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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Next!

yarma
My next project for Sweaters 2013 is another cardigan!  (Actually, I think they're all cardigans, but I can't remember.)  I'll be using some handspun yarn that I spun ages ago.  It's been sitting in the stash, just waiting for me to find the perfect project for it and I think I've found it.  The pattern is Bluebelle and I think it will be perfect for this yarn.  I haven't found a button for it yet, but I won't need it until the end.  This is another bottom up cardigan, but the sleeves are picked up and knit down from the armscyes so I won't be doing the sleeves first.  There's no seaming up at the end, so finishing shouldn't take long.  I've already knit a swatch, and it's the right gauge for the pattern, but I have no idea what needles I used.  I'm hoping I blogged the swatch and the needles, otherwise I'll be knitting another swatch before I start this project!

I'm off to go dig around in the depths of the blog to try and find the swatch information.  (If I was nice and organized, I would have pinned a note to the swatch with needle size information, but no, that didn't happen.)  OK, that was easier than I thought - I used US 4's.  Now I don't have to re-swatch.  Onward!

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Cardigan Number Two - Finished!

yarma 
I'm all finished on my second cardigan of my Sweaters 2013 project!  This is the Olive Basket Cardigan, knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino DK in the glorious colorway, Cove.  It still needs a bit of blocking to smooth things out, but it's all sewn together and the ends are woven in.  I also discovered that when you put a sweater on Fifi (the mannequin) , Logan pays a lot more attention to her.

I'm not over my Cove obsession quite yet, but after knitting a sweater out of it, it's at least manageable at a socially acceptable level.  I want to do a shawl with it and I probably need a pair of socks (and maybe some fingerless mitts), and then I'll be pretty set with Cove.  Unless I need a blanket or something.  It does look really great with the sofa in the family room...

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Fronts, Check!

yarma
I've finished the fronts of my cardigan!  Now I've just got to do the back, finish the collar, and put the sleeves in.  Clearly, from the picture, you can see that some of the skeins have more blue than the others, but overall, I'm really pleased with the way the different skeins blended with each other on this project.  I actually had to change skeins halfway through the right front, but I don't think you'd know that from looking.  There's enough going on in the dyeing that starts and stops of new skeins just aren't obvious.  If the yarn was more of a solid color, I think I'd have needed to blend skeins (knit two rows with one skein and two with the new skein a few times so the switch isn't so abrupt).  I'll be finishing up the cardigan this weekend so I can start the next one in May!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Socks

This has been one of those weeks around here.  Mickael's work is busy, busy, Caleb has had his big school tests this week, and I'm just trying to keep track of what each of them are doing so I can get them out the door with whatever they need that day.  I'll be glad when the weekend rolls around!
yarma
I did get a little bit more done on Mickael's first sock.  I'm still working on the gusset decreases, and I'm not to the point where I can count stitches to figure out how many more decreases to work, but I can see progress past the heel flap, so I know I'm moving forward.

I'm also working on the cardigan and trying to get it finished up.  I'll have to sew the sleeves in when I finish all the knitting, so I've got to figure that into my schedule.  Since this is for my Sweaters 2013 project, it's supposed to all be finished by midnight Tuesday.  I think I squeaked the last one in right at the end of the month too - I've got to knit a little faster on these!

No sewing machine update tomorrow - I'm still cleaning the head.  I've gotten the main part clean and the decals clean - I actually found a little decal that I didn't know was there as I cleaned!  I'm working on details now and trying to decide things like, "Since I've taken apart the tension assembly, and I'm planning on taking apart the bobbin drop in area, would it be crazy to take apart the bobbin winder section too?"  I know that the more things I take apart, the cleaner I can get them, but the more things I take apart, the more I have to get back together exactly right, and like the treadle irons, once it had a good oiling, the head just glides beautifully!

I did get the parts I'd ordered to get it all running once it's clean (the treadle belt, a new bobbin tire, more feet, and a second needle plate to put seam allowance markings on), so hopefully another week will have her up and running and I'll find out if she sews!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Thingamajig

yarma 
I had a little bit of time last week and I wanted to start something new.  I knew that if I started another project it would soon get pushed aside and then sit there mocking me while I worked on what I had already started, so I decided to do something quick and fast.  A project I could start and finish the same afternoon would take care of the start-itis jones and it wouldn't add to my pile of things to do - win, win!

