Last weekend’s snow and frost have been replaced with rain and temperatures of 13°C (55°F). Here in Yorkshire we normally consider ourselves fortunate to get such mild weather in late March, never mind January. Crazy weather. It’s nice to be able to set foot outside without wrapping up warmly, but the relentless rain is getting everyone down. Mud is everywhere and flooding is an ever-present threat.
I’ve finished the felted wool case for my BlackBerry that I started a couple of weeks ago. It’s very simple – just a rectangle of fabric folded in half with a seam along the side and base, and binding along the top edge which will get all the wear. The only (mildly) clever thing is the neodymium magnet on the inside of the front, towards the lower edge. It puts the BB into sleep mode when it’s slid into the case, then it wakes up again when I slide it out, away from the magnet.
I hand sewed the magnet into place using a scrap of organza ribbon. These magnets are a nightmare to work with, they jump towards any ferric metal including sewing needles, scissors and pins. I daren’t use my sewing machine to attach the ribbon, I’ve had bad experiences in the past with magnets leaping towards the needle, which then breaks when it hits hard magnet instead of yielding cloth.
However, I do love neodymium magnets. I have a small collection of them in various diameters and thicknesses, mostly bought on Ebay, but they can be found in computer hard drives if you have an old one lying around that needs destroying for security reasons. I’ve used these magnets for all manner of things, including:
- as catches (the thin ones will hide within the thickness of a piece of cardboard, leather or medium weight fabric)
- to attach things (like mini pincushions, vases or notices) temporarily to random pieces of iron or steel around the house
- to find hidden nails in plasterboard or wood
- in wristbands to hold screws, etc when doing DIY
- to “ferret” electrical wiring under floorboards
- to make super-strength fridge magnets that will securely hold any number of bits of paper under them
- for picking up pins when I knock them on the floor.
They are truly wonderful things.
One glove still to go
The first Io glove, the left hand one, is finished too, bar darning in all the ends. I like it very much. I’ve just reached the Jacquard part of the right hand glove. I’m hoping it will go quicker, seeing as I know what I’m doing now and it should all be straightforward knitting.
I’ve made a start on my leather laptop case. The contrasting coloured corner has been cut – I cut through a double layer of leather to get a perfect fit.
I needed this patch because the white leather piece had a damaged corner. The butt joint is held together on the back with double-sided tape and a strip of fine polyester fabric, for strength. But I haven’t been bold enough to zig-zag stitch along the joint yet. I tried using the linen thread I’d bought for this project, and it was far too thick for my machine. I then, foolishly, tried splitting the 2-fold thread into its constituent threads and sewing a test piece with that. It was too loosely twisted, and too twist-lively – hardly surprising as it was meant to be plied.
The result was I gummed up my trusty Bernina 1090 machine and haven’t been able to get the upper thread tension quite right ever since. That’s despite taking everything apart that I could (I even had the end and rear covers off for the first time) and cleaning it all thoroughly. I suspect that there’s a bit of linen thread trapped somewhere in the tension discs. I couldn’t find a way of getting access to that part of the machine without unclipping multiple connectors on the main printed circuit board, and I’m not going to do that. Without the repair manual, it’s just too risky, and fiddling with the PCB in a 25-year-old (I think) machine is best avoided anyway.
I’m going to try dental flossing the tension disks through the thread slot, and if that doesn’t work then my machine may have to pay a visit to a Bernina dealer for the first time since I bought it. Not before time. The fact that it has sewn so reliably for so long is a testament to Bernina quality and the benefits of regular cleaning and lubrication. I clean out the fluff from the feed dog area and apply oil where recommended in the manual every month, and vacuum through all the slots twice a year.