Monday, 30 September 2013

Removing the Stop Motion Screw

A couple of days ago there was a nice comment from Anonymous saying how much she (or he?) has been enjoying using a Singer 28K, but now there is a problem with the needle mechanism disengaging of its own accord - at least that's how I understood the question.  This is a problem I have had in the past with one of my machines.  The answer was to clean up the stop motion screw and the washer behind it.  

The first step is to take off the stop motion screw - the large silver disc at the centre of the balance wheel.  These photos are of my Singer 201K treadle. With a hand machine you need to unscrew the whole hand crank assembly first to get at the stop motion screw properly.

First, loosen this small screw.  There is no need to take it out completely - in fact, it is better not to. You don't want to wave good bye to it as it disappears down between the floorboards.  Just loosen it so the head is no longer flush in its setting.  Then you can unscrew the stop motion screw itself.

When you take it off you will see the tabbed washer underneath.  If you are lucky, as I was this time, it will remain in place over the end of the shaft.

Usually it comes away with the stop motion screw because it sticks to the inside of it with old oil. Or it just drops away and ends up on the floor.

Once the washer is removed, any mucky residue of oil can be cleaned away from the head of the shaft, the washer and the inside of the stop motion screw.  

It can take two or three attempts to get the washer back on the right way.  The two tabs on the inside of the washer are at an angle. 

 On this photo they are pointing up towards the camera...

... and on this photo they are pointing down towards the table.  Because this is a Singer part it is stamped with the trade name and part number on this side.  This is the side that faces away from the stop motion screw and towards the main body of the machine.

As for the three tabs on the outside, they too have to be in the right position when replacing the washer on the machine.  This post on the Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog has an excellent video showing how to make sure it is the right way. 

So, getting back to Anonymous's problem...

Either the stop motion mechanism is sticking because it is gummed up with old oil, dust or sticky old rubbish inside...

...Or the little screw is not screwed in far enough to make the end protrude through to the other side. This end of the screw sits between two outer tabs.  When you turn the stop motion screw clockwise, the washer is pushed that way by the end of the screw, and the needle mechanism engages.  When you turn it anti-clockwise, you turn the washer back in the other direction and disengage the mechanism so you can wind your bobbins with the needle out of action.

So here is the plan of action for Anonymous:-

First check that the head of the small screw is flush with its setting.

If that doesn't cure the problem, take the stop motion screw off and give it a good cleaning. Paraffin should shift ancient sticky muck.  Give the machine a good oiling when you reassemble the part.

Good luck!

Finally, welcome to the latest follower, the enigmatically named me - thank you for following!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Dead Nettle Leaf Beetle

Seen on one of my walks in Poland in August.  This little beetle is the size of a ladybird and has amazing metallic stripes in red, green, blue and yellow.  I had never seen one before.

Welcome to the latest followers, JLeibfried and Fabiola Isaza Z. - thank you for joining!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Starting a Sewing Machine Cover - Stage 1

The bright African print which I picked up in a charity shop recently is being put to use already. I have decided to make a cover for the Singer 15K treadle, my wonderful free motion work horse.  I use the machine so often that I never put it away, and it could do with a cover to keep the dust off it.

The pattern is so busy and the red so bright that there was no point in doing anything fancy with the quilting.  The variegated rusty brown thread blends in well, and the meandering infill is easy enough to do quickly over a relatively large area.

The quilting shows up better on the back, which is going to end up hidden anyway.  I didn't even bother agonising over the colour of the thread underneath - I just used bobbins that were already filled, and made sure that it was a dark thread so there was no contrast with the top thread if it showed through.  The backing is a lightweight polyester and cotton which I had in the cupboard. Cheap, but very irritating.  It doesn't glide across the bed of the machine as smoothly as pure cotton, so I was working against it for much of the time.

Once I have quilted a couple more panels I should be able to assemble the cover fairly quickly...

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

Linking up again with Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday - plenty of blogs to visit there!

And also with Barbara's blog Cat Patches for the September New FO Linky Party, to see what people have started, but not necessarily finished... And here is a link to my July New FO, which is well and truly finished!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

In the Cupboard for Over 30 Years

This pretty floral print has been with me a long time.  I bought it in Liverpool in about 1980 and have only ever used it in backings on small items.  For some reason it has never gone well with other fabrics that I have used and has never made it onto a quilt top.  Yet again it is on the back of a quilt, which will soon be stuffed into an envelope to wing its way to Utah to Pattilou.  The front of the quilt is a secret until Pattilou receives it...

