Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cams.. quick update

Just a quick update. I now have all but one of the cams. #22. It looks like I might have to pay a bit more for that than I would like, but I'll keep looking. I will probably never use it anyway lol.

I also managed to get an origional straight stich plate with the AK3 on it. I've also got a monogrammer. I havent had time to play with that yet.

There are still a few more 'toys' I'd like to add to my collection, and I'm sure in time I'll get them :)

When I get enough free time to play properly I'll get some smaples done and post them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Its the little things that make a difference

I've been busy making up some new little outfits ready for listing on Jaki's attic. As usual I'm not running to schedule, so its going to be midweek by the time I'm done, but hopefully they'll be worth the effort :)

As you know I've been using my new love for all my standard sewing lately. The wonderful Singer 500a 'Rocketeer' And I have to tell you, the more I use this machine the more I fall in love with it. The only problem I have now is my latest addiction.... buying attachemnts for the 500a... and there are some fantastic attachments out there.

One of these attachemnts is small and very simple and for the life of me I dont know why they dont make them any more...... it is of course the humble seam guide

This little gadget screws into places to the right of your needle plate and you adjust it to the seam depth you want. The edge of your fabric simply run against the guide and you get neater straighter more even seams. I have found it invaluable for hemming. Before I would measure and pin and measure again, now I simpley make sure the distance between the needle and the seam guide is the right size for the hem I want, fold my fabric to fit the gap, lower my presser foot and I'm off.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Singer 500a, and the toys that go with it :)

Ok, so I bought the buttonholer attachement. I hate making button holes, and cringe at the thought of having to use a button hole foot, so I figured this was the thing to try.... I LOVE IT!!!

I may actually start making clothes with buttons on now lol

There are lots of buttonholers available for the singer slant needle machines. I bought the pretty one lol. Ok. so the buttonholer is much the same as others that are out there, except it comes in a pink plastic clam shaped box, often refered to as a jetson because of its futuristic shape.

It comes with 5 different templates for different buttonhole sizes, including a keyhole buttonhole, and additional templates are available. I will upload some pictures of finished buttonholes in the very near future :)

The 'Jetson' buttonholer (part number 489500) comes in 2 colors. Pink, for slant shaft machines and Green for standard straight shaft machines.

Its going to take a couple of runs to get perfection, but I have plenty time and lots of scrap fabric. One thing I can say for certain is, if I'd had one of these years ago I would have been adding button fasteners to EVERYTHING.... lol

The other totally AWSOME toy I've bought to go with the 500a is a ruffler attachment. At first glance the ruffler is a daunting contraption, infact its scary as hell lol, looking like some minature medieval torture device, but, like most of the attachments with a little bit of practice this thing is amazing..... no more hand gathing for me!!

Not only does this amazing gadget gather, but it makes perfect pleats too and in various sizes..... what a bonus!!! I am going to be such a busy girl lol..... I can picture lots of little dresses with pleats and ruffles and buttonholes. Not to mention binding (Yes I have invested in a binding foot... review to come soon) and lots of decorative stitching.... The 500a has 24 cams for decorative stitiching. I'm now just missing 3 from a full set. The elusive #17, #22 which comes with an overcast foot, and #23 which is a basting stitch..... I'll keep looking. I've seen them, but they've been listed at $20 each or something equally stupid. I dont mind waiting until they turn up at a reasonable price :)

Next thing I want is a hemming foot... not a rolled hem foot, but one that will fold a nice hem.. again in varying depth.

I will upload lots of pics soon to show all the amazing things that can be acheived with this fantastic machine. I know the modern ones are touch button or a quick turn of a dial, but they dont hold a light to this wonderful vintage old lady...... And they wear out a lot quicker too!!!!

More accessory reveiws coming soon (as soon as I've played with them lol)

Looking for sewing machine parts and accessories??? why not check out Jaki's Attic

Monday, July 20, 2009

OMG I'm in LOVE... with the singer 500a slant shank

This machine, the Singer 500a Rocketeer, is THE best thing since they invented the wheel, and its only taken me 49 years to discover it LOL

I love just about everything about it................
  • Its quite. The quietest sewing machine I've EVER used
  • The stitch quality is absolutely amazing
  • The drop in bobbin is ultra simple to use
  • The light actually lights up the whole work area, not just the needle (what a bonus!)
  • The button hole attachement I just bought make fantastic button holes with ease
  • It has loads of built in stitches
  • Stitch selection guide conveniently located in hinged lid of machine
  • Multi position needle, not just left and center.
  • It has drop in cams for even more decorative stitches
  • Did I mention it was QUIET lol
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure
  • Its double needle capable (2 seperate needles at same time) or you can use a twin needle
  • Threading guide located inside hinged nose plate.. super convenient
  • It sews anything I put under the presser foot. On my other machine I have trouble sewing elastic. The singer 500a loves it.
  • There are oodles of extra gadgets to add to it, including a really great ruffler/pleater and a monogramer (I can feel my credt card melting as I type lol)
  • Its just an absolutely beautiful machine to look at.

