Sunday, February 24, 2019

Cautionary Tale and Cabin in the Woods Finished

This week was full to overflowing that included replacing a clutch motor with a new Servo motor, a fundraising event that was way too much fun, and along the way I had the opportunity to repair a Kenmore. I got a call on Friday asking if I could repair a heavy duty sewing machine that no longer worked. was left in a storage building over many months while they moved and that wasn't doing it any good. The model number wasn't familiar but I said I could look at it but it might be cheaper to buy another older Kenmore if the repairs were too costly. Here's what I found when I opened up the top:
Kenmore 148-12050: a dirty bird
Oh my, I almost said NO but knew it still had life in it so I started to clean. Because it was fairly dirty inside I think the rusty coating landed pretty much on the dirt. Cleaning off the dirt with sewing machine oil took the rust off, too, so it looked worse than it actually was. Whew!

Kenmore 148-12050 all cleaned up inside
It took more time to get it to run quietly, replacing the ring around the hook race that had rust on it. Even when cleaned off, it seemed to be a noisy part so I replaced it with a clean one. Yea for spare parts! Here's another view of the feed dog area when exposed before cleaning:
Kenmore 148-12050 feed dogs before cleaning
With tension adjustments and much sample sewing, it now sounds better and ready for more sewing. Moral of this story: do not store sewing machines in unheated areas unless you are ready for the accumulated moisture and rust that follows.
And here she is, all cleaned up and running again:
Kenmore 148-12050 after her spa treatment
The Cabin-in-the-Woods quilt I was working on is now finished with backing, binding, the works:

It was tricky to figure out how to add quilting to the wolf panels so I used free motion quilting and outlined the animals. You can't tell from the front but on the back it looks nice:

Young wolf outline (fabric is actually an orange brown)
 A recently acquired Viking 49 was the machine of choice for the free motion stitches and they were effortless: great sewing machine! I sure could use more practice on my straight stitching when adding the stitches to the whole "sandwich". The Pfaff IDT sure made the whole process go much smoother in keeping the layers together with no creeping forward or backward of fabrics. In consultation with a daughter who made binding suggestions, I had to go with a green that would coordinate and I'm pleased with the overall effect. It was a good project for these very cold days and we are in for another week of cold along with 50 mph winds today. What a good day to stay home and sew.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

On Display

I love to stumble upon sewing machines that are shown to be of value as I value them.  In December I stopped by my public library and found a display of toy sewing machines, mostly antique:

but a few are vintage:

and even an American Girl doll gets into the collection:

Can she sew?
I commend the library for having such a nice built in display space that you cannot help but notice as you walk into the library. The cabinets are about waist height so perfect for a child to see. They keep the displays up for only a few weeks so you better enjoy them when you see them because they will be gone before your books are due!

I have a few toy sewing machines but I find them less than satisfying because they really weren't meant to do any serious sewing on them. The exception might be the beige model in the photo above that I've heard several people comment on using them as a travel machine where they piece quilts. I like my little hand crank Harris but it's fairly heavy and not exactly a lap machine. Maybe an aluminum body machine would be a nice addition if you were traveling across the country in an RV.

This needs to be a shorter post this week as we have said our final goodbye to my husband's mother, Mary Dubay. You might have read about the dresses I made for her and the delight in seeing her in a fancy dress for some of the many weddings we were at together. She was always cheerful, enjoying life in her own Irish way. We will certainly miss her laughter and devotion.
Marie, Rose, Mary, and Karen, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Cabin in the Woods

We had a very deep freeze this past week so with my time off I managed to finish up a few things but then decided I needed to make something that I would not have been able to without the extra time at home. Since I had a huge run of panels, I pulled the wolf yardage out to see what I could do with it:
Panel with two different wolves and leaf border
I had about twenty panels to work with so tried to make up a tote bag but my first attempt was a too tall bag so I got stuck there and had to put it aside. For inspiration I looked online for ideas on how to use fabric panels and I pulled out fabrics from my stash to see what I could do with what I already had. Since the wolves were so "up north" I thought I could see if I had enough to make a small quilt using a log cabin block design. Here were my first attempts:
4 log cabin blocks with light fabrics in center

4 log cabin blocks with dark fabrics in the center
The dark centers won out but with four wolf panels in the corners and the log cabin blocks between them, it still needed a center block that would be unique. Let's see, it's a northern theme with log cabin blocks so how about a log cabin with the log cabin assembly/technique? I had to make this one up as I went along but it wasn't too bad. My husband picked the dark green for contrast:
Trying out borders and possible assembly
It needed to have cornerstones so I used some of the border print that came with the panels:
Sashing with cornerstone and first border
Now I could really picture the final border with mitered corners so it went together quickly:
Almost done now
I liked it but that log cabin was just a little too big and plain:
Just a cabin, maybe a bit neglected
The windows needed a border first and then a defined door (there's also a doorknob but it's too hard to see) and then some flowers along the bottom edge:
Frames for the windows and door with flowers popping up
But the top of the house front elevation was just a bit too plain so I added some ivy:
Special stitches added
I'm not too sure this helped or not but it's my solution to a very cold week:
Looks like it got down to -27 degrees
The quilt top is done and now it needs to be assembled with the rust colored Robert Kaufman print used in the blocks for the backing. How should I quilt it? I haven't decided yet but I'm tempted to send it out to be quilted but I'm basically too cheap for that. The creative part is over so now it's the real work of this creative endeavor.

Which machine did I use for this project? I got out a little Singer 99 for the log cabin blocks but used a Pfaff 2030 for the assembly. The Pfaff was in for repair so I put it to use to see if it would still perform well on a project and it did. I like to really give them a good test and it passed, returning to its owner the next day. I've been back to work and with a few extra days off right before the semester starts there is much catching up to do. I hope I can finish the quilting on this project before it is no longer winter. Of course, in Minnesota we still have months of winter to go!