Motorin’ – Electric motor theory

Electric Motor theory – why and how we lubricate

There have been a lot of discussions about sewing machine motor lubricants over the years and I thought I’d take a step further back and discuss why we do this, how we do this and why some of the information “out there” is sort of F.U.D. (<- Wikipedia Link)

First off:  Why do we lube or oil a motor?  (I’m a why person, have you noticed this yet?? I’m quite sure I drive some people nuts with my “whys?”… )

Continue reading Motorin’ – Electric motor theory

Replacing Singer 411G spool pins

Another edition of Reader Mail:

I get this question probably a couple of times a year, so today I’m presenting a post with a video companion!  Jocelyn and I spoke via email but I asked her if it would be OK to use her email for reader mail.  I’m guessing she didn’t expect me to get to it almost 2 years later!   (I really do get that behind on the site stuff!)

Jocelyn emailed me some time ago to ask:

Hi, I inherited my mom’s Singer 411G.   (Lucky ME!).  Both spool pins are broken and I am having a devil of a time trying to find replacements.

Any insight/direction/suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.

Continue reading Replacing Singer 411G spool pins

Finish what you started – cars and sewing machines

It seems like summer always brings lots of household projects. This year, it’s a leaking woodstove flashing (fixed – and the painting of the ceiling to go with it – not fixed), window frames needing to be painted (again – pending) and then the vehicles landed on my radar. They haven’t seen a good detailing in well,.. ever in the case of the truck and the car probably hasn’t seen a comprehensive detailing since 2008.

Yeah, I’m not proud of that. When the August long weekend hit, we started cleaning and cleaning and… uh oh. Rust. We went from prepping and painting a few spots to some fairly major repair and painting.  This is what we (former) business analysts call “scope creep”.

Great.  Spraying base and clear.  I’ve done this before.  Last time (2007), it was a 1999 CBR 600.  I’ll post that “throwback” post one day soon.  Yeah, I haven’t sprayed automotive paint in 9 years – I did do some major bodywork on a truck since then but I rolled that paint instead of doing it with a paint gun.

Speaking of rusty things – I am as well and my body sure has a lot more to say about it this time around.

I also swore that time that I’d never spray clear again.  Awesome. 😉

Since I’m going to be shooting clear anyway, I thought I’d try to do the touch-ups, and wet sand the sags in the paint on the “Wee One” and give her a final coat of clear too. If it doesn’t work – well, she was going to be repainted anyway.

Continue reading Finish what you started – cars and sewing machines

Quick Note: Why I don’t recommend…

simply re-threading your machine when you have problems with it.

A quick note today folks! I’m inside waiting for the anti-inflammatories to kick in before I go back outside to do some bodywork on the truck so I thought I’d jot down a little note for you.

The traditional advice when you start to have tension problems with a machine seems to be “Re-thread it.  Everything, the bobbin case and the top”.

Most of the time that usually means that people yank the thread out from the back – or some will cut it and remove from the front – then they re-thread and…. it doesn’t fix it.  Sometimes it will but often it doesn’t.

Why? Continue reading Quick Note: Why I don’t recommend…

Did she call me a bag lady?

For years I’ve told people not to trust the handles, joints or latches on vintage sewing machine cases.  The glue is old and brittle.  The nails and fasteners may be weak or loose.  Often the case has been compromised by moisture.  The damage to person and property can be significant.  A case and machine landing on the floor or table WILL do damage.  A case and machine landing on YOU is likely to result in an emergency room visit and possibly a plaster accessory for the next 6 to 8 weeks.

This holds true of a featherweight as well.  It’s easy to think “eh, it’s 11lbs.”  True, the machine is 11lbs – plus the weight of the accessories, the pedal and the case.  Typically, this tops 20lbs.  Continue reading Did she call me a bag lady?

Sand slipping through my hands – A 5 month update

I just realized it’s been nearly 6 months since I updated the blog.
I apologize for that everyone!  It’s  been a really up and down several months.   I thought I’d update you on some of the larger points. Continue reading Sand slipping through my hands – A 5 month update

A new pattern for a new year!

Happy New Year everyone!

If anyone had told me a few years ago that I’d be teaching people to maintain their vintage machines, I’d have probably thought they were crazy.   We’re planning more workshops for 2016 though!

For that matter, if they’d told me that I’d be quilting on a massive quilting frame and have a long arm as my most consistent dance partner and half my basement dedicated to sewing machines and quilting, I’d have shook my head and thought they really didn’t know me.

Similarly, it never occurred to me that I’d become a published pattern designer.  As of today, this too though has come to pass.  Today, my very first pattern has been uploaded to Craftsy and is available for sale and proceeds from this pattern will support the upkeep of and facilitate the upgrade of certain video making equipment. Continue reading A new pattern for a new year!

Bring me some water – the importance of humidity in a quilting studio

Note:  I talk mainly about long arm quilting in this post and how humidity affects it because it’s so much more quickly noticed with the speed of the machines but this post is relevant to anyone with a crafting space that uses thread and other fibers that can change for the worse with humidity changes.

Living on the prairies in Central Alberta, we seem to get a lot of weather extremes.  Normally, this doesn’t affect the inside of the house or my studio much – thankfully now that the roof thing has been taken care of! – but there’s one particular situation that I do have to manage – humidity.  With plummeting temperatures and the liberal use of a forced air furnace, the air becomes extremely dry down here.   I ignored it for the first winter that I had Lucey – not really recognizing it as a problem.

Last year – around this time – I started having major problems with thread breakage on Lucey.  No amount of pleading or bargaining or whining helped.  Continue reading Bring me some water – the importance of humidity in a quilting studio

A (new) piece of my heart – I’m really piecing!

One of the reasons that I tell people that I “don’t piece” is because I just find that I can’t seem to get the accuracy that I want.  Yes, I know that it takes practice and patience,  “nothing comes overnight”, and all that.  Sometimes though, it would be nice if my own tops weren’t the most character building tops I ever quilt. Parachutes are just not my favorite shape of top to quilt! I do however like to quilt, so sometimes I have to piece – especially if I want to keep what I’ve quilted.  😉

Two nights a week several weeks of the year, I have a girls’ night out.  Two separate groups of us get together and sew.  Since Lucey’s not especially portable – and Ryan says getting out of the house and spending time with friends is good for me – I grab a sewing machine (usually a featherweight) and do a little sewing with the girls.

Enter Judy Niemeyer’s paper piecing patterns.

After all, why start with something easy when you can out and out challenge the heck out of yourself, right?  Continue reading A (new) piece of my heart – I’m really piecing!

Cuts like a knife – Scissor care from a sharpening professional

Some of you might have seen me post on Facebook about my outing on Monday.  I finally took my favorite but very abused Gingher scissors in for repair and sharpening.   I’m a little embarrassed to say that in the few years I’ve had them, they’ve had a very hard life.

They’ve been dropped on their points, bent and even done a little bungee jumping.


These were my first “good” scissors and none of the abuse was ever intended – it just happened.   Somehow, I have a knack for storing scissors on the ground, usually from sewing table height.  I don’t think I ever did that when all I had were my craptastic scissors.   Figures, right?  Of course, at least 2 times they hit the floor they landed points down. Continue reading Cuts like a knife – Scissor care from a sharpening professional

My thoughts and revelations on the vintage arts and skills of yester-year.

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