Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Scrap Happy

Did I tell you my Davis Vertical Feed is named Victoria? I named her after a lady on the treadle owners' list who helped me identify her. She sews beautifully and we have been having a blast making potholders. I have tons of strips of fabric already cut from my days as a strip quilter. I also have lots of self-made bias left from the placemats I often make for wedding and housewarming gifts. Along with scraps of batting from quilts, Victoria and I have made a pile of potholders. She applies that binding without a ripple. And I have become a real pro at treadling steadily and removing pins at the same time. Victoria's treadle pedal works well even at slow speeds so that is a big help.

Just call us the happy strippers! ;)

Just so the Pfaff 7570 doesn't feel displaced, I have been zig-zagging the binding down for the last step. The topstitching looks great and is a sturdy finish for the binding.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Converting to a Hand Crank

I have had many requests for instructions and information on how to convert a machine to a hand crank. This will be brief until I can get up all the instructions and pictures.

For converting, you will need a Singer or a clone with a standard wheel shaft and a motor mount on the outside of the column.


The Singer 99s, 185Js, and the 128s are the ideal Singer for portability to events. The kids and adults think the machines are cute but they are 3/4 size, fully functioning sewing machines. They are easy to use and unlike most crank toy machines, they all sew very well. The 185Js are fun for 4-H events because they are green!

The Singer 128s are a long bobbin and shuttle machine. They have a learning curve that goes with winding the bobbin and loading the shuttle. But once mastered, they are superior to the round bobbin models because they don't tangle the threads when cranked backwards and some think they crank easier than 99s and 185Js. Also, the bobbin winder works easily with the larger sized spoked wheel.

The late model Singer 99s and the green 185Js are easily converted to hand cranks with little or no tinkering with the bobbin winder. Early model 99s require an unusual adjustment and a skinny bobbin winder tire but I don't find I need to cut a chunk of metal from the adjustment slot as described in these instructions for converting machines to hand cranks:


The reproduction spoked wheels and cranks can be purchased for about 24 dollars for a set or 12 dollars separately if you don't need a spoked wheel. The solid wheels on the machines can be notched if you have someone to do the job (see the link above). Some suppliers lap the wheels to make sure they will fit properly but if not follow these instructions (most wheels require lapping so they don't stick on the shaft):


If you find a machine without a base you will need it. The 99s don't have all 4 legs to support them up off the table. Again you will find instructions at the Treadle On site:


The last little change I made was to add a short shank to all the machines that would accept standard clip-on feet. I like to use the straight stitch foot with two equal width toes and a thick fridge magnet for a seam guide. The original Singer feet have a skinny right toe. I like to butt the fridge magnet right up against the presser foot and the larger toe gives a generous 1/4 to 3/8 inch seam allowance plus the magnet does not rub against the feed dogs with the wider toe.

I will later add a link to the download the instructions for the bean bags. The bags were constructed without the need for backstitching. Catherine has field tested them for 12 years. They are sturdy and easily made by children.

You can now find the tutorial for the Sew Green 4-H activity here (the tutorial includes the instructions for the beanbags):

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Experience 4-H

4-H spent a day at the Farmers' Market. We had animals, a game table, and hand crank sewing machines. Our sewing project was bean bags. Those stale beans I had made great filler! Many thanks to Mary Reeves for helping me round up the Singer 99s, Catherine (another member of the treadle owners' list) who provided expert advice and instructions, and the local 4-H sewing club, Sew Krafty Kids, for their help and smiling faces. Our Go Green! Sew Green in 4-H was a huge success.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another Appointment with Dr. Woodwell

The Davis cabinet and I spent an afternoon with Dr. Woodwell. Other than the fact that I can't repair the chip in the drawer and the damage around the front hinge, and the split is going to be weak point when the machine comes out of the cabinet, Dr. Woodwell did his magic. The cabinet looks so much better.

