It’s OK to Show Your Age

Being old doesn’t mean your are useless or ugly. It means you have a lot of years of experience along with the bumps, bruises and scuffs to prove how well loved and useful you have been. I am talking about my newest Singer Featherweight.  Here she is in all her gussied up glory, stitching that perfect lock stitch she is known for.

She has been totally cleaned, oiled and greased on the inside. All her parts work exactly the way they should. All her bright shiny metal bits sparkle and and her wrinkles shine ready to go another 50 years or more. But, she has some really bad scars and age cracks. Some of them all the way down to the bone.  But her heart is still going strong.

She was a challenge and I have worked 2 days on her. I planned on sending her off for a snazzy coat of paint and clear coat. Then Ron said, “I like her that way. She shows her age with no apologies. ”

So I think she is going to remain the way she is for now. No need for cosmetic surgery. Her case needs attention too, but that’s for another day.

Here are a few pictures of her spa days and a few tools of the trade.

The Rain Has Stopped So It’s Eco Printing Time

I have been eco printing for about 4 years.  Some people call it nature printing, others call it botanical dyeing and others have inventive ways of all saying the same thing. The short description is that I coax pigment from leaves, twigs, berries and flowers and deposit it onto cloth in interesting patterns.  I have been in love with the serendipitous results from the beginning. Lately I have been combining it with other surface design.

I have been working on a series for the Artist’s Altered Book Collaboration group I belong to. This year we are making 10 x 10 art work to exchange with one of the other 10 people in the group. Many of us decided to do a series since we are to use our own voice for this work.  My series uses silk Dupioni that is eco printed, quilted and enhanced with other techniques. I have mailed 3 pieces so far and have these 2 to go out soon.

My Little White Singer Treasure

**My apologies to my Facebook friends who have already heard this story.** This is the sad unloved condition of my little 221K when I found her.  This was my first sighting of an albino featherweight and I was smitten. But, so much dirt! I think the people at the thrift shop must have thought she was a toy since no self respecting sewist would let his/her tools get in this condition.  You can see there were places that stickers had been removed and the back of the case has some red magic marker on it.  But, do you see that price??? Be still my heart!


I had gone  to the thrift shop to look at a black Singer to check the serial number for the model. I had decided it wasn’t one I wanted so I was just wandering the shop. As I came around a corner there was a couple in front of me. The man said….”what’s that?”  The woman said….”the tag says Singer”. My heart stopped. Even if it was an empty case I would have bought it. I stayed back, lurking, looking uninterested but making sure nobody was coming up behind me. I was going to defend that aisle and the thing tagged Singer if that couple moved on.

Oh my gosh….they moved on! I swooped in and snatched up the case. An eagle after a rabbit couldn’t have been faster.  It was heavier than a box so it had something in it. I gently raised the lid and peeked inside, not even taking the machine out so I didn’t risk a sneak attack by another shopper. Keeping a straight, uninterested face I made my way to the front to pay.  Then my heart nearly stopped as the cashier said, “What’s this?” and opened it. Then she said,” looks like a pretty dirty toy”. Not saying anything I kept a poker face,paid for it and calmly walked to the door.  Ron was waiting in the car and he knew by the way I was smiling as I came out that I had found a treasure.

It took me 2 days to make sure she was properly cleaned and oiled. I am still working on getting the flywheel off. So many vintage machines had WD40 used on them. That stuff turns to varnish over the years and glues metal together. But she sews. And she sews perfectly.

It’s been awhile…

….since I was inspired to work on new pieces.   I haven’t really figured out what the road block to my creativity has been, I just know that I haven’t been inspired to work!  So I thought I needed to get back to some basics. I worked on  a couple of UFO’s and they are nearly completed and up on the design wall in the studio waiting for quilting.  They will get further along next week for sure.  But, I still was in a creative funk. What I do should NOT be work.

Then a couple of things happened a few days ago.  I unearthed a treasure of a 221K machine at Goodwill. For those who aren’t machine aficionados, that is known as a Singer Featherweight. And it is white, or as my friend Marie said, glowy green.  After getting it cleaned, oiled and adjusted I became obsessed with making something! Ron said if he knew $8 (the cost of the machine) would do that he would have given me $8 sooner! Such a kidder…eye roll!

The second thing that happened was I found  fat quarters and 1/2 yd cuts of some fantastic fabrics at the Humane Society Thrift shop.  They spoke to me. And they are all fused up waiting to be cut for a special landscape quilt. I am excited! I think I may have my mojo back!

ice fabric

My new love affair

My new love affair is with a gadget. Quilters love gadgets, artists love gadgets and gadgets can be pretty pricey. So  I usually stay away from them.  I finally bit the bullet and bought a new gadget.

It is for my mid-arm machine. That awful thing that I swore would not beat me. I have modified it and can quilt on it…..sometimes. Then I bought a Towa bobbin gauge. I looked at these for a few years. It finally dawned on me that you NEVER see a used one for sale. Huh. Must be a reason for that, right? Sort of like your favorite pair of scissors that you would never part with.  So I bought one with birthday money from my dad. Thank you, thank you, thank you Daddy!

Here are some pictures of a test I did on my sample piece. I used a prewound bobbin and set the tension for Sofine. Perfect stitches on the swirls you see. Then I wanted to try Star cotton. Mind you, I have NEVER EVER been able to use any cotton thread in this machine.  First I just changed thread and that is the mess of eyelashes you see. Then I reset the bobbin tension for the thread….and got perfect or near perfect stitches.  I could kick myself for not buying this sooner!