves, stems, and berries.  You can't tell now that it's chopped up.  But I decided to replicate that in the quilting.

I don't know what all those lines are...maybe it was due to the fluorescent lights we have in the basement.  Anyway, the quilting is not really my taste, but I wanted to show off what the 115 could do.  Also, it was really fun.  I love drawing with thread and fabric.

I need to figure out how to include this more in my quilts.

Hopefully I'll have time to bind it this weekend.  Then, if I can get to the store for some more white thread (yes, that's how busy our lives have been lately, not even time to run to the craft store for thread!) I'll be able to do some work on my Floating Dresdens quilt.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

HST mini-quilt

I finished piecing my mini-quilt.  It's just chevrons made with half square triangles.

I always have trouble getting my HSTs to line up exactly at the corners.  I suppose it just takes practice.  There's some pretty obvious places where it doesn't line up. 


I'll just put sewing machine parts over those.

Tomorrow I'll quilt it up and maybe it'll be bound and finished by Sunday night.  I have to go get some more white quilting thread for this and my Floating Dresdens quilt.  I'm not sure how I'll quilt this...the blue fabric is a leaf pattern and I was thinking of quilting leaves into the white parts.  Unfortunately you can't really tell what the blue pattern is since it's all chopped up.  I'll have to think on it.  I really want to do some free motion quilting so I can show off my machines' abilities, but we'll see.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another excuse to make a quilt

I'm still getting my machines ready for the museum's Collectors Day.  I wanted to bring some of the feet and other attachments to show the visitors, but the museum recommends that if you have small parts that you fasten them to something bigger so they don't get lost or stolen.

I don't know who would want to steal a 90 year old sewing attachment, but I guess you never know.

This evening I started covering a piece of cardboard with fabric with the intention of sewing the attachments onto the fabric.  But then I thought, Why not make a mini quilt instead?  

A little wall hanging-sized quilt would be the right size to sew those pieces to, and it would show off how those old machines sew.  Plus, I could hang it up later in my bedroom.  I've pretty much given up on the idea of doing the Mod in Milwaukee challenge since I just don't think I'll have time now that I'm working again, but I had a spot in my bedroom all picked out for the completed wall hanging.  After the museum show I could just clip off the attachments and hang it up.

So, now it looks like I'm making a quilt too.  This whole project is turning out to be a lot more work than I expected.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

UFO Sunday #4

I think today will be my last UFO Sunday because after today, my Floating Dresdens quilt will just be a regular work in progress.

I got lots of good advice last week about how to quilt my big quilt, but the advice I decided to take came from the author of the Mariner's Compass Quilting Project, who suggested dividing the quilt into parts and quilting one part at a time.

So this evening I grabbed a blue fabric pencil and (after testing it on a scrap to make sure it would wash out - what a nightmare that would be if it didn't!) marked out the lines for my quilt...the flowing lines I wanted, going from one corner to the other.

I also made the decision not to quilt the lines through the circles, and instead to quilt the circles by stitching around the perimeter.  This broke up the longest diagonal lines into little segments that ran between the circles.  Not too intimidating at all.

This evening I started quilting around the circles like Leah recommended, and it was a pretty low-stress way to put the first few stitches into a quilt that had been intimidating me for a while.  I'm still pretty new to using my Singer 115 treadle machine, but it performed beautifully and I have no concerns about finishing the quilt with it.

Now that I have some stitches in it's no longer a scary project lurking in the back of my craft space.  Instead it's a quilt that I'm eager to finish and see my kids snuggling under.

 UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In which we abandon the pretense of quilting all together to just gush about machines

The Milwaukee Public Museum is hosting a Collection Day on the first Saturday in October.  It's an event where local collectors can apply to bring whatever they collect in for the day to show the public.

Well, I filled out the application and sent along some pictures of my sewing machines, and they want me to bring them!  I'm excited, but trying to restrain myself, in case the museum has second thoughts about hundreds of pounds of cast iron resting on their tables and taking up floor space.

So instead of sewing, for the past couple of days I've been oiling my machines, replacing parts that I'd removed, and just getting them ready to go.

It's actually kind of embarrassing that I have so just makes me so sad to see one of these in the discount pile at a flea market, or marked down a bunch of times at a garage sale.  I told my husband that I wanted to unload some of them after Collection Day, but since I've been reading up on them and their history, I'm just growing more attached!

Here's my 115, which has been well-photographed lately.

Here's my 27 (the machine I do my piecing on), my 15 (that I bought for $10 at a garage sale with the intention of re-wiring before I found my 115 that I bought for less than the cost of a re-wire), and my Howard (another marked-down item at a flea market).

And finally, my 66 without its hand crank, my 27 machine head, and my lovely Franklin Rotary, which I've been learning a lot about lately.

I'm also going to borrow back the Singer Spartan that I loaned my sister.  That means I'll be lugging eight machines to the museum for six hours, only to lug them all back. 

I don't mind, though.  If I can talk a few people into dusting off Grandma's old machine and trying it out, or at least appreciating what it meant and what it can do, then it will be worth it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

UFO Sunday #3

I really thought that last Sunday would be my last linking up with UFO Sundays at the Free Motion Quilting Project.  My list of projects that are undone or ongoing is relatively short, so after I finished my mug rug and trashed my wall hanging I figured I'd be done.

But, to be honest, I have one more UFO.  This.

