Category Archives: Around the Web

The sound of music ain’t got nothing on this Singer

…even if I can’t say it sews as pretty as a song just yet!  After a week of cleaning, reading and fiddling, my Singer sewing machine is looking pretty good:

1917 Singer sewing machine...aaaaaand Wolverine.

1917 Singer sewing machine…aaaaaand Wolverine.

A couple years ago a relative pieced together and refinished this beauty, and I’m just now diving into how to keep a treadle machine in working order. At this point I’ve got more questions than answers, but I figure starting a master post and then linking to everything useful I find will be helpful for future reference and other people just starting out with an older sewing machine. If you have additional resources or advice, feel free to drop a line in the comments!

  1. How do I wind thread on the bobbin?
  2. When I unscrew the ‘brake’ knob as if to wind the bobbin, the needle still moves. Whyyyyyyyyyy?
  3. How do I clean old oil out of the innards of the body of the machine?
  4. How do I thread this effing bobbin holder.
  5. Adjusting thread tension: how, when, why. Will I be doing this on test swatches for every project sewn?
  6. Where do I put my feet on the treadle?
    1. Why does my treadle have a ridge at the front if a common treadling method is to have one foot further away and the other closer with a heel on the ground?
  7. Methods for taking care of the leather belt
    1. Does the leather belt always stay on the wheel or do you take it off/loosen it like the bow on a violin?
  8. When I use the treadle it feels like it gains momentum and overbalances (not going backwards though). Is it supposed to feel like that?
  9. What are all these attachments?
  10. How do I use each attachment? I really wanna learn do make a button hole using an attachment!

Pen shells trimmed with beards

I knew my love for reading the BBC World News section would pan out eventually. Today’s article was about Sea Silk, or fiber spun from the solidified saliva of a large clam.

Image result for byssus sea silk art

Yup. Chiara Vigo dives into the ocean, harvests the spit (or beard) that anchors the clams to the ground, and turns it into fine, elastic thread that she spins, then weaves/embroiders etc. into textiles that churches and art museums all over the world want. Don’t quote me on that though. The internet being closer than a library, I ain’t ashamed to say this Wikipedia was a good start to learn where this craft has popped through time and across cultures.

Sidebar: it also led to searching for “Mermaid hair” which brought up algae…you’re welcome.

My favorite find from trawling the interwebs, is “Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells” by Helen Scales, which is now featured prominently on my Need to Read post-it note list. One section delves into Sea Silk, and the vagaries of mussels. During an experiment it appeared that the more a mussel is agitated, the more solidified saliva (byssus)  it produces. Thankfully, “This was done by an automated mussel-bothering machine, not a sleepless grad student.” Shew. 


So, I rolled in for Zumba with a shirt I grabbed this morning–nice color but I never wear it.


I am a sausage personified, and dancing starts in T-10 minutes. Rebel Wilson, you are my spirit animal. Let’s do this thing!



V is for Vodka!

Or Valentine’s Day, if you’ve got to be that way. It’s all good! Granted, there’s commercialism, weird expectations within relationships and too much pink floating around, but on the other hand there are cute gift ideas, great music and tomorrow there’ll be sales on chocolate. YAY!

I made a tribute piece in honor of the day–

textiles, hoop art

There’s plenty of fish in the sea, right? Be careful out there!

Browsing Etsy when they’re doing promos for holidays is so much fun. You never know what you’ll find! Today’s winner is this Dita Von Teese prayer candle. You know, if you’re worried that tonight’s burlesque routine won’t be received well. Ahem.  Haven’t found the perfect mood music? I’m loving Butterfly Boucher’s “Life is short”.

Just remember, even if your Valentine’s Day extravaganza isn’t perfect, you can hardly do worse than the person who gifted this little gem to his lady love back in the early 1900s.

 "For The New Woman! With St. Valentine's Heartiest Greetings and Best Hopes that she will receive another (moustache) - With A Man Attached." Courtesy of York Castle Museum /PA Wire

“For The New Woman! With St. Valentine’s Heartiest Greetings and Best Hopes that she will receive another (moustache) – With A Man Attached.” Courtesy of York Castle Museum /PA Wire