What a lot of excitement the other day!  Hubby and I were helping out at a summer fête, which included a car boot sale (Jumble Sale for us older bods).  During one of my breaks from holding down the Bric-a-brac stall (to raise money for my niece’s school) I had a wander and spotted this.

Grasshopper 01

Nothing to really spark interest, except to wonder what’s inside . . . and that’s when it gets exciting.

Grasshopper 02

The case starts to open out with a flap, and show a lovely grasshopper green . . . and then

Grasshopper 03

Ooooh yes!  An Elna sewing machine.  And not just any Elna sewing machine.  This is what is affectionately called “the Grasshopper”.

Now, I have to admit, I didn’t know that when I saw it.  I just knew it was old and I wanted it, regardless of whether it was in working order or not.  A little bit of haggling took place, and it was mine for 12€.

Back home, I googled, to learn more about this machine.  Made in Switzerland, between 1940 and 1952 it was Elna’s first mass produced portable sewing machine.  It was nick-named “Grasshopper” because of its green colour, and its physical appearance (more photos when you scroll down).   Was produced in 3 series with very slight changes made. My machine is dated August 1950, so is the third series.

It’s ever so nifty!  First of all, as you can see, the travel case opens out . . . and serves a purpose because

Grasshopper 12

It becomes a sewing table!

There is no foot pedal, but a knee lever which swivels out and unfolds into position to operate the machine.



Has a light under the neck.


Grasshopper 06

This is where the lower bobbin goes, and where tension is sorted.  There’s even a thread cutter incorporated just behind the foot.

Grasshopper 08

The stitch size regulator.  The Grasshopper can only do straight stitch.  When you slide the lever away from you, the machine does a reverse stitch.

Grasshopper 16

The wheel is low down, and you can see here where bits go to wind up a bobbin.  There is also a bit sticking out for a speed regulator, but that accessory was missing from my box.

Grasshopper 05

It came with many of its original accessories including oil cans and screw driver. In the special box (missing its lid) which has a place at the back of the machine.

Grasshopper 17

Grasshopper 18

The box has little feet that slot into the holes in the base.

Everything is so well thought out!

Anyway . . . husband checked out the wiring.  Grasshopper runs on 110V and came with a transformer.  And, despite being 67 years old, it works!

However the belt was rather slack

Grasshopper 07

So I have MacGyvered a new one using a rubber seal for preserve jars.  I now need to sit down, with lots of patience, and tweek tension.  Grasshopper sews, and with a lovely quiet whir . . . so if I can get tension worked out, then I plan on piecing a small patchwork project on this lovely piece of machinery.


knitting & sewing

We’re having something of a heatwave in our corner of France.  Which makes me appear slightly mad, since I’m busily knitting my first sweater . . . as if it was sweater weather!

Here’s where I was up to last time I showed you.

knitting 02

Well since then, I have a back!

knitting 03

Sorry about the colour in second photo, which makes things look so grey.  True colours are like in the first photo.  Anyway, I managed my decreasing and casting off as instructed to shape the neckline on back.  I’ve now begun work on the front.

Realising however, that even if I finish this sweater soon, I won’t be wearing it until the autumn . . . and that summer clothes are more what’s needed at this time of year.

tunic mai

I pulled out one of my favourite patterns (NewLook 6086) which I have tried and tested several times.  Chose a “difficult” piece of fabric though.  No idea what it is exactly.  Suffice it to say it’s very light, floaty and slippy.  I did French seams and also made my own binding for neck and armholes.

tunic mai 01 zoom

tunic mai 02

And voilà the result!

tunic mai 03

A lovely simple sleeveless tunic.  Long enough to cover my bum.  The perfect match for my new trousers (couldn’t resist: bargain price at our local discount store, Noz).  I have another tunic in the making, in an equally floaty, slippy fabric . . . so stay tuned.  Gibbs approves, but I’m a little worried about his playful antics and teeth.  He does like to tug on my clothes . . . let’s hope he doesn’t tug too hard on my new tunic!

unbirthdays in May

Two packages were posted this month, to far away.  Each containing something handmade, and something else.

un birthday Kathy

Now, this “K” could have been for quite a few of my blogging friends . . . who was it for?  For Kathy of Sewing etc in the United States.  I finished the monochrome K off as a fabric tray, all in blue because I think that’s one of Kathy’s favourite colours.  I also sent her an old copy of “Création Point de Croix”, thinking she might like to see the kind of designs French stitchers like to sew.

Second package was for Kate of by the babbling brooke in Canada.


To Kate, I sent one of my monster felt zippy pouches – he could be used as a thread catcher, perhaps?  And a semi- kit (no fabric) with some farm embroidery designs and 4 skeins of DMC.

So happy unbirthday to both Kathy and Kate.  Who will be celebrating their unbirthday in June, I wonder?

never too young

I firmly believe that, with crafting, we are never too young (or old) to learn.  Take me, for instance.  53 years young before I dared teach myself to crochet, and I’m having a ball.

