Showing posts from October, 2016

Free Machining

Years ago, shortly after I bought my Lisa, I attended my first sewing workshop - a free machining* workshop with a local textile artist who says that "the needle becomes the pencil".  This piqued my interest very much as in my other creative endeavors I am a watercolourist and oil painter.

So, I attended the two-day free machining workshop with much excitement - here was an opportunity to learn some new sewing skills and polish up my old ones. I had great fun and learned so many techniques, and while the fundamentals have remained with me, much has been forgotten...

A sample:

* Free machining = freehand machine embroidery/free motion embroidery with no marking.

Machine: Husqvarna Viking Lisa

In 2004 I purchased a lightly used Husqvarna Viking LISA for $350AU. The machine is a Viking special edition from 2000 or so, and is a basic Type 600 computerised machine, a hybrid LILY model.

I love my Lisa. It is the first machine I owned, and it has always served me well. It has its limitations, but really, it is a good little machine. After its recent service (nothing was wrong with it, it just hadn't been serviced for twelve years), my technician found some abrasions inside the bobbin case, which he was able to polish out to make for smoother motion. (The abrasions had happened by my breaking an Open Toe Free Motion foot and needle simultaneously. I had installed the foot incorrectly (put the wire under the needle bar instead of over it), and when it broke a piece of the wire flew out and hit my cheek. Close call.)

So, some notes:

TOP STITCH: My Lisa does not like any top-stitch thread I have given it. I have tried G├╝termann Top Stitch 30, Wonderfil Fruitti, and Mettler Extra…

Machine: 1951 Singer 201K Treadle

In 2005 I inherited my maternal grandmother's Singer treadle sewing machine. My grandmother had never used it much, so it had spent much of its life stored in a packing shed in their orchard. It became rusty, and dirty from the fine soil of their fruit tree orchard. Sometime in the early 90s my mother's Pfaff had some issues, and while it was being repaired my mother brought the treadle over to our house and oiled it up, I recall us all marveling at the fact that it still worked. After a brief period of use, my mother put it in her foyer and my brother promptly stored his sneakers on the treadle.

It then came to me, and I moved it across the country with some other furniture I had inherited. I regarded it as something sentimental but decorative. In 2010 my parents were visiting and had to make some repairs to a sail on their yacht. My mother looked at my Lisa, and said, "Oh, I might break that, where's the treadle?" So it was wheeled out, and impressively, still …


Welcome to my sewing blog. This is a means to record the learnings, frustrations, and accomplishments between my sewing machine and I.

I am much of an amateur in the world of sewing, having only covered the basics for a couple of years in high school. I sewed the occasional garment with my mother as a teenager, but as my mother was extraordinarily possessive about her beloved Pfaff 1222E my sewing skills did not progress much.

I play around with free motion embroidery samplers, basic sewing projects, and have been toying with the idea of learning to make some sort of modern quilt... or trying to copy a garment.

I hope you enjoy my writing/rambling/rants. :)