Monday, October 31, 2011

Ray White Class

This is a lovely lamp in my room at Frog's Way Bed and Breakfast in Ithaca, NY's very own Ecovillage.  The gourds were grown on this land and the lamp is hand crafted.  I love it.

BUT  not as much as I  LOVE LOVE LOVE being here at the RAY WHITE SEWING MACHINE CLASS.  Today's lessons: Ray's method of learning about sewing machine repair,  tools, needles and thread which of course must include tension. One of the first things Ray said to us  was something his first instructor told him, " You know nothing about repairing machines"  And he was right.  He taught me so much today that I will never look at another machine the same way.  There is a true system and he is very methodical about his approach.   At three thirty we finally got to get our hands into a machine.  ONLY for observational purposes.  I learned to locate the feed dog adjusting cam and corresponding set screw  on the 338 and probably many other machines.  I also found the  zz needle swing adjustment worm gear and corresponding set screws.   I had to put the machine all back together and head out the door at 5:00 sharp so that I could find my way up here to Rachel Carson Way.  I met Elan Shapiro, my host, and settled in to my room.  Then back downtown (only 3 miles or less) for dinner with Andrea, Jae and Ray himself.  We ate at the Moosewood Cafe and talked sewing machines OF COURSE. 

A Master and his students
 I am in HEAVEN.  My class mates have traveled from as far away as Michigan and as close as Ithaca itself.   I was late.  I got a bit lost, having failed to enter the correct address into the Garmin.  But I arrived just in time to introduce myself, but had missed the rest of the introductions.  Our classroom is in a former storage space for Sew Green.  Wendy Skinner, of Sew Green, told me that just 36 hours previously they had cleared out the stored items and prepared the classroom.  What a BOAT load of work that must have been.

More tomorrow. I wish everyone could take this class. If you love sewing machines and love to tinker then this class is just perfect for you.  Go to Ray's website to find out more.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How many sewing machines does it take?????

There are seven sewing machines in the car.  I cracked the 338's case when I was putting the seats up.  No worries, I used lock tite and it is all ok now, but I use a strap around the whole machine just in case (do you think that is a pun??)  I am supposed to bring functioning machines.  Technically the machines all function, not necessarily correctly.  Honestly I have not tried the 206.  I had wanted to toss (I use that term figuratively since it weighs 30 + pounds) in the Riccar.  No room.  Unless I want to wear the same clothes all week.

This exercise was very good for me.  I have my tools organized and condensed.  The shop looks much better, now too.  I think it is time to start working on the cabinets.

I sold a machine last week and sent a cabinet along with it.  I got a phone call today and learned that the machine is working very well.  And the buyer wants to come over and have me teach her how to service her own machines.  She has more than two.  I can't wait to see what she has!!!!  I bet she catches this affliction.  OOHH LA LA.

More blogging from class all week.  I know I will learn so much.

Don't leave me alone in the Wood shop or We aren't building pianos, here.

My Finger Lakes friend gave this case top to me.  She was going to throw it away and I just could not let that happen.  I knew I could fashion a bottom for it somehow.
Steve had to work today so I was alone in his shop with his chop saw, table saw and some stashed hardware.  There were plenty of scraps so I did not need to use the table saw.  Truthfully I hate the idea of the table saw.  It scares me terribly, ever since I saw "Walk the Line." The music from that movie is a different story.  I think I will play that CD this afternoon...

As you can see I chose to set the latch off center. I will remove the old hardware when i get back from Ithaca.  I just wanted to get this functional.  There is a latch on the other side and with the added strap, this is very sturdy.  My 401 is in that case.  That machine is very precious to me... I learned to sew on it.  I am taking it to class with me because the center needle position is off center.  I hope we can fix that.

Steve cam home and I showed him my product.  He turned it over and saw the imprecise work and the shim.  I said "We aren't building pianos, here."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Featherweight Stitches!!!!!

