Thursday, 28 February 2013

A Horror Story

And a truly hideous picture to match.  

This was the state of the innards of the 15K inside the back inspection plate.  Somebody decided they didn't need oil, so they just smeared the works liberally with vaseline.  It might have kept the machine turning, but it also combined with (or possibly caused) a degree of rust, leaving a thick dark brown greasy deposit which smelt, not surprisingly, of vaseline and rust.  I took this picture after I had already cleaned some of it off.  

It was the same story when I took off the stop motion screw - loads of vile greasy muck was hiding behind it.

The remedy was a good scrubbing with an old toothbrush dipped in paraffin.  I cleaned the back of the stop motion screw with neat washing up liquid.

The machine is now thoroughly cleaned and oiled and I am looking forward to giving it a good run.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cleaning and Oiling a Singer 15K

At the moment I am cleaning up a 1949 Singer 15K hand machine.  When I bought it the metalwork was unusually clean and it turned well.  I polished up all the exterior metal and finally took off the faceplate yesterday.  This is what I found.

The needlebar and presser bar are completely clean.  There wasn't even any fluff in there, and none of the dried up residue of oil that is usually lurking behind the faceplate.

In this picture I have used a torch, so you can see there is a very thin yellowish film on the bars, so it must have been oiled at least once.  But I doubt that it was regularly oiled, because there is no trace of residue underneath the machine either.

This is where the oil needs to be applied.  The tops of the needlebar and presser bar are tubular and have wads of felt inside, which act as a reservoir for the oil.

Today I will be giving a generous soaking of oil to the felt at the top of the bars.

So if the machine was dry of oil behind the faceplate and underneath, why did it turn so well when I bought it?  All will be revealed tomorrow...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Attaching the Zigzagger to the Machine

The notch of the lever at the front fits over the needle clamp, so when sewing the lever is moved up and down to operate the zigzagger.

It looks heavy and bulky, but even though it is attached to the presser bar with just one screw, it  is held securely in place.

Although it is photographed attached to a hand machine (too much fuss dragging the treadle into the kitchen, which is where we have the best light), I would only use it on a treadle.  Operating the zizagger is hard work, an extra bit of strain being taken with every move of the needlebar, and hard work when turning the machine by hand.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Y S Star Zigzagger

This intriguing little box was sitting in a charity shop waiting for me.   The dodgy spelling is a bit of a giveaway - I did a bit of research later and found out that it was manufactured in Japan.

Inside was the zigzagger.  Nothing dodgy about that.  A good bit of sturdy metal equipment.

It came with four little metal templates, three of them double ended and one single ended.  The different templates set the zigzagger for the whichever one of the seven different stitches you want to use.

The needle passes through the wide hole in the black plate at the front of the zigzagger.

The underneath of the black plate is ridged, enabling it to grip the material firmly.

Tomorrow's photographs will show the zigzagger attached to the machine....

Welcome to the latest follower, Baukje - thank you for joining!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Stray Sheep

Look who I met on a lane yesterday.  This sheep and her lamb were among about a dozen that had got through the hedge and were strolling along the road.  The shepherd and his dog arrived a few minutes later and had them all safely back in the field before he went off to block the gap in the hedge.

Welcome to the latest followers, Nicky and Diana Davis - thank you for joining!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Zigagging on a Treadle

Surprising what can be done with a straight stitch machine.  I thought you might like to see my first ever zigzagging (excluding five traumatic minutes with an electric horror at school in the 1960s).  It was done on the 15K treadle and looks rather like the printout from a seismograph.

This is not the beginning of a conversion.  I shall always be strictly a straight stitch girl, but a bit of decorative stitching won't go amiss once in a while.

Expect some interesting pictures on Monday.  In the meantime perhaps I shall manage to get a bit more practice.

Welcome to the two new followers, Erin Tucker and Missy.  Thank you for joining!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Stitch Formation in a Long Bobbin Machine

This is a Singer 28K.  I have removed the front and back slide plates and put a narrow strip of material under the foot to take the stitches.  The top thread is pink and the bobbin thread green.

When the needle goes down under the needle plate it forms a loop just at the very moment the shuttle is moving forward in the shuttle carriage.  The point of the shuttle is aimed straight through the loop.

Then the whole shuttle passes through the loop.

The top thread glides under the shuttle.

