Friday, June 29, 2012

Köhler Sewing Machine

Well's as done as it's going to get for now!   I love this machine!  It's quiet, smooth sewing, easy treadling!   Or at least it was until I broke the  belt three it's too short, and I don't have a leather bootlace to sub for it right now!

Anyway...What I did:

1.  I cleaned and oiled the machine, and got every part of it working right. (With a bit of help from the spousal unit!)
2.  I touched up the paint on the machine where it was scuffed and chipped.  I considered trying to do gold leaf over the decals for the work "Köhler", but can't bring myself to try it.
3.  I waxed the machine and polished it.  It doesn't fall into the "fix the shellac" catagory, because the clear coat on the machine is NOT shellac!  I'll have to figure out something else....or just live with it, which is most likely what I'll do. :)
4.  The cabinet got worked over.  It was taken apart, cleaned, stripped, sanded, stained, and shellac was applied....many coats of shellac...  I had to re-glue a strip of wood to the base of the cabinet that the lid attached to...some goon had opened it and let the lid fall, breaking that strip of wood loose.  Also had to re-glue the front legs...they were separating.

I think it looks MUCH better now...LOVE this machine! :)

The machine is very similar to my Singer 115, or to a Singer 15.  Some differences of course, but it takes a 15x1 needle, a class 15 bobbin.  The faceplate and the slide plate are identical to the 115, the bobbin winder is pretty close too. All in great feats of German engineering on this one, not like the little Vestas or my friend Muv's wonderful machines, (which I would LOVE to get my hands on!!)  but still a nice one, and it will still get used often and loved lots!

Friday, June 15, 2012

My Anniversary Gift

My husband and I were married 13 years on May 30th.  I can't think of a better "BFF" to have...he's so good to me!

It was a special day.  We went to "town" and while there, stopped at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.  They had this beat up old girl...normally I would have let him talk me out of it.  Something though, told me that I didn't want to go home without her.  She's a Köhler, made in East Germany, either shortly before the end of World War II, or shortly after.  My bet is on "after".

She's beat up, missing decals, and her cabinet is in terrible shape!  The place on the body of the cabinet where the lid attaches via a piano style of hinge broke off.  The finish looks like it's sat outside for a spell.  Dirty, and presenting as a "challenge" piece.  The decals that remain are pretty though, and the cabinet has potential.

William pointed out the "Angel" in the woodgrain of the door. It didn't take me long to see "her"

I need to say once again, William did NOT want me to bring this machine home.  He doesn't always see the same beauty in them that I do, and he knows how much work and inconvenience is involved when I tear into one of these "projects".   We don't have a shop to work in, so these things "happen" in our dining room.  He knows that the machine will never look as pretty as she did new, like some of our other machines.  I HAD to have it, even though I didn't exactly know why at the time.  I've let him talk me out of others in the past, not this one.  This one was a MUST have!  I think maybe I have a sort of "sixth sense" about them...when I "had to have" the 115 in the drawing room cabinet, I had no idea that it was one of the earliest known machines of that model...and I had no idea when I "had to have" this Köhler, that not many of these machines made it out of Communist East Germany.  I just knew that these machines needed to come home with me.

William didn't want me to post pictures of the Köhler until it was finished, but I couldn't wait.  I have started on the cabinet, and most of it is done, just waiting for it's finishing coats of wax that it will get after the shellac cures.   In the meantime, I should be working on the clear coat that's on the's cracked and flaking, but it scares me a bit!  I think I need my friend Skip to come fix it for me!  LOL!!  I will tackle it in the next day or so, I've touched up the chips in the paint, polished the steel plates, and oiled the machine.  William was able to get the lever to drop the feed dogs to move, and was able to take off the stop action knob so that I could clean the post and oil it so it works again. (For those of you that don't know what that is, the stop action knob is the part you turn to keep the needle from moving up and down when you wind a bobbin)  I've tested the machine just by turning the handwheel, and she makes a nice stitch, forwards and backwards (YES!! She has a reverse!).  I'm looking forward to getting her back in the treadle and really stitching something with it!

I will have photos soon, of Liesl (that's the machine's name) in her newly refinished cabinet.   Bear with me, as impatient as I get to have these projects done quickly, you just can't rush it.  My attempts to do so in the past have resulted in "starting over", and if anything turns the air in this household blue, it's the knowledge that I've messed up and have to re-do all of my hard work!

