Monday, July 28, 2014


I belong to a Vintage Sewing Machine Facebook Group.  I am conflicted about my membership.  That is another story.  I was lurking there a few days ago.  One of the members was having tension trouble with a Generic HA-1 Class 15 machine.  She posted one of my photos on the post. (  That's ok with me.  I have almost all of my photos stamped in one way or another so I know it's mine.   The tension parts in the photo were from a 201 and not from a 15.  The parts are a bit different.  There is no thread guard on the 15 but there is one for the 201.  The check springs are different as well.

So here are some photos of the parts as they come apart from thumb nut to stud.  I did not take out the stud or the check spring.  I was not in the mood to take the whole thing apart.  I should, though, and replace the check spring.

Push the numbered dial in and release the thumb nut. Screw the nut off completely and the numbered dial slips off.

to reveal the stop washer.  Note the position of the stop washer.
I was surprised to see another stop washer.
To remove the whole assembly with the stud and the check spring attached, you loosen the set screw.  The other larger screw is used to move  the whole assembly within its housing, thus adjusting the check spring. 
I believe that second stop washer is the Tension Release Pin cross piece that releases the discs when the presser foot is lifted.  

That's it.  Not all HA-1s are alike .  I have a Brother that is different from this one.  I believe the Genuine Singer is different as well.  

The problem with this little project is that now I remember how much I like this cute little green machine.  I may have to put it in the treadle stand.  Sigh.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

You Never Miss the Water....

 When I finished the Queen Size DNP, I felt relief along with regret.  I wanted to play some more.  I missed the spirals and loop de loo.  I felt the same way last week when I took the baby quilt off the frame.  I have been having fun quilting.  Now I am anxious to get back to  quilting.  I think I might make one for us. 

I love this quilt.

The quilting isn't perfect.  That's ok.  It is funky and organic.  Suits me. I had fun
quilt back


I got up and got to my part of the paint job early this morning.  I promised Steven that I would paint the lower part; form the top of the windows to the sills.  The windows still need to be prepped.  I believe professionals paint the trim first.  It certainly is looking crisp and clean. 

Hopefully this job will last a few years.  This is the southern exposure.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flowers everywhere

So, it's true.  I'm an Old Wanna Be Hippie (OWBH).  Now, many of us (even Mick Jagger) are grand parents, including me.

I started quilting the baby quilt last weekend.  It is bigger than a baby quilt but since it is for a baby, I still call it a baby quilt.   It's about the size of a throw.

I am still a novice with this whole process.  So far, though, I am happy with the flowers.

Yes I am singing to myself as I quilt.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


You aren't supposed to have favorites; children or dogs.  I had only one child, so I was safe there.  But with three dogs, the fact of the matter is that I do have a favorite: Wilson. He follows me around.  He stares at me.  He looks for me and seems to be the happiest to see me when I get home.
A few weeks ago he seemed a bit lame and stiff one evening when he greeted me after work.  He was limping on his right front leg and his left rear leg.  By morning he was fine.  No vet trip needed.

That happened again last week.  Friday he was lame and stiff but able to go for the walk, chase the cyclists passing the house (we have a fenced in yard; cyclists safe) and sniff for the chippies. Saturday he would get up and move around, but was clearly hurting.  Sunday he did not move.  I hand fed him breakfast, brought a water bowl to him and worried.  I wondered if he had Lyme.
Monday he was better.  Not great, but able to run, pee, poop, eat, drink and he seemed fine.  He went to the vet anyway.  No Lyme.  Maybe arthritis or a bad back.  We got some 4 dollar a pill Doggie Motrin.

"Give it to him daily and follow up in two weeks."

Right. At 4 dollars a pill, 120 dollars a month and 1440 a year  I thought observation was in order.  He seemed fine Tuesday morning but by the evening he gave me that look and laid down in the pain position.

