So Frustrating!

The Germs Are A Flyin

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been a bit lax at reading and commenting on your blog posts. Unfortunately I’ve been ill. My lack of energy kept me from doing anything but relaxing on my couch. Thankfully I have turned the corner and am finally on the mend. This uptick in energy has helped me to catchup on my reading and my interactions with your posts.

Just Before

Shortly before hitting the wall I was working on finishing up three on-going art pieces as well as a brand new one. All that was left to do on the on-going art pieces was the hand stitching. The new art piece had reached the quilting stage.

The plan was to quilt my project using my Pfaff Performance 5.0 because the piece was too small for my longarm machine. Sadly the machine had begun to have issues; issues that I couldn’t ignore. Even though I had been doing regular maintenance the machine just wouldn’t cooperate.

View One-After

After ripping-out my quilting twice I finally threw in the towel and admitted the repair shop was my only alternative. Sad as it was to be without my workhorse I knew I could always rely my old sewing machine, or could I?

My Backup

Knowing that I needed to put it back into use I went to my storage closet to remove my Pfaff 1475CD. This trusty machine has been with me since the early 1990’s. I’ve successfully used it to create many, many items.

The machine had been sitting idle for more than a year which meant it would probably need a bit of cleaning. I removed the cover and layers of dust that had gathered. Next I checked for any lint accumulation that may have been forgotten, replaced the needle, wound a bobbin, threaded the machine and grabbed my art piece. As I released the lever that suspended the presser foot in mid-air I assumed the shaft would slide down and engage the presser foot with my fabric. After releasing the lever I waited, and I waited, and I waited but that little critter refused to go down on its own. Who would have thought that my second machine wouldn’t work either?

Time to Dismantle

Since the warranty on my Pfaff 1475CD had expired eons ago I figured I might as well attempt to troubleshoot the problem. I did research on the internet to find a solution. Through my searching I discovered that this is a common problem with this machine. Using the knowledge I acquired I proceeded to disassemble the machine.

I followed all of the suggestions, even enlisting the assistance of my hubby to try to revive my machine. After days of oiling, cleaning, poking and prodding we came to the conclusion that the issue was beyond our abilities. I bet you can guess what happened next…that’s right! Not only did my Pfaff Performance 5.0 take a ride to the repair shop but so did this one.

To the Rescue

I was so distraught. The thought of being without my machines for three weeks along with the fatigue of my illness was more than I could bear. Tears came rolling down my face as I struggled with my emotional dilemma. I shared my issue with my family via iMessage. In no time my oldest daughter was offering me the opportunity to use one of hers. I did accept her offer and made arrangements to bring one of her sewing machines home. Having her machine available means the next three weeks, sans my own machines, will be less painful.

Tin Lizzie

Since I’m on the subject of ailing sewing machines I thought I might as well give an update on my Tin Lizzie.

Tim Lizzie Error Message
Tin Lizzie Error Message

For a while I have been sharing the troubles I have been experiencing with my longarm quilt machine. My machine has been randomly deciding not to turn on. I reached out to the company for assistance but received very little if any response. Thankfully the issue I was having was intermittent.

Tin Lizzie
My Tin Lizzie Ansley 26 Longarm Quilt Machine

One day, out-of-the-blue, I received a random phone call from my Tin Lizzie repairman. I was absolutely aghast to hear from him because my previous cries for help had gone unanswered. As our conversation progressed it was obvious he was oblivious to my issues. His reason for calling was totally unrelated. Thankfully he promptly made an appointment to stop by to trouble-shoot my machine.

After diagnosing the performance of my Tin Lizzie he was able to determine that there were parts in the motor which needed replacing. Thank goodness there was actually something wrong and it wasn’t just my crazy thinking. He immediately placed a call to order the parts. As soon as they arrive he will stop back to install them. I plan on enticing him to checkout a few more things while he is here, just because. My warranty expires in a few short months so it’s now or never.

Who would have ever thought that all three of my machines would have issues at the same time!!!

Thank You!

Thank you for letting me cry on your shoulder! I really needed the support.

Talk with you soon!


Friday Favorites: Something New

Friday Favorites

For twenty plus years I have proudly used my Pfaff 1475 sewing machine to assemble countless items, mend clothing, add buttons, attach achievement badges, among other items. It traveled with me to sewing events, retreats, and even on vacation. Throughout all of that it faithfully performed day after day with barely a hiccup.

