Monday, July 21, 2008

Never let it be said we're not up for a challenge! We got an unusual request from a local lady who had heard we had a quilting machine; namely, to repair a woolen underlay that she wanted to keep on using. The cotton liner on one side had shredded but the wool part was still good, and new ones of this quality are in the hundreds of dollars.

She brought it to us hoping it would go on the gammill, but it was far too thick for the hopping foot, and we didn't want to risk throwing the timing off by even trying.

Enter Ethel, the ancient industrial Singer. I bought this years ago, hoping I'd be able to free motion on it, but I suspect that she didn't like the frivolous nature of the request and refused to co-operate. (And you can't drop the feed dogs which was probably the real reason.)

As an aside, this machine was named after Aunty Ethel, the seamstress who sewed our Mum's wedding dress. She never married so hence had no children of her own and was reputed to be a no-nonsense, rather severe type. Mum's cousins were always sent to stay with her when their mother was in a 'delicate' condition, so the older ones knew a stint at Aunty Ethel's meant a new sibling when they returned home. Apparently it was a relief on both sides when the baby finally appeared, because she wasn't exactly equipped for entertaining small children, and at least one of the cousins wasn't good at behaving under any circunstances.
We thought this sturdy capable workhorse would have been cast along the no-nonsense lines of Aunty , so Ethel she became.
We weren't quite sure how to best go about this, so it was all guesswork. The new liner was pressed into lengths to give us lines to sew along, then pinned to the underlay (Queensize, by the way)to keep it in place.And it's over to Ethel.....
Can you see why we've been referring to this as "The dead sheep" all weekend?
Keryn and I are both in awe of this old machine.She sewed beautifully over the lumpy bumpy wool, and never missed a beat, as long as we didn't let the horribly heavy mass pull against her. At one stage I said it was like sewing through a gigantic cheese sandwich, it was just so thick and spongy, but Ethel trundled steadily along and completed the task beautifully. Sometimes people wonder why we have so many machines, but we can always find one to suit a particular job, and I admire them all for their different strengths.
Look at that, it must be at least 3/4" thick! This morning we're going to whip around the edge, and hope the lady is pleased with our result- she didn't think it would be possible.
Here's my project of the moment, but it's going to stay secret for a while. (Looks a bit like a centipede, doesn't it?)There are hundreds and hundreds of little 1" hst involved, so it will take a LOT of sewing. Don't expect a finished object any time soon.


meggie July 23, 2008  

I hope that customer is suitably impressed! Dear old Ethel to the rescue!

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