Once the shuttle has passed through the loop, the needle takes the top thread back up again, the loop is tightened, and the bobbin thread is held firmly in place on the underneath of the material.

It was years before I understood what was going on underneath with the shuttle.  I read a description online, complete with diagrams, but still couldn't fathom it out, until one day I was trying to sort out a problem with a transverse shuttle machine and was looking from underneath and I actually saw it happen.  Truly a moment of revelation. 

Welcome to the two new followers, Gavin Henderson and Anne Parker.  Thank you for joining!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Three Keen Boys in Mustard

I had to give these three names, so from left to right, let me introduce Derek, Barry and Jeff, circa 1972.

Derek is being terribly ostentatious, holding open his AA Handbook and dangling his car keys.

Two things trouble me about this pattern.  Why does it say "Double Knittings" instead of "Double Knitting"?  It looks like a bad translation...

... but Lotus Wools were in Leicester.

Also, one of the trio is sporting a glaring knitting error in his mustard creation.  Can anybody else see it?

Monday, 18 February 2013

Dismantling Tension Discs with Thumb Tabs

If you need to take off the tension discs for any reason, here's how.  The photographs are of my 1897 Singer 28K.

 First, unscrew the nut at the front.

Next take off the spring.

Now the thumb tab.

Now the first tension disc.

And the second.

Here you can see how the tension spring is held in the correct position.

And here are all the parts ready to be put back on again, laid out in the order they were taken off, with the front-facing side facing up.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Doll Quilt - Canal Roses

Karen in Ontario has just received the little quilt I made for her.  The theme on Doll Quilters Monthly for January was snow.  Karen posted lots of beautiful pictures of snow on her blog Bungalow Bay Quilts.  One look told me that wallowing in the mud that is England (2012 being our wettest year on record) there wasn't an awful lot I could tell her about snow.

Karen was delighted to discover that I grew up in Wolverhampton.  It turned out that Karen's mum had gone to Canada as a war bride and was from Dudley, about 6 or 7 miles from Wolverhampton, and Karen had been to Dudley a couple of times when she was young.

A while back I made a quilt based on Wolverhampton, which I posted here on the blog on 1st December.  Karen liked it, so there was my challenge - make a quilt for Dudley.  What was Dudley's claim to fame?  It has a famous canal tunnel.  Canals and tunnels aren't particularly pretty, but a narrowboat (barge) with the traditional painted decoration is a wonderful sight.

I needed to scour the internet for pictures, and spent ages looking at different sites.

Canal Art by Julie has plenty of pictures of her work (including a pub interior!) and an interesting video in which Julie explains the brushwork technique.

Canal Junction has plenty of information about the history of canal art.

Chester Canal Heritage Trust has beautiful photographs, and also shows how the roses are painted in layers of colour.  

Looking at all these photographs helped me work out a design with two layers of colour in the appliqué roses, and shaping the top layer like bold brushstrokes.  Fortunately I had plenty of gorgeous colours to choose from, having a bag of Oakshott Colourshott cottons to rummage through.

While I was working on the quilt, Karen posted on her blog about her mum being diagnosed with Alzheimers.  This made me want to make the quilt as beautiful as I could, and started me thinking about my own mum, who died in 1993.  I used three different machines on this quilt.  I did the binding on my 1927 Singer 99K hand machine.  The other two were connected with my mum; I did the machine appliqué and the stitched detail over it with my 1897 28K hand machine, which had been her machine and which I had learnt to sew on; I did the free motion quilting on my 1945 15K treadle, which my mum had bought for me from a neighbour. And the little infill flowers made with star shaped blue pearl buttons are forget-me-nots, which my mum loved.

So in the end the quilt was made in honour of Karen's mum and in memory of mine.

Thank you Karen for being my partner.  This quilt turned into a very special project.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Jubilee Rose Appliqué Pattern

This is the rose panel on the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt.  The pattern for this rose is the first pattern which is available in the online shop at Lizzie Lenard Sewing Designs

It was this time last year that I was busy drawing the patterns for the appliqué panels for the quilt. This rose, to represent England, was the first one that I drew and the first one to be sewn.

In March I took a quick trip up the motorway to Gloucester to visit Oakshott Fabrics and chose the colours for the quilt.  I had in mind a rich, deep red for this rose, and I found just the shade I wanted.