Wish me luck!  Hopefully this cabinet will turn out as pretty as I'm hoping that it will, and that Liesl will look awesome sitting in it!  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

One More from Skip!

These old sewing machines that we like to collect oftentimes have damage to the finish due to the old shellac or clearcoat finish aging, getting dull, and wearing away.  The pictures here are of my own Singer 201-2.  Skip tells me that the machine got pretty hot at some time or another, causing the "alligator" looking shellac finish on it.  The finish was cracked, separated, flaky and dull.

I will caution you before you use this tutorial to ASK QUESTIONS if you have exposed decals!!  There is no guarantee that the products used in this tutorial will not hurt those decals, nor will Skip or I take responsibility for damages done to decals.  I will tell you that I have used this technique on my own machines with no problems, but being over-enthusiastic when cleaning or rubbing on these machines can cause problems!!  Proceed with caution, and I would suggest that if you are new to these kinds of techniques to test them first on less common, "boat anchor" types of machines before you try it on your great great grandmother's extremely rare antique machine that really doesn't look too bad to begin with! 

I am going to first post the photos of my own machine, a Centennial Singer 201-2.  This machine was a GREAT thrift store find, and cost me a whopping $15.00.  Nothing was with it in the way of attachments, but since those are "a dime a dozen", I didn't care.  Normally, seeing boxes of attachments with a machine will incite me to buy it faster than if it doesn't have attachments...don't ask why, I couldn't tell you and it has nothing to do with this post anyway!   This machine had a finish  that was dull, flaking, and the decals were in danger from exposure.  I couldn't quite follow Skip's tutorial down to the letter, because I first had to add more shellac to the machine to protect the decals.

These photos are of the machine's finish BEFORE I started on it.  I had to, gently as possible, clean the machine of all of the layers of car wax I had applied trying to "fix" the finish, and I had to add shellac first to give me something to work with using Skip's tutorial that I'm going to post in just a minute.  This is the time to be REALLY CAREFUL, and know with a certainty that you are not going to further damage your machine's decals and decorations before you advance to cleaning!!   PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS!!
Here is the same machine after following Skip's instructions; still not perfect, but so much better, and the decals are protected!

Here are Skip's instructions:

Supplies needed: Shellac
Denatured alcohol
Linseed oil (boiled)
Rags (old t-shirts or old tighty whites)

1. Clean the head with your favorite method to remove dirt and grime.
2. Wrap your finger with a couple of layers with the t-shirt.
3. dip finger in alcohol and place a few drops of linseed oil on the finger
4. now start rubbing the bed with light circular motions, add more oil if finger sticks to the finish.

We are now melting the old shellac into a smooth coating trying to eliminate the dull brown spots of old shellac.

5.Now go from left to right in a straight line ligthly lifting the finger and the repeat. you can also go from right to left if you like. Now we are trying to get rid of any swirl marks that were left by the rag.

Stay away of the decals at this time. Cont this tech until you have a smooth finish on the entire head.

When you have a smooth and clear finish on the head(as clear as it will get and you will know)

6. Now go over the the decals with the same method above very lightly.

7. Let this cure for about a day then with new rag on finger dip it in shellac and place a few drops of oil and with a circular motion go over the decals and the head. Cont. dipping finger in shellac and a few drops of linseed oil and do this over the entire head and decals. this is adding more clean shellac to protect the decals and the japan coating. Always ending in the straight line finishing to get rid of the swirl marks made by the rag.

8. Do this until it looks good to you and smooth and shiny. Let cure for a week and then wax if you want. You favorite brand of wax is okay although it is not needed now.

Please note: I recommend you practice this french polish method on an old machine first so you can get the hang of it. Please do not hesitate to ask questions anytime. I am always here to help.

More Words of Wisdom from Skip!

