Saturday, February 27, 2016


Eventually I would like to set up the Horn cabinet with my Necchi Super Nova.  Until then if I want to sew in the house, I must use the Viking I.  Today I wanted to sew in the house. 

The raspy rattling noise in the shuttle came back.  It was driving me crazy.  So, I took off the race cover to access the hook.

The hook is in decent shape.  I would like to have another on hand, though.  This machine is fairly old and I don't know how long parts will be available. 

I cleaned all that crud out, cleaned the hook and the race and oiled it all with Tri Flow. 

Then I decided to try to get at the needle bar and presser foot bar.  I could not see any screws holding the case together.  Anywhere.  Oh, wait.  I remembered on another Viking that access to the back case was under the handle.  Voila, there were a couple of screws

Fortunately I had some Torx bits and was able to get the screws out.  For all the good that did me.  The back did not just fall off.  I had to remove the piece that covers the free arm and then I jiggled and tugged here and there and discovered that the back cover lifts up just a bit to come off. 

I could just reach the needle bar mechanism from the back (see arrow) but I couldn't do a great job cleaning it.  I did manage to remove a piece of thread that was wound around part of the needle bar.  I doubt I got all of it.  It didn't seem to affect function so I gave up once I got all I could reach. 

I wonder how the heck that pin got down in there?  Maybe Mom dropped it in when she changed the needle plate.  That head is just too big to fit through the feed dog slots on the needle plate.

I oiled what I thought should be oiled and closed it all back up.  The raspy noise was still there, even after all that.

Of course it was the bobbin case.  No noise when the machine ran without it.  I pulled on the bobbin thread.  Pretty tight.  I loosened the bobbin tension and the noise disappeared.  The stitch improved as well.

It is a very nice machine.  I like the manual foot lifter.  My Viking Designer II has an electronic one.  There is no way to lift the foot manually on it.  I worry that one day, the motor for the presser foot will conk out.  Plus, I keep reaching for the lifter every time I would sew.  I think I will just sell that machine.  This one is nicer. It is pretty quiet, sews in a nice, straight line and makes a decent stitch.  So if I have a desire for an electronic machine, here it is.

I have some Home Dec (oh ICK) projects on the agenda.  I think this machine will handle them.  If not I can just set the Necchi on top of the cabinet and use it as a table top model.  The Horn cabinet has an air lift and it can be adjusted to fit  any machine.  The opening in the top is large and requires an inset to fill in around the machine.  Mom has an acrylic one for the Viking and it fits nicely.  I think I could make a template easily enough so that Steven could craft an inset for the Necchi out of some luan.  I would then varnish the wood to a smooth finish.  Or I can see if Horn would make one for me from acrylic.

Monday, February 22, 2016




Wrigley was one obsessed canine all day yesterday. 
I did n't think it was a good thing to indulge this obsession.  I would remove him to the kitchen, time and time again.  He would return to his spot, at the side of the crate and just stare at the sheet draping the crate.

Finally he responded to my command to sit in his chair.  It was a bit better.  He still managed to keep an eye on Lola's crate because Lola was curled up, asleep in or on her cat cave.

I finally finished the binding on The Single Wedding Ring quilt.  See it here just off the frame.   The raspy noise in the bobbin case disappeared but the feed dogs would slap when I went through extra thick layers.

I took off the needle plate:
When I can I will get out the TriFlow and apply some to the mechanism.  It is designed to float under the needle plate, I think.

The hook needs cleaning too.  No time yesterday to take off the race cover and clean and oil.  The hook looks like it is in OK shape. 
I am not in love with this machine.  I am in love with the cabinet.  It is perfect for our space.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Horn Cabinet and Nolting CLX20

Betsy is using the Nolting.  This is her first experience on a long arm.  She, of course, is brilliant and coordinated.  She created a wonderful quilt, all her own design.  She amazes me.

The borders are pieced so I advised stitching all around the edges.  We set up the Horn cabinet so that she had all that extra space.  Mom's Viking makes a funny scraping noise in the bobbin case.  I reckon, bein' as it is an electronic thing, I will pay the professionals to service it. 

We loaded it up on the frame and she started right in.  NO FEAR.  I belong to a couple of Long Arm FB groups.  Frequently I see "I am afraid to use my Long Arm." or the like.  I admit that I have been intimidated myself.  Not Betsy. 

She sketched out her design with chalk and I left her to stitch it out.  It was a gorgeous day and the dogs needed a walk.  When I returned she had finished all she could do.  She learned that she did better free hand without first sketching her design with chalk. 

She wanted to stitch some straight lines, I showed her how with the ruler but she preferred without.  Go figure.

She appliqued leaves, birds and a big dog.  I don't know how to advise her about quilting around those.   I do have Jamie Wallen's little applique ruler.  Maybe she will try it.  Likely she will just eyeball it and do just fine.

Friday, February 19, 2016

All in the Family or P.U.!

Every time I went into the bathroom to be with Lola, the dogs would whine and fuss at the door.  I decided that if Lola is to be a part of the family, she needs to be in the family room.

