Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 NC TOGA day 1

It is that time of year and I am back in the beautiful countryside outside of Monroe, North Carolina.

Time for the NC Treadle On Gathering and Academy, what my friend Art calls "sewing machine summer camp."

and between last year and this year I had forgotten how my heart sings when I drive past miles and miles of corn fields.

lovely, lovely zea mays, aka corn

"Corn" does not spring to mind when one thinks of North Carolina crops and I don't see it in Orange County where I live (we don't have any oranges either).

I grew up in Ohio, smack dab in the middle of the corn belt.  You can take the girl out of Ohio but you can't take the corn out of the girl.

Everything that could go right, did today.  How often does that happen?

The day began when a horsefly bit me on the hand half an hour after I had missed my getting-up deadline.  I leapt out of bed to wash it off with hydrogen peroxide, but at least I did not oversleep by any more.  so, all good.

good weather, nice drive listening to the audiobook The Last Kingdom.  Loved the TV series.  Loving the book.

got to the hotel at noon, hours before check in time, but they had a ground floor room ready and upgraded me to the two-beds-and-a-jacuzzi room for free.  Linda and young Naomi will be joining me later.

and I made it to the first event of the TOGA right on time:  Susan's basic repair class.

Fearless Leader Susan

Are you wondering why I came to a basic repair class, and the same one I came to last year?  Don't I already repair sewing machines?  Yes, but Susan has been in this game for decades and I always learn something new from her.  And it is fun to hang out and get to know more people.  Not to mention working on machines is TONS of fun in a group.

Linda, all the way from New Zealand, got one of Susan's machines to play with.  A lovely Jones hand crank.  I have only seen one other, and have never found one in the wild.

a badged Jones

and the back side of the Jones, because it is well worth looking at.

Debbie brought two machines to work on, this one the trusty Singer 99.

and a Davis New Vertical Feed.  This is the model that takes regular sewing machine needles.  The earlier models take much more obscure needles.

Davis vertical feeds are much sought after because they are needle feed machines.  They have no feed dogs: the needle comes down, moves the fabric back, comes up, moves forward.  repeat etc.   There is absolutely NO possibility of the fabric layers shifting, making it great for any kind of sewing and especially for quilting.  I'm working on a string quilt at home on my Davis NVF and there is not a single pucker to be seen.  Puckers are simply impossible with the needle feed system.

With Susan's help they got it working and were dancing in the aisles.  OK, that is a slight exaggeration.  But Debbie WAS very happy.

Edna was there sewing.  She will be teaching some classes the next two days.  She is using a more modern Pfaff with that fabulous IDT, integrated dual feed. Like a built in walking foot only better, and one that works with some of the other presser feet.   Sorry, I don't remember the model number of Edna's machine.

But I once had a Pfaff 1221 and it was one of the finest machines ever to come through my hands.  I kinda sorta still miss it, but the woman who has it now NEEDED it.  And she paid me well for it too.

and Joann was sewing also.  I mostly saw her cutting and I didn't check out her modern machine.

It was a much smaller group then last year.  That's my stuff in the front spread out all across the table.  Couldn't have hogged this much space last year.

And it never occurred to me to take photos of the three machines I worked on.  That's my Singer 348 off to the right.  At least it was mine, I brought it to give to Susan to give to a young woman she knows who wants to learn to sew.  I love the 348s.  Simple and easy to operate and that lovely turquoise color.

After the class and on the way back to the hotel I saw a family diner kind of place (Knife and Fork) and stopped for breakfast-for-dinner.  The scrambled eggs were farm fresh or my name is not DragonPoodle.  Well, OK, my name is not ACTUALLY DragonPoodle but those eggs were really, really fresh.  (If you have only ever eaten months-old eggs from the grocery store, your life is sadly incomplete.)  And the country ham was great.  The eggs were so fabulous I didn't even mind (much) that the toast was made from the cheapest kind of grocery store white bread.  The usual mixed bag in that kind of place.

I was in a great mood after all that sewing machine goodness and the music absolutely fit my mood.  Music from the mid 1960's, my high school years.  South Street.  Duke of Earl.  Can't remember the last time I heard either one of those.  I silently sang along, remembering all of the lyrics.

Overheard:  Customer asks waitress "Is the barbecue pork or beef?"

I almost fell out of my chair laughing.  A true North Carolinian might not even get the joke.  Beef? (puzzled frown)  You can make barbecue out of beef?

see you tomorrow.


  1. A Texan would say exactly the opposite!

  2. A Texan would say exactly the opposite!

  3. Delighted that the stars actually aligned for you!

  4. Thanks for the blog, Cheryl!!! It's "almost" like being there!!!😥

    1. Carolyn Hogue . . . . Tried to put in a profile name, but it didn't work???

    2. Hmmmmm . . . Looks like it's there now 😇

  5. I'm a native Texan, yes, you can make BBQ from beef. I was an adult before I ever had BBQ pork. Looks like you are having a good time. Looking forward to the next installment.

  6. Oh, I wish I were there! One of these days I'll be lucky enough to make that 1500+ mile drive so I can attend!


Say hello or leave a comment here. I would love to hear from you! If your own settings are set to receive a comment back, I will write to you. If you don't hear back from me, you will know that your own settings are set to "no reply".

I have to block anonymous posts to prevent spam. I am really sorry if this excludes you.