Here is my secret for sewing while watching TV - a nice, quiet, hand-cranked sewing machine! This model happens to be a Singer Model 99. It uses "modern" round bobbins, takes regular thread (I'm using Masterpiece 100% cotton thread here, but cotton-covered poly thread works fine, too), and sews a beautiful straight stitch. I have the machine set on the coffee table in the great room at our camp. It's not a great ergonomic set-up, but it works well when I want to sew and still watch TV with my DH.
The hand crank mechanism attaches to the sewing machine flywheel. It has a short finger that fits between the spokes of the wheel and drives the wheel as the crank is turned. You can see the finger at about 3 o'clock in this picture. It's not a machine for pedal-to-the-metal speed sewing, but it is good for all-round accurate piecing. And for string piecing!
My rainy day project is based on Bonnie Hunter's Spiderweb quilt. I have accumulated a huge stash of purple and gold scraps (OK, I have scraps and yardage!) thanks to a couple of Louisiana State University scrap quilts I made. My goal is to put a dent in the scraps by making spiderweb string blocks. As you can see, I'm using Bonnie's technique of piecing on old phone book pages. You'll also notice I traded out the standard Singer sewing foot for a quarter inch piecing foot. Quarter inch seams are not entirely necessary for string quilts, but I wanted to show that it's possible to find quarter inch feet that will fit these vintage machines.
Since the iron is in the other room and I'm lazy, I just finger-press the strings as I go.
String block with all the floppy pieces, read for pressing.
Over to the cutting board for trimming.
One of four finished units for the Spiderweb block.
I managed to crank out 8 blocks during the LSU-Stony Brook baseball game.
And here's a batch of 16 blocks to show a complete spiderweb.