Feeling up beat!

I had a great day at work today.  I had a major success with one of my seniors and that always makes me feel like a rock star!

I’m feeling so good that I don’t mind that I had to cancel tomorrow’s outing with Victorian at Heart.  It is all good.

How about some more good news…Dalnavert has contacted me about an orientation to volunteer at the house in a more regular fashion so I’m super stoked about that.  Dang job will keep me from volunteering often but I’m okay with that today (reference: the first paragraph of this post).

In other good news, the Costume museum is going to have a button and trunk sale to rid themselves of some unused space killers.  Guess who is going shopping!  Let me start drooling over those buttons!  I love the trunks too but I’m not sure where I’d put one of those.


And one final good news story: when I was a young mom, I sold the old treadle sewing machine my grandmother taught me to sew on when I was just a kid.  I regretted that move from the moment I watched pull out of my drive way.  I’ve been watching for one just like it.  Well, one of the volunteer’s at the Costume Museum brought in one of her own to add to the display that was up last May.  It is so exactly like the one I sold that I am wondering if it IS the one I sold.  I can’t wait to speak to this lady and find out it’s back story!



New toy

This is another non-Victorian post.  Sorry ’bout that!  But, I bought a new toy and thought it would be fun to share it with you.  It is called an Embellish Knit.


It is basically a mechanized spool knitter.

I bought it with two intensions…one is to take cheap crochet thread and use it to make cording for decorative trims on Victorian gowns.  Cording and soutache is NOT cheap.

The other intension is to take all the cheap wool I have been hoarding for years and turn it into chunky yarn.


My first project used up 3 balls of this synthetic wool.

The Embellish knit turned those three balls of wool into one massive ball of chunky wool.


The beauty of chunky wool , of course is that it knits up quickly.  The heavy neck cowls seems to be popular these days so I may try knitting up one of those with this stuff and see what it looks like.

Once I have knitted it up I have no idea what I will do with it.  Donate it to charity?  I have no idea.  Another idea is to just make balls of chunky wool with my machine and old wool and see if I can sell that at my friend’s craft sale table.  One thing I know is craft sales don’t just attract people who can’t craft; they attract people who can craft who are looking for ideas.  A knitter may be attracted to an unusual looking wool.

Hopefully my next post is a completed project post-either a neck cowl or a corset cover!  Have a good Thanksgiving Day Canada!

Crochet hook holder

A few posts back, I was whining about no one wanting my knitted or crochet projects. One of my solutions was to simply make stuff for myself.  And the things I can use a lot of is bags/containers/holders to keep my crap organized.

Up until now, I have been using a plastic case to hold my crochet hooks.  img_20170121_185119092.jpg

But it was originally a kit and I have more hooks than were originally intended for the case.  This means the case wont stay closed and then the hooks fall out.img_20170121_185109251.jpg

A real pain in the rump roast.

I had seen “housewives” that were popular in the Victorian era (and I believe earlier).  They were cases, usually made from scrap bits of fabric, that were designed to hold random tools and items needed for sewing.  So I thought,  “they used left over fabric for a house wife for sewing- I will use left over wool to crochet a housewife for crochet hooks.” Ta da!img_20170121_185138874.jpg

As you can see…nice and tidy!  They are spaced quite far apart but in reality, I can get quite a few more in there…once I find them in all their hiding places.  It rolls up nicely and all the hooks stay put. img_20170121_185229072.jpg

I did two rows black, one row grey (left overs from my sons neck warmers).  I used double crochet for every row but I altered every second row of grey.  In the altered row, I crocheted into the row below the normal spot every second stitch.  This created the little points on the out side.img_20170121_185241160.jpg

On the inside, it created larger loops that I can slide the hooks into.

The plan is to use knitting needles and a knit stitch to make a new knitting needle case and I will use circular needles to make a case for my circular needles.  AND THEN I will sew a housewife for my sewing things.  I am inordinately pleased with myself!


Self Discipline

I have made a rule for myself that really sucks but it is a necessary evil, especially since my sewing room got moved down into the laundry room.  My rule is that after a project is finished, I MUST CLEAN UP MY SEWING SPACE before I start a new project.

0000Pick things up.  Straighten things out.  Put things away.  Sweep.  Boring as h-e-double hockey sticks.  But, once it is done, I’m glad I did it.000

Makes it easier to find things.  I’m afraid the next cleaning cycle must involve purging fabric and hat trims because I have run out of room. (Note red fabric sitting on top of fabric bins and flowers poking out of their drawer.) It could involve purging all the knitting project ideas that are filling up the cupboards over top of the counter too…but lets not talk crazy!

