Monday, September 29, 2014

Singing a Happy Tune over my Estate Sale Find

Hi everyone:

After all the wonderful items I purchased at the estate sale on my birthday, you would think that I would be all shopped out - but you'd be wrong! I had barely put away my recent purchases when I received notification that there would be another estate sale coming up. Of course there couldn't possibly be anything else that I would want - or could there?

On the morning of the estate sale my son and I drove up to the north part of town hoping that we'd be one of the first ones in the door. I guess everyone else had the same idea, as we were tickets 54 and 55 (tickets are given out an hour before the sale starts for those eager shoppers). We headed off to the mall to kill an hour or so before returning for our chance to peruse the merchandise on sale. 

I was interested in a small rockinghorse grey stretched Beswick foal, but not at the price of over $300. I'm a collector, but even I have to draw the line somewhere! I did find some old cookbooks and a small Herend china kitten trinket box (or as they call it a "fancy box"). The lady who had lived there obviously loved kitties as there were numerous cat items in the sale. 
Love this Herend trinket box - immaculate and
valued at much more than the $5 I paid for it
I refrained from the vintage linens - only picking up a hand embroidered apron and then headed into the basement, which was full of kitchen items, books and other wonderfulness. In the corner was a vintage Singer sewing machine, which my son pointed out to me. I had known that it was at the sale, but didn't really pay attention since I'd bought so much at the estate sale the previous week-end. I did look to see which model it was - a 301 - and then continued out the door with my purchases.
The Singer 301 sewing machine
Of course I couldn't let this rest. I had to search up the Singer 301 on-line to see what it was all about. 
  • a slant needle sewing machine providing better visibility in the sewing area
  • "light weight" aluminum body - only 16 pounds
  • reverse feed
  • ability to drop the feed dogs
  • arguably one of the best machines that Singer made. 
Hmmm, maybe I should've taken a better look! Later in the afternoon my hubby suggested that we could go back to the estate sale to see if it would still be there. I called the ladies running the sale to see if it was still there and it was! Could they hold it for me for half an hour? Sure and off we went. In my haste to get there, I left anything that would've helped me test the machine, such as my reading glasses and fabric. Luckily they found some fabric for me to use and the machine had thread in it, so I could at least see that it did sew. 
Beautifully detailed machine
The machine body was in excellent shape - very clean and minimal marking. The machine came in a cabinet with a bench with a removable seat which had storage inside. 
Love the storage in the stool
The attachments and a buttonholer came with the machine. Interestingly, the buttonholer was free, but the attachment box cost me an extra dollar. I decided to take the machine, so off we went with it. It wasn't until I got it home and looked at it more carefully did I realize what a treasure I'd found. 

Cabinet and stool for Singer 301
The cabinet itself is beautiful and in excellent shape with hardly any marks on it at all. The bench is in the same condition - not even a rip in the top. The machine is operated by a knee lever, but the foot pedal can be taken out of the cabinet to use on the floor, which is typical of most Singers of this era. 
Stitch Length selector - note worn bobbin winder tire, which has already been replaced
The Singer 301 is designed to be portable and comes out of the cabinet easily using the handle on the top of the machine. There is a drip pan attached to the bottom of the machine, so the area underneath the machine is enclosed when you take it out of the cabinet. 

Hiding in the cabinet
The machine actually locks into a cradle that remains in the cabinet. 
Cradle that remains in the cabinet
I couldn't believe how clean this machine was. No oil residue, no gunky grease to clean out of the bottom or in the gears. Obviously this lady kept her machine pristine. The best part of this purchase was the receipt in the buttonholer box dated 1956. I love finding these bits of history.

Top view of Singer 301
This machine is so pretty that she doesn't deserve to languish in the basement. Instead she has pride of place in the front living room window where everyone who visits can admire her - and the sewing light is great.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Telecast Thursday - Making the Most of Your Time in 15 Minutes a Day

Hi everyone:

Welcome to Telecast Thursday! I've added a new playlist to my Youtube channel: it's called "Got 15 Minutes?" 

If you're like me, you think that you need at least an hour to accomplish any quilting task, but you're wrong! Okay, don't be mad at me because I said you're wrong - I was wrong too (yes, it does happen sometimes!). You can actually get quite a few things done in less than an hour. In the videos in this playlist, I'll give you suggestions on what quilty items you can get accomplished in ...

  • not an hour, 
  • not even half an hour, 
  • but in just 15 minutes a day.

I know it seems like that wouldn't be enough time for anything - certainly not enough time to watch an episode of Sherlock - but if you focus, you can accomplish more than you think.

There are many more videos in this series, so be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel, to receive automatic notifications when new videos are posted. You can also just click on the logo on any of my videos to allow you to subscribe to my channel.

You can watch the first video in this new playlist on my Youtube channel or below.

If you have any suggestions on what quilty items you can work on in just 15 minutes, leave a comment below.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quilts and Pillows and Softies, oh my!

Hi everyone:

This past week-end we travelled up to Edmonton to visit Sarah at university - and to take a look at a vintage Singer sewing machine, but that's another blogpost! This trip reminded me that I had promised to tell you about the other items that I made for Sarah to have in her residence room.

Since residence rooms are not very homey, I thought that some soft furnishings would be welcome. As Sarah is a huge Harry Potter fan, the subject matter was obvious; I just had to decide what to make. 
Sarah's quilt
Since I'd already made her a quilt, I thought that a throw pillow would be nice and decided that I would use the same orange flannel backing fabric from the quilt to make the pillow back. Well that was easy, but what about the front of the pillow? Again, Harry Potter to the rescue! I traced a Deathly Hallows symbol on a plain fabric background and embroidered it using a chain stitch. You'll notice a slight difference in the symbol - this is how Sarah always draws it, incorporated the lightning bolt through the centre of the design. Borders added around the outside, back completed, pillow form inserted and the pillow was done.

Pillow with Deathly Hallows symbol
But this was not quite enough yet. Sarah had drawn a small Dobby figure and partially completed the embroidery before grade 12 activities took over. I finished the embroidery and made it into a little softie. I enlarged the outline of the figure and cut the embroidered fabric and backing fabric to this shape. These pieces were stitched together, right sides together, leaving a small opening at the side to turn. I then turned it right side out and stuffed Dobby and then whipstitched the opening closed. I think he turned out very well and is now a companion to the Harry Potter softie that I had previously made for Sarah. 
Dobby front
Dobby back
Dobby nestled in a sleeping bag (sleeve from a sweater)
Things are looking a bit more homey in Sarah's room now.

I had to make sure that Dobby had his sock - he is a free elf, after all!