Thursday, September 05, 2013


Florence Park trees

Apples on tree September 2013

Spare room needing sorting to become my studio

Cotoneaster berries September 2013
Ginger cat basking in the sun on car roof

Shady path by Florence Park

Hedgerow hips and blackberries against blue sky

Cowley Road, Oxford, September 2013
Happy September, autumn in the air. A month of change - of new starts and things coming to fruition in the northern hemisphere. The perfect month to be starting a new job. I felt all back to school-ish on Tuesday when I set off, no shiny bag, shoes or pencil tin to send me on my way but different commuting routes to explore and enjoy. My office now is based on the Cowley Road in Oxford, a bustling, busy place compared to the business park I have been on. Two days done and I'm crazy happy with that and everything about this new role.

I love the freshness of this month, a chance to turn a page or start a new exercise book. Breaking from routines brings in opportunities to do more of what you love, what you want to do, what makes you sing and less of what you find yourself doing by rote, for convenience or because you think you should. My few days break gave me that feeling I often get dreaming away on holiday, thinking about all the things you could do in daily life but somehow often just don't in the humdrum way of getting through the day. Different meals to cook, places to go or hobbies to create space for. Just tiny changes that make me feel like I am really living and not just passing by.

I have new spaces to sort out at home - can you set up a Folksy shop just as an excuse to sort out the spare room and make it a studio?? I mean I have the prettiest hooks. No worries, that is it practically done already. I'm gradually trying to tackle it and the rest of the house and the mess that builds up when I'm looking the other way - working or crafting. In truth getting that spare room sorted for craft supplies will help everywhere else as well, but oh the sun is shining outside and my deck chair keeps calling me! Still I will start to chip away at the inside stuff a lot more now I have less working hours out of the house. Back in the spring I read this post by Sas Petherick about home and I realised why living with piles of shifting stuff around had been seeming to make me feel a little crazy. Ah filling my lungs with Septemberness, so many good things starting here.

Monday, September 02, 2013

A sleeping beauty

1893 Singer Sewing Machine
Black and Gold paint The Singer Manufacturing Co
Close up of 1893 Singer badge below stitch length adjuster
Underneath of Singer vibrating shuttle mechanism from 1893
Winding a long bobbin on Singer 1893 hand crank machine
Bullet shaped long bobbin shuttle case
Samples with vintage 1893 Singer machine showing number plate

A stately old lady has come to stay with me. 120 years young if I read her number correctly (love that Singer list these on their site). She was £3 in a local auction. £3! The first photo is how she came out of her original case, complete just a bit dirty.

She's been waiting in the wings a month or so now so that I had time to read and watch some of the many resources generously shared online and learn a little of her mysteries. All I've had to do is a little cleaning and oiling this weekend, adjust the tension and now she's trundling away happily making stitches. Just forward, nothing fancy you understand but if I'm still here at 120 I doubt I'll still be making stitches! Somehow she's both baffling and simple. So many great resources online are helping me get her stitching like she should be - she's a long bobbin or vibrating shuttle or whatever the correct terminology is. The bobbin sits in a bullet shaped case. I'd never realised that bobbins were ever this shape.

I swear I can actually feel my pulse slow when I turn the handle on this beautiful creature from a different age. Cleaning and polishing away over the weekend I imagined what it must have felt like to take this home from the shop, shiny and new. Waves of nostalgia though it's for someone else's past,  electric machines were what featured in my childhood. I wonder how many hands have turned that smooth handle, worn away the gold paint. What things has she sewn and when was the last time she was used? She was very dusty but relatively clean and rust free, running even without oiling. Her wooden case is pretty banged up but there was still thread on her bobbin and a sharp needle in place. I feel an odd sort of privilege to wake her up and stitch with her. I wonder what we'll make together.
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