A few hours after I gave him the pill (with food, he didn't mind getting some more supper.  Frannie and Wrigley joined right in) he was better.  Much better.  So much better that he rubbed his face on the rug, rolled over on his back and wiggled all around.

Steven and I decided that every 36 hours was a good compromise.  I also figured that an online supplier might be less expensive.

So now, as with all things dogs and babies, we wait and see.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Paint Job

I guess I won't be doing much sewing or machine repair for a while.  We have undertaken our every 15 year paint job.
Fortunately the north side of the house can wait until next year.  I scrubbed the front and back porch walls today.  Scraping is next but there isn't too much of that.  I hate prepping ceilings.  I will reward myself when I complete that nasty chore.  Hmmmmm.  I wonder what I will chose as a reward.

Monday, July 7, 2014


If you have been following the blog, you know I spend some time at the Quilt Zoo, in Worcester, NY.
Often I would hear "DNA on the quilt !" after someone says "Ouch" from a pin prick.  I know what that means now.

I decided to pin the baby quilt to the frame instead of using the zip leaders.  It is small enough and I wanted to compare the experiences.  I think I prefer the zip leaders

Quilt back
Quilt topI
After I pinned the back and the top to the take-up rail, I placed the batting between the two layers and carefully rolled everything onto the take-up rail.  When the back was just the right length I pinned it to the back rail. As I was rolling it carefully onto the back rail, I pricked my finger


That red splotch is some of my DNA in the form of sanguinous fluid.  It is not on the quilt per se.  It is on the cloth leader.  

I believe I prefer the zip leaders method.
It did not take that long to pin the pieces.  I was finished in just about an hour.  I plan to make new leaders from the cotton ticking I purchased from  The stripes on the ticking will provide a straight edge and increase my accuracy as I stitch the leader to the quilt.

I am floating the top and the batting.  That means that I am not attaching the top or batting to  their respective rails.  I may regret this decision as I get close the end.  I will need to pin the top to it's rail in order to provide enough tension.  I will have to be very careful not to spill some DNA.  

The quilt is ready to go when I am.  Of course I must service the machine before I start the new quilt.  Remind me to change the needle.  New project, new needle.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nighty Night

I promised someone that I would make an infant sleep sack.  I was admonished to avoid pink and purple.  So I chose lavender.  That's not exactly true.  I didn't choose lavender purposefully.  I chose it because it was handy.  The fabric, which was a tube, not a piece with selvages and all, was part of a stash I brought home from Mom's last summer. 

"Well, that's the way it is made, you know.  In a circle. "  Mom declared.  "I had forgotten all about that fabric."

"I have never seen fabric come like this before.  I have some knit, but it isn't a tube.  It's just like all the other fabric I have."

"Oh, I suppose it is more convenient for home sewers to purchase fabric in a piece, not as a tube." My mother said with authority, as if she were anything but a home sewer.

"I don't know, Mom.  I sort of wish my other jersey knit had come as a tube. "

Betsy had loaned me a pattern.  McCall's.  I traced size medium onto some scrap packing paper and cut out the pieces.  The pattern directed you to sew the shoulder seams together first.  Not me.  I sewed in the zipper, first thing.  My mother taught me to do it that way.  It makes sense.  Why have all that bulk?

I have NO EXPERIENCE sewing with knits.  I have three, count them, three ball point needles.  I have three, count them, three boxes of Schmetz bulk microtex (100 each) needles for sewing cotton. I do have some universal needles, which I understand can be used on knits.  However, I have been told  that ball point needles are the way to go. The ball point needle pushes the fabric threads aside, rather than piercing them. 

I was doing pretty well until I bent the needle when I sewed across the zipper.  I thought I was sewing into the teeth of the nylon zipper.  Nope, I hit metal.  Now I am down to two ball point needles.

I successfully sewed in the zipper .  I then tried the serger for the shoulder seams.  It worked but the fabric stretched out at the end of the seam.  I decided to go back to the Kenmore.

