A Stitch In Time…..Saves Lives!

A Stitch In Time Saves Lives!
For every single person at home behind a sewing machine or with needle in hand putting an item together for key workers I wanted to say a great BIG thank you! Whether it’s a headband, scrub bag, scrubs or anything sewn between, you are part of a new and momentous movement. A movement that’s brought us together to help where we can. A movement where our skills were honed for such a time as this (Esther). A movement that helps us to express our gratitude to others, and above all a movement that allows us to express our love – one stitch at a time. We are all part of an elaborate tapestry that we cannot yet see the finished design, but know that every stitch counts towards the outcome.
Thank you and keep those stitches coming.

#AStitchInTimeSavesLives #sewingforacause #sewingforkeyworkers #sewingforcharity #scrubsforkeyworkers #scrubsforthenhs #headbandsforheroesuk #sewityourself #heskethemporium #heskethemporiumhandmade #fortheloveofscrubs #wiganscrubhub #wp

The gift of sewing…..

I love all things sewing and making, but I love being able to give the gift of sewing to others just as much. In fact, I love it so much that I teach community sewing groups in Wigan.

In addition to teaching beginners to sew or improve, when they show a real interest and desire to create, it sometimes isn’t enough to just teach. Not everyone is blessed with the ability to get an old machine and tinker and clean until it hums like new again.

Well, I have a gift and with this comes a desire to bless others. I do this in the form of buying or acquiring old machines and fixing them to gift on to others. Over the years I have given away dozens of machines and I wanted to start a record of which machines went where. Some are so far distant that I cannot recall, so now seems like a good time to start the process.

December 2021 – this old girl was gifted to me by Lynda and after some cleaning and adding in a tin of sewing tools and accessories, she went off to her new home with Abigail and her two daughters…..

I will continue to bring sewing to as many people as I can – it isn’t just about the sewing and being able to make nice things for yourself, family and friends, but it is a joy to meet up with other people as a sewing community.

Happing sewing everyone!

Save the planet – one face wipe at a time!

Reusable face / makeup wipes

This is what 151 reusable makeup/face wipes in bundles of 5 look like! All made whilst watching TV as this helps still my mind! Mostly from scraps of cotton yarn and every one is reusable so saving our planet from more waste.

These are donated to our Community Grocery in Wigan. I’ve attached a very crude hand drawn diagram if you’d like to try them yourself. There is also a video tutorial on my YouTube channel. https://youtu.be/unOP7vRgMDs

Crochet diagram for face wipes


October – 30

November – 151

Junker & Ruh 1886 Handcrank Sewing Machine & Manual….

This little beauty has been sitting patiently waiting since 2020 for her turn on the workbench. I started out with the basics – a good mechanical clean and oil to see if we could get her to turn. It took a bit of work and TLC but once that was sorted I moved onto threading.

Make & Model – 1886 Junker & Ruh. Her name is Jasmine

Purchase date : October 2020

1886 Junker & Ruh handcrank sewing machine from Germany

These old machines use a very different type of needle – round shafts that are a lot smaller in diameter than the modern flat sided needles we are more familiar with. Luckily I had a small number of needles from vintage sewing kit donations and these fit the needle bar and clamp.

Unfortunately, there is no indication of how high the needle should be inserted and unless the needle is exactly the correct length when it enters the fabric and returns, it will never form a stitch. A lot of trial and error and I got it just right and I will have to put an indicator on the needle bar so I can repeat the correct position when the needle needs replacing. There is a good reason modern machines have a stopper which the needle engages with!

This lovely machine even came with all the original feet and some needles – these are sadly rusted but I will look into whether I can restore them. The box includes the original manual – rather beaten and torn, but some very careful ironing and it is at least flatish. It is very fragile so I’ve scanned it and will put the original into an acid free sleeve and put a new printed copy inside the case instead. You will find a link to the manual here…..

Viking Husqvarna 6460 – Viola

I purchased another vintage machine. I have a few of these machines now and this one is also destined for a new home soon.

The machine looks extremely well kept and outwardly nearly new.  The problem was that the seller insisted hubby tested the machine before he took it away and with these machines that can be disastrous because of the grease going solid if it is not maintained.

She came with the cover, presser feet, pedal and extension table, but the only CAM with her was ‘A’ which was in the machine; all the other CAMs it would have come with are missing and I will see if I have a few spares from a donor machine.

We got her home and on opening the case she is extremely clean and hardly used – a good thing in one way, but often this means they have been left unserviced for years as well.  On closer inspection, as I feared, the CAM has split because the motor should NOT have been run in this state.  This is by far the worst machine for this grease issue that I own (I have 6 of these machines) and as she was so little used, and then left it had completely seized up inside.  I couldn’t even unscrew the cover from the bobbin area as the grease had completely set.  This was the same when I opened it up and none of the knobs would turn. Grease had got under the motor cover and when someone had tried to remove it the case split and broke off leaving a bit of the cover stuck to the body.  I will have to glue this back and also fix the screw holes in the corners which had snapped off – probably for the same reason. Maintenance was impossible without completely dismantling the machine to remove the hard grease and reapply it.  The lever to lift the presser foot was also frozen in place and took a LOT of work to free and be usable.  

I have shown hubby what to look for if we ever buy any more of these models because then he can first check the CAM before buying it. This is sadly an expensive repair and sometimes makes buying these machines too expensive. On the other hand, it can give you a bit of negotiating power.

