Sunday, May 25, 2014

Don't Read This Unless You Are Going To The NC TOGA

You have been warned.  I will NOT repeat NOT ship sewing machines.  Ever.  I WILL show sewing machines on this blog that I am NOT shipping.   And every time I do some idiot chastises me for showing something that they, the entitled-to-everything-in-the-whole-world person CANNOT HAVE.

So go ahead.  Chastise me,  I dare you.  If you do, I will retaliate by taunting you:  Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.  Take that!

(Faithful readers will know all about my sense of humor and will take the above warnings as intended.  As humor.  But I still will not ship sewing machines.  Mwahahahahaha!)

So what, you ask, is the NC TOGA?  First part, easy:  North Carolina.  Second part:  Treadle On Gathering and Academy.  Basically a treadle and hand crank geek fest.  Held in Monroe, NC, June 12-14, 2014.

I have a hopeless addiction to vintage sewing machines.  I can't seem to stop buying them when the price is right, as it so often is.  I love fixing them up.  It is very relaxing and soothing and I can do it while watching TV (OK, listening to TV and glancing at the screen occasionally).  So I end up with a house full of sewing machines,  right now hovering at the 100 machines mark.

Time to clear out some of them.  Here's the deal:  Email me (or post to the NC TOGA group) if you are SERIOUSLY interested.  I don't want to drag a lot of 40 pound machines around for people who are not seriously interested.  But you do NOT have to make a commitment, and I don't take any money until you have seen them in person and made an informed decision.  Give me a code name or nickname and I will post here who has dibs, and who is next in line, etc.  You can even used your real name if you want.

ADDED 06/04/2014:  Two 3/4 Size Singer Cabinets

I have two of these cabinets.  The 3/4 size Singer models 28, 99, 185, and 192 (aka Spartan) fit in them.  I assume a 128 would fit also but I don't have one so I can't swear to it.  These are basic bare-bones cabinets, no drawer, no motor controller bracket.  They do appear to be actual wood (as opposed to particle board) underneath a wood grained laminate veneer.  As with all cabinets, if you put a hand crank on the machine you will not be able to fold the machine down into the cabinet without first removing the hand crank.

BATCH 1:  Untested or Known Issues
Some of this first batch are what is known as "attic fresh", meaning that they are just as I found them.  I might have wiped the spiderwebs off, but they have not been restored, repaired or even cleaned. Some have been cleaned and maybe even used, but have issues revealed below.  I will sell them for what I paid for them. Maybe less, sometimes much less.  And I am not going to tell you the prices here on the blog.  There are lots of reasons for this.  But I WILL tell you on the NC TOGA yahoo group.  The prices are not really a secret, I'm just not publishing them here.

Singer 15-30*.  I think.  Attic fresh.
(Correction:  I have been advised that this is probably a Singer 15-26, 27, 28, or 29 because of the lack of the motor boss.  See comments section.)
I bought this because I wanted to treadle a 15.  Then I got a beautiful 115 with Tiffany decals, and I no longer want this one.  Although there is NO motor boss, there IS a motor.  There is an attachment that connects under the back access plate and holds the motor.  Historically interesting!  At least I found it interesting.  The base is not included, just the head.  Motor and machine untested.  It does turn.

Singer 15-26, 27, 28 or 29.

Singer 15-91 with known issues
I bought this way back before I knew what I was doing.  The issues:
  • the bobbin winder pin (the tiny pin that sticks into the notch on the bobbin) is too short.  It's either worn or broken off short.  Bobbins will not seat on it, therefore you cannot wind bobbins on it.
  • I tried to take the cover off the potted motor and snapped off the head of one of the screws that holds it on.
  • the light cover is missing.  the light works, but it gets hot enough to burn you if you reach back there.  AMHIK.
It does run and stitch and the light does work.  I did spend time and money on this one---too much money---and I am letting this one go at a loss.  Could be fixed up (I just got tired of spending money on it) or could be somebody's parts machine.  As long as the parts you are looking for are not the bobbin winder or the light!

Singer 15-91.  Cabinet not included
Singer 306 with known issues
One of my all time favorite machines.  but if you don't know, they take special needles and bobbins.  One needle and one bobbin are in the machine.  Cindy has more.