My Floating Dresdens quilt.  I basted it nearly three weeks ago, and then rolled it up and haven't touched it since.  I know three weeks isn't long, but usually when I baste a quilt I'm on it the next day, quilting it up.  Not this time.

I could say that I was busy getting acquainted with my Singer 115.  I could say I was trying to get the tension just perfect on that machine before I quilted with it.  I could say I was trying to make headway on my double slice quilt, or that I was tired from returning to work for the new school year, or any number of things.  They'd all have a bit of truth to them, but the real reason is, I'm nervous about quilting this thing.

When I got background fabric I decided I didn't want a seam running down the middle of it, so I just got 90" wide backing fabric.  Dumb move.  That fabric is flimsy and I fear that it won't withstand sewing, then ripping out, then more sewing.  I want to get it right the first time, instead of making mistakes, ripping them out, and having a quilt that looks mangled and punctured.  I've drawn quilting patterns on top of a picture of it (Procreate is a great app for that) but I'm not sure it'll really look the same when done in thread.

I'm just going to do loose, slightly wavy lines going from the upper left corner to the lower right.  I think.  I don't know!

Last night I figured I need to just sew a seam in this and get on with it.  Living with a mistake would be easier than agonizing over an unfinished quilt.  So I unrolled it and put it on my machine.  I sewed about twelve inches and snapped my thread twice.  Stupid cheap thread!  I wanted to keep going but that was the only white thread I had (how the heck did I run out of WHITE?) so I shelved it again.

However, in that time I got a little preview of how challenging it would be to quilt a nearly queen-size quilt with lines that would flow across its entire length.  It would mean wrestling with the quilt a lot.  When I quilt with smaller designs it means making little movements and only shifting the entire quilt once in a while.  It would also mean having to stop to take out pins (I pin baste since I'm allergic to some chemicals and would hate to put chemical-laden spray baste on something I'll be cuddling with), which might affect the flow of the quilting.

I'll have to do some reading and planning, but it feels good to start addressing the issues on this quilt instead of just letting it sit on a shelf.

UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Putting the 115 to work

I started work last week, but it was just meetings and teacher prep days.  This week the students started back, and oh my gosh, this year has kicked my butt so far.  I can't remember experiencing this level of's nuts. 

I'll figure it out - I always do - but I've been too tired to do much sewing in the evenings.  However, tonight I sat down and spent some quality time with my Singer 115 by doing some loopy quilting in the borders of my double slice quilt.

There are some tension issues to be dealt with.  It's pretty puckered, but I like my quilts to get crinkly in the wash, so that doesn't really bug me.  I do want to improve it before I quilt my Dresden plate quilt, though. 

I was clipping along quickly until I ran out of bobbin thread.  The tire on the bobbin winder is crumbling and unusable, so I can't wind any bobbins until I get the tire I ordered in the mail.  Also, I broke the treadle belt, so instead of using a leather treadle belt I've been using a pair of nylons to run the machine.  They work surprisingly well (and have been working surprisingly well for nearly a week), but I think I'll get less slippage when I use a real treadle belt. 

Thank goodness it's almost the weekend.  I'm completely worn out.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Practicing FMQ

I'm still getting acquainted with my Singer 115 so I haven't sewn any projects with it yet.  Right now I'm content to just practice.

 It runs so smoothly, it's amazing.  I was capable of free motion quilting on my Singer 27, but I had to use some muscle to move the quilt around.  I was putting a lot of tension on those poor threads!  This machine is so fluid, and such a pleasure to work with.

After making a lot of loops, swirls, and shapes I practiced doing some drawing and writing.

I also tried making a feather plume.  That will definitely require some practice!

I'm so excited.  And the deal I got on this machine is even better!  It was a fraction of the cost of fancy quilting was even less than the cheap ones you get at Target. 

I guess it's time to work up the courage to quilt that big Dresden block quilt. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

More geeking out about my sewing machine

I got my new 115 all oiled up, running freely, tension balanced...and then I snapped the treadle belt.

Oh, the cussing that happened after that.

I'm going to order a new belt because the only place I know of to get one locally did some eye-rolling the last time I went in there.  The repair guy even went out of his way to tell me that he'd never repair a machine as old as mine because they were "obsolete."

Thanks dude.  I'll take my belt business elsewhere.

Anyway, since I can't use the 115 for at least a week while I wait for a belt to come in the mail, I spent some time poking through its drawers and enjoying the little artifacts it came with.

The owner's maual for my machine.  I love it when a machine comes with the manual!

I also found a box of attachments.  Imagine how exciting it would have been to open, knowing how much time it would save you and what it would let you do.

Those are some of the attachments.  I think they're a button hole maker, a ruffler, a hemmer, and one of the bobbins.  They're kind of unusual - really flat.  Luckily the machine came with a bunch of spare bobbins which is fortunate because it doesn't take the bobbins you can buy at JoAnn.

A manual to teach you how to sew.  It said it was for home ec and college students, and it teaches you everything you need to know about those new-fangled sewing machines.

Some of the illustrations showing how to use the attachments.

Here's the cabinet, settled into its new home in my sewing corner.

I still can't get over how pretty it is.  With its flower and shell decals...

...the perfect Singer logo, printed in rose, gold, and green...

...and the beautiful big decal on the bed.

So, so beautiful.  I'm so glad I have it to use and enjoy, the way its first owner might have, and that it won't be just sitting around in a garage.

I can't wait to get a new belt and see it in action!