Now, this Kenmore is a very nice 158.1931.  I switched it out for my 1760 which was relegated to the "studio" as a bobbin winder for the quilt frame.  It winds the best bobbins.  I had been having tension trouble with the 1931 but it was OK for utility sewing.  I had messed with that tension assy to no avail and had given up a few weeks ago.  Today, when I was clearing off the work table in the shop I found a brand new Kenmore tension assy.  It came with the South River parts.  I put it in the 1931 and with no other adjustment, perfect stitches. 

Some day I may tell you about the 90 minutes I spent farting around with the assy that I replaced.  Not now.

I had such success with that 1931 on that Jersey !  No problems at all.  I sewed the side seams together.  No stretching, skipped stitches or tension problems.  I didn't even have to pin!

I am used to a flat bed machine.  Remember, I have been treadling almost exclusively every time I sew these days.  Even though I pulled the bed off and exposed the open arm, I still sewed as if I were on a flat bed machine.
Does that fabric look pink?  Oh dear. 
Of course I realized it half way through the arm hole hem.  Second hem, proper use of machine.

This sleep sack is huge.  I thought it would be a good summer garment.  Maybe it will still be hot enough by the time the child fits it.  Sigh.
Sleep sack with Binkie snap
I attached the Binkie Snap to hide a hole in the fabric.   I have no idea if it will fit a binkie but it's the thought that counts.

I found a darling little size 3-6 mos sleeper at the thrift store. I think I can use it for a pattern for an appropriate sized sleep sack. 

Or I can go back to the McCall's pattern and trace a size small. (Boring)

 I have more lavender fabric.  I know that I  should honor the request to avoid pink or purple.  What does that leave?  Blue?  Green?  Brown?  Red?  Yellow?  Black?  Gray?  I do have some black, blue and gray in my fabric stash.  Not really good colors for this application.  Oh darn, I guess I will have to go fabric shopping.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Here we go loop dee loo

I finished Molly's quilt today.  I am not unhappy with the results.  I had some serious tension issues at the beginning.  When I was half way through I resolved them, for the most part.  I quilted spirals and as I made the spiral I kept repeating "Here we go Loop Dee Loo."

Steven was in the studio fixing the toilet on Sunday.

"Honey, do you remember "Here we go Loop Dee Loo?" as I quilted a spiral, first one way and then the next.

And he sang :

"Here we go Loop Dee Li."

"Who did it?"  I asked.

"Mother Goose."

Of course You tube provides various versions.  

And Odetta in a medley...Wait for it...
It sure is a catchy tune. 

 I quilted variations of spirals in the squares. 
 I used red thread on the bobbin too.  I think it looks a bit odd on the back. I think the blue on the red looks more odd on the front.  I used some of this fabric in the border.  I did not change to red when I quilted it.  No photo available, sorry.

I cheated on the binding.  I just folded the back over and made a hem instead of making a real binding.  Even doing only that took me a couple of hours.  I had to trim the batting and press each side.  I chose to stitch each side as I finished the prep.
 It was hot today so I sewed in the house.  The 31-15 was perfect for this job.  I put up the side extension table and put the bulk of the quilt on a chair next to me.  Not only did I have a chance to use the 31-15 (which needs oiling, I might add) but I was forced to vacuum before I could even start.  So now the dining room is all set until Christmas.....

Next up is the baby quilt.  I think that I will quilt it with flowers.  I tired of spirals toward the end and tried my hand at flowers. 

Most likely I will quilt larger flowers all across the next quilt.  I will finish it more quickly that way.

Machine quilting on a frame involves a tremendous amount of preparation. Each time you roll the quilt you must fiddle with this and adjust that.   I still believe that it is easier than pinning a quilt sandwich.  I have done that and it is tedium DEFINED.   Nor do I like hauling a huge quilt around underneath the needle.  Practice helps.  After all, how do you get to Carnegie Hall?