Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Christmas Makes


I have been making some Xmas pressies and reckoned it would be safe to give a sneak preview.

First is a commission for some pot holders for my friend's daughter.

Then a couple of heart tree decorations for our new neighbours, put some homegrown lavender inside.  Jill likes all things heart shaped.

A bag for ?????

For my lovely customer Don, I baked some biscuits.

Finally, had a go at a tree decorations for our home.

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful Christmas.

Take care

Sharon x

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Industrial Sewing Machine


Last winter I rode out for a local business woman, it was great riding such super horses and get paid for it.   Didn't have time this October to do it which was a shame but I got a call from her last week.  She runs a horse  rug repair and cleaning service, would it be possible for me to go up and repair rugs using a Seiko industrial sewing machine?  Her machinist was on holiday and they had a back log of repairs to do.

I once worked for an interior designer making very posh curtains for a while and used industrial machines but it was years ago.

So got on my push bike and went up to the farm.   Ann the owner, had tried using the machine set on its slowest setting and it had scared the daylights out of her.  Gosh they don't half shift, I had forgotten how fast they go.  Its a wonderful machine, complete with walking foot, it goes through many layers of very tough fabric and wadding.

There is more to repairing rugs than I thought but I got the hang of it.  The down side of using this machine is that my beloved Singer 201 seems extremely slow and very wimpy now!  On Ebay a lot of  domestic machines described as "industrial" or "semi industrial" they are not, no where near.

One of the last rug repair I did was sewing thick nylon webbing straps on to hold D rings.  The first one was on layers of (from the bottom of the rug) nylon lining, wadding, thick tough waterproof outer layer, 2 layers of strapping, the machine sailed through it.  Then it came to the second D ring strap, sewn directly on top of the first webbing so it was 4 layers of webbing on the rug.  I didn't believe it could go through that without snapping the needle so started on the top with the needle in the down position, it sewed straight away without a hitch so went off the webbing.  Then did the another row of stitching starting on the rug up and over the 4 layers of webbing and off the other side.

Unbelievable.  Sorry forgot to take my camera with me, if I get the call again, will take a photo.

Sharon x

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Singer Sewing Machine Accessories


When I bought my Singer Featherweight I didn't realise that it would start a small collection of all things Singer!  Ebay has a lot to answer for!

I have posted about my Singer Oil Cans collection but there is a host of other things to collect as well.

Singer needle threaders, there are six different designs, I've got three of them.

Singer scissors, only got a couple of these, I am sure that there are more styles and sizes out there.

Singer Tape Measure, got this by accident, didn't even know they did tape measures

Then screw drivers, you only need a small and large one to assist with the maintenance of your machines but its surprising how many different styles there are.  Not sure it the little double ended black one is a Singer one, its not marked so probably not but its a great little thing, ideal for tightening the screws on my glasses.  There are a pair of tweezers with the Singer logo on but haven't been able to get my hands on them yet!

Lint brushes, these are essential if you want to keep your Singer in good condition, its amazing how much lint gathers in the feed dogs.  If you are storing your /Singer its a good idea to dip your brush into Singer Oil and brush over all the moving parts of the machine, this will stop any rust forming, it only needs a light covering don't have it dripping all over.

Then there are the boxes to keep the extra attachments in.

The ones below are the more modern ones.

Hope you have enjoyed the tour of part of my Singer world!  Think I need to get out more, its becoming an obsession!


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Homemade Gift Tags with Kraft Text Paper


Back in September the lovely Josie over SewforSoul introduced Kraft-tex paper and made a super zipper bag (SewforSoul)

For those who have never seen this great product its same as the stuff that jeans labels are made off.  It cuts and sews like fabric, you can wash it and it looks like leather.  Quite like the idea of it so sent for some off Ebay.  It comes in a few different colours so I got the tan.

You are able to print and stamp on it so got the idea for a luggage label for my mini suitcase.  Which set me off making gift tags using some scrap fabric.

Took a template off a cardboard tag and cut them out of the Kraft Tex paper making sure that I marked where the hole for the string went.  Cut the fabric out slightly larger and used a glue pen to stick it down (opp side from the mark for the hole) and then used the 201 to sew as close to the edge with a contrasting cotton.  Then trimmed off the excess fabric using a sharp pair of scissors.  Punched the hole with a hole punch which went through the Kraft Tex easily but not the fabric so had to carefully trim the fabric away from the hole with scissors.  To finish this off used a eyelet.

On the back, I used rubber stamps with an ordinary ink pad.  Added lengths of string.

Got carried away as usual!


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Singer Imitation Hemstitching Attachment No. 120687


Been having a play with my new Singer Attachment on the 201 today instead of gardening (pouring rain and gales have grounded me!).

I have quite a collection of Singer attachments and accessories, its getting a bit of compulsion looking on Ebay!  Ooops

Got this curious looking thing

Luckily, it had its instructions with it.  Would never have worked out how to use it without them.