The Davis Vertical Feed

I know some of you have been wondering when I was going to get around to posting pictures of the new member of the fleet. My Davis Vertical Feed arrived home safely on Friday night and I have been busy getting her ready for some photos. I haven't found a good spot for the photos so I just snapped some while the cabinet is on the patio for a treatment with Dr. Woodwell.

Monday, August 4, 2008

And Another!

One of the teens at the first quilting camp was carrying around a cute bag like the one below. I knew I had the pattern. Actually, I had several versions. I printed the one from MarthaStewart.com 200% larger with Adobe Acrobat and taped it together. Then I used the instructions in the Kwik Sew pattern to construct the bag. I like the instructions because the steps are illustrated. The method described for sewing the reversible bag was similar to how I learned to bag a vest lining. It looks like it won't work but it does beautifully! And I like it because the bag turns through an opening in the bottom of the lining. The handles are completed completely before the final turn. This means they are stronger and if you don't want to reverse the bag, you can stitch the opening in the bottom of the lining by machine.

I thought I was making this bag for a gift for one of the teens who helped me with my 4-H Teen Conference class in June but I think it just turned into a sample for one of the Junior Judging Classes for our fair's competition.

If you want the pattern, the various versions are below:
Sewing Ideas
Singer Sewing Projects
Grab Bag from Fast and Fabulous Quilting Ideas, Favorite Picks from American Patchwork & Quilting,(this version runs a bit larger than the above 3)
Or purchase Kwik Sew Pattern # 3447
(Includes 3 sizes and instructions for construction are quite detailed and clearly illustrated)
View pattern: Pattern View for Kwik Sew 3447

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Too Much Fun!

This whole tote thing is addicting. I am enjoying going through the scraps left from my kids' shorts, looking at old photos to see who had selected the fabrics, and deciding how to use the scraps. Some are not big enough to get a band to go the width of the bag. The bag below makes use of a small scrap of a Hawaiian print fabric. The Volkswagen with a surfboard on the roof is driving away from the beach at sunset. I made the appliqué to resemble the setting sun and put waves along the bottom edge. I once thought I would make a quilt from the scraps but I guess not. ;)

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Tale of Two Totes ;)

I like to make bags. Go ahead, call me a bag lady. That is what I am.

Since I like to make bags, I took up the challenge of joining in the Think Pink Tote Bag exchange on the treadle owners list. The construction of the bag had to be done on a manually powered sewing machine but the embellishment could be done on any e-machine. I used Stephan, my White Free Rotary to fulfill the treadle's obligations for the straight stitching but the decorative stitches and seam finishes were done with a Pfaff 7570 and a BabyLock serger respectively.

Here is Sharon's bag for the exchange:

The next tote below is a gift for my DDIL in Seattle. I read in a recent news article the stores in Seattle can charge 20 cents per bag issued if the customer does not bring their own. I decided a set of grocery bags were a perfect gift for her birthday. The decorative band of fabric is from a pair of shorts I made her DH when he was in Kindergarten or 1st grade.

The construction was done on Olivia, the Singer Fashion Mate 252, treadled in the Singer 66 cabinet. Again supporting roles were played bythe Pfaff 7570 and the BabyLock serger.

If you want the basic instructions for the grocery tote, click below to download a *.pdf file:
Bag Instructions

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Treadling a Singer Fashion Mate 252

I have a soft spot for old black sewing machines and especially treadles but I must admit when I do something other that piecing patchwork, I want more stitch options. I miss a multi-position needle, zigzag stitching, and a reverse button or lever.

Well, I evaluated my fleet for a model I could try out as a treadle. Here she is: Olivia!

Olivia is a pristine Singer Fashion Mate 252. She has all the features I was missing except a few decorative stitches. And, more control because there is a timing belt that runs the hook gears, making the machine a bit stiffer to run but easier to keep the needle position right where I want it.

Olivia fits perfectly in the Singer 66 treadle cabinet. But now I need to figure out what to use for a mail table??

