Monday, March 11, 2013

The DragonPoodle Economic Model. And A Treadle.

Myra, at my house, working on a Singer 27

Myra brought her "new" Singer 27 over and we took a look at it.  Got it oiled and turning freely, talked about what else can be done with the exterior.  But we never got it to make a decent stitch.  Swapped out bobbins, shuttles, and even the tensioner (!!!!!!) with a 27 of mine.  No luck.  My 27 is also new-to-me, and I haven't tried sewing with it yet, so who knows, maybe they both have bad tensioners.  We haven't given up, and I'm ordering new springs for both, so we will try again.

Myra's 1906 Singer 27 with Tiffany decals
But in the meantime, Myra wants a pretty machine for her treadle.  It was a birthday present from her dad, her husband got it put back together and they put new veneer on the top.  She restored the rest of the finish and it looks terrific.

Have you ever replaced the veneer on a sewing machine cabinet?  They did a great job.

They have worked on the color match since this photo was taken.

So I sold her one of my personal treasures, a Singer 66 with Lotus decals, brown variant.  I bought it for its good looks because I really don't like sewing on a 66--a fact which I fully disclosed to Myra before closing the deal, which included a certain amount of money and the rest in fresh eggs from her hens.

Singer 66, Lotus decals, before I restored it.  It is even prettier now, as you will see in the photo below.

Now it is Myra's Lotus!

I would have taken just eggs, but it is often hard to explain the DragonPoodle economic model to normal people.  Well, I explain it, but obviously it does not make sense to anyone but me. 
1909 Singer 66 Lotus in a 1906 treadle.  They make a lovely couple, don't you think?

When I figured out that I would never make any money
  • selling crafts, or
  • restoring sewing machines
I had a flash of revelation (no kidding) that went thusly:

 "instead of trying to make money, why not try to avoid making money?"

followed by a vague misty feeling that I had found a Path.  Even I thought I was crazy, though.

But it works.  When I can keep money out of the equation it changes everything. 

I do have to pay money to acquire sewing machines, though, so I don't mind selling them.   Money does have its uses.

However I would MUCH rather have fresh eggs from the hens of someone I know than money.  Much.

Bartering is part of the DragonPoodle economic model, but it goes farther than that.  It also includes not charging money for doing things I really want to do, like spending an afternoon with a friend with our fingers all greasy and dirty cleaning a sewing machine from 1906. 

And because I'm avoiding making money, it's easy to turn down people who want me to fix their sewing machines.  Unless they want to come over here and disassemble it with me.   That's not work, that's entertainment.

Back to the Lotus:
we were initially puzzled by the bobbin winder.  I tried the largest tire I had, and it didn't fit.

Then I realized that the bobbin winder rides on the treadle belt. 

So how do you know if there isn't a belt or bobbin tire in sight?  It's easy once you know how.  Just like everything.

If the groove in the bobbin winder and the groove in the hand wheel line up with one another, then don't bother trying out the bobbin tires!

The angle of this photo makes then look a bit off, but they are straight on.

There are ridges on the edges of the bobbin winder groove, another clue that a treadle belt is meant to be grabbed there.

The bobbin winder is nowhere near the handwheel on the Singer 27.  It is mounted low on the pillar.
Here's Myra's 27 again.

BTW, that's one difference between a 27 and a 127:  on the 127 the bobbin winder is mounted higher, and does come into contact with the handwheel, and takes a bobbin tire.

And here's a closeup from my 1896 Singer 27.  

The groove for the treadle belt on the handwheel and the groove on the bobbin winder align perfectly.

You push the bobbin winder up into contact with the belt (belt not shown here, obviously) to wind the bobbin and push it back down to disengage it.

if two grooves align, no tire needed

Here's a more modern Singer 66.  This machine only missed going to Afghanistan by one day, but that's another story.

There is a motor belt in the handwheel groove, it looks gray in the photo.  To the right of it is the bobbin winder tire,which is riding on a flat place on the handwheel.

So if the groove in your bobbin winder lines up with a flat place on the handwheel, you need a bobbin tire for it to ride on.

if its flat, you need a tire!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spoonflower. YES,it really IS that awesome

Just got back from a fabric swap at Spoonflower.  If you don't know Spoonflower, you should.  Go and look at their site RIGHT NOW.  Of course if you do, I probably won't see you again for days.....

They print custom fabrics and wallpapers.  You can design your own, or you can buy fabric designed by other Spoonflower customers.  You can keep your designs private, or you can share them with the world and earn money if anyone else buys them.

They have ten different natural fabrics, wallpaper and wall decals, and they gave us a booklet of swatches.

The possibilities are endless. Any image you create can be printed on fabric.  Anything.  I've been thinking about DragonPoodle labels.  Take a look at their site.  Amazing fabrics.  Amazing crafty items, all printed and ready to cut and sew.

The fabric swap was not of Spoonflower leftovers, sad to say.  They don't own any of the designs (the designer/customers do), and they print out on demand so there are no leftovers and nothing for then to sell.  They shred and recycle any misprints, so no "seconds" either.  I really, really wanted to hijack the giant bin of scraps headed to the shredder.

And because they don't own the designs, I can't show you photos of the awesome fabrics being printed or cut in front of our eyes.  A bright floral with a modern vibe.  Star Wars Death Stars arranged in a grid.  A periodic table of the elements.  Some pink Daleks.  Cut-and-sew globes. Cut-and-sew cute animals. 

We were permitted to photograph anything hanging on the walls.

We didn't get to walk around and fondle the giant computerized printers, but we could see them clearly through the glass walls of the printing room.  I just LOVE factories.  Making stuff on the grand scale.

Printers were running by themselves, but I'll bet it is a lot busier in there during the work week.

The woman whose face is not obscured is Becca, who organized the event and gave us the tour.  Thanks, Becca!

There are so many small pieces of interesting fabrics in here that this photo does even begin to convey the full scope of the bounty.  As a "spring cleaning" swap it would have to be counted a dismal failure, since I brought home twice as much fabric as I took.  There were still piles and piles of fabric there when we all left and it will be donated to the Scrap Exchange

I had a great time hanging out with Kathy from Alamance Piecemakers Quilt Guild.  We originally met at the guild, but discovered that we both grew up in the same town in Ohio.  And I was sorry to miss meeting Ginger, a local follower of this blog who alerted me to this event but then couldn't make it.

I really don't know how to convey in words how much fun this was.  I thought about going back and putting the word AWESOME after every sentence. That would just about do it.

Now go to their website if you haven't already done so.  Have a hanky ready if you have a tendency to drool.


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