Puns N Needles

Dispatches from my adventures: sewing, knitting, and otherwise.

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I killed my iron

Dead iron, taken apart

Dead iron, in pieces

Saturday morning I set out to finish the baby quilt top that I’ve been working on for a few weeks. I did a lot of trimming and some pressing until I had all the pieces put together, ready to assemble 18 blocks (all about 6 inches square) and some setting triangles.  I skipped lunch because I was on a roll… and should have known better.  It must have been my low blood sugar that led me to sew some pieces in backwards. I had finally finished getting all the blocks together correctly when my husband came home and strongly recommended we go to a local fall festival so I could pet a baby cow.


There are cattle all around here but I’d never gotten this close to a small one. I might have stayed all day but there were small sheep, goats, pigs, etc., for us to meet. Oh, and a quilt top to finish.  And more sewing after that!

So the post title is “I killed my iron.” Here’s the official cause of death: bad fuse.

Dead fuse

Dead fuse

When the machinist woke from his catnap, he agreed with me that the iron was dead. Autopsy to be performed later.   And then he set off to his parents’ house to help his dad install a new dishwasher.

He returned with an early birthday present… a gravity feed iron.  My birthday isn’t for two weeks, but he’d ordered and received the iron already.  He installed it and I couldn’t be happier. I am grateful to have a husband who believes in having the right tool for the job – and who is thoughtful enough to give them as gifts. Timely ones. I am a happy presser. And ironer.

How did I kill the iron, you may be wondering? I was cleaning it and then it stopped working. We have awfully hard water, and I try to alternate tap water with distilled water, and I clean out the iron’s insides when I think of it.  Apparently, “when I think of it” wasn’t often enough.  Check this out:

Pried apart to reveal heating reservoir

Pried apart to reveal heating reservoir


Lots of scaly buildup.

And by the way, the reservoir on the new iron is full of distilled water plus de-mineralizer. I’m not taking any chances with the new one.


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We have just passed the mid-way point of September. It’s starting to feel like fall (finally!) and I have been sewing almost every day. You will have to take my word for it. Last night I completed a quilt top – here you can see one of the blocks.  Once it’s been given to the mama-to-be, I will share more.
propeller block

In addition to sewing quilt blocks and working on my old sewing machines, I have signed up for a couple new Craftsy classes.  Craftsy offers online classes in many crafts and I have learned a lot from each one that I’ve signed up for. Right now, Craftsy is celebrating the milestone of 2 million members and offering sales on many of their classes.

Sewing is so much more than putting needle and thread through fabric – a month of sewing does not need to be measured by lots of finished projects.  Sewing is design and creativity; sewing is knowledge and learning; and sewing is the tools that we use to make it all happen.

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Sewing … and…

Once I learned that September was declared National Sewing Month by Ronald Reagan, I decided I would try to sew each day this month.  And I have sewed most days since then, with few exceptions.


Rag rug

Last Thursday, I finished my first weaving project. I am learning to weave as a volunteer for Project Horizon, the local domestic violence support/prevention program. I get to keep my first project – subsequent rugs and scarves that I make will be sold, with proceeds going to help set up homes for clients of the program.

I have continued working on blocks for a baby quilt. My friends are collectively expecting six babies in the next 1-3 months, so I have been sewing and knitting a lot. I’m not saying too much about the quilts because they are surprises.  But I can tell you about the “reconditioning” work I did with the help of my industrious and generous husband.

With his help as well as the Singer Adjuster’s Manual for my model, I took apart and cleaned much of this machine.  And I was pretty grumpy when we put it back together and it didn’t sew properly.  No picture of that but trust me, it wasn’t good. I left for one of my occasional evening work shifts and requested that The Machinist see if he could figure it out.  And he sent me this picture, with the email subject: A picture is worth:


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Sewing in September

It’s National Sewing Month – a celebration I didn’t know about until yesterday. Apparently Ronald Reagan started it to honor or recognize sewists. I have decided to embrace it this year, and try to sew something each day.
Yesterday, I made a clothespin bag for a friend.

And today I put together a sample quilt block which will go into a quilt for one of the six babies who will be born to our close friends between October and December. Here’s a peek:

Finally, my machinist husband and I started looking at the guts of my most recently acquired sewing machine: an Elna Supermatic (approximately 1952). He’s somewhat flummoxed by the motor; as my motor and machine repair skills are extremely minimal, I started cleaning the green paint.