I love to sew, mainly quilts and bags. I am 59, married to Fred and have one son, Matthew who is 21. I enjoy embroidery and applique and prefer to machine piece and quilt my projects. I love my vintage Singer sewing machines especially my Featherweight 222K. My love of sewing I believe comes from my Grandmother - I still have the drawings she made for me to embroider on tea towels many many years ago!

Friday, 22 May 2015

BEAUTIFUL SIGGY BLOCKS

A beautiful siggy from Konstanze in Germany 

and here is the beautiful siggy from Leonore also in Germany
I think this one will become a Pin Cushion as Leonore
has put my initial on it.

I still enjoy being in the International Siggy Swap and recently received these two lovely blocks.  Thank you Konstanze and Leonore, I love your siggies!  I think I will make some sewing machine covers with some of the siggy blocks I have received.  I have already made a wall hanging so now that I have so many sewing machines, I will make them some pretty dust covers.  I think that will be a lovely way to view the siggy blocks and will certainly be a talking point for visitors to my home.

Sewing time has been a bit hit and miss lately with our Summer hanging in so much longer than it usually does and the days just have not been conducive to sewing at all although a lovely cold change has arrived today!  I am continuing to work on the machine appliqué project - By Air, By Rail, By Sea.  I am using my Brother Innov-is 200 Quilters Edition for this project.  It does a very nice blanket stitch.

My newest addition to my Vintage Sewing Machine collection is the Singer 99K Hand Crank and I am making my Siggy Blocks on this machine so it gets some regular use.  I am really enjoying sewing on this machine - love being able to sew very slowly with the Hand Crank!  I think this machine will be great for fiddly top stitching and bag making.



Just yesterday I started a new project (click to go to Quilt-Along site)  on my Singer 201K Knee-Shift.  I gave it an Oil and clean and started making some Half Square Triangles on it yesterday afternoon.  I will be making a Table Topper - the Quilt-Along is called Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt Along and it's by "From My Carolina Home" - I have linked to the website above.  I found lots of suitable scraps in my scrap bag - all sewing related!  so this will be a Table Topper for one of my sewing tables.   I love sewing on this machine, it is so quiet and I can really control my speed with the knee-shift lever.  Note the new LED lightbulb!  Love it !  it is from April 1930s Sewing Shoppe.  If you have a Vintage Machine with the old incandescent light bulbs (ouch.... very hot!) you will love the new LED bulbs as they are so much brighter and stay cool.  April has them in both Warm and Bright White.  By giving this machine a project it keeps it oiled and cleaned and ensures some regular sewing time.  These old machines need to be used.

My Singer 201K Knee-Shift machine - a great little workhorse!
You will see I still have the manual pages beside me when I work
on my machines!

Here you can see how I am using the wide side of the normal Singer
sewing foot to sew my 1/4" seams down each side of the
drawn line.  Yes it's back to front sewing but it works like a charm!
I am chain stitching the HST's

My Hand Sewing project is coming along nicely.  I'm now up to the third border of boats.  As many of you know, I MUST have a hand sewing project at ALL times :-)   ...  need something to do when we go out for our daily coffee!


Today is a lovely cold and windy day - just finished some housework (boring but necessary) and about to head in to the sewing room to work on those Half Square Triangles.

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen


Monday, 13 April 2015

SNUG AS A BUG IN A RUG

or in this case.....  a Grumpy Bear and a baby Monkey :-)

MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT FREE MOTION QUILTING
ON MY FEATHERWEIGHT 222K
FREE MOTION FOOT FROM APRIL 1930s SEWING SHOPPE

THE OTHER SIDE

AN UPSIZED VERSION OF THE SLEEPING BAG FOR DOLLS
GRUMPY BEAR IS THE MODEL
THIS ONE IS FOR A VERY ROTUND TOY MONKEY
HENCE THE PLEAT IN THE QUILT TOP (not in the pattern)

AND ANOTHER ONE..... THIS ONE IS FOR A MEDIUM
SIZE TEDDY (still upsized from the pattern)

AND THIS SLEEPING BAG WAS JUST RIGHT :-)
FOR A LITTLE BABY RABBIT NAMED EMMA
LITTLE MONKEY IS THE MODEL HERE
(this is the Baby Bear size from the pattern)

I have had a fun weekend making these sleeping bags for my little great-niece's toy Monkey and Teddy (the two large sleeping bags) and my other little great-niece's new toy rabbit.  You have seen this pattern before...

