A lot of sewing, a lot of picking out

This week, I've been working on the Two-spool sewing machine. 

The tension was off and anything I ran through it would ruffle.  The instruction manual brags (yes, you could do that in instruction manuals in 1927) that the tension is self setting and that the machine has been tested on multiple threads and I should be able to sew with any thread without needing to adjust the tension.  But, it doesn't take into account a man that likes to tinker with his machines as much as sew with them, and who took this machine apart the weekend it came to live here.  So, I worked with it and worked with it and worked with it until I got most of the ruffling to stop and got the stitch to form "in the middle of the goods" as the manual said. 

When that was fixed, I realized that the presser foot was pushing down so hard that it was shifting the top fabric when I sewed two squares together and I could not adjust the knob on top that is supposed to control that enough to make a difference.  That's a much more complicated repair.  That meant opening the end of the machine and loosening the set screw and adjusting the downward pressure.  I knew this had been a problem as long as I'd owned the machine (it came that way), so much so that the foot was disfigured and didn't sit on the feed dogs correctly when I bought it.  I "re-bent" that back to its original shape but it was never really right.  First, I turned the knob on top  until it was exerting the lowest pressure.  Then, I loosened the screw while the presser foot was down and it popped.  There was so much downward pressure on the foot that the bar popped up when it was released.  Okay.  Then, I had to figure out how to adjust that. I thought I needed something that would give me some spacing between the foot and the feed dogs.  Three dollar bills was too thick.  Four layers of cotton fabric was too thick.  Two layers of fabric was too thick.  So, I let the foot sit on the dogs and tightened that screw and gave it another try and it worked perfect and feeds the "goods" through in a straight line without me having to provide much guidance.  And, I ended up with a stack of squares that I'm sewing into four patches for a Linus quilt. 

While I was working on it, I broke the foot.  I had weakened it when I worked on it before and it wasn't up to more bending.  So, I pulled the foot from my other machine and then found a new one on ebay.  Ebay can be great for things like that.  Where else am I going to find a ninety year old specialty foot for a specialty machine?  My free motion foot is made out of a paperclip because they don't make one, so stay tuned to find out how well that worked.  I have a few made, but I'm going to start over and make a new one, with what I believe will be some improvements.  I might even get it to hop.

They're not perfect, but they're getting there, because every Linus quilt is perfect.  This weekend, the weather is supposed to be cold and wet, so I hope to use this machine to add some borders to a quilt and really give it a good workout.  And, then, I'm going to try again to free motion quilt.  Fingers crossed.

But, you don't care about quilting, right?  You want garden pics...okay, I want garden pics.  There is no dirt under my fingernails right now, and I miss it.

We're replacing the path between the deck and the greenhouse, adding these larger cement blocks.  Still working on the alignment.  I'm sure this crooked line is driving my husband bonkers. But, we were both so frustrated while we were doing this.  We speak in different words and different things are important to us.  But, we'll get there.  I just gotta convince him that moving that first block further away from the step is the right thing to do.  Maybe a steak will work.  Or a roast chicken?

Don't judge my willingness to resort to unfair practices to get my way.

This is the side of the greenhouse.  I created problems here.  I planted a line of cast iron plant (aspidistra) down that wall.  And, over the years, it filled in so densely that the wood didn't dry out and began to rot.  So, last fall, I dug out and gave away the plants and Rob has replaced all the wood trim and painted the outside and we're going to do something different.  We put mulch down to form a "bed" and we're going to use glazed pots as cache pots for shade loving plants there.  Nothing planted in the ground.  Still a work in progress, but coming along. 

Before the neighbor across the street was moved into assisted living, I took care of her flowerbeds.  These lilies were there and there was one bulb out of place.  I replaced it with something else and took the bulb.  It's turned into this stand of very red lilies in my yard. 

This is the mock orange from outside the fence.  This is the original one that came from my Aunt Jane's yard in Louisiana in 1999.  Now, we have three, taken from divisions, but this is still the largest, and look at that bloom. 

We remembered where those yellow iris came from.  We brought them home with us from Boston.  We were there in spring, maybe 2004 and walked through a community garden where people were digging them up and throwing them into the compost pile because they were basically invasive there.  They've adapted and have bloomed a few times here.  Hopefully their prolific bloom this year means they'll continue to do well and bloom every year.  (and inspire their brethren)

This is a little sun loving hanging basket I've put together.  Pink, blue, white and a dusty miller in the center for some height.  Fingers crossed.  I've never done well with mixed baskets like this, so we will see. 

And, finally, another path we built this year.  This is a very shady dog path and grass is never going to grow here.  We've put up with the mud, and this year, we had enough blocks to form a path.  We need one more.  We want it to start at the steps three blocks wide, then two blocks, then the path that is one block wide. 

These are things I'm good at.  But, life is made up of things I'm not so good at, too.  I'm not good at getting myself to do things I need to do but don't want to do, even if they're good for me.  So, I tend to let things build up until the pressure becomes immense, and then I take care of a bunch of personal business all at once.  That's not really the lesson I want Sydney to take from watching me, so we talk about things at the dinner table so she can know about the things I struggle with, in hopes that she will struggle with her things better than I do.  Or at least accept her personal quirks better than I do. 

Last night, we were talking about credit.  She's nearly old enough to apply for a credit card, and we talked frankly about credit.  Rob and I both talked about the credit mistakes we'd made and about our first credit experiences.  And, we also talked about how we abhor credit card debt and paying interest and how we use our cards now for the safety and benefits they offer, but not to borrow or buy things we can't afford.  About how we each keep one card and how convenient they can be in an emergency.  And, how we pay them off every month so we don't have to pay interest (I hate interest!  And, late fees!). 

She's going to mess up.  She's going to have to make her credit mistakes, too.  But, she sees how we live, and she sees how other people are burdened by their debt and I think all that is going to help her make a small credit mistake instead of a large one.  Fingers crossed. 

Everybody have a great weekend.  The weather is going to be nasty, so I'll be sewing and cleaning.  I dusted and organized half the studio last weekend.  I'll be happy if I get through half of what's left this weekend.  The rest is going to be harder work than the first half was.  Good thing I'm not allergic to hard work.  Unfortunately, I am allergic to dust.  And, I sneeze so much at the office that I've been accused of being allergic to my job.  It's so bad that people wait until the third sneeze before they say bless you. 

My sneezes are predictable to others.  That can't be good.



Mari said...

I'm so jealous that you have flowers! And such pretty ones, too. We were surprised by some yellow iris that is planted in a very wet spot. Seems to do okay there, though. Have a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

I wish more parents would talk with their children about credit cards and interest and how people can get into trouble with them. I'm with you on hating interest and late charges. You're paying for nothing with those charges.

Becky said...

The photos of your flowers made me smile. We woke up to a dusting of snow this morning and the high will only be 35 degrees. I could cry!

I forget which online group I met you! Were you in the one with Anne from Great Britain? I'm winging out to visit her on the 16th. I can't wait!

Love you bunches! Have a good weekend!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Thanks for taking us on a trip around your yard. I bet you have outside quilts for when you sit in the backyard....admiring all your hard work. Mary