Это моя швейная машинка!

My little sewing machine.

It’s a Soviet PMZ from 1960 (the manual was printed in 1960, anyway). I just got it off eBay for very little. Maybe because it’s not old enough to be antique and not at all uncommon – supposedly at this time there was an overproduction of sewing machines in the Soviet Union.

The PMZ factory in Podolsk was in tsarist times a Singer sewing machine factory. After the revolution in 1917 it was nationalized and became first Gosshveimashina (acronym for “National sewing machine works”), and then “Kalinin” Mechanical Works of Podolsk. The machines were naturally all based on the prerevolutionary Singer sewing machines, but probably with some improvements over time.
The early sewing machines are really beautiful. The 1960 model isn’t so bad either. :o)

It works just fine.

All it needs is some dusting and maybe a little bit of oil. It has been in normal family use, and there is a nice little Russian children’s sticker on the case, and someone has carved “Лида” in tiny letters in the metal.

Thanks to the simple build and the well-written manual that came with it I could quickly figure it out and make the correct settings.
It works with a hand crank and can sew forward and backward. It sews quite fast (the manual states among some other important vital statistics that it can rotate up to 1,200 times per minute …).

I did some serious sewing with it today, and I must say the hand crank system helps avoid the neck pain I often get when I sew! I appreciate that it’s very quiet and has no influence on my electricity bill.
It has much less trouble with thicker fabrics and many layers of fabric than any electric machines I’ve used.
I miss having a zigzag a litle bit, but I’ll just have to make different types of seams for fabrics that unravel easily, use zigzag scissors and a second straight seam for sturdier fabrics, or just do that part by hand like my grandma.

My piggy toile fabric is in the weekly Spoonflower contest …

I don’t usually participate in these contests, but when the subject “Toile de Jouy” came up, a piggy toile just had to be made. And I knew it was all up to me.

You can cast your vote in the contest here.

There are lots of other very nice entries to the contest, and you can vote for as many as you like. Whee! There are no other piggy toiles in the contest, but there is a Cthulhu toile and a giant flying squirrell attack toile, as well as a couple of nice doggie toiles.

Boar pillows in Denver, CO

These photos were kindly sent to me by Lisa in Denver, Colorado in the Park Hill neigbourhood, who made a bunch of very nice pillows with my boar fabric. Lisa has a pretty cool living room:

It’s really fun to see the fabric in action! I myself haven’t made anything with it yet, because I don’t have a sewing machine. I’ve been saving it for when I’ll visit my mum over the holidays, because she has two sewing machines … ;o)

IN NEW YORK

Sunset over Manhattan

So I’m in New York now, and will continue to be so until the end of the month. Ilan is doing his annual visiting of family and friends, and I just tagged along.

What I’ve been up to:

* Working my ass off with my day jobs as usual
* Forcing Ilan to show me around interesting neighbourhoods
* Seeing Ilan and his band perform a few times
* Answering the question “So how do you like New York?” about five million times
* Eaten lots of very, very good food

Piggy street art!

Piggy street art in Williamsburg!

Pomeranian gazing at Williamsburg Bridge

The doggies here are on average much smaller than in Berlin.

Corner of Washington Avenue

Stairs

Stairs up to an abandoned house, one of three or four in a row.

Closed up store

Pretty

There were lots of doggies in this room!

There were lots of doggies in this room! Maybe it’s some kind of doggie day care center?

Ilan in New York

My plan here was actually to force Ilan to take me to the exact place where the main part of this video was filmed, but there is construction going on there right now, and you can’t access it. This is as close as we got!

Brooklyn Bridge

There are many more photos on my Flickr.

As for my comics, you might have guessed that I’m in a rather wretched period right now. It has happened to me several times before, and quite often around this very time of the year. I just know that one day I will wake up and know exactly what I need to do next in Driftwood. Until then I will just have to suffer …

But in the meantime I’ve designed some more fabrics for Spoonflower. I made a new boar variation and a fabric with Eva(!). Sneak peeks below:

I made three different colour schemes for the Eva fabric. But we shall see how they look in print.

Some people have actually bought my boar fabrics. Whee!

YOU CAN BUY MY BOAR FABRICS

Thanks to Spoonflower for making this possible!

The basic quilting weight cotton is $18 per yard.
I’ve only seen the fabrics printed on that, but there are other, fancier fabrics, too: upholstery weight cotton ($32/yd), organic cotton sateen ($27/yd), organic cotton knit ($27/yd) and bamboo/cotton rayon ($27/yd).
You can get a test swatch for $5 to see if it really is the right fabric for you.

Follow the links below the pictures to make your choice:

Sickly Cherry Forest
Sickly Cherry Forest

Sickly Pale Blue Forest
Sickly Pale Blue Forest

For extra reference, here is what they look like through my camera (click for larger view):

The boar pattern in new, better colours

NEW TEST SWATCHES

The boar pattern in new, better colours

Now I actually used Lab colours, duh (for some reason I didn’t last time although I knew that Spoonflower recommends that). So they look pretty much the same in print as on the screen. Yay!

And now I know what kind of tablecloth I will have at the next Stockholm SPX – the diagonal version of this fabric. Though I’m not sure about which colour scheme goes best with my books. Maybe I’ll work out a new colour scheme until then …

Also, I just noticed that Spoonflower has set up a way to sell fabrics through their site.
So, as of today, you can order these two fabrics for your own projects:
Sickly Cherry Forest
Sickly Pale Blue Forest

I haven’t gotten test swatches for the diagonal version of this design yet, so it’s not for sale. And in fact, the Spoonflower shop doesn’t seem to allow for other repeats than basic repeat (yet?), so we shall see about that. Maybe I will need to custom make a diagonally repeating design … :3

TUNGUSTKAN’

I like sewing – clothes, household items and plush piggies, for example. Often I tend to break out in sewing madness when I’m stuck with one of my comic projects. However, one problem is that there are few patterned fabrics that are even remotely badass. It’s all just flowers and (in the best cases) cutesy little animals in pastel colours.

There are some borderline cases of “slightly badass” patterns, like a some of the fabrics designed by Tula Pink or the ‘Mendocino’ line by Heather Ross. Especially Tula Pink is really inspiring. As a designer she has a background in the music industry, so she knows her way around skulls and monsters, and her fabric designs are, in her own words, “soft and sweet but still cool and interesting”. And she lives in a farmhouse way out in the countryside. (In other words, part of me would secretly like to be her :3 …)

This summer I spent one month in the countryside outside Bonn looking after my doggie friend Henry while his parents went on vacation. With the change of scenery (and being stuck in a book project) I got a rush of inspiration to design my first fabric pattern …

Sickly light blue forest

The wild boar, death’s-head hawkmoth, dung beetle, black slug and withered brambles can all be found in the forests of Germany. I didn’t personally see any wild boars and death’s head hawkmoths during my month in Bonn, but the other three elements I saw daily in great masses.

An even more badass steel blue colour scheme:

Sickly steel forest

The lovely Spoonflower allows anyone to upload their own patterns and order prints in small quantities without ruining yourself. They ship worldwide, too. Here is my profile on the site.

After some testing I got the two above colour schemes to look like I wanted them to in print. And yesterday I made a slightly less natural scheme — here you can also se how the pattern repeats:

And here is a variation that I made recently, with diagonally distributed boars.

I still have to get a test swatch of the “cherry” colour scheme to see how it really looks in print. :3

I’m sure there will be more fabric patterns from TungusTkan’ (TungusCloth). And maybe TungusTkan’ will even sell the fabrics some day …

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