Ruby Rabbit in her sleeping bag-
made this one last year

The Pattern can be found HERE.  I loved using my Featherweight to make these bags.  It's perfect for doing the rounded corners with the bias binding - I use the Seam Guide that comes with most Vintage Sewing Machines and the binding comes out so neat!

Free Motion Quilting on my 222K was just fantastic!  All I had to do was drop the feed dogs and away I went.  Perfect stitching immediately...... no fiddling around with tension settings or anything.
Due to its small size, I would not want to attempt too large a project for FMQ on the FW but it's just perfect for cute little things like these sleeping bags.  I would probably use it for a crib size quilt but nothing larger.  It would be good for Quilt As You Go blocks and then perhaps finish them off on a larger machine.

The two large sleeping bags are upsized from the Papa Bear Pattern and the little pink sleeping bag is the Baby Bear size.

I did some straight line quilting on the quilt fronts (used the walking foot guide on the little pink bag) and FMQ the mattress part.

Recently I had a play with the Swiss Zig Zag attachment for my FW .....  
Side view 
putting an edge along an Appliqué piece

not bad!  very neat zig zag for a vintage attachment!

and a cute box ! !

Yes I own a modern sewing machine that can do zig zag and all manner of fancy stitches but honestly this little vintage attachment is absolutely amazing!  a wonderful piece of engineering and all I had to do was give it a little oil and away I went.  The attachment forms the zig zag by moving the fabric left and back to the middle.   It was such fun!  I remember my Mum putting an edge on our clothes she made for us when we were little and this is how she did it.  I have a Buttonhole attachment too and I remember Mum saying that it's the best buttonhole you could ever make!  I will play with that attachment one day too.  This attachment will fit all of my Vintage machines.

Did I mention that I bought a Hand Crank Singer 99K ?  well I did and here it is...

winding my first bobbin - WOW .. what a perfect bobbin!

I bought it some months ago and it did not have the wooden handle on the Hand Crank.  My wonderful Brother-in-Law fashioned one for me out of an old hand crank drill.  Isn't it lovely?  The machine sews beautifully.  I made a Siggy Block to test it out.  It is quite easy to sew with your left hand!  the trick is to NOT look at your right hand as it turns the crank.  I found it very easy to sew straight and keep a 1/4" seam.  I think I will have fun with this new toy!



Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen





Tuesday, 17 March 2015

PLAYING PAIRS

My Mum & my Featherweight 222K
Mum looks amazing for someone who will be 95 in July
My Featherweight looks good too, she is 58!

Our pretty rows


Last week I took my Featherweight 222K over to visit with my Mum in the Nursing Home.  We set up out in the little dining room.  I had taken over some packs of charm squares and placed them on the table for Mum to put two together and hand to me and I did the sewing.  Mum did very well with this considering she has Dementia and really cannot see too well at all.  Now and then she would "drift" but for most of the hour and a half she seemed to enjoy the process.  We laid out our rows and surprisingly Mum worked out that I had more rows to sew and then we would have a tablecloth!  At one point she said to me "oh, this is patchwork" and she also figured out that we were doing rows of six by six.   Interestingly Mum was able to work out if she had two different squares as every now and then she would say "oh no, those don't go together".  Although she cannot see too well, I took her hands and ran them over the sewing machine.  She was amazed at how small it was.  I told her all about the Featherweight sewing machine and how old mine is (1957).

