Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Toy

Last week when I was wasting time in the Salvation Army, I spotted a sewing machine.  I the brand name was Universal.  I had never heard of that before.  My daughter Delaney was with me and had plenty of opinions about the machine.  In the end, I left without the machine and thought about it all week.  One of the reasons I kept thinking about the machine was because it had a ruffler.  I had just finished an apron with a ruffle, so it was fresh in my mind.

Yesterday, I was once again wasting time while waiting for the girls at dance.  I decided to venture in to the Salvation Army and see if they had anything new.  Low and behold the machine was still there.  Not only that, but yellow tags were half off.  You can probably guess where this is going.  Yep, sure enough the tag was yellow.  I am not a vintage sewing machine person, so I didn't know much about the machine.  

I tested the needle,  yep it went up and down.  It had a foot control, and a bobbin case.  Did I mention the ruffler?  I asked if I could plug it in.  Sure enough, the light came on and everything moved when I pressed the foot peddle.  How could I leave it at the store?  As there anyone else that can't stand to see a machine alone on the shelf?  I always feel the desire to take it home, and hopefully find it a home where it will be used.

The only think I am lacking is a manual.  I did lots of searching online, but didn't find another machine like this one.  

 Look at all the parts and pieces that came with the machine.  There is a 1/4" foot, a ruffler, a hopping foot, a seam guide, an applique foot.  There is also a single hole stitch plate.  The oil bottle has never been opened, so the machine has probably never been oiled.
 Here is is right after I took the lid off.    It says Universal on the front, but on the back it says designed and Manufactured for Standard Sewing Company in New York.  By the Hosei S.M. Mfg. in Japan.

I looked and looked for the model number.  It wasn't until I couldn't get the bobbin to snap in that I found it.  When I tipped the machine up, it said Model 98 Serial 5580.  After I found a model number, I spent a bit of time searching on the internet for more clues.  This must not have been a popular machine, because I didn't find any information.

A view of the back of the machine where I hoped to find more clues.

This machine is HEAVY!

 Look at these lovely fashion Divas by the tension knob on the front.  It must be a 70s machine.

I started by adjusting the bobbin tension.  It is still a mystery to me how to correctly thread it, but I am now getting a beautiful stitch.

There are tons of stitches to pick from, but at first I could not get the machine to sew a straight stitch no matter what.  The straight stitch was located right next to the zigzag stitch on the dial, but I couldn't hear it click when I turned it there.  It wasn't until I was playing with this knob did I figure it out.  I knew L,C, R was left right and center...The 0-5 is the width.  Well the "0" is for straight stitch.  Light bulb moment!
 This is my last mystery.  Well, I am sure it is not the last mystery, but does anyone have an idea what the lever by the thread is for?

It doesn't adjust the speed,  It doesn't tilt the thread.  I can't tell that it adjusts anything.

I didn't have time to test the ruffler, but you can bet I will do this before I pass the machine on.

Are you curious what I paid for this machine?  I will happily answer your question - $12.50.
What does this button at the top of the machine do?  I would imagine it adjusts the pressure of the foot, but I am not certain.

Would love to hear if you have any information on this machine or one like it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Finish

Ok, I am a little giddy here.  Well, more than a little.  I have a finish to report!  This is a long forgotten project, that I wanted completed...alias to mean off the studio floor.

Don't get any ideas!  I am not cooking dinner tonight.

 This is another recent completion (thank you so much binding fairy)!  I just love this quilt.  I think I posted about this quilt earlier.  It is from this book.  It was made with scraps and one Moda scrap bag.  The line is from Kate Spain.

It now resides on my dining room wall to help control my little noise boxes.

 On the other wall in my dining room I hung a vinyl saying and cleared out the clutter.  I am very pleased with how this turned out.

In my determination to finish a few things, I put my spare sewing machine on the dining room table to capture additional snippets of time.  I am sad to say that my family no longer has a table to eat on.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FW Setting

I just wanted to pass along this arrangement for the FW.  I know some of you do not intend to make all the blocks, so you might be thinking about how to arrange the blocks we have completed so far.  I have also heard (in the whispers) that perhaps some of the blocks aren't exactly 6 1/2".  This could be the answer to your dilemma.  Check out this post by Sherri.  She has some links in her post to the original tutorial where she saw the idea.  I just thought it looked cool. 

Off and Running!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Less Laundry

Is this a sign?

I turned my back for one minute, and down they went.  I swear I have had far more clothes on this rod before.  It must have been the football pants that pushed it over the edge.  I think this might be an excuse to do less laundry.  It is just crazy how much laundry 6 people and 4 sports teams accumulate.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Doing the Zip

 This has nothing to do with any type of sewing item.  I haven't had time to do any sewing, but we did a quick family weekend to Columbus, Ohio and Hocking Hills.  The kids really enjoyed the zip line.  I was glad that my step daughter was able to join us for the day also.

I think both the guides were a little sad that Abby brought along her friend.  They were inquiring a bit about how we were all related....trying to figure out if Elliot was a brother or a boyfriend.

 This is the whole gang hanging out on a rock.  

This is doing the zip line.  