I decided to make a little crochet thing.  I picked the cover thing from Simple Crocheting and sat down with a hook and some I Love This Cotton that was leftover from another project.  I also got out my crochet how to book so I could learn how to make a single crochet stitch (I only really know the double crochet stitch very well).  About an hour later, I had a thing.  I don't really know what to do with it, so it's sitting on the kitchen counter right now.  It's really too big for a coaster and not solid enough for a hot pad - it's just a thingamajig.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Knitting Progress!

yarma 
I'm only a few rows away from dividing the fronts and back!  Those usually knit up pretty quickly.  (Amazing how much faster the rows stack up when they aren't as long.  OK, maybe not really amazing, but math was never my strongest subject.  And it's probably not really any faster, it just seems faster, speed=distance/time and all that.  Yes, Caleb has been doing physics this year in science and I got drug along for the ride kicking and screaming.  But the point is, it feels faster and it's way too early to be thinking of math and physics.)

Just in case there are those of you out there with kids who need help with homework that you can't remember how to do (since I mentioned the joy of 6th grade science), Google is your friend.  Seriously.  Google.  This weekend I Googled for a fingering position for high B on the Euphonium because it wasn't in his book (and yet the note is kind of necessary, thanks, book).  Google didn't fail me.  We found it, he played it, and scales sound so much better with the right notes, don't they?

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Progress

Photo bomb in 3...2...1...
yarma 
I've finished the cabinet for the treadle machine!  I've gotten it all bolted back to the treadle irons and I've got before and after pictures!  Above is the machine when I brought it home.  You can see the center front drawer isn't hanging on its brackets right and while you can see a little bit of wood grain, it just looks dark brown.  The top left drawer and the lower right drawer are both missing a little bit of veneer.  Also, the underbelly (in the center behind the center front drawer) is lopsided because its missing a couple of screws on one of its brackets.
yarma
Here's what it looks like as of yesterday afternoon.  (Max was asleep and wasn't available for photos, he apologizes for any inconvenience this might cause to blog readers.)  The center front drawer is now mounted on its brackets and seated straight, the underbelly has replacement screws where it had some missing.  I moved the lower right drawer up to the upper right placement because the missing veneer isn't as obvious right under the edge of the cabinet top.  The biggest difference though is that you can see the wood grain on the cabinet.  The wood just glows now - it's a rich, reddish brown versus a plain brown from before!
yarma
Here's another shot from the top.  I hope you can see the difference in these pictures.  The difference in person is huge.  I just keep looking at it and staring at it.
yarma
Here's the side.  There are still some scratches and scuffs, but when you're 90 years old, you're entitled to some scratches and scuffs.  The thing about the cabinet that flustered me the most was one of the drawers.
yarma
If you look carefully at the previous picture of the cabinet, you can see tiny key holes above each drawer and in the center front drawer.  Because it was possible to lock these drawers, people put all kinds of things into their treadle cabinet that they didn't want their kids getting into.  One of my drawers has a lot of dark staining inside.  (The above picture was before I cleaned it all out and conditioned the wood.)  Cleaning didn't really help very much and I was concerned about getting whatever it was on whatever I decide to put in the drawer (I think each drawer could easily hold 200-300 grams of sock yarn depending on how the skein is wound, just as a size reference, in case you were wondering).  I kicked around several ideas in my head as I was cleaning the drawers and cabinet, but most of them would have been fairly permanent.  (The stain goes all the way through the wood, so sanding it out wouldn't work.)  I just couldn't decide what to do, until I thought of drawer liner papers!  Instead of using paper though, I grabbed some acid free cardstock since the cardstock wouldn't slide around in the drawer.  It covered up the stain nicely, it isn't permanent, it shouldn't cause any damage and I can change it if I get bored of the colors I used.  I put the cardstock in all of the drawers, so now when I open them, I get a little pop of color - three colors to be exact!
yarma
Lime, turquoise, and violet (the colors are dark in the photo).  It makes me smile when I open the drawers, and now they are ready for the little sewing tools and feet that I'll store in them!

Now I get to start cleaning up the machine head, and I can't wait to get it done so I can sew on it!

