Monday, July 21, 2014

Treadle Sewing Machine

Thinking back, twenty-five years ago, I spent many a Saturday at flea markets, garage sales and antique shops, filling my house with treasures from the past.  One neglected treasure that followed me home was a Singer treadle sewing machine, Model 127, made March 15, 1918 at the Singer factory in St. Jean's, Quebec, Canada.

The treadle base was rusty and the wood cabinet had some water damage.  At the time I was not thinking about sewing with it, I saw it more as a nice piece of furniture I could restore.  I did notice the front slide plate was missing and there was surface rust on the exterior metal parts of the machine, sure to discover more once I had it home.  

The treadle base and cabinet restored beautifully and looks just like the one in the vintage Singer advertisement pictured above.  I decide not to restore the sewing machine, thinking at the time I would not be able to find missing parts.

Now, twenty-five years later, I have taken a closer look at the machine and with one phone call, discovered I could replace the front slide plate, bobbins and shuttle.

The inside mechanics are in excellent shape and rust free, it just needed lots of oil.  The exterior metal surface rust was easy to remove, but as expected, caused some pitting.  A little elbow grease was all it took to remove 96 years of dirt and discoloration, and once polished, I must say, she looks pretty good for her age.

Singer factory  in St. Jean's, Quebec, Canada 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spinning Wool

Natural Coloured Fleece and Fiber

Cotswold (white)
Cotswold (medium brown)
Jacob (dark brown)
Navajo-Churro (medium brown)
Icelandic (grey)
Corriedale (white)
Corriedale (striped grey and white)
Border Leicester (medium brown)
Coopworth (white)
Blue-Faced Leicester (white)
Romney (white)
Romney (medium brown)
English Leicester (white)
Wensleydale (white)
Lincoln Longwool (white)
Alpaca (white and medium grey blend)
Alpaca (brown)

The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook is an excellent guide.  I still have more to read, but as you can see, I am off to a pretty good start building my collection, focusing mainly on medium to long wool's and irresistible Alpaca.

With still a pound of English Leicester to wash, I do love the process of cleaning and preparing raw fleece.   One day, I would like to try making my own natural dyes from plants. Harvesting Color, a book by Rebecca Burgess makes it sound so easy, but finding the right plants is a little more difficult.

As I learn to spin on a Drop Spindle, I have become curious about other types of spindles.  The Tibetan Spindle and Russian Spindle are both support spindles, meaning they spin in a bowl, not hanging from the air like a drop spindle.  

The Tibetan holds more fiber and spins longer than a Russian, but a Russian spins faster and is easier to carry.  Support spindles are traditionally used to spin fine yarn from short fibers, but that does not mean you cannot spin a heavier yarn or use long wool.  

The French Spindle, looks like a Russian Spindle, but used without a support bowl; you just hold it in your hand. It sometimes has a groove running down the shaft to guide the fiber.  

Another interesting spindle is the Turkish Spindle, which is a drop spindle that makes a center-pull ball as you spin your fiber.

Time now for a little drop spindle spinning, 
on this sunny Sunday afternoon.

Update: July 30, 2014  Just came across another interesting spindle, the Akha Spindle, from northern Thailand. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

House on the Hill

You may recognize this little house on the hill; it is from Anni Downs applique pattern, My Favourite Things.  I turned it into a rug hooking, using all wool yarn.  My first rug hooking was made from strips of wool fabric and as I plan for my third rug, it will be made from a combination of both.

I never did show you my homemade lap frame, made at the same time as my yarn swift.  This type of frame is best when working with wool fabric strips.  Wool yarn can easily be pulled out by the fine grip needles, so if you are working with all yarn, a quilting hoop works best.  You can also use a quilting hoop with fabric strips, but you may need to replace the bolt with a longer one, as it can get bulky.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air

Perfect for cool evenings relaxing in the garden, I am just finishing up hand piecing my spring time lap quilt.  The fabric is from two different collections that seem to go well together, Faded Memories by 3-Sisters and Poetry by April Cornell.