Monday, 31 December 2012

Good-bye 2012

To see the old year out, here is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt, made entirely on two vintage machines, my 1927 99K hand machine and 1945 15K treadle, with hand stitched blanket stitch around the appliqué.  I finished it a few days before Christmas.  So far this is the best photograph I have been able to take.  Big quilt, small house, poor light...

Soon enough I hope to have better photos and will tell you a bit more about it, but we are expecting visitors today so I can't linger.

So whether your plans are for a quiet time or a riotous one tonight

Happy New Year!
Muv  xxx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Roger Moore - Licensed to Purl

Well done Alcea Rosea for spotting him!

Here he is later on in the same book.  Doesn't he look a poppet in his fair isle scarf and gloves. Knitted on size 007 needles, of course. Thank goodness he's cheered up a bit.  Karen Black thought he was smouldering on the last picture.  Probably dangerously near to igniting if he knew how many of you thought he had a girl's body.  Scary girl, that's all I can say.

You might enjoy the snippet I cut from the Daily Telegraph in 2003.

If I ever come across him again I will let you know.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Adjusting the Bobbin Winder on the Singer 99K

This is my Singer 99K.  Other models have the same bobbin winder, the Singer 66 and some class 15s.

Recently the tyre hasn't been making good contact with the wheel when I have been winding bobbins.  I have been being lazy and just pressing it rather than walking across the room to get the screwdriver.  I have finally fixed it today and it took me all of twelve seconds.

It is the big screw at the top left of the picture that needs to be loosened and the metal bracket it holds in place needs to be repositioned by a fraction.  To find the right position, press the bobbin winder so that the tyre makes good contact with the wheel, then tighten the screw.

The irritating part of this job is that the screw is tucked into a fairly tight space, not giving an awful lot of room for your screwdriver to get at it.  This shouldn't be too much of a problem if the screw isn't gummed up or jammed too tight.

If you can't get the screw to move, you can take off the belt guard, to which the bobbin winder is attached.  To do this you take out the screw on the left in the picture above, and the whole component can be taken off.  Once the adjustment screw is freed up, put the belt guard back on and make the adjustment with the bobbin winder in place.

It really is that simple.


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Quick and Easy Dresses Coming Soon

A little while before Christmas Sew Scrumptious Louise nipped round here with a big bag of material. I chose these four lengths so I can play mix and match for the next dresses I make for Dress a Girl. I think I will start with the turquoise batik.  There is a pattern on the LBG Studio website which I printed out last night.  Somewhere I have elastic, it's still hiding, but soon enough I will be all set to start. 

Don't get distracted by the giant sized strawberries.  My husband got me a new ironing board cover for Christmas, a last minute purchase on impulse.  Very loud, very girly, very funny that he chose it, I just had to show you.

A big welcome to Samantha, Alcea Rosea 31, Elizabeth Johnson and Karen Black.  Thank you for following!

Karen is my latest doll quilt swap partner... while I am making the little dress I will be dreaming up a little quilt for her...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Knitted Lace Doily

My husband came home from shopping on Christmas Eve with three bunches of flowers, which led to a flower arranging session, and then a rummage for something to stand the jugs on.  I came across this beautiful little knitted lace doily.

Often people glance at knitted lace and assume it is crochet.  I have seen at least one mislabelled item in a museum.

The only lace knitting I have done was in cream coloured double knitting wool for a cot blanket.  I can't imagine ever settling down and working on tiny doilies - I'm content to admire the work that some patient and skilled lady did many years ago.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

... Glory to the New Born King!

                        Happy Christmas

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Oak Tree and Buttercups

Taken in May 2009 and still my favourite picture.  A meadow right in the south of Somerset, a mile from the edge of Exmoor.

Enlarge it on your screen and imagine you are lying on your stomach looking at the world through a veil of buttercups - my idea of Heaven.  I only got slightly soggy taking this picture, just enough to bring me back to earth.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas Quiz

This is page 129 of Practical Home Knitting published by Odhams in 1949, full of patterns for all the family.

This title of this pattern is " For a young man about the house  ...  Useful polo-neck sweater"

I hope this teen-age youth took good care of this polo-neck sweater, wore it only at week-ends and wasn't too rough with Mother's careful ribbing.  All told, he's looking pretty baleful.  Perhaps she'd ticked him off for leaving it under a pile of dirty socks.

I always found this picture rather amusing, until one day I suddenly realised that it is in fact completely rippingly hilarious.  Can you see why?

Answer next Saturday.