The flower is one large piece, with the petals outlined in machine stitching.  For this I found that the best colour for the contrasting thread was a rich shade of peach - no other colour worked quite as well.

I would love to see this rose worked in different colours - deep red for romantics or English patriots, pretty in pink for a girl, yellow for a Texan, or perhaps white in memory of a loved one.  

A large double bed sized quilt with nine roses in different colours would look great.  Who wants to beat me to it?

Welcome to Julie, the latest follower.  Thank you for joining!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Visit My Website!

It's been a busy couple of days, but yesterday we pushed the magic button and published a brand new website for the Lizzie Lenard online shop.

The first pattern in the shop is for the appliqué rose that I drew specially for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt, and I will post pictures of the rose tomorrow.

In the meantime, I thought you might like to see the banner that I stitched specially for the website header - the writing was done with the Singer 99K hand machine and the seams were done on the 15K treadle.  The rick rack was sewn on by hand, and the flowers were the little snapped off stems from the lovely big bunch that my husband bought for Christmas.

Is there such a thing as vintage website design?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A Braiding Foot

This is one of the feet that came with the Serata treadle, a really nice braiding foot.

Feed the braid over the bar at the front and through the V-shape and it lines up perfectly with the needle.

Friday, 8 February 2013

A Tin for the Bobbins

When I bought my Serata treadle I found this in one of the drawers, a tiny little tin, two and a half by one and a half inches.  It is the ideal size for keeping the bobbins in, and takes you straight back to the time when invalids were nursed back to health with beef tea.

Like all the best brands, it is by appointment... it reads  "By Appointment, Purveyors to His Majesty the King."  George V, probably.  Edward VII at a pinch.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Knitted Epaulettes

Definitely the 1980s Sloane Ranger look, complete with Burberry umbrella before Burberry had any hint of chav.  All tweedy browns for the county look.  Lean casually against a gate and take on the air of a cavalry officer at home on his estate.

Of course, it wouldn't work at all without the epaulettes.

There again, you could leave out the manly shoulder detail and make it in bri-nylon.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

German Bobbin Winders - No. 1

This is my Frister and Rossmann Transverse Shuttle machine set up to wind a bobbin.  This type of bobbin winder is seen on many German machines.  It winds a perfectly tight, even bobbin of thread, and works better than any Singer bobbin winder.  It is a very simple mechanism. This is how it works:-

First, take the thread through the miniature tension discs on the front inspection plate.

Not every machine with this type of bobbin winder has these tension discs, in which case either take the thread through the hook at the top of the face plate (top left in this photo), which is the first hook for the top thread, or through whichever other hook is provided there.

Next, take the thread to the top of the upright bar of the bobbin winder and thread it from the back to the front.

Put the bobbin in, securing the thread by trapping it between the end of the bobbin and the winder.

To engage the bobbin winder against the balance wheel, this machine has a lever at the bottom which is pushed up.

What happens next is pure magic.  As you wind the bobbin, the thread passes over the curved edge of the plate on the bobbin winder, moving steadily and evenly from side to side.

When the thread reaches the other side and makes contact with the little pin at the end of the curved plate, it is gently nudged back and travels back the way it came.  Pure genius.

When the bobbin is full it presses against the base of the upright lever, activates a spring, and automatically disengages the bobbin winder from contact against the balance wheel.

If you want to take the bobbin out earlier, just press the upright bar back gently with your finger and the bobbin winder will disengage.

Nifty, or what?

More German bobbin winders coming soon...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Oiling the Shuttle Race on a Long Bobbin Machine

This morning I nipped in to Cordial and Grace and oiled the shuttle race on Maria's Jones CS machine - the one thing I had forgotten when I cleaned it up.  Too much tea and cake must have been distracting me.

To the left of the shuttle there is a little round well stuffed with old felt.  

On some machines the felt has disappeared, on others it is so grimy and mucky it needs replacing, in which case you can stuff a tiny wad of cotton wool or fluffy cotton knitting yarn in there in its place. This picture shows one of my Singers where I have used cotton yarn.

At the base of the oil well is a tiny hole through which the oil gradually seeps, keeping the shuttle race lightly lubricated.  This prevents friction and wear on the side of the shuttle and eases movement.  On this photograph of Maria's machine I have used a long pin to show where the hole is.

The wad of felt needs to be kept soaked with oil.  Just let a couple of drops fall onto it, wipe away the excess, and the job is done.


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