Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pool noodles and chain stitchers

I run across a lot of great ideas on my quilting and sewing machine lists. Sometimes I use them right away, sometimes I file them in the back of my mind for later. Last night I stopped by the drugstore to pick up a couple of things and walked through the seasonal clearance area. I was glancing idly at the items, no, I don't need a singing fish wall plaque, or kids goggles, when I saw the pool noodles. Originally $4.99, clearance 75 percent off.
My sweetie gave me the "what now?" look when I started pulling out pool noodles and handing them to him to carry. I just said "quilts" and didn't try to explain as we carried four noodles to the checkout.

I tend to work on my quilts in stages. A set of blocks can sit for years before I make them into a flimsy (I have some from a 2001 exchange to prove it) and a flimsy can sit for more years until it becomes a quilt. But sometimes, like now, I have tops that I'll soon be quilting, and it's hard to keep them from getting wrinkled. I'd read the suggestion to roll on pool noodles and wanted to try it.

And it works. I rolled the Boxy Stars on one and bow tie on another. No added wrinkles and I'll be able to tuck them out of the way while I prep backings, etc., this weekend. If I had the room I'd buy more and store all my flimsies on them.

In other news from yesterday. My Willcox and Gibbs sews! After evicting the spiders and giving everything a good oil and lube, earlier in the week, yesterday was the day to install a new treadle belt and try it out. It sews!

Chain-stitchers are so cool. Instead of having a bobbin and using two threads to make a lock-stitch, chain-stitchers use a single thread which is looped to make a chain on the back and a straight stitch on the top of the fabric. Chain-stitch sewing machines were among the first marketed, and are still used for a lot of applications today, including basting and sewing closed bags of pet food and other products.

I was expecting to have more trouble than I did getting the W&G to stitch. It has a very odd threading path and a tiny, tiny needle. But once it was threaded I got good stitches almost right away. I still need to do a little cleaning, and find the package of new needles I bought for it. But now I can't wait to try some ideas for decorative stitching using it.

I'm planning a big day of sewing today, so more later.