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Squiddle and Jazzy continue sick. In a particularly snotty way, eww. And Wonderful Husband and myself have, of course, caught it too, if to a lesser degree. Ugh. Maybe it's a good thing that we're not going to SDCC this weekend? On the other hand, this is my prep time for Costume College, so it's not great on that front either.

BUT. I've got everything done for the 1950s Petticoat workshop. Well, 90% done. I have it all stuffed into a bin, the lid taped on so Jazzy can't pull it out and the "take these too on the day of" list taped to the lid.

And I just spent the last two hours on either side of dinner (tri-tip roast with sweet corn, baked potatoes or buttered homemade bread, thank you very much, because sometimes even on sick days I can knock it out of the park) servicing the 1924 Singer 99 in a bentwood case that I picked up from Goodwill this week. It cost me $12.24, and I figure it will likely go for more than that in the Bargain Basement auction. Since I'm not throwing anything else into the charity pot this year, I figure that's good for my contribution, and the machine will get rehomed to someone who appreciates it. I cleaned and oiled it, refilled the grease tubes for the motor, glued one of the wood supports back in place, replaced the bobbin case felt, gave it a new spool felt, fixed the tension, and repaired the cracked wiring. It's still not whisper-quiet, but it runs smoothly now and sews a nice seam.

When I step back from my "any trained monkey could do what I can" mentality, I sometimes feel a bit like Han Solo: "Sometimes I impress even myself." And I think indulging in a little of that feeling is good from time to time. Otherwise you get worn down. But at the same time, a little goes a long way, and there is a hell of a lot I do not know about vintage sewing machine repair.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Laundry and dishes, more laundry and tidying.

sewing and machines )

cleaning )

Yes!!!

Jun. 9th, 2015 02:20 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
The bobbin case for the 15 came today in the mail. I dug out some appropriate bobbins and got it set up. Screwed in the seam guide with a little difficulty. Guess the screw hole for that is a little gunked up? But it works. Plugged in the machine. Set the feed dogs back to forward motion. With some trepidation, put fabric under the foot and pressed the knee lever.

The machine's stitches are a freaking dream. OMG so gorgeous!

It runs a touch louder than I'd like, but I think that's partly the nature of the beast, and partly starting to work itself out.

Verdict: good buy.

Tonight is my quilt guild meeting, so between that and the new machine, I'm pumped up. I'm torn between my next project being piecing new blocks, piecing a new top from blocks I've already done, or quilting something I've already finished. I should probably do the last one, because that at least clears out space on my shelves....
sakon76: (Sakon)
So, having sold the Singer 15 treadle on, as (1) I lacked the skills and equipment to repair the veneer, and (2) Squiddle is of an age and inclination to stick his fingers into, say, moving treadle flywheels, today I returned my mother's lovely Singer 201 to her and picked up an electric Singer 15 that I'd bought off the Goodwill auction site for thirtyish dollars.

The machine was made in 1952, has pristine decals, and lacks but a bobbin case, which I have now purchased; it should arrive in a week. Amusingly, it's in the exact same cabinet that my mother's 201 is. Equal exchange? :) There's a gouge on the inside of the lid, but not one that should snag fabric. I can live with it. It's definitely not virgin, but do I suspect the machine sat untouched in someone's garage for the last twenty years. It had no lint build-up, but was dusty, and dry. It is now clean, oiled, and greased, and I've downloaded both the standard and adjuster's 15-91 manuals. It runs quite sweetly. I must contemplate a name.

Not having the bobbin case for another week means I can concentrate this week's sewing energy on the other projects that have been building up, needing either a zigzag stitch, or the serger.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Today has been a day of ick and crud, starting with a couple hours of insomnia at 4am. Yet somehow, paradoxically, today has also been a day of getting stuff done.

Part of this was facilitated by not going to Squiddle's Thursday morning class. I didn't want to pass on whatever I have to twenty toddlers. Instead, we stayed home and made jam. On Monday, we'd gone to the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival (basically like a mini county fair, complete with fried everything) and I'd picked up an entire flat (12 baskets) of strawberries for $26. Today, a third of that flat was transformed into four and a half jars of strawberry-honey jam flavored with thyme.

This afternoon, Squiddle and I went down to my parents' place (they have fully developed adult immune systems; I'm as leery of getting them sick) where I oiled my mother's Singer 127 treadle and installed the new belt I'd ordered. She moves nice and sweet now. I've recently sold my Singer 15 treadle onward, for reasons of (1) toddler, (2) space, and (3) lacking the skills to re-veneer the cabinet. Given Squiddle's fingers heading toward the flywheel as I was working the oil into the 127, I think that was the right decision. I can have a treadle again in seven years or so....

