Friday, March 25, 2016

eBay Strikes Again!

So what do you do with your spare time in the evenings? Cruise eBay looking for vintage sewing machines, of course! I saw this one and I just couldn't resist:

What a beautiful piece of 1960s industrial design! I have several classic black Singers, but to be honest I prefer mid-century design. I've been feeling warm and fuzzy about this machine all week, even though it needs to go to the sewing machine mechanic, since I don't feel comfortable messing with the maze of metal inside it. While I could totally take this apart, I am less confident in my ability to put it back together again correctly.

The eBay ad said the machine works, which I interpreted correctly to mean "when I plug it in and push the pedal, it hums and the needle moves up and down," not that it actually sews. (Well, it did sew 4 stitches when I threaded it, then the thread broke.) On further investigation, although the handwheel spins just fine, the zigzag mechanism is seized, the needle positioner not working correctly, and I found a thread behind the bobbin assembly that refuses to be coaxed out with tweezers and handwheel wiggling. I had read that these machines were built to very tight tolerances and tend to seize up when left unused for long periods of time, so I suspected that the machine would need work and factored that into my bid (as well as shipping). I got it for a fair price, and I'll take it in for servicing and hopefully spend many happy hours sewing on it. I oiled it and ran it without thread for a few minutes and it sounds nice. I love a nice-sounding sewing machine.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Do I have too many scraps?

I've been spending some time sorting my scraps. I had no idea I had this many, hiding in various places in my sewing room.

I've been sewing more 1/4-log cabin blocks. And then when the strips get too short, I've been cutting them into 2" and 2 1/2" squares. And when the pieces are too small for that, I've been sorting them by color and sewing "crumb" blocks. I sewed up most of the yellows and now I'm working on the oranges.

I'm going to do a quilt with the rainbow of crumb blocks, but I haven't decided on the design yet. I've been thinking of trying some applique, which I rarely do. And that means learning how to draft my own patterns in EQ7 (quilt design software). I ordered a book on working with applique in EQ7, and I'm going to try to work through some of the design lessons. I've also been thinking of designing a quilt based on vintage sewing machine decals, and that will definitely involve applique. Here are a couple of pictures of the decals on my Singer 27:

I think I will work on using my monthly Art Quilt Challenge projects to experiment with using different methods and designing blocks for that. It will give me some direction for the work (which has so far been random), and be more useful. I think I work better with a more concrete guiding principle--"make a 12" quilt each month using different techniques" was too vague for me.
On a different note, I talked my husband into wiring in an electronic foot pedal for one of the cordsets that fits both Singer 15-91s and the Featherweight. It had one of the old mechanical "button" foot controllers before, and I've never liked sewing with those. This is much more comfortable to use. Sometimes it's all about the little things...