FREE ALPHABET LETTER

  • This cool  Nails Alphabet  continues this week with the letter M, free in 4" size til 21 January 2021.
  • Grab one free letter per week until the alphabet is complete!
  • Also available in more sizes for separate purchase.

LATEST FREE DESIGN

  • Despite a vaccine on the horizon, experts are predicting that 2021 might be even worse than 2020.   Click this link to find this quarantine symbol free in 4" size.

 NEW DESIGNS

  •  Find something new in the Birds collection
  •  Check the Playing Around page to find this All Star Applique design.
  • This is something my mom used to say. Find it in the Wit & Wisdom catalog:
  • Yummy cheezies -- a Canadian treat, for sure -- new in the Food & Edibles collection
  • There's something about this alchemy symbol that's really appealing, although its meaning is rather pedestrian. Find it on the Symbols page.

JEN'S PROJECTS

Scampers on the Tree 

This year we had to make adjustments to our decorations because of Scampers, who just loved to jump into the Christmas tree! 

Needless to say, we don't want him there, at least not in person. But we do like to put our cats on the tree in the form of homemade ornaments. 

Click here to see all three of our 2020 Scampers ornaments.

JEN'S MACHINES

Monarch-badged Class 15

This is another Japanese-made "clone" of the Singer 15, dating likely to the early 50s, though there's no way to be certain.  These machines were made in the millions, so there are lots of them around, and they can often be had for a few dollars. With a little TLC, they can be brought back to life, and will sew again like new.   

This one is a case in point.

My sister picked it up at a yard sale for around $10, back when I first started collecting machines. It was dirty and seized, with a few rust spots here and there on the chrome, but it came with a full set of attachments and a nice cabinet, so the price seemed right, even though this isn't a rare machine.

At first, I wasn't entirely sure I could get it working; in addition to the bits of rust and other signs of neglect, the wiring to the motor was a bit iffy. I cleaned it up and polished off the rust, and I lubricated it and got it turning again. Then I replaced the original motor with a new motor,  just so I could try it out (I'll get around to rewiring the original one one of these days).

I had to fiddle with the tensioner a bit -- it's a little odd -- but the machine is sewing beautifully now, and I've made a couple of projects on it. 

Both the Singer 15 and the various "clones" are common finds at yard sales and thrift shops, in part because so many of them were produced. Some are colorful and sleek, but others -- like this one -- have the classic lines and appearance of the original Singer 15. 

These vintage machines don't have the bells and whistles of modern machines, but there are good reasons why many quilters and crafters prefer sewing on them. My late dear friend Donna used to haul her mother's old Singer 15 with her to quilting classes, preferring it to any of the newer machines she tried. Those modern machines were lighter to carry, but Donna swore that none of them could match the stitch quality of her trusty 15. 

Kenmore C877.19

This beauty is yet another of the post-war Japanese class 15 machines: strong and reliable, it's a great stitcher.

This one is more angular in design than the Arrow from last week and again shows the variation in design among these machines. I love its yummy two-tone mocha and cream finish --amazingly, it's still in perfect condition.

Like the other C877 machines I've featured, this one is badged Kenmore, but it's one of those imported directly by the Canadian retailer Simpsons-Sears, I'd guess sometime in the 1950s.  It's a low-shank straight-stitcher, and features a drop-feed knob and the extra lift in the presser foot that makes it easy to insert and remove thicker materials. The reverse function is a push-button rather than the lever preferred by Singer and by several of the other imports.

Interestingly, unlike most of the imported 15-class machines, this one has its tension knob on the left end of the machine, like the original Model 15, rather than on the front of the head. That's partly why I'm dating it to the early 50s. 

This beautiful machine is ruggedly made, and like all the imports of the period was built to last a lifetime and to handle most household sewing tasks. It will sew through just about anything you can fit under the presser foot, from denim to silk. It's also super simple to operate with no complicated controls, and easy to maintain, so would be a great machine for a beginner.

You often see these post-war machines advertised on ebay and elsewhere as "industrial strength". This is nonsense. Though they are more robust than the plastic machines sold cheaply today, these are domestic machines, made for home sewing of clothing, quilts, and other household items. They will tackle curtains and slipcovers, but they were not designed or intended to sew horse blankets, sails, or belt leather. People who tell you otherwise are either misinformed or deliberately misleading. Be skeptical of any ad that describes one of these machines as "industrial" or "heavy duty".

If half decently looked after, these machines will give another lifetime of service. This one is well over 60 years old, and is still sewing perfectly. I like to imagine that, in another 60 years, someone else will be marveling at its elegance and durability. 