I am slightly at a loss as to why this print never quite goes with anything else.  I would understand if it were sludgy colours, or just plain ugly, but it is a really sweet design.  Just another of life's mysteries.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Doll Quilt from Lee in New Hampshire

This is the quilt I received from Lee, my August partner in the Doll Quilters' Monthly swap.  The theme was "Dressed to the Nines", and Lee certainly used some interesting nine patches to great effect - such tricky piecing, all those triangles!  The sharp contrast of the purple and white looks like a tiled floor, just the sort of design I find fascinating.

Lee also sent me a tiny little fabric container, just the right size to hold three reels of thread, and which is now sitting on my treadle.

Thank you Lee!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Comma in the Garden

This beautiful butterfly was in the back garden on the hedge while I was pegging out the washing earlier this week.  Not only did it wait for me to finish hanging the washing and then go in for the camera, it also closed its wings so I could get a photo of the comma on the underneath.

I knew the comma was white, but I didn't realise until I looked at the picture afterwards that it had white legs to match.

Welcome to the latest followers - Pattilou  (who just happens to be my partner for this month's doll quilt swap) and 2ne from Norway.  Thank you for joining!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Free Motion Rudbeckias

This the latest experiment, done on a fat quarter sized piece of fabric.  I wasn't sure what I was going to try this week.  I had a notion that I was going to do a design based on an unusual beer can, but when I visited Mary Ellen's blog and saw her wonderful pictures of her trip to Germany, the whole plan changed.  She has a photo of a beautiful garden full of autumn flowers, so I decided to have a go at rudbeckias.

First I did the flower in the centre, with the three flower heads coming from a central stalk.

Next I put in a shorter flower on either side, each with two flower heads.

When I do this pattern again I shall try and make the stems shorter and fit in more flowers.  I didn't really plan what I was going to do at the top.  I thought the pattern would work itself out and that I would be able to arrange the stems more easily, but I started confusing myself at the top. An advance sketch might have helped.

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

Linking up again with Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday
... and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

1940s Lingerie Pattern

The envelope is a bit tatty, but all the pattern pieces are intact inside, all folded together.

The long nightdress is particularly slinky, but that isn't what fascinated me about this pattern.

It was the small print on the front ...

... and the instructions inside

... which describe everything you need to do in preparation

... for laying the pattern onto panels of parachute silk.

Today's bit of fun is a link up with Beth's blog Love Laugh Quilt  to join in with the Sewing Museum.  If you want to see lots of fascinating sewing boxes, buttons, machines, ribbon, thread... all the sort of stuff I squirrel away into every spare corner... click on the link.

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

Monday, 16 September 2013

Blackberries from the Hedgerow

One of the true great joys of late summer and autumn - blackberries!  It is worth all the scratches from the brambles to get at the fruit.  Last week I went out hacking back the nettles and checking the hedges around a couple of fields near home, getting well and truly scratched and stung so I could have enough for a nice big bowl of perfect blackberries.

When we were in Poland in August the blackberries were just finishing, and their brambles are a different variety to ours - not so widespread and rampant, and not half so tough and prickly. Our brambles are complete thugs compared to theirs, and the fruit starts to ripen about a month after theirs have finished.  The fruit here will keep on going for a few weeks.  I could stock the freezer if it weren't already full.

And because the freezer was full, I had to make jam straight away.  So here's the video if you want to give it a try.

Linking up today with Liz's blog Brambleberry Cottage (how appropriate) for Time Travel Thursday so you can see lots of other projects, including recipes..

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A Dragonfly's Eyes

The eyes are like moonstones.  I wanted to know if he could see round corners but he wouldn't tell me.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Doll Quilt - Dressed to the Nines

This is the quilt I sent to Lee, my August partner on the Doll Quilters' Monthly swap.  The theme was "Dressed to the Nines" with the suggestion that the quilt should incorporate nine patches.  Well, this isn't strictly a nine patch, but almost.  Lee said she liked bright colours and modern designs, so I took the opportunity to play around with colours I don't usually use.  My daughter says it looks very 1970s, which her generation thinks of as vintage.  She doesn't know the meaning of the word, she is a mere babe.  This quilt is modern.  The 1970s are about as modern as I can manage.

I haven't done much piecing recently, so I enjoyed the change.  I had a good dig in my bag of Oakshott fabrics and pulled out twenty different fabrics for the top and binding.  I went to a sale at Oakshott's showroom near Gloucester last November, so I had quite a few gorgeous colours to choose from.   I particularly liked this salmon pink and olive green stripe, so it went into the centre square...

