Friday, December 23, 2011

Vintage Book Review: The Golden Age of Style

Happy Holidays to one and all!  And if neither Christmas, Hanukkah,  nor Kwanzaa floats your boat, rest assured that I also wish you happiness in whatever ethnic, cultural, or religious holiday comes your way next.  And if even that doesn't do it for you, then I wish you happiness in spite of your curmudgeonly self.

For us, it is Merry Christmas.  Both DDs will be here, and Grandma is in excellent health (better than the next generation down for sure).  The poodles have new sweaters, the candy canes are on the tree.  The presents are wrapped.  The Carolina blue flamingos in the front yard are wearing their Christmas wreaths.

The studio is also the guest room (more accurate to say that the lovely large basement studio has a queen sized bed in it) so it is all cleaned up and I am drooling over thinking about getting snowed in next month and doing all the projects that I thought I was going to do in 2011.

My Christmas present to you is some non-holiday related eye candy from the book The Golden Age of Style:  Art Deco Fashion Illustration.  Published in 1976, the book itself is not vintage but the subject matter is.  So my headline is deceptive, but succinct.

 Lots of lovely illustrations, most in color.
Lots of lovely information, about both the history of fashion and the history of fashion illustration.  The photo above helps put Art Deco into context by showing the Belle Epoque that preceded it.
 Heart-meltingly beautiful fashions.

In my life I wear jeans and t-shirts.  In my mind I wear Poiret.

Ho ho ho!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pink November

Once upon a time I found this little 3/4 size pink Kenmore on Craigslist.  It is a shoddy bit of engineering and/or workmanship.  The stitch quality is mediocre.  Amazingly enough for a machine made in the early 1970's, it has a a vibrating shuttle system like a Singer 127 or others of the first few decades of the 20th century.  If it is such a piece of junk, then why did I buy it?  Silly question, really.  It's PINK.  Really, really pink.

So I have been longing for a pink machine that I could respect---and sew on.  Maybe even pop into the treadle.  And after months of never seeing a pink machine, in November I hit the jackpot.

A pink Atlas straight stitch machine.  If you are looking at the picture and asking "Is that really pink?" then my photography is better than usual.  In full sunlight it looks like a pink-y beige.  In artificial light it looks like a beige-y pink.  And yes, that really is the wall color in my guest room.  It used to be my office, which is explanation/justification enough. 
bed decal

 It turns very smoothly but has minor wiring issues, so I haven't tried sewing with it yet.

This is metal, not a decal

The very next day I scored another pink machine, a Singer 15 clone in luscious, immaculate condition.  The young woman said her grandmother had sewed with it a lot, but you would never believe it.  But then the young woman's house was also immaculate, and she had a husband, a large dog, and a two year old boy.  Clearly she inherited the "immaculate" gene, unfortunately missing from my own lineage. 

Look at the gloss on the bed--you can see the reflection of the motor.

This is also a pink with beige tones, but it is more definitely pink than the Atlas.  The young woman had stripped the fabric off the case and bleached it to remove some mildew.

I believe the crown above the word "Elgin" indicates that this machine was manufactured by Toyota.  My very favorite machine for piecing is another Toyota 15 clone in apple green and white.

The decals are not extravagant, but they are lovely.

Both of those were Craigslist finds.  Then on Tuesday I wandered into a local charity shop which I am not going to name so that I can say trashy things about them.  They know nothing about sewing machines, their pricing is based on brand name and how new the machine looks (Touch N Sews look good to them, poor fools).  The clerk at the cash register is very nice, but the manager is another story.

There was a straight stitch Kenmore in there for $40 which has been there for a year and a half.  Right next to it, marked $10, was this machine.  I assume the manager has never heard of this brand, which didn't sell in huge volume in the U.S.  The last time I bought a Necchi, the checkout clerk said, "Oh, you got the Nietzche."

A Necchi Nora, about the same color as the Atlas, a salmon pink.  I've heard amazing things about the quality of the vintage Italian Necchis.  No cams, but hey, a girl has to have a mission in life, right?

