Monday, March 2, 2015

More Siggies - All Caught Up Now, and the IDIC Ideal

I looked in the one remaining siggy hiding place and there they were, the four last stragglers.  At least, these siggies are not quite so old as the previous batch.  Three of them are from 2014 and one is from 2013.  Two of them are from Germany, including this adorable little owl seamstress from Manuela Ehrke.  Isn't it sweet?  It appears a bit flummoxed by the idea of sewing on a button.  I can relate as I am currently a bit flummoxed by the idea of sewing an inset seam.  I just don't have the knack for them yet.


I love the tiny little hand stamp on this second german siggy.  The little hands are just darling!  I wonder if it is a generic stamp or if Kathleen Peckmonn had a stamp made from the hand print of someone one of her children?  She didn't say.  The newsprint fabric is very distinctive.  I believe, despite the siggy being from Germany, the language of the newsprint is French.  Mais oui!


Mirjam Beeldmann of the Netherlands, loves "too many kinds of hand and needlework, some as shown in my siggy."  I think those in the siggy are bobbin lace spindles (is that the right word?)  The fabric is really interesting too.  I see cross stitch, floss, spools of thread, a scissors, and embroidery all represented.  I have to laugh, if you look closely, the card of floss is labeled "blanc" but it is actually dark brown.  I love sewing related fabric; it seems very popular.  I guess the marketers understand their market better than their colors.  


This pretty little siggy is also from the Netherlands.  In a way, it reminds me of my own siggy:  horses for Texas and tulips for Holland.  Neither Elly or I looked too far afield for our siggy theme.  I love the rich butterscotch yellows of the center tulip and vase, they marry well with the blood red tulips and the siggy fabric.  Luscious!


I believe I am now completely caught up with all the siggies I have received.  I'm still on Annelies' siggy swap list, even though Annelies is not running it anymore.  I haven't initiated a swap in years; however, I am always willing to swap with anyone who wants one.  Just send me an email.  I even have a few siggies made up, so the wait should be shorter than usual.

It was a very poignant weekend with the death of Leonard Nimoy.  My husband and I are huge Trekkies and the loss of Spock is deeply felt by both of us.  If I thought I could do it justice, I would design an IDIC quilt out of my siggies.  I think siggies are reflective of both the Star Trek ideal of infinite diversity in infinite combinations, and of reaching out to make friends and build bridges across cultures.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Singer Restoration Saturday - Model 127 Disassembly

Last week, my husband, Larry, posted some of the milestones of refurbishing a neglected vintage sewing machine, taking it from boat anchor (or barn decoration, or attic tenant) to bare metal chassis to (almost) finished, working machine. This week, Larry will walk you through the steps required to get the machine from its initial condition, to moving freely again, and ready to paint.  Take it away, Larry!

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First, I had to remove the exterior plates and knobs.  Many of these parts originally had a shiny chrome finish, and should not be painted like the body of the machine.  Also, they will expose inner parts that may need to be removed and cleaned to make the mechanism run smoothly.

Here are before and after pictures, side by side, for each step in the initial disassembly:

Arm Rock Shaft exposed
Arm Cover Plate


Slide Plates and Needle Plate
Slide Plates, Needle Clamp, and Presser Foot removed, exposing Shuttle Holder 

Balance Wheel

Balance Wheel Removed, exposing Bobbin Winder and aged Bobbin Winder Tire



Front View of Bobbin Winder

Bobbin Winder removed

Trapezoidal Plate and 
Thread Tension Regulator
Trapezoidal Plate and Thread Tension Regulator
removed, Needle Bar Cam exposed


Underside - Feed Rocker Shaft (lower) and Shuttle Pitman Shaft (upper)
Underside, Shuttle Pitman Shaft and Feed Rocker Shaft disconnected

Shuttle Pitman Shaft, Feed Rocker Shaft and Feed Dog Carrier parts
At this point, I needed to get the internal parts under the Face Plate out, but they were frozen in place. First, I marked the rods where the clamps held them, so I could put them back in the same configuration when reassembling.  Marking the rods now is essential to properly restore the timing of the sewing machine; no machine will stitch correctly if its timing is off.  After cleaning out the gunk inside this area (mostly old oil and thread lint), it took multiple applications of WD-40 and patience to loosen the Presser Foot Rod and Needle Rod so they could be extracted.

Face Plate removed (upper), exposing Presser Foot Rod and Spring,
Needle Rod, and Thread Take-up Lever

Face Plate removed (lower), exposing Presser Foot Rod, 
Needle Rod, Presser Foot Lifter and Thread Tension Regulator
Finally, the two rods came out, and I was able to get the main arm shaft moving again. Yay! The pencil in the picture below is pointing at a small washer that goes on the little cam, reminding me where to put that little bitty thing when putting everything back together.
Presser Foot Rod and Needle Rod removed
Finally I reached the point of diminishing returns, meaning I got to a part that I couldn't get loose (the pin that keeps the Arm Shaft in), and I decided I didn't need to remove it to start painting. Everything still left on the machine already moved freely, and could be covered up to keep the paint off.

Next I started stripping the old paint.  I applied paint stripper, let it work a bit, then wiped and scraped the nasty gunk off.  There was still a good bit of paint left on (they used some pretty tough stuff back then) so I repeated the process. Again and again.  Finally, I got enough off that I was down to the bare metal.  Consider this a cautionary tale, this process was so time-consuming and not fun that I decided to consider a different approach for the next machine. Sand-blasting is definitely a faster and better approach.


Chassis taken down to the bare metal

Next week: time to start painting!

