Daffy's Stitchy Friends

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Time Flies

It's already time for the Totally Useless Stitch A Long? It's the New Moon so I guess so! I have added a few ORTs to my jar but with all the "free" time I have now, I feel it isn't very much.

Yes, The Finery of Nature came out to play. The black fabric is so hard on my eyes it's slow going. If this had been worked on light colored fabric it would have been finished long ago!

Design ~ Pumpkin Flower Sampler
Designer ~ Bent Creek
Fabric ~ 28 count unknown evenweave
Fiber ~ called for Gentle Arts & DMC

I did finish the Bent Creek a couple weeks ago. The camera wouldn't capture the colors except in this odd angle photo. I don't like the "sampler" stitches that go between the letters in these BC sampler designs so I leave them out. Is that weird? It just looks cluttered and crowded with them to me. I have no thoughts on a finish-finish for this one.

 I have been trying to come up with a schedule for myself since becoming a Lady of Leisure but have been unable to set one. I keep losing track of the days! I am a little out of sorts as yet, getting used to not having to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, not having to be anywhere by a certain time...the entire unstructured chaos of it has me in limbo and I can get nothing done! Where is my order? I need to find it soon! 


Now it is YOUR turn...we want to see your ORTs! Leave a comment on this post with a link to your September TUSAL post so we can come visit! If I hold a Totally Useless giveaway your comment will earn you an extra entry.

Wondering what a TUSAL is and why all these people are posting pictures of rubbish? Click here to learn more and join the fun!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Fall Y'all?

Autumn must be just around the corner. How do I know? Look:

The leaves of my Pear tree are turning! We had a couple of chilly nights (bizarre August weather this year) that must have given my tree signals. Just gorgeous colors!

I'm also in the mood for Autumn stitching and started this cutie Bent Creek pumpkin. It's astonishing, I'm even using overdyed threads on this one! I still love my DMC most though!

I finished the Blackbird Designs pinpillow, it just needs Finish-Finishing and that will probably happen soon. I like any excuse to use the Singer 404!

The tragedy in Texas is unbelievable. My prayers for all involved are heartfelt. I remember what Mr. Rogers said when you see terrible things happen, "Look for the helpers." and my word, what incredible helpers there are out there. Blessings, blessings to you!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Monday, August 21, 2017

ORTs Eclipsed

Woo! We made it through another Lunar Cycle and the New Moon is here again. Time to show off those ORTs for the Totally Useless Stitch A Long! My mojo is turned on full strength and I have loads of ORTs to share!

That is the most full that jar has been in ages. I have ORTs to spare!

I also have some trimmings in my wooden leaf bowl from making pinpillows.

But all my ORTs were eclipsed by today's event in the USA. A total solar eclipse passed through, although I live in the about 87% of totality area. I got to watch as it got darker and darker. It's rather creepy and I can see why ancient cultures were totally freaked out by the event! 

I made the Frosted Flakes box into a view using directions online. It worked Grrrreat! But, I found the paper on the ground and hole punched in an index card trick much easier, plus I could take pictures!


Now it is YOUR turn...we want to see your ORTs! Leave a comment on this post with a link to your August TUSAL post so we can come visit! If I hold a Totally Useless giveaway your comment will earn you an extra entry.

Wondering what a TUSAL is and why all these people are posting pictures of rubbish? Click here to learn more and join the fun!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Friday, August 18, 2017

A New Beginning

I am starting a new chapter in my life...for health and sanity reasons I have quit my job to become a Lady of Leisure. After a crazy couple of weeks of getting a replacement "me" trained, it is done! My coworkers got me a cake and they all chipped in and sent me off with a hefty Joann's gift card!  I cried, but already a huge burden is off my shoulders. Here is to a happier, if poorer me! Cheers!

This morning, I took Miss Molly out in the backyard to give her fur a good brush out. She had to run away to bark at a father pushing his kiddo in a stroller across the street. They stopped and waved and then stayed and watched as Molly got brushed and waved again as we went back inside. I must remember to dress nicer and wear a bra next time we go outside if the neighbors are going stop to watch!

Here is my new start, another Blackbird Designs pin pillow. This has been nice to stitch so far. I really enjoy the dense motifs stuffed into the small area. I'm stitching with my usual DMC, loving the tweeded colors! If you look close, you can see two different colored threads in my needle. Very pretty!

Now, I am off to stitch and maybe even clean house a little. I do hope no one stops by...I am still braless! And enjoying every minute of it!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

My Favorite Kitten

This design was serious fun! I couldn't even be bothered to stop and blog about starting it before I had it stitched and finished. Too much fun!

Design ~ My Favorite Kitten
Designer ~ Primitivebettys
Fabric ~ 32 count Belfast Linen, Daffycat Dyed
Fiber ~ DMC
Finish ~ Pinkeep

I had a few comments and questions about the Tweet Heart finish so I decided to address those in a similar finish blog post. First off, someone said something like, "You make it sound so easy!" which I worried meant, "This is easy for you to make but "I" could never do this." I want to make it clear this IS easy to make. YOU can do this! So I found a pattern I've had sitting and waiting and made a start, taking photos as I went along...