Well, our neighbours have a 7 year old daughter: Cléo.  Cléo has seen me crocheting, and she also knows I do other crafts.  For Easter, I gave her one of the little owlet purses which I’ve already showed you.

owl purse x3

The dark teal one was for Cléo.  Well, imagine my surprise (and pleasure) when Cléo had a little sewing session with her Mum and gave me


a little owlet in return!  This little owl is made in felt, and I’ve called her Emerald.  She’s hanging up in my sewing room.  Anyway . . . Cléo also asked if I could teach her to sew. 

Well, I don’t know about you, but when a child shows an interest in handicrafts, I think it should immediately be encouraged.  Cléo therefore spent a crafty morning with me, on my Juki (oh yes, I let her use the good sewing machine lol) and made these.

cleo sewing 01

Now, Cléo is only 7, so I did all the cutting.  However, these are Cléo’s choices of fabric & felt (after a long rummage through my scrap bags) and she did all the sewing.  Here are the backs, where you can the sewing more clearly

cleo sewing 02

The two pink bookmarks were the first ones Cléo made . . . and we had Juki on the slowest speed setting.  Cléo wanted to go a bit faster on the turquoise & blue one, so I let her push the lever up a notch.  Hihi, she soon discovered that even going a tiny bit faster made it more difficult to keep those seams nice and straight.  And agreed that “tortoise pace” is perfect for a 7 year old beginner sewer.

These bookmarks, obviously, were made as gifts for Cléo herself, and her deserving parents.  I have reassured her that she is welcome to come round, whenever she wants, for more sewing lessons, and to make gifts for other members of her family.  If she has a patient streak, then I’ve also promised to teach her to cross stitch but sewing gives more immediate results so I’ll understand if she prefers to continue with sewing.

happy un-birthdays in April

Three more padded envelopes were posted this month, each containing a little card and surprise un-birthday gifts for three blogging/crafting friends.  Three home-made gifts, all on the same theme . . . but each one totally different.

To Angela, aka Wisher, in Singapore

oops; I forgot to take a photo!  This is one Angela took, when the package arrived.


To nanacathy in the UK

marker book 01

And to Lynn, aka Tialys, in France


The little “books” contains pin, crochet stitch markers and beaded knitting markers.  Assorted to the colours of the “book” each time. For example:


So something pretty, and useful, I hope, for crochet and knitting projects.  Blackwork designs on the front were all freebie designs. The first two found on Blackwork Journey but I can’t remember who the designer of the Easter egg is.

“Live Simply” happy dance

In March, I had a happy dance, having finished off a cross stitch design: “Live Simply”, a kit by Dimensions.  However, that was just the happy dance for a finished stitching . . . the real full-flung happy dance happened this month.

Live simply finish 01

Live Simply finish 02

I have made a lap top case for my niece, N.  Her parents gave her a Notebook PC for Christmas, and she had asked if I could make a protective cover for it . . . so I did lol.  Some simple piecing on the front, and some freestyle quilting.

It’s just a simple pouch, but I added handles so it can be carried like a bag, and a couple of large poppers to make sure it stays shut.

sugar skulls zipper pouches

Way back, in December 2015, I had a purse making session, using a lovely batch of metal purse clasps I had bought.  I made a whole selection of little coin purses for ladies in the family and close friends, trying to choose different fabrics to suit the tastes of the ladies these gifts were intended for.  Below, is an example.  Purses, left to right, gifted to: my daughter, my sister and my niece T.

purses 06

Niece T is in her late 20s, and I thought this pink & purple fabric was perfect.  She loved it, and put it into use immediately, as a mini-make-up bag . . . however, when aforementioned niece  saw photos of the rest of the batch I had made, notably this one, I got the impression I hadn’t chosen fabrics quite so well.


Sugar skulls on red, was made and gifted to N, 2nd son’s partner lol.  Anyway, my sister (mother to niece T) asked if I had any more sugar skull fabric leftover . . . and could I make a second purse for T.

Now, I did have a couple of purse clasps left over, lurking in the back of my supplies drawer, but I fancied trying something different.  Spent a while on youtube, watching video tutorials on how to put in a zip properly, using that special zipper foot which came with my machine and I’d never used before.  I also had a small piece of the red sugar skull fabric . . . but decided to splash out and buy a new FQ in black.

The result of a couple of hours sewing . . .

sugar skull 01

One zipper pouch, 9” x 5” (made to the size of my zip) which, I hope, will be a nice make-up bag size.

sugar skull 02

One smaller zipper pouch (approx 5” x 4”) which would be big enough just for a few make-up essentials to slip in the bottom of a handbag . . .

sugar skull 03

And another make-up bag sized zippy pouch (about 7.5” x 5”) in the original red fabric.  Zips have been left open in this last photo so you can see the gorgeous contrasting turquoise lining.

These pouches are quite light weight.  I ironed on interfacing to the outer fabric, to give it a little more body, but that’s all.  I learned quite a lot during this sewing project.  Was really surprised at how easy it is to put in a zip when you use the correct foot lol.  In the past, I’ve just used the normal sewing foot.  However, there are a few areas I need to improve on for next time.   I also discovered (to my expense) that even just a few hours sewing was probably more than I should have done and I paid for it the next day.  So, mental note to self:  keep sewing sessions to under one hour for the time-being.