Fits on side ways which looks odd. Put one piece of fabric underneath and the top fabric over the front bit and under the back bit, you would put the top fabric right side up but it shows up better this way.  The instructions say to slacken off the top tension a bit.

Then proceed to sew after first checking the needle goes through the hole OK before you put the material in.

Once sewn, carefully remove from the machine, don't pull at the threads in the material.

Fold the upper piece of material on itself along the line of the stitch do the same with the lower fabric. Then gently pull the two piece away from each other.  The threads in the middle look like a ladder.

Stitch down both sides as near to the fold as you can.

 You can also do a picot edging with this attachment but ran out of time to have a go.

Not sure what I will use this for, originally it will have been used to make napkins, tea tray covers and perhaps, fancy stitching in dressmaking.  It was fun to have a go with it.

Before playing nicely, I made a Christmas pressy.  

Take care everyone, be safe.  


Monday, 9 November 2015

Vintage Mini Suitcase Makeover


Bought this cute little case at the Pickering War Weekend.  Wanted it to store my sewing projects in for when I sew on the move.

The lining paper was looking a bit tatty soooo

Got my Liberty fabric out and updated the inside.   Love it.

Covered a slim box with the same fabric and made an envelope style pocket to keep my vintage Singer scissors and tape measure in.

It was sold to me as an Evacuee case (not sure that it is) so made it a matching luggage label so it looked the part.

Can't wait to use it on Tuesday when I go to Sewing Circle.

Take care

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Wonderful Workshop - Textile Illustration Mark II


Went to another one of Sarah's Drawn Threads Workshops the other Saturday with my sister.  It was great to dedicate a whole day to sewing.  We both took our Singer Featherweights.

I decided to make a garden picture so had a look through my many gardening books for ideas.  My starting point was some fabric that looked like York paving and a lovely rose print.

Got the inspiration from this photo

Ended up with this.

It looks better from a distance but below is a close up so that you can see how I did it.  The clouds are made of pure un-spun wool scrounged from Becky the Weaver, tucked under a fine fabric. Thanks Becky.

My sister did an cute owl but he is still under construction.

We had a lovely day with Sarah, she made us very welcome.


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Vintage Buys


After booking up a pitch for the motorhome at the last minute, we set off on Friday for the Pickering WWII weekend.  It was a bit of a rush and the result was I forgot the camera. DOH!  We were half way there before I realised.  Soooo no photos of the fabulous event!

There were ooodles of vintage stalls so had a bit of spend.  Bought this really neat case to use to keep my patchwork bits when I am on the move.

Found a stall with some handy sewing items on it so had another little spend.

The scissor sharpener is brilliant.  The egg thingy is to hold my silver thimble, it fits inside perfectly.

Going to recover the inside of the case with some pretty fabric and hopefully add some storage pockets when I figure out how to do it.

My Partner Glock went to watch a battle scene at the showground which had loud bangs from the guns which was too much for sensitive Buzz so we had an hour or sew (I was sewing) in the motorhome.  Glock came back with a pressy for me, he thought that it would be useful for storing stuff in.

But when I saw the buckles on the side, had a light bulb moment.

Make a fabric strap for it so that I can use it as a shoulder bag.

Gave it a clean and a polish

A huge thank you to Glock, it was a brilliant find.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Perfect Buttonholes - Greist Buttonholer


My Sister is a Granny, she kept wishing for them and now she has three of various ages, all dinky little tots.  She has started to sew for them and I got an email.  She needed some buttonholes and could I do them with my Greist Buttonholer.

So set it all up and had a go. I used the Singer 201 and dropped the feed dogs but it comes with a feed dog cover so can use it on the Singer Featherweight as well.   Gosh it was nerve racking finishing someone else's sewing with a gadget that I have only used once (not many buttonholes in quilts!).

It's a bit weird to use, once you have marked where you want your buttonhole, you line up the needle on your chalk line with the buttonholer set away from you (it comes with instructions), then put the needle down and set the sewing machine away.  Hands free sewing, you don't need to guide anything, its best to go round twice, then just stop the machine.

Tad dah, complete with buttons from my box.  Sandi has made such a super job of this little waistcoat, its completely reversible with working pockets on both sides.

I was glad to hear that she has managed to get her own buttonholer from Ebay and has sent for an additional set of templates from the USA so that she has a good range of buttonhole sizes.  She has already used hers and loves it so I am off the hook.


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Beach Combing


Had a little holiday in Northumberland, 2.5 miles from Seahouses on the coast.  It was a fantastic location, the Camping and Caravan Site was just a stones throw from the beach so Buzz got his early morning walk along the seashore.  He doesn't seem to get the concept that holidays are for for resting, not getting up at 7am for a walk!  One morning he work me up at 6.30 but I didn't really mind as it gave us the beach to ourselves.

He mooched about while I looked for treasure, well, sea glass and stones.

Found this neat heart shaped stone.  Also, lots of sea glass which included a glass marble which probably came out of an old pop bottle, like the way the sea has worn the surface.

The round stone ball was near the glass marble.  When I first picked it up I thought it was musket shot but it looked like stone, Googled it and no, they were made of lead.  So showed it to someone who is into archaeology, she thought it was a clay marble but my friend Julie went to a little museum at Eyemouth which is a lot further up the coast.  She said that there were a few of these stone balls on display along side cannon balls, they were called stone shot and were packed into cannons and fired at ships, they ripped through anything they hit, including people and sails.  Wonder what mine hit if anything!  Must have been in the sea for a few centuries.

Julie did some research for me, and this is what she found.

  • Round shot was made in early times from dressed stone, referred to as gunstone (Middle English gunneston, from gonne, gunne gun + stoon, ston stone) but by the 17th century, from iron. It was used as the most accurate projectile that could be fired by a smooth bore cannon, used to batter the wooden hulls of opposing ships, fortifications, or fixed emplacements, and as a long-range anti-personnel weapon. However, masonry stone forts designed during the early modern period (known as star forts) were almost impervious to the effects of round shot.

So there you go, it is really old.

I put the sea glass into jars until I think of something to do with it, the colours are perfect for the summerhouse.

Buzz did his own beach combing, swapped his toy for a bit of old seaweed that looks like a leg off an Alien! It was his treasure and he didn't want to give it up, it must have tasted salty.

Did a little sewing while I was away.  Made a little pincushion jar for tiny pins.

I went riding along the beach from Seahouses to Bamburgh Castle, it was brilliant galloping along the sands. We even rode through some very big sand dunes which was something I had never done before, lean forward going up and well back on the way down! The castle looked magnificent.  The ride took 2 hours and was very energetic and I had to push bike 2.5 miles to the stables from the Camping site.  Gosh, I felt it afterwards!

Take care


Thursday, 1 October 2015

A Batty Tale


This is a bit of sad tale.

Buzz, my collie, likes to find creatures, he looks at them and then at me so that I can tell him he is good boy.  He never harms them if they are alive, just looks.  He has found baby ducks running around the garden, hedgehogs, his favourite are toads of various sizes, he hears them peeping away.  He once found a ferret with its head stuck in the fence and came to tell me so that I could save it.  He shows me bees that have dropped down on the ground so that I can pick them up and put  them on a flower head.

This is his most unusable find, it was on the path.  Poor thing was dead, a bit soggy so I think that a cat might have got it.  It was probably hunting the moths on my flowers outside the front door and a cat could have caught it in mid flight.   No self respecting owl would catch a bat and not eat it.

Didn't know that we had long eared bats, I can see the bats flying about but they are too fast to see the details.

If you are wondering how I got the photo, held it by the tips of its wings while my sister snapped away.  Never been this close to any bat, the wings are amazing so fine.  It was an incredible but very sad find.

Gave it a suitable burial in the garden.  RIP

Take care


PS - he found a live hedgehog in my customers garden this morning, he smelt it as soon as he went into the garden, it was tucked up in a mound of leaves.  He is so gentle, spent ages looking at the leaves to see if it would move but didn't touch it once.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Hexie Quilt


Tad daaa, finally finished.

This quilt has been my longest WIP (work in progress) ever.  The top was pieced together really quickly when I bought the quarter inch foot for the Singer Featherweight.  Really enjoyed sewing the Y seams, got carried away and ended up with a large quilt top.  Came to a grinding halt, making up the quilts is not my favourite pass time.  At a friend's suggestion to save money, used a wool blanket for the quilt sandwich.  It was a good quality heavy wool blanket, it turns out that heavy is not such a good thing when quilting by hand. Stitching in the ditch on a hexie pattern involves lots of twisting round changing direction, this caused the fabric to bunch up.  I didn't have the floor frame then and couldn't get comfortable with a hand frame.

 I kept telling myself it didn't matter too much and it would be fine.

But on completion, was really unhappy with it (lumpy puckered patchwork is not a good look) so unpicked the lot, ditched the blanket. Sulked for a while and then used some lightweight modern wadding.  Machine quilted instead, again tricky with all the direction changes.  It rained on Bank Holiday Monday so spent the afternoon finishing the quilting, putting the binding on and finally hand stitching the yards and yards of binding.

The patchwork fabric is vintage Laura Ashley, the blue was a hexie pack that my sister gave me and I cut the red fabric to match.  I used a quilt cover for the sashing and backing.

Was going to call it the "Harry Potter Quilt" cos of all the hexes but one the girls at sewing said it might put a hex on me so decided to call it "This Took Forever Quilt!"  Going to use it in the motorhome.

If you are wondering, its been on the go for 3 years!  Ooops.