Tuesday, February 12, 2013


A guy was leaving the estate sale as I trudged up the hill toward the house. Muscled, mid-thirties, shaved head. Carrying a canvas bag with three or four ax handles sticking out. I thought about making a jovial comment about whether he was an ax murderer or not but thought better of it. It’s odd, but the phrase “ax murderer” does not lend itself to instant humor…especially when there are actually axes present.

After I got inside the house I could see why he had so many axes. This was a family into multiples of stuff. Of course we all have a bunch of some things. Placemats, napkins, flatwear, shoes, books – for some things you need more than one or two. But hole punches? There were about fifteen. Old scissors, maybe ten. Buttonholer attachments for vintage Singers, at least five. You get the picture.

It was the vintage Singer stuff that made me go back on Sunday. The lady who lived in this old house must have loved to make things. The basement was filled with canning jars. Upstairs, dozens of bundles of fabric, bags and bags of thread, not one but three big quilting hoops. I succumbed to the lure of a boxful of old stamped linens for embroidery, mainly because this piece was on top.

Dogs to embroider

I haven’t embroidered for donkey’s years, but last week I took up the needle again. You see, all the pieces had fallen into place. Last summer I brought home the old pillowcase from a free box that was crying out for someone to love it enough to complete it. Only to discover I’d purged all my long-unused embroidery threads and hoops. Then at the dog park the other morning my friend Judy said she had something for me, and pulled a big bag out of her car. It held a bunch of embroidery supplies that had been her mother’s, who died over 20 years ago. Judy’s sister kept this bag all that time but finally decided she’d never use any of it, but just couldn’t bring herself to donate it to a thrift store. So she gave it to Judy and told her she could get rid of it if she wanted, so it came to me. I knew if I was patient I’d score the embroidery hoop I needed, but never thought it would arrive at the dog park!

Pillowcase embroidery in process

The pillowcase is nearly finished, and when I saw this box of linens I realized I wouldn’t mind doing more. And there’s plenty more here to work on as the whim strikes!

Stamped linen towel 2Stamped linen towel 1

In another upstairs room was an old Singer 201-2, the same model as my machine. (Though not as good a price as mine!) It was surrounded by attachments and gadgets, like those buttonholers. There were at least three different models of buttonholers and if the prices had been lower I might have been tempted. (Hmmm…maybe I should check some local thrift stores in a few days to see if they were donated, and the price is better.) But there was an attachment I only recently learned existed – a zigzagger.. And this one I really wanted.

Vintage Singer ZigzaggerVintage zigzagger with cams

But…I wanted it at a better price. So I took a chance on it still being there the next day, when most things would be half off. And it was! Guess there aren’t that many vintage Singer aficionados around. I haven’t tried it out yet; I think it must work something like the buttonholer, which moves the fabric from side to side. Looks like it will be fun to play with. It makes four styles of stitching!

Zigzag variationsArrowhead zigzag stitchBlind zigzag stitchDomino zigzag stitch

Of course, the detail that made me really happy was the handwritten notes penciled inside the lid.

Handwritten zigzagger instructions

I took another look around when I went back on Sunday, and picked up this interesting tool for making rugs.

Pleat Neat rug needle

Of course my fantasy is that it will create rugs like the one we have in the kitchen, made of pleated strips of wool. (A wonderful piece, like standing on a really expensive gel mat. Of course I usually have to move Zoe out of the way so that I can stand on it.) After all, it’s so easy a child can do it!

So easy a child can do it!

Pin It button on image hover