Friday, June 15, 2018

TOGA Friday.....and zea mays

One of my favorite things (seriously) about going to the NC TOGA is driving by fields of corn.  I grew up in Ohio, in the Corn Belt.  NC is mostly unfriendly to corn but there are a few spots where the soil is good for corn.  I don't see it in Orange County where I live (no oranges there either) and I love seeing it here.  So each year's blog post about TOGA starts with a photo of corn.  No reason to change this year.

The Latin name for this crop is zea mays, called corn by Americans and maize by much of the rest of the world.  But you are not reading this blog for discussions of the Latin names of crops. 

Friday's activities are all at the church.  The church hall is set up for sewing, and Edna usually teaches a class demonstrating a simple sewing project.  Hand crank sewing machines are the usual choice, but no one gets thrown out for bringing a "tailed" machine.  (The tail is the electrical cord dangling down from the motor).

Outdoors people sell stuff from tables set up near their cars, and on the porch.  I sold 3 sewing machines to Joan and Bill, for use in teaching sewing to youngsters.  Sold one wooden ironing board and have two more.  Sold several vintage sewing boxes, and have several more.  Melissa took several Reader's Digest Guides to Sewing, which she gives away with each machine she sells (I do that too, but I have a serious surplus). 

 I didn't buy much, just a clear vintage thread box that matches several others that I already have and will stack on top ot them.  I'm always on the lookout for this one particular type and was thrilled to buy it from D'Nise.

And I accidentally acquired a Singer 237 from a woman who asked my advice on pricing a LaVencedora.  She decided to keep that one but tried to GIVE me a 237.  I told her it was potentially a great machine with value and she should sell it.  Treadleable Singer zigzaggers are rare-ish.  An hour later she needed $2 to buy some parts from another vendor and didn't have any small bills.  So she came to me and offered me the 237.  I had three dollar bills in my wallet so I gave them to her and laughed at myself.  The point of this trip is GETTING RID OF MACHINES NOT BRINGING MORE HOME!

Oh well, 3 out and 1 in is still a win.

I left around 3:00 pm for my obligatory afternoon nap.  Dinner with the gang this evening.

Tomorrow is the last day and the raffle.  I'll be back to tell you about that later.

TOGA Thursday---or not

TOGA:  TreadleOn Gathering and Academy, an antique sewing machine swap meet and general rumpus.

I arrived in Monroe NC last night and checked in to the motel.  No problems on the trip.  Barbara came over from her motel across the street and picked me up.  We went to the Fork and Spoon which I must say is the only restaurant in Monroe that I have actually enjoyed (plenty of fast food and chain restaurants if that's your thing).

Got back to my motel only to find that one of my tires was flat, and I mean TOTALLY flat.

This picture was taken after the air pump had already been running for several minutes.  It was MUCH flatter than this to begin with.

Fortunately the night before I had charged up my car jumper/inflator/power thingy.  I brought it not for its car superpowers, but because I can plug a sewing machine into it, so I can demonstrate machines outdoors without lugging them into the church.

I've used it and its predecessors (the batteries last several years but not forever) many times to jump cars but only rarely to inflate tires.  This one was SO low that the battery pack ran til it ran out of juice and didn't even get the tire up to 20 psi (35 is what it should have).  But it was enough to get to the Walmart on the other side of the highway.  Where I sat for an hour until they told me they didn't have the right tire.

But they blew it up to 35 and I made it all the way to the other side of the strip mall to a tire store,  where I waited a couple more hours, but left with a new tire.

Had lunch (actually it was breakfast and it was 2:30 by then), went back to the motel and took a long nap.

So that was my first day of TOGA.  What was everyone else doing?

  • Mary Jo's fabric store, reputed to be the best fabric store between Atlanta and DC
  • A thread wholesaler.  This is my spiritual home and it was devastating to miss.  Even though I'm pretty sure I have the world's largest private collection of thread already!
  • A trip to see Harry Berzak's private collection of antique sewing machines.  Harry is one of the world's major collectors and his museum, which is not open to the public, houses THOUSANDS of antique machines.  OK, I really don't know how many but it has to be thousands.  I was there several years ago.
  • Dinner.  Breakfast at 2:30 pm of a Cookout cheeseburger (with bacon and grilled onion) did NOT leave me hungry at dinner time for some strange reason.

I did catch up with Linda, Caroline, and Linda's adorable little girls after dinner.  So the day wasn't a total washout.

stay tuned for Friday's thrilling developments......

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Machines and stuff available at 2018 NC TOGA.

I'm pretty lazy and the following message does not change from year to year.  So I just cut and pasted it from a post from bygone years.

"You have been warned.  I will NOT repeat NOT ship sewing machines.  Ever.  These will ONLY be available at the NC TOGA.

"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, every June.  

Email me (or post to the NC TOGA Facebook 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."

Back to the present time:
These are the machines I will bring IF anyone is seriously interested.  Prices will only be listed at the NC TOGA Facebook group page. 