We spent a very enjoyable morning and next week we will do it again, this time putting the rows together.
Siggy from Frederika, Norway

I am still participating in the International Siggy Swap and last week I received this lovely block from Frederika in Norway.  It is still exciting to receive a little envelope in the post and read all about different places around the world.  Thank you Frederika, I love your little shoes!

I think I have missed posting about a few Siggy Blocks from last year so will update with those soon.

The machine appliqué is going well.......

Choo choo....... I am up to the By Rail row

Pattern:- By Air, By Rail, By Sea
Heather's Designs

I am enjoying doing the machine appliqué
Sewing on my Brother Quilters Edition 

Another version of Sylvie Sunshine
this one for a little friend.
Sewn on my Featherweight

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen






Wednesday, 18 February 2015

VACATION TIME

Block of the Month that is!   Pat Sloan has a new BOM called "Vacation Time".  I am using the same fabrics that I used for Delightful Stars quilt along as I didn't finish off the remaining blocks to be sewn for that one.  The blocks from Vacation Time will fit it nicely and I should get some sort of quilt top out of it all by the end of the BOM.  I will just keep sewing the BOM until I have enough for the quilt top.  Other blocks can become cushions or something.

I'm sewing these blocks on my Featherweight 222K.  By using the seam guide and the Perkins Dry Goods Perfect Piecing Guide, I can set a scant 1/4" seam and all of the units come out the correct size.

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen









Sunday, 8 February 2015

On the high seas ....,,











Although the weather is still hot and sticky I felt like some sewing today... So the ceiling fan is on full blast and I'm back working on the machine appliqué!

I purchased a wide open toe foot and it is so much better than the other foot I've been using.  I can now see very clearly where I'm stitching.

February is a busy birthday month in our family - I have just finished making the gifts for our little Maisy and Amos ....


Posting this from my iPhone so photos out of order :-(.   Chalkboard Roll for Maisy and appliqué tee-shirt for Amos.  

I used a different method for the mitred corners of the chalkboard roll - if you check out my Facebook I have linked to it but from my phone it's a bit tricky!

I will add to this post later and put up a proper link.

Back to the machine ......

Cheers from Helen 



Thursday, 8 January 2015

HAVING FUN WITH MACHINE APPLIQUÉ






I am having a go at Machine Appliqué.  Using my Brother Quilters Edition Innov-is 200.  So far ... so good!  I'm really enjoying this technique (I honestly did not think I would!). 

This project is another quilt for little Amos.  The pattern is "By Air, By Rail, By Sea" by Heathers Designs found HERE.  I have the "By Sea" row all ironed on ready to stitch and so far I have finished one boat.  This pattern was a bit too fiddly for hand blanket stitch and although I badly need a new hand sewing project, I decided to have a play with machine blanket stitch and I must say I am loving it!

I am using Sulky 30wt in the needle and Bottom Line 60wt in the bobbin and I am very pleased with the effect.  The blanket stitch I am using is one that fills the space nicely.  I have ironed on some Pellon 630 to the back of the work and I like the way it softens the appliqué.

To educate myself about this method I read everything I could and watched hours of youtube videos.  I then did a practice piece and found which settings I liked.  It's all about "knowing" how the stitch is formed on YOUR machine, so I did many many rows to understand my blanket stitch.

One hint I picked up and now I cannot recall whether it was a video or a blog post but it was about pulling the threads to the back of your work and then weaving all the threads through some stitches - use a Magic Needle !  you know... those "self threading" hand sewing needles!!!  well I have to tell you, these things are indeed MAGIC!  I will now keep the packet close by all of my machines - they will be great when pulling the quilting thread to the back of the quilt and I can even see me keeping one in my hand sewing bag..... for those times when I keep sewing when I know I should stop because I'm running out of thread!  these needles are so easy to "pop" the thread into and then finish off stitching.  I found an article HERE which explains more about these needles.

So I have started the New Year off with a new project and a new technique.... not a bad start :-)

Happy Sewing!
Cheers from Helen