Monday, October 05, 2015

With 4 mg of memory!

I bought 4 sewing machines over the weekend, from 2 different places, and paid $114 for the lot. All of them were supposed to 'work' or 'run.' Ha. I learned a lot about what is wrong with them - trouble shooting is an important skill, after all - and Sweetie and I spent a considerable amount of time trying to repair them. All of them has something wrong; either a belt needs replacing, or the clutch is worn, or the thing doesn't want to zig or zag.

I futzed with the last one this evening, an old Singer 401 from the late '50s. (May I insert here that I have gotten very good at disassembly and re-assembly? Save for these new clam shell dealies that require a certain tenacity and dexterity. I was given a 'dead' one to autopsy, so maybe I will be able to figure it out. Sweetie wanted to use a screw driver to prize the pieces apart, but that is a nope nope nope. Do not do that! Just sayin'.)

So the old Singer actually worked quite nicely! Especially after a good cleaning with compressed air and oiling. The zig was a little wonky on the right side, but I was able to coax (threaten) the needle bar to behave. What a good feeling to finally have one good machine up and running. I even serviced my old Brother machine that I bought at Sears sometime in the late 80s. Does Sears even sell sewing machines anymore? That baby made me a lot of money back in the day, (jeez, that makes me sound like a pimp,) but has sat unused for a long time.

And that is the worst enemy of a sewing machine - not being used and left to sit in the closet or attic or garage. The lubricants can set up into 'varnish' and make the machine seize up. But one can place drops of lube (Tri-Flow, if you can find it,) on the seized bits and slowly work the wheel. It might take a while, and sometimes the heat from a hair dryer helps. Those are the words of the instructor. He has been servicing machines since he was a young feller. He is an old feller, now.

And so once, at Sewing Machine Camp...

Brother, can ya spare a belt?

If I can get this baby working, boy o boy! 

I plan to autopsy this piece of crap. Do not buy this machine.

I love the watermelon pink! A Brother Festival. 

Singer 401, up and running. Yippee!

One little tidbit that I learned from the inner tubes over the weekend is that the Brother machine was almost called the Sister machine, but some other devise had that name already. Brother is a Japanese company.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Faculty use only.

Larger vessel, about 10" high

So. I have been making sow's ears out of pigs butts. Or something like that. What I mean is, I have been finishing projects, or adding embellishment, or sticking random things together and calling it jewelry. Let me sew some beads on that and by Gawd, it's a brooch your kooky Auntie Griselda  would just love!

I've made 3, and finished 2, new little purses, and a larger vessel that still needs a little something, but I am happy with it so far. I felted some odd bits together and that few minutes work will be something neat. Soon. Making my little brooches can't be a forced thing; I need to try new things, gather together a variety of left overs, and the failed pieces, too.

I even built an armature, I guess you could call it, for the forest man half-mask. Those wire-working skills came in handy. The piece is now wall ready. It is very cool. As always, click to embiggen.

These are two small purses, no flaps, no pockets. Silk on wool.

The weather has finally cooled and for a few days, I have felt like a King Goat, or King of the Hill, or something. I have felt well, in other words, and my feet have been happy. Today, I can feel my atrial flutter and it has made me tired. My mood has been good, though - I seem to finally be out of that dark hole I was in for so long. And it makes me happy to make things.

I decided to do a show called Autumn on the Bricks in Fulton, MO. I think I have enough product but I don't expect much in sales. It's a modest show, in its 2nd year. My more arty items are going to the Southern Indiana Fiber Art show, and the Guild sale will get everything else.

I also have 5 sewing machines to work on. Egad! I know I can fix at least one of them.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Missouri's Best Kept Secret.

Because balls. And beads.

Beaded edge on felt coaster. A nice finish.

Wool, silk, and copper. Small, about 2" by 3"

Wool, silk, glass beads. About 2.5" square.

Terrible photo of a lovely bunny. Light gray at my back porch.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tough guy narcissism.

Felt hat, second version, with cockade. 

Small felt pin
Shawl pin. Really a neat idea. Third attempt nailed it.

I gave my natural dye talk and demonstration yesterday at the Art Center. I was able to
speak coherently for 45 minutes.

Passed out from life.

I found this great table last weekend! Finally a place to mount my vises. And keep my drum carder. And all my little felt bits. Also, cat.

So somewhere in transit, I lost the gray and red hat shown previously. So I made another, better one that looks just like it. But better.

I have been making felt rope things. These fellas are bookmarks. 

And these are future spikes for a cat cave. I once said I would never make a cat cave, but well, these are the perfect decoration. I'm not sure what the green bean-like things will be.

The spikes are lengths of roving with wool yarn wrapped around before felting. I like the technique.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

$8 a month

Flowers and Dragon Eyes from today's class of eight. (!)

And this? Is a hat, a toque if you will. It looks really cool in real life, on a real person. I will add some decoration
 but I don't know what just yet. It makes me happy.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Hold it with your thumb.

I had an anxiety attack last night, and didn't get to sleep until 2:00. I am writing this because it is remarkable, in the old sense of 'worth noting,'  because I have been feeling so well lately. It was the old bogie man of self-doubt, and the voices played on a continuous loop - I should have done this, why did I do that, why did I say that, I can't possibly do this and so on. Today, I feel fine and am preparing for class tomorrow at Hillcreek Yarns in Columbia, where I will teach my Felted Flower Class, with a bit of Dragon Eye thrown in. Everything is in order, and I am sure it will be super. Also, I am looking forward to getting paid. 

I am working on a few new things, one being this felted bracelet.
Clicking embiggens. It's an idea in progress.

Also, made two new berets. Haven't made a hat in a long time, so it was fun. I have been trying to work with the idea that, as in opera, More is More, so I am adding beads and layering different elements. 

I hope to teach this in Fulton before Christmas, at the Art House.
I have always personally favored simplicity, so it has been hard. I feel clumsy. Maybe that is where the anxiety is coming from.

Here is a purse from last week. I don't know. It's colorful and busy, but not my style. I do like how I did the handles, though. 

Whenever I make felt rope, I am reminded of the opera singer from The Fifth Element.