Sunday, September 6, 2020

Hello, September...

Hello, first Sunday of September!  Last week, for some reason, I thought we were well into the third week of the month (making the month half over), so imagine how happy it made me today to find I've gained over a week!  That's a bonus in this year that just feels like time is slipping away.

First up, I want to show you what came home this week.  Let me introduce you to the Singer sewing machine (purchased in the mid 1950's) that I inherited from my mother-in-law who passed earlier this year:  

It's not fancy, but I am over the moon excited to get this home and set up.

I haven't stitched anything on it yet, but I'm feeling the love for this vintage-y machine.  I'm going on faith that all will work well and one of these days I'll be showing something I've actually sewn on it.  Now, if I could just find the owner's manual I put somewhere for safe keeping...  

It will show up, I'm sure.

For now, here are just a few shots of some of the attachments that my MIL used:

A bad-boy buttonholer that looks mighty complicated.

A "Automatic" Zigzagger. 

Looks like about 5 extra steps than the zigzag stitch takes to make
on my "modern" 25 year-old machine.

And I'm curious how many of these pressure feet (below) any of you recognize?  

I'm calling the zipper foot (bottom left hand corner), 
but I have no clue what any of the others are used for.  

And lastly, while this isn't an accessory, it's a might fine feature...  

No wait.  I really need to build up to this...  

When we were getting ready to pack this in the car, I wanted to separate the machine from the cabinet. A friend and I fiddled with screws that held the machine to two hinges that lower it down into the cabinet.  When I say fiddled, I mean we had to find the right size screw driver to unscrew two small set screws, and then one of us held the machine while the other nearly stood on their head to unscrew the thing (we took turns doing that as we could only manage one screw each, upside down).  And then once it was home the process had to be repeated (in reverse) to get the machine back in the cabinet.  Though, I found a way to do it that didn't require standing on my head.  

Yep.  I was determined to be smarter this time.  

At home, I decided to unscrew the hinges from the cabinet, attach the machine's set screws back onto the hinges, then while Hub held the machine upright, I screwed the hinges back onto the cabinet.  Remember, I am the mechanic of the family.  And I was so proud of myself that I had figured out how to get this back into the cabinet without turning myself upside down again.

Now, look at the picture above.  Look at that black curved thing (looks like a lever of some sort) in the top left hand of the picture.  Today, as I was taking this picture above (thinking I'd show the side bobbin - which is new to me), I was curious what that little lever was and I pressed on it. At which point, several parts "came away" and out of curiosity I lifted the machine a bit. I pressed a bit harder (though not hard at all) on the lever and out the whole thing came!!!  LOL!  

I'm not even sure I want to tell Hubs about this.  It's so embarrassing.  On the other hand, I think seeing the look on his face will be worth all the egg on mine.  😄

Anyway... what a lovely feature.    Much easier to get out of the cabinet than my more "modern" 25 year-old machine, that's for sure.

There's another story to someday tell on myself, but I think I need to save it for another day.  I'm already entertained to no end by this little vintage machine.  

Now... to find that manual!


And for my crafty bit today...   A few weeks ago I came across the blog, Snowflower Diaries, and while the blog doesn't appear to have been updated in a while, this cross stitch designer has some sweet designs (both for purchase and many for free).  If one of my fellow blogging buddies linked to her designs and I've forgotten who, I apologize, but I was completely taken with the designs in her Joyful World series.  This link is to the last design of the series.  There doesn't appear to be a link to the whole set, nor are all of the designs tagged (or labeled) so that they can all be pulled up easily.  But anyone interested can scroll through the blog and find each free monthly installment in this collection of cross stitch pictures.

Anyway, my threads and fabric arrived and here's what I accomplished this week:  

I'm thinking of making this a flat-fold to sit on my desk or a shelf.  I've never made a flat fold before, so here's hoping I can be motivated to finish the stitching and the project as a whole by the end of the month so I can enjoy it yet this year. 

We shall see...

Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Finish...

Popping in here finally to show that, indeed...  I did finish my most recent Leaping Stripes and Blocks blanket:

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was going to run out of one of the yarns, so I frogged what I had finished (about half a blanket) and started over again - this time, thinking I'd make it a child-sized blanket.  This one measures ~ 45 inches x 34 inches.  Quite a bit smaller than I originally envisioned when I started over.  And now, wouldn't you know it - I have enough of all of the yarn used in this blanket to make yet another blanket this size.  


Sometimes I amaze myself at how much I'm able to make more work for myself.

But it's finished, and I'm glad to move on to something else. 


