Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vintage Sewing Machines

A few years back, I become interested in vintage and antique sewing machines. Not in just collecting them, but also in using them. I'm finding that they are so much better made than the new, improved plastic ones with all the bells and whistles.

Two things really surprised me:
1) I found that most of Singer's (for instance) attachments, were used on machines 100 years ago...hemstitchers, rufflers, binding... Why did I assume these were invented relatively recently for use on only the 'modern' machines?

2) My sewing machine dealer told me with great pride, that my new Elna would still be sewing away in ten years. Gee - that means I could have bought several vintage machines that are still sewing after 100 years, for the same price! You almost can't kill those things.

Here are a few photographs of my small, but growing collection:

Jones Medium C.S. treadle w/Queen Alexandra decal
Serial Number 98833
Circa 1900-1910
Manufactured in North Manchester, England
It came with the original manual, 3 shuttles, 5 bobbins,
a binder, quilter, 4 hemmers and a shuttle tension screwdriver.

Singer Model 99K handcrank
Serial Number Y2303516
Manufactured in Glasgow, Scotland
It came with the original manual, 5 bobbins, a binder,
foot hemmer, seam gauge and the large screwdriver.
My youngest learned to sew using this machine.

Singer Model 201K handcrank
Serial Number EC851510
Manufactured in Glasgow, Scotland
It came with the original manual, 6 bobbins, a binder,
quilter, adjustable hemmer, tucker, gatherer, and the large screwdriver.
My son MJ learned to sew on this machine. He pieced his first quilt with it. Ok, his only quilt. He preferred taking the machines apart and cleaning them.

Singer Model 221K Featherweight
Serial Number EE861595
Manufactured in Glasgow, Scotland
It came with 1 bobbin, a foot hemmer, an adjustable hemmer,
a gatherer, and a ruffler.

The first three are all people-powered and have come in handy more than once when the power's gone out. As a matter of fact, my 2 youngest learned how to sew on the handcranks.

I have a few more machines, but they'll have to wait til the next installment.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Printable Gift Tags

I've had downloadable 'quilty' gift tags on my hobby website for many years, and since I'm planning to phase that website out by the end of the year, I'm slowly moving some of the things over here. 

These tags were designed in Electric Quilt and I've updated the fabric scans and changed the block patterns. You'll find 4 blocks on each sheet with your choice of fabrics from Mark Lipinski, Jo Morton, Amy Bradley and Marcus Brothers' Aunt Grace and Metro Blue.

A group that stayed at the retreat last week had printed out the Aunt Grace tags and the organizer had written their names on them and glued a pinback on so they could have cute little nametags - like this:

They're in separate Word documents that you can download and personalize before printing them out. I recommend card stock or heavy color copy paper, but regular printer paper will work fine, too. Click these links for the fabric tags of your choice.
Amy Butler
Mark Lipinski's Katmandu
Metro Blue
Jo Morton's Civil War Repros
Aunt Grace 30's repros

These have come in handy at my house when we have a gifting emergency and all we can find are the 500 Christmas tags I bought last December 26th.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Love That Green!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day...
My absolute favorite color is jadite green with a titch of aqua. I've got tons of this thread and will probably never actually use it. Whenever I spot this color thread, I add it to my collection.  It's such a gentle, peaceful color, and it just makes me happy to look at it.

Added 6/19/09:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Going Postal

This is the result of 6 hours(!) struggling through a fabric postcard workshop offered by our guild. I live in a very snug quilting box, and this was somewhat outside of it. While everyone else was laughing and enjoying the process, I was in a total stressed out sweat over it. I don't know what it is that makes me:
1) so rigid and inflexible
2) want to even try to get out of my box

My friend and fellow Sew-Ho Susi has a box, too. My box is here, and hers is the rest of the world. She came to the next guild meeting with a box of postcards, tied up with ribbons into sets of 9. I had one (1). I wish I could be more like her...just let loose and go with it!
Maybe part of it is because I was raised in a convent (literally), and letting loose wasn't allowed. Or maybe it's just me. You'd think I'd be used to it by now. But it still makes me want to go postal.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Shoe Pincushions!

I'm not really into shoes...unless you count these shoe pincushions! I started collecting them in 1999 and I just can't stop. They remind me of the shoes my grandmother wore back in the 40's and 50's. I just love them!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March 2009 Desktop Calendar

Click to expand image to full size, right-click and choose Set as Wallpaper or Background. To really jazz up your desktop, right-click on your background and choose a color that coordinates with the calendar - you'll love it!