If you read my previous post, then you know about my friend Skip already.  If you didn't read my previous post, go read it first.   It will tell you Skip's credentials, and you'll need the information in it before you start with this step of sewing machine cabinet refinishing! :)  Once again, I have Skip's permission to repost his instructions.  Skip DOES read here, so if you have any questions, post them, I'm sure he'll answer when he sees them.  If he doesn't, I'll send your question on to him for an answer for you.  Without rambling on as I usually do, (STOP CHEERING!  It's not polite! LOL!)  here are Skip's directions for refinishing that beat up sewing machine cabinet:

Okay quilters here we go!
Supplies needed: 
0000steel wool
120-200 grit sandpaper
Lots of cotton rags(old t-shirts underware etc) white only
containers to but stripper and mess from the old finish in(coffee cans work great)
2" natural bristle brush of good quality for applying shellac
putty knife
stain brown walnut, dark oak or mahogony(your choice) I use aniline dye water soluble(can be ordered from the Rockler Cat)
your choice of brand

Orange and clear shellac 1qt each
1gal denatured alcohol
1 gal of turpintine
1 gal of your favorite stripper

Paint the stripper on the surface doing a section at a time. For example do the top first then the each side. Let stand according to the instructions on the stripper. Scrape off old loose finish into a coffee can. Wipe surface with rag and turps. This will clean the stripper and nutralize the chemical action of the stripper. Repeat if necessary.
When stipped to your satisfaction wipe down the entire piece with turps. Let stand 24 hours to let the turps evaporate. Then Wipe the piece down again using alcohol. This will prep the wood for staining and remove any unwanted moisture. Let dry for about an hour.

Using a clean rag apply stain to the cabinet. If using oil base stain let dry overnight. If using water base let a couple of hours. Make sure stain is even on the cabinet. The stain can be adjusted at anytime during this stage.

Feel the surface now that the stain is dry to see if it raised the grain of the wood. If it did use the steel wool or sandpaper to lightly smooth the surface down. Clean all dust off with a vacuum then wipe down with the alcohol. Let stand 1 hour.

Apply first coat of shellac using the orange shellac. This gives the amber look to the finish to simulate age. Let dry a couple of hours and apply the clear shellac. Apply two to three coats of clear shellac. Let the piece stand for about a week to cure.

The finish will appear shiny and new. Now take the paste wax and apply it using the steel wool with the grain. Gently rubbing down the finish. Let wax dry buff with clean cloth. Do only a small area at a time. This will take the shine and the new look off the finish. This will take some time so do not rush. When you are pleased with the results you are done. All that is required now is to keep it dusted (NO enddust or pledge please) Dust with soft rag then a clean soft rag can be used to buff the shine back up. You should wax the cabinet once a year, you will not use steel wool this time. Just follw the instructions. 

Note; If shellac feels to thick you can thin it with the alcohol. Work quickly when appling shellac and always keep a wet edge Shellac dries fastbut easy to apply. It can be sprayed also.

You do not have to use shellac you can also use an oil varnish, I do not recommend water based poly because of it clearity it will not have that old wood glow. Oil varnish takes so long to dry(overnight) that you need a dust free place to work or you will wake up to a finish with embeded dust. I am here to answer your qustions. 

My Friend Skip and His Knowledge

Skip is also known as "Glenn" on the quilting board.  This is a man of MANY talents!  (Sorry Girls, he's married to the lovely Miz Pat, and quite happily, I might add! ~wink~)

Skip can sew.  He's a quilter.  Skip can crochet.  He makes the cutest little "thread pin doilies" to decorate the old sewing machines that he loves. (I have some that he made for me, they're GREAT!!)  And Skip knows wood and finishes.  Skip is also probably one of the most helpful and willing to share person on the quilting board!  (Ok...that's not necessarily true, there are lots there that are willing to help and share, but not all of them know how to do woodworking and rejuvenate a sewing machine finish! LOL)  Suffice it to say that Skip knows his stuff, and he gave me permission to use his tutorials/instructions here to help others.   Trust me, if you like old machines and old cabinets/wood furniture, these tips are going to help you make the best of them!  He spent many years working with woods and restoring antiques.  Can I get a round of applause for our friend?  YAY!! THANKS SKIPPER, FOR PERMITTING ME TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE HERE!!  :)

So.  Without further ado, this is Skip's advice on cleaning an old wood finish.  All of the following words are Skip's own.  If you have missing shellac, stop at the end of Step #2, I'll be posting more of Skip's knowledge in another post.  All of the ingredients needed can be found at your local hardware or "big box" store.

