16 January 2020

Speaking of prezzies

I "met" Louise Watson on Instagram and we have developed an "online" friendship. She illustrated a book of recipes as a fund raiser for a community center in her small town in the Cotswold.

The illustrations are both sketches and photos of her wonderfully embroidered baked goods. You can see them on her website. You should check it out. At any rate, I traded her one of my sketchbooks for her "Little Book of Baking" and when her recipe book arrived, it was accompanied by the most wonderfully embroidered rook which she had made. What a lovely surprise this was.

When I first framed it I used a mat but that really took away from the torn edges of the piece.

This is now hanging right in my little office area where I can see it every day.

13 January 2020

Improvisational Quilt

I was itching to make something on the Nora. After the replacement belt came and I experienced how silky the Nora stitched, it has been a struggle to keep my hands off. The belt is a bit too tight for my liking and I think I mentioned I bought a neoprene belt which will arrive tomorrow with the foot pedal/rheostat for the Mira. Two prezzies in one day. Meanwhile I have been sneaking over and doing a few improvisational blocks of the Nora

I have also been listening to a 20 hour long recorded book so I seem to just keep on going. I say Improv but there is actually a lot of planning, ripping and redoing that goes on. I did get the main body finished.

Then I had to add a "border"of sorts to wrap around the backing so I can frame it.


I now start on the machine quilting, then move on to the hand stitching and a very small amount of beading. So this isn't over til it's framed and on my wall.

Finished piece in February.

09 January 2020

The Necchi Saga

I started this journey with the testing of my sister's Necchi. I found the Mira and later the Julia. The Julia (Supernova- the most sought after machine) turned out to be such a massive disappointment. The man I bought it from didn't accept returns so I messaged him, just to give him a heads up, that I would be selling it on Ebay so he wouldn't be shocked when he saw the listing. He was mortified that the machine was not working out for me and bought it back. That was a relief. I'll tell you, it is rare to find such a principled seller on Ebay. He is truly a peach.

The pins for Mira did not fit in the dado slots of the blond sewing machine table. I had a friend who is a woodwork come over and we managed (HE managed) to get the hinges in. We started to set the machine on the pins only to find the pins didn't line up. The original pair was offset and the Mira pair was straight. Now I had to actually hire him to cut new dados and long story short got the Mira hinges in the blonde cabinet.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, I had seen this beautiful sewing machine cabinet for sale about 30 minutes away. The sticking point is she wanted $200. for the cabinet which had a Necchi Nora set in it but the machine didn't work. It was my birthday and as a treat to myself I offered her $150. which she accepted and I bought that beautiful sewing machine cabinet. That's when I discovered the Nora that came in that gorgeous cabinet had a decomposing motor belt on it. After removing the belt and cleaning and oiling, it stitched by turning the flywheel SILENTLY. YES, like silk. OMG, this sewed just like the machine my sister had. When the new belt arrived in the mail it was instant love. I put it back in the cabinet and used it all day. You'll see the Improv piece I have been working on soon.

The next thing I discovered was my disappointment with the first two machine was probably caused by the foot pedal.

It is a button. It is on or off. There was no variable speeds. The Nora in the gorgeous cabinet had a knee rheostat like a modern machine and would start off and stay slow for sewing the oddly shaped improv pieces. I think it was THAT that was such a disappointment on the Mira. On Ebay I found a foot pedal with the appropriate Bakelite plug to fit the Mir and I bought it. I think this may be the key.

I'll report on the rheostat when it arrives and that will probably be the end of this saga. As a side note, I found a Vintage Necchi Facebook group which I joined as well as a Vintage Necchi "Market" group which I joined. I will see after the rheostat comes whether I will keep the Mira but so far I am inclined to. These are wonderful machines and way ahead of the times when they were built.

06 January 2020

Table legs repaired

 The new cabinet had the two left legs bent to the left (see below) as if someone had leaned or fallen against it. One leg was original and the other a mismatched replacement. With some creative hammering and glue for the replacement leg whose screw shaft was stripped, the cabinet is now nice and straight.

Bent above and straight below

Good deal for a $20. cabinet

02 January 2020

(Embarrassingly) another new/old machine

This was the actual machine I wanted and don't you know a few days after buying the BU Mira, this went up for sale from the same man. The pins which were too fat for the Mira fit the julia perfectly so Julia was the first in a table. I am getting another sewing table tomorrow for the Mira. The sewing table comes with a broken Necchi Nora which looks like it was just purchased in the 50's. I hope to figure out what is wrong with it and I will then sell the loser. So far I am shockingly disappointed in the Julia.

I very quickly sold the Riccar that came in this blond cabinet for $50 to a young woman in the next town. A good deal for both of us.
And yet there is more...........

30 December 2019

Brian's Quilt finished

 It looks so great on his bed!!

26 December 2019

New (to me) machine

This is a long story. When my sister moved in she had an old Necchi sewing machine in a small sewing cabinet. She wanted to get rid of it so I offered to put it on Craig's List for $50. It was immediately spoken for. She had brought it downstairs and I wanted to make sure it was clean and worked OK. OMG!! I fell in love with this machine and wished I'd never advertised it. It was too late. I think I might have cancelled the transaction but I really didn't have room for it. I have mourned the lost of that velvety smooth running machine since the woman took it away.

It turns out the pink Necchi Supernova was the premiere machine made by Necchi. I found them on Ebay for $300-$500., most without cabinets. Last week I found a Necchi BU Mira, an even older machine. It was manufactured in 1953. It has drop feet dogs, a free motion (darning) foot and needle threader. It had decorative cams as well. It looked really good and was "cleaned and tested" by the seller who dealt in vintage machine. He turned out to be fabulous. More later...

It is greener than it looks in this picture

Two and three sets of the same feet, a straight stitch plate, cams, and in the tiny box is the needle thread. You lay it against the needle using a groove in the threader and a hook goes into the needle so you can hook your thread on it.

Two manual: one for the machine and one for the Wonder Wheel that uses the cams. He had them Velo bound. Who does that?? He is a peach.

The accessories came in this cool cigar box.

I found this sewing table locally. The outside is in bad condition but opened, the oak is perfect. I paid $20. for the sewing table and it came with a machine.

This is the "bonus" machine which I was planning on keeping until yesterday (more about this next post).

The saga continues. The great sewing table I bought had hinges with pins too big to fit the Necchi. I contacted a few people and the Vintage Necchi group on Facebook. The man I bought the machine from said he was sending me two pairs of different hinges that both fit the Necchi. Can't wait to get them. I also need to re-do the feet on the left side of the sewing table. They are both bent. More about that too.