I also took a fifteen-minute soak in my parents' new hot tub, which banished the achiness for a while.

But for now, dishes are washed, sewing is at a stopping point, and bed is calling my name.
sakon76: (Sakon)
As Granny Weatherwax put it, I aten't dead. Just... busy.

The Squiddle has taken to crawling like he was born to do it. Which means that his father and I have taken to discussing which doorways get baby gates. :) It also means that some things are getting bumped up the priority list. Things like cleaning up the unholy mess that my sewing area tends to devolve toward. (Which dovetails nicely with putting together this year's donation to the Costume College Bargain Bazaar.) The crawling thing also bumps up reselling the half-restored treadle machine. I just don't have the leisure time to finish the restoration, and the baby's already proven it's what they call an attractive nuisance. Plus he's demonstrated that his weight's enough to work the treadle mechanism, so I can see pinched fingers and banged heads in his future....

In other news, I've finished the top for his second playmat quilt, and it's all pinned together, waiting for me to take another whack at quilting it, later this week. The first try didn't go well, but at least I've figured out why.

Gack, homework to finish before class tonight. Will report back in later!
sakon76: (Sakon)
Wonderful Husband, the Squiddle, and I went to Downtown Disney today and got a Toothless from Build-A-Bear. Really, how wonderful is it that we can get these kind of things and pretend they're for the baby when, really, they're not? :) Shopping followed by lunch at the House of Blues and beignets at the Jazz Kitchen.

I've had a pedometer for a month or two now. You're supposed to, I believe, walk ten thousand steps a day. Most days I don't. Yesterday I did, and regretted it. But I'm slowly stretching my calves looser so the muscles in my left foot don't get irritated by the bone spurs as badly. Today I'm a bit over 6K steps so far.

Part of the reason for the sufficient walking yesterday is a current project. I went to Lowe's to get supplies. Last weekend, estate sale'ing with my mother, I spotted a slightly beat up card table. Except it wasn't a card table, it was a sewing table for the Singer 221 Featherweight. Even in beat-up form, they go for a hundred dollars. Minimum. The estate sale asked me for eight. It went home with me. Except, I don't have a 221. I wouldn't mind one, but honestly, if I'm going to add to the Singer sewing machine herd, I want an electric 127 or 128. I have a handcrank one which is purely gorgeous, but winding the bobbins on it is tedious. So I'm sanding and refinishing the table in order to sell it onward. Not sure if I'm going to put it on eBay or Craigslist. We'll see when I'm done. And if I do a good enough job on it, I'm going to apply the skills learned to refinishing the dining room table. Which also needs it.

And, book review:

Title: Unnatural Issue
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Length: 361 pages

Review )
sakon76: (Sakon)
Over last weekend, Wonderful Husband showed me how to sort my bookmarks on Firefox. Which led to going through them, weeding out duplicates, dead links, and things which no longer interest me. It also led to reading some quilting blogs I haven't looked at in a few years. Subsequently, I've dug out and completed a half-finished quilt top. Problem is, it's a queen size quilt. Too big for me to quilt on any of my machines, which leaves either doing it by hand (and we're heading into summer), or hiring out the work. I need to look around at the local machine quilters, but I'm guessing it'll be in the range of $150-200. So it's being put aside for now.

Wanting a project I could quilt on my own machines, I picked a pattern, pulled fabrics off my shelves, and have cut out the pieces to make a baby quilt. Feeling saucy, I pulled out my Singer 99 to try sewing it on that. Only to discover that, no, I never did get a bobbin cover for that machine.

Fine, then. I turned to the half-restored Singer 15 treadle. And managed to wind the bobbin. Only to discover that the needle timing is off. And that my legs are long enough, knee-to-foot, that I'm constantly hitting the underside of the treadle cover.

Thusly, I'm calling it a wash for this evening, and going to bed.
sakon76: (Default)
Last night, I jetted out of work and took Lilo-2 the sewing machine to the sewing machine repair shop. Got there about ten minutes before closing.

Gentleman behind the counter: You should trade this in and get a good machine.

Me: You guys SOLD me this machine.