And, now I have found the perfect Fashion Mate. It is a 258. It takes the flat black Singer cams. I would have the decorative stitches I want. Anyone have one they want to put up for adoption? I take good care of sewing machines. ;)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pedal Powered Sewing Machine

This photo gives new meaning to pedaling a treadle sewing machine:

Check out the photo.

See the photo in its full context at this blog on Jakarta:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Columbia County 4-H Quilting Camp

Our quilting camps are made possible by dedicated family members, WSU extension volunteers, and members of the Walla Walla Valley Quilt Festival committee. A big thank you to all!!

So you want to hold a quilting camp?
Click here for information about the curriculum.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Bleeding Pigma Micron Pen

I am making my blocks for the vintage White owners' block exchange. Being a good student, I followed the instructions and bought white muslin at our JoAnn's. I selected the best quality they have. I made 18 blocks but I needed 24 for 2 sets. I ran short with the yard I had purchased because the fabric shifted when I pre-washed it. I went back to buy more but the clerk suggested that the quilter's white broadcloth was a better choice. I purchased enough to complete my last set.

The noticeable difference in the fabric is smoothness. I am not having problems with the Pigma Micron pen bleeding. At first I thought it was the starch that was carrying the ink but now with the starched broadcloth, I know it is the cotton staple that is the culprit. See the bleeding ink in the muslin block on the left, below:

Click photo to enlarge
For those of you in the White BE, don't get shook about the shade of the broadcloth. It is white like the muslin. The lighting and my camera are playing tricks on you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dr. Woodwell Wood Elixir and Twigless

Today was a pleasant 85 degrees in the Walla Walla Valley. We are finally warming up. Last week was in the 40's and 50's. I figured it was a good time to move the twigless White treadle cabinet out on the patio and try out Dr. Woodwell Wood Elixir.
I had heard wonderful reports about the miracles Dr. Woodwell performs on antique treadle cabinets. Twigless' finish was flaking and gone on top. Other surfaces were not as bad. The veneer was and is marred and chipped.

(Click photo to enlarge for detail)
But as you can see the product does as it claims to remove paint spatters and meld the old finish into one new surface. Where the finish was worn the most, the grain raised and I had to buff it with steel wool to even out the wood surface. It is lighter in those spots but still the results is worth the effort and fun to show off.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fun Art

Check out the sewing machine and other pictures by this talented and unique artist, Don Stewart:


Lots of detail and fun objects hidden in the drawing. Some of them are sewing related and some are not. He has an interesting bio:



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Miryam, the Obstinate Singer 66 Tiffany

I have had a diversion from the pressing details of getting ready for TOGA and my trip to Shipshewana, IN, for the advanced sewing machine repair class. I guess I tend to create diversions when I should be focusing on due dates. A bad habit that I used to get house cleaning chores done when I was in grad school. ;)

Well, this is what has been sidetracking my attention, Miryam, the obstinate one:
Miryam has Tiffany decals. I used to think that all Singers with decals with red in them were "Red Eyes" but when I went looking to see what the Tiffany style looked like, I recognized my own Singer 66.

This machine has been in my husband's family for years. It was on the family farm and his sister said she sewed on it when she was young. Al's dad says the machine belonged to his dad's half brother. They think it was Shorty's mom's machine because Al's dad remembers his mom had a White treadle.

Miryam has a production order date of May 3, 1916; not really an old machine for a treadle. My Lorelei, a White Rotary is older.

Miryam has been the most resistant of all the vintage machines I have worked on. Most anything that should turn didn't or did so with great effort. The handwheel is still cemented on the shaft but I can wind bobbins. I worked the bobbin winder by hand until all the parts functioned as they should. I am planning on getting some Kroil penetrating oil in hopes that it will work on getting the handwheel loose.

