Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Name for the White Rotary

The White Rotary has a name: Lorelei! She has already demonstrated her ability to call out and draw other treadles to her shore. I know the machine isn't made in Germany but I think she has a sturdy beauty like the rock she has been named after and she has a song she is singing to attract other machines like the fair maiden of the legends.

Yesterday, I remembered I had seen an ad for a treadle on craigslist in the city where I am headed to celebrate Christmas. I looked it up and there in living color was another White treadle in an oak cabinet. The price was $25! I emailed and asked the seller if I would be able to see the treadle the day after Christmas. He said, "Yes!" I can't believe it. The ad just expired tonight and I can't even link to it.

Lorelei's condition is much improved. I can now remove the needle and change presser feet. Also, the knob that adjusts the presser foot pressure is working. I have cleaned more green-brown lacquered oil off the machine. I think she will do more than sing. I found a nearly local source for reasonably priced treadle belts. Three are on their way. I should have them by the time I am back home from celebrating with family.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The New Member of the Fleet

Yesterday, I made another trip to see a treadle. This one was in a better place for viewing. We didn't have to stand in the rain to lift up a plastic cover. ;) A bit of history; I saw this treadle go up on craigslist on Tuesday. I asked for contact info and called the guy. I asked about some things that Katie Farmer recommended. She is the White guru on the Treadle On list. I was assured despite the missing oak plug next to the slide plate, that the cabinet was refinished and the machine would sew. The present owner had bought it from someone who was intending to sew on it.

When I saw the machine, the present owner said he had bought it as an intended gift for a relative but discovered she really wanted a Singer treadle. He found one and decided to sell the White. He said that the White had come up from CA with the previous owners. When he called, he got the husband and found out he knew nothing about the machine being for sale. Seems hi
s wife had posted the ad without telling him. I guess he was a little irritated because he was working on the machine in hopes of sewing with it.

Now for some pictures. I have the machine on my workbench so you are just going to see the head. I will take more of the cabinet and irons later.

Okay, I know, this machine head is not going to win a beauty contest, but, hey, I can't afford anything in this area that might. Well, the truth is, I haven't been able to find much in the way of treadles in this part of the state. And besides, the handwheel and the working parts turn so easily. The handwheel just spins when I give it a good pull. I am really hopeful I can sew with this working wonder. The guy I bought it from wanted to sell it to someone that wanted it for its ability to sew. I think I was that someone. Now, I just have to get the tension right and do some more cleaning.

Back to the work bench. I haven't been able to get the presser foot off and there is a stubborn screw in the throat plate that is resisting me. Oh, I have to think of a name for this machine, too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Scrap Catcher

This project makes a nice gift for a sewing friend. You can find the instructions for the project if you join the following Yahoo list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SGOTs_SewingBeeSite/files/

The project instructions
are in: Thread Catcher Sewing Bee

Here are my notes on the changes I made:

Jane's Thread Catcher

Can use 2 fat quarters but a third accent color can be used for a band around top of bag.

One tab to attach scrap bag with a button: 3" by 6" sewn in seam of cover for tile (fold strip into quarters with right sides out, topstitch and make a pointed tab, may zigzag stitch part of tab together to form a smaller opening for the button.)

For heart pincushion, trace heart shape on one of two fabrics. Make a buttonhole in heart that will be on the bottom
(interface for more stability). Cut open. Sew around heart shapes with a 1.5 stitch length. Trim seam allowance with pinking shears. Stuff firmly. Whip stitch buttonhole closed. Hot glue or Velcro on covered tile. I have been told the new heat fusible Velcro is very good.

I got 4 6-inch square tiles for 1.96 at Home Depot. I also tried the 4 inch tiles but made my bag smaller, too.

Here is a tip: If you can't slide the padded tile in the fabric cover
easily, cut a piece of plastic wrap or shopping bag just big enough to go around the covered tile and then slide it in. Pull the plastic out after you have the tile in the cover.

Another from a friend: Use fusible vinyl to line inside of bag. Your threads and scraps will fall to the bottom more easily.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

What Kind of Flower are You?

