A New Old Tool

Oh how I love old tools! They’re built to last, unlike today’s disposable items. Many times they are in varying conditions of repair, commonly neglected or in need of fixes here and there…

But sometimes you encounter a beauty. A tool that is gorgeous and well maintained, painstakingly loved and cared for over the years.

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I found one. Rather, I think it found me. I walked into a pawn shop for the first time in my life and there she was, looking back at me.

A Janome Model 131, made in Japan. I’m still looking up more information about this model, seems the internet doesn’t hold a lot of knowledge about it… not much of a surprise there! Old tools and new technology don’t normally mix… until I get my hands on them, that is.

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Relish in the amazingly intricate detail on the metal pieces and painting. This piece is meant to be kept around for a long time! Of course I could make that judgment based on its weight alone – it’s probably a good 20-30lbs.

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But the real reason I love her is because of this – she’s completely hand powered. Sure it will take some skill, sewing with one hand while powering it with the other, but it’s nothing a spinner can’t conquer! What a great compromise between the delicate approach of hand sewing/quilting and the efficiency of machine sewing/quilting. And y’all know how much I love a human powered device!

I’m very interested to do some stitch tests and see what kind of stitch it can produce… after I figure out how to get her threaded up, of course!

Project 11 – Leonard’s Space Quilt

Picture’s coming!  My camera isn’t charged, so I’m waiting for mum to send the ones she took through.

Leonard’s Space Quilt is technically my first quilt top but second quilt complete. As such the top is far from perfect, but no one really cares too much, do they?

I was very meticulous with my quilting this time, I unpicked a few spaces where the machine had fucked up as it likes to do sometimes. I even unpicked an entire color group because I didn’t like the way the blue background thread showed up against the white tiles. The border was very easy and unproblematic to quilt. The binding was done up in a surprisingly fast time, but I guess that’s cause my last binding adventure was for my much larger quilt. I don’t think I’ll ever buy binding from a store unless I’m in a real pinch.

The fabrics are only abstractly space themed, other than the background fabric, which inspired me to make this quilt. The fabrics have curls or circles or spirals, generally round themed. And of course the tile placement is an intertwining chain of roundness. Symbolic yet not obvious. For Leonard, a man who loves the stars, I think it will be perfect.

I am giving the quilt to him today when we go for a BBQ lunch… I’m excited! I hope he likes it.

Project 10 – Charging Basket

My charging basket

My charging basket, originally uploaded by mizuhana.

I made this up on Monday when I should have been working on a quilt for Tom’s dad… oh well. It’s a charging basket, it holds all my gadgets and has a little slit for wires to come through. Now all my things are in one place instead of elsewhere, which really is a key component in keeping myself organized and thus not insane.

I don’t have a shot of the back yet and I should as it’s awful. The fabric is all bunched up around the slot’s edges. That’s what I get for deviating from the pattern and not using interfacing to make it stronger I guess. I could also have probably not put in a heavy piece of interfacing. We learn!

Quilting the inside was so fun, the machine really liked it and didn’t jam or anything so it was a full quilting extravaganza. The basket is about 8 inches square.

Projects 6 to 8 – Sewing Adventures

Here are some projects I completed at the beginning of this month, but haven’t posted yet!

1. Another string quilt block:

String quilt block 2
String quilt block 2, originally uploaded by mizuhana.

2.  My first Dear Jane quilt block, which was a present for mother’s day:

Mini Quilt Front
Mini Quilt Front, originally uploaded by mizuhana.

Ooh, I have to learn to leave the proper seam allowances to avoid clipped corners… then again I freehanded the entire middle since I don’t have the pattern book yet, so I’m pretty pleased with the result in general. Quilted with purple thread in a stitch-in-the-ditch method, freehand zigzags around the border. Purposely left unfinished. There’s a message on the back, but that’s only for mom to see.

3. I tried to make a cute bug pinholder, but I failed miserably. Here’s the result:

Craft Fail
Craft Fail, originally uploaded by mizuhana.

Even though I failed, I was able to learn some valuable things, such as not making the turning opening too small, not puting it in a critical location, and the importance of sewing slowly around rounded edges. I also learned that my paper cutters do a decent job at cutting fabric, so it made cutting these fabric rounds much easier. Of course, I picked this all apart and I’ll try again sometime soon.

Project 4 – Paper Pieced Kaleidoscope Block

Line Block Trimmed
Line Block Trimmed, originally uploaded by mizuhana.

Here is today’s project! It’s a new quilt block called the kaleidoscope block. I created it using my scraps. It is also my first ever paper piecing block. I used tiny grid paper with a tiny stitch and it was easy to remove with the help of a needle to run down the edge.

I don’t really want to make another full quilt, plus I don’t have enough scraps, so I will only make a few more of these and then probably frame it and make it into a wall hanging.

Quilt work!

I’ve been working on a quilt for the past week or two. My goal is to finish the top and back, AND get down to actually quilting it today!

I have uploaded pictures to my Flickr page, thumbnails of which should appear in the sidebar. Once I’m totally done I’ll post a complete entry here.