Wednesday, December 16, 2015

 I keep an eye on the Ebay and Gumtree listings for sewing machines in my area, just out of interest.  I've been wanting a treadle with Tiffany decals for a long time, but I never found any nice ones for under $500.  I was almost resigned to the fact that I'd have to pay that, or go without, when I saw this one on Gumtree.  I was already in Adelaide to visit the DD, so I just popped round to have a look, and it was in nice enough condition to buy. 

It's been restored, not very well, but at least the decals haven't been scrubbed off. It was $180, and I was happy to pay that because I haven't found a cheaper one, in this condition, in this area, in years of looking. 
The woodwork was sanded back, stained with an un-natural red stain popular in the 90s, and the edges painted black.  Not what I would have done, but never mind.  The machine is fine, which is the important thing.  I couldn't test it, because the drive band was in three pieces, but it turned over smoothly and the bobbin case was intact.
When I brought it home I had a pile of work to finish, so I couldn't do more than get it inside.  I admired it while I slaved away at the computer until one night I snapped.  I went out to my stack of machine parts and rummaged around till I found another leather drive band; after a few attempts I had it the right length, and the machine was working again.  I had to adjust the bobbin case as it was way too tight, but with two minutes work this old dear was sewing perfectly again. 
You have to love a machine that is so well engineered it's almost impossible to wreck it.  Her number was assigned in 1909, so she's over 100 years old.
I'm not sure the bobbin winder will work, it doesn't look like all the others I saw on Ebay, so I will have a little play with that later.  I still have no spare time to sew, or fiddle with sewing machines, but once the Christmas rush is over I will sit down with this old girl and get to know what she can do. 
 This certainly isn't the original bobbin cover, just something the restorer bunged on there to fill the gap.  I have spare ones in my stash, so it will get replaced quick smart.

I don't know what her name is yet, maybe she'll just be Tiffany.  I'll decide that after I've known her a bit longer.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

I finally had time to get the borders on my Sisters Nine-patch, and I can pack away the remnants of the red nine-patches.

These have been lying around for 18 months, and I'm ready to move on to something that doesn't involve this much red.  I agonised over the setting fabric, and then the borders, but it was worth it to have a top that I actually liked.  The border fabric was difficult to choose; nothing went with the setting fabric and I ransacked the cupboards auditioning dozens of fabrics.
The leaf fabric is old, and one of my favourites.  I decided I would use it, cut strips late at night and measured one wrong.  Disaster!  I already knew that there was nothing else in my stash, so I went round to Mereth's and raided her stash.  She very kindly let me have the leafy, scrolly print and I think I like the top even better with it's two different borders.  Thanks heavens for stash fabrics.
I'll be dealing with red and blue for quite some time though; I now have 30 of these blocks done, enough to set together into a decent sized top.
 I will have to puzzle through sashing fabric for that.  Then there are the red and blue sampler blocks, patiently waiting.  And also this 4-patch 9-patch top, just needing it's borders.
Once that is done I'm going to branch out into some other colours for a change!


My hands have continued to be a problem, I'm just overworking them with the day job, the computer work, sewing and quilting and spinning.  The writing is on the wall, I need to change how I do things or risk permanent damage.  I've slowed down an awful lot, changed the way I do things (not ever going to open a jar with my left hand again), and tried to be more mindful of how I can make things easier for myself.  So when I discovered an online shop where I could lay-by the Go! Big electric cutter I thought, 'Why wait till next year? Get it now and save your hands'.
This next bit is for Aussies only;  I bought mine from Cutting Art, and they were wonderful to deal with.  It was the cheapest price I found, and I had 8 weeks to pay for it.  Once you buy a cutter from them they give you a discount on the dies as well.  And there's free shipping over $120.  I was really pleased with their service. And they have a Christmas special on too, so Aussies can grab a bargain for Christmas.