I have my design stitched. I don't really enjoy stitching on Belfast (it wrinkles like mad) but I wanted its rustic weave for this project. I cut out some iron-on interfacing to cover the back.

I choose a backing fabric and put the interfacing on it as well. Once you have it ironed on don't fiddle with it until it is cooled down. Let that glue set!

I take my pattern and hang it up in the window. 

I put my Kitten over the paper face down so I can draw on the interfacing. The tricky part is centering! Once you think you have it where it goes, tape it up and check it over carefully! Once you're sure, trace over the lines and don't forget to mark the opening you are to leave un-sewed!

I use a Frixion pen. This ink erases with heat. The line I have drawn is my seam line, the line I will sew directly on. If my pattern called for me to sew inside the line, I would draw a second line.

Now, I pin my backing fabric to my stitched piece. Careful! Make sure the pretty sides touch each other! 

Now, I sew on the line, careful to backstitch at the start and stop. What if you don't have a sewing machine? 1. You can hand sew, use tiny, secure stitches. 2. You can have a friend sew it on their machine. 3. You can invest in a machine of your own. Check Craigslist or Facebook marketplace for an inexpensive machine in working order. I am fond of vintage Singers as they are easy to find parts for.

Once my seam was sewn, I ran the hot iron over it to "disappear" the ink. See how the ears are still there? Just a touch of the iron erases the color.

Now, I can trim close to the seam and clip any curves so it will lay nice inside.

The hardest part ~ turning! Careful not to tear out your stitching. Be gentle. Poke. Pull. Squeeze.

I use a turning tool to help poke out ears and tails. A chopstick works great! Careful not to poke through the seam. I run the tool along every seam, pinching from the outside to make sure it gets pushed completely open.


Goodness, Belfast creases and crumples.

I iron the piece flat, smoothing out the seam inside with my tool. Open it all up neatly.

Using the turning opening fill your pinkeep with your favorite stuffing. I like ground walnut shells., just pour them in with a funnel. Someone wanted to know why I use them? Because they are heavy and they smell lovely. They give a good weight to your pillow. If your pillow gets damp they won't get sticky like rice or small peas/beans would. I also add a good pinch of dried lavender buds for additional scent.

You can buy the ground walnut shells at the pet shop, sold as bird or small animal litter.. I got about a five pound bag, if I remember correctly. It fit inside this cereal storage container. I have had this same package for several years. Once I had it as full as I could stuff it I used a ladder stitch to close the seam, using sewing thread. Learn this stitch! It is a nice invisible way to close seams. 

 Then I stitched a decorative cross stitch on the seam itself, using a DMC that I tea-dyed. I deliberately made it uneven to give it a rustic, prim feel. After my kitten was done, I used a hot iron to smooth the seam and to remove creases in the Belfast from all the pinching during sewing.

I think my kitten turned out really sweet! Don't forget, he isn't too pretty to stick pins in! Use your smalls and love them. Collecting dust isn't as much fun as being loved and used.

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Let Me Call You Tweet Heart

Yesterday was such a good day! I baked banana bread ~ that means it wasn't too very hot to run the oven for an hour. I also completed a project on my new Singer 404! I knew this little bird wouldn't take long but, wow! I finished it in record time. Well, record time for the Queen of Slow Stitching, anyway!

Once I had the stitching finished, I put iron on interfacing on the back of both pieces. The interfacing will help keep the stuffing from poking through!

I sewed up the seam on my 404 and stuffed the pin pillow with lavender buds and crushed walnut shells. Smells so lovely! I put a rustic blanket stitch in green floss around the edge to soften the blunt look of the two different fabrics.

Oh, how adorable! Some would say, "Too pretty to stick pins in!" but NO! Use it! Love your smalls to pieces, literally. I'd much rather see my work in use, loved, and wearing out than sitting on a shelf, covered in dust. 

Design ~ Tweet Hearts, Exemplar #1
Designer ~ Blackbird Designs
Fabric ~ 32 count Daffycat-dyed  Jobelan
Fiber ~ DMC
Finish ~ Pin Pillow

My 404 sewed very well for me. I am loving this machine. I also really like having the bed level with the cabinet, as nothing hangs over the edge of the machine. I must be off find another project!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Little Birdie Told Me...

...it's time to sign up to join the Piggy Bank Challenge for 2018!

Well, it wasn't actually this little bird, that's my WIP! A pretty Blackbird Designs small. Quick and fun to stitch and finish.

The real little bird was Val at Val's Quilting Studio. The sign ups are open to linky your blog until August 1st. Last year I saved over $230. in my jar. I already have a start...

Maybe I can save even more this year! How much can you save? What would you spend it on? I think I might buy fabric with my savings. Lots of fabric. Ooodles of fabric!

Come, join us! Save your spare change for a year and spend it on your quilting or stitching passion. Click one of the links above (or on the right hand sidebar) to join up.