Issues with this one:

  • Paint job is not lovely.
  • I could not get the bobbin case to adjust.  The screw is frozen.  the bobbin case is common to one type of modern industrial, not particularly expensive, and Cindy does have them.
  • The wiring is absolutely shot BUT it does treadle.  
    • In fact it treadles beautifully and if you are looking for a treadle-able machine that will not only zig-zag but do all the other construction and decorative stitches that you can get with flat cams, this one is a good choice.
    • I treadled it using a bobbin case from another 306 that I have.  You may not be able to test it to your satisfaction with the bobbin case it has.  But the price is quite reasonable even considering buying a new bobbin case.

Singer 306. Zig-Zag cam will be included.
Singer 285
What are the issues?  It's a 285, isn't that enough of a problem?  I will only sell this to someone who promises NOT to use it on a regular basis, lol.  You can read about the funky drive train in this post.
In that post I converted it temporarily to a hand crank.  It has been converted back again and has an un-notched hand wheel now.  Original plastic case included.

Singer 285.  Yes, it IS cute.  But trust me, it is a horrible machine.

A couple of Singer 328s.
These were also midrange machines.  I love the space age styling, I think they are just as good looking as the Rocketeer. I have heard that they can be treadled with some adaptation but they have internal motors and I won't be able to give you any advice about the adaptation, which I have never tried.  Take Singer flat cams and a zigzag cam will be included.  No base or case.

The photo shows a mocha one.  My notes on that one say "excellent straight stitch, thread breaks when zigzagging".  I never got back to fixing that.

 I also have a battleship grey one but don't have a photo of that one.  Untested.  Bobbin cover spring is missing.

Singer 328, mocha

These are good or even fabulous machines that I have at one time been in love with.  (I fall in love too easily...)  But I may have found even better ones of the same model or I am just running out of room.  These have all been cleaned, oiled, lubed and tested.  All function correctly.

INTEREST EXPRESSED:  by mabyars (first), and bluedasher01 (second).  I will be bringing it unless mabyars picks it up in advance of the TOGA.
Wheeler and Wilson #8
Love this machine.  Cleaned and serviced (by me) and runs beautifully.  I just have too many treadles and this one does not have sentimental value.  I think I have priced it reasonably considering the fact that it includes a complete set of glass presser feet (one is chipped, not the straight stitch foot) and TWO DOZEN needles.  No extension table, no bonnet.  No decals.  Lots more information and photos in this previous blog post.  You'll also find the youtube videos I made of both the upper and bobbin threading.  This is the only treadle I am selling.

Wheeler & Wilson No. 8

Singer 348
I sewed on one of these for over 40 years and I love this class of adorable light turquoise Singers.  But they were created as mid-range machines and just don't have the power of the higher end Singers or the postwar Japanese machines.  Much as I love them, when I show them side-by-side with better machines they fail to impress either me or the customer.  But during that 40 years I hemmed jeans, made canvas tote bags, repaired tent zippers, and did all the things that the stronger machines do.  Not bad machines, just not top-of-the-line.

Turquoise plastic "carrying" case and zig-zag cam included.  You do know better than trying to carry it by the handle, right?  Not treadle-able.

Singer 348

Singer 337
Same class as the 348 but straight stitch and zig-zag only.  Turquoise plastic "carrying" case included.  Not treadle-able.

Adler Belvedere
I think this is the coolest looking machine I have ever seen and this one is functioning correctly.  It does have a plastic gear deep inside which may break at any time.  The camstack appears to be fine.  And although it LOOKS like it has an internal motor, it actually has an external motor with a cover hiding it.  Therefore it MAY be treadle-able but I have not investigated that.

Adler Belvedere

SPOKEN FOR:  Singer 177
A Brazilian Singer zig-zagger that CAN be treadled.  In fact I recommend it, because the squeaky motor is obviously underpowered.  All functioning correctly however.  No case or base.  More info and photos in this previous blog post.

Singer 177.  Base not included.  Put it in a treadle for Pete's sake!

Toga-teers will notice that the prices are significantly higher for these machines.  That's because I'm pretty sure that they would sell for decent prices on CraigList and then I would not have to haul them to Monroe.  But if you want them and you think the price is reasonable, I would be happy to bring them for your consideration.

SOLD in advance of the TOGA, pending receipt of the $$.
BelAir Bantam
Lots more detail and photos in this previous blog post.  All of the stuff shown there (accessories, case) comes with the machine.  And it really is this pretty.

BelAir Bantam

Singer 15-125
This model is the same thing as a 15-91, in a prettier dress but with the same potted motor.  Nice machine.  More info and more photos in this post.

