This Space for Rent

Project of the day (a miracle of science edition)

About 4 years ago, we were up at SCRAP and I spotted a pile of 18" square woolen fabric scraps, thought that they'd be nice to have around so I could use them for hypothetical future projects, and brought them home for the projects pile. Projects with fabric require sewing, and I didn't have a sewing machine, so they lingered in the warehouse while I worked on various other projects around them.

Last spring, my ex-stepmother-in-law offered me her Singer Centennial Featherweight, which had been retired since she'd gotten a much more sophisticated modern sewing machine. I eagerly accepted, and when it got here I set to work.

... and snapped off the needle.

I had a junker sewing machine lying around (a yard sale prize), so I pulled the needle off that, plopped it into the sewing machine, fired it up, and snapped off the needle again.


I packed up the sewing machine, put it out of the way, put sewing needles on my shopping list, and immediately forgot about it until this spring, when I was reminded of it by running across three more machine needles at, you guessed it, SCRAP. I bought those needles, brought them home, and foolishly dropped them into my workshop in the basement, where they immediately vanished and did not resurface until I cleaned it out this summer.

When I found them again, I'd stacked up a bunch of projects which I wanted to get done before fighting with the sewing machine, so I didn't actually get around to setting up the sewing machine again until this afternoon.

I set it up, dropped one of the new needles in, fired the machine up, and the needle snapped after the third stitch. Well, that won't do; I pulled the bobbin mechanism apart, cleaned all of the thread debris (from the previous two attempts) out, put a drop of light machine oil on the bobbin needlerace, and carefully hand-rotated the stitcher until it stopped jamming against the (second) needle on the exit ramp.

This time it worked and successfully completed a sewing test (the best: "what is it?" Me: "Um, it's got cats on it"), so I went over to the project bin for something more substantial, and discovered the forlorn pile of woolen fabric from scene 1.

10 minutes of sewing, 5 minutes of stuffing (I had some poly stuffing left over from a previous upholstering project, and it was just barely enough to stuff this pillow), and another 10 minutes to sew up the hole I had to leave so I could stuff the thing, and *poof* a rustic pillow that will be just the thing for our summer camp (provided we ever build it.) And I've still got enough of this fabric to make 5 or 6 more pillows.


David, I had not “checked in” with you for several days, but last evening a real vision of the Featherweight flitted through my head and I wondered what you had been up to with it. Lo and behold, I find this pillow and your tale. I’m happy. Keep up the good work. Ex-stepmother-in-law Lynne

Lynne Gray Thu Oct 25 14:02:26 2007

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