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hot Hot Hot

We are in a stretch of ridiculously hot weather, 100 + degrees but I am keeping inside in the air conditioning and of course, sewing! Today it's the New Moon and time to share our Totally Useless Stitch A Long ORTs! I don't have many since I spent most of the last month working on restoring the 301 but I sewed a little and have a few threads to share:

There aren't enough ORTs to cover the ink stains in my wooden leaf. Maybe I already told you this bowl sat by the telephone when I was a girl, filled with pens and pencils?

The leaf bowl is sitting atop some little postage stamp blocks I have been practicing with. Why do I need practice? Well...I spent my Piggy Bank Savings on this:

A Singer 404, already fully restored. He arrived on Friday and I wasted no time putting him in my cabinet.

Then I grabbed my box of two patches and started sewing! He runs like a top and sews a really lovely seam. The two patches are what I've been using as leader/enders for two years now.

Have I mentioned how much I love this cabinet? I even love the thousands of teeny scratches caused from a seamstress putting her scissors down over the years. I plan on adding to those!

Dash said he looks just exactly like my other two. What can I say? I adore Palomino colored Singers!

I am used to sewing on a modern machine. Fern always stops with her needle down and her foot controller is completely different. There is no computer controlling the 404! I need practice to learn how to stop this one with his needle in the fabric. Soon, I had a stack of my two patches sewn into 16 patches. All the while I am learning to control that needle!

I sewed the sixteen patches together. Would you call this a 64 patch? Whatever! It came out to 12.5 inches square. Perfect! There is no better way to practice than with a giant stack of two inch squares. The scary thing is I have not made a dent in that box of two patches...


Now it is YOUR turn...we want to see your ORTs! Leave a comment on this post with a link to your July TUSAL post so we can come visit! If I hold a Totally Useless giveaway your comment will earn you an extra entry.

Wondering what a TUSAL is and why all these people are posting pictures of rubbish? Click here to learn more and join the fun!

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Singer 301A Restoration

I have been watching Andy Tube avidly since buying my 2 vintage sewing machines. Andy teaches vintage sewing machines. This channel is a wealth of information for beginners like me and the way Andy teaches makes it easy for me to learn. I've been studying along his series on a Singer 404 and since most of the parts are similar I was able to follow and do the same on my Singer 301A.

Here is my machine, ready to restore. It doesn't seem too bad does it? I had spent a few hours cleaning it after I purchased it. Just wait!

I start taking parts off. Mind you, this isn't willy nilly! Everything that comes off is labeled carefully so I don't get mixed up!

My box of parts started filling up fast. As I took things off they got thoroughly washed with a degreaser and rinsed in water (even the bottom cover with the felt) then carefully dried and buffed with a dremel tool and oiled/greased as needed. The painted parts got many coats of various waxes.

See how filthy and rusty this tension unit was?

There was lots of gunky grease, likely put on at the factory during assembly. This stuff sits and absorbs odors and is sticky beyond reason.

Some parts were the very dickens to remove. I HAD to remove this Needle Clamp to be able to remove the Needle Bar and it took forever! I even emailed Andy to make sure it actually came off and I wasn't trying to remove something that was all one piece. I soaked this in WD40, in degreaser, and in rust remover, and I wiggled until my fingers were sore. No movement. I finally took the hairdryer out, got the part hot and let it cool and it came right off! It was pretty rusty! 

Some parts were downright scary to remove! This is the Thread Take Up Lever. All this is what attaches to the Needle Bar and the Needle Bar Crank. THIS MAKES IT SEW AND I TOOK IT OFF!

Lots of grease flung about on the inside. The end of the motor comes up through that empty hole. Seriously, the light and motor were the easiest parts to take off!

Then there were parts like these that gave me quite a scare. First I had trouble removing the lever that attaches to this and panicked, emailed Andy then I figured it out and emailed again saying never mind. So then, I got to fiddling with the little slide block (tiny silver part in the middle) that is still in the machine and it fell off into the body! Oh holy crows! My heart literally stopped! Andy had not mentioned that it came off and I just about came unglued for a few minutes. Then I realised how easy this would be to get it all back together and had quite a laugh.

I also had to tell Andy about how I nearly died taking apart the Feed Regulator... 

I don't think this Handwheel has been off since 1956. So much varnished oil! Remember, I had spent hours cleaning this machine already!

Once everything I could take off was off, the machine got taken outside and sprayed inside and out with a degreaser, scrubbed with a toothbrush, rinsed off with a garden hose and got a blow-dry with a leaf blower! I am not kidding!

It came back inside looking like this. I quickly started oiling and greasing gears and doing basic rust prevention. 

Oh my, it is so clean!

I was astonished how clean it came. Remember all that grease and oil and dirt? Gone. Along with the stink!

Once everything was clean it was quick work to put it back together. Before I knew it it was done! Every part was sparkling clean. And best of all it sewed!

The machine looks incredible and best of all, between the waxes and the yummy oil (Tri-Flow smells of bananas) no longer smells like an old auto workshop. All the workings are oiled and the gears are greased. The finish is protected with the wax and my material should glide across the bed. 

This was the best adventure ever! I had so much fun restoring this machine! This will not be the last machine I will restore. I am planning to do my Rocketeer next and I am constantly searching for any others in my area I could be interested in. If you have read this far you might be as crazy as I am...

Thank you for visiting my blog today!