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rainy Morning Knitting

It's raining this morning, and cool outside.  The house is quiet and I'm taking a little time for myself with my tea to enjoy the quiet.  I've got a list of things that need doing today and I'll get started on it soon, but for now, just now, the time is mine.
yarma
Knitting this sweater is a little like that.  The stitches are easy.  As long as I pay attention at the first of each row, I can knit on autopilot and just enjoy the feel of the yarn through my fingers and the play of colors as each row slowly stacks up.  It's peaceful, quiet knitting, but still easy enough to set down when I need to do other things.  For a few moments though, the time is mine.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Knitting!

First of all, thanks for the advice on the oil yesterday.  I had already oiled everything before I went online and read the comments though, but as fast as the wood sucked up the oil, I'm not sure it's going to have a chance to go rancid.  Yesterday afternoon I started working the Wood Beams into all the wood and the wood grain is just glowing!  I also need more Wood Beams.  All of the old, smoky odor is gone and the cabinet only smells faintly of lavender (from the Wood Beams).  I'm really happy with how it's looking and can't wait to show it to you, but I want to get all back together first.  Mickael has even commented several times that he's impressed with how much better its all looking.  (Of course, he's still asking if the head even sews, too.)
yarma
Also yesterday, (I got a lot done yesterday) Deadliest Catch started up again, so I got a bunch of knitting done last night.  I've watched for several years now and I love the show, plus it's great knitting TV.  I finished the heel flap and heel turn of Mickael's Black Sock and I've just barely started the gusset decreases.  I also got some done on my cardigan, but I'll save that for another day.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cleaning

Yesterday I got the rest of the cabinet washed and I got the biggest paint scuffs off with a Magic Eraser.  The wood grain is now visible, even on some smaller parts that looked like they were just solid, dark brown.  I didn't get any pictures and my next job is to start oiling the wood (we all feel better after a bath when we put lotion on, right?)  I'm using a recipe that someone's grandmother gave her and she posted on Ravelry (Rav has everything!):  1/3 cup vegetable oil and 1 tsp bottled lemon juice.  You can also use olive oil, but Logan loves olive oil with every whisker of his being.  I don't think the cabinet needs a tongue bath.  I've mixed up a big batch of it and will start rubbing it into the cabinet, drawers, and underbelly.  I will also get some knitting done today that I can show on the blog tomorrow.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Plodding Along

yarma 
I got a little more done on my cardigan body over the weekend - little being the operative word.  I also worked on washing the cabinet of the treadle machine and read two books.  It wasn't a completely wasted weekend, just not really all that blog-worthy.  I got the underbelly washed and started on the main cabinet.  I've got to finish washing the main cabinet and then I'll start oiling everything.

First, I've got to get groceries and vacuum up some golden tumbleweeds - its starting to look like we've got more than one dog around here!

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Wood Work

yarma
I've started cleaning the cabinet and underbelly portion of the treadle machine.  I started with the drawers since I was afraid I'd forget them otherwise.  (I pulled them out to air them when I took the whole thing apart.)  I'm starting with Murphy's Oil Soap because it's safe for wood and it's been around long enough, it should be fine for the old finish on the cabinet.  See the picture above?  The drawer on the left is washed and the drawer on the right isn't.

I'll be oiling the wood a couple of times and then rubbing in some Wood Beams - I use this on my drop spindles and spinning wheels.  There is a very faint smell of smoke to the cabinet when it's open (it had been used as a table for years and was just closed up), so I figure years and years ago, someone smoked around it.  Of course, years ago, everyone smoked apparently, so that makes sense.  I'm hoping that with the airing out of the entire cabinet, the washing, the oiling, and the Wood Beams (which has a scent to it), I can pretty much get rid of the smoky smell.  It is a mellow, soft smoky scent - not at all the harsh gross smell of recent smoking - so I think it will go away soon.

I'm hoping to get the rest of the wood cabinet washed this weekend and then get everything oiled and treated.  I can't wait to start on the machine head and I hope I get to next week!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sock

yarma 
I've started the heel flap!  I always feel like I'm at the halfway point of a sock when I hit the heel.  This is not a fun sock to photograph on a rainy, cloudy morning, I'll tell you that much!