  Thanks to two very generous and kind folk in the sewing machine community, my Centennial featherweight stitches.  I must thank Deloris Pickens (  )  and Glenn Williams   (  They helped me out with two very important parts:  the needle plate and the hook.  I cannot say enough about how kind and generous these folk are.  When I posted on one of my yahoo groups that I had purchased a featherweight at an auction and it was lacking the bobbin case base position bracket, Mrs. Pickens emailed me and offered me a needle plate complete with the position bracket. What great good luck THAT was.  I also received an email from another group member  who directed me to Mr. Williams. I emailed him, and he called me back.  At first I thought that the bobbin case base was the problem.  Mr. Williams sent me one promptly when I ordered it.  I swear my check and the bcb crossed in the mail.  When it turned out to be the whole hook assembly, no problem. I emailed him that I was returning the bcb.  He emailed me right back and offered to take my complete faulty hook assembly, the bcb he sent me in exchange for a complete and functional hook assembly.  Now how about that? I sent his bcb back to him along with my complete faulty hook assembly and I KNOW that the new complete hook assembly and my parts crossed in the mail.  Today I received the new parts and I was able to take a stitch with Glenda Dee (wonder why I named her that?) today.  OOOOHHHH I love this machine.  No wonder everyone wants one.  What a nice, straight, stitch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Packing for class

I plan to take eight sewing machines with me to class next week.  There they are, seven of the eight.  I still have to pack up the 401a.

I may just throw the Riccar in as well.  I would rather have too many machines, than not enough.  None of these machines are as filthy as the Lotus.  Oh well, maybe the 206 is .  The new 301 is very clean, but the motor sounds sluggish.   

I tried to organize my tools.  We all know how challenged I am in that regard.  (for new viewers refer to previous posts).

I used a 301 out in the shop to make a roll up for my picks and tweezers.  I used old jeans and just threw it together.  Very functional.  But not at all pretty.

I used Irene to make a much nicer one for the pliers and scissors.  That was a fun little project.  I love to treadle.
Room for a couple more tools....

And I love Irene.  She just sailed right through that denim.  Not like the plastic machines of these days.  I don't mind that she doesn't have back tack.  I would not want to make a big project on her for that very reason.  Still, she makes a very nice stitch and I am getting much better at treadling.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting ready for Class

I am getting ready to go to class next week.  Liquid Wrench is not allowed.  Ok  i can live with that.  After all I am anti fracking......

I have been waiting for this class for about six months and here it is less than a week away.  I will be blogging from Ithaca, complete with photos from class, and maybe one from the Moosewood Cafe.  I am such an old wanna be hippie.

Watch for more fun postings as we all learn from a master.....

Monday, October 24, 2011

The other side of the shop

There are seven cabinets in this photo. That does not include the treadle Wilcox and Gibbs.  I love the way the old cabinets smell.   I do intend to do some refurbishing.  Just as soon as I retire.....  or stop buying machines. 

My friend, Matt, over in Norwich has a 301a that I will fetch tomorrow.  I just had to have it.  I love the 301.  Then that has to be it until after I move some out......

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How could I say no?

Today I drove west 150 miles to fetch my Wheeler and Wilson Number 8.  When I arrived at my destination, there were five additional machines to greet me, along, of course, with the most wonderful couple in the Finger Lakes.  We laughed about my first visit.  I was so excited looking at all of their wonderful antiques and vintage sewing stuff.  There was a gorgeous spool cabinet and I opened it right up, just like I was family... contained some valuables.  Oh we had a laugh about my gall.

Last June when I first met them, I had the grand tour of all the machines.  I went after a Howe and came home with several additional machines.  I think my haul was five machines then.  This time I came home with six.   We were all amazed that I fit the W & W 8 with its treadle base,  a Singer 15-91 and its cabinet,  a Singer 99-13 and its cabinet, an Elna Super matic, a Domestic, and a darling Singer 128 complete with a gorgeous excellent condition carrying case in the Jetta sport wagon.  Where there is a will there is a way. 

