Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seduced by Color. AGAIN. (and some sewing machines)

Another post about crocheting (and the last one, I promise!)

National Paveway, 3/4 size, weighs a mere 16.5 pounds.

But first, photos of my latest restorations (so that my vintage-sewing-machine buddies don't get bored and wander away! )

Regular readers met this little machine last spring.  Here she is "before".

You can read the earlier post about her here if you like.

And here is the "after".  Not bad, eh?

Thanks to Wes Cook at Dual Supply in Hillsborough, NC, it now has a lovely "hand knob" a la Laura.  Wes is the owner of the kind of hardware store that has everything, and he knows where it all is, too.  He spent a LOT of time helping me with this and with another one and claimed to have enjoyed the experience.  The total charge by the end was $1.17 (I brought the glass knob with me).

The big news on this one is that I came home yesterday with a 3/4 size Free Westinghouse and this machine fits in that cabinet.  Sort of.  It won't fold down.  The Free Westinghouse is brown crinkle and you may see it after its spa treatment.

Singer 347, basic zig-zag all-metal machine
Twin Singer 338's.  Take Singer flat cams
By the way,  for the total novice sewing-machine-repair-person-wannabe, there is NOTHING like having two identical machines on the bench.  Unless maybe it is THREE.

Three Singer 401's.  Two have found new homes by now.

Now for the crocheting. 
It seems I just can't catch a break.

I was determined to crochet a moebius scarf to match my purple suede jacket and keep me toasty warm in case we ever get around to having a winter here in NC this year.  On the first go-round I fell for some beautifully colored acrylic.  A few days after that fiasco I was driving through beautiful downtown Mebane, NC, and noticed The Twisted Knitter yarn shop.

Kim Pate of Twisted Knitter sat down with me at a table in a sunny corner of the shop and pulled out several skeins of different yarns so that we could see what went with the jacket.  I left with Noro's Silk Garden in similar colors to my first scarf.  The level of service was what I always feel entitled to when I go in a small specialty shop, but rarely receive.  I spent 5 times as much as I had spent on the acrylic, and SHOULD have been treated like a queen.  And was.

And although I was impressed with Kim and her shop, I have to say that I just don't "get" the Noro Silk Garden.
  • First, you would think that a yarn that is 45% silk, 45% Kid Mohair, and 10% lambswool would be soft.  NOT.  Scratchy, in fact.  
  • Next, you would think that an expensive yarn would be produced to high quality standards.  NOT.  The thickness of the yarn varied from color to color (It's a variegated yarn) with giant slubs in spots, NOT in a pleasant thick-and-thin yarn kind of way, but much more like a beginning, and very unskilled, hand spinner had done it. 
  • Finally, you would think that skeins with the same color number and dye lot would be the same color,  REALLY, you WOULD think that!  NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When I went back to get more, Kim had to go in the back and get out a whole box and we had to pick through them to find skeins with the same colors in them.  And I am not talking about variations in shades, but skeins that had some completely different colors in them.
In short, I am totally bewildered by the Noro yarn.

I more-or-less solved the thickness problem by using a double strand of it to crochet my scarf, figuring that the thick colors and the thinner colors would play nicely together and they did blend well.

And I am done for the year.  No more moebius scarves.  No more expensive trips to yarn shops.  Sadly, no lovely cuddly soft warm beautifully-colored moebius scarf for me as I had envisioned.   It is warm and I like the color but hate the scratchiness.

I did have a wonderful time in The Twisted Knitter, though.  How about you?  Are you treated well in expensive specialty shops (like quilt shops)?  Or are you totally ignored?  I've had more than one bad experience in the closest quilt shop to me and refuse to give them my money.  I once took my SIL Mary there but they were way too busy schmoozing with the regulars to even speak to us, let alone wait on us or take our money for the things we wanted to buy.  Now, Mary and I both bathe regularly and don't look like derelicts.  That was the very last time I crossed their threshold.  I was embarrassed to have taken Mary in there and subjected her to that.

And speaking of SIL Mary, I'm hoping she didn't read my last post in which I trashed acrylic yarn.  I have a beautiful afghan that she crocheted for me decades ago.  Still looks as great as it did when new, and it has been washed several times.  It has not pilled, twisted, or stretched out of shape.   It must have been a superior species of acrylic.  Just like everything else, they probably don't make it as well these days.  Twenty years ago I think that Noro would have been laughed off the stage.

BIG news in the studio!  I'll tell you all about it next time.  This post has already become a novelette.


  1. Holy cow, am very impressed by the Paveway job! How'd you do it? Any chance of photos/explanations/stories? I'm guessing that one was a lot of hard work.

    I totally agree about having duplicates on the bench; I'll tear those machines down with no fear, knowing that I can always examine one of its twins when it comes time to re-assemble.

    - Rain

  2. Your National came out lovely! Wonderful job. I love the handle. I need something like that for my White Rotary, since I don't have a treadle base for it and they don't convert to hand cranks. Hopefully you will have better luck next fall in the crochet department. I've been to quilt shops like the one you went to. It's sad, really. I even tried to get a job there once. I guess I was just too friendly for them. Oh well.

  3. Back when I was making wool diaper covers from old sweaters, I discovered the amazing power of lanolizers--they made itchy wooly things into nicely soft things. I don't remember the brand names, but I remember that lanolizers are available in well-stocked yarn shops. Not sure how well they'll play with the silk content, but, at this point, what is there to lose? (Especially since we will, apparently, have no winter in the South this year--typing this outside Nashville with the windows open and birds singing.)


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