Monday, May 12, 2014

An Old "New" Favorite?

A while back, I mentioned that I found a 1950 Singer 201-2 while Michel and I were out "junking". The machine was locked up, but the price tag was right and of course, she followed me home. (Michel is a HUGE enabler, but that is an entire post in and of itself.) This is what she looked like, as found:
1950 Singer 201-2 with a Western Electric wood case.
This 201-2 was just sitting in a Western Electric wooden case, as the hinge pins do not align properly. She sat in my sewing, craft, rehab, catch-all room for a few weeks before I finally made the time to dig into her innards and get her stitching. I spent all day this past Saturday and most of Sunday soaking her in oil, removing parts, cleaning, and freeing up this locked up gem. When I was about 80% finished, with only the motor left to tackle, I decided to make a few test stitches from just turning her over by hand. WOW! Three words: smooth, straight, sweet! Those test stitches were enough of a motivation to service her built-in motor and produce some real stitches.

Servicing the motor was a lot easier than I had anticipated. The motor wires were still in great condition, with no dry flaking insulation, as is typical with a 50+ year old machine. The motor leads were still very pliable and supple, which made servicing the motor much easier and faster. Also, I skipped servicing the metal foot controller for now, and swiped a bakelite controller from one of my Featherweights. Once the motor service was completed, I mounted the 201-2 into the wood base I had obtained from eBay. The base is a custom made 'reproduction' of the Singer-style bentwood case bases. It suits this machine well.
All cleaned, serviced and ready to sew!
And I really love the new walnut base.
And here she is stitching. I apologize beforehand for the video quality; one-handed videography is not my forte.

I will start piecing my next quilt on her this week. If she performs like her sister, my 201K, I believe this 201-2 could become my new favorite machine. And if so, I think I may name her "Margaret", after my favorite aunt - my mom's youngest sister. I'll keep you updated. Until then, happy sewing!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

One Month Down

It has been a month since my last post, and it's been a month on my new job. I am really enjoying the job, the new industry and my new co-workers. A friend reminded me that all things happen for a reason, and to enjoy this next chapter of my life. He has a good out-look, and my out-look remains positive. With that said, the only draw back has been the longer commute to work, which results in less time at home with my family. It is taking some adjustment, but I am making the most of the time we do have together.

On the project front, I finished the restoration of the 1948 Singer 15-91. This machine is incredibly FAST and powerful! If I ever have a sewing machine related accident, this machine will be the one to cause it. (I hope I didn't just jinx myself.) I used the 15-91 to quilt the "Kissing Fish" project and the machine performed great. I did need to adjust the bobbin tension for the cotton thread, as it was a bit too tight - a fact I discovered halfway through the quilting. But I was able to 'pick' the trouble areas and even out the stitches, without having to remove them.
1948 Singer 15-91
This is one sweet, POWERFUL, great stitching machine!

As for the "Kissing Fish" is the finished quilt. The points on the individual 8" blocks came out well. Putting all the blocks together...not so well. I definitely need more practice on half-square triangles and 1/4" seams. Practice makes perfect...eventually.
Overall, I'm very please with the "Kissing Fish".
Most of the points aligned properly;some, not so much.

Next project - the 1950 Singer 201-2. I'm looking forward to that restoration. I have a lot of expectations for that machine - it needs to sew as well as my 201k and with the speed and power of my 15-91. I hope it lives up to the hype I've read about.

Until next time, cheers!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Smiling from Ear to Ear

Last week I received a phone call from one of the many places I had submitted my resume. After a 30 minute phone interview in the middle of Bed, Bath & Beyond, I impressed the hiring manager enough to land the in-person interview. Woo Hoo! I was so excited, I almost forgot why I was in BB&B - I needed a new iron as my old one decided to spew forth gobs of rust and muck! Luckily I was using a pressing cloth at the time. With my 20% Off coupon, I settled on one of the Rowenta models and merrily headed home.

Speed forward three days - the interview went great! Both the company and I felt good about the entire process, and two days later I was invited back for a second interview. And I am happy and proud to say - I landed the job! I start on St. Patrick's Day and I'm looking forward to the new experience and industry. There is of course a trial period - three months where the salary adjusts and before full benefits kick in. But to be honest, it's an honest to goodness job and I'm tickled to be back in the work force!

On to more good news....The Kissing Fish quilt is all pieced. The 201k did a wonderful job; me on the other had, I really need more experience with my points aligning correctly. That will come in time. I've since purchased a 1/4" foot that is compatible with all of my old Singers, and I tested it out on the 201k and then the 15-91. The 15-91 needed a presser bar alignment, but after that...PRESTO! The best 1/4" seams I've ever stitched...on both machines.

Speaking of the 15-91...Hercules is completed. Yes, I named the machine Hercules, because quite honestly, this machine is a total brutish beast! It has so much power and speed that I can truthfully say that if I ever stitch my finger together, it will be with the 15-91! I will dedicate a post to the restoration of Hercules and he will be quilting the Kissing Fish.

I sold two of my Featherweights about two weeks ago and the majority of the proceeds will go towards tomorrow's Sewing & Quilting Expo here in Atlanta. Now I can spend a few dollars and not feel guilty. I did, however, already acquire another machine. Actually, Michel found it and encouraged me to purchase it; he's such a wonderful enabler! I now have a 1950 Singer 201-2 in my herd.

1950 Singer 201-2
This little (okay, heavy) beauty begged to come home. She was sitting in a Western Electric bentwood case with a few bobbins, screwdriver and original manual. Note the metal foot controller - I'll replace that with something different. I've never been a fan of the metal controllers. They are neat to have as original equipment, but I prefer the bakelite controllers. And yes, to answer the question before it is asked...I am looking for a Western Electric machine for that case!

I also found this and want to duplicate it.
Clown Quilt
It looks like a fun project and would a great gift for any one of my nieces or nephews. Or maybe even me!

I'll post my goodies from the Expo - I need to make my list before bedtime.  Until tomorrow - cheers!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Still Around

Once again, it's been a long time since I have posted. The last few months have been a bit of a blur, with life kicking me in the gut. I lost my dad unexpectedly the week before Thanksgiving due to complications from pneumonia. Two weeks later, I was laid off from my job. Talk about kicking a person when they are down. Needless to say, the Christmas holiday was one of my worst ever.

The only thing I can say is thank God for my hobbies. They have kept my mind busy and helped to keep me from falling into a pit of despair. The job search is ongoing, but slow. In 25 years, I've worked for two (2) companies, so I do not have a great deal of experience in job hunting. Starting over again isn't a very exciting idea, but I haven't ruled out a total career change. In the meantime, I will keep searching and keep my head up, and my sewing machines humming.

Just a few of my completed projects:

My Tudor Doublet for Halloween.
Sewn on the Bernina Record 730.

Christmas towels for my cousin and her children.

Current project: The Kissing Fish quilt.
I'll post more about the Kissing Fish when it is completed. It is the first quilt made using the Accuquilt GO cutter system. I received it for Christmas, before the layoff. 

Also in the works: a 1948 Singer 15-91; another pre-layoff purchase.

Until next time, chins up.