Okay, so I am not much into gardening but I took this quiz and I am a daffodil. The flower is me! So what are you?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Operation: Machine Rescue

Meet Minnie: A 99K from Kilbowie, Scotland

Minnie joined the fleet from Kennewick, WA, on November 17. She was outside in an open trailer with a sheet of plastic for protection from the weather. It was pouring down rain and she was keeping company with a Free brand treadle in an oak #5 cabinet. If I had the space for both machines and was sure I could restore the Free, I would have taken both machines. The lady who listed them on craigslist did not have room to store them inside. But, my Subaru could only hold one cabinet and I knew this sweet 99K would easily clean up to make a nice hand-crank for sewing blocks for the 2008 TOGA in Seattle.

Below, you can see some of the dust and rust that had accumulated on Minnie. I still need to do a bit more cleaning but Minnie is sewing smoothly and handwheel operates easily. I just need to order a hand-crank and spoked wheel plus a spool pin from Cindy Peters.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meet the 4-H Forum Fleet

Since we sponsored Ray White's sewing machine repair class, I have been busy collecting old zigzag machines in need of tender loving care for one of the 4-H Forum classes I will be teaching in Pasco, WA, in October. These machines were all in need of a thorough cleaning and lubing at the least, but some truly had repair issues. I picked up parts from e-bay stores and machines that came without other necessary part. Tips and encouragement came from the wonderful folks on the sewing machine repair lists at Yahoo.

The first machine I found came from one of our thrift stores. I was looking at it and the manager saw me. He said it had been in the store too long. He wanted it gone for $10. I figured it was a deal because the machine was an older Singer and looked to be functioning just fine. I only had to lube and clean up this fine simple zigzagger and he was ready to run. Meet King Leo, The Spartan (aka Singer 327K):

The next two machines came from two other thrift stores in town. I wanted to find older machines that had zigzag capabilities. This would make them more versatile for 4-H because they could be used for seam finishing and applique. I tried to stay away from the machines that I knew had non-metal gears but I couldn't resist this Singer because it ran so quietly and came with everything including the instruction manual, a rare find when buying old machines at yard sales and thrift stores. Meet Vinnie, a Singer Stylist 513.

Andy, a Singer 401A, was hiding out in a cabinet at the third thrift store. He had no cords or foot control plus the stitch selector was jammed and a thread guide was broken. The cabinet was optional so I offered 5 dollars for him and left the cabinet. I knew I had some work ahead of me but I figured parts and cords were somewhere on the internet. A fine lady, who also hosts Ray White's classes in Lake City, MN, had just what I needed to get this guy in shape to sew. I have yet to put on the thread guide but he has cords and a foot control and even a brown suitcase for travel.

Andy has a twin sister that I found at a yard sale. I paid more for Carrie but she had some decorative disks and a foot control that works fine despite a crack in the exterior. Cindy provided the cord for her, too.

Another lucky break came at a yard sale. I found a Singer 600, aka Eddy. Eddy needed some work on the bobbin winder, his one design flaw. Someone had not replaced the bracket properly that holds the bobbin in place as it fills in the machine. The bobbin would jump and the machine would jam if I forgot to wind the bobbin a very slow speed. I shamelessly gleaned a tip from the Singer man with a booth at our fair. Also, Terry's TnT site offered some vital information, too. Here is Eddy showing off his working parts:

Stay tuned! There are 5 more great machines ready to go to 4-H Forum.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sewing Tutorials

Blogs and Flickr are great places to post tutorials on quick projects. Kerri has a great lined pouch with an easy exposed zipper up at Flickr. She has a contest going at her blog for anyone who completes one of these easy bags. I couldn't resist making one but I just had to try putting the zipper off to the side. I think this style would make a great pencil case with grommets so it could be inserted in a notebook. If you try one with grommets, be sure to use interfacing to reinforce the area where the grommets will be.

Sewing in the News

I like to see sewing in the news. It brings honor to our art and craft when some see little value with what can be accomplished with the most humble of sewing machines.