I know he was just being a salesman, but still. Not couth.
sakon76: (Default)
Class meeting Monday next week means I need to get my editing done by tomorrow night, and my photocopying done on Friday, because if there's a decent copyshop in Anaheim, I've yet to find it.

Finally, FINALLY to the sisters-meeting-Terren scene! 281/617, and 124,385. Only managed to drop 149 words tonight. Still, every little bit helps.

Also, there's a very nice Singer 24 (chain stitch machine!) treadle on eBay, and I wants it, yes I do, Precious, for embroidery.... It's affordable, but my difficulties are twain: (1) where do I put it, and (2) it's about 200 miles away. I will probably not bid on it, but in the few days meantime, I'll enjoy self-torment.
sakon76: (Default)
Yay, the 101 works! Idiot me had the needle inserted ninety degrees wrong.

Success!

May. 7th, 2012 09:52 pm
sakon76: (Default)
This is a triumph. I'm making a note here - huge success.

The 101 works. It needs cleaning inside, and I need to locate a source for Tri-flow grease, but I can sew on it. Now to work on the green petticoat - I refuse to pick out a fabric to be a skirt for the Faire garb until I can see it in true colors tomorrow morning.

ETA: Ha, or, you know, NOT. Machine runs fine, except for the part where the bobbin winder is frozen. Which, whatever, I can work around that. What I can't work around is the upper thread not actually picking up the bobbin thread and making a stitch with it.

I have a suspicion that this, like the 401's presser foot, is something I can fix myself given time. Just, right now time isn't something I have enough of. Mom, may I borrow your portable?
sakon76: (Default)
Edited another ten pages for classmates. Stopping at page 276/617, and 124,534 words. Finally in dragon country! And a scene setting based on my two visits to the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto.

Watered the potted plants tonight. Discovered that placing the heavy potting bench in front of the broken gate and putting a potted rosebush in the gap on one side and a tomato in its cage on the other still isn't stopping neighborhood kids from worming their way through and using our yard as a thoroughfare to the park behind us. There's a footprint in the mulch and the cage is bent, support pole knocked astray.

Fortunately, I have a plan. We can't replace the gate yet - the post it hangs from is part of a going-to-come-down-in-the-first-good-quake cinderblock wall between us and the neighbors - but I can sure as hell shut it permanently. I have zipties.

For now, though, I go poke at the Singer 101 and see how difficult it will be to get it working.
sakon76: (Default)
Gardened after work. Put in almost all the rest of the tomatoes, and the last four jalepeno plants. Also the yellow crookneck squash, a couple of sugar baby watermelons, and my sole Minnesota midget melon that sprouted.

The first bout of corn is already starting to show tassel, and the potatoes I have tucked in here and there look very happy! And somehow I seem to've gotten chives volunteering where I don't think I've ever planted chives. Very confusing. The first of the zinnias and calendulas are starting to bloom, and the tomatoes that went in the ground a few weeks ago are already a foot tall.

Had turkey soup for dinner, watched the third episode of LoK, washed dishes, and worked some more on the 401. The presser foot still isn't lowered, but I oiled, heated, and whacked at it some more, and shall continue to do so until it submits. I also used q-tips and rubbing alcohol to clean some of the grease spatter from inside the machine's body. Problem is, I don't have a working sewing machine until I either get this one, the 101, or the treadle operational, or take Lilo to the repair shop and find out how much they're going to charge me. Which I will need to do at some point; none of my vintage machines are very portable for classes at Costume College. Well, except the 128K, but I kind of refuse to use a handcrank machine to teach a class on making petticoats. But this week, having just spent $alotofmoney on a car, I'm feeling kind of wary of unknown sums.
sakon76: (Default)
I was going to work more on the green petticoat tonight. Finish the gathering stitches, at least, and start pinning.

Except, though the 401 will stitch... the presser foot bar will not lower. ^_^;; Kind of missed checking that last night. So I have oiled everywhere that it might be sticking, and gently tapped it a few times with a hammer. Tomorrow I'll pull the hairdryer off the workbench in the garage (yes, the hairdryer lives in the garage; this is because the only thing it gets used for is fixing sewing machines) and see if heating things yields any results. I've had to do this before, with the 15, and it's just a matter of time and patience. Despite it being metal and me being flesh, it will yield to my will. Eventually.

Possibly just as well; I'm suspecting the tension mechanism will also need some TLC.
sakon76: (Default)
German is a wonderful language. It has word constructs like "fahrvergn├╝gen" and "schadenfreude." And I suspect it has a word which I do not know that means "I hate being right."