I bought a Kite die, and a 3" Triangle In Square die, and the 6" Flying Geese came with the Go Big.  I have plenty of ideas on what I want to do with these various shapes, but not much time at the moment.  It will wait until Christmas.

The 4" Kite is a real scrap buster, I'm going to whittle down my scrap containers with this one.  It's super quick to cut and put together, and I will play with the colouring to get different looking blocks.

The Triangle In Square die will make lots of star blocks easier, and the border of Celtic Solstice will be a snap now.
 This die is badly designed; each Triangle In Square block requires a left facing triangle, and a right facing one.  The die cuts only one sort; to make even a single block you have to cut two layers of fabric, right sides together.  If they had had the diagonal line of the triangles sloping in opposite directions it would have made it possible to cut triangles for two blocks from each layer of fabric.  Not good planning on their part.  Seeing as I plan to use this for scrap cutting I'm not too upset; I just have to make sure I cut equal amounts of scraps facing up, and facing down, otherwise I'll end up with not enough matching pairs to make the blocks.  Surely their testers could have pointed that out to them....

Mereth and I have already cut a heap of blocks, and she has sewn up a fair few; I'm still waiting for the time to sit at the machine and send the pieces through.  Soon....


Thursday, December 10, 2015

I'm here at the farm, and enjoying it mightily.  It's so peaceful and beautiful, it's very relaxing to drive home here at the end of another busy day. 

Tawny is a Kelpie cross, about 6 years old, and she's missing her family;
she's getting lots of attention from me, but it's just not the same.  Plus I have a printed schedule of pills that she has to have; two different types, at differing times for the next two weeks.  Good thing I don't mind administering pills, I learned how to do that at ag college 30 years ago.  I'm glad Tawny is sweet-natured, allowing a total stranger to put pills down her throat, but she does flinch a bit whenever I come near her.  All is well as soon as she realises there isn't a tablet involved.

Of course there is the problem that so much of what I want or need is back at the hall, and when I'm in there I'm cursing because the computer or Ipad or whatever is out the farm; I just need to be organised and it will take a few days for me to work out a system.  I'll get there.
I made sure to bring out a bottle of red and a wine glass, to toast the beautiful view and the start of my little adventure.
Crackers from Ikea, and Stilton from Costco made an acceptable dinner. 
Both were bought on shopping expeditions with my DD, so there were happy memories to keep me company as well.  Nice...


Monday, December 07, 2015

These days are just racing by, and blogging is last on the list of things to do.  Everything else has deadlines, or obligations, or I just want to help family and friends, so the blog has to wait till I find more time.  I have a couple more days of computer work, then I'm taking a break till mid January; the postie rush has only 2 and a bit weeks to go, and then we should have a quiet time after that. 
To distract myself from all the work and running around I might have bought a few things..... I will blog about all these in more detail over the next few days.

 That would be an electric Go Cutter.
And a Quick Curve ruler from Sew Kind Of Wonderful. Thank heavens they have pdf downloads, so I don't have to wait for the patterns.
A treadle with Tiffany decals has been on my Want List for many years, and I finally found an affordable one.  It's not perfect, but still very beautiful.

My sewing room has been sadly neglected for weeks, but it's starting to inspire me again.  I've been rummaging through Mereth's stash and found some fabrics that will help me finish all my blue and red projects, so I'm keen to get back to that.
There are 4 things that need borders, it will take a while to deal with them all.
 And I may have snapped and started a tumbler quilt as a leader-ender.  I'm unrepentant.

Tomorrow I start 7 weeks of baby-sitting a friend's farm, just across the creek from Helen.  It's a few kilometres out of town, so I'll have to commute to work.  I will have a farm dog to look after, but it will be best if Dolly stays with Mereth.  When Mereth needs a holiday from our two dogs she can come out to the farm and I'll go in and stay at her place.  It's probably another layer of madness at this busy time, but I'm looking forward to it.  Life would be dull if we didn't branch out every now and then.

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