I have given up the notion that I will swap the presser foot bar out for one that will take ordinary side clamping presser feet and attachments. The screw that holds the presser foot bracket on the bar is stripped. If I can't get off the bracket, I won't be able to lift it up though the hole in the top of the machine. I am disappointed because I really want to use all of my Singer attachments on Miryam and do free motion quilting with the foot I bought from Cindy Peters. I guess I will just have to find another Singer treadle for that. ;)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Honoring April 1st Traditions

I know some of you just can't bring yourself to buy an old machine that treadles or handcranks. If you don't have the skills to repair them, they are going to cost a bit to get up and running if you have to check them in at the local quilt shop or sewing machine store for repairs. That is a big consideration. ;) Perhaps you need to consider this TOL machine at QuiltersWarehouse:


This machine will definitely not clash with any modern machine you may have in your collection!!

See the other amazing April specials here:


Happy April 1st!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Meet Dora!

Dora, the Yukon handcrank, joined the fleet on Saturday, March 22nd. This little Yukon had been listed on craigslist several times. I finally decided to try for it despite the fact that the front slide plate was severely bent and stuck open. We met Judy, the owner, at REI in Seattle to check the machine out. The little machine appeared to be in very good condition with no rust. I decided it would be a good purchase and brought her home. All of my consultants say this machine has the look of a badged Davis. I checked out some photos of Davis handcranks and I concur.

Dora had been a gift to Judy, so the name which means "gift" seemed appropriate. Also, being a Yukon and purchased at REI plus being so cute and dark, who wouldn't also think of the cartoon character, "Dora, the Explorer".

With a little coaxing, the slide plate came out and was easily flattened on a cement floor with a hammer. I padded the slide plate with a piece of wool. There is no damage to slide plate and it works as easily as the rear plate.

Dora has a shuttle that looks new and 2 bobbins. The bobbin winder is very cool!! She also makes a beautiful stitch. I guess she needs to make some blocks for TOGA, too!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

1/4 " Foot for Piecing

Well, the verdict is in! I just finished doing a set of TOBE blocks for the Treadle On Birthday Bash. Minnie did her share with the 1/4" foot I purchased at JoAnn's (find the foot with the White sewing machine attachments). The results is just perfect! I would highly recommend the foot if you own a machine with a standard low shank ankle. If you can't find the version on a hinged ankle, you will need to get the snap on type to accommodate the foot. I already had a few of those around from the Kennies and Janomes I own.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sewing on the Road

Awhile back, I posted a link to a young fellow who takes a treadle out into the streets to repair clothing for folks. He operates in LA or San Francisco. Here is a site showing an African who is an itinerant tailor repairing a zipper with a hand-crank sewing machine on the back of a bicycle:


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Simply Charming!

I called a friend last week and she said she was making a bag with charm squares. We are supposed to be doing a trunk show of bags, purses, and cases for our CTA group sometime this year. Not to be without my version, I googled charm bag and found some pictures for inspiration. Here is one:

Then, I sorted some 4 inch charm squares that I have had from a fabric swatch club I joined in the late '80's as a results of my first visit to the famous quilt shop in Sisters, OR. The only squares that sort of coordinated in any way were the country red, white, and blue fabrics. There were enough to do half square
triangles that I made up into six 6 1/2" scrappy pinwheel blocks. With a few more scraps of fabric left from a project in a quilted jacket class I took in the spring of 1980 at Patchwork Peddlers in Portland, OR, I had enough fabric to complete my project.

The results is a small quilted tote embellished with buttons and yo-yo's made with the new Clover yo-yo maker (60 mm. size). Not exactly in 'now' colors but with denim, it would be casual country. ;)

Minnie had the honors of piecing the pinwheels but my Pfaff 7570 finished up the quilting and sewing. I just didn't think I could quilt and crank at the same time even if I only did in- the-ditch quilting. ;)

Note: A free tutorial for this tote has been added to the Tutorial section on the side bar.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Minnie's First Project

Minnie and I were going to make Birthday TOGA blocks for our first project but we took off on some scraps that turned into Tissue Pack Covers. They are quick and easy but very professional looking with a lining that looks like binding on the outside. I even decided to see how the Singer Zigzagger attachment worked for finishing the two end seams. It wasn't worth the effort to put it on. I decided a pinked seam finish was adequate for the project.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Conversion Complete!

