Sunday, September 27, 2009


I had a few days off this week and one day hubby and I visited one of our favorite antique stores in Hummelstown, Olde Factory Antiques (no website, but you can find directions here). It's an old 3 story factory loaded with whatnots and their prices are usually pretty good. On the second floor I found an old Singer sewing machine for $5. I looked twice. Made C come over and look. Yep, $5! I love vintage sewing stuff but generally it's too pricey for my frugal nature. But $5, there was no way we were passing this up. The thing weighs a ton and was filthy. But we bought it.

We got it home and I worked on cleaning it up. The decals are very worn and there's a good bit of rust, but it cleaned up pretty nicely. We did a bunch of research on the Internet and found out it is a Singer 27 vibrating shuttle. Manufactured in 1906 in Elizabeth NJ. It is a handcranked machine. Some pictures show an actual crank you could turn. This one has a wheel making it feel a bit cumbersome to crank for me. The machine could be mounted on a treadle stand and driven with a belt by the treadle (so I'll keep my eyes open for one!)

The bobbin is unlike any I've seen before.
It's long and thin and rides in a bullet shaped shuttle.
The bobbin winding mechanism seems not to be working.
It won't hold the bobbin and there isn't a band to drive the mechanism. So far I've not been able to locate instructions or pictures of how it is supposed to work.

The machine does appear to be in working order. The crank turns easily and quietly. The spool pin is missing but would be easy enough to replace. We are fortunate to have a sewing machine repair man a few blocks from our home. He serviced my Kenmore this summer. He works from his home and is a wealth of information. C and I chatted with him about old sewing machines for nearly half an hour when we picked up my machine. We plan to make an appointment to get his opinion on the machine in the near future.

I don't really plan to use this as a working machine. Although I would be tickled if we could get it into working order. Just for the joy of saying I got a sewing machine for $5! For now it's strictly for decoration.

I do have my eyes open for an old Singer Featherweight in working order though. They are works of beauty and I understand they are fabulous little sewing machines. We often see them at the quilt shows for anywhere from $200 to $500. Someday....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's a knitter's love fest

I'm riding pretty high on the knitting mojo right now. I finished the Heroine jacket and could not possibly love it more.It felted beautifully in one machine wash cycle in hot water with 2 pair of jeans. The collar is rather big. Where I to knit it again I would definitely rework the collar. But I find if I fold it back it's not too bothersome. I've sewn the bottoms of the lapels down so I've got pockets. Although the jacket is rather bulky it offers the ideal amount of warmth. I've been able to wear it as a blazer at work on chilly mornings and it works equally well as an outdoors jacket. The final count was 26 balls of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Current and 8 celtic cross buttons from Buttonsgalore on Esty (go buy from her if you need buttons, she's wonderful to deal with!)

I finally finished the Heart and Sole toe up socks I started back in April. I'm not really that slow a knitter. But I am an easily distracted knitter and other projects just seemed to keep pulling me away. I love Wendy Johnson's pattern for the slip stitch heel toe up sock. I still enjoy my top down socks. However, if I want to knit toe up socks, this will be the pattern I use.

I've been spinning again. Finished two skeins of superwash mill ends
that I got from Jen. She sent me a whole bag full months ago to try to encourage me to spin enough yarn for a sweater. After sampling and test knitting I decided I liked the look of 3 ply for this yarn so it's taken me some time to spin. The fiber is a joy to spin and the yarn is lovely. But as I said, I'm easily distracted and although I DO want to spin enough yarn for a sweater....someday.... my current obsession is to finally spin a good 3 ply sock yarn. I've been reading Intentional Spinner and am hoping to pick up Spin Control soon to improve my spinning knowledge. And I've been practicing on some Ashland Bay merino top. I moved to a smaller ratio on my Minstrel (8.5 to 1) and it made a world of difference. I am proud to say I have finally successfully spun what I consider a fair-to-middlin sock yarn.Granted it's only maybe 30 yds, but it's a start. I'm ready to jump in and use the "good fiber". And check out all the new Good fiber I've got to choose from!!!The big lump on the left is Crown Mountain BFL in Stonehenge. 8 (that's E I G H T) ounces! In front 4 ounces of BFL in Swamp Flower from Liberty's Yarns. And all those lovely batts came from Jen. I'm so happy to let you guys know Hanks in the Hood is back in full force. Her Etsy shop is chock full of gorgeous custom blended batts and her handspun yarns.

I finally broke down and treated myself to a knitter's purse. I lusted after a
Jordana Paige for ages but could never bring myself to spend the considerable amount of money one costs. Especially since I've heard from more than one person that they aren't the best made purses you can buy. A mention of her Rio bag on a podcast got me thinking about and jonesing once again for a cool knitter's purse. So I started combing the internet for the perfect bag. I found it in the Namaste Newport bag.The color is Peacock and is a rich teal blue. The bag is the perfect size to hold all my purse stuff on one side and my knitting on the other. In the center there's a full length pocket to keep wallet and such secure. My only complaint was that there's only 2 pockets in the purse. I'm an organization FREAK when it comes to my purse. I hate things running around loose in there. So I sewed up a pocket organizer (good instructions here, takes less than 1/2 hour to sew) and I was all set.Now everything has a place, my bag is super organized and I've got knitting with me wherever I go. I got mine from Hip Mountain Mama (click the bag link to go to her site) since she had the best price and came highly recommended on Ravelry. I too can heartily recommend her site. Service was excellent. I ordered on Labor Day weekend and had my bag by Thursday!