String Challenge and More

I  had so hoped that when I was off last week that each night I would go to the living room and sew a few of my string blocks.  That did not happen.  It did not happen at all.  My cleaning mood is still here and that kicked in instead….more on that in this coming Wednesday’s post.

I did my first blocks on the treadle loving it and then mid sewing it hit me that the machine should be oiled ….then I realized I need to oil in the under carriage.  I couldn’t loosen the screws and needed Hubby….figured I better put in a new needle and then all I had was problems.  I’m sure you who have sewn on vintage machines understand.  I had put in one kind of needle…only to have problem after problem with fraying thread.  I ended up going upstairs and digging and digging until I found some Singer sewing machine needles and tried that.  Finally I got up and going again.  Can you believe that sucked up over an hour’s worth of sewing time.

With things going like that, it was easy to ignore the machine and just do something else instead.  I didn’t get back to it until Saturday.  At that point I knew it would soon be time to clean up my mess and get back to normal work life…so I treadled like mad wanting to get as much done as I could before it was time to pack it all away.

I have found that I really do enjoy treadling.  Strings are the perfect thing for to practice with at this point.  I know there would be an accuracy learning curve for me should I venture out and try something beyond treadling with strings.

I was really intimidated by the shuttle bobbin at first but I’m getting over that.  I sure wish I had more than one bobbin for the machine.  Does anyone know where to get more from?

Through the digging through strings I managed to get 13 more string block done.  Here they are…unpressed…untrimmed but sewn.

When I first thought I would make these blocks I thought it would be BIG challenge to make them on the treadle.  Now I think that’s kind of funny as with practice, treadling has become no big deal!  I am happy I can have it in the living room and use my embroidery light as I work.

You can find me back here next week. I don’t know if I’ll be treadling as I have to put it all away. I’m trying to come up with a bit of a plan that makes it easier to set it all up more quickly.

Stash Report

I added fabric to the stash…not cotton though…WOOL!  Remember a bit ago when Kalissa and I went and saw Kayla.  Well we stopped at Kayla’s thrift store and look what I got….

I didn’t open it to see what it was…I didn’t count the pieces…I didn’t even make particular note of the fabrics or colors of the fabrics.  I just grabbed the bag!!  I was going to buy it!

Once home, this is what I discovered…..

All are pants.  There are eight pairs there.  Grand total of the purchase….$2.  WOW, that’s a deal!!

I am so in love with all of the grays.  These are so close to the colors Kelli and I had been contemplating when we went to Merry’s Stitchin’s and found the wool patterns.

Remember these patterns….I had bought a little wool but tried to refrain as I was pretty sure I had enough to make them.

Next up for me is to de-bone them and get them felted.  It’s more work than buying wool in yardage but the savings sure can’t be beat!  Here were a few of the designs done up…Oh, I’m anxious to get to them!!  I’

When we were visiting Kayla we went to her thrift stores and to the Amish shops in the area.  The Amish shops here are really cheap.  Here’s what I bought there….

The needle threader was $5.25.  When I went to the Featherweight class the lady next to me highly recommended it.  She was telling me that it was $11 at Joann’s but I should wait for a coupon then it would be only $5.  Well…I got it here for the cheap price with no coupon!  I think that just proves how much money is being made by the big box stores.

Anyway…I’m happy to try it.  She did say that it’s takes a little bit of a learning curve but once you get it, it’s easy.

Oh, if anyone is in the market for Minky, they had it there price from $6-$7 a yard.  Some of it was the pretty kind with the roses in it.  I didn’t need any but I do know where to get some now.  The store is near Delhi Iowa if anyone is local.

I had a fun day…fun purchases and great company with Kalissa and Kayla to hang out with.


String Challenge and What I’m Working On…

I have no childcare for the next week….so, I’m playing as much as I possibly can, that is in between driving to appointments in Lacrosse for the prep for my thyroid cancer recheck.

So what did I do…

I started sewing my churn dash blocks together only to discover that I cut about a quarter of the alternate blocks at 5″ rather than at 5 1/2″.  UGH!

So in between some other things I was doing in the kitchen, I started cutting new blocks.  I was a little sad at first and then decided to “get over it”.  At least the 5″ blocks are a size I can use later down the road.  They’ll be perfect in a charm square quilt pattern….in fact, I’ll likely cut more and plan a project with them.

What else I’m doing on my play days….THIS!!!

Remember that my family bought me a treadle sewing machine for my birthday?  (read about that here is you missed it)  Well I found a home for it in my living room but I hadn’t gotten it out to use it.  So I pulled it out, turned it around, turned on Netflix and gave it a whirl.

I decided that I am going to try to make all of the string blocks for my Daylilies quilt on it.  My blocks will be all batiks sewn on my Franklin treadle.

I ended up getting six done over the course of two episodes….that included setting up.  I need to get Hubby to help me figure out how to oil the underside carriage but other than that, I’m leaving her set up for the duration of my time off.  I’m hoping to get the string blocks done over that time period.