Cleaning solutions needed:
Solution One--4parts white venegar, 4parts boiled linseed oil, 4parts mineral spirits, 1part denatured alcohol and 3-4 drops of household ammonia.

Solution Two--4parts mineral spirits, 1part boiled linseed oil

Stept 1-- with a course lint free cloth(blue jeans is good) charge the cloth with Solution one and rub in a circular motion, turning a recharging the rag with solution one. Replace rag as it gets dirty. Continue until the whole is cleaned. Hard to clean areas use 0000steel wool with the solution. The final wipe down should be with the grain of the wood. This finish will be cloudy and dry looking at this point.

Step 2--with a lint free cloth charged with Solution Two rub in a circular motion turning rag and recharging with solution two. Replace rag as it gets dirty. Continue until the whole is cleaned and the finish is not cloudy and dry looking. Finish by wiping the whole with only minaral spirits.

Step 3-- Apply a good coat of wax( such as a tinted briwax or any of the antique paste waxes that can be found in antique stores) according to the directions on the can. Apply thinly and buff like crazy to a nice clean shine. The looks of the piece can be maintained by waxing once a year and regular dusting and buff to shine. Nothing else needs to be done. I do not recommend endust or pledge. No need for lemon oil or anything.

This is the accepted method of proff antique restorers. After you can say I did not refinish the piece I restored the finish. Happy cleaning

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Buying Vintage or Antique Machines (Cont.)

Hopefully my last post made sense.  It's really a subject near and dear to my heart, these old vintage/antique machines are fantastic, and if you're looking to "go green" I can't think of a better way!  (I'm NOT actually a "greenie", my carbon footprints are all over the place, but in this?  I'm green, without really meaning to be!)

If you're a quilter, tell me, do you REALLY need that big fancy machine with all of the fancy stitches?  Do you USE those fancy stitches?  Most don't.  Most folks that own those machines play with the stitches a bit, and sit down to quilt with straight stitching.

You can't get a better straight stitch than you can with a straight stitch only machine.  We're talking about "old" machines.  Those old black Singers, New Home, White, etc. can't be beat when it comes to a straight stitch.  Guess what?  The harps/throat space on these oldies is bigger too!  My Singer 201-2 has a nine inch throat on it.  My Singer 15-91 is 8 1/2 inches.  The others are comparable.  This is my 15-91:

See how much space you have for a bulky quilt?  Perfect straight stitches, because it CAN'T stitch to the side! A zigzag machine has a needlebar that can be shifted to one side or the other in order to make the zigzag stitch.  While the machine is in straight stitch mode, that needlebar can still be shifted to one side or the other when sewing over heavy seam joins.   Since a straight stitch only machine doesn't have the zigzag feature, and therefore no need to move side to side, you can't force it to the side with a heavy seam.

This particular machine is from 1946, and has worked from the moment I plugged it in.  I have better luck with free motion quilting on this machine than I do with my 201-2.  This machine has a vertical bobbin, and that seems to work better for me than does the drop in or horizontal bobbin of the 201.  The 201 does  killer straight stitch quilting though!

Even tho the treadle machines themselves are awesome, if you're looking for a common use workhorse with somewhat modern features, then stay away from the treadle machines.  Treadles have a bit of a learning curve for most folks, they're not as fast as an electric machine, and depending on the model of treadle, needles may be hard to come by.  I'll write about them next time.

If you're looking for a workhorse, much like the other e-machines I wrote about last time,  check for the following:

1.  Wiring.  Make sure that there are no cracks or breaks in the insulation covering the wiring.  If there are cracks or breaks, it doesn't mean you shouldn't buy the machine, it just means that you can't USE the machine until those issues are repaired.  Find out before you go to look at the machine approximately what it would cost to rewire it if necessary (along with other possible repairs).
2.  Turn the handwheel.  Does it turn easily?  If it's a bit stiff, then it's likely that it's only old oil that is holding things up.  New oil and working the wheel will loosen it.
3.  When you turn the handwheel, does the needle go up and down?  If not, it could also be an oil problem, or you could have rust that is interfering.  Unless you want a project machine to learn repairs on, I'd pass.
4.  Make sure it's got a bobbin casing and bobbin. the bobbin is not quite so important, those are replaceable, but the bobbin casing (that the bobbin fits into) can cost $50 or more to replace.
5.  Assuming that the wiring is good, the handwheel turns and the needle moves, you remembered to bring a scrap of fabric, a needle, and some thread, right?  Thread the machine (they all thread basically the same way, with the main difference being that some thread right to left, and others left to right, a few thread front to back.)   Plug that baby in and stitch with it.  Does it make stitches?  Don't worry about tension at this point, that's an easy want to know that it's not skipping stitches.  If it's skipping stitches, check to make sure that the machine and bobbin are threaded correctly.  If it's still skipping, you may want to test it with a new needle.  If you exhaust all of the common "fixes" for skipped stitches, then it may be that the timing is off...that can be fixed, but know what it will cost before you commit to the machine.