I've read about this also, but don't remember anything except that it is a great feature to have.  Eventually I will investigate.  But by now it is December, and I have one or two other things going on.

How is your Christmas crafting going?  Because of the uncertainties of that dratted old Life, I can never commit to holiday crafting, but while cleaning up the studio I did find a gift object that I completed months ago.  And I have a project going on that will probably be finished in time.  If not, I've got a jump start on 2012.  Assuming, that is, that we make it to Christmas next year and the world does not end with the conclusion of the Mayan long count calendar cycle on December 21, 2012.

If the world does NOT end, but we merely experience the total collapse of civilization, I assume that most of the readers of this blog will be ready.  Ready to sew, anyway, on those treadles and hand cranks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Mystery of the Dragon Singer

Thanks to two vintage sewing machine bulletin boards and some email chatting, we have contributions this week from two guest bloggers.

Photo by Bobbie Krueger
I  recently met Bobbie Krueger online and we chatted about our vintage sewing machines.  She mentioned that she had a Singer with dragon decals

The general consensus of opinion on the vintage Singers board was that it was a fake, not a real Singer.  Take a close look at the photo above.  What looks fake?  What looks real?  What do YOU think?  

(a pause while we all hum the theme from Jeopardy and study the photo in detail)
Here's what I came up with the first time I saw it:
Ignoring the decals, it looks at first glance like a Singer 127.  The throat plates, that odd little access port on the top right, the high mounted bobbin winder all look just like my 127.  But is that a stitch length lever I see?  With a REVERSE?  My 127 has nothing like that.

The great thing about internet communities is that there are plenty of people who know WAY more than I do about vintage sewing machines.   Tamar wrote to me with another opinion:

"There are some unusual decals used on Singers made in India, there are "mystery decals" on various machines known only (to the collector groups anyway) on one machine - at a quick glance, I think the Singer logo decal looks real.  Sometimes people have touched up worn decals, but this is the whole thing.  It would have to have been a serious counterfeiting operation to copy the logo, and if they were doing that, why create new decals that Singer didn't use?  (Nobody in England believed in the platypus until a live one was sent; they claimed the stuffed examples were just clever taxidermy.)"

So I sent her the photos and she took a closer look.
Photo by Bobbie Krueger

Tamar then wrote:
"I've been looking at the photos more carefully.  I now believe that this particular machine was originally a 'normal' Singer 127 (full sized and the bobbin winder is set up high, near the hand wheel), but it has been refinished very carefully to preserve the Singer logo while changing all the rest of the decals.

"Probably sometime during WWII someone refurbished it everywhere except where the original Singer logo was, and then added their own decals, and also added the Revco Reverse that was invented to make old forward-only machines able to reverse.

"In the pictures, you can see the pin-rash where pins scraped the Singer decal,and the way the decals around it don't have as much damage, and also they are a different shade of gold.

"The bright colors are a typical element of Asian sewing machine decoration and the ones I've seen before that are that bright were made in India.

"The extremely long bill on the bird-headed creature makes me think it is based on a stork; except for the snaky tail, I'd say it was a very stylized stork.   It even has feathery wings, unlike most dragons."

In a later email she explained that during WWII the shift to war production meant that home sewing machines were hard to come by, and many older machines were refurbished to meet the demand.

THANKS a million to Bobbie and Tamar for the wonderful romp through sewing machine history.  I enjoyed it immensely and hope all of you did, too.

and if you EVER see a Dragon Singer anywhere, drop me a line.  It needs to be here, at DragonPoodle Studio.

Poodle Singers would also be of interest.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quilt Analysis: Vintage Schoolhouse Quilt

Often it is the beautiful antique or vintage quilts that survive, because they were "saved for good".  My mother only got the very best linens out when my paternal grandparents were visiting.  That's the only time she ironed the sheets, too!  But not all antique/vintage quilts are valuable or beautiful.  Here is a case in point.

Those of you who put photos online will know that they never really look like the original object.  This quilt looks much better in the photo than it does in real life.  The pink is Pepto-Bismol pink, and it it overwhelming in its pinkness.  Especially since I hung it on the wall in a small bedroom, where it dominates the room.  Guests who sleep in this room will probably have nightmares about being savagely attacked by the Pink Panther.

