Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smackdown: Singer 66 vs. Elna Grasshopper

Here's another entry from our special correspondent Anne Graham:
Smackdown Round One
I began this process with great interest as I too have several strait
stitch sewing machines.  One was already up and going on a project so
it will be the first competitor.  It is the making of this project
that I will be testing them out on and showing in pictures.  it is
just squares sewn together so not complicated but as I sew for others
as well, I like a very simple thing to relax with for myself.

There are a few machines that fit the bill as far as strait stitchers
but are not included.  This includes hand cranks, a sideways sewing
Wheeler Wilson, 3 treadles and a Wilcox Gibbs chain stitch.  I am
trying to keep it simple!

The ones that are in the challenge are:
Round One:  Singer 66 Treadle vs Elna #1 Grasshopper
Round Two:  Singer Spartan vs Singer 15-91
Round Three: Singer 201 vs Pfaff 131.

Singer 66 Treadle

Made in 1941 and sits in a strait leg treadle cabinet of bird's eye maple.
This machine is one that has tremendous sentimental value to me as it was a gift from my late husband.  I can't help but think of him while I use it, he was so excited when he brought it in the house.
Sometimes it is something like this memory or simple the "cool" factor
that makes a machine seem to work better.

About the sewing:  Excellent stitch quality and is the easiest of all
my treadles.  It has one feature that the others do not - a back tack.
 Back tacking on a treadle is a little odd.  Treadling forwards and seeing the needle going back just takes some getting used to but is really a time saver.  The bobbin is easy, threading is simple and generally not fussy.

The reason I started with this is not related to stitch quality but may be another consideration.  It is a very quiet machine.  Because it is not electric I can move it into a good spot in the living room and sew while a movie is on.  Very handy.

Cons: I have never done free motion quilting with this so am not sure how it would do.

Elna #1 
The Grasshopper

This one is a machine I use for simple quick projects as it can be brought out and set up quick.  It weighs 11
pounds and takes up little space.  It also takes low shank attachments so I can use fun things on it like walking foot, 1/4" foot and a zig zagger.  It has a LOT of the cool factor.  It is just fun to use.

Sewing Tests:  Stitch quality is good.  Threading is easy, bobbin placement is fast and hold tension well.  There is a problem with it though, as it was operating very slowly.  That is not usually how it is so I need to check her out.

Cons: Not a lot of power and this too has never been used for free motion quilting.  It requires a darning plate.

Winner - The Singer 66.

Closing comments from DragonPoodle, aka Cheryl:
Wow, a Singer 66 treadle that back tacks!  and a I long for a Grasshopper..... 

1 comment:

  1. I have about 12 or so 66 Singers, some electric some treadle. The most endearing thing to me is they sound like a rain stick when sewing slow and that drop in bobbin must have been a real blessing to the women of yesterday, I bet they felt as good about the drop in bobbin and the winder as we do the side winder! lol (too bad the side winder does not do the long bobbins too) Nice site!


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