Anyone else do this or do you go with the creativity inspired chaos?

Coco shopping

I scored some good stuff while at Coco.  While on the FIDM tour, we made a pit stop in the scholarship store and low and behold, the last Friday of the month is 50% off day!

The first score is about 5 yards of very wide fabric.  It feels very linen like and in fact, I’m sure it must be linen.  The photograph got the color right.  So the color,feel and amount of the fabric says some sort of walking suit-in the later years, probably 1890’s.  I’m playing with the idea of dying it.  But I’ve never dyed that much fabric before.  I also got a couple of lace yokes that I think could work as collars.  And there is some lace ribbon too.  If I keep the color of the fabric the same, I may tea stain the lace to take some of the stark white out.  It feels too harsh a contrast.


I bought two pieces of leather that I think are big enough to try my hand at glove making.  Every other pair of gloves I have picked up have either looked far to modern or far too small.  Leather stretches some but lets face it, they wont go from pencil thin to sausage thick!  I will definitely need to do a mock up to make sure my glove pattern will fit me because there is no wiggle room for mistakes!  I also need to do some research on how to cut and sew leather as I have never done this before!


The above bits cost me $17.  I was torn between laughing and crying with joy when I heard the price.  I’d NEVER in a million years find that kind of deal at home!

Next, I went to the FIDM student book store.  I found these French Curves for $7.  My local fabric store has them for a much higher cost.  I couldn’t justify the expense.


When I went to the market at Coco, I found these metal buttons and figured they would be a wonderful addition to the costume kit I am building.


I also found some coutiel, which I can’t find in my local fabric store. I have wanted to take another run at corset making and knew my biggest problem with my first attempt was not coutiel-my corset stretched on first wearing.  I snapped this package up because it saves me the cost of shipping.   I also prefer shopping in person to on line shopping.  I like to see and feel what I am buying.147

I got a pretty good haul at the bargain basement.  I got some random trim that I have no plans for yet but I know one day….

I picked up some plaid because I have been wanting to try working with that again.


One of the plaids and another plain fabric seemed like they may make good contrasts fabrics for my linen suit kit. I also picked up some plain buttons that may work as well.198

So my sewing line up is: finish my Spanish inspired gown (Just need to finish the waist band and make the belt), sew the paisley I bought last December into an 1840’s dress, then the gloves, the corset and then the walking suit.  I also have two or three knitting projects in the line up as well.  Whew!  I need to retire so I can have more time!

Tuesday’s treasure: scissors

Tuesdays are my volunteer evenings at the Costume Museum. This past Tuesday I found a lovely pair of scissors. I don’t know the date.


It is hard to see on my phone (grrr) but I hope, on your computers (lucky devils), you can see the detail that caught my eye. The space in between the handles is shaped to look like a cross. I thought it was very pretty. I wonder if that was just a pretty decoration or if it was used in a church or if it was intended to remind the user to do their work for God. If any of you know more about this I’d love to hear about it.

Wheel tune up

I spent my Christmas Sunday tuning up my spinning wheel.

I got it cleaned up.

I got it cleaned up.

Re-glued some of the joints.  I had to rig up a clamping system because none of my clamps were long enough.

Re-glued some of the joints. I had to rig up a clamping system because none of my clamps were long enough.

I got the wheel and whorls strung properly so that the bobbin and  fly wheels spin at different speeds...as they should.  And I got the bobbin and orifice primed.

I got the wheel and whorls strung properly so that the bobbin and fly wheel spin at different speeds…as they should. And I got the bobbin and orifice primed.

I put a drop of sewing machine oil on the moving parts.

I put a drop of sewing machine oil on the moving parts.

Tomorrow, I try spinning this!

Tomorrow, I try spinning this!


Merry Christmas to me

I ran out and bought myself a Christmas gift this weekend.  Hey, who knows me and what I like better than me!  I saw a spinning wheel at a flea market a few weeks ago.  I haven’t stopped thinking about it so after a bit of wheeling and dealing (pun intended) I went home with this…IMG_20151220_161433258

It is called a Spin-well Spinning WheelIMG_20151220_161426921

For a long version of its history I send you this well written blog post.  The condensed version is it was made in my part of Canada during the 1930’s to 50’s and was based on Ukrainian wheels.  It was known as the Sifton wheel (the town it was made) or the Spin-Well or Well-Made wheels (company names).