Treadling has been fun for me.  It’s a MUCH slower process.  If you checked out that video of me trying to make it run when I first got the machine it looked like I’d be terrible at it.  Practice truly does make it better.  I can start up like a pro now.  I know I’m not ready to sew a Bonnie Hunter quilt on it with tiny pieces but who knows…maybe someday I will.  In the meantime, I’m content sewing string blocks!!

See you back here next week!

Our Featherweight Class

If you read the blog on Monday you know I took the day off to learn more about my Featherweight sewing machine.  My daughter Kayla and my friend Connie both went with me.  The class we went to was Nova Montgomery’s class.

It was a long weekend but loads of fun.  Friday Connie came in the late afternoon.  She was in time to meet the childcare kiddos.  Kelli ended up coming that evening.  The three of us sewing all day Saturday.  I got a project finished that I’ll be showing you soon.  Sunday we were up and off to Cedar Rapids.  Our granddaughter and grandson got baptized (more on that in another post too).  We had church and then went to Buck and Lora’s for a meal.  Then we loaded up. Kayla, Connie and me and made our way to Bettendorf, Iowa via thrift stores, Joann’s and Michael’s.

Once at the hotel…these two were busy crocheting.  Me.  I did NOTHING!!  It was fabulous.

While we were relaxing Connie made a bet.  She said someone at class would know who I was.  I laughed and said no way.  Kayla thought if she was there rather than Kelli someone would recognize me…or if we introduced ourselves, someone might recognize me.  I thought no on would….I said if they did, I’d buy lunch.

Once morning hit, we were off and running. Here are our Featherweights in tow.  Connie made these cute velcro handle covers so we could easily tell who’s machine was who’s.

We quick set up and class was underway.  It’s a fairly fast paced class lead by Nova Montgomery.  Find her website here.

We were each set up with our own machine and were put to task to clean, oil and lubricate the entire thing.  I can comfortably say that I don’t think I will ever have to take my machine in to a repair shop to be cleaned.  I feel as I can do a good job all on my own.  That was a great comfort.

We learned what to touch and what not to touch…that was a big one for me.  I was so intimidated by it all so I touched NOTHING!

The class is a powerpoint presentation LOADED with pictures.  Nova will have a slide on the screen of what our next task was.  She completely talked up through it with pictures to follow along.  It was do-able for most everyone.

My machine had been serviced by a repair shop in Decorah two month previous to this.  I hadn’t used it except for Saturday for part of the day when Connie was here so my machine was pretty clean.  I did run into a problem though.  The repair shop didn’t have a belt for it so they put an o-ring on it instead of a belt AND there was a thread jam in the the back behind the bobbin.  I spend at least a half hour dealing with that.  I am sure the jam was there before…UGH.  He didn’t clean it but I did!!  I don’t need to take my machine away for any of that anymore.  YAHOO!

Remember our little bet?   At the first break someone did recognize me.  This is Jennifer from Champagne, IL.  We both drove 3 hours-ish to get there.  She came from the east…me from the north.  She was so nice and pleasant.  I didn’t realize at the time but I might have come off a little rude at first.  She said “Hi Jo” and referenced the blog….and what did I say, “Dang it! I lost the bet”.    I don’t even think I said hello first.  UGH.  I think I redeemed myself later.  This is Jennifer….

She ended up getting some bad news about her machine.  It was a little hesitant and wasn’t working the best.  It last sounded like Nova would be giving the motor a little make over…ugh.  Poor Jennifer…and poor machine.  The gal next to me said she was needing Nova to look at her’s too….BUT most of us were so-so happy with out good sounding and smooth running machines.

Here’s a picture I snapped of Connie from across the room.  She was taking notes and working so hard.

Here’s Kayla with her table mates.

My little machine needed some help.  The place where I plug the machine in was cracked.  I bought the part and then at lunch Nova repaired the machine for free.

Sadly that wasn’t the only thing I had to replace….Some necessary, some optional.  I got a new foot pedal.  Mine had a frayed cord-that necessary.  I got a servicing card for my 301-not necessary but worth it.  Happily the two machines-the 301 and the Featherweight- have many similarities so I think I can take care of her now too.  I got a cone thread holder for the machine and an LED bulb….again not a necessity…but wanted.

Connie and I had a discussion before we came that we were going to try to not spend too much money there….well I blew that out of the water….and from the looks of what Connie’s holding she maybe did too.

If you were to go, plan on having at least $100 with to cover any extras you might need or want.  The gal sitting next to me (I didn’t know her) said, “So much for your $5 machine….she’s right.  I did spend a little money on her but she’s in tip top shape now.  (For those of you who don’t know Hubby bought my Featherweight for me for $5-Story on that here.)

In the end, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot too.  I do recommend the class if you are a Featherweight owner who would like to learn more about your machine.  Here is a link to see if Nova will be in your area.  Thanks for the road trip Connie and Kayla.  You were great travel mates!