Sunday, March 28, 2010

Singer 99 - Again

It was gray when I brought it home, but now that I've cleaned it up it's black.
One of the things that drew me to this machine the first time I saw it a year ago was its domed wooden case--because it was so much like my mother's sewing machine.  However, hers was a full size class 15 and this is a 3/4 size 99.
This case has been abused.  I've cleaned it, but I have not sanded off any of the paint splotches.

I remember my mom's case, and I even remember this metal piece inside:

I do not remember why it is there or what its purpose was.
The veneer is coming loose in a couple of places, and this corner is coming apart.  I think it must have sat in water at some point.

I wonder why there is a hole in the front of the box.......

I wonder about the point of the hole in the lid to the box.....

And I certainly wonder how the wheel became damaged in this pattern....

The tire on the bobbin winder was so large that it created too much pressure for the wheel to turn.  I replaced it with a smaller one--but it still rubs--so I'm going to have to figure out what size it really needs.  Fortunately, I can use my 66 Redhead to wind bobbins.

Ah, bobbins...they were another interesting feature.  Several came with the machine, all with thread.  I removed anywhere from 7 to 14 different colors from each bobbin.

Oh, if these old machines could only talk!  I'm wondering if all the different threads on the bobbins means it was used mostly for repairs.  The cord from the motor to the outlet has been replaced with a nice white one--but from a time before polarized plugs were the norm.

Now I want to use it--but the motor is making a rattle noise and I haven't found a place on the motor to add motor lubricant (grease).

Always an adventure.......

P. S. : I was asked what I used to clean the krinkle finish: just a paper towel swished in some water with dishwashing detergent.  Then I wiped it down with another wet paper towel.

P.P.S:  Here's some more information about this machine, information given to my by someone on the Vintage Singer list:
"...the metal lid on the right side of the machine should cover an electrical unit which operated a knee control.  The hole in the front on the wooden case is where the knee control was inserted into the control motor (?).  The hole in the rear of the metal lid  close to the motor was where the wire ran from the motor to the knee control unit."

Friday, March 26, 2010

What followed me home?.....

This is what followed me home today.
Actually, we met over a year ago, when I was looking for a treadle.  I felt I didn't know enough to purchase this machine.  Today I had training near the store, grabbed a quick bite of lunch, and went to see what was in the store.  (They did have one other sewing machine--an electric Damascus with sewing table--I hadn't seen one of those machines before.)
This one was sitting in the same place it was in last year--hadn't been moved, and I'm not sure it had been dusted.
Machine, wooden case, some attachments.  No manual.
I thought it was a 66, but it's not.
It has a really beautiful face plate.
According to Alex Askaroff's list and it's serial number, it was manufactured in 1912.  
I misread the number.  Thanks to the help of those helpful Treadleonions, and to the Ott Lite that yielded a different number after dark, I now know it was manufactured in 1939 and is a Model 99.  (Thanks, onions!)

I thought it was the 30's or 40's before machines were manufactured with the krinkle finish.
The motor and light are shiny.  And clearly, the motor has been rewired to the foot control more recently.
My plans were to turn it into a people powered machine with the addition of a handcrank.
Included more accessories than I expected.  Have no idea what the bar with clasp-pins on the right might be (although it could be what was left when armed forces medal ribbons were removed--in which case it would have nothing whatsoever to do with the sewing machine.)  I do not know what size these bobbins are--the black ones are metal.  Love the wooden sewing machine needle tube!
This is the cover of the box--which is what originally made me notice the machine, since it is the kind that contained my mom's machine.
Needs some repairs, however.  Also, that light place on the previous photo is from damage when the machine flipped on its side at some point.

I'm looking for more information on this machine--I'm guessing the folks at Treadle On can enlighten me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Sunshine

Now that this quilt has wended its way across the country to Ms. Harriet, I can show it on my blog.
As with most quilts, it looks much more beautiful in person.
Part of the reason for that is that it's a lovely pale lemon chiffon color along with a creamy mint--and they just don't photograph that well.
The fabrics are from a Moda line by Three Sisters from a couple of years ago.  After making a Victory Quilt from a couple of charm packs and some yardage, I just did not have this line out of my system.  Of course, no one in central New Mexico stocked it--so when I found some more on line, of course I ordered a couple more pieces--well, actually, three more pieces.
The third piece was the log cabin print because I wanted to use it on the back of the quilt.
It wasn't quite big enough, so I had to add some more pieces.  At first my friend thought I had pieced both sides--but I assured her I didn't have that much patience.

I quilted this one with Fil-Tec Glide thread in a slightly gold Glide thread--the color reminded me of fading August flowers.

Reminder, to see more detail of the fabrics or the quilting, right click on a picture and open in a new tab or window.

I'm glad the quilt has a new home in Georgia; hope Ms. Harriet takes a nap in the sunshine while covered with this one.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome, Spring!

At least it's spring by the calendar, even if the weather says otherwise.
Our neighbor had dug out before 7:00 a.m.
This was the second snow this week--but the first one didn't close I-40.
There was so much wind that the ice stuck to some of our house windows.
Still below freezing--but the snow is evaporating so fast that it's steaming!