Late in December of 2015 a new resident moved into my home. Inside the cardboard box was a brand new Pfaff Performance 5.0.

Pfaff Performance 5.0.jpg

So how did this come about, you might ask? As 2015 drew to a close my spouse suggested that we shop for a new sewing machine. I was quite surprised when he offered. Although I was very satisfied with my faithful companion I just couldn’t turn down such an opportunity?

Before setting out for a local vendor we did research on the available machines. We eventually decided to stay with the same brand as my current machine.

As is our custom we took several days to contemplate the purchase. We weighed the pros and cons carefully. After thoroughly analyzing our options we jointly decided to move forward with the purchase. We chose the Pfaff Performance 5.0. Before the close of 2015 the machine was paid for and brought home. Unfortunately it sat unused until early in February.

After unpacking the machine and all of the accessories I connected each of the cords and plugged it in. With the users’ guide on my left I paged through the manual learning how to thread the machine, wind and install bobbins, select a few options from the menu, then put the machine to work. The machine worked flawlessly! I’m very, very thrilled with the choice that we made.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting

Maintenance on my Tin Lizzie


Just like most mechanical machines, long-arm quilt machines require regular maintenance. How nice it would be to just turn on the switch and start quilting. Unfortunately it wouldn’t take long for equipment failure to occur. Listed below are the steps I take to keep my machine running smoothly.

First and foremost is checking the oil. A long-arm quilt machine has many parts requiring lubrication. Each time I get ready to use my machine one of the first things I do is check the oil. Although there’s no hood to lift there is a dip stick. This dip stick is tiny compared to that of a motor vehicle. The procedure is very similar.

The next and most obvious key to successful operation is the accurate threading of the machine. Missing just one step can cause missed stitches and/or broken thread. Long-arm quilt machines are a bit trickier to thread than conventional machines. To simplify the threading process I always leave enough thread in the machine to make one complete pass through the circuit.  That way when it comes time to change thread colors all I do is tie the new thread to the end of the old one and gently pull it through. The only time this fails is when my knot falls apart. Of course it’s not the end of the world. It just means I have to finish it myself.

Thread is inherently accompanied by lint. Lint is an ongoing obstacle; too much accumulation will create problems with the bobbin as well as the movement of the machine on its rails. An accumulation of lint, threads or other debris will prohibit the wheels from moving freely. A bumpy ride makes for wobbly stitches. Wobbly stitches is a recipe for a very unhappy quilter.

To keep my machine gliding effortlessly I regularly clean the rails as well as the wheels that ride on them. Cleaning them is a simple procedure. I utilize a dusting wand to remove obstructions from the rails. To clean the wheels, of which there are many, I hold an ordinary facial tissue against each of the wheels as I advance the quilter. You’d be amazed at the volume of debris one can remove.

The frame, which provides not only support for the long-arm quilt machine but also the path by which the machine travels, is composed of many metal and plastic parts. Those various parts are held together by screws. Each of those screws has the potential to loosen up. On one such occasion I experienced one of the consequences. A screw securing one of the handles on a rod came out. A quick phone call to the supplier of my machine, Park City Quilting, resulted in a very simple solution. Ever since that episode I faithfully check the status of each and every screw. A little turn here and a little turn there keeps everything together.

The last but not least maintenance issue is the all important needle. The needle of a long-arm quilt machine travels at a very high rate of speed. The repetitious movement causes wear and tear on the needle resulting in burrs and/or a dull needle. This deterioration can cause damage to a project. To eliminate that possibility it’s important to regularly replace the needle. Some people believe every project deserves a new needle. Others are of the opinion that closely monitoring the status of your needle for problems is just as effective.

Well this brings my tour of long-arm quilt machine maintenance to an end. Perhaps it’s a bit more information than you were interested in. If I lost you somewhere back in the first paragraph there’s no need to worry because you won’t be tested. I am happy though that you took the time to stay with me. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Yet Another Gem

While preparing my mother-in-law’s home for sale we came across her electric sewing machine.  Questions arose as to whom would adopt the machine.  My immediate reaction was “Not Me!”  I really don’t have room for another piece of furniture and besides I’m trying to downsize.  As time went by and I pondered the vintage machines I have adopted, refurbished and passed on to my daughters I began to sense this was yet another sewing machine in need of rescue.