This is Hubby and I posing on one of the aerial bridges.

I did discover that I am a little afraid of heights.  It took me until the 3rd zip to not feel like I was going to toss my cookies.  I was fine when I was doing the zip line, it was just when we were perched high in the trees waiting to go.  I didn't reveal this to my children (who I am sure would have made the situation worse).  It is sort of crazy that the height made me nauseous, because I did roofing with my hubby occasionally before we were married.  I guess having kids changes a lot of things.

I hope to get back to the rest of the FW blocks soon.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Darting Birds

Are you saying any choice words yet?  You have all month to do these blocks, so don't feel rushed.  Mine went quickly because I had all the 1 1/2" half squares already sewn.

#27 Darting Birds

4- 1 1/2" squares
16- 1" finished half squares (1 1/2" strip with the EZ angle)
4- 2" finished half squares (2 1/2" strip with the EZ angle)
24 - 1' finished half squares (1 1/2" strip with EZ angle)
4- 1 1/2" squares

Sew 16 1" finished half squares; press open and square up if necessary

Join the half squares in pairs and press open
Add a 1 1/2" square to 4 of these.

add the remaining 8 Triangles to the remaining 4 dark 1 1/2" squares.  Square up with the easy angle to a 2" finished half square

Join the 2" finished half squares to the pieced triangle unites to make 2 1/2" squares.  Use the diagonal line on the ruler to square up if necessary. 

Add these to the pairs of half squares (Press Open); then add with the remaining pieced units.  Square up to 3 1/2" if necessary. 

Join the 4 units to complete the 6 1/2" block

I am still working on emptying containers.  All these 4 patches were in a box waiting to be used.  I tried several different colors for the background fabric and nothing seemed quite right.  I decided to continue with the scrappiness.  I need to let this simmer for a while.  I have lots of 4 patches and I am not sure where this is headed. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Birds in the Air

This is the next block for August.  It is number #7 in the Farmer's wife book.  We are going to continue with lots more of the 1" finished half squares.

4- 3" finished triangles (3 1/2" strip and Easy Angle)
12- 1" finished triangles (1 1/2" strip and EA)
24- 1" finished triangles (1 1/2" strip and EA)

Make 12- 1 1/2" half squares;  square up and press seams open without steam.  Trim away excess if desired

Arrange the pieces with all the dark angles going the same way.  sew together in rows.

Sew the rows of 1" finished squares and triangles together and use your easy angle to square up to a 3" finished half square.  This is tricky, because no matter how hard you try, those seams are not going to be all perfectly aligned.  It should be the same size as the larger triangles that you cut.  I pressed everything open and trimmed with each addition.  The quarter inch stitch line should be lined up with the corners of the 1" half squares.
Join the remaining 8 pieces into squares, and then join the squares in a 4 patch fashion.  When I joined the pieced units with the blue triangles, I pinned the corners and tried to align the edges the best I could.
Your block should measure 6 1/2".  I used an assortment of oranges because I didn't have quite enough of one color.  I also substituted a dark for the larger triangles. 

Here is a picture of the 9 blocks from May.  If you see a piece that I have turned the wrong way, don't let me know.  In August, we are only doing 6 blocks because they are more intricate. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pine Tree #67

This block is amazing!  42 pieces, so it is not going to be done in a jiffy.  When I say color 1 and color 2, don't be afraid to go scrappy!!  Have you ever seen a tree with all the leaves the same color?  If you have been saving your cut away triangles, now is the time to get them out and sew them up.  If you want to pick a common background color, just grab a pile and sew them up.  If you haven't quite mastered the 1/4", you may want to cut yours a little larger (use a 1 3/4" strip) and square them up.  With pieces this small, it may be easier to get them the correct size by squaring up.

I took a whole bag of gifted triangles.  I sewed them up and they were about 1 3/4" (not every one was the same size).  I used the square up ruler by Quilt in a day and trimmed them to 1 1/2" before I pressed.  I pressed these seams open WITHOUT steam.  There are lots of ways to make half squares.  If you prefer a different method use it.


Color 1 (dark)

  • 18 triangles cut with Easy Angle (EA) 1 1/2" strip
  • 2 - 1 1/2" squares
Color 2 (light)
  • 18 triangles cut with EA 1 1/2" strip
  • 2 triangles cut with 2" strip Companion Angle
Color 3 (medium or dark)
  • 3" finished half square (3 1/2" strip with EA)
Color 4 (Medium or Dark)
  • 1 7/8" X 3 1/2" (tree trunk)

Tree Trunk (Alias EASY Part)
  • Line up with triangles cut with the companion angle to one end of the 1 7/8" x 3 1/2" rectangle.  Press toward the trunk
  • Add the second triangle lining up with the same end of the rectangle.  Press toward the trunk
  • Use your Easy Angle and square up to a 4" finished half square (line up with 4 1/2" line on Easy Angle)  
  • Sew together with remaining 4" finished half square to make a 4 1/2" square

Now for the more challenging and time consuming part.  This part went quickly for me because I had the half square sewn already.  
18 half squares that measure 1 1/2"  
(Press Seams Open)

  1. Make sure you have a fresh needle in your machine. It will make a big difference.
  2. Use a stiletto (or fingernail in my case) to guide the pieces through
  3. If you have a single hole needle plate, I recommend that also
  4. A foot with a single hole will help keep your seams going the correct way
When you have your 1 1/2" squares in
pairs, press the seams open.  I trimmed the beginning and ending seam at an angle to reduce the bulk.  This is the first time I have tried this, and I think it really helped.

