Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kranky People

We are the Kranky People . . . because we like our old hand crank sewing machines!

Let me introduce you to my Kranky friends--on the left is Laurie, then JoAnn, Jerry, and Kay.

We gathered in my dining room last June to work on our HAND CRANK SEWING MACHINES.

We had so much fun, we decided to make it a regular thing--getting together to work on our machines.  Laurie came up with the group name, KRANKY PEOPLE.

Laurie has a Singer with original hand crank--as I recall it has a manufacture date of 1894.  It is a 3/4 size.

Needless to say, Laurie stayed the cleanest Kranky Person--dressed to the nines with gloves and apron.  I think she's polishing a throat plate with some fine steel wool and metal polish on her 1894 Singer with original hand crank.

Here we see Jerry (leader of the Kranky People group) opening a bag of weed  uh--spare parts.

You can see on Laurie's machine bed is a shallow glass bowl where she puts thumb screws, presser foot, bobbin, shuttle, during dismantling and cleaning.  

There aren't any fast rules where to begin, but with Laurie's hand crank machine, I think the balance wheel and shuttle were locked in rust and wouldn't move.  It took a full day of cleaning and oiling to bring it around. 

JoAnn's pride and joy is a 1923 Singer model 128 with La Vencedora decals--an elaborate and hard to find pattern decorated in gold, red, and green.  JoAnn bought her machine in it's original wooden base and bentwood case, and removed its electric motor and added a reproduction hand crank.

In the same photo, front and center is Kay's Model 66, fitted with a reproduction hand crank.  The balance wheel spins like a top after deep cleaning and oiling.  A perfect machine for hand crank sewing.  I'll have to look on my other computer notes/photos to find out its manufacture year.  We have lots of photos of our machines when we first got them, and they were dirty toads.

At this first gathering of the Kranky People group, Jerry is instructing dismantling a machine, and getting us familiar with machine part names.  As we unscrewed this and that, and filled our little glass bowls with itty bitty parts,  Jerry is  a great teacher and cheerleader.  When things got complicated he'd sit down at our machines to solve a problem.  

Some times we'd have a scary moment--(in awe), as Jerry brought out the lead hammer, brass punch, and pads, and gentle taps to nudge throat plate slides open.  I'd wonder how long those plates had been frozen in place with rust?  

Who are the Kranky People?
Laurie (left) is the owner of Reflections Antiques in Nelsonville, WI.  JoAnn is an IT executive for a large corporation,  Jerry is a rug loomer and professional candy maker.  Kay (right) teaches woodcarving classes at a local college--and she's the diva of woodcarving.  Before retirement, I was an executive secretary for two CEOs (back to back) at a large corporation for more than 20 years.  

Kay the wood carver, wears a taped wrist while working on her Singer model 66.  

Kay told me about her busy summer work--how she helped birth pigs and cows on their farm.  And the flower and vegetable gardening, the vegetable canning, and their recent apple orchard harvest--and making apple juice.  Kay, when do you sleep?  

I wanted to share these great photos--our first group lessons in restoration.  We worked, and snacked, and talked machine history, and made plans for road trips to find more antique and vintage sewing machines to work on.  And we did!  We bought other antiquers, and many colorful vintage machines.   
Note to Jerry: I don't know how many machines we've cleaned this summer--maybe 20 or so?  

We love to find toasty machines--dirty, filthy ones.   It's a challenge we just can't resist.

By the way, if you want to have your granny's old machine restored--drop me a note.  Jerry does house calls too!

Friday, July 31, 2015

PINK is the word for

My Repainted Pink 'n Black
1950s, Model 902 Penneys Sewing Machine

It started out as a light grayish brown body with dark gray dial plates . . .

Ooops I did it again, crossed the line into madness . . . and forgot to take a BEFORE photo! 

But I did take photos of the tricker machine parts I removed, labeled, bagged and set aside.  Those photo are still on my camera, and I referred to them yesterday as it took me most of the day to re-assemble all the springy things, and dials.  

Let me show you some pictures taken during sanding, taping, and repainting

Jon was frustrated watching me spray paint, so he volunteered to show me "how it really needs to be done"  I admit, he did a great job.  He is sitting in the background of this photo--taking a break to admire his work.

We let the machine sit in the summer kitchen for the week, and then Jon took it outside and sprayed a second coat of pink.  Then I let it set for several days again in the summer kitchen.

I removed the blue masking tape and plastic off of the front end (door) to paint it glossy black and bagged the rest of the machine to protect the pink.  We let the machine dry a couple of days in the summer kitchen.

One more step--I did some light sanding with 800 grit, cleaned it thoroughly, and sprayed two clear coats with all the important mechanics still covered (taped and stuffed with leftover cotton batting pieces). 

Sitting in the summer kitchen

Yep - it was getting exciting, peeling off the tape.

I was so glad I took dis-assembling photos that were still on my camera.  Good reference to put parts back where they needed to be . . . a slower process than taking it apart, for sure.

Fitted with a hand crank

For the moment, I've removed the solid wheel and replaced it with a 9 spoke balance wheel and hand crank.  I just love hand cranks.  When I get a moment I'll get the electric motor housing repainted pink.  Then, if I sell this one--it can be powered by electric or people powered.  

My group of friends--we call ourselves "The Kranky People"--we all own original hand crank machines, and we get together about twice a month to work on restoring other vintage and antique machines.   We learn, we laugh, we snack.  Relaxing and lots of fun.  

I think I have some photos on my camera of the Kranky People working on their machines  I'll find those photos and update this post.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that bling . . .