In any creative endeavor, it's always a good thing to analyze what does not work.

The solid pink and blue block doesn't look too bad in the photo above.  In real life, the two pinks are so similar that the house disappears and all that is left is a confusing collection of blue shapes.

The block with the large blue polka dots is another one that just doesn't look like a house.

The quilter really liked the blue polka dots.  She used them three times.

She liked these brown stripes just as much, and it might seem that the stripes would suggest architectural structures.  But sadly, no.

The pink used with the blue stripes is another pink that just disappears into the pink background.

 Which blocks do work?  It's pretty obvious, and is also one of the basic rules:  CONTRAST.

Using two strongly contrasting colors, ONE OF WHICH IS NOT PINK, makes these houses visible on the quilt as houses.

On the other hand, the strong contrast makes these stand out from the pastels of the rest of the quilt in a jarring way.  Not a good thing.

Now that I have analyzed it, I will also confess that I absolutely love this quilt.  I love the choices that the quilter made.  I would have made many of them myself.  Stripes and polka dots, why yes, of course!  Pink, pink, and more pink?  Bring it on!

This quilt came from a NC thrift shop, and I paid all of $5.00 for it.  I followed DragonPoodle Studio Maxim Number One:  all incoming textiles go into the washing machine, gentle cycle, with detergent and hot water and OxiClean on the same day they arrive.  Yes.  Really.  Here's why:  Kill all the lurking life forms right away.  Know the worst about the performance of the item right away.  Brighten the color as much as possible and make as many of the stains as possible go away.

Should you do this also?  What YOU should do is figure out for yourself what is important to you and not let anyone else tell you the right way to do things.

Textiles are ephermal, meaning that they are going to disappear sooner or later.  The reason the Stone Age is called the Stone Age and not the Dawn of Fibers Age is that the fibers have all disintegrated by now.  Only the stone remains.  Wouldn't you just love to know what those folks were doing with plant fibers?  But I digress.

The detergent and the OxiClean may hasten the deterioration of the fibers.  But moth larvae and mold spores and dirt and grime will also hasten it, and I have just dealt with them.  And I am not doing this to museum-quality, historically significant textiles.   My shopping is done at the bottom of the market, not the top.  I'm rescuing items headed for the landfill.

The Pepto-Bismol pink of this quilt was a much more subdued brownish pink before its trip through the washing machine.  It looked more "antique" then.  Does it now look more like its original appearance?  I like to think so, but I don't really know.  It is decades old, and colors change over time. 

I always mean to blog more frequently.  Then I don't.  Mostly I have been working on refurbishing vintage sewing machines lately.  Someday I might even show you!  But while we are both waiting for that to happen, here is one more piece of eye candy, a gift to me from blogging buddy Wilma of Wilma's World.

Very cute, very cozy, and very appropriate since I met the DH when we were both in grad school at Carolina.

If you are a careful follower of Wilma's blog, you may notice that I played a little trick with the image above.  First person (other than Wilma) to post a comment below in which you tell me what this was will win a crocheted spool pin doily.  Wilma, maintain your silence until we have a winner, please!

I'll send you one also, Wilma, if you email me your snail mail address.   I've been going crazy crocheting spool pin doilies lately.  You'll have a choice of traditional red, pink variegated (looks good on the green Singers) or a bubble gum pink. The red felt one at the end is included here for size comparison.

Keep the guesses coming!  I won't reveal the correct answer for at least a week, to give everyone a chance to get in on it.  Could be multiple winners also--told you I went crazy with these.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is Organization a Dangerous Obsession?

Do you like to organize your stuff?  Is there ever a moment when you feel that you have gone too far?  Stepped over the edge?

Photo shows 2 out of the 4 drawers of a small box holding Singer top hat cams
For me, one of the pleasures of this bizarre addiction/hobby is collecting the little doo-dads that go along with with the machines.   Stuff piles up.  I come up with a way to organize it.  I go to thrift shops and buy more stuff.  It piles up some more.  A new organization scheme is needed.  And so on, and so on.  I actually enjoy this.  It would drive some people mad.  People who are not retired, for example.