Make sure these measure 1 1/2" x 2 1/2"

Arrange the pairs together and sew into 4 patches.  Line up the 45 degree (sometimes called the bias line) of the ruler with the angle of the half squares to make sure your 4 patches measure 2 1/2".  You can see in the picture that I had to trim my pieces up just a bit. 

Sew 2 - 4 patches together and join with the left edge of the trunk.  Join the remaining 3 - 4 patches together and join with the top of the of the tree block.  I pressed both of these seams open also. 
 I have to admit, I was so pleased with how this block turned out.  I did have one mishap and had to use the seam ripper.  Make sure you have your half squares going the correct direction.  I didn't realize my error until I had the whole block together.  Here is the block before I used my new seam ripper.  I am sure you will have no problem spotting that I sewed the 4 patches on the left upside down.  I was doing my happy dance about how well everything lined up when I spotted it.  
I don't know who gifted the great stripe, but it looks fabulous as the tree trunk.  I think this may be my favorite block.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

On the Wall

My design wall is the same this week.  Wait...I didn't get a chance to post last week, so you haven't seen it.  I finished all the corner pieces on these rail blocks. 

 I needed the storage container that this project was in, so I decided I would just sew it together.  I cut it out long ago to use up scraps, but I never started piecing it.  The pattern is from one of Kim Brackett books called town Square.  Her first 2 books are all from 2 1/2" strips or scraps.  I love that the book tells you the directions from both strips or scraps.  She has some great patterns in both books. 
Softball finished this weekend, so I can get back to my regularly scheduled life.  School starts on Tuesday, so not much of a summer vacation. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Streak of Lightning - #92

This block was fun and quick to make.  I think you will enjoy this one.  I cut all my pieces from a 2 1/2" strip.

 Light & Dark:
  • 2 1/2" x 10" strip
  • 3- 1 1/2" squares
2- 1 1/2" x 2 1/2"
1- 1 1/2" x 2 1/2"


Sew the 2 1/2" x 10" strips together.  Press toward the dark Make sure they measure 4 1/2".  Square up the end and cut them into six 1 1/2" segments.

Sew the opposite color square to each end of (3) of the segments

Sew the (2) dark rectangles to the light end of (2) of the segments

Sew the (1) light rectangle to the dark end of the remaining segments

Check to make sure they measure 6 1/2"

Sew the 6 strips together flipping as necessary to get the dark color on the diagonal.

This is the easiest block this month!  I hope we are still on speaking terms after this month's blocks.

Your completed block should measure 6 1/2".  Next up is this little baggie of pieces.  Char gifted me this baggie a few months ago.  I decided since she had all the pieces already lined up I would just sew the triangles together.  I squared up the the pieces to 1 1/2" half squares.  I am SO glad I did!!  Remember those little pieces you have been trimming off....and I said you should save them....This is the month.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Spiderweb- #83

Several people asked for a little tutorial on this block because they couldn't remember my demo....(or they were talking when I was demonstrating).  None the less, I don't mind posting the instructions on my blog.  It is a good reference for me as well.  I am not constructing it like the templates in the book, so if you want yours just like the book, you will need to use the templates.

2" X 18" strip dark
2" X 18" strip light

4 - triangles cut with a 2 1/4" strip and the easy angle-these can be either light or dark

The ruler on the left is made by Simplicity.  It is called the Simpli-EZ 45 degree Triangle.  There are 360 degrees in a circle, and so if you divide this by 8, you get 45 degree. 
 The other ruler is by Marilyn Doheney and it is called a Kaleidoscope Wedge.  They are both 45 degree, and they will both do the job. 
Sew your 2" strips together on the long edge.  Press toward the dark.  Strip set should measure 3 1/2" x about 18".  Line up the 3 1/2" line with one side of the strip set.  Notice the blunt tip of the simplicity ruler lines up with the other edge.  If you are using the other ruler (or the paper template), the tip of the ruler will extend beyond the edge of the fabric.
Cut on both sides of the template to get the first wedge.  Continue flipping the ruler 180 degrees and cutting wedges until you have 8 pie slices- 4 with the light at the tip and 4 with the dark at the tip.  Join the wedges together in pairs, then join the pairs.  Press to one side.  To join the halves, I like put a pin through both the halves to line up the center point.  Once I have the pin in place holding the centers, I pin the two pieces together.  I remove the center pin before I sew. 
Before you add your remaining triangles, Measure your block.  the edges should be 3 1/4" from the center.  If you need to trim, you should do this before you add the triangles.  If you need to trim, line up the 45 degree line on your ruler to help you keep it straight.

When your block measures 6 1/2" across add the remaining triangles.
When you get your block finished, you will want to spin the center seam to get it to lay flat and be easier to quilt over.