Next time, we'll talk about the treadle and handcrank machines! :)

"The Guy" update.  Still, no one has gotten their machines or their money.  He claims that they're all repaired, and waiting to ship out, but he's not done it.   Things are getting snarky on his PDA once again, and the snarks are his defenders!  Everyone else, that I can see, has been polite....firm, but polite.  They state facts.  One from "across the pond" staunchly defends him...couldn't tell you why...other than I guess she believes his bs stories.
Oh..and guess what?  He couldn't go to his "studies" because he had infections from being forced to fix the machines that he's had what?  Some for YEARS.  I coulda told you he'd say that.  And yes.  I think he's lying, again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Buying a Sewing Machine...Go Vintage or Antique!

Sure, I'd like to have one of those super spendy modern machines...I want one that has an embroidery module, because that's about the only thing that I don't have in my machines.  Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of money to spend.  Not all at one time, anyway!  So that's just not going to happen.  Maybe someday...if I win the lotto.  So...what's a girl (or guy) to do?  Look to the vintage/antiques.  I can get a machine that is 100 times better than any of the less expensive models on the market today.

Let's examine why.  The average life span of a new, lower end machine (think big box store machines) these days seems to be about 5 years or less. These machines are going to cost you anywhere from $89 to $500.  True, they have extra stitches, pretty ones.  How often are you going to use them?  If you're quilting, you need the straight stitch, and maybe you'll use a decorative stitch to quilt with.  You'll sometimes use a zigzag, or a blanket stitch for applique.

The average life span of a Singer 403, made in the 50's,  has not yet been determined!  If you discount all of the  perfectly good machines from the 60's and before that have gone to landfills because they just weren't wanted anymore, even tho they still worked, you have very few of these oldies that went because they were worn out or broken!

People, I have a machine that is about 132 years old, and that baby sews like a dream!  My current favorite is a 100 year old treadle machine that will sew anything I throw at it!  Multiple layers of fabric where seams meet are nothing to it.  Doesn't even hesitate or moan a bit, just zips right through!  Treadles, tho, are a novelty for many and some don't even want to think about making them their "main machine", so we'll examine some e-machines. (electric machines)

I decided to write this blog article because last evening, I decided to make a "truck quilt" for the spousal unit.  He asked for one, and if I can avoid denying him anything, I will do just that...and he wants a quilt to put in his pickup truck.  I got out some precuts that I've had for awhile, and decided that since I haven't used it in awhile, I would stitch this one on my 1957 Kenmore model 84.  This baby has a 1.2 amp motor.  It's going to go forever.  Well, ok.  Not forever, but it's going to sew for a longggggggg time!  All metal machine, it's heavy.  It's in a "desk cabinet".  Very cool cabinet, when I lift the top of the cabinet to slide it behind the desk, it lifts the machine into position.  I paid $15 for the machine, and found the cabinet in another thrift store for $20.  I forked out a few more bucks for the decorative cams that the machine uses.  ($2 at an antique store)  So now I have a powerful machine, in a very nice cabinet, that does 18 different decorative stitches.  For $37.00, I have a machine that is going to outlast me.  This is the Kenmore 84 in the original cabinet that I brought it home in.  I switched it to the desk cabinet and took this cabinet to the St. Vinnie's store.