1935 Singer 15-91
1925 Singer 128
1930 Singer 99-13
Foot pedal for 99-13. Right, my size ten is going to fit that!!!!
Domestic Rotary
The Elna Supermatic
I have benefited greatly from such generosity.  These other five machines were just given to me.  How about that?  We all love the machines and A. said she doesn't believe that she owns any of these wonderful old machines, she just is caring for them until it is time to pass them along.  I agree.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another Singer 66 Continued

I got home about One oclock this afternoon with the new machine.
I spent about three hours cleaning and oiling and I have many more to go. The needle bar, the presser bar, the foot and the tension assembly parts are all clean.  I could not resist spending some time on the body.
Oh how I love this hobby.   I have no idea what that red streak is on the left side of the photo.  It isn't on the machine, I  reassure you.  I used Dr. Woods Almond oil Castile soap that I found in the natural foods section of my grocery store.  I think Dr. Bronner's makes one too.  I rinse with sewing machine oil to get the soap residue off.  I will try to apply a wax over this to keep it clean, but I haven't yet.

Another 66

I am off to Delmar this morning to pick up a ten dollar machine I saw on CL.  Impulsively I emailed and said I would buy it.  Delmar is about an hour away and it might be a pretty day so I think I will take the Cannon and try to get some photos.   October is a funny month this year.  We've had a frost but not a killing frost.  We have had 80 degrees as well.  Yesterday was wet and rainy as was October 1st when I bought that 221.  Just the same, I love this time of year when the leaves come off the trees and the sun shines through fluffy clouds and then disappears off and on all day.  Oh and the smell of autumn.  Perfume.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 31 I am going to Ithaca, NY for a week long repair class taught by Ray White.  I am thrilled.  This machine is going along for sure.
The back ground sign says NO FRACKING, as in hydraulic

I was pondering how I could ever get at the switch connection to de solder and then re solder this.  Then it dawned on me.  The switch might have a little nut that loosens.
It's a project, as Steven would say, with a sigh.   It's a project, I would say, with gusto.

All that gunk is liquified wire insulation that reacted with oil and time.  I have three 201s and one has intact, though "dicey" wiring.  The third one looks just like this but I think the switch is a bit better, but I am not sure that is saying much.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Re-wiring the re-wire

The nice thing about my day job is the money.  I bought some wire at the Home Depot yesterday after work.  My sister, Alice, reassured me that it was ok.  After all, she said, people spend that much going out to eat.  So I felt better.  When I told Steven that we now have a life time supply of lamp cord, he got worried.  But he is in California on a bicycle trip and will have forgotten all about my impulse purchase by Tuesday next week when he gets home.

I did not want to wait for some 18 Gauge SPT -1 wire to come in the mail.  I wanted to re-wire the featherweight today. I was so unhappy with my job with the SPT-2 wire that I just hated it.

Today's job went much better.  It took me ten minutes to re-wire the foot pedal, less than an hour, including the soldering, to get the female half of the three pin terminal re-wired and about thirty minutes to do the plug because I kept fussing with it. Oh and the knot in the plug would not hold so I had to figure out something to keep it in place.  Most importantly, I am happy with the outcome.

This was the original

This was my first attempt.  Too much exposed wire.

This is my re-re-wire.  I got the knot wrong but at least the amount of exposed wire is about the same as in the original.
  Because I used the lighter thickness insulation, the knot in the plug pulled right through.  I found a plastic gizmo in my stash of screws and things.  I drilled hole through it, fed the wires through it into the plug and tied the knot.  It worked, though it looks a bit funky.  I also did clean off the rust from the connections in the plug.  I think I will get a new plug for this eventually but I love preserving the old stuff

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Big Girls' quilt from baby clothes

July 2010 I started working on a quilt for a dear friend.  She had gathered all of her favorite baby things of her daughters and brought them to me last spring.  Finally, in July, I got inspired to work on it.  I started with two pair of adorable pants with pockets  and made the first square.
Then I just kept picking apart clothes and sewing things back together.  I used everything given to me  me.  The only thing I used new was the batting.