Since there's just not that much to say about a black sock (that you've seen before), I thought I'd share a link to a tutorial I found recently:  The Traveling in Circles Tote.  I haven't made it yet, but I think this could be a GREAT take along knitting bag for socks or other small projects - look at all the pockets, but it's got a big center section for the project too.  At some point, I'd like to make it, but I want to get a couple of other things done first.

Hope you're dry and warm wherever you are today!

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Monday, April 08, 2013

Getting There

yarma 
It kind of feels like I'm not getting anything done on this cardigan project, but when I check measurements against the pattern, I really am getting somewhere.  I am to the part where the majority of each row is stockinette, which moves quickly, but I've also made some stupid mistakes in the border stitch pattern, which slows me down.  Fortunately, I'm enjoying knitting this, I love the yarn (I think we've covered that) and it's at a place where it's great TV watching knitting.  I don't really know why I feel like I'm getting nowhere - I'm almost halfway to the underarm where the fronts and back split from each other.  Then it's just the home stretch!

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Friday, April 05, 2013

Treadle Irons

I've decided to clean the treadle machine from the bottom up.  That way I can put things back together as I go, and I don't have a machine head all clean and ready to go, staring at me, "Please, can I sew?"  I started with the treadle irons.  There is more than one way to clean these and each set of irons needs different things.  Mine had been in a house so there was very little rust.  I also didn't have any threads wrapped around places it shouldn't have been.  In fact, as far as function, the irons move smoothly and soundlessly.  (Like an oiled dolphin, zipping through the ocean currents.  Or something.)  They just needed all the nooks and crannies cleaned out which can only be done when you have the irons separate from the cabinet and head.

I went to the Internet for help.  (Can I just say here, that the irony of using the Internet to get a 1923 treadle machine clean and running does not escape me.)  I found these directions for cleaning treadle irons, which seem very thorough.  They explain how to take everything apart and clean and paint each individual piece and then put it back together and how to adjust them so they're working right again.  My irons aren't in the kind of condition that would warrant doing all this, and since they're SO SMOOTH, I didn't want to undo anything.  So I kept on looking for some less extreme ways to clean up the irons.  Then I found this which clearly states it's not a tutorial, but it is.  This sounded more my speed.  Here are the irons before:
yarma
I hauled them outside and started scrubbing.  I scrubbed and I scrubbed and scrubbed some more.  I found that the toothbrush did a better job than the big scrub brush, so I scrubbed them with the toothbrush.  There was rinsing and washing and rinsing, and more washing and it pretty much went on all day.  I would let them dry, and then see more that needed scrubbing, so I'd scrub again.  It was like doing laundry for a newborn - it just never seemed to end.  Finally, I decided they were clean enough, so I oiled them.  I put oil in the moving parts (that you would normally oil), but I also coated the whole shebang with oil (just standard sewing machine oil).  I rubbed it in (and got out some more dirt) and made sure that every surface of the irons was oiled down.  Then they came inside for the night.

The next day I started waxing them - Turtle Wax.  Again, all the little nooks and crannies had to be waxed and then buffed when it dried.  It took me two more days to finish the waxing, but now that it's all done, they glow!  It was so worth it and I keep looking at the before and after photos:
yarma
See what I mean?  I didn't paint them and the gold on the logo is still there (it doesn't show in the "after" because of the lighting), it's a dark, antique gold.  They look so much happier than they did, and they still move like butter, no noise, no clanks, no squeaks, nothing.

Next up is the cabinet portion of the machine.  I'm off to mix a batch of Murphy's Oil Soap!  Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Edgings

yarma
I've gotten a couple more inches done on my sweater edging.  This is essentially a seed stitch variation, and while seed stitch isn't hard to knit, I always have to think about it when I'm knitting it - unlike stockinette or ribbing.  I've only got a bit more to go though before I switch to stockinette for the majority of the knitting (the seed stitch variation will continue up the front bands), so things should start moving faster soon.  The other thing I have working in my favor is that this is an A-line sweater - it's bigger at the lower edge and decreases towards the top, so I'm working the longest rows now.  

No blogging tomorrow - crazy day!  I will be back Friday though, and Max and Logan can't wait to show you what we've done on the treadle machine.  (Yes, it's been a group effort.)