In my own defense, I don't re-organize just for the sake of re-organizing.  I re-organize because something is going wrong.  I can't find things.  I don't have things in the place where they are needed. 

Take the case of the Singer top hat cams.  I have a couple of 401's and a 500, none of them working well at the moment.  Eventually I hope to restore them to health and find new owners for them.  I recently acquired a 603E which I understand is among the last of the all-metal-gear machines and which will chain stitch.  All of these need their own top hat cams (I'm keeping the 603, which is working perfectly).  Top hat cams are plentifully available at the thrift stores and as they have accumulated I've come up with several ways to deal with them, none of which really worked.

The latest organizational incarnation:  one complete set will live out in the open, the rest will lurk on the shelves in the back of the studio. 

I took a silver sharpie and added ink to the raised numbers and stitch patterns on the top of the cams. 
 If you mess it up, a black sharpie will disguise most of your errors. 

I took a former cosmetics kit box and lined the drawers with a silvery wrapping paper.

Voila! I can lay my hands on any top hat cam at a moments notice.  I can peer into the drawers and actually see what the stitch patterns are.  This was a very satisfactory organizational project:  big improvement in access for no money and very little time.  The cosmetic box has been used for several different organizational projects in the studio, but this is its obvious perfect destiny.

So did I go too far this time?  No, unless you take into account that my go-to machine for decorative stitches will be my Janome MC 4900 for the rest of its limited plastic lifetime.  And I will probably never use these top hat cams because for some vintage cam fun I go-to a 306 or my latest love, a 316G, both of which take flat cams.  But I sure did enjoy coloring the stitch patterns silver and giving them their own little box to live in.

Do any of your studio organizational habits (or lack of them) make you doubt your own sanity?  Feel free to share them here!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can you wash Singer buttonholer cases in the dishwasher?

Here at the DragonPoodle Test Kitchen, we seek to answer the questions it would NEVER occur to you to ask.

Such as this one:  Can you wash Singer buttonholer cases in the dishwasher?
As mentioned before, I am always looking for the easy way out.  That is NOT a good personality trait for someone who collects vintage sewing machines, btw.

before, obviously
after, just as obviously

The answer is a resounding YES.  Finally, something was easy.  There was minor paint loss off of the button snaps on the front, but nothing I couldn't live with.

I have quite a collection of buttonholers, including a green and a pink Jetson.  I did NOT put those in the dishwasher.  They have smooth surfaces and didn't need it, plus I was chicken.  I love those things.

I ran them on a regular cycle, and about halfway through I opened up the dishwasher and flipped them upside down.  I took them out before the rinse and dry cycles.  I wanted to spare myself the scrubbing but not stress them out too badly.

The green ones are for low shank machines, and will work on ANY brand low shank machine, straight stitch OR zig-zag.  The red ones are for slant shank machines, also straight (Singer 301) or zig-zag (400, 500, 600 series.  Even beyond, if you are foolish enough to venture into the later Touch 'N Swears).

Did you know that all of these work on straight or zig-zag machines?  I didn't, until I started messing around with them in preparation for bestowing a 401 on a friend of the DD.

Did you know that this model and the Jetsons model are identical except for the housing (metal housing in the rectangular boxes, plastic housing in the Jetsons boxes).  Just remember to set your machine for straight stitching and let the buttonholer do all the zig-zagging by itself.

They make beautiful buttonholes.  You do need to stitch out some tests on your fabric. Play around with the width settings and tension.  Use stabilizer.  Just like machine embroidery, when in doubt use MORE stabilizer.  It really is easy if you are willing to take a bit of time up front to test stitch.

There's a later model that came in a cardboard box, and its mechanism is different.  It has plastic cams and has 20 of them, versus the 10 available for the earlier ones.  I just love me some vintage Singer buttonholers. 

And, speaking of mechanically washing vintage sewing items, a fellow showed up briefly on one of the boards and described how he had cleaned some treadle irons:  he put them in the back of his truck and drove through the car wash.

