Tuesday, August 23, 2011

End of Summer

Bah. I hate the end of summer. I have to give my kids back to the schools, and not hang out with them every day. I like being alone, but I like them more. Here they are, leaving the pool. So old! So grown! How is it happening?
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Singer 28

This lovely little handcrank spent the last 20 years on display in a lovely home, filled with antiques.

Here is the hardware that held the dust cover on one side,
and the other.  The colors of the top and the base are different- I wonder if perhaps this cover was switched out?  But no matter, I'm happy to have it.

Here is the front view.  I'm having trouble deciding which set of decals this is.  There is no color other than gold.

But, everything is loose, needed a few drops of oil here and there and it sews a wonderful seam.
Here is the back.  The access cover is molded to fit the pillar of the machine, and has decals as well.

And here is the serial number 11236415, which if I am reading the Singer dating charts correctly, makes this a  machine made in the 1890's.  Well, display time is over for this old girl- she is going to be headed back to work!
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

If you hear a crash, followed

by a thump, it is just me, throwing my Singer Spartan out of the window.  The Spartan is a little Singer, made mid last century, and is an underrated little machine.  Except this one.  This one is over-rated.  I bought it a few years ago, at the start of my vintage sewing machine addiction.  I bought it from a sailor, who while not drunk perhaps, was definitely holding an open beer, but as we were on the dock at his berth, who am I to judge?  He was living on his boat, looking to get rid of any little thing he didn't need, and figured a sewing machine was one of those things.  I gave him a $20 and we both went away happy.

When I got it home, I found that a night light had been hardwired into the motor, and them electrical taped around the arm of the machine, to serve as a light for sewing.  The electrical tape had morphed into a new and interesting substance, both more and less than it once was.  It took a long time to get it all off, and there is still some tape residue that i had given up on disgust.(Spartans didn't come with a light.) When i disconnected the night lite from the motor, I realized that the wiring to the motor and the pedal really needed replacing, so I researched and did that.

I turned to the cleaning and de linting, and while taking apart the tension, lost a small essential part called the check spring.  The machine sits for about a year in here, with a note under the presser foot: lost check spring. Finally  I remember to buy a check spring, reassemble the tension, oil again, and rev her up.  Still some incipient thread breaking issues, but it seems like a burr in the slide plate, where the needle goes through, and that is simple enough to fix, once I find the abrasive string made for that purpose.  I notice that the motor seems to be running heavy, and power through a bunch of string blocks.  i figure a life at sea has left this machine with some stiffness and it would work itself through.

Then the lights went out.  Not the light on the machine- remember, the Spartan didn't have a light, and I removed the clever but stupid solution.  The lights in the room.  It was hard to think about the lights though, because my hand felt like it was on fire and my hair was standing on end. This faded after a moment, and I sat quietly in the dark for a moment, gathering myself. The hall light was on, and so it wasn't the whole house, it was just the things plugged into the power strip.

Remember when i said that the motor was running heavy, but I powered through?  That was because the cord was wrapped around the flywheel, merrily removing the insulation from the new cord with every turn.   The burning feeling was the shock I got, and the dark was from the power strip going out.

Calmly, I unplug the machine.  I see that in the excitement, the thread has tangled around the check spring, pulling it out of shape.  Numbly, I take the tension apart, untangle the check spring, and promptly drop the spring.  It rolls away.  I concede defeat, and back slowly out of the room.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Painted Doll

I had a bunch of time in hospital waiting rooms lately ( everyone is fine now) and so found the forum Maida today.  Maida is a site run by a doll artist that makes dolls inspired by antiques, particularly antique dolls that were made of cloth and then pained.  There were many of these made- the Alabama Indestructible Baby, the Izanna Walker dolls, the Maggie Bessie dolls.  The point of these painted cloth dolls was to make a doll that children could play with and not break.  There are also folk dolls of this type- the reg doll, Charlotte, in Little House in the Big Woods was cloth with a drawn on face.  After a disaster in Little House on the Prairie, Ma makes a new face for Charlotte.
Here is the back, where I tried to paint curls.  You have to look closely.

Here's a back view, with her little painted garters and stays.  People felt that children needed to wear stays, a simple type of corset, to strengthen their backs, up untill the early part of the 1900's.  Here they are shown laced in the back, over a shift and under a petticoat.

The rows of stitching that look a little like braid are the reverse side of the stitch from my antique Willcox and Gibbs sewing machine.
Here's dolly with the machine that I made her dress on.  Chain stitching will ravel easily, particularly if you cut it, and so I can't use it for the way I piece quilts.  If the seam is not cut into then the stitch will not unravel.  The W & G was most often seen as a treadle machine.  Here is mine, an early electric machine that was bought in Los Angeles in the 1920's.  Chain stitch machines are still used industrially, but rarely at home.  The lockstich machine won out on that.  The nicest thing is that there's no bobbin- only a top thread.

Here's dolly's little hand.  The thumb is applied.  Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this doll, especially considering I drew the pattern myself.  I might change the shape of the head a little, and take more care with the hand shape if I make another. I will also use a lighter weight fabric for the dress and under things, as muslin worked up too stiff. I haven't made a doll in a few years, and I had forgotten how fun they are!
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Sunday, August 07, 2011

string madness!

This is the pile of strings given to me by a fellow knitter.  She collected these over a 2 year period of working at a quilt shop.  They are the cuts from evening up the bolts when they come in.
Sorted by color family, they tightly fill 8 gallon zip lock bags!
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

As Heard on the Jon Stewart Show

"We fight as hard as we can, because although there may be disappointment, but there will not be shame." a soldier in Afghanistan.