Monday, May 28, 2012

The steampunk vintages Singer sewing machine mystery project

Take a couple of broken sewing machines, some stuff found in the back of the workshop and a bit of creativity, and you get something that looks suspiciously like a science fiction ray gun.

I assure you, it's really not.  It's completely designed for function, the fact that it looks awesome is just a side effect.

Think cutting rather than shooting.  This is for the nether regions of my currant mystery project where I transform a damaged vintage Singer sewing machine into something a little bit different, yet highly functional.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Yet another sewing machine, steampunk mystery project.

I spent a good chunk of the day - when I wasn't wrestling llamas or tending first aid to llama related injuries -  dismantling a Singer 15 sewing machine for yet another steampunk mystery project.

The project involves this machine, or what's left of it, plus a table, saw blade, and some decoration.  

I'll tell you what, this machine is a thousand times easier to deal with than that 1970s Brother I was dealing with last month.  I have yet another box overflowing with spare parts for future steampunk projects.  How many parts boxes does a girl need I wonder.

Changing the function of this from sewing machine to other-machine (that's the mystery part of the project) is going to be relatively easy.  What's going to be difficult for me is the decoration aspect.  It's not steampunk unless it has copper pipes, some gizmo's, dials, maybe a touch of leather.  I don't know if I'm lucky that I'm starting with something already reminiscent of the Victorian age, or if that just makes it more difficult to decorate.  

I don't think this is going to be the ultra-decorative Steampunk object of the upper class adventurer.  Rather, I suspect this is going to be more Frontier Steampunk.  I am in Canada after all - the New World.  Something utilitarian made from cast off and recycled parts, with a little bit of whimsical flare to it.  Sounds about right.

For inspiration sake: if you were to decorate a machine head in a steampunk fashion, what would you do?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Steampunk sewing machine - in search of ideas

I've been wondering how to steampunk (yes, apparently it is a verb now) an old sewing machine.

Although this machine could be made to work, it has too much damage to the outside to be worth anything even if it did work.  It's a Singer 15 built in 1948, and is just about perfect for this project.

These old Singer machines already have the look of cutting edge Victorian technology (oh wait, that's exactly what they are) but I'm wondering if there is something more that could be done to expand on that.

The technology aspect of Steampunk, to me, is about taking disused items (junk) and repurposeing into something creative and useful.

There are basically three things I could do to make this more Steampunk.

  1. I could just glue some gears on it and call it steampunk. (click the link to see why that's not acceptable -  wonder where I can buy the album?) 
  2. I could change what drives the machine.  I've read once about a fictional steam powered home sewing machine.  Or I could make it solar/battery powered (not very retro-futuristic) perhaps a Stirling engine hooked up to an old sewing machine motor turned generator connected to a hidden battery.  Boy that would be heavy.  Foot treadle, hand crank, and electric have already been done.
  3. or I could transform it's use from sewing machine to something else, then decorate it.
But what to do, what to do?

How to transform this machine into something that is creative, beautiful and teaches me something new about mechanical devices?

What would you do if you wanted turn a sewing machine into something Steampunk?  What creative ideas spring to mind?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Farm photos May 2012

Still knocked down with this wild cold.  It's the kind of cold that you get fed up with, go see the doctor and your GP sends you to the ER kind of cold.  UG!  Apparently it's been going around and lasts about three weeks.  yippy!  only two weeks of misery left to go.

Anyway, some photos of stuff around the farm for you to enjoy

His name is Goosey, he's waiting for his girlfriend, Loosey

Quince Blossom


Apple blossom from the big old heritage tree

Fava beans in full bloom.

Someone sent me some seed last winter.  It's several years old, but I stuck some in the ground anyway.   It grew, but I have no idea what it is.  Anyone recognize this prickly plant?

Apparently it is suppose to have yellow or orange flowers that you can use for spice (acts like saffron).  It makes a large, spiky plant.  As you can see it has fine hairs on it, that sting a little bit if you touch them, almost like a nettle.  It's not a nettle that grows native around here.

so, anyone recognize it?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Flying Spaghetti Monster spotted in the sky over Saanich

You all know about the Flying Spaghetti Monster right?

Borrowed from
I saw a cloud today that looked like the FSM in his full noodley glory.

It wasn't that it slightly resembled the FSM, or that it looked a bit like him.  This cloud looked EXACTLY like the Flying Spaghetti Monster, in every detail, including the darker balls and the single long, thin, mysterious noodle reaching down and touching the earth.

The only cloud in a clear blue, and unseasonably hot, sky and it happens to be hiding the one true FSM.

It was quite a humbling and disturbing sight.