The only thing I've found so far that I DONT like is the rather strange foot peddle. It isnt like the standard peddles you get with modern sewing machines, infact, in all my years of sewing I havent seen one like it. Its the same sort of shape as a regular peddle, but instead of the whole of the top going down when you press your foot on it there is just a big button on the peddle that you press with the ball of your foot........ its a strange to say the least, and I cannot deny I much prefer the conventional peddle..... ahhh well.... if thats the only fault this amazing singer 500a has then I dont have much to complain about :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Singer 500a Slant Shank "Rocketeer"

I dropped on the BIGGEST bargain last weekend.....

A Singer 500a "Rocketeer" sewing machine.

These fantastic machines were made between 1960 and 1963 (mines a 1960 model) They are amazing machines and currently selling on ebay for around $300... yes a 50 yr old sewing machine is getting top dollar, and it deserves it.

They are inarguably one of THE top machines ever made by singer. Even now the stitch quality on the one I've just bought is amazing. The machine is the quietist I've EVER owned (and I've owned a fair number of machines over the years) and they have some super add ons.

This one only had 1 foot with it, only one of the spool pins were intact, and there was only 1 bobbin, so I'm going to have to buy a few things to go with it. That doesnt matter tho... seeing them on ebay at $300 with next to nothing with them convinces me that I have the bargain of the year. This fantastic machine cost me THREE dollars, yep, just $3... no zeros on the end........

Just think what profit I could make if I was ever crazy enough to sell it. I'm not going to tho. I sew for a living at Jaki's Attic and the quality of sewing I can produce with this machine is far superior to anything I've been able to do with the new ones. The singer 500a was the rolls royce of singer sewing machines in its time, selling for around $150 when new. In 1960 that was a LOT of money , but these machines are built to last. My modern machine clunks along quite noisily, and refuses to sew elastic properly, the 500a whirrs along quietly sewing anything I give it.

Its supposed to be able to sew through several layers of denim, and leather etc, but I havent tried it on that yet.... I'll let you know how I get on when I put it to the test.

I'm now on the outlook for attachments, I've just bought a button holer... it looks like a great little tool. I HATE making button holes, so hopefully this little gadget will cure me of that. I cant wait for it to arrive :) I was also looking at a monogrammer, but I think I might hold off on that for just a little while until I get a good collection of feet and some cams..... it has a good collection of built in stitches, probably more than I'll ever actually use, but it also takes cams for additional decorative stitches. Its not so much a case of needing them, its a case of ' I Want them because they're there lol (I'm not a spoiled brat honestly!!!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where it all began.... part 2 Update on the Children situation....

Its been a long 2 years since I married Bob, and time has just flown by..... a contadiction I know, but life is one big contradiction :)

Today is July 22 2009

The childrens dad was up before the judge today.... He got probation. I dont know how he managed that, he's already on parole, but hey, what do I know about american law!

He hasnt called yet. The only reason we know whats happened is because we checked the court records online... its the only way we find anything out.

So, now we're back in limbo again. Unable to make any arrangements for the kids (or plans for ourselves) because we have less than no idea how much longer they're going to be here. Their father could call tomorrow and say he's on his way to collect them and that would be that. On the other hand (and much more likely) we wont hear from him for a couple more months and then he'll make more excuses as to why he hasnt been in touch, make the kids more promises about what he's going to buy them when they go back there and then he'll forget about them for a little while longer. After all, he doesnt have the responsibility of little kids to look after so he can do what he wants when he wants. We're the ones that cant do anything or go anywhere without having to think about the kids first..... and they're not even ours!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Where it all began

I find it hard to beleive that next year I'll be 50 years old...... how the heck did THAT happen???????

I was born in England. A little town called Bawtry on the South Yorkshire border. Tho until the mid 70s South Yorkshire was known as The West Riding of Yorkshire.

