Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Fishy on a dishy

I made more mats!  About three years ago I made a mat to put pans on (here) - well now it has eight cousins to go on the dining table.


These are made with a top layer of linen (actually some napkins I bought and chopped up), a middle layer of quilt wadding, and a cotton backing.  Each fish outline is machine stitched, and the spots (Kona solids) added by applique-ing and free-motion machine embroidery.


Creating the fish was the first step, stitching through both the linen and the wadding.  Then I stitched the backing on (right sides together), turned through, and stitched around the edge making a 1cm border.  Such a simple process, I can't imagine why it took me 12 months to finish them!


As before, I must credit Syko for inspiring this fish design, but I hope I have added something here!  Each fish has different coloured spots, two of one colour plus two other colours.  The white thread is a thick top-stitching type for extra definition.


Vicky xx

Sunday, 9 April 2017

My vintage Singer

About 20 years ago, I was given this sewing machine by a friend - it had belonged to her mother, and she wanted it to go to someone who would use it.  On and off, I have used it, but I feel I should do more sewing with it as it's such a lovely machine.


The serial number dates the machine casting to 1898, but the patterns in the enamel don't fit with other machines of that age - they look much more like 1930s graphics.  So it's exact age is a mystery, but it's probably at least 90 years old.  As it's made of a lump of cast iron it's very heavy, but as long as you don't have far to carry it this is an advantage, as the machine doesn't wobble or rattle.  When in action the noise from it is a gentle PRRRRRR, with a rhythmic clicking as the needle moves up and down.


At the right hand end are the fly-wheel and hand crank - the fly-wheel does two jobs, because it helps to keep the machine running smoothly as you crank it, but it also winds the bobbins if the bobbin-winder is pushed forward so that it's rubber wheel runs on the rim of the fly-wheel.  So clever - and, you can disengage the needle mechanism while you wind your bobbin, just as on modern machines.


This machine has a 'vibrating' bobbin case; instead of spinning on a fixed horizontal spindle like in a modern machine, this bobbin, in it's shuttle-shaped case, moves backwards and forwards to take the bobbin thread through the loop of the top thread.  According to Wikipedia, this vibrating system was replaced with the modern rotary bobbins because they allow the machine to run faster, with less vibration - although I must say that my very solid Singer machine vibrates a whole lot less than my modern, plastic, electric motor machine!


So, as I would really like to complete a whole project on this machine, I am having a think about what might be possible.  It doesn't do zig-zag (and possibly not backwards either), but stitch length and tension are adjustable.  Straight seams are obviously easier than curved, as you only have one hand to steer the fabric with (yes, the other is your motor).  Suggestions are welcome!


Vicky xx

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Stools n things

Mike's been busy in his workshop, making very lovely 'Windsor stools' and a three-legged chair.


Here are two stools made of ash.  These have scooped seats, turned legs, and steam-bent "stretchers" between the front legs.  Very comfortable, perfect to keep handy in a corner (or for fishing on a river bank?).


Here, we have a three-legged "occasional" chair.  This fits really nicely in a corner, having only one back leg, so would be perfect for a bedroom.  Two turned and three hand-shaved spindles form the back, and there are three turned legs.  The quilt can also be seen here!


I would recommend this chair for occasional use, or as a bedside chair; to keep the design uncluttered there are no leg stretchers, so heavy use would put more strain on the leg joints.  Of course, it's fine to sit on! It's just that a chair with stretchers will stand up better to constant use.


In the photo above you can see how the horizontal crest and back spindles are joined.  Each spindle fits into a hole in the crest, and then the outside and centre spindles are also fixed with small, strong wooden pins called treenails.


Vicky xx
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