From there my thoughts shifted to how and when can I take it home.  Yesterday the aqua sewing machine with its tiny plain wooden cabinet arrived in my garage.  The cabinet, as was the case with every other machine that I have fostered, is in need of refurbishing.  Due to the small size of the cabinet and the simple design I believe this one I can tackle myself.

The timeline for the restoration has not yet been set.  Once the project begins I will keep you abreast of the progress.  In the meantime I will begin my research trying to find out as much about the machine as possible.  I must also find a suitable place in my home for the machine to reside.  Stay tuned for future updates.If you have any details about this machine I would appreciate hearing your information.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.  Make sure you visit her blog to see the magnificent projects the other quilters are working on.

Oh My Gosh It’s Beautiful!

Several weeks ago I shared a post about my great grandmother’s vintage sewing machine.  In that post I talked of how the wooden cabinet was badly in need of repair.  Ten years ago it had been left in the hands of my mom and a close friend.  Both had taken a furniture refinishing class and intended to use their new-found knowledge to restore its lustre.

Earlier this summer I reclaimed the cabinet from their possession.  The cabinet restoration had been started but never finished.  A portion of the veneer had been replaced but not much else had been done.  Being as we have a trip to Colorado planned for this fall and since that sewing machine was destined for my Colorado daughter’s home I thought it was time to retrieve the machine and take finishing the restoration into my own hands.

After transporting the machine home an assessment was made of its current condition.  The cabinet was in worse shape than I had remembered.  The veneer, which had been replaced, appeared nice but had been installed improperly.  The grain of the veneer flowed in the opposite direction as all of the other wood, numerous other sections had veneer that needed replacing and there was an accumulation of old varnish on other sections.  After examining the cabinet I came to the revelation the scope of this project was way beyond my talents.

Deciding how to proceed was a no-brainer.  My older brother is what I call a master craftsman.  He can turn an ugly, dilapidated piece of furniture into a beautiful show piece.  I just knew he was the man for the job.  I presented my case to my brother and asked him if he was up to the challenge.  Plans were made for him to stop by and check out the cabinet before he made the commitment.

We invited he and his wife down for a family gathering.  While at my home we both went into my basement to look at the cabinet.  After asking a lot of questions and a bit of pondering, my brother agreed to take on the project.

The cabinet and machine were transported to my brother’s house early in August.  Since the required amount of reconstruction was more than we had anticipated I told my brother he didn’t have to finish the cabinet in time for our Colorado trip.  He was appreciative of the extension afforded to the timeline.

As my brother began the initial phases questions arose as to missing hinges, how much veneer I wanted replaced and what type of finish I wanted applied.  We worked through the list of questions and established the priorities.  Since I didn’t want the task to be too burdensome for my brother, by the end of the conversation I basically left it up to him.  He could decide how much time and effort he wanted to invest and then take it from there.

Today 5 1/2 weeks later the restoration was completed.  We met my brother at his home to take delivery of the finished project.  As we approached his driveway I could see that his garage door was open and the sewing machine and cabinet were sitting in plain sight.  I believe the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh, it is beautiful.”  I didn’t for one second think that my brother would do less than a stellar job.  Everything about my brother’s workmanship screams excellence.  My husband and brother carefully loaded the cabinet into the back of our truck.  Once it was safely secured we offered to take my brother to lunch.

During our meal I asked my brother to share the details of his restoration. process.  In hind sight I wish I would have had him keep a photographic documentation of his work.  Perhaps next time I will think of that ahead of time.  He shared about the removal and replacement of the veneer, the gluing process he used to reinforce other areas that were coming unglued and the vendors he used to acquire the missing hinges.  Two of the hinges were found on Ebay and the others came from a local hardware store.

Before parting company I handed my brother a check for his monetary investment plus a stipend for his time.  A big smile washed over his face as he read the amount of the check.  His efforts and his talents were well worth the price I paid.  I know that the dollar value I placed on the cabinet was well above the price we could expect to receive on the market but I didn’t care.  What was important was the restoration of a family heirloom.  Hopefully this machine and cabinet will remain in the family and be passed down from one generation to the next.