So, here she is. What you don't see is the flat screen sitting on top of the crate.  Believe it,  I gave up a sewing machine cabinet to make room for the crate. 

Frannie whines and fusses at times.  Wrigley does too.   Fortunately they are relaxing a bit.  

A friend suggested that I switch out their beds to mingle their scents.  I read, online, to just wait until the animals ignore each other before allowing interaction.   Frannie was fussing so much this morning that I just decided to give her a try with Lola

Before we moved the crate from the bathroom, I sat with Frannie and Lola with an open crate door.  Frannie approached, gingerly, almost putting both paws in the crate, until Lola hissed.  That was that.  She did not go any closer.  Lola, for her part, went to sleep.

We'll see.  Cat sh!t stinks. I use cedar shavings as litter but may have to re-visit that idea.  I have a candle to burn when Lola evacuates her bowels.  I have a piece of batting soaked in lavender oil in the top of the litter pan.  Hopefully we will get these critters acclimated soon so that I can move that litter box into the bathroom.

For now, everyone is asleep

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

No room at the shelter

Kitty is a young adult,  feline leukemia negative and weighs all of 4 pounds 3 ounces. She has an appointment in three weeks for spaying.  She was pretty calm at the vet. I stopped in at the Susquehanna Animal Shelter to see if they had room for her.  Nope.  She matches none of the lost kitty posts.  It looks as if I am committed to her for the next three weeks. 

She has a new name: Lola.  As in the Kinks from 1970.  I didn't really like Wee Tank.  I thought about Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side,  Holly, but it didn't sit well either.  So, Lola it is.  For now.

She is a nice kitty.  She sat curled up in my lap in the exam room as two dogs sparred just on the other side of the door in the waiting room.  It would be easier if she didn't have a piece of my heart already.  Dang.

Monday, February 15, 2016

No dice

Ever see those dice hanging from the mirror on big trucks?  What do you all think they mean?  Ever see the guys driving those big trucks?  I sort of think those dice are emblematic of certain things that define the Y chromosome.   Well, those who are not costratos..

Anyway,  Wee Tank has No Dice.  I checked.  Heshe is a she.  And, being a GYN NP  I think I know of which I speak.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Wee Tank

Wee Tank has ventured from herhis crate briefly to sit next to me.  Heshe would be on the bed if we didn't have dogs.  I promise to keep herhim safe so heshe stays in the crate in the upstairs bathroom.  Heshe loves to see me and purrs and purrs when I open the crate to pet herhim, even with the canines yipping outside the bathroom door. Heshe has cleaned up nicely.  Clearly this is not a feral cat.  Heshe was pretty messy but all that mess is gone.  Nice thing about cats, they like to be clean. 

Frannie has stopped shaking when she goes into the bathroom to investigate and Wrigley charged the crate and got a swat through the bars.  I really think he was playing, but he is 75 pounds.  Wee Tank might weigh five.

I have no idea if Wee Tank will stay with us.  I know this much, I didn't pull herhim out from behind the propane tank so that heshe could become prey.  Besides, I have fallen for that intelligent expression. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

To A Mouse. Or the Best Laid Plans

To a Mouse

By Robert Burns
On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785
Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
          Wi’ bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
          Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
          Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
          An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
          ’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
          An’ never miss ’t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
          O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
          Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
          Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
          Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
          But house or hald,
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
          An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
          Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
          For promis’d joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
          On prospects drear!
An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
          I guess an’ fear!
I have been battling the VFH (Virus From H*LL) for over three weeks.  I finally requested an antibiotic and was so indulged by my PCP.  Placebo effect, or not, I felt better within 12 hours of my first dose of the Z Pack.  Friday is my half day at work.  I finished up by noon, well ahead of schedule and dreamed of snuggling on the couch with tea, dogs and Sex and The City Season Two. 
Steven left for Vermont just as I arrived home from work.  I love that man.  I owe him for all the help with Mom's apartment, the drive there and back, and putting up with my irritable chaos there and since returning.  In all honesty, though, I just needed a fecking break from everything. 
I was happily ensconced on the couch, well into Carrie's second go round with Mr Big, enjoying Sweet Steve Brady courting Miranda when there was a terrible ruckus outside in the dog pen.
Somehow a stray cat had burrowed under the chain link fence into the pen.  Wrigley thought it might be a new playmate.  (Wilson would have killed it.)  
I got Wrigley away and the poor kitten hid behind the propane tank.  I really thought it was dead.  I couldn't reach it, I saw it's tail and touched it but there was no responding twitch.   A waning afternoon promised bitter cold temperatures overnight.   I felt just awful.  But what if it wasn't dead?  It was going to be FC overnight and I couldn't just let it die.  I put some tuna out by the tank.  Maybe HeShe would smell the food.  Each time I checked the tuna I grew more confident that the cat was dead.  I no longer could see the tail. On the other side of the tank there was a huge nest of twigs, leaves and debris tucked between the chimney and the tank.  A nest most  likely created by one of the rats or squirrels that make their annual foray into the walls of our house.  