Minnie, the Sweet 99, I rescued from the rain is now a handcrank sewing machine. She is in a beautiful oak base made by my son-in-law. The base is higher than recommended by the plans at Treadle On but my desk is lower than normal so it really is perfect to sew on with no stress to the arms and shoulders.

Parts for the conversion came from Cindy Peters and the instructions for converting to a handcrank are at Treadle On. The instructions show how to make an adjustment to the bobbin winder so it will work perfectly with the handcrank. Notice, I retained the light on the 99 by cutting the cord at the connection to the motor and adding a plug. I want to re-wire the light with a longer black cord but that is in the future. The rings that hold the light together are a bit tricky and they require special pliers to reposition.

I intend to make the next set of blocks for the Birthday TOGA exchange on Minnie. I purchased a foot at JoAnn's that promised a scant 1/4" seam allowance and a fit for my standard snap-on ankle. The foot snapped on but the first test I did was to watch it feed fabric without guiding it. The fabric didn't want to feed straight. At first I thought the feed dogs needed aligning or the presser foot bar was askew. Before I tinkered, I tested the standard Singer straight stitch foot. The fabric traveled in a straight line. It is the design of the foot that causes the fabric to go in a curved path.

I won't give up on the foot if it produces a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Stand by for test results. :)

Monday, February 4, 2008

I dare you to ask me to mend! ;)

I need to have this on a 'frig magnet:

"Asking a quilter to mend is like asking
Michelangelo to paint your garage."

Do you think they would sell?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Great Looking Drawstring Backpack

Here is a great looking backpack to make with your young sewers or for teens to sew on their own. Lots of creative options for fabric and color combinations:


It has two sizes so don't overlook the pattern thinking is it just for kids!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Thread Catcher

I finally got around to making the Lorelei a thread catcher. I didn't put a pincushion on it because I have been using my magnetic one. I should have put a pocket for my small scissors on the tile, instead.

If you like the thread catcher, see my December 12, 2007, entry for more details on where to go for the general instructions. I used a 4 inch tile so all the measurements were 33% smaller than Jane's.

TOGA Birthday Blocks

I am testing my fabrics for the 2008 Seattle TOGA Birthday Blocks. I had better get going on these. I want to have enough to exchange with everyone at the TOGA and perhaps a few of the TOBE's so I will have enough blocks to make a good sized lap quilt. I like to be warm and skimpy lap quilts just aren't practical! ;) Let me know if you think I need to get a darker signature block fabric. I prefer the slightly marbled effect over a solid.

I am making my blocks on the Lorelei, my White Rotary treadle. They are coming out right on, a perfect 4 1/2" by 6 1/2". I guess I won't need a template to cut the blocks from larger block.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Disappearing 9 Patch

I used the disappearing 9 patch for my baby quilt on the Lorelei. It is an easy and fun method for sewing both planned and scrap quilts.

The disappearing 9 patch quilt block is made from a 9 patch block that is split both horizontally and vertically and sewn back together as desired. There are many possibilities for planned quilts but as a scrap quilt, the blocks are great stash busters.

Check out the tutorial here for the pattern in a scrappy look:


There are other possibilities below:



Check out more examples from this link (I love the red and black one by Sara):


Have fun experimenting!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Patchwork Pedaling

The Lorelei is up and running! I started a baby quilt to bond with my "new" machine. Learning to treadle and actually sew something is a little like learning to sew again. The quilt top has some imperfections that probably would not exist had I used my little Janome Jem Gold but considering, I think I did a pretty good job. ;)

I have to admit, I did use an old White Rotary 77 e-machine for about 25% of the work. I have my treadle on the main floor but my pressing station is downstairs. When I wearied of running up and downstairs, I set up the 77 for some of the piecing.