Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ladies who Lunch - Part 4

I'm VERY late to this party - since everyone else posted practically the next day !

But, since this will be my whole vacation post, I'll start at the beginning and lead up to the good stuff. As we often do, we spent some of our vacation visiting friends in Toronto. Normally, we have no plans, it's downtime (& shopping LOL) This year, I had one day planned for me, the rest we played by ear.

In my last post, I mentioned, amongst all the SM pics, that we spend some time visiting antique shops, consignment shops and the like. Last year, we carted home two pieces of furniture - this year one new piece came home with us. As an aside, I don't go "just" to buy furniture - if I could find these kinds of deals in Montreal, I'd snap 'em up !

Our house has NO cupboard space - my tiny galley kitchen in our old apartment has more cupboards than this house does. We've been looking for a buffet/sideboard type of cabinet for a long time. The intention was to take off the lunch counter in the pic below and replace it with storage.

An hour after we got home, the counter was off and replaced with this...please, please ignore the mess !

Now the good stuff !

When I knew we were going to Toronto, I emailed Connie and let her know. Connie, who should list mindreading in her list of talents, absolutely recognized the hidden (but not extremely subtle) message in my email - 'please, please come to Toronto and shop with me!'
And so she left her family to take care of business for the day and did just that :-)

Here we are at the start of our morning. I didn't know that Toronto had their own version of New York's Sewing Man sculpture. We've got a very large thimble, with concrete buttons surrounding trees as seating and a measuring tape imprinted into the sidewalk - pretty cool.

There's no point rehashing the trip down Queen Street as Connie has done a wonderfully complete post on the subject here...The down low on fabric shopping in Toronto

And that's not all ! I emailed Reethi and Connie emailed Sue and they met us for a while at lunchtime. We managed to catch up on the past couple of months, eat and get in some bead shopping before they had to get back to work.

Here's the 'Friends' shot - yes, we all have the same pic. We gave our cameras to a gentleman in Downtown Fabrics and he took one for all of us - we probably should have changed positions a little bit LOL !

The haul (from left to right):

16 yards of black poly/cotton broadcloth (I picked this up at a local thrift shop for $5.99) It's sure to come in handy.

Downtown Fabrics...
The wild print is a Nina Ricci cotton
Below that is a blue cotton, for a shirt and a purple and light blue knit for tees.

The steel blue and red fabrics are technical fabrics. The blue (cotton/nylon) from Chu Shing Textiles and the Red from Affordable Textiles.

The only fabric with a plan is the blue cotton/nylon - I've got a skirt that is just a titch too small and I'd like to try to copy it.

The yarns are both sock yarns, the yellow from Romni Wools on Queen Street and the other from Creative Yarns in Scarborough.

And that was my phenomenal vacation this year - I sure hope we can do it again sometime !!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Many is Too Many ?

The herd is growing. When I wanted to make curtains for our bedroom back when (1988/89?), my DH wanted to buy me a sewing machine right away. Instead I borrowed a friend’s machine, made the curtains, and a few other things, a dress, a skirt, etc. A year or two later, DH bought me my first SM - a Kenmore 30 stitch from Sears in a cabinet that opened up quite large but could fold compact in our small apartment.

In ‘95 or so, I started looking around at sergers. A very basic model was my goal - 3 or 4 thread. While at the Creative Needlework Festival in the fall of ‘97, DH bought me the 5 thread Singer serger with coverstitch capability - it was sooo much more machine than I was looking for and so far beyond my sewing capabilities that I was terrified of it. It sat in the box for 7 years, we were in our house for 4 years before I got the nerve to open it up. Now I use it regularly.

For years I was very happy with the two machines - DH mentioned upgrading a few times but, I didn’t feel the need so I continued as I was.

A couple of Christmas’s ago, I opened a Singer HD110 and was very surprised as I had told him I didn’t need another one.,.’it might come in handy’’, he said.

Well, turns out it does a better buttonhole than the Kenmore and has an invisible zipper foot. It also gets put to use often now.

Now…after some time on PatternReview and blogs, I’ve stumbled across the names of SM brands that I’d never heard of (Necchi being one) as well as the sites and threads of people who promote the use of the vintage machines.

In a local thrift store in June, I saw a Necchi BU Mira (1953) in a cabinet - it needed new electrical cords and at the time, the only thing I knew to check was if the handwheel turned or if it was frozen. It was VERY smooth. It also came with a drawer full of stuff - manuals, feet, cams, instructions for everything. A week later it was still in the shop and I had to have it. Had to learn to use a knee control with this one.

This past week 3 - yes, 3! have been added to the SM collection (which wasn’t a collection at all until now LOL - denial, denial, denial !). We are on holiday in Toronto visiting friends. They have 3 machines - 2 were going to be tossed unless I wanted them.

1st one is a Singer 99K - Serial number dates it to 1953, manufactured in Scotland. It’s in a cabinet and uses a foot pedal, has a stitch length lever, manual and attachments. This one will get a bit of a cleaning and oiling but is good to go.

2nd one is also a Singer 99K - Serial number dates it to 1951, manufactured in Scotland. It’s in a bentwood box (for which I found a new key), has a stitch length knob instead of a lever and has the same attachments as the previous one. It needs a good cleaning, an oiling, and new electrical cord).

I’m not sure about this one - it looks so much older than the other that I wonder if it really is a ‘51. The serial number doesn’t look tampered with but there is no ‘99K’ plate on it. I don’t know if there is any other way to definitively date a machine though, so any info would be appreciated.

Almost done ! During our visits to Toronto, we frequent a few antique and consignment shops.

Yep, in the consignment shop the other day there was ANOTHER Singer bentwood box ! I was called to come see - it had only arrived that morning and hadn’t yet even been priced. We used the computer to check the serial number - I think it came up 1935 - maybe it was 1934. Anyway, it was another 99K. This had a much darker wood box, a knee pedal and a box of attachments, including a few I didn’t have).

Owner said ‘make an offer’; I said ‘no’; DH said ‘$45 ?’ - I have another machine !

It needs MUCH more work, We plugged it in and the light came on but the hand wheel is extremely sticky. Lots of cleaning to do - it's filthy. A good oiling as well. New electrical cords. There is a bit of fraying and in any case, I’d rather have DH replace them than take a chance with bad wiring. This is a true before pic, all I've done is lift the cover off.

My sewing room is approximately 10’ x 12’ - Our basement living area has a 14’ x 14’ nook off of it that DH is using for his computer set-up. He has volunteered a few times to switch spaces with my sewing room. I’ve always refused for 2 reasons - I like a door on my sewing room so I can leave it a mess when I’m mid-project and also I’m a tiny bit afraid my fabric/machines will expand/multiply like rabbits to fit whatever size room I have available to me (a pretty legitimate fear, apparently LOL)

I see a room-switch happening sometime in the not-to-distant future.

We go home tomorrow - I can't afford to stay in Toronto any longer !