Well, there you have it.  My great grandmother’s sewing cabinet has been brought back to life.  So what do you think?

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.  Be sure to visit her blog and see what everyone else is up to.

A Singer Renovation

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday.  Where ever did the week go?  This summer is going by way too fast.  For a little change of pace I decided to share a furniture refinishing project currently on my list of things to do.  Before I do that though let me bend your ear with an intro.

I’ve been fortunate to receive three vintage sewing machines.  All three of them have these things in common:

  1. They were previously owned by a family member

  2. All three currently are or have been powered by a treadle

  3. Each came equipped with a beautiful wooden cabinet

  4. Two of them have had their wooden cabinets re-finished and the third will be finished by September

The first machine belonged to my husband’s grandmother.  He has fond memories of playing with the machine, in his grandmother’s home.  By playing, I mean operating the foot treadle until jamming the machine’s bobbin thread.  Grandma I. wasn’t as pleased with his accomplishment as he was.  I know from personal experience how fun it is to set the treadle in motion.  There’s just something about the moving parts that draws your attention.  Even my grandchildren can’t resist.  Grandma I’s sewing machine was given to my oldest daughter Jenny.  She currently has it on display in her living room.

Grandma I.’s Sewing Machine

The second machine belonged to my grandmother.  I don’t really have any childhood memories of her machine but I was blessed to receive it upon her death. I have passed this machine on to my youngest daughter Katie.  Shown below are photos of Grandma O’s Bell sewing machine and the treasures I found inside.

Grandma O’s Bell Sewing Machine

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This box of attachments was found in one of the drawers of Grandma O’s sewing cabinet

Attachments Found in Grandma O’s Bell Sewing Machine Cabinet

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I found it interesting that the manual encouraged owners to

“Always speak a good word for your machine whenever and wherever you can”

“Always Speak A Good Word”

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Note:  Grandma O’s Bell sewing machine had a 10 year warranty.  I believe the warranty would be expired by now.

Certificate of Warranty for Grandma O’s Bell Sewing Machine

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I discovered a very interesting statement on page one of the manual.  The sentence made it very clear why children, or for that matter curious adults, should not randomly set the treadle in motion.  See for yourself.

“Don not run the machine when it is threaded unless . . .”

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This photo has a price list for parts for my grandma’s Bell sewing machine.  Imagine paying those prices today?

Price List for parts to Grandma O’s Bell Sewing Machine

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I had a great time finding all of the above items in my grandmother’s sewing cabinet.  How cool to have these pieces of history to go along with her machine.

The third and final sewing machine was owned by my mother.  This machine has very special memories because it was the very first machine I ever used.  I especially remember how there were only two things it could do, sew a straight line and wind a bobbin.  Back when this machine was made there was no button to push to do back stitching.  Any back stitching you wanted to do was done by pivoting the fabric, at the end of the seam, and stitching once again over the stitches you had just made.  Even though it was a very basic machine it helped me to make many, many garments.

My Mom’s sewing machine typically sat in front of a window in her upstairs sewing room.  The daylight that filtered in, as well as the view outdoors made in front of the window the best place to be.  Unfortunately the window also had its drawbacks.  The biggest and most unfortunate down side was the impact, an open window would have, on a wooden sewing machine cabinet when it rained.  My Mom’s cabinet fell victim to one such open window.  The rain that penetrated the sewing room window screen saturated a portion of the cabinet.  The rain-soaked wood eventually cracked and split.  The repair and refinishing of the fine wood cabinet is the reason for my post.

Some years ago the damaged veneer, on my Mom’s sewing cabinet, was carefully replaced.  Ever since the replacement of the veneer the cabinet has sat idle, in pieces, in a friends basement.  I recently retrieved it from its seclusion.  This machine is destined for my Colorado daughter Jessica.  Since we will be driving out to visit her this fall we decided it is now or never to get the cabinet finished.  Our plan is to finish sanding it, apply a coat of stain as well as varnish, then carefully load it, in the back of our truck, and take it along with the rest of our daughter’s belongings.

Here’s a picture of the Singer sewing machine, as well as the cabinet waiting for better days.

The status of my other WIP items can be found here.  I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced.  Please stop by her blog to catch up on the other WIP postings.  Take care and see you next week.