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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Sewing Stocking
my old treadle machine is not just an odd side-table...

One of my trashpicked finds is an old New Home treadle machine from the 1890s or so. These things are only valuable, evidently, if their cabinets are in good shape (mine isn't) or at least their decals are (mine aren't): traditionally ‘japan finished’ —a kind of black lacquer, the machines were decorated with ever more elaborate gold-leaf decals.

The machine doesn't work, and it's missing a throat plate (though it does have its vibrating bobbin—which by the way, is an older design, and probably means it would be very difficult, even if restored, to successfully use.)

felt, color sorted. Because it doesn't ravel, comes in many colors, is easy to embroidery, is inexpensive—and also traditional—I use this fabric to make xmas stockings.

But I love it anyway, and it served as a model for one of the stockings I made for f2tY's Japanese family: hir Okaasan, who likes to sew.


I also included the gold-plated embroidery scissors two of my brothers somewhat unwillingly purchased as a gift for me when I was a teenager, and still use; and a tomato pincushion, like the kind my mom had when I was growing up.

In progress. If I ever learn to use wonder under I'd like to go to a freestyle sewn applique, but in the meantime, I use pins to position the pieces.

The two flower blossoms are apple and sakura, our state and Japan's national flowers. In real life they are almost impossible to tell apart, excepting the much longer stamens on the cherry blossoms; but the Japanese always represent sakura with notched petals, as I did here.

In order to work more efficiently, I worked on all the stockings more or less at once.

The red background, besides being a properly festive color, was also, I understood, one that the recipient favored.

Finished stocking. Shows the bradshaw wound cord, tassels with jingle bells, completed applique, and embroidery, including those fiber optic beads that are just perfect for pinheads.[1]

I really liked this design; it was a lot of fun to do. Note, for example, the patterned embroidery stitch I used to represent the mesh on the treadle. And I have to say, google images is super helpful for these kinds of projects. I had the machine and scissors right there, but I did searches for the flowers and the pincushion—yup, only I would load up 20 versions of an ordinary tomato pincushion for a highly stylized representation...

[1]I was too lazy to sew the pin part, but then, the f2’s used to make a habit of jamming my pins all the way to the head on my pincushion anyway.


[xmas_stocking] [2013]