See what this young man does with a treadle sewing machine in a needy community:

ABC7 Salutes Michael Swaine

Great pictures here:

Michael and his machine at work

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sewing Machine Repair

I just had the opportunity to take one of Ray White's 3-day Sewing Machine Repair classes. We had a small class of extension volunteers and one costume maker (engineer?) from California. Ray is a fantastic teacher and the class was well worth the fee. We had the opportunity to learn basic cleaning and maintenance procedures such as timing and feed dog adjustments that will allow us to keep any mechanical or computerized machine in good running order. Some of our class members were able to complete some challenging repairs that would have given even experienced technicians a run for their money.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007 Quilting Camp Photos

We have eight quilts in the works. One pillowcase will be made after the quilt top is done.

June 22, 2007

Here is the result of our handiwork. Our group of girls worked hard. The queen/king is just beginning to get pinned. The back is pieced using scraps to make up for insufficient amounts of a single coordinating fabric. We didn't have time to get a picture but maybe that will happen when we finish pinning and tying. One of the girls had to leave but grandma stayed in camp so they will finish their quilt later in time for fair.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

MA Thesis/Project


After school hours are when youths are most likely to commit crimes or become victims of accidents. After-school and out-of school program providers keep youths occupied during peak hours when working parents are unavailable and youths are at risk. 4-H has been a successful provider of after-school and out-of-school curricula that actively engages youths and develops character traits essential to maturity and positive contributions to society. The review of literature and pilot studies for this paper demonstrated a necessity for fiber arts related project materials that: 1) appeal to youth; 2) are designed for completion in limited time frames; 3) include opportunities for character development; and 4) reinforce skills and learning within typical academic subjects. This paper and resulting curriculum project reflect the need for curriculum materials for after-school and out-of-school program providers in the area of fiber arts and clothing and textiles. 4-H and Extension audience experience was background to development of the Fun with Fabric curriculum guide. This curriculum for after-school and out-of-school programs was produced on CD-ROM in full color and includes nine projects with related assessment tools for skills documentation.

MA in Apparel, Merchandising, and Textiles

This spring has been a bit crazy. I guess I knew it would be. On March 23, I defended my thesis at WSU in the AMT dept. It was one big day with the morning devoted to WSU's Academic Showcase and the afternoon presenting my thesis/project to faculty and friends.

My capstone project is a curriculum guide for 4-H after-school clubs in the area of fiber arts and sewing. The guide provides comprehensive instructions for 9 quick and easy projects plus additional activities for community service and leadership. The guide is on CD-ROM in full color.

We have the quick projects up for download at the WA 4-H site but in the near future the CD will be offered for sale. Proceeds will cover production and postage plus a contribution will be made to our state 4-H foundation that will go to the 4-H Clothing and Textiles Committee.

Graduation was on May 5. I had the privilege of meeting Deborah Vandermar, the first distance student admitted to WSU's AMT dept. I am most likely the last. Too bad! I think both Deborah and I would say that it was most advantageous to be able to do our master's from our home and remain employed and in touch with family. I hope to see others have this opportunity.

Monday, May 21, 2007

2006 Quilting Camp Photos

I will post more and better pictures but here are some quilts and the thank you cards from last year. Each one of the kids made postcards from their quilt scraps to thank the volunteer who helped them.

Quilting with Kids

It's that time of year when I start gearing up for 4-H quilting camp. Organizing volunteers will be the big effort now that we have a location secured. Our volunteers are the people who make our camps a special place each year. Without them our youth participants would not have the assistance they need to complete their large lap sized quilts.

June 17, '07
We held our orientation and field trip for 4-H quilting camp on Friday. This year, we will have 8 girls making pillowcases and quilts starting on Monday. They all selected great fabrics so be prepared to see some wonderful quilts! We had to switch locations for the camp this year so we can't accommodate the usual ten participants. Too bad because we had 2 more who wanted to join us.

One of our participants is attending for her 3rd year. She is making her brother's graduation gift. Her quilt is going to be queen size with frogs as the theme in the picture blocks. Last year she made the single bed size quilt in the lower left of the 2006 pictures. The rest of the girls will make our usual large lap size simple log cabin quilt.