  Just as I finished this quilt the Husqvarna stopped zigzagging.  The machine went to the shop.  I bought a used Viking 6010 from Betsy because I wanted to keep up the momentum.  I caught momentum all right.  Not sewing momentum.  SMAD (sewing machine acquisition disorder) momentum.  Besty would not sell me one of her 66s that I wanted for my Grace Machine Quilt frame so I found one on Craigs list and she helped me clean it up and get it stitching.  That was when I was afflicted. 

In a way this quilt started it all.  I want to get back to sewing.  But I love meching on old sewing machines........ I just don't have enough time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Re wiring the Three Pin Terminal End Female Half

I finally did accomplish this task but not without scraped fingers and knuckles and many start overs.  I am not happy with my result. I plan to redo this with AWG 18 SPT-1wire as soon as I get some.  Or maybe I will just buy a new one........The more I learn about this featherweight, though, the less interested I am in spending a bunch of cash on it.  My time is free, as long as I am not on the clock at work.  For 5 bucks worth of wire I could have a better job than I have now.  Plus I have  ton of experience on this job.

I don't like that exposed wire.  I could purchase some liquid electrician's tape and coat it.  But I think that I would rather have less bulk in the body of the terminal end and have more flexibility to tie that cute little knot that was on the original
The things that I learned:

The brass terminal connectors need to screw down very tightly or else they WILL NOT FIT.  They only fit one way. 

It is best to fit #3 (red wire) and #2 black wire BEFORE  trying to fit #1.  I soldered the two #1 wires together at first and struggled to make it fit.  Then I had a FIT and cut everything off and started over.  My next attempt at soldering went better but I still could not get it to fit so I cut that joint off and started over AGAIN.  This time I worked to get #s 2 and 3 to fit just right and then put the thing back together and screwed it all down tight and left it overnight.  Wire has memory so I figured shaping the wire that way wuld help me out.  It did and I finally finished this after another two hours of struggle.

I did test it out and the motor runs.  That, however, is ANOTHER story.

I don't want to jinx this machine but I am so tempted to name it Citron.  Not yet.  I will see what comes of the tight turning hook.  If that thing is warped, well then.........

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Re wiring the Featherweight Wall Plug

I used AWG 18 SPT-2 black wire for this application.  I have used AWG 16 but since the other end needs to go into the  Three Pin Terminal End Female Half,  16 Gauge wire is too  thick.  

First I measured the length of new wire against the old wire.  Then I studied the wire connections  at the terminal end.   I had marked and color coded each wire as I removed it from the terminal end.  The red tape  corresponds to number three on the terminal end.   On the wire that leads to the plug it is  the  white wire.  I had arbitrarily decided, when wiring the foot pedal, to make the smooth section of new wire the "white" wire.  In the case of the plug, the smooth section of new wire will be color coded red.   It is just my way of keeping things straight.  For someone who understands electricity it may be redundant. 
Next I turned my attention to the plug itself.  I put red tape on the white wire side and yellow tape on the black wire side. 
Then I loosened the screws and freed the wire.
I pulled the plug back a bit and cut the knot off.  I wanted to replicate it when I put new wires on so I saved it.
Then I threaded the new wire through the plug, scored the insulation on the wire and separated a length of new wire I estimated would be enough.  I then stripped a length of insulation from each wire that I estimated would be enough to wrap around the screw and color coded the corresponding wires: red = smooth yellow = striated.
I did tie the knot.  I truly did.  But I failed to take a photo of it.  You will just have to trust me on this. 
After I tied the knot, I pulled the wire down through, twisted each wire into a braid and wound these  around the screws and tightened everything down.  I think this looks much neater than the original. 

I hate hate hate having nothing between the wall socket and the wires and screws  I found a foam insert from insulation for a wall socket and used it as a cover.  But that wasn't satisfactory to me so I cut out a piece of cardboard.  But I want to replace it all with something plastic and secure it with a little bit of locktite.

 For now this will at least get me power to the machine so I can find out how the motor runs.  There is one more step before that.  I have to wire the three pin terminal end female half.  That was a project and worthy of its own post.