Baa Baa

Last fall I started using more wool in my work and exploring adding needle felting to the mix. Through the kindness of a friend who was no longer interested in using wool, I was gifted a large bag of multiple colors of roving. Another friend sold me her embellishing/felting machine and later sent along a bag of mixed colors of wool.

My normal thrift shop haunts turned up some small bags of colors as well as a bag of raw wool. You can see it is really dirty, probably why it was only 50 cents! A bargain for a pound of wool.

Now my issue became how to clean this. An internet search produced a few possibilities. First clean it with Dawn basic liquid soap or Orvis Paste. Well, that got the dirt out but not the stains.

Internet to the rescue again. I found an older blog with experiments whitening raw wool with hydrogen peroxide. Honestly, what did I have to lose?

My first batch in the peroxide bowl did great. It whitened up to an off white color. I’m happy with that. The rest of the wool is being washed and then laid out to dry. I may try some hair lightening peroxide to see if I can get a brilliant white. Yeah yeah yeah…I know I can BUY white wool and white locks but what’s the fun in that? I will save some of the locks and curly bits to use for texture as is. The rest will be hand carded.

I used some of my Christmas money to purchase some high quality felting needles. I plan on using my machine for large areas and my needles for details. I have more wool coming in extra colors and I am watching some outstanding tutorials on YouTube.

I am excited about the possibilities to incorporate this into my work!

50% Less!

There is so much clothing thrown away around the world the practice just has to stop. Fast fashion and trendy styles are killing the environment. One way each of us can help this world problem is to be creative and find uses for what is thrown away. I purchased this gorgeous sweater the other day at a thrift shop. My intent was to reclaim the fabric in it to give it a second chance. One less sweater in the landfill.

After first disassembling the sweater into parts, it was time to put it through a first fulling. That simply means that using water, soap and agitation the sweater weave will close up and shrink in size. The fiber label on this sweater said it was 88% wool. I took a gamble that the woven stripe areas were the other 12%. It was a gamble that paid off. It shrank about 50% and resulted in a thick wool fabric.

I can’t wait to use this gorgeous wool in a project and not waste even one tiny piece of it.

My Rescued Bernina is Mended

I rescued a Bernina 1031 two weeks ago. Can I say it was filthy? It had been dropped and jammed the bobbin winder and the tension could not  be adjusted. But is was really really cheap so it followed me home to my sewing machine hospital. (Even though Ron tried to stop me!)

I love a challenge. I rarely give up on a machine that is worth saving. It is a last resort to ever part a vintage machine out. Without a really long story I repaired the tension but had to remove both the outer and one of the inner shells. The bobbon winder requires removing the mother board and I decided not to do that just now. I have my homemade bobbin winder that I use to wind all my bobbins so repairing this one just isn’t important now.

I think I am going to love this machine!




Silk, Silk, Silk!!

A quick trip into Goodwill today yielded a silk wedding dress! Nearly all wedding dresses I find are polyester. So, to find an all silk custom made dress is a real treasure. Even the lace overlay and bustle are silk. I’m not a lace girl but who knows how this will get used?  And the best part is they had thrown it into the costume category so it was only $10! I have big plans for this pile of silk!

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Studio Additions Making My Life Easier

Taking time to clean and toss/giveaway in the studio that will make my life easier. While in Alabama last winter a trip to the Habitat for Humanity Restore yielded commercial dishwasher cup trays for $1 each. They made perfect units for my large cones of thread.

image My next addition is purely for my comfort. Sold for home manicure and hand treatments, it is wonderful for my arthritic hands after stitching. The heat is adjustable. I slip my hands in the pockets , relax and enjoy a little quiet time.



Its time to finish a few pieces to jury and the commission for White River Hope is coming along nicely.

thinking of winter and warm quilts on the bed

Every year the small town across Bull Shoals Lake has town wide garage sales. Its been OK sometimes but other times it is either the dirtiest stuff you’ve ever seen or someone buys commercial things and sets up a show room…not my idea of good sales. It was cold and rainy on Friday and Ron and I had some work to get done at home so we waited until Saturday to go across the dam..