  • Just Want To Get Rid Of Them At Rock Bottom Prices
    • something is missing or wrong and/or I just got bored and don't want to bother.  Full disclosure on whatever I discovered.  
    • I bought, I looked, I'm done and I don't want to bother.  Unchecked and untested.
  • Decent Machines At Wholesale Prices
    • Cleaned, oiled, tested and ready to sew
  • You Need A Pot Of Money To Pry This From My Hands
    • top of the line vintage machines in perfect working order, probably with an amazing assortment of accessories.  it is the sale of machines like this that fund the hobby and keep it going.  Don't bother asking "would you take less?".  
and a new category in 2018
  • Vintage Sewing Goodies and Accessories

Just Want To Get Rid Of Them At Rock Bottom Prices

Kenmore 158.321
Photo shows it in a cabinet but it is now in a funky case

It's one of the legendary 158s.  It's got the bells and whistles shown in the photo.  It is has been cleaned, oiled and lubed and is working perfectly except for one little, probably fixable thing.  And it is LAVENDER!!!  What more could you want?

Well, you could want a stitch length selector that works properly.  This one doesn't.  If you only sew with stitches ranging from small to miniscule, it's fine.  The fact that you get the full range of stitch lengths in reverse suggests that all of the linkages are good (not frozen by old oil).  I can show you what I think needs to be fixed, but you will have to figure out how to get the faceplate off.

Taiwanese 15 clone

It's not as smooth as the usual Japanese 15 clone.  But tt works.  Treadle-able.  It's black.  It looks just like a 15 clone.  I don't have a picture of it.

New Home 671

Another one I don't have a picture of.  It's a pretty teal-multistitch cam machine.  Worked fine last time I checked which was several years ago.  But there's a reason it is in the "just want to get rid of it" list.

It is missing the zigzag cam.  And it won't zz without it.  I have had an ebay search set up for YEARS.  And I did find and buy a cam set. Which, of course, did NOT include the zz cam.

Singer 177.  Brazilian zigzagger, treadle-able

This was a budget model and is seriously underpowered.  Think chipmunks running in a hamster wheel.  None of that will matter if you take the motor off and drop it in a treadle. 

I sold one of these to Di a couple of years ago and she was underwhelmed.  But there is a serious shortage of treadle-able zigzaggers out there. 

Singer 206

No photo.  I believe this was the first zigzagger Singer produced for the domestic market.  I bought it because I LOVE LOVE LOVE my 306 (similar model but with cams) and wanted to explore and play with the earlier model.  But I never got around to it.

TOTALLY UNTESTED AND SOLD AS IS.  Could be great, could be not so much.  Because I don't know it is in the "rock bottom price" category.

Decent Machines At Wholesale Prices

Singer 185 in a 285 case

Now in a case
A 3/4 sized Singer.  Good candidate for hand crank with slight modification (I can show you).

Necchi serger

No photo.  This is not the usual fare for a TOGA but I mentioned it online several weeks ago and Molly says she is interested.

You Need A Pot Of Money To Pry This From My Hands

Necchi Nora, pink, with cams

It is now in a case
It's a legendary Necchi.  I bought cams for it but have no idea whether it is a full set or not.  Tested within the past 6 months and working beautifully.

BTW, the photo is a bit misleading.  It is not a bright clear pink.  But it is definitely pink, just a beige-y pink.

Singer 301 in a non-301 case

Case not shown

Mocha shortbed.  Straight stitch machine, but this one does include the zigzag and other stitch accessory.

Singer 319, "typewriter keys" model

Here's the famous Singer 319, an eminently treadle-able multistitch machine with cams for even more stitches.  Takes Singer flat cams.

Please note that someone has re-timed this machine so that it takes ordinary needles instead of the special class 206 needles.  I have tested it and it sews fine.

Want to start a flame war on a vintage Singer online group?  Bring up the topic of adapting this machine to take regular needles.

I have always had in mind re-timing it back to its original specifications but I just haven't gotten around to it and have lost interest.

Tell me what Singer flat cams you already have (by number) and I will include half a dozen extra ones for you.  If you don't have any I will include an assortment that I think will be useful and/or fun.

Vintage Sewing Accessories

I don't have time to take pictures. but I have lots of stuff.  Let me know via email or Facebook of the type of things you might be interested in.  If NO ONE expresses any interest, that type of thing will probably be left at home.

  • wooden ironing boards.  I have three.  They make nice display pieces.  Plant stands (keep those ferns off your treadles, ladies!).  You can even use them as ironing boards--I do! One of them has an underpad and ironing board cover on it right now. If you want one of the others for an ironing board let me know and I can even bring you a piece of old wool blanket, which makes the perfect underpad for your ironing board.  Please note that this is old wood  and has some splits.  Still works though.
  • sewing baskets.  I have the cute fabric upholstered kind and the vintage plastic ones.
  • thread boxes.  clear plastic, some with spaces for bobbins.  
  • buttonholers.  I have a zillion.  Pink and green Jetsons.  Older Singer ones.  Non-Singer ones.  All of those are for straight stitch machines.  I also have some more modern Singer ones for zigzag machines.  Let me know what you are looking for.  I have several differnent types of top clampers but have NO IDEA of how to determine which machines they will fit.  
  • Sewing books.  Singer, Better Homes and Gardens, Reader's Digest.  These are encyclopedias of sewing techniques.  If you sew, you need one.  Trust me on this.