Finally, about 4:30 PM I decided to just give up and bring in the tuna so that I wouldn't attract more rats when, there was the cat.  HeShe saw me and darted back behind the propane tank. Oh F*ck.  I couldn't leave it out all night.  I wasn't sure I could get behind the tank to grab it.  I tried to rig up a little nest with an old litter box, some blankets and the heating pad thinking maybe the cat would be lured there with the tuna.  The tuna, though, was frozen solid.  No way could that cat survive.

I  found a large cardboard box in the barn.  I was pretty sure HeShe didn't have the energy to scale the almost three feet sides (toilet box).  I put the heating pad, some old blankets and towels down and made a nest for the cat.  Our downstairs bathroom is the warmest room in the house when the oil burner is on.  I put the Cat House there. 

Then I pulled out the rat's nest, and gently poked a stick around one side of the tank so that I could reach the cat on the other.  HeShe didn't give much of a fight.  Poor thing.  So fragile and skinny, but with enough energy to hiss at me.   HeShe huddled in the corner of the box and just looked at me.  I warmed some dilute half and half and said "Please just don't die"

I tried to let HerHim alone for more than ten minutes but found that I just couldn't.  On one check I found the milk gone.    Oh joy!  I prepped more half and half and added tuna.  HeShe drank that but left the tuna.  So then I dug out some chicken liver from the freezer cooked it up and found that Cat likes liver.  Oh joy. 
For much of the night I crept back to the bathroom to check.  Finally I was able to pet HerHim and SheHe even purred and snuggled my hand.  F*ck.  There went my heart.

Don't Die, I said sternly to The Cat.  HeShe looked at me with disdain.  Finally I had to get some sleep.  It was One in the morning by now.  My head was killing me and I needed some sleep. 

This morning HeShe had eaten much of the liver, all of the diluted Half and Half and peed and pooped all over the bedding.  Clearly it was time to create a better place. 
I cleaned out the box and stupidly put The Cat on the floor.  HeShe found her way into the bottom of the washing machine (we have it open in the cold days so that the drain doesn't freeze.  I managed to get HerHim out and when I put HerHim in the box, HeShe jumped up and almost out of the box.  I closed up the top, put a weight on it and kept THE CAT there until I set up the new Cat House

I found a large dog crate in the barn, some old cedar shavings we used to use for cat litter (the mice found it nice for nests, too) and an old litter box.  I set the whole thing up in the Upstairs bathroom this morning feeling relieved that HeShe hadn't died overnight, but concerned that now I had a cat problem.  
I huddled The Cat into a piece of fleece and rescued HerHim from the cardboard box and placed HerHim in the new abode.  The Cat just huddled there.  I place HerHim in the litter box to introudce the idea  Cat liked the idea.  New huddle spot.  HeShe didn't move from there.  

I placed some water and liver in the crate, covered the whole thing up with a sheet and drove over to town to fetch my antibiotic.  Steven, it seems, had mistaken the cardboard box of the Zpack for his Nighttime cold medicine and packed it with him for Vermont yesterday.  I, of course discovered this when I looked for my medicine last night at supper time.  Oh Crap, I was now at risk for creating a super bug if I didn't get back on an antibiotic.  Fortunately I have friends in the right places and Betsy wrote me a new prescription. 

So while I was in town I picked up some cat food, forgot to get milk and bought some kitty treats.

The Cat had not touched the food nor the water, near as I could tell.  HeShe was still in the litter box, hunkered down.  That would not do. 

I found an old waste basket, turned it on its side, put the heating pad inside covered with some fleece and moved The Cat in.  HeShe liked it.  I offered some food.  HeShe ate.

 If HeShe uses the litter box for its intended purpose, there is a chance HeShe will stay with us.  Clearly HeShe has stood up to Wrigley and I think that Wrigley would just consider it a playmate.  Frannie likely would leave HerHim alone.   Off to check. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

When the Rains come

Steven and I are on our way to NC with the truck to fetch a sewing machine (is that a surprise?)  It is Mom's and she has vacated her apartment in favor of an easier lifestyle.  I admit, I am not a fan of an electronic Husqvarna/Viking.  I have one.  I live in fear that the motherboard will die.  Plus, I don't much like the stitch.  Mom's is an older Viking but she has a lovely Horn cabinet and I really, really want that.  It will house a sewing machine and a serger.  I may have to move my Singer 42 (GASP) cabinet to make a space for it in the living room.  Then, what would I do with that lovely art deco cabinet?  Oh Dear.  It is good to have choices.

We set out this morning.  IN THE RAIN.  It poured.  When it finally stopped, around Harrisburg, we hit traffic.  Our average MPH dropped dramatically.  It is hard to make any miles when you are creeping along sandwiched among the tractor trailer trucks.  Then, for no reason, the highway shat out its blockage and we were sailing along.

The clouds continued to threaten but somewhere in Virginia the sky cleared.   My spirits lifted  and we started chewing up the miles.

The sun set a couple of hours later and the fog rolled in.  We are settled in at a Red Roof Inn now.   Dogs always welcomed.