Hello Meridlin.  Thank you for joining!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Quilt Pieced on the Frister and Rossmann Transverse Shuttle

I made this quilt for my daughter.  She likes pink and green.  It is a single sized quilt laid out on a double bed to show the border.  It was pieced on my Frister and Rossman Transverse shuttle - easy with the seam guide in place.  The method for this pattern is shown by Bonnie Hunter on her website Quiltville under the heading Sister's Choice.

For the border I did my own thing, separate blocks of strips.  Bonnie's instructions for borders involves laying the whole top out on the floor - completely impossible in a small house.

At the corners the strips cross over each other.  Feast your eyes on the mismatched seam.  
Every quilt should have its imperfections - it's all part of the charm.

It was long arm quilted by Midsomer Quilting, and because I was feeling particularly lazy they did the binding too.  They did a perfect job.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Not Every Machine Will Shine..

..but this one did.  

This is my Vickers Vibrating Shuttle machine.  It needed a good clean and polish when I got it, and ended up looking beautiful.  The metal really shines, unlike the Frister and Rossmann, which will remain forever dull, however much it is polished.  The Vickers, however has an ill-fitting back slide plate - which just goes to show that all these old machines have their quirks.  Often a battered machine turns out to be a brilliant runner, so it gets used and battered a bit more, whereas a well preserved machine hasn't been used much because it had an irritating feature, like a plate that didn't fit properly.

Either way, there is no better way to get to know your machine than by giving it the full treatment.

Here is Part 2 of yesterday's Youtube epic.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The First Machine I Cleaned Up - 1937 Frister and Rossmann Transverse Shuttle

It hadn't been used for a long time when I got it.  It was a bit grimy and stiff, and over about a fortnight I cleaned it up.  This is the machine that I learnt so much from.  Once it was oiled and running it was an absolute joy to sew with.

Eventually I made the Youtube videos to show that with very basic equipment, anyone can clean  up an old sewing machine - provided it isn't rusty or otherwise too far gone.  You don't need a workshop and fancy tools.  I do all my tinkering on the dining room table - well covered with old newspaper of course.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Tuesday's Top Tip - Pegs, Not Pins

This is what I was wrestling with last week - huge heavy quilted sections that had to be fed through the treadle to join them together to assemble the whole quilt.  Ordinary straight pins are not strong enough to hold the thickness and weight.  Safety pins could put too much strain on the fabric - the top binding, the strip of white, is a single thickness.  Clothes pegs do the job perfectly.  You can match the sections where there are joins at a right angle to the seam you are sewing, the pegs are easy to remove as you are sewing, and most important of all, you don't jab yourself. 

Update - here is the finished quilt!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Today's Light Reading

This was a surprise present from a friend a while ago.  He had found a couple of magazines at a car boot sale.  This was one of the them, the May 1937 issue of The Needlewoman.

On page 3 I found Mrs. Simpson in her corsets.

The shock was so much I needed a cup of hot sweet tea, but we were clean out of Mazawattee.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Yes, I Will Finish It This Year...

... and bring the dining room table back into normal service before this quilt grows big enough to bury everything in sight...

That is the 1927 Singer 99K hand machine just getting in on the picture.  It has been doing sterling work.

I am looking forward to no mega-projects next year.  Quick and easy will be the theme for 2013. Can't wait.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Doll Quilt - Lily's Choice

This is the quilt that Lily helped with - you might remember reading about the great day Lily and I had a few weeks ago working on a quilt top in the morning and making a dress in the afternoon at Cordial and Grace sewing café.

When Lily arrived here in the morning I had a pile of twelve fat quarters in dark colours and twelve in light colours, and I asked her to pick five from each pile.  Then it was time to cut 2 inch wide stripes, and I asked Lily to arrange them in order, alternating the lights and darks, for sewing.  Lily did a bit of the sewing - we used my 1897 Singer 28K for the piecing - and also the ironing.  We didn't have time to complete the top that morning, but Lily was thrilled to see the strips being turned into squares.

Later on I added the border and did the quilting and binding on my 1927 99K, kissed the quilt goodbye and posted it off to Ohio.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Shame It Doesn't Say "Made in England"

A snippet of the selvedge from the backing material will be on the back of The Quilt to show where it was made.

Busy day ahead... the 15K treadle has been wheeled across the room so it is now up against the dining table, which will take the weight of the large panels when I am sewing the long seams.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Willcox and Gibbs Decals

I took a few pictures of the Willcox and Gibbs Automatic this morning so I have a record of how it looks before the clean up.  For the true authentic touch, I haven't even wiped off the dust.  Here is a close up of the decals on the base, which are just so pretty and in such good condition.

Hidden below the needleplate is the serial number.  I submitted a photo of this machine to the Needlebar website a while ago, and was delighted to be told that this serial number dates the machine back to 1888.