You can imagine for yourself the HOWLS of OUTRAGE that greeted his comment.  Needless to say, he has never been heard from again.

So be gentle with those less knowledgeable than yourselves.  Or St. Peter may greet YOU with a howl of outrage when you meet him at the Pearly Gates.  and you would never be heard from again.

We would miss you.  You DO know that there are hand cranks in heaven, don't you?  The treadles are too heavy, they would fall out of the bottom of the clouds.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Recent Graduates of the DragonPoodle School of Anarchic Sewing

School Motto:  Patterns?  We don't need no stinkin' patterns.

You met Michael back in July.  He came over for a third and final studio session, in which he proceeded full speed and I puttered around the studio.  He reports that he completed a third pillow at home.

Patterns were never an option.  He brought a pillow form and knew what he wanted to do.

btw, this is another post that was written earlier in the summer.  That ole Life has been acting up again, so I haven't spent much time in blogland recently.

The Totally Out Of The Blue Surprise Student:  DD Emily

Em was here for a visit and because she is a good daughter she lets me talk about my sewing machines.  I think the whole family is bemused by the sheer quantity of machines that have come to live here.  Em tried sewing in high school and did not fall under its spell.

She spotted a little Singer 99 with the crinkle or "godzilla" finish and was immediately attracted to it in the midst of all the shiny black ones.   She walked over to it and turned the hand crank and was a goner.

She spent the next two days sewing (amongst the family visiting) and she left with a lovely tote bag.  She also, needless to say, left with the 99.  And its cabinet.  Mother love is a powerful force, more powerful than sewing machine love.

We did briefly consider using a pattern but that didn't last long.

The fabric she choose was one she had given me years ago, a plush upholstery weight fabric.  Because the tote was for her kindle and netbook she wanted padding, so she lined it with a prequilted solid yellow.  The straps are a repurposed metal belt.  All of these were thrift shop finds.

And if you are thinking that it was a crazy thing to do to take a formerly sewing averse person and encouraging her in her desire to make a tote bag with upholstery fabric and a quilted lining as a first project on a new machine, well, this IS the DragonPoodle School of ANARCHIC Sewing.

Emily did almost all of the sewing.  We broke a couple of needles, probably because I never remembered to upgrade the needle size from a 14.  The last seam, in which we encased the raw edges of the inside seam in bias tape, was a toughie and at the end Emily turned it over to me.   The Singer 99 lived up to its reputation as a small workhorse. 

This is why I collect old Singers: 1) they are wonderful and 2) reading about them and experiencing them are two entirely different things.  The feel of the 99 as it tackled the multiple layers of heavy material will stay with me.  I now totally get the 99 and especially get why people love to hand crank a 99.  Awesome experience, awesome machine.

Prior to all this, in preparation for Em's visit, I took a break from sewing machine repair to do some cleaning.  I announced to the DH that all the sewing machines and tools were gone from the top of the workbench (aka the dining room table).

His response:  Will you give me a map?
Me, with my usual verbal elegance: Huh?
Him:  Without the usual landmarks, how will I find my way through the house?


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hot Fun In The Summertime. Fools Rush In.

Hot Fun In The Summertime
(This took place last month. I guess the heat cooked my brain and I forgot to publish this post!) 
It was 104 in the shade.  Who knows how hot a black cast iron sewing machine gets when it sits in the full sun?  Perfect for freeing up a sluggish machine.

I've worked on this little 99 a couple of times before, the first time when I got it.  Cleaned the lint out, oiled it, tried it with the motor, didn't like it.  Put a hand crank on it, and I liked it.  Months later I tried it with the hand crank and it was hard to turn.  Oil improved it only slightly.  So when the first round of 100 plus temps hit I put it out in the sun and sprayed it several times a day with PB Blaster.  It took a while, but eventually it was turning freely.  Brought it back in, a week later it was sluggish again.

Did you spot the error in procedure above?  I'll wait while you go back and figure it out.

I should have followed up the PB Blaster with sewing machine oil.  By not doing this, the remaining crud and PB Blaster hardened and gummed it up again.  Lesson learned.