I have a 1950's Singer 403 that I paid $29.00 for in the cabinet.  None of the attachments that I have would fit it, as it's a "slank shank" machine, meaning that the needle/presser foot is at a slant to allow better viewing of the stitching as it occurs.  Since this girl didn't have any extras, I felt the need to buy some.  So I found presser feet at the local Goodwill for six dollars.  My friend Cathy had a set of the decorative stitch cams and more presser feet (I got another slant shank machine, a 500A for Christmas that I needed the extra feet for!).  I only have to give $25 to Cathy for all of what she sent, and it was a LOT, half for each machine, so another $12.50 invested in this machine.  Forty seven dollars and fifty cents later, I have a complete machine setup that once again will last longer than I do, and it will do 21 decorative stitches with the cams I have. This is the Singer 403.  Photo was taken right after I got it home, and it's not been cleaned yet.

My point is this.  Do you want a machine for it's "status value" or for it's REAL value?  These vintage machines are workhorses that in no way deserve to be put out to pasture.  They are heavy, all metal machines.  They, with a bit of care, will last you more than your lifetime, and will sew a "prettier" straighter stitch than any modern machine.  They will zig zag, they will applique, they will free motion quilt AND free motion embroider.  They will serve you well, and be more faithful to you than their previous owners were to them.  

What to look for when you look for a vintage machine:

Ignore the dirt and grungy stuff on the machine body.  That will clean off.  Instead ask to plug the machine in and run it.  If that's not possible, at least look to see that the cords and foot feed  (or knee feed) are there.  If you don't want to mess with rewiring, check the cords and wires to make sure they are intact and solid.  You don't want to see any cracks or bare spots in the insulation.  Turn the handwheel and make sure that the needle goes up and down.  Look to see if the bobbin case is there.  (that bobbin case can be spendy, if it's missing)  Take thread and scrap fabric with you, thread the machine and even if you have to do it by turning the handwheel, make sure it stitches.  (If the timing is off, it won't make stitches, and while you CAN time a machine yourself, it can be difficult.  You don't want to have to pay to have it done, and besides, when the timing is off, it's usually a sign of abuse of some kind).  For pricing?  I've been lucky with mine, as you can see above, but if you are patient and watch for it, you can get some real bargains!

Where to look?

Ebay, Craigs List, local papers, thrift stores, yard/garage sales, antique stores, let your friends and neighbors know that you're looking.   Keep in mind that Ebay is going to have shipping attached, and these babies are HEAVY.

If you're looking for an update on "The Guy" saga, he seems to have disappeared...most likely will be back with a story of how he almost died.   (DO NOT read that as a wish that he did!! In my perfect world, illness or injury doesn't exist, not even for my enemies!)  I do know that a machine that he promised would be delivered on Feb. 12th didn't show up.  Nor has the money that the lady paid for it.  I don't believe that any of the others have gotten their machines either, but I don't know for sure.

Next time, I'll talk about what to look for in an antique or vintage straight stitch machine.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Back to the Fun Stuff!

We have a new "lady" in the house!!  She followed me home, and I had to let her in, it was snowing and cold, I was afraid she'd get all rusty! ;)

When William and I went to Eugene, Oregon about a week and a half ago, we went to one antique shop that had this pretty machine and cabinet.  Priced WAY out of my range.  I left it sitting in the store, and thought about it quite a bit on the way home.  Thought about it all evening and the next day.  Announced to William the next day that I was going to sell some of my collection so I could go back and get this machine.  It was just something I felt I had to do, and even though I felt it was overpriced, I HAD to have it.  As the week wore on, I was moving about and trying to decide which of the machines I already have would be offered on Craig's List, my ever-loving spousal unit would counter with "But you LIKE that one"...."We worked hard on that one"...."it's kind of a cute machine"....and a "Don't even CONSIDER that one!"  LOL...he won't admit it, he likes these ladies as much as I do!

Tuesday, we were off to Eugene again, and the bonus was that one of the ladies from the Quilting Board was going to meet us for lunch!  Margie is just the sweetest, cutest woman!!  We had a great time!

 That's Margie on the left, yours truly on the right.  We had lunch at "Dicky Jo's Burgers" in was GREAT food, and wonderful company!