NEWS & DOINGS

  • Scampers is terribly nosy, and one of the things he can't resist is jumping up onto the computer. It's amusing to see his determination: no matter how many times you put him down he keeps returning. But it can get annoying when you're trying to work or watch a video. 
  • A number of  jurisdictions have imposed tighter restrictions in the face of rising Covid numbers. There are still stores open here, but we are urged not to go out unless it's necessary. I guess we'll be staying in for a while yet.
  • We had some very sad news this week -- DH's dad passed away from Covid 19. DH was not able to travel to attend the funeral, but the family are hoping to have a proper memorial in the fall, on what would have been their parents' 70th anniversary. Fingers crossed that we can travel safely by then.

I'm still hoping someone will offer to trade me a copy of this book, which I'd love to find for a friend.

If anyone out there has a copy in decent shape, and would be willing to  send it on to me, I'd be delighted to send you $75 worth of embroidery designs in exchange. 


Let me know  if you can help me out.  I know my friend would be thrilled if I could find one of these for next Christmas!

  • I'm finally finished packing away all the Christmas decor, so it's time to turn my attention to the projects I've got lined up for next year. That's the best thing about the Covid lockdown: there's no excuse to put off those craft projects. 
  • My new year's resolution is to get back on a sensible eating program after months of stuffing myself with treats during quarantine. I'm hoping to take off the weight I gained over the past year, but also to address the issues I've been having with arthritis pain. Wish me luck! 
  • I've lately been alternating between Hightail and WeTransfer, both of which are utilities for sending large files. If you order designs you'll receive my e-mail via one of these services. 
  • If you have ordered some designs and have not had a response me within 24 hours, it means there's a glitch somewhere, so please please LET ME KNOW!  If I don't hear from you I won't know that my message didn't make it through, so please just send a quick e-mail to say you didn't get the designs, and I will make it right or issue a refund.
  • For some reason, my Yahoo account doesn't seem able to send messages to AOL accounts, and a few other non-standard addresses, although I am able to *receive* messages from those accounts. However, messages sent via Hightail can get through when my Yahoo ones don't, so if you have ordered, please watch for a message from me coming via my Hightail account.  If more than a day goes by and you do not have any response from me, and there's nothing in your spam folder, please  do send me a note to let me know your designs haven't arrived. I'll do my best to get the designs to you, but if I can't get them through, I will refund your payment.
  • Iif you happen to notice any missing images on the site, I'd love to hear about them, as Yola occasionally deletes them for some reason. Just let me know which pages seem to be missing images and I'll make the repairs.
  • If you've ever wondered what size of design you should purchase for your project, you might want to check out this discussion of how to make a paper template to try a design against your work, even if you don't yet own the design.
  • If you're confused about the ordering process and would like more information, there are instructions here; if you're curious about why it's set up the way it is, you can read a bit of the history at length here.
  • When sending me your list of designs, please be sure to state the name of the design you want exactly as it appears on the site, in order to avoid confusion when I'm filling your order. Because these are electronic products, I won't be able to replace a design if I send the wrong one because the name was incorrectly stated!
  • Very rarely, Paypal fails to send me confirmation of an order, and if that happens I may not realize that something is amiss. If you place an order and don't hear anything from me within a few hours, please do let me know and I'll make it right.
  • I have updated the instructions for turning just about any embroidery design into an ornament, either felt-backed or embroidered on both sides. Find these new instructions here.

FEATHERWEIGHT PROJECTS

Interested in making one of the lovely sewing machine totes and cases that are all the rage on line? They come in a variety of styles, but all look great in plain black with vintage decal designs stitched in gold! 

Find all manner of decals at this link, or grab the same set that Andrea and Cheryl used for their projects. On that same page, you'll also find links to on-line sources for patterns and instructions.

Andrea made the slipcover shown above; the tote at left was created by Sylvia, while Cheryl sent in the picture below. You can find many more images to spark your imagination if you search "Featherweight Case Covers" on line.

Look at this beautiful mat that Darlene made for her Featherweight! I love the black corners and the black and white badge on the pink fabric. What a beautiful job. 

Below are two gorgeous totes created by Nancy B. What a stunning pair.


It's so nice to see the designs come to life on all these beautiful projects.  

Paula P has been very creative in using the Featherweight-related designs. The accessory case on the right was stitched with gold metallic thread using the FW Redwork design. And I love the little folding tray made with the Heart-Hands FW design. Seeing all these beautiful creations makes me feel I should be getting away from the computer and into the sewing room.

  • Check the bottom of each site page to find additional freebies, or click here to find some Potter-related free designs!

Look for more freebies throughout the site!