Larry

Friday, February 27, 2015

Siggy Catch-up Post

My DH did an inventory for me and identified that I had never blogged about these siggies.  How remiss of me!  I love the little french mouse too; the year on that one cannot be right, can it?  2010?  **blushes**


This dear little kitty came all the way from Germany.  I remember this one.   I believe Martha swapped siggies along with her mother, if my memory serves me correctly.


And here is that rarest of animal, a siggy from the United States. That's not really true, lots of people swap siggies here in the States, but it seems like the Netherlands is very over represented, especially considering the small size of the country.  Of course, Annelies van den Bergh in Huizen ran the swap for years until her health forced her to pass it off to someone else last year.  When I received this siggy I had never even been to Florida, but we have since had a lovely trip to Fort Walton Beach in 2013.


Now this is a quintessential Dutch siggy.  I would say Renske really knocked this one out of the park.


Arianne chose to alternate her "ears", which is unusual and rather striking.  I like it!  I suppose that "607" in the lower corner means this is her 607th siggy.  Wow.  That would be about enough for a king sized quilt, wouldn't it?  I don't know how many I actually have.  I should do a counting someday; heck, I should actually make these into a quilt.  What a radical idea!


I remember Jos just loved penguins.  I thought this siggy was very cute.  Doesn't it look as if the penguins are holding hands?  I love her beautiful blue fabric too, and the way she has made it swirl is very nice.


I have one more bin to check to see if I have any additional undocumented siggies.  I'll have to scrounge through it and see what I can find.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dear Jane B-7 World Series - progress photo

This is my favorite Dear Jane block so far.  I just love the red batik and I was very pleased with my diamonds and melons.  (I can see that I still need to rub on the muslin to get rid of the pinholes.)  I used typical prepared applique for the diamonds.  This time I drew the pattern on the back of the diamonds so I could check to see if I had ironed the crease in exactly the right spot.  I think that helped with accuracy.  

For the melons I sewed two pieces of muslin together on the pattern line, slashed one melon, then turned them inside out, smoothed them, then sewed them down.  I'll have to remember that this procedure makes the melons a bit large and shrink the pattern piece accordingly.

I get the best placement results by far when I baste down the pattern with the applique pieces cut out.  It's hard to go wrong with applique placement when you do this.  I then baste the folds down on the muslin so they don't get distorted (diamonds only), and then baste the diamonds and the melons to the batik with the paper in place.  All I have to do then is take off the paper and sew the muslin to the batik.  It's a little extra trouble to do all that basting, but it makes all the rest of the work so much easier.


This is definitely my favorite red batik, though I have several that I really like.  Some of them are really wild; they run the gamut from hot pink to red orange.  This will not be a dull Dear Jane.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Jane B-6 Wild Goose Chase

Only one more Dear Jane block after this and I'll be all caught up with blogging about them.  I'll have to get busy and make some more.  Wild Goose Chase was a strange little block.  There were so many nearly identical triangle units, that I had to pay close attention to how they all went together.  I didn't have my little Clover iron in Green Bay, and I think this block suffered a little bit because of it.  The block is still definitely a keeper, though! 
B-6 Wild Goose Chase
I have so many batiks with dots.  I've never been a big polka-dot fan, but I really love random dots.  Just look at my brown batik collection.  I see at least five different fabrics with dots.  I don't go looking for them, they just seem to find me and convince me to bring them home!

Tonight I finished cutting out the rest of the gold fabric I'll be paper-piecing with on my Harlequin-Johnny.  I hope I don't have to use a scissors for a few days; my hand has gotten sore from all that cutting.

I am so thankful to have made it to work safely this morning.  The roads were MUCH worse than I expected.  Fortunately all the ice melted during the day so my evening commute was uneventful.  We're supposed to get more bad weather, snow this time.  Not good.  Maybe it won't snow; I hope so!

Happy quilting,
Susan in Texas

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dear Jane B-5 Hot Cross Buns

I made Hot Cross Buns out of the batiks Larry had just pulled for me out of the Quilt Store bin in Green Bay.  I love batiks at $4.00 per pound! lol  I liked these diamonds lots better than my Jonquil diamonds, except for the gangly looking one in the lower right hand corner.  I don't know what happened to that one,
B-5 Hot Cross Buns
I love my green batiks, especially the alligator one.  I'm planning to use that one in a block very soon.  You can see how many greens I have, the hanger has really started to deform under the weight of all those batiks.
I sewed a lot during the sleet storm.  I wish I could take off another day, the roads are still pretty bad, but it is supposed to warm up past freezing today, so I need to get into work.  I don't think it is any big secret that I would rather stay home and sew, especially since there is still ice on the roads.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dear Jane B-4 Chris' Soccer Field

I got so carried away with Dear Jane while in Green Bay that I paper-pieced this block on my Mom's sewing machine.  The smallest stitch the machine would make were huge.  And my Mom buys nice, sturdy copy paper too.  I had quite a time getting the paper off this block without deforming the stitches.  I do love this batik, though, it has lots of interest.  Paper piecing doesn't get much easier than this.
B-4 Chris' Soccer Field

I have a good selection of yellow batiks now.  At least they're not all blindingly bright anymore.  You can see the one I used on this block peeking out from beneath the wide bright yellow about half way down.

We're having thundersleet this morning and it looks like a skating rink on our cul-de-sac, so I'll be taking an unscheduled vacation day today.  I'm working on Harlequin-Johnny again.  All the Johnny blocks are done, now it is time for the more challenging Harlequins.  I'm paper-piecing the 100 corners.  To avoid wastage I marked most of the 300 pieces in Shreveport using two templates, 


then visited with Grandma and cut them apart.  (We interrupted her nap.)


I have lots of pleasant sewing to do today, and Grandma can catch up on her sleep.  She is such a sweetie-pie.  She is starting to take lots more naps now.  She will be 104 in November and needs to pace herself.

Happy quilting!