Wednesday, 14 November 2018

A Sewing Machine Update

A little while ago I posted Here that I had bought a little vintage sewing machine on eBay from a hospice. 

It was sewing a straight stitch well but I did notice that it was difficult to quilt using the walking foot as I realised the needle wasn't in the middle of the foot plate. I guessed it was something to do with the fact it wouldn't do a zig zag stitch & that the needle bar was stuck in the wrong place. The alternative was that something had broken off but everything seemed to move when I turned the levers.

I contacted Helen Howes who runs a great website with lots of advice about restoring vintage machines.  She's a textile artist & designer & also sells lots of parts & I got my replacement Singer stitch lever from her. 

Her advice to me was "oil, heat & wiggle".
So I oiled it yet again, blew the hairdrier on it for about 15 minutes & wiggled the needlebar. Yes it released it & now it does some lovely special stitches including a lovely overlock stitch. Amazing!

So I now have a lovely little machine that works perfectly, I contributed to a hospice  and I'm helping to save the planet by not buying a plastic throwaway sewing machine. 
Feel a bit of a Heather Small moment coming on! Love this song.

Still not used to that bobbin being under the needleplate though! Absolutely daft!!!

Sunday, 11 November 2018


A few weeks ago my daughter asked if I would foster a couple of kittens to give a lady who runs the Consett Cat Rescue service a break. She hasn't had a holiday in 6 years and wanted to visit friends in Australia who are elderly.

I liked the idea as I would love to have cats again but worry about they will outlive us or the worse alternative that I will have to have them put to sleep. I had such a horrible time when I lost Oscar didn't think I could face it again.

So Finch & Freda arrived 3 weeks ago & made themselves at home immediately. They were lazing among the ironing in the photo above watching me iron. 

Here Freda is enjoying lazing on our bed.

and Finch in hers.

They have entertained me a lot especially when they race up & down the stairs like lunatics at night.  They do like a play fight now & again.

They love wool & have stolen the crochet poppies I made a few times.

I'll be very sad to see them go in a few days, there'll probably be tears but I made them a blanket each to take with them. 

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Mjlet, Croatia

Just got back from Croatia. Not a working trip this time, it was a holiday in Mjlet. I had never heard of it before but it's an island off the Croatian coast north of Dubrovnic. 

Took quite a while to get there. A three & a half hour flight to Dubrovnic airport, a 45 minute taxi to the ferry, an hour and a half hour ferry trip & a 40 minute bus ride to the hotel. 
It was worth it with these views from our room's little balcony. The photos (not brilliant) are from my phone as I can't upload my camera photos to the laptop, can't find the wire thingy to do it. However you can still see how beautiful it is from these photos.

I spent ages just sitting watching the various boats moving around the harbour.

Every day there were boats berthing that were doing the Croatian island tours. 

I particularly liked to watch the daily ferry to Dubrovnic docking. It was in and out in about 10 minutes.

 Just look how clear the water is. You could see a lot of little fish but this camera wasn't good enough to pick them up.
The water was quite cool for swimming but not too bad once you were in a few minutes.

Hopefully I'll get my camera photos uploaded & show a few of the national park which was a couple of minutes walk from the hotel.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

My Quilting Bag

Well I got it finished and it's very useful. Holds a lot of my stuff to take to the classes at Beamish.
I managed to find enough matching bits of fabric in the cupboard that were strong enough for the bag. To be truthful two of them were humongous skirts cotton I bought in M&S for a £1!

It has lots of pockets to hold all the bits & pieces. Took me ages to make fitting all the different sections together, quilting it & then I added some beads so I'm put off from making another one even though I need another bag. So much stuff to carry! 

Have to say I would like one for the bedroom to hold all the gubbins I have lying around (my hairdryer & make up etc)

Maybe one of these days!

Saturday, 29 September 2018


I saw this a while ago, probably after the EU Referendum & thought how true given the BREXIT fiasco!

Sometimes the status quo is the best option. As they say better the devil you know than the one you don't. Certainly nobody knew what a dog's breakfast the current government would make of it.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Not Another Hobbby!