In the meantime, I discovered the sewing machine repair manual at Tools For Self Reliance.  The machines they find useful in Africa are the cast iron Singers, specifically the 66, 99, 15 and 201.  The manual illustrates how to refurbish these machines.  With its help I removed the bobbin case on this and another 99.  Pretty yucky in there.  I should have taken the hook out also but I chickened out.  End result:  machine was still sluggish.

This time I stuck with sewing machine oil only, oiling all the movement points every time I took the poodles out.  After the first day it was turning freely, and after a night in the AC it was only hanging slightly.  After two days it was still turning well in the morning after a night in the air conditioning.  Day three and when I spun the hand wheel it kept on spinning.  

Fools Rush In
I confess, what I am really seeking is a magic wand.  I want the crud on the exterior of beautifully decalled sewing machines to simply disappear.  Without spending 20 hours to make it disappear.  Without destroying the decals.

I've tried a bunch of stuff, most of it worked, all of it took a lot of effort, and in every case you have to be super careful of the decals.  I want the magic crud-melter.  I recently read that someone uses a kerosene soak for this.  I consulted the treadle on board, and nobody really recommended it.  Did that stop me?  ha!

First problem:  I didn't have kerosene.  what I did have was a couple of bottles of lamp oil.  same thing, right?  well, apparently not.  did that stop me?  ha!

Second problem:  a couple of bottles of lamp oil is not enough to cover a sewing machine.  I thought that if I had the whole thing bagged up, I could squeeze the air our and it would be covered.  well, no.  dtsm? ha!

assembling the tools:  tall trash can, heavy duty plastic bag, and scrubbies

a layer of bubble wrap pads the bottom of the trash can

The plan:  heavy duty trash bag hopefully will not puncture and leak out all the lamp oil.  Did it actually work that way? hah!

The plan: scrubbies are spacers so the bag does not stick to the machine in critical areas.  Did it actually work that way?  Guess...
air bags and more bubble wrap are stuffed down inside the trash can to push the sides of the bag in so that it won't take as much lamp oil.

The end result:  the lamp oil came about halfway up on the side of the machine.  I couldn't squeeze the bag together enough to get it to cover the machine.  I decided to let it sit for a couple of days out in the heat to see what happened.  Maybe it would explode and burn all the crud off.

Why do this against all advice and basic common sense?  It was 104 and the heat wave had been here off and on for weeks.  Going out was no fun.  Staying in was no fun.  Maybe exploding a sewing machine in the front yard would provide some diversion.

End result?  The sewing machine survived.  The gunk coating it survived.  The decals survived.  It was perhaps a teensy bit easier to clean the gunk off the half of the machine that had been soaking in kerosene for three days during a North Carolina heatwave.

Would I ever do this again?  You must be joking.  Do I regret it?  Not for a single minute.  This is a hobby.  It is supposed to be fun and if I'm not having fun I just don't do it.  I don't mind making a complete fool of myself.  I did it just for you, you know, so that you would be spared from making the same long chain of foolish decisions.  Seriously.

No sewing machines, front yards, or tall trash cans were harmed during the production of this blog. Even the scrubbies survived unscathed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

eBay humor: battery powdered sewing machine

Check out this listing for a Singer 206.  At least they claim it is a 206, but the ad is so full of unintentional humor that I wouldn't take their word for anything.  I've never seen a 206 in the wild.

the title is the first clue that some chuckles are coming: "SINGER SEWING MACHINES MODEL 206K"
How many machines?  One, apparently.

Cruise on past the grammar, punctuation, spelling and capitalization errors to the end of the listing which states
"original electrical cord + battery powdered box"

and just in case you think I am being too tough on the seller, remember I DID just tell you to cruise on past all the tell-tale signs of a non-native English speaker.  That's not what I am laughing at.  Honestly.  If I wrote a listing in Spanish, which I might just manage, it would be on a par with this.

it's the "battery powdered box" which cracked me up.  That, and one of the photos.  Top row, second from the right.  Just what IS that object shown with the motor controller?