Results of March Friday Night Sew In

Admittedly, for me it turned out to be a Friday Night Cut In, because I didn't get to sew--I didn't even finish the cutting until this morning.
I chopped these four-patches up.  This morning I've been piecing the blue and yellow April Cornell Mariposa ones.  I made a prayer quilt from a couple fabrics from this line and a jelly roll.  When I had a chance to buy a couple more prints from this line a some time later, I jumped at the chance.

The two quilts in the front are a wonderful contrast to all the snow and ice.  Although I-40  closed for hours, Alex and I were able to use it when we tried to dash to the next town in time to mail a prayer quilt to TN.--because our local post office made us wait in line for 20 minutes so they could let us know they had no envelopes. We made it to the next town in time to pick up envelopes, but it was two minutes too late to get it in the road.  I could cry!  (It's for a young woman with two children who will get about her metastatic cancer.  I wanted it to be there to comfort her the same day.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Traditional or Modern?

Kathleen Tracy commented about a survey published in a quilting magazine.  The survey said baby-boomers prefer modern fabrics, modern quilts, and modern [machine] construction techniques.
Verrry interesting....

Okay, I wonder what percentage of North American families eats a majority of their meals from fast food outlets or buys partially advanced-prepared foods.  Do those diets assure them of good health?--I doubt that the fact that they do it means those should be the focus of public policy for everyone.

Likewise, the fact that a survey says a group of baby boomers do not like traditional quilts or hand-piecing or hand-quilting does not mean that the findings would be identical if we were able to take a truly unbiased survey from a scientifically balanced population of quilters.  (What I'm saying is not what Kathleen said; please read her blog post.) I have not seen the survey or the results of the survey; I've seen only Kathleen's post.  However, her post has spurred me to post about what I do believe about the current state of quilt making.

I do know that the quilt magazines to which I've had access over the last few years are giving a greater focus to modern prints and quilts constructed of rectangles.  These quilts and their patterns certainly play an important role in drawing young quilters into our art and craft. By young, I'm thinking "quilters who weren't even born when I began teaching quilt-making classes over 30 years ago.  In fact, the modern rectangle quilts may also do a good job of drawing in older quilters who didn't find traditional quilts appealing.

I suspect that many of the quilters who responded to the survey don't even quilt--which is great for the many professional quilters who quilt for others for pay.  Many of us remember well [or even own] those great books from the '80s by Shirley Thompson that carried titles such as, It's Not a Quilt Until It's Quilted. I'm one of those for whom "quilt" means it's been quilted.

I'm a baby-boomer, but the results of the survey were far outside my preferences.  I love traditional patterns, although I also love to include "surprises" or something that hints that the quilt is mine, and not just a repetition of the work of someone else...For that matter, a majority of the patchwork patterns I see published these days seem to be closely copied from traditional quilts.  (And I'm happy that quiltmakers/designers as well as quilt shops are earning money with those patterns.)

I love hand piecing and hand quilting--but it's been years since I've been able to manage the time to do either. I realized decades ago that there were so many quilts I wanted to make that I'd have to find acceptable ways to speed the quiltmaking process.  For me that has meant trying to perfect machine piecing (which I do on a 90 year old treadle and  59 year old electric machines) and machine quilting (which I do on 40 and 50 year old machines).--It's not that I wouldn't love a well-functioning long-arm machine too, but I haven't found one that fits into my limited budget.

Those decisions to use machines were prompted by the recognition of my own mortality and the number and variety of quilts I really, really want to make.  I do sometimes take some "modern" steps--fabrics with "modern" designs--meaning they're more reminiscent of the 50's or 60's than earlier decades or centuries--but in all honesty, those quilts aren't nearly as satisfying as the ones that reflect earlier times.

Because so much of "tradition" is still feeding my soul and allowing the products of my efforts to bless others, I will continue to make traditional quilts (usually while listening to traditional and classical music).

What matters is that quilters have the freedom to work in a variety of styles and that we have the opportunity to make quilts that help feed our souls and enrich our lives and the lives of those who receive, view, and touch [gasp!] our quilts.

About 25 years ago one of the owners of a chain of fabric stores for which I taught, Bill Chandler, returned from a national quilt show and remarked, "I couldn't help noticing that everybody there was happy.  At every other fabric market I've attended, everyone is complaining and worrying about how they'll stay in business.  I didn't hear any of those kinds of remarks at this show."

Yep.....still quilting.....still happy.......

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Promise of Spring

When I arrived at school Friday morning, I realized the daffodils were likely to bloom while we are on spring break.  When I left at the end of the day, they were blooming.  I caught these shots really quickly on the way out--and it's hard to see the screen in sunshine, so I'm glad I actually caught the blooms.
Here some more daffodils are in the background of a sculpture that honors Paula Shane, one of our third grade teachers who passed away several years ago--the flowers around the base of the sculpture are fabric. The school is about 60 miles away from our home and two thousand feet lower.  As I left, I couldn't help wondering how long it would be before the bulbs at our house would bloom.