Earlier this evening, I started running the gathering stitches on the last tier of green tulle. And while I verified by touch that coming off the spool the Gutermann thread has some lumps, I was going slowly enough and using a large enough needle that it shouldn't have been as bad as it was. After the fourth thread snap in twelve yards, I unthreaded Lilo (the machine), turned her by hand, and listened.

*clink*

The needle's side is hitting against the bobbin race (I think that's the right term for the part). Polishing it, in fact. Which means the needle bar needs to be shifted forward, which is beyond my capability.

F*ck.

So I unplugged it, and pulled the Singer 401A up out of the desk. The 401A which I bought in case Lilo stopped working.

Yeah, that feeling of "I hate it when I'm right."

I cleaned and oiled the 401A, following the bit of its manual I'd printed out. I had no grease for the gears, but everything else got done. Including removing the lint under the feed dogs. The machine dates to 1957 and I seriously do not think the lint has been cleared out once since the day it first walked out of the store! It was packed. Solid. So me and the tweezers and the seam ripper and a long sturdy needle had a good time of it.

And now it runs. Quite smoothly, in fact.

*looks at time* Dammit, so much for plans for an early bedtime tonight.
sakon76: (Default)
Found flashlight. Charged battery. Drilled placement holes. Swapped pedal brackets and knee levers. Took cabinet and other donation things to Goodwill. Returned truck to parents, along with the barrelful of compost and a half flat of seedlings (melons, cukes, tomatoes, calendula, zinnias). Stopped for lunch, did grocery shopping, came home, napped. Got up and found I had a metric ton of class 66 bobbins; parcelled a couple dozen out for my mother, since the brand-new bobbins that said they would fit her machine (a 201) apparently don't. Checked to see which bobbins my own machines need. The treadle and the Babylock use class 15s. The 128 handcrank uses long shuttle bobbins. The others (101, 401, and the 66 that's disassembled on the garage workbench) all take 66s.

No gardening at all this weekend. I am most put out.
sakon76: (Default)
The city's compost giveaway is tomorrow morning, so today after work I stopped by my parents' and picked up the truck and a bin for compost for them to go in. And, as I drove the land yacht homeward, it started raining.

This freaking me out, because my reflexes are not accustomed to driving the much-bigger-than-my-car truck anyway, I ended up stopping at the thrift store. To rest my nerves. Really.

They didn't have any of the lovely skirts I sometimes manage to find there, but for $15 they did have a pristine picnic basket identical to the one my parents had while I was growing up.

They also had a Singer 401, with all attendant cords and in working condition, for $30. I want to replace the nonfunctional Touch'N'Sew in my grandmother's cabinet with something in the 400 or 500 series, as they were made with all metal gears and they will do zig-zag stitches. I have two full sets of the top hat cams for them. The cabinet was ugly, but I would just have swapped the machines into one another's cabinets and dropped the cabinet/machine I didn't want at Goodwill....

Grr. I am talking myself into going back, aren't I? I haven't even cleaned and played with my Singer 101 yet!
sakon76: (Default)
Went over to my parents' after work. Inquired about the sewing machine. Was told (and show) that it now works freely, with nothing being done to it beyond my attempts last night. Apparently my miraculous powers of sewing machine faith healing just needed time to work on it?

"Begone, foul demons that clog this Singer!"

(For the record, all I did was take out the manual, oil it at all the points the manual indicated oiling, and hold a hairdryer to various bits for a short while.)

Waxy Lies

Jan. 4th, 2012 11:18 pm
sakon76: (Default)
As the final refurbishing touch to fixing up old sewing machines, the general consensus seems to be to use carnauba wax to make the machine all shiny. So I got some that specifically stated it was safe for clearcoats, which from what I've read seems to be the salient point.

Will not damage decals! the multiple instructions claimed.

As usual, the instructions lied.

Fortunately I didn't do it all at once, so most of the decals are no worse for wear. I simply waxed the areas of the machine that don't have decals, and am calling it done. (There's the part where I ended up with two small washers extra after putting things back together, but I haven't yet figured out where they came from.) Put a needle in the machine and it doesn't seem to be hitting the bobbin case, so I don't need to adjust the needlebar. Now I just wait for my bits-and-bobs order to arrive, use the screws to put the machine back on the cabinet hinges, and then I'm done and will take pictures for y'all to ooh and ahh over.

Still need to refinish the cabinet, but one skill acquisition at a time.

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