The cell phone in my camera is terribly inadequate - or perhaps His Noodleness had a hand  noodle in its inability to capture the image accurately.  But as you can see, the image it gives me is nothing like what I really saw.

Most of my attempts came out like this, with the cloud obscured by some strange light (the sun was behind me, so there should not have been any glare - shall we pretend there was a supernatural influence here?)

But I managed to capture one photo of him - or should I say he allowed me to do so.

  It's still not clear but if you look very closely, you can sort of make it out.

Ah well.  That's technology for you.
At least I know I saw it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hand Knotted rug from ?

Found this lovely rug at a yard sale last week.  We have all wood floors in the home, so wool area rugs are a real luxury for us.

I am in love!

The beautiful rich colours remind me of natural dyes.  The fact that they kept running low of one colour or dye lot, and had to 'blend' new colours into the mat really adds a something special to the rug.

The label says it's hand knotted, and I can easily believe it.

But where is it from?   Can anyone recognize the style?  We have a great difference of opinion in the house of what country (and continent) it might be from.   Any experts out there?

notice how the label is missing the country and city of origin.

Have a look at these animals and people, see if it inspires any clues.

I also need to repair the edges.  Anyone know a good tutorial?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Last of the winter chard and leeks

Fry me up with two rashers of bacon and call me lunch!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Singer 127 - Disassembling the Upper Thread Tension thing

I don't know if this might help or interest anyone out there, but I'm putting together a series of Getting to Know my Antique/Vintage Singer Sewing Machine (Singer 127). Today I learnt about taking apart the upper thread tension device thingy.

I would like to ask any sewing machine experts to please point out anything I'm doing wrong. I'm a self taught sewer and am learning about the machine by working my way through the manual.

Recently I had a request for photos of the upper thread tension mechanism on the Singer 127.  I thought what a great excuse to take one apart, and since I had a parts machine just sitting out on the table... well here's some photos.

Tension device on a Singer 127

A while back I needed a new tension spring for a sewing machine, it was that modern Singer class 15 clone from India.  I tell you, it was a real pain in the *ahem to replace.  I ended up buying a spring from the local sewing machine repair shop, spent almost 10 hours trying to make it fit (okay, more like 3 hours), only to finally figure out that the spring was wound the opposite way to what I needed.  Live and learn.

Turn counter clockwise, be careful not to damage the threading.

The bits I removed, from left to right.  I've even managed to keep them in the direction I removed them from the machine (this time).

This little piece of mettle is from inside the bigger piece of mettle.  I wish my brain was feeling fit enough to find the right word, but basically, there is a mechanism inside the machine that makes it when the pressure foot is up, there is less tension on the thread to allow it to flow freely through the tension device, and when the pressure foot is lowered, an arm rests on this little bit of mettle to increase the tension on the thread.  Apologies for the lack of words, I really don't write as well in the evenings.

Here is the upper thread tension mechanism on my favourite machine.  It's also a Singer 127, about 15 years older than the one I just took apart.

I didn't notice this before, but this is actually assembled in the wrong order.  Hasn't given me any trouble yet.  Next time I give it a full cleaning, I'll fix it.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Another crowing hen incident

I have a hen that predicts earthquakes... with her crowing.

It started early March last year, when suddenly she started crowing, almost constantly for 4 days straight - and some of the nights too.  The three days leading up to and the day of the large earthquake in Japan.

She is a real hen.  Henny Penny lays eggs and does all the things hens do.  But she also crows when there is going to be an earthquake.

Since last year March, the only times she has crowed has been just before a sizeable earthquake somewhere on the Pacific Rim. It's been 9 or 10 earthquakes she's predicted now.  There was one time that she crowed and there wasn't an earthquake, but that day she only did two half hearted cock-a-doodle-doos, and went back to normal.  Then about a week later, she stared crowing like mad and there were two or three large earthquakes in the same day (one or two of them were in Mexico I think, it was quite recent).

Actually, it's somewhat common for hen's to crow.  Sometimes if there is no rooster in the flock, or if he's not strong enough to do his job, one hen will take over.  She will stand look out and defend the flock if a predator attacks.  And she will crow.

Other times, a hen might have something wrong with her egg laying equipment and develop serious roo-traits, including crowing.

Neither of these are true in the case of my crowing hen.  The unusual thing is that she can go months without, then suddenly start up again.  There is no rime or reason to this crowing except that it is followed by an earthquake - I'm starting to see a pattern here.  But I think I need to start documenting it to see if there is a correlation, or just my mind making connections after the fact.

The point of all this is, that the last two days Henny Penny, my most beloved chicken, has been acting very out of sorts the last two days.  Yesterday she was in a bit of a mood, and today, it's been full on weirdness.  No crowing yet, but I'll let you know if there is.

Best update your emergency kit just in case.