I am being very strict with myself and not touching it until I have finished The Quilt, which I hope will be next week... 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Tuesday's Top Tip - Changing the Top Thread While Sewing

This is a little trick I use when I run out of top thread - if the top thread has run out make sure that the old thread is still held in place by the tension discs before putting on a new reel.  If you carry on sewing after the old thread has run past the tension discs, the tension of the stitch will be fouled up.

This is also a handy dodge if you want to change the colour of your thread as you are sewing.

These photos show how I have changed from light to dark thread to match the colours I am sewing over, keeping the work in the machine and without any interruption to the stitch underneath, so the bobbin thread just carries on as normal.  The line of stitching which runs from the top to the bottom of the picture was sewn all in one go.

When I reached the end of the white material that I was sewing over, I made sure that the last stitch was still on the white and that I did not  carry on sewing over the dark red.

Then, keeping the foot down and without moving the work, I raised the needle and pulled the top thread loose from above and cut it with about four inches of thread to spare.

Next, I re-threaded the machine with the dark purple thread, pulling the tail ends of both threads out of the way behind the foot, and carried on sewing.

To finish, the tail ends need to be threaded through to the back, and there is now an uninterrupted line of stitching that has changed colour exactly where you wanted it to. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Willcox and Gibbs Automatic

This lovely little machine is a Willcox and Gibbs Automatic which my brother in law found in a charity shop earlier this year.  He bought it and brought it straight round here, knowing that one day I would clean it up and try and get it sewing.  It also needs a minor repair job.

Once the quilt is finished I am going to get my fingernails nice and grimy working on this machine. I'm looking forward to it - a nice tinker over Christmas.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A Bumblebee on a Zinnia

Another picture from Bogusia's garden in Poland.

I'll be a busy bee today putting together the quilted blocks of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee quilt.  It's finally coming together..!!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Call in the Goblins...

... good, efficient little goblins, as shown in the Vesta manual, who will oil your machine for you when you are not looking.

Then they will thread the shuttle, and go and beat up the naughty elves who tangle up threads in bobbin tins when you forget to secure them with wire tags.

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Vesta Manual

Threading the shuttle made easy, as shown in the manual for the Vesta Cylinder Shuttle machine (a transverse shuttle machine with an enclosed, flat-sided shuttle).

These instructions apply to any make of machine with a similar shuttle.  If your shuttle looks like the one in the picture below (whether or not it has a flat side), then follow these instructions.

These are the best illustrations I have ever seen in an old manual.

Is it a tiny man with a regular sized bobbin and shuttle, or is he normal size and the shuttle is a giant mock-up, for demonstration purposes only?  

I think I know the answer.....

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Making Appliqué Stems

Appliqué stems are easier than I anticipated.  This is how I do mine...

First, fold and iron the fabric on the bias and cut a folded strip.  Decide how wide the stem is to be and add approximately an eighth of an inch for the seam allowance.

Pin the strip to the background fabric.  I use tacking stitches to plot the position of the stems, but the stems themselves are kept in position just with pins. Lay the pins over, not through the strip.  Because the strip is cut on the bias you can lay it in a gentle curve and the material will ease itself along under the pins.

Machine stitch an eighth of an inch from the raw edges.

When you have done that, all you need to do is iron it over and sew down the folded edge by hand.

Hello to Jo Waterhouse - thank you for following!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

William Morris Briar Roses

This is the backing fabric for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee quilt which I am working on furiously at the moment.  Sometimes when you buy material and love it in the shop you gradually go off it when you are working with it at home.

With this design the reverse is happening - I love it more every day.  The detail is delightful.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Tuesday's Top Tip - Ripped Tea Bag

There is an awful lot of treadling going on here, getting through the quilted sandwiches and gallons of tea.  Sooner or later, in haste and thirst, you end up ripping a tea bag.  No need to throw it away, mustn't waste tea - just grab a clothes peg.

Of course, you could just take it to the sewing machine to sew it back up, end up ripping it a bit more and watching the tea leaves spill down into the bobbin area.  How do I know?   

Monday, 3 December 2012

Indian Star Decals - Singer 128K

This is my 1934 Singer 128K with the Indian Star decal in the centre of the bed of the machine

The Needlebar website gives information about the different decals found on Singer machines, and it was there that I found out that in each point of the star is written the word Singer in a different Indian language.

This machine was bought from a couple in Shropshire - it had belonged to the wife's mother.  They had no family connections with India and had no idea how they came to have a machine that had been manufactured for export there.  My guess is that it was originally sold in India and was  brought back to this country many years ago.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Red Zinnia

Now that it is cold and dreary, a cheerful reminder of summer.  This was in Bogusia's garden in Poland.


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