For sometime now, I've been making hand made polymer clay beads, and pairing them with metal and glass store bought beads, to make strings of bling for purses and eye glass cases.

Here's how I made my own quilted fabric:

I loaded a yard each of the black fabric with lime green peace symbols, and printed cotton backing fabric (turquoise and lime green), and two layers of 100% cotton batting on the long arm quilt frame--just as I do when I'm free style quilting queen size quilts.

Free Style Quilting - Feather Bouquet

Forming the "S" stem, and filling with feathers

Feather Bouquet in Progress

The small zippered purses I made from the quilted fabrics are 8.5 inches wide by 7 inches deep--just the right size for a phone. 

It's so much more fun to zip zip zip with a handful of bling beads.

Shown here are beads I made: shaped like an olive, a square, and a tube.  The metal beads, one glass bead, and one yellow wooden bead adds interest.

Second purse - same quilted fabric, different bead bling.

Detail of glass beads, metal beads, and 2 handmade polymer clay beads in lime green shown at the top.

The eye glass cases are fun to make.  The bling of beads has only one function--decoration.  

Notice there is an enameled snap head just right of center that is an easy closure to keep the eye glass case closed and secure.  

There is a swivel clasp on a fabric loop at the top of the eye glass case--so you can wear it attached to your neckline, or clipped to your jeans belt loop.  It is also, just the right size to carry a cell phone and mad money.  
P.S. - the white string you see in these photos is the price tag (I didn't hide it very well, did I?)


Lower third of the photo above, there is a caramel striped tube bead I made from polymer clay.

It is an easy technique to make tube beads:
1. Condition several colors of clay and stick them together.  
2. Roll into a fat tube shape and twist them several times. 
3. Run the clay through the pasta machine to make a uniform thickness (1/8").  
4. Cut a long rectangle with clay knife; wrap rectangle lengthwise on a metal knitting needle.  
5. Pat with fingers to close the wrap forming a tube around the knitting needle.
6. Bake 265 degrees F for 30 minutes.  
7. Cool for a few minutes.
8. Slide warm polymer clay tube off of the knitting needle.
9. Slice into small tubes sections.  (As if you were cutting a straw into small pieces).

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Midsummer Night's Dream

I can rest on this one . . . a great summer quilt
I was inspired by Jenny Doan's YouTube tutorial on her Irish Chain Quilt.

Simple Irish Chain
getting the layers loaded on the quilt frame

Lots of 2.5" scrappy strips (leftovers) to build this queen size quilt 90 x 102

One great thing about loading a quilt is--it forces me to stop and super-clean the studio floor so I don't draw up crazy lint and threads.

My Feather Bouquet edge to edge free style is relaxing to stitch

I used up the last bits of some of these scrap fabrics.  

Some of those fabrics I'll really miss--like the Robert Kaufman "hidden cove", a watery blue with fish swimming 'round.  Sliced up into little sections, only parts of fish show up here and there.

The nine patch finishes 6".   On a field of crisp white, I'm happy having so much negative space to quilt to show off the feathers, interrupted by 2" chips of color.

A full day's work to long arm quilt, and less than a week to piece. 

When presenting a variety of color, I sure rely on basic color wheel to make quick decisions, but not too obvious, and expectations of a random look.

 No problems quilting this one--I used Glide thread, and 100% cotton batting.

Rolling it off the frame

Swirl sequence of the Feather Bouquet design

Light streaming from the south full glass doors.
Quilt looks great.

I took lots of pictures of the free style quilting.  It is fun.

I flipped up the bottom, so you can see the backing with panel insert.

View of the backing

I finished the quilt just as we lost our precious little dog Rainie.  
I wish it were all a dream.  Jon and I miss her so much.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Falling Triangles Quilt and Goals for 2015

My goal for 2015 is to build 15 queens size quilts, using larger chunks of fabrics (leftovers) from other projects.

Falling Triangles Quilt is my 7th this year as we begin the month of June . . .

 I pieced the Falling Triangles while visiting my mother in May.  My Mom has a wall mounted quilt in her dining room.  I used Mom's wall mounted quilt as a design board--to pin and review finished blocks.

Assembly:  I selected and sewed 4 blocks together--as it was easier for me to keep each triangle rotating in the correct position.  

I took this photograph after completing the first row of long arm quilting, featuring my own free style edge to edge Feather Bouquet design.  

At the left of the photo is the take up roller bar--where you can see the backing fabric of gray and white chevron with turquoise center panel wrapping around the take up roller as I roll and advance the quilt to stitch the second row.

This photo shows all the layers loaded on the quilt frame.  After stitching the first row, I stopped, and pulled the quilt top to the side so you can see the polyester batting.  

To the right of this photos--I did a stitch test sample on the extended margin of the backing.  

The extra margin of backing fabric is great for testing thread tension, gives me a moment to see how the loft of the polyester batting will behave before starting the quilt, and most important the extra fabic margins (left and right) are need to attach side tension clamps.   

On the right--I am doing test stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. 

My Feather Bouquet free style design is stitched right to left.  Begins with a graceful S stem that finishes in a loose spiral, then back track to build feathers.   Two days work to long arm quilt, and a third day to add binding, turn binding, and hand stitch.  

I was inspired to make this quilt after reviewing Jenny Doan's Missouri Star tutorial on the Falling Triangles Quilt.  I hope you will give it a try also.  

Tip:  I use Heavy Duty Spray Starch to prepare fabric for cutting and during assembly--makes every cut, every bias seam behave perfectly and finish accurately.