Following a thorough restoration of the internal mechanisms, everything is running beautifully and smoothly. She is waiting for a replacement CAM and then I can test all the fancy stitches she is able to do.

Here is a link to a 6020 and 6570 users manual until I find the actual manual:

6020 User Manual

6570 Manual – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Q9Nn8VGVMGht2h3rMuvXV-PrGEe_f3vq/view?usp=sharing

This video will show you how to thread the machine and wind the bobbin:

Bernina Matic 802 Electronic …

The free-motion embroidery that you see here is my first attempt at it using a wonderful online course by Jo Hill. You can find all the information on her website here.

Here is a link to the Bernina 801_2_3 Sport sewing machine manual which is very similar: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jSy0pOF0sgN0yK4lvHqKmonfCK4caq-N/view?usp=sharing

How to thread your Bernina 802 Electronic – (coming on youtube soon)

The BIG mask debate….

Surely we’ve all been expecting the mask issue to eventually be recognised by our government?

Almost every other country has agreed that a mask does lend some protection and anything is surely better than nothing! I am sure there are many and varied views on this matter, but that isn’t what this post is about. This post is simply to show you that you have options.

Whether your option is to buy disposable – absolutely NOT a good idea because our planet can do without another form of rubbish in landfill! So PLEASE don’t.

You can buy a lovely designer face mask from our website. These are reusable, look great and will last a long time – long enough to get through this pandemic. These are on our website at www.heskethemporium.com, and currently all the money we make from them goes towards making more free headbands and ear protectors for our key workers. These include some really lovely fabric prints, a double layer with a pocket for a filter material and a nose wire.

Please, if you have the financial ability to purchase these from us, we would really appreciate your support, but we know this isn’t an option for everyone so have provided a cheaper option and a free DIY option too.

Our second option is the budget range of face masks. Make in a very good quality cotton, it still has the 2 layers and pocket for additional filter material and a nose wire. The design is more basic and therefore easier and quicker for us to make and we can therefore offer these at a lower price. They will last just as long and are fully recyclable too. The difference is that on these you get one colour only – green. These will soon be up on the website as well – www.heskethemporium.com

Then we come to a DIY option for anyone that isn’t in a position to pay for a face mask or is just a keen ‘I’ll try anything once’ kind of person. I have found many options but this method really is machine and sewing free, and a great way of recycling old t-shirts too. You simply need a t-shirt and a pair of scissors. This tutorial is available on Youtube and with one t-shirt you can make at least four face masks for yourself, your family or friends.

The tutorial is here…..kutikutidiy

Now you have options based on any budget.

Let’s keep ourselves and everyone else safe, you never know who may have the virus and so we should assume for now that we are all potential carriers and protect one another. There is tons of research out there – be careful as the internet is full of equal quantities of good and bad advice, but a good starting point is the information available on the Olson face mask pattern – designed by doctors and my favourite pattern and the one we use at Hesketh Emporium.com

If a mask is good enough for a superhero, it’s good enough for us too.

Keep safe and keep crafting.

Love from Michele


Hesketh Emporium and Headbands for Heroes UK

How to make a Ponytail Face Mask Holder….

Over at Headbands for Heroes UK, we are very busy making all sorts of face mask holders to help our key workers to protect their ears from the elastics on the over-the-ear face masks that a lot of them are issued as part of their protective equipment.

Today I did a short demonstration on Facebook Live to show you how I make mine. We provide all our headbands, holders and tabs free to key workers over on our website at www.heskethemporium.com

If you haven’t yet signed up to be a maker with the Headbands for Heroes UK campaign please head over to the facebook group and join in. In the Announcements section you will find a Volunteer form that you can complete. When you have some ready for collection just drop us a message and one of our incredible volunteer bikers will nip round and collect them for delivery to the customer.

Thank you for watching and getting involved helping our heroes.

Happy crafting

x Michele x

Meet the chooks….

Hello, we wanted to say hi and welcome to our adventures at the Hesketh Hen House.

Our name’s are Maid Marian (thank you Poppy), Lucky Lucy (thanks Barnaby), Hope (thanks Mara) and Grace (our human’s choice).

We are settling in okay but didn’t want to come out of the nice cosy house that was made for us. The weather was cold and very windy, and us chickens don’t like too much wind you know!

Anyway, after a bit of coaxing we decided that all the good grass and treats outside the house were too tempting and started to explore our new pad.

They’ve done a half decent job so far, but I hope they give us a bit more space soon because otherwise it’s going to become a bit boring inside the fence they’ve put up. To be honest, we are a bit annoyed that we are penned in at all; why can’t we just be left to run around that lovely big garden? We could help them with all the slugs and snails they keep complaining about. I did however, overhear one of the humans saying that once we had settled in and were more comfortable they may open the fence for us…..here’s hoping hey!

We spent a comfortable first night in our hen house thanks to all the lovely clean straw bedding that’s been provided. In fact, that big human opened up the door at a ridiculously early hour and expected us to come outside – is he crazy! It was only 7.30am and so we decided to show him our displeasure by only leaving the house at lunchtime – ha!

Let’s see if they provide us any more treats today. The corn was okay, but I would kill for a bit of healthy salad greens.

Chook, chook.

Maid Marian