Sunday, December 19, 2010


Last year on the island, I arrived to walk dogs at the Duncan SPCA.  It was just a couple of days before the wonderful "garage sale" that Gail organizes every year as a fund raiser.  I spied an old Singer sewing machine in a pile of newly donated items.  When I asked Gail about it, she told me to make an offer.  I started pretty high and she would not accept the offers, countering with a much lower one which I happily accepted.

There was a note pinned to a piece of fabric under the presser foot saying that the machine worked.  It is not a Featherlite, a very popular machine even now.  Quite the contrary, it is very heavy.

It was sitting on top of its cabinet which was in very bad shape.  You can see where it attached to the cabinet by these hinges on the back of the machine:

But until I get my own Featherlite, I thought I could take this to California and have a machine that would do straight stitching.  My idea was that I would find a small quilting project to use to try it out. 

I did that, and it sews very nicely.  I was proud of myself for being able to thread it, both top and bobbin (only one bobbin came with the machine).  However I soon realized that there was something wrong with the lovely simple mechanism for winding the bobbin.  It appeard to be frozen - wouldn't turn.  I was about to give up on it when my wonderful husband took an interest.  He freed it up and fiddled with putting it back together.  We had no manual, and neither of us could remember exactly how it had looked.  But, in spite of this, he got it working.  It is not like it was before, but it works!

So I started planning a project from another of the books I had ordered to read in California.

Most of my friends will understand why this title appealed to me.  I like to improvise.  Long ago as a dance major at UCLA, I spent my whole junior year improvising.  I am not too fond of following the rules.  None of my weaving friends would call me meticulous.  The few quilts that I have made were either very simple or made up as I went along.  I decided to make twelve six-inch blocks, enough for two placemats, with Christmas colours.  The first block I made was a "liberated star".  Then I made a very liberated log cabin block.  I thought that more of these would be too busy, so made some simpler blocks.  This is the result:

Of course, they were not exactly the same size.  So when I started to sew them together, the seams didn't match!  I was almost ready to give up, but my great husband came to the rescue again, saying that he thought they looked "just fine".  "Who says the seams have to line up?"  So I will give them a border and backing of the green fabric on the left.

Meanwhile, the instruction booklet I ordered from Singer came.  Imagine my surprise when I read that there is a way to drop the feed dogs so that one can freehand quilt with this lovely old machine.  Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. The quilt has a beautiful pattern and I love your colour choices. Can I upload pictures on your blog? (I'm not very computer/blog savvy) because I'd like to show you my Singer machine...looks just like the one you picked up which I was given 30+ years ago by Ed's mother. It came complete with attachments to do special hemming and button holes. ^_^