Singer 15-125
Singer 66.
A later model with back tack.  Nice and shiny.  Treadle-able.

Singer 66.  Case not included.  Plastic cases are not sturdy enough for 40 lb. machines anyway.

And, just to taunt you
SPOKEN FOR:  Kenmore Model 11
This one has been spoken for since my Christmas sale.  But she COULD change her mind.  I added the hand crank (painted it too) and it also comes with its original motor, case and accessories.

Kenmore Model 11

Please remember, I am NOT bringing these unless someone expresses serious interest.  Serious, as in, you are looking for one of these and will probably buy it unless it fails to live up to your expectations.  They have all been sitting for a while, so some oil and a test session are definitely indicated.  I will NOT be upset if you ask me to bring it and then don't buy it.  As long as you were serious in the first place.

Accessories, cases, bases, only included if they are specifically mentioned above.

I will be bringing some hopefully-fixables to Ray White's class and those may be for sale also.  For now those will remain a mystery however.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Children Sewing

My quilt guild celebrated National Quilting Day back in March by giving demonstrations at a local mall.  I took Shield Maiden and worked on a Disappearing 9-patch destined to be a charity quilt for the UNC Children's Cancer Hospital.

Shield Maiden's conversion from a grimy worn out mess into her present glorious state of extreme beauty has been extensively documented here in the past--just scroll down through the posts if you are interested.  However I never got back to you to tell you the outcome!  Surprise, surprise, she sews beautifully.

I like taking treadles to events because it gives members of the public a chance to tell me all about their grandma's machine.  I always tell them that if they still have it, it can be made to sew again quite easily and will be a better machine than anything they can buy today.  I get the sense that no one believes this, however.

And shout-outs to Myra, who met me at the mall and dragged Shield Maiden in, and Janet who dragged it back out again.  Thanks, y'all, especially for enduing the extreme screechiness of moving those cast iron wheels across the tiled mall floor.  The echoes are probably still echoing in that mall.

I also took a Singer 185 adapted as a hand crank machine, and we encouraged any children who stopped by to try it out.  They got to choose 5" squares from a basket full of squares with pictures of things on them for an I-spy quilt, also for the children's cancer center quilts.  but I only told them they were for sick children who had to go to the hospital.

Lots of children stopped and sewed.  This child was a relative of a guild member, and I did get verbal permission from his dad to show this picture.  Even with that permission, I decided on a photo that does not show the boy's face however.  Can't be too careful with photos of other people's kids.

ALL of the kids who tried this, LOVED it.  Boys and girls both.

This next kid is one of my own family.  She is my late husband's step-cousin's granddaughter.  I just love modern families.  Really. With all the comings and goings, marriages and divorces, you pretty much get to choose the best ones and stay related to them.  Case in point:  I am still delighted to call my ex-husband's sister and all of her offspring "family".  This confuses people who know either one of our families.  WHOSE sister is that?  We explain, then laugh like hyenas.

In this case a divorce and remarriage, many decades ago, brought in the branch of the family that created this little girl.  Lucky me.

She also pieced some I-spy blocks, but here you only see the alternating plain blocks on the top.  This was her first sewing machine experience and she loved it.

BTW, in the upper right of the photo you can see my new mid-arm.  If I ever get around to actually using it, you will be the second to know.  Jo and Janet will be the first, and I expect them to show up at my door the next morning to try it out!  They have been waiting for a couple of months now.  I think they assume I was lying about getting it.  Here's the proof that it is really here.

My young cousin also wanted to try treadling, and her legs were long enough to do it.  Here she is with my Davis New Vertical Feed, working on a wool strip quilt.  I started this project on Shield Maiden but after two slightly puckered seams realized that I needed to go with the vertical feed.  Awesome machines, kind of like a built in walking foot.  But way better.  She really liked doing this also.

We finished off our day together with a glitter project.  I have a bunch of globes sitting around waiting for another project, so we took the most beat up one and glittered it up.  Gotta love glitter.  I gave her free reign over the glitter selection and it was interesting to see the different varieties in action.  I've got some Martha Stewart glitter and it was super-fine and awesome.  All of my glitter comes from the thrift store so we could be extravagant with it.  And we were.

On the way back to her house we made up stories about what the different colors of glitter mean.  Red is global warming, btw.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Two Things That Are Worth The Money. And One Maybe Not So Much.

It sure is fun getting new toys.  Getting them from thrift shops is the best, of course, but now and then there are things that it is worth paying retail prices for.

As usual, no one is paying me to plug the following products.  I just really, really like them.  I would happily sell out if only someone was offering.  But I would tell you if that happened.

What are the two most important skills for piecing quilts?
Precise cutting
Precise seam allowances
These first two products will help you.  Or as in my case, save you!

Grip Strips (click for a link to this item on Amazon)

I do LOTS of cutting.  I go thrift shopping almost every week, and almost every week buy fabric.  Sometimes LOTS of fabric.  It all gets serged (to prevent ravels in the wash), gets washed and dried on hot, and then I do my own precuts:  10" squares, 5" squares, 2.5" squares and 2.5" strips. That's a lot of cutting.

I've tried many things on the bottom of my long cutting rulers.  Sandpaper dots (they work but wear away over time).  A handle that suction-cups on (suction quickly fails, usually in the middle of a cut).  A clear vinyl that self-sticks on (better than nothing).

Then I found these Grip Strips.  They work.

I kind of feel like I ought to say more about them, but really, there is nothing else to say.  They work.  They are long strips of plastic with adhesive that sticks to the bottom of your rulers, one per long side.  They grip to the fabric and keep your ruler from slipping.  Really, they do.  What else is there to say?

Buy several sets because once you try them you will want them on every ruler you use.  They are easily cut with scissors so you can piece them together on extra long rulers,  or cut them to size if you want to put them on the small square rulers.  And you will.

Nova Montgomery's Sew Straight seam guide (click for a link to this item)

This is another product that I discovered after trying lots of different things.  I HATE the seam guides that come with sewing machines.  They fasten on a single screw hole and they get loose and move around.  Or they scratch the bed of your machine.  Or both.  Utterly useless IMHO.

A bit better are the big magnetic ones, if you are sewing on cast iron.  They will NOT move, and you need decent finger strength to pry them up off the bed to move them.  They might scratch your bed, too.

A short stack of sticky notes also works, and that is what I generally recommend to students.  Almost everyone has sticky notes floating around the house somewhere, and they won't hurt the finish of your machine, even if you leave them on there.  At least that has been my experience so far.

But this long, clear acrylic seam guide from Nova Montgomery is the bomb.  It fastens with TWO tiny screws, and my only warning is that you need an allen wrench if you want to do more than finger tighten them down.  It does not come with an allen wrench.  But because there are two of them they will not rotate to a new position--they stay in place.  The length is great too.  The shorter seam guides just don't work as well for me.  As a quilter, keeping a consistent seam allowance is VITAL.  Probably the most important part of quilting.  That and precise cutting.

I replaced the allen screws with regular sewing machine presser foot screws.  I can turn them easily by hand when I need to move the seam guide to a new position.

I only have one problem with it, and that results from the fact that the needleplate does not sit exactly flush with the machine bed on my favorite machine for piecing.  This results in a small gap between the seam guide and the bed, and I have to be careful not to let material slip under there.  It is not a big problem.

OK, so those are the awesome well-worth-retail thingys.

Now here are the awesome thingys that are probably NOT worth the money.

Renaissance Dagger Scissors (click for a link to this item on amazon)

These claim to be a reproduction of a 14th century dagger.  One of the ads for these seemed to indicate that they can be used as daggers as well as scissors.  No.  Not going to work that way.  To be a dagger they would also have to be sharp on the OUTSIDE edge of the scissors.  A terrifying thought for scissors, and fortunately not the case here.

They are for sale from several different sellers on Amazon, so if they are sold out on the link above just search for "Renaissance dagger scissors".

Aren't they awesomely cool looking?  I couldn't figure out whether I wanted silver (colored) or gold (colored) so I got both.

The comments section on amazon focused on their wonderfulness for RenFaire attire.  I don't do that, but I can certainly see it.

I am collecting items for my dragon rider costume.  This is a long term fantasy project in every sense.  Meaning that dragon riding is a fantasy.  My idea of converting my electric scooter into a dragon is a fantasy.  My ideas for a dragon rider costume are fantasies.  And the idea of riding that dragon in my small town's Christmas parade is the ultimate fantasy.  None of this will ever happen.  But fantasy is an important component of life.  As long as you can tell the difference between fantasy and reality.  So far, so good.

So after all that, how do they function as scissors, you ask?  Did I mention that they are really, really cool looking?  Let me just say that they will be in no danger of getting worn out from use while waiting for that dragon rider costume to materialize.