Jan 23, 2013

I haven’t taken this off my neck since I finished it! This is also because of our chilly weather lately.

Materials: Madelinetosh hand dyed yarn, wooden buttons, cotton embroidery floss (to sew buttons onto cowl)
Pattern: Adapted slightly from this.

This yarn is cushy soft. I even have leftover from the skein. Above are some lovely warm photos of butterflies I have on my craft table, bought during a trip to Đà Lt, Vietnam.

Jan 9, 2013

Seat Cushions

Quite flattened from lots of loving usage

My first sewing project on my Singer 127. 

Materials: Cotton ticking, cotton ribbon as ties
Batting: Polyester, from Joann's. Synthetic is not my favorite. 
Pattern: My own 

I'm often impetuous with projects. I did bits of research with this one, and basically winged it. Measured two squarish pieces, sewed those together, then sewed 2 inch gussets for the corners. It was quite a lesson on cutting fabric straight, among other things! It definitely allowed me to become more familiar with my vintage sewing machine. 

The tufting was a pain on my fingers to do. It's been over a year since I made these, and I kid you not, the fourth cushion remains to be tufted. I can be lazy like that. 

While imperfect, these cushions do the job just fine: keep our bottoms comfortable and warm. 

Ribbon Pillow

Button holes made with my buttonhole attachment!

Notice my crooked stitching? :)

Fabric: Organic cotton canvas, Kona blue 

Buttons: Tagua Nut, or "Poor man's ivory" - one of my favorite parts of this pillow!

I made the “ribbons” with my bias tape maker from the kona blue fabric.
I loved making this pillow. It was also my first execution with the buttonhole attachment; it went well! Aren't those buttons lovely? Swirly caramel mmm food is frequently on my mind, especially sweets.

The texture of raised stripes is fun to run my hands across. At the moment it's covering a goose/duck feather pillow which collapses easily. Not very practical for one's head or back. 

Made entirely with my sewing machine

Scarf on Rigid Heddle Loom

Shopping at the farmer's market in Mainz, Germany

Pattern: Simple weave 
Wove this on a rented 10" Cricket rigid heddle loom. I took a class at A Verb for Keeping Warm and loved it, highly recommend their classes and workshops.

This scarf was made in under 6 hours from my beginner hands - my more experienced knitter hands sure couldn't knit a scarf that quickly at this weight yarn!

For my past birthday, Cop bought me the 15" wide cricket loom (thanks, love). While not as compact as the 10", it's still a good size to easily move around the house and one can weave bigger pieces. Looking forward to more projects with this! 

Wooly Wooly Tree Mittens

Fiber: scrap yarn (mostly wool with blends of nylon, cashmere) 
Pattern: Template taken from Totoro Mittens, and I used grid paper to make the designs 

I made these mittens in 2009 while working at a city tree planting organization. I wanted to showcase my love of trees! 

This is my first color work project, and it may seem intimidating but it's actually manageable, and challenging in a fun, not frustrating, way. Besides, the results are so worth it! 

Front and back
Fair isle knitting keeps hands toasty warm!

My Trusty Singer Sewing Machine

The tea canister is where I store discarded threads :)
Base with serial number

In 2011, I was shopping for a sewing machine and wanted something that could easily last an entire generation. Seems like a lot to ask for in this day and age? Definitely.

So, I went back in time and bought a “vintage” Singer model 127 – its entire construction is of wonderful heavy duty metal (e.g. primarily steel and iron).

According to its serial number and manufacture date, it turned 100 years old last year! There’s a long story behind its acquisition that I’ll share another time. I’m a deal hunter, and paid a total of $150 for the machine head and table (separate purchases).

Reasons I’ve loved this machine for the past year and a half:
  • Gorgeous decals. Mine features Egyptian motifs to commemorate the excavations  going on at that time (early 1900’s).
  • Such a simple machine that I can fix myself.
  • Such a well built machine that I probably won’t need to fix often! I keep it well oiled and frequently change needles for smooth sewing. No problems to date.
What about all those fancy stitches that computerized machines can do? I can do a bit of that, too, with the zigzagger and buttonhole attachment that I bought (both around $30 – deal hunt!). It’s become a versatile machine that’s good enough for my household usage.

I also did a couple months’ worth of hunting to find its hand crank. It may seem overkill to have foot and more hand control, but when you’re doing slow sewing, it’s very handy to have both. The hand crank is better than getting my fingers stuck in the hand wheel, which would happen too many unpleasant times.

A year and a half later of owning it, I have to say that it’s been a rewarding experience and I have plenty more to learn. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever “outgrow” this machine.
Oh, and did I mention that it doesn’t require a single volt of electricity? Hooray for pedal power! 

Bobbin winder
Boat shuttle
Spool  rack - it's collapsible! Gift from a friend

For more photos, you can visit my flickr.