I haven't been able to manage keeping up with my blogging buddies recently, but I've got reasons.   Mostly life is just busy and honestly... during this COVID time it's a welcome busy. 

Work is coming right along sorting through and moving things from my MIL's house.  Yesterday we, personally, accomplished moving some large pieces of furniture to replace some lesser pieces of our own.  Even with the help of some friends and a son, I'm hereby declaring I'm just too old for this moving business!  

Others are moving things out this week (one hired movers - that's one smart cookie), and then it's time for the painters to come in.  By the end of September/early October I fully expect the house to be sold - hopefully closed on by the end of October.   While, to hear hubs talk about it, you'd think this was all happening at a snail's pace, but I just can't believe how quickly we've gotten to this point (since early June)!

On one hand, I look forward to life resuming some semblance of normalcy, but on the other hand nothing is normal about our normal lives right now and I'm kind of dreading the let down that may accompany slower days.   It's not that I don't have plenty to do, but I am going to miss some aspects of what has been hard, but rewarding work.  Reflective work.  I can do this kind of work in my own home, with my own stuff, but it's just not the same...

Ah well...  That's it from me on this last Sunday of August, 2020.  A welcome finish of a yarny project and a bit of reflecting on life.  Even when I'm busy, it seems I'm always reflecting on life.

In September hubs and I will be jumping back into our volunteer jobs at church.  It will be the first time we've been back to real live church since early March.  Here's hoping it will be fairly uneventful - not exactly what I hope for normally, but these are not normal times...  

I already say that, didn't I?



Sunday, August 16, 2020

De-fringing and a mystery solved...

Another week of only a little crochet in the evenings.  Next week, though, I expect to have a finish to show!

I almost wasn't going to post today and then I remembered that I was going to reveal the answer to last week's mystery - what those little scissors are for!  And I have a funny thing to show you, too.

The correct guess was, indeed, buttonhole scissors!

The funny thing is that when I was putting things away shortly after I posted last week, I saw the box pictured below in a drawer I have reserved (at the moment) for some of the items I'm keeping of my mother-in-law's:

Actually, the only other things I have in this drawer are items that go with her old sewing machine.  On a side note... I'm kind of excited, kind of nervous to bring her 1950's machine and its cabinet home in the next few weeks and start getting acquainted with it.

Anyway, weeks ago,  I evidently found these new-looking little scissors and put them in the drawer for safe keeping.  And then promptly forgot about them.   

While I couldn't find any really good videos showing how to use these, I did find this short little clip which confirms what we now know these are:

While I still don't fully understand how they work, here's a bit of a fuzzy close-up showing some measurements and notches on one of the blades which somehow guide the sewer in cutting the right size button holes:

I could be wrong, but I'm thinking these may be a bit obsolete now that even most simple sewing machines today can automatically make buttonholes.  And while I've used sharp scissors to cut open machine-made buttonholes, a tool like the one below can be used to cleanly slice the buttonhole open:


I also brought home a couple of afghans that my husband's grandmother had knitted many years ago and that my MIL had set aside with the intention of giving them to her grandsons.  My sister-in-law recently uncovered them (after her mother passed in June) in a cedar chest, and since middle son was at his Granny's house that day he happily took his home with him.

But two of the afghans had a load of fringe that didn't age well, to be honest.  So I set out to remove it.  I have to say, even with the edge permanently marred by the large tassel fringe that was on this one, I like it much better without the fringe:

I'm still working on the second one:

One side finished and I'm already liking it much better:

Once the de-fringing is complete, these will be laundered and hopefully my oldest and youngest sons will enjoy having them.  I have no idea when they were made, but I'm guessing in the 60's or 70's.  I am just mostly impressed that anyone takes the time to knit an afghan.  A crocheted afghan takes hours and hours to make.  A knit one - I'm a bit mind-boggled trying to imagine how long ones these sizes took to finish. It's my pleasure to try to give these knitted blankets another lease on life.

And that, dear reader, is all I've got.  

Actually, I've got so much more, but figuring out how and when to show it is something I'm enjoying contemplating.  😊

Sunday, August 9, 2020

A different kind of YOP post...

This isn't a typical YOP update in that I don't have anything to show in terms of interesting progress on any projects.   I ended up restarting my Leaps and Stripes Blanket because it was just too wide and I would have run out of one of the yarns if I kept going at the size it was.  Painful as it was, I ripped the whole thing out and started over.  All's good, but I have nothing to show than what I've shown before.

So what have I been up to for the last couple of weeks?

We (hub's siblings and me) have been filling spare time continuing to work at Mother-In-Law's house to remove things so that her house can be gotten ready for selling.  Mostly, I've been sorting through items that are fairly inconsequential to the sibs and, happily for me, those items have included crafty stuff (in this case, sewing stuff). 

