Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vintage Singer Babies

I spent plenty of time with fabric last week, just not sewing. I wanted to get a couple things done so I could sew all weekend, guilt-free. I did quite a bit of cutting last week, though I am not finished with that. DD#2 helped me go through my scraps, and we divided them by color. I am trying to not add to my scrap pile by processing leftover fabrics as I go, but I am just having the hardest time going back into my old scraps and dealing with them. I figured if they were divided by color, maybe I could just process them as I needed them for quilts. It's worth a try, nothing else has made me bother with them. I also divided out all the solid scraps, and I'm keeping those separate. I did weed out a few inferior fabrics, and I also separated out some things that should never have been in with my quilting scraps. Cotton knit? How did that get in there? I think moving the sewing room so many times ended up mixing my stuff together.

Miss S was trying to "help" us sort scraps, and she made a pile all her own, all purple. I think she has a favorite color already! I'm so glad her big girl quilt is already started- in purple.

Yesterday, Saturday, I decided I would sew on my "new" Singer 99K. Some of the cutting I had worked on last week was cutting cream and floral strips, and now those needed to be joined, a floral to a cream. After the strip piecing is done, they will need to be subcut. I thought the strip piecing would be a nice way to get to know my newest vintage baby, so I sewed strip sets all day. I think I have about 100 sets sewn, and I need to cut a few more cream strips before I am finished. I have one quilt for my main project with these strips, but have plans for the leftovers, so I made many more strip sets than I actually needed for the first quilt.

Today I sewed snowball blocks for the twins I Spy quilts. I used my 221 Singer Featherweight for that. This was the longest sewing session I've had on the featherweight.

Here is what I have to show for my weekend sewing time. Yeah, the strip sets were piled all neatly on the end of my ironing board- until I knocked them off and had to pick them all up. Now they are just a mess, but they need to be pressed anyway before I can subcut them. The snowball blocks need to be trimmed and pressed. I had been debating on double sewing the corners of the snowball blocks to get bonus HST's, but I decided against it. These are all large scale novelty prints, and the four corners may not even look like they are from the same fabric, so pinwheels or something wouldn't work well. These are for different quilts, so don't worry about them looking odd next to each other.

So, what did I think of the vintage Singer babies after some bonding time? I liked the 99K straight away. I had always heard that a vertical bobbin will always give a nicer stitch, and the 99K has a drop-in bobbin. Evidently no one bothered to tell the 99 it should have an inferior stitch, because the stitches were perfect! I liked the machine so well, that when I saw a 99 handcrank on ebay, I was sorely tempted to buy it. Maybe someday, I'd like to add a handcrank to my collection, but for now I held off. The 99 bobbins are larger than the featherweight bobbins, which is nice. This machine was just sewing perfectly, no complaints on anything it did. I don't have a manual, so I looked up a youtube video on how to thread it, and watched it on my phone so I could thread the machine while I was watching the video. This is one sweet machine.

Today was 221 Featherweight day. I had only had short sewing sessions on the featherweight up until now, and we really hadn't had time to bond yet. I switched the thread on the featherweight, to Aurifil 50 wt, my favorite piecing thread. Well, the tension was awful once I switched thread. The top thread was just lying on the fabric, and the bobbin thread was all looping on the top, not a good start. I tried loosening the top tension, but even when it was down to zero, I had the same problem. Time to start changing the bobbin tension. I have been sewing long enough to know you change the bobbin tension in small increments, but honestly, that info didn't do me much good, I ended up having to tighten the bobbin tension almost a complete turn! My stitches still weren't quite as nice as the 99, but they were acceptable. I was working on snowball corners, and that was a good project for the featherweight. I find the light bulb gets hot, and with snowball blocks, I am constantly moving my hands away from the sewing area to align the next corner patch, so I didn't really ever feel like my hands got too hot. The funny thing was, the longer I sewed with featherweight, the better the stitches got. It was like it just worked itself out. By the end of my sewing time today, I felt a lot happier about the featherweight. The Singer 99K was love at first stitch, but the featherweight is growing on me. I wonder which I will prefer a year from now.

What do you like to work on when you are tired? I have four long babysitting days this week, and by the time I watched little ones for 10-12 hours, made dinner, cleaned up, bathed the twins and put them down for the night, I am pretty fried! I need to start working on things at night after the twins are in bed, but lately all I've been doing after that is playing around on the computer, or occasionally watch a movie with DD#2. When my kids were little, I did all kinds of things after the kids were in bed. Twenty years later it seems much harder. Last week I had been hoping to work on assembling some nine patch blocks after babysitting, and that didn't happen. This week, I am hoping to do some pressing, and see if that is easier to do when I am exhausted. When I only have the twins I usually get something done during naptime, but when I have four kids, trying to get them all to nap at once is usually a pipe dream. It's happened a couple times, but usually only a 20 minute overlap or so. It would be nice to have all the snowball blocks trimmed and pressed before next weekend. If I could get all the stripsets pressed too, I'd be really happy, and estatic if I get the stripsets pressed and subcut! I'm thinking get all of that done is unlikely, but we'll see what happens.

No comments: