Wednesday, June 18, 2014

NC TOGA 2014

I'm still dithering about the decals on the painted Singer 27, so while you are waiting for that let me tell you about the great time we had at the recent NC TOGA (Treadle On Gathering and Academy).  Here's what this TOGA is all about.

First, no one wears togas.  Too bad really, that would add to the fun.

It is a geekfest for those of us who love people-powered sewing machines:  treadles and hand cranks.

photo from Facebook
We meet once a year at Smyrna United Methodist Church, which is nominally in Monroe NC, but really is out in the country.  Lovely country.  We stay at the Best Western Motel or nearby Quality Inn in Monroe.

It's a swap meet.  I sold six sewing machines and didn't buy any.  For me this is a huge win, because I really need to thin the herd.  I did bring one home, but more about that later.

It's a chance to admire other people's sewing machines.  One large room is devoted to sewing, and a few people volunteer to teach a simple technique or project.  I now badly crave a mocha and dark beige Singer 201 natural born hand crank.    You can see the object of my desire to the extreme left front of the photo, which does not do it justice.

The sanctuary is draped in quilts, all made (at least partially) on people powered machines.

We swap quilt blocks, also made on people powered machines.  Here you see my friend Linda and her adorable daughter Naomi working on Naomi's blocks.  I have Linda's permission to show photos of Naomi.

There are optional side trips.  I skipped the trip to Mary Jo's fabric store this year because I went there with my guild in March and my wallet has not recovered yet!

But I did go to Harry Berzak's private museum of antique sewing machines.  Hundreds and hundreds of sewing machines.  This is just one row of them in one room.  There were three or four rooms.  I was drunk with sewing machine lust after a while which is why I don't know if it was three or four rooms,  or maybe even more.

The lion is a sewing machine.  Yes, it really is.  Naomi and I both liked this one a lot.

Lots of toy sewing machines also.  Lots. And lots.  This is just a sample.

Mr. Berzak was a charming host.

This machine is one of his recent acquisitions, and it was originally covered in grime with no hint of the mosaic of mother of pearl beneath.

I could go on and on and on.  But time to get back to the TOGA.

We finish up with a raffle of sewing related stuff donated by the attendees.

Raffle table
Naomi helped Susan Mullis, hostess for this annual event, draw the raffle tickets.  Thanks, Susan, for all of your efforts.  

I took a child sized ironing board and spent a couple of days trying to give it to Linda for her little girls.  She claimed that she had no room for it so I donated it to the raffle.  Then Linda gave Naomi some raffle tickets.  Guess who won the ironing board?  Mwahahaha.

I put a $1 ticket in the bag for a sewing machine and won it.  It's a beige 15 clone with a dis-assembled tensioner.  I don't think many people wanted it.  I'm not really sure why I did, but if I can't get the tensioner back together I'm sure it has more than $1 worth of parts on it.

The best parts of the TOGA: the people of course.  I had a lovely time earlier in the week with another formerly imaginary friend (but forgot to ask permission to mention her name).  Then Linda arrived and I also got to hang out with her and her friends.

And Naomi.  The best part of all was hanging out with Naomi.


  1. Wonderful post. I would like to learn about toga in my area or host my own. I joined treadleon but now the captain is retired, I'm not sure where to look? I live in northern ca/oregon border area.
    I really enjoy reading your post.

    1. The best way would be to follow the yahoo treadleon group and read their posts. If something is coming up in your area it would definitely be discussed there.

      good luck!

  2. It was so good seeing you this past weekend! TOGA was lots of fun and Naomi enjoyed spending time with you too. She very proudly carried that ironing board into the house and announced, "We need to make a cover for it. And do they think they make a working iron for it?" So glad you got to come!! :-))

  3. Thank you for sharing. Looks like it was a blast. Wish I lived closer than Buffalo, NY!

  4. I would love to see all of those machines! I'm glad you had fun!

  5. Thank you so very much for sharing the TOGA with us!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing the TOGA with us!

  7. What a fun TOGA. I love 15 clones. Now to get ready for the Oxford Ohio and Michigan TOGA's coming up next month. I get to attend both of those for the first time.

  8. Sounds like you had a great time. Lovin all those machines at the museum.

  9. I'm still reeling from all the machines! Looks like a BLAST! Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. Thank you for sharing so we can all live vicariously. Great job with your evil plotting on the ironing board. ;)

  11. WOW. I should mark my calendar for next year and see if I can make it there. What fun!

  12. Waiting to hear about the next chapter of the Singer 27 !

    You've inspired me to look into the next TOGA (this fall) in my area. Need to start working on blocks for swapping (on my Singer 127 treadle)

  13. So glad you got to go to the NC TOGA. I was able to attend a few in the late 199-'s and early 200's..I think my last was 2003 or looking forward to getting back hopefully this year. Susan Mullis is a wonderful hostess! jGoing back this year? Susan in Va


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