Palden Lhamo Tangka Framing Finished

Just completed this thangka fabric frame this afternoon. It was a more complex work due to the inset, gold mitered fabric combined with the blocked red silk plys the insertion of a rod at the bottom. My client wanted hanging ribbons which, surprisingly, took me two tries to get them to look pleasing to my eye. I experimented with several methods on the back, which is red cotton broadcloth, to help the silk dupioni lay down flat(ter) than it was wanting to do. On the third attempt, I came up with the idea to apply stiffener (interfacing) over the entire backing piece then stitch-in-the-ditch through the silk on all the seams. Finally, that worked! With the addition of the bottom dowel (my client has silver finials on order from Tibet!) the piece has turned out beautifully.

Penny Ironrite

Found this image in the Ironrite manuals that came with the mangle I bought last week. Not at all sexist, mind you. Here's what one ironing machine enthusiast has to say about her:
Roll Over, Dr. Freud!
This effectively targets both the Men (who would have had to pay for the thing back then) and the Women (who forsee a bit of added leisure). It sure sells the thing better than calling it a "mangle."

Etymology of the Dreaded "M" Word

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a "Mangle" as a device that uses rollers for pressing or extracting water from clothes. It gives the origin of the word as Dutch, mangelstok.

I believe that current usage feeds on a myth that people could do serious damage to their hands if they were caught in the rolls. Every modern ironer that I have seen has a foolproof mechanical disengagement device. When I got my ironrite, it was set to balk at four layers of denim. I suspect that folks who were suspicious of the machines (or jealous of their owners...) preferred the old word "Mangle" rather than "Ironer."

On the other hand, it appears that none other than Herman A. Sperlich used the dreaded "M" word in his 1928 patent for the original Iron Rite. This was probably before he got a Public Relations Department...

Mr. Sperlich's Patent 1,670,387

Mr. Sperlich's 1928 Patent No. 1,670,387

The Dreaded "M" Word as Sanctioned by Uncle Sam, Himself!

This is my current sewing project, a fabric framing of the Tibetan deity, Palden Lhamo.

New Beast!

I've been thinking for awhile that I would LOVE to have a commercial press put on all my finished sewing projects. However, for the Tibetan Deity paintings, I cannot turn them over to a dry cleaner or laundry for pressing. Fortuitously, I went in to the Salvation Army Store near where I live on Sunday looking for either an old sewing machine or an old steam iron and amazingly, they had this mangle! Price: $50!

A mangle is a commercial pressing machine used in hotels or laundries to get a really good press on a garment or piece of fabric. I only know what they are because my grandmother had one from the time she owned and ran a boarding house. This one weighs a ton even though it's much smaller than the one my grandma owned. I have to stow it in the garage for now but at least I have one!

Ironrite was the best manufacturer of mangles, from what I can tell on the web. And this one is a Model 95 which is supposedly the best model. It came with a service manual and a bunch of information printed from the web about how to use them. It also had a brand new, updated for the 2000s electrical cord the last owner had put on! Sweet!

Squaring Up The Miter

I'm in process of constructing another fabric frame for a Tibetan deity painting. I'm using a measure to make sure the mitered corner turns out at a perfect angle.

Fancy Stitchin'

Found this stitch on my machine last night while wondering how to keep my current project, summer pants for a client, from fraying so much. In the manual, it's 1-17. It's an overcast stitch and it's a far cry from the old zig-zagging we learned how to use for seam finishing in high school! Below is the sample once it's sewn on the waistband. Yay!