This afternoon when Alex and I arrived home from church, we saw lovely deep green shoots of narcissus, daffodils, and  (maybe?) tulips pushing their way up through the earth.  Of course, now, a few hours later, those shoots are buried in several inches of new snow.  We hope they survive. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Birmingham Thistle

I realized the other day that I had not taken a photo of this quilt.  I started it over 20 years ago but didn't put the last stitch in until 1995.  Familiar story, probably.

My little quilt was inspired by this one:
It's too fragile to hang for a photo.  In fact, if you look directly above the center block, you'll see the pale yellow stem of the block above--undoubtedly, it was once a comparable green.

This quilt was made by Dorothy Williams in Birmingham, Michigan, circa 1910--so I'm celebrating it's birthday!

A couple decades ago I taught at Chee Dodge Elementary north of Gallup with Tammy Somers Ashley, Dorothy's granddaughter. For a year or two we car pooled to Chee Dodge.  One afternoon I was at Tammy's apartment and saw this quilt on the back of her sofa with a cat lounging on top of it.  I admired the quilt, and we looked at it more closely, and Tammy told me what she knew of its history.
The quilt has thin cotton batting and a solid white backing of a slightly coarser weave.  Dorothy quilted it with "Baptist Fans".

I attempted to encourage Tammy to care for it gently. I thought it was such a treasure and that she was very lucky to have such a legacy from her grandmother.

That Christmas, in honor of her quilt, I made Tammy some sofa pillows from the same pattern.  At the same time I presented her with the pillows, she presented me with the quilt.  We laughed about the similarities to O. Henry's short story "The Gift of the Magi."

I've cared for this quilt quite gently--but nevertheless, some of the patches are disintegrating--and I think the yellow that used to be green is even more faded than it was, despite the fact that this quilt is almost always inside a dark closet.

Here's another shot of the small quilt I made in honor of Dorothy's larger one:
The slightest change of camera angle seems to be yielding huge changes in color today.
I'm thinking I may need to challenge myself to make another quilt like this.  I had penned favorite quotations all over the front and back of this quilt with a violet Pigma pen, but despite the fact that this quilt has never had prolonged exposure to sunlight and has probably been laundered only a few times, the inscriptions are becoming nearly impossible to read too.

Yep, might have to find time to make another.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thin, thin, thin!

Saturday Alex's band performed for the adjudicators in Rio Rancho.  She was not pleased with their rating, but she loves the concert uniform--black satin floor-length formals for the girls.
Her dress is size 0--and had never been hemmed, and was required to be hemmed by hand.  I was grateful I'd spent years making all my own clothes--as well as grateful that I no longer do that.  Because of the flared hemline and the fact that it has a five inch hem, it was not fun to do.  
When she returned, I asked her how it compared to the other girls dresses. She said, "It was great.  The other girls dresses were hemmed in red and purple, and colors like that!"  Interesting....
For my part, I was really glad to have it hemmed--I've been allergic to polyester for decades, but because I've stayed away from it, I'd more or less forgotten how I reacted to a several hour exposure of handling it.

(Unlike my daughter, I was larger than a size 0 by the time I was in third grade--not that they had size 0 back then!)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blessings and Princesses

Surprises for my birthday....

Two of my students, who could totally overcome their disabilities if they were willing to work a little, and who are normally majorly contrary, refrained from their usual disruptive behaviors, and class went well on Tuesday.  I figured that was my birthday present from God, since it was a miracle.

But today I learned of an event even more joyous.  A few weeks ago, a woman whom I first met when she was in elementary school and whose mom was my class's educational assistant, was bemoaning the long wait for her new baby.  I suggested if she could just hang in there, perhaps she could give birth on March 2, and then her baby could share my birthday and Dr. Seuss's.  That's exactly what she did!  The new baby's name is Faith.

As for the princess above--she's my grand-niece [when did I get old enough to be a great-aunt?????], and she's pictured at Disney World earlier this year, where she too was a princess.  Her dad says she insists her favorite color is green, but there are times princesses just need to wear pink!

Happy quilting.......

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dr. Seuss and I.....

Theodore Geisel and I share a birthday--many years separated, of course.  Major differences: he disliked children; I love them!  He made a fortune writing rhyme; I don't even think in rhyme.

Over the years, I've  learned that if there's going to be any kind of celebration, it's up to me.
I found beautiful, gentle pink roses on sale at the grocery store (because it was the end of the day).  I added a few deep red carnations.

So, happy birthday to me!

Happy quilting to all.....

Monday, March 1, 2010


This is what greeted us this morning.
Snow, ice, and fog.

You can tell everyone, including the people who are employed by radio and television, are tired of winter.  I drove over nearly 20 miles of iced-over interstate.  The only notice our weather received was a mention by the traffic reporter that there was fog in the next community west of here.  There was a lot more fog than that.  I was grateful to have more that 100 feet of visibility, and even more grateful when I reached the point where there was no more fog--although there was still plenty of ice.
Once I reached the other side of the highest hill between here and Albuquerque, there was nothing to suggest the weather that lay east of the Sandias.

Yes, we're weary of winter--but it was beautiful this morning!
Happy quilting...
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