... and this dark blue stripe and the yellow centre worked well.

All the squares had either a stripe or a squared weave for the outer section, and all but one of the centre squares were a shot cotton...

...except for this one which is a pale blue stripe.

It was a great pleasure piecing all these beautiful fabrics, but then I came slightly unstuck with the quilting.  I used my 1949 Singer 15K for the piecing, straight line quilting and the binding, then I used the 1945 15K treadle for the free motion quilting in the border.  Both machines behaved perfectly, and I thought that the alternating horizontal and vertical parallel lines were just the ticket.

Until I got it wrong, so I had to ad lib these shapes and pretend it was all part of the plan.  It was interesting discovering that I would much rather not work with straight lines and regular patterns. They just aren't my forte. 

So all told, this quilt was a pleasure to make, and Lee likes it, so we are both happy.  

Thank you for being my partner, Lee!  

Linking up to Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday
and to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and to Nina-Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday so you can visit lots of other blogs.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sewing Machines from England to Uganda


Recognise this machine?  It is one of the machines that were donated by Duncan for the charity Hope for Life Katanga, featured in a post earlier this year.  The machines were flown to Uganda last month and are already being put to good use.


A group of ladies in Katanga have completed their first project, assisted by Beth, Ellie and Laura, who travelled over to Uganda to help set up the workshop.  

Visit the website for Hope for Life Katanga, where you can see how well these ladies did with the machines.  It really gave me a thrill seeing how delighted everyone looks.  Long bobbins, round bobbins, different models... they can do it!  It is fantastic seeing the ladies in Katanga making the most of these machines.  Well done to every one!

Monday, 9 September 2013

A Crusader in the Kitchen

This was the sewing I was busy with last Friday, a Crusader's tabard for my friend Kate's son.  I went to their house in South Wales with the intention of making two tabards, another one for an older brother too, but in the end only finished this one.  Too much talking and not enough sewing, but I can make the second one at home.  I used Kate's 1916 Singer 28K hand machine to knock this little item together, and by tea time we had one very happy young lad.  He is ready to do serious battle with the home made wooden sword and shield.  This isn't the complete outfit - he didn't have time to get on his chain mail.

Talking of kitchens...

...if anyone is interested in trying out apple and sloe jam, the video is up on Youtube.  Very tasty.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Painted Lady on a Zinnia

The undersides of the wings have such beautiful subtle colours.

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

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Free Motion Peacock Feathers

Inspiration for this  experiment in free motion quilting came from a book about Art Nouveau.  I was very taken by a picture of a vase decorated with a peacock feather design, and realised that it could turn into a fairly uncomplicated design for quilting.

I started with the eye of each feather, and worked outwards adding the concentric shapes. 

Then I did a line of stitching down to the base of the feather and worked back up adding the fronds. At this stage I was a bit worried that the whole thing may end up looking like fish skeletons, but I think the fronds are wavy enough to prevent that.

In the end I thought the quilted panel actually had an Art Nouveau look about it, which I was very pleased about.  I quite liked the feeling of having quilted it using a treadle machine, technology that was contemporary with the style of art.  Also, the feathers interlock well with each other, so this design would look quite effective over a large area.  Best of all, it was quick and easy.

Linking up again to Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday...
... and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday...
... and Nina-Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Wild Fruit from the Hedgerow

I went out looking for blackberries yesterday, but it is still a bit early so I didn't find many, despite braving five foot high nettles to hurl myself into the brambles in the hedge.

Then I found a bush that was absolutely laden with these little beauties - sloes!  Tiny wild black plums, far too bitter to eat off the bush, but combined with...

... apples they make wonderful jam.  

So I spent most of the day in the kitchen.  It was a hot day, bright sunshine, a real Indian summer day, and I was working over a hot stove.  The result?  A dozen jars of jam, and at one stage, this marvellous colour combination to gaze at.

I've already tasted the jam and am looking forward to a nice leisurely breakfast on Saturday. With a bit of luck there might be a new Youtube video up by then...

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

Monday, 2 September 2013

A Packet of Antique Needles

...that I found in a box at an antiques market last week.  The manufacturer is Josef Zimmermann

and they were extremely proud of their gold medal won at Barcelona in 1888 (when my grandparents were aged 14, 4, minus 1 and minus 8).

The little paper packet is still intact and opens out.

On the tab it shows that they were manufactured in Aachen.

Inside there is a fold of paper...

enclosing a dozen only very slightly rusty but still very sharp round shanked needles.

Just the sort of thing that, had I been looking for them, I would never have found.  But there they were, so I snapped them up.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


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