Before I try spinning on this, it needs a bit of a clean up.IMG_20151220_161441409

And I think some of the bolts need some tightening so that it isn’t so wobbly.  At least I hope the bolts will help and that I wont need to get some carpenters glue on the other joints….IMG_20151220_161505634


Some more research was not amiss.  I could find information on other wheels and I could figure out what part was comparable and thus how they should work but one part I had trouble figuring out was the tension adjuster.  Does it even have one?  Low and behold I found this blog that showed it did have one in the back behind the gear thingys and it also showed that the flea market seller didn’t have the wheel “strung” properly and so I will need to get another drive belt.  I will also have to learn the correct terminology for this machine.  I can’t keep calling the parts “thingys”


New toy in the sewing room

My sewing room is also my guest room (and potentially my oldest boys room if he moves back to Canada) so it needs a bed in it.  We just landed the perfect little number!  desk 1

It is a desk with a ton of room on it for piling up that crap that one needs while sewing…note the rum and coke on the nearer end.  But, company is coming!

With one hand I pull two pins and pull down on the top edge of the desk…desk 3The bed comes down and the stuff on the desk…including the rum and coke…gets gently tucked under the bed.desk 2Take the pillow down from its hiding place behind the desk and you have a bed.  Fold up the chair and tuck it away between the bed and the dresser (which is full of fabric) and there is now room for a guest to walk around.  They may have to get used to Trudy watching them while they sleep.desk 5She does stare down at the bed in a rather creepy manor.  This next photo is the view of the room from the door.desk 4I’m not completely happy with this arrangement so there may be some more shuffling around.  Trudy hides my lovely sewing machine.


Feelin’ all smug and gloaty!

With my magic knowledge box (computer and YouTube) I have figured out how to fix up the 1930’s treadle sewing machine I inherited from my father’s house after he died.  (If you recall, YouTube helped me fix my lap top too.)SAM_2794The poor sewing machine  was a mess with congealed oil, dust and masking tape.  I cleaned up the head as best as I could but it will never be lovely as it has fine cracks (crazing?) all over it.   SAM_2795I used kerosene and I think if I do it a few more times, some of the yellowing will improve.  I don’t want to remove the decals so I will have to be gentle.  Better a bit of yellowing be left than the decals removed.

The next step was to clean out the feed-dogs.  Past due, I’d say.SAM_2796There was enough fluff in there to fill a small stuffed toy.SAM_2797Better.  I picked it out, brushed and vacuumed.  After this photo, I got some of that rust and congealed oil off with kerosene.

Then I flipped the machine over to look at the bobbin.

SAM_2798More yellowing.  I didn’t spend too much time on that as it isn’t a moving part or a part that is typically visible.  I took out the bobbin. SAM_2799I brushed out some of that dust, vacuumed and oiled with sewing machine oil…not with WD40 which is a great cleaner and rust removed but not a good lubricating oil.  I think some of that congealed stuff is WD40.  The video showed a newer model (1950’s I think) so there was nothing to dismantle here like they were doing but I was able to figure out where to put the oil…where the parts slide together…based on what the video showed for the newer model.

The face plate was the next thing to come off.

SAM_2800More crap on it.  I cleaned it up some but I think next time I will take some kerosene and a toothbrush and that should get the stuff stuck into the recessed parts.  I also disassembled the tension unit and made sure it was smooth enough for the thread to glide through.

Here is what is under the face plate.SAM_2802

More kaka!  The needle still moved not too badly but it took the presser foot a minute or so to lower once the lever was lowered because of the goo on the post.  More kerosene and more gentle scraping and rubbing.  I didn’t work too hard on making it pretty but I got it working.  There were literally globs of goo around the post for the presser foot…nearly made me gag…it was like old snot!  But I got those two posts silver again and now they work great.  I almost heard the machine sigh when I oiled the posts…like Rusty the Tin Man.

Here it is all reassembled, oil in all the correct holes, and needle changed and threaded.  I had to YouTube how to do that as well!  Quite different than all the other machines I have ever used!  This photo should be a good reminder for the next time I need to thread it.

SAM_2804As you can see the face plate is shinier but it is still yellow in the groves and corners.  It does look better though.    SAM_2805Next I had to re-attach the belt.  No problem!  I was worried that after all this time, it would be stretched but it still fit!  Now to see if it works!SAM_2806And see if I still remembered how to do this!SAM_2807Grandma’s voice came back to me…hand on the wheel to bring the needle down…when ready, turn the wheel towards you…pick up the rhythm in the foot plate and away you go.SAM_2809The first try was too tight but a quick turn on the tension knob and it was perfect!

So now on the to-do list….several more sessions of rubbing to get more of the yellow off, clean the greasy dirt off of the legs and peddle end, learn how to work some of the attachments that came with the machine, make something with it and its attachments and finally, re-stain the wood.  I probably need to get the smug smile off of my face too!SAM_2812