I've mentioned before that my mother-in-law was a quilter and a mighty fine seamstress.  As you can imagine, she had quite a collection of cotton fabrics and the paraphernalia that goes along with those hobbies.

The first task in getting through this huge job was to consolidate everything into categories.  I decided to start with the fabric.  After collecting it all together, sorting it all by color, choosing some fabrics I might enjoy using, and asking a niece to take whatever she wanted - there was still probably a third of all the fabric left.  Determined that I wasn't bringing it home, the remainder of the fabric went to a "Little Dresses" ministry and what they couldn't use made its way to a local quilting group where it can be put to use.   

At home, I further sorted and figured out how to temporarily store what I am keeping, and I am both delighted and a little shocked at how instantly I came to own a little hoard of fabric. 

With the fabric neatly sorted and stored, I then set to the task of consolidating and sorting through all the rest of the items.  That would include seam bindings, spools of thread, needles, scissors, rulers, rotary cutters, buttons, unfinished projects, books, safety pins, straight pins, elastic, trims...   I'm sure I'm forgetting something. 

I'm pretty sure I missed a calling.   As exhausting as all that was, I do consider it fun (or maybe it's actually kind of relaxing, even meditative), to do this kind of work - especially when it involves things I'm more than a little fascinated with.  

Fascination did eventually wane, though (thankfully), and that helped me see clearly what to keep (which was relatively little) and what to pass along.   The items that landed in the later category are now neatly boxed up and back at MIL's so that others can look through it and take what they want before the remainder of that (likely) gets donated.

I kept some thread, and trims (above is just a sample).  A couple of small sharp scissors, a few of books, and for now some unfinished projects that I might enjoy showing here someday if I actually manage to finish them.   But today I thought it would be fun to show some differerent-to-me items I came across.

What I thought interesting above is that these little pins were originally 10 cents.  But there's a price tag marked 8 cents.  There was a time when 2 cents made a difference, I suppose. 

And there was this oldie, but goodie:

I'm struck that on the packaging above there is no mention of what is inside, but rather the outside of the folder of these needles was evidently prime real estate for advertising.  

MIL had dozens of little cards with snaps and eyelets on them like the ones above, and they are sweet to me not only for the nostalgia factor - in that they represent the time when I was a child - but given that there were a lot of cards with snaps and eyelets missing, I imagine she used products like these to sew clothing for her children and herself.

Now, the little scissors above are a mystery to me.  I'm sure at least one of you out there can tell me why there is a screw on them.   I've seen pictures of scissors like this before, but until I had some in my hand and played with them and still couldn't figure out what the purpose of that screw is, I wasn't motivated to even ask.  So now I ask. "Why the screw?"  I'll wait to read the comments before I google it.  Please don't spoil the fun and google it for me.  😉

The above is a sewing course in 6 little envelopes.  There are no instructions with this, but all the packets have a good amount of sewing done so I'm pretty confident my MIL used this.  It makes me wonder if she is completely self-taught using this type of thing.  Or if these, were perhaps materials for an in-person class.  I just don't know...

And there was this:

I found this manual (pictured above) called The Lutterloh System - and measuring tools MIL had purchased to go along with it (according to a receipt tucked inside).  The instructions look a bit sparse to me, but it appears that it's something of a beginning clothing design course, or just instructions for either perfecting already printed patterns, or perhaps drawing your own. 

I have no idea if MIL did much with this, but I certainly see the evidences of some beginnings at least - by her hand-written notes that were tucked inside.


All of this and more (that I hope to find opportunities to share in future posts) have really given me an appreciation for the creative soul my mother-in-law was.  It's one thing to see the finished creations and marvel over them, but it's another thing altogether to look through the minutia of what went into her creations, seeing little drawings and notes scribbled and imagining the time she dreamt of things she would make. My goodness...  as many times as I've gone to sleep thinking of color schemes for my next crochet project, I'm thinking she must have done the same thing when it came to quilts and sewing garments.  

It's one thing to know a person is skilled in an area, but it's quite another to connect to that inner, private part of a person that the world doesn't necessarily see when they only view the polished final products that result from hours of thinking, planning, and making.  

These things and thoughts feel bittersweet to me.  To discover them now.  But then I wonder if that's just the way it often is.  The private self is usually that - private.

All I know for sure is there's more contemplating going on here...

I hope you've enjoyed a tiny glimpse (and believe me, if you could see what all I've sorted through, you'd know just how tiny this glimpse is) of my mother-in-law's creative world.

More to come in the future, no doubt.  😊