Friday, December 6, 2013

I have been sewing

some! Not lots and lots, dayshift Monday through Friday sucks the life out of me, and then there's family and holiday stuff (and weekends still on nightshift).  Since I got Betty working well, I've been quilting with an old quilt along I found on Pinterest, a skill building sampler. I've been sewing garments since at least 1973, and quilts since the 80's.  I've owned stacks of books and magazines and watched TV and now suck in stuff off youtube and pinterest.  I may have more sewing knowledge than all but 10 women on earth! But the problem is APPLYING it.  You have to DO to acquire skills, not just store it in your head.  Actually I have done most of those techniques, but seldom repeatedly.  I am fairly strong in garment making, but it interests me the least currently.  My quilt making is pretty shody, at least the piecing part, so that's what I'm doing.  This series at Sewn by Leila takes you through accurate cutting, seaming, and pressing block by block until you definitely get it down.  I've had improvement in 3 blocks.

I covered a wooden TV dinner table in flannel and then draped my cotton press protector I had made to keep my last sewn ironing board cover nice over the flannel.  Now I have a firm surface for pressing those blocks out FLAT.  I'm also using a nice homemade "best press" imitation solution for starching.  The log cabin was easy and I was thrilled it came out just millimeters off size after I marked a 1/4 inch on the Betty machine. I also went back to using a cheaper iron because I liked the heavier weight of it and it gets very hot and doesn't auto off- I slide the temp down when I stop, but it heats back up very fast when it's time to press again.  Walmart, Black and Decker Classic, less than $25.00.

This little nine inch came out with just those slivers when checked with the 12 1/2" square ruler I have.  Very gratifying.  Some of the corners didn't quite match up, but I could live with it.

This one I could not.  See on the top square, how the point top left extends all the way into the end of the seam allowance?  All of the other tips were variable too.  After I fussy cut the center, darnit!  So I redid the block and did much better, it's edges are peeking out under the first one.

I met the drama director from my kid's highschool at Lowes.  I had to ask if he needed sewing supplies and he had to tell me.  I gave him Ethyl.  She's a good ole work horse and will be fine for working all those fabrics encountered in costumes and props.  So then I had room for this sweetie pie!

This is a Singer 201-2 from sometime in the 1940's, and she was a GIFT from a coworker!  When I got her hefty chassis home, I was somewhat dismayed to hear no motor whatsoever with the power applied.  The light worked though, and I'd keep her just for a funky nightlight, honestly.  But I researched a little and found (of course) a tutorial for rewiring the motor (this is motor driven without a belt, you can't just slap a new or rebuilt one on).  I read it through, all 20 parts, made my shopping list (where did my old soldering iron I never used, and my voltmeter too go?), enlisted the aid of an interested young man with stronger hands than I have and got it done in 6 hours yesterday!  At the moment of truth- a big pop and the power strip kicked off.  So, I reopened the plug and put the wires in the correct places....the light still worked but no hum.  I went downstairs, disgruntled and hungry, but the young man stayed, insisting that it was the foot pedal that he had wondered about previously, a replacement part put on in the 70's or so.  He was right,

One wire had a huge glob of solder holding it down but it had broken free.  I pried off as much old solder as I good looking for a screw, found only a flap of metal and clamped the wire around that and soldered around that, reapplied power and listened to the sweetest engine whine.....finished putting her together and tried stitching and it's very pretty, thank you.

Now I know what a worm gear and a commutator are.  I've packed my first grease wells, and inspected brushings.  The machine had obviously seen professional maintenance through the years.  I have a few more hours of maintenance to do on it.

Lots of lint and not enough oil left in plenty of places still.  I have to learn it's quirks- I'm not sure that I'm inserting the bobbin thread correctly.  The needle threads from right to left instead of front to back or left to right, how odd.  I have a prehistoric buttonholer to play with.  I've read from many that this is a great machine to sew with in general, and especially pretty piecing, not so much free motion quilting.  One lady said it was great for FMQ, and I did see stuff about embroidery.  I figure it just may take some learning what it likes as far as settings etc.  It measures 9" from needle to throat, by the way.  And way high up.  I saw a photo of a queen size quilt under it with lots of room left over.  I think I might be done craving the top Janome's.  If this works as nice as I suspect it will, I may buy a basic mechanical Janome with a free arm for some garment sewing, or maybe not.  I definitely see more vintage machines coming my way.

No comments:

Post a Comment