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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Sock On!

yarma 
This sock knitting for Mickael is going along pretty well!  From dreading working with the yarn, it seems to be knitting up faster than I had anticipated.  The stitch pattern has just enough to it that I have to pay attention, but not so much that I can't put it down and pick it up quickly.  I will definitely remember this one, and might have to make myself a pair of socks in this pattern.  (Just in case you missed it the first time, it's the Go With the Flow pattern - all knits and purls!)  I'm 2-1/2 repeats into the leg and I've got to measure against his other socks to see if I'll be doing 3 repeats or 4 before the heel turn.  Either way, I'm more than halfway there!

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Monday, April 01, 2013

Just Trying to be Helpful!

yarma 
This weekend I took the treadle machine apart so I can clean it.  It's now in four pieces - the machine head, the cabinet, the underbelly of the cabinet (this the part the head swings into when the cabinet is closed and probably has a better name, but I'm referring to it as the underbelly), and the treadle irons.  Turns out, the cabinet makes a great Fortress of Solitude for Max.
yarma
Why did I take it apart?  Because what's safe for the irons isn't good for the wood pieces and what's safe for the wood won't work on the irons, and pretty much nothing I use on those parts needs to be anywhere near the machine head if I want to have decals left in the end.  Also, now that everything is separate I can really get into all the nooks and crannies and clean things up REALLY well.  I took lots of pictures, made notes and all screws and parts are in individual baggies with labels inside.  Also, I found out that I'm missing a few screws (not a surprise), so I'll have to see about getting some replacements.

There were enough comments from Friday's post about people who had/have/are looking for/need to clean up treadle machines, I thought I'd list a few links for parts and information.  Also I'm going to tag this post (and tag Friday's post as well) with "treadle sewing machine" so if you click the tag, it will list all posts with that tag and put any additional information I stumble across all in one place.  Sound good?

Vintage Sewing Machines:  This is a group on Ravelry, and you do have to be a Rav member to get to it, but they've got lots of information and links and cover anything from really, really old chainstitch treadle machines, all the way into the 1970's.  It's a helpful and friendly group and just reading through the old threads, I got a bunch of information.  Also, check their pages - lots of info there too.

ISMACS:  This is the site for the International Sewing Machine Collectors Society.  They have a huge amount of information here.  Old manuals, a catalog of the Singer decals (great to identify a machine on Craig's List, assuming the photo quality is good enough - huge assumption there), serial number dating information, needle information, all kinds of things, and not just Singer or treadles either.

Treadle On:  This is a mailing/discussion list for treadle fanatics, but the site has a lot of information on it as well, particularly cleaning, and fixing treadle machines, but also what to look for when buying one and other helpful information.  I tried to subscribe to the list, but never heard anything from them. Maybe the Internet gnomes ate the message, I don't know.

Sew-Classic:  Parts and Supplies as well as articles and reviews of older machines.  I haven't ordered from her yet, but I will be placing an order soon.  The Ravelry group recommends her a lot.  I would have ordered from her when I got the parts my Featherweight needed, but I couldn't find oil pads on her site at the time - they're under "Misc. Screws and Fasteners."  (At that time, I ordered from 221parts.com instead, but they really specialize in Featherweight parts ((like the name says)), and don't have everything I need for the treadle.)  Oooh, look, double parentheses!

You can find treadle sewing machines on Craig's List (keep a sense of humor here) and in antique stores.  Yard/garage sale season is just getting started so you might be able to track something down there as well.  Ebay and Etsy both tend to run high on old sewing machines (you're paying for convenience) and be sure to watch feedback and be aware that shipping is going to be crazy high even for an electric machine out of a cabinet (or a treadle head, alone).  Sewing machines aren't easy to pack properly and there are horror stories out there of how things have been shipped.  With the size of a treadle cabinet and irons, I'd just stay local.  Also Goodwill runs an auction site and sells sewing machines as well, but again, unless the machine is local to you, you're paying shipping and you have no way of knowing how a machine works.

Hopefully, these links and info will keep you busy for a bit.  I'm going to start cleaning from the bottom up, so treadle irons will be cleaned shortly!  Let me know if you have any questions, I'll try to help out or send you places that actually can!

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