"It" or as I more commonly refer to them, "She" is a 1912 Singer model 115-1 with "Gold Wing" decals.  Her "skirt" is a very desirable "Drawing Room" cabinet, an early model with the spring elevator lift. (Later models of this cabinet didn't have the lift)  She's in wonderful shape as is the cabinet.  One of the guys on Needlebar said it was a "top of the line machine in a top of the line cabinet".  I think this is the first time I've ever had anything that was considered "top of the line" with the exception of my spousal unit, and I don't own him...he graciously puts up with me!! :)  In doing some research today, I learned that this combination originally sold for somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 in 1912.  That, according to the inflation calculator, translates to about $4500 in today's dollars.  Someone with some money first owned this machine...and it shows in that there is very little wear on it or the cabinet.

I took photos before I wiped her down so you get to see the dust from the store...but here she "Margie"!  (Named for the lovely lady we had lunch with,  and coincidentally, my Aunt Marg, who I was named after. (Long story...another day)

Isn't she pretty?  I've already made a table runner with her...she sews SUPER stitches!  I'm pretty pleased with this machine, and I'm thrilled with the cabinet!  To see how the cabinet works, mosey over to YouTube and watch this video, courtesy of the "Treadle Lady"'s a cute video, and it shows you just how really cool this set up is! :) 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It Was A Lovely Holiday!

We had a really nice Christmas and New Years! Meet "Buzz", my Christmas gift from my wonderful Spousal Unit! Buzz is a 1963 (or so, no real records for these machines) Singer 500A, also known as a "Rocketeer". I absolutely LOVE this machine...William couldn't have gotten me a better gift. To go with it, he bought me a full set of the decorative stitch cams. I had found the machine on Craig's List and showed it to him, but he seemed to blow it off as just another old machine. I was so disappointed a few days later when I was once again browsing Craig's list and the machine was gone! I resigned myself to not having a Rocketeer in my collection yet, and didn't give it much more thought. After all, it's the season to do for others, right? So I went about my way planning to get Christmas gifts for this wonderful man I married. I got him a toolbox for his pickup, and some other things that he "needed" for the truck and for shooting his black powder rifle that he got for his birthday. I was tickled pink knowing that he was going to like his gifts...there was no doubt in my mind. Christmas morning, he handed me a box to open. I opened it, and there was a foot pedal for a sewing machine. He asked if it was the one I'd been looking for since I'd been thinking of finding a black one for my Singer 201-2, that currently has a white colored pedal. I looked at the plug on it, and told him that no, it wouldn't fit, but maybe we could rewire it. He suggested instead that it might fit the machine that was out in our storage shed! He immediately got marching orders to BRING IT IN!! :) He went and retrieved Buzz from the storage unit. I was SO excited!! It's a wonderful machine, sews like a dream.

Regarding my previous post about "the guy" on "that board" ("Frustration Reigns"). He's still tugging at the heart strings of the lovely, generous, big hearted ladies on the board. Today, he posted that he doesn't feel comfortable on the thread he started about vintage machines anymore...why? Because others have answers to questions too? Because he looks like a toddler having a tantrum when he's challenged? Heh! I'm at the point that I feel like I've tried. I've tried to warn the ladies there that he'll take them for a ride if given a chance. He's not beyond taking advantage of their generosity and big, warm hearts. Some of the ladies took what I had to say and have backed away from him. It seems that it's pushed some of them even suggesting that they take up a collection on the board to help him with his medical bills...GIVE ME A BREAK!! He just spent $300 on a GUITAR before Christmas! He doesn't need money...he needs to be neutered! At any rate...I feel my job is done. Can't save the world and all that. There are those out there that want to believe the best of everyone, and take everyone at their word, no matter what. I honestly wish those kind hearts all of the best this world has to offer, and I sincerely hope that they don't end up heartbroken as one woman did. Actually...more than one woman was hurt. Instead of praying for his health, I pray for his victims.
Back to machines!! :) The other "Pre-Christmas" gift I got was a Singer 403! It's the pre-cursor to the Rocketeer. Very nice machine, my friend Suzy found it for me and picked it up for less than $30! This one too, sews like a dream, and I'm so excited to have it! The cabinet on this one needs to be stripped and refinished, but all in all it's not too bad, and the machine itself is wonderful! It takes the same decorative cams as the Rocketeer, so the two machines will share those. Now I just have to get some other projects finished so that I can SEW SOMETHING! :) Speaking of getting things done...I'd best get at it...I really need to get this sewing/computer room so that I can walk through it! :) Talk to you later!