No that isn't a bag I've made (it's the teacher's) but it's like one I've started to make. 

Oh yes, I've taken up quilting, well learning to quilt anyway. It's not exactly a new hobby as I've sewn for as long as I can remember, my Nanna & my Mam taught me when I was little so it's just another branch of that really. However it does need more stuff. Lots more stuff like cutting mats, rotary cutter, plastic rulers & shapes galore!

I found a really great quilting group at Beamish Museum and I joined before Christmas. I was very wary as sometimes you join these groups and the people are not always very welcoming. You feel a bit of an outsider but this group of women were lovely. I went along with a friend just before Christmas and we had a great time chatting, learning to cut fabric with a rotary cutter and making a nine patch square. We saw the great quilted bags most of the group had made to carry all their sewing things to the class. The photo above is of the one belonging to the teacher.

Oh yes we did a lot of eating too as it was their Christmas meeting so there was a lot of chatting & laughing. 

I was really looking forward to our next meeting which was yesterday and it was another successful day. We start at 10am break at about 12.30 for lunch & we all gather around a big table to chat then we work until 4pm. It's a great day with no interruptions to make meals, answer the phone or the door. Bliss!

Here's another lovely bright bag I liked. Pink's not my colour but the red & green really lifted it.

I'll let you know how mine turns out!

Saturday, 8 September 2018

A Little Frister & Rossmann Cub 4

Well here it is! A lovely little vintage sewing machine, a Frister & Rossmann Cub 4. It seems a bit like a toy one standing beside the Singer but it isn't. They were made in Japan in the 'seventies.

It's a 3/4 size machine which despite being an all metal machine only weighs about 15 pounds compared to my lovely old Singer which weighs in at 27 pounds. 

I love the case it came in, you can just see it behind the sewing machine. It's is very lightweight compared to my wooden Singer box. The whole thing looks quite modern despite being made in the 'seventies, looks a bit retro with those cream & brown colours & the little band of orange logos around the case.

It didn't come with any attachments other than it's foot control & the zig zag foot. That's not a problem as all my Singer attachments fit it. 

There was a little box missing from the front (you can use it to hold accessories) as you can see from the photo below.

However that wasn't a problem as I got one really cheap on eBay so it's complete now. The box lid unfolds to extend the sewing area & there's a dinky little shelf that lifts up on the left side. 

It's all really sweet & a clever design.

The only thing I really don't like is the bobbin loading. It doesn't load as easily as the Singers do with their top loading drop in bobbins. With this you have to take the little box out from the front and poke about to remove the metal casing which holds the bobbin. 

I find I have to tilt the machine backwards & lie it down to see what I'm doing. Another problem is that you have no idea how much thread is on the bobbin when you're sewing as it's completely hidden inside the casing & under the machine. What a pain! Never mind I'll get used to it, quite a lot of the more modern machines have this too.

It sews a lovely straight stitch but it doesn't do any zig zag stitches. No idea why as it's been oiled and all the bits move except the needle bar. Maybe something is jammed in which case it may unjam as I use it. However it's very clean inside so it's more likely something has broken off somewhere inside. I've taken the base off & all that dropped out was a pin. I suspect that's why I got the machine cheap.

I've looked inside but compared to the Singer the gubbins are packed in there tight & you can't see much, unlike my Singer where you can see all the parts. Also with Singer because they cornered the market with sales many people collect & repair these vintage machines & kindly share their knowledge by making videos & posting on blogs which help you to sort any problems out. 

Not so with the little Frister but I don't mind as I really only need a lightweight machine to take to the quilting group & to do a decent straight stitch. Any of the fancy stuff like zig zag & a few embroidery stitches can be done on my old Singer at home. I also really don't need the bells & whistles that come with a new plastic machine so will see how things go.

There was a bit of a feelgood factor about this purchase. I bought the machine on eBay from a hospice so apart from being environmentally friendly & giving a lovely old machine a new home, the money was going to a good cause.

A Sewing Machine Update

A little while ago I posted  Here  that I had bought a little vintage sewing machine on eBay from a hospice.  It was sewing a straight...