The first place we stopped didn’t look like much but I spied a large jar I thought would be useful in the dye room so I hopped out while Ron kept the motor running…remember it was COLD!  That jar was plastic so it wouldn’t do and I thought it was a wasted stop. Then I turned around and under a table was a bin of…….QUILT TOPS.  Not vintage yet, but probably from the 90’s judging by the tiny floral calico fabrics used.

The lady said her mother was the quilter and she has over 200 finished ones. She begged me to take the quilts for $20 for the entire box. I didn’t  take the time to look closely because they had to be worth a few dollars each, right? I whipped out a 20 and the lady stuffed some strip piecing templates, rotary cutter and mat and sewing machine attachments in the box. What a deal.

The box had 5 tops in it. 2 were king size, 2 twin/full and one baby. The twin/full ones could benefit from borders to make them queen size. I decided to keep this one and have it quilted. It has a modern quilt look to it. My friend Susan Berres is going to help me baste it. Then I should be able to quilt it on my Sunshine 16.  There is nothing as cozy on cold nights as a cotton quilt!


Rescuing A Viking 6030 Sewing Machine

At the Humane Society thrift shop I found this Viking 6030 machine that was in parts. There was a plastic bag with all the pieces that someone in their intake shop had taken off the machine.  The story I was told  was that it didn’t run and they tried to fix it and decided to sell it for parts.  It was also very dirty, a slight cigarette smell…but it was only $5 and I knew that if I couldn’t get it back together and running that I could easily sell the carry case, foot control and extension table for a lot of cash on Ebay.

Since I had rescued a similar machine I knew that the biggest problem with the older Vikings is oil and grease that solidifies in the gears. If you try to run them it will crack the cam shaft and then it will only do a straight and zig zag stitch.  Sometimes they get stuck in reverse so someone will think there is a big problem.

As soon as I got home, I covered the dining room table and spread out all the parts. They had taken apart the bobbin winding mechanism that is also the reduction gear and attaches to the belt that drives the hand wheel. I had nothing to look at or figure out where all the parts went. There was even a tiny little ball bearing the size of a pin head! I was so lucky they put all these parts in the bag and nothing was lost.

After a few hours of putting it together and taking it apart just to put it back together a different way, I was ready to plug it in. The motor ran, the light worked and the controller gave it power. But none of the stitch dials moved and it ran hard. I quickly unplugged it and took the covers off so I could reach all the gears and drive bars. I liberally coated all of it with a silicone oil that melts the old grease.

This morning, I put thread in the reassembled machine and crossed my fingers. It runs perfectly!! I wish I had taken photos of the machine in parts but I hope you can appreciate that this wonderful machine was headed for the dump and now it has a new life.

Ron is so funny….he said I was the only person he knew who could spend $5 to have hours and hours of fun repairing and rescuing an old machine. It is cheaper than a movie and popcorn or even renting a DVD. I asked him if he wanted me to see if I could fix that damn light on the vintage Buick Regal that the mechanics can’t seem to fix. He told me to have at it! Hmmmmmmmm……


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viking in parts**** This is from another site but is basically what the parts looked like that I had to put back together. The guy who did this one at least knew where each part was supposed to go and didn’t have to do a hit or miss puzzle like I did.

Lucky me… Thrifting again

I’m on a search for a Q-snap floor frame to baste quilts on. So I stopped at a new flea market in the area. There was a box sitting outside that had this stack of fabric and 20 vintage doll clothes patterns. There were Barbie Doll and American Girl Doll patterns so I asked how much they were. I wanted two patterns but the man in charge said I had to take the whole box.

The green is a simple block quilt top, the bright school fabric is 5 yards, Winnie the Pooh, Dora and the Tasmanian Devil playing soccer are 1 to 2 yards and the other juvenile pieces range down to 1/2 yards. Then there is a roll of vintage Raggedy Ann ruffles. 

I said I wanted to do some simple juvenile quilts to practice on my Sunshine 16 so after looking at everything in it I asked how much…”$2 buys the whole box” the man said. “SOLD” said me….and he put the box in the back of my van.  Guess I need to get to work.