Being a child of the 60s (tho that is open to debate, My husband says I'm a child of the 70s because thats when I was in my teens!!) I've seen a lot of changes over the years. Flower Power, Color TV, Man on the Moon, LCD watches and the explosion of the micro chip technology.... and boy did it explode, but if it hadnt I wouldnt be sat here writing this, and you wouldnt be sat there reading it :)

My mother, who's 75 this year (and also wondering how the heck that happened LOL) is a techno junkie. She has always been facinated by technology and has to have the latest gadgets. Its down to her that I ended up on the web. She had a pc long before I did, and I would go visit so that I could use yahoo chat and icq...
Eventually in 1999 I bought my very first pc and retired the old atari st to the black hole in the cupboard forever.

Over the years I've met a lot of different people from different backgrounds, and some of these have become long term friends who I hold dear. Infact, I met my husband in room 28 40s on yahoo chat. Who'd have thought it.... forget the mail brides... I got myself my very own email husband lol

I first started talking to Bob late 1999. He was one of the regulars in room 28, he was funny and charming and never inappropriate, but for a long time he was just 'one of the regulars' I dont know what happened to change that, or exactly when it changed, but eventually.... after talking on the net and the phone and exchanging emails, I moved to NC and we got married May 18 2007.

Life has a way of throwing us a curve ball. Just when you think you know which way your life is heading that curve ball hits you and everything changes. Things were no different in 2007.

I was a new wife of just 5 weeks, getting used to living in a new coutry and adjusting to driving on the wrong side of the road. Looking forward to a relativly peaceful existance in my later years, after all, I'm rapidly approaching 50, my only daughter is grown up with a child of her own. I'd done my bit, right? It was time for me to find time for me... right??????

Wrong....... (incoming curve ball!!!!!!!!!)

We got a call, asking for help. My brother in law was in jail(He'd been there about a year) and we got a call saying that his young children weren't being cared for properly by their mother who was on hard drugs, and could we take them in for a few months until their father got out of jail. They were just 8 and 2 yrs old. They needed to be somewhere safe and if we didnt take them they would be split up and put in care by DCYF.

I cant deny that I felt a huge pang of guilt taking in kids that I didnt know and, apart from my very recent marriage, had no connection to. My daughter and grandson lived with me in the UK and I worried that D would think I had deserted him just to replace him with some other kids. I called England.......

I have never been more proud of my then 9yr old grandson than during that phone call. I had told him what was happening with the children up in RI, and asked him how he felt about us taking them in, explaining that I was in no way trying to replace him. His reply choked me with pride.. " Nanna, you love me. I know that, and my mum loves me and looks after me. You have to go get them and make them safe. Little children should be safe. Besdies, I'm irreplaceable (laugh)" I came off that phone call in tears.

We got the kids....

What should have been 7 or eight months soon turned into a year. That year has turned into 2 years. We still have the children. Their father got out of jail in november 2008, and had to do a 3 month program in RI before he could come and get the children ... we heard from him less than when he was locked up. He never sent the kids anything for christmas not even a christmas card. I was expecting him to call early christmas morning so he could share some of the childrens excitement. I was wrong.... it was 3:15 that afternoon before he called... he was with the childrens mother... both of them spoke to both children, and he spoke to my husband... the call lasted 9 minutes in total!!!!! Yeh.. Happy Christmas Kids. It didnt really bother M, she was only 2 when she came to stay with us, so she isnt really phased by whats happening with hr parents, but it upsets J... He was 9 and his dad had made him promises about how good things were going to be when he got out of jail, and now he didnt even have time to talk to him.

Their dad called back on 28th December (with their mother again) and they spoke to J for a fwe minutes. M was already in bed by the time they called :( New years came and went.... no call from the parents to wish their kids happy new years. Then january 9th came, J's 10th birthday. Turning 10 is a landmark.... double figures. It should be special.... There was no card in the mail, no present and he went all day without a phonecall..... Until 7.45pm. His dad called him. Didnt speak to him very long (boy thats a shock!!) I found out later that the only reason he's called was because my husband had phoned him and told him to, but J doesnt need to know that.

M's birthday is just 3 days later, on the 12th. again no card, no present, and this time no phone call either!!! Fortunately she didnt even notice.

The origional arrangement when he got out of jail was that when his 3 month program was up the childrens dad would come and get them..... That deadline was February 17th, it was approaching fast, but we were at the end of January and hadnt heard from him for almost 3 weeks and M hadnt talked to him since December 28th....... this is a man who used to say his kids were his world, and he cant even pick up a phone to call them!

Now, 6 months after getting out he was back in jail. We dont know how long for yet. He's on remand for now. His trial is late July