Why, it is an audio mixer of course.  I'm just SURE you also use an audio mixer with the battery powdered box on your sewing machine.  Don't you?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Michael Makes A Pillow

Michael came over for his second sewing lesson today.  First lesson was basic machine orientation and choosing a project.  He decided on a covered throw pillow.  Piping AND a zipper right out of the gate, ambitious AND challenging.  But I firmly believe that the best way to teach anything is to have the student plunge right in to a project they want to do.

Fortunately he didn't want to make a tuxedo.

The phrase "duck to water" springs to mind.  He claims never to have used a sewing machine before.  He figured out how to use features of the sewing machine to solve problems on the fly. Then told me how he did it. 

He bought a pillow form, a zipper and some fabric at Walmart and recycled the piping from an older pillow.

Pretty impressive for a first time project, eh?  He got the whole thing finished up in one afternoon, too.

Let's hear it for Michael!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tuesday Thrifting. Top Hat Trade.

On Mondays my favorite charity shop, motherlode of sewing goodness, is closed for restocking.  I'm usually there on Tuesday mornings.  I wasn't going to go this week, but when a lunch date fell through at the last minute I hit the road.  And the sewing trinkets jackpot.

If you are just willing to wait, almost anything will show up in your price range. If your price limits are low, this just keeps the thrill of the hunt going that much longer!

My price limit for boxes containing feet, cams or attachments is $5.  I knew that sooner or later I would find the pink Jetsons slant-shank buttonholer and this was my lucky week.

No modern machine with "automatic" buttonholes can match a good Singer buttonholer.   Ask anybody who has tried both.

This one has 5 cams, but they are interchangeable and I have several other Singer buttonholers, and all the cams.

Here's the find of the week: a zig-zagger for the Singer 301, in the box, with the manual, and discs 1-4.  The 301 is a straight stitch machine and the zig-zagger moves the fabric back and forth.  Do you know if this is the device known as "the penguin"?  If you know, please leave a note below.

This is an example of "I want it because it is just so cool" rather than "I want this because it works so well" (like the buttonholers).  The general opinion on the boards is that this object is a waste of time.  But just so cool. 

I bought a bag of miscellaneous feet for $2 because there was something in there that I had never seen before, and I am a total sucker for presser feet.

The mystery object is a Chadwick zig-zagger.  I also bought another Chadwick ZZ in a box.  From 0 to 3 zig-zaggers in one fell swoop.  The Chadwicks are for low shank machines. 

I have big plans for one of these Chadwicks.  Watch for an upcoming announcement from DragonPoodle International.

Turns out the rest of the bag was a nice set of snap-on low shank feet.   The triangular object on the left is a mystery.  It has the letter "R" on it.  Any ideas?

I adore feet and attachments of all kinds, whether I use them or not.  I do use a surprising number of them, but I am even fonder of the oddball ones. 

Finally, I bought a box of Singer 638 attachments mostly in the hope that the bobbins would work in a 603E that I am hoping will chainstitch for me one day.  Nice slant shank feet too.  And a bunch more top hat cams, which are threatening to take over the studio.

So, if you need a set of top hat cams, Nos. 1-7 (you can google the patterns), feel free to offer any sewing related trade.  I'm looking for the rare 0 (zero) zig-zag cam, and the 23 basting cam (don't know if this is rare or not).  You would be crazy to trade a rare one for the very common set I have.  So make me an offer!  anything sewing related.  The odder the better.

I'll even throw in half a dozen class 15 metal bobbins if you need them for another one of your machines because I am suddenly wealthy in class 15 bobbins.  All this treasure from one unplanned visit to the thrift shop.

The Fine Print
Offer expires July 31, 2011 or later if I don't get any offers by then. 6 class 15 metal  bobbins and Singer top hat cams Nos. 1-7 only (no box or other cams or attachments).  If you don't know whether your machine takes Singer top hat cams, then it doesn't.  If you don't know whether your machine takes class 15 metal bobbins or not, then put down the scissors and step away from the sewing machine.  Offer that appeals to me the most will be accepted (dollar value is totally unimportant).  Postage paid for by senders (you and me).  Second place winner will be offered Singer top hat cams Nos. 1-6.  Told you I have a boatload of cams!