What A Wickedly Awesome Birthday Gift

I love my sister Jill and I love hand made gifts so much over something you grabbed off a shelf.   Last week was my birthday and she made me these awesome pin cushions.   I can wear them on my wrist or strap them to my machines.   I just love them.

I love even more the fact that she notices little things about people that most of us, especially me, overlook.  She saw I had issues where to put my pins as I used my longarm and took it upon herself to find a solution and a handmade one.

Thank you sexy sister.  I love them and have already installed them.


Two More Off My To Do List

It sure feels great to get these tops off my to do list.  I prefer someone get to use them rather than they just lay there unfinished.    With 4 more to quilt and 3 more to baste, here are the latest.  I’ll launder both of these this weekend then Shannon can deliver them.  They will be gifted to her co-workers.

The blue and white one is a checkerboard dresden plate pattern using a floral jellyroll and a tone on tone white.  I’m not to crazy about florals but I think it came out pretty.

The other is a combination of my love of stripes and dots,.   There is no pattern.  Just a polka dot jelly roll, some anthology strip fabric and a triangle ruler.   I loved adding the zebra print binding left over from another quilt.

I included pics of the backs in case my sister reads this. She loves knowing what backing was used.   I buy all mine from Quilt Unique on ebay.  Amazing lady, great fabrics and really good prices.

Oh These Vintage Machines

I purged my collection a few years back but I just can’t leave them alone forever so started looking again.  Well ok, I didn’t start looking again.  It was more like someone offered me an older Singer 221 then a few months later someone gifted me an older German made Singer treadle.  Ahhhh that addiction raised it’s ugly head.

So of course when I saw a Singer 221 that looked nice for $180 I brought it home to live.  She’s the one I mentioned in a prior post.  All I knew was the seller said it would run. but not sew.  What a surprise.  Someone else picked it up for me so all I had till then were pictures.  I opened that little black case and there she was.  Shiny as the day she was born.  She doesn’t have a scratch in sight.  Her decals looks like new and she had such amazing accessories included.  A tube of original Singer motor grease, her original bobbin box, manual, some feet and an adorable little can of Singer oil.

So the question is, why won’t she sew.  After about 20 minutes she was purring like a kitten.  Her bobbin had been installed wrong and the whole area was knotted up.  So maybe as soon as I get caught up she will get a good oiling but she now has her place on display.  She will likely be the one I take back and forth to class.


Ahh The Hand Crank I Have Always Wanted – Well Kinda

For years I have coveted (yes I know we are not to covet, but I have) a Jones hand crank sewing machine.  At $300 and up, and knowing I’d not often use a hand crank, they were simply out of the budget.   Well, until now.  I called the vintage repairman to confirm we were set for Thursday to pick up that Singer 99 and he says, well if you’re coming over have any interest in this?  What does he sent me?  A Jones hand crank sewing machine.

Ok it’s not pretty.  But heck it’s a Jones .  No 35 he says. So that left me to discover what exactly is a Jones No. 35?  Before I could even begin researching he says it’s rare and yes it’s a bit run down but sews perfectly and he’d like $35.  What?  Did I hear right?  $35.  Of course that requires me to reach out to Sue Balch (guru of all machines non-electric).  Of course she said yes on the $35.

So I will be picking it up Thursday as well, which gave me some time to look into the No 35.  The No 35 was introduced in Britain just before WWII but production was short.  Only 20,000 of the No 35 was ever made.   They may call it short lived but 20,000 sounds like a lot to me.  No where could I find why they ceased making the No 35 or what exactly took it’s place.  I know Singer sewing machine factories closed during the war and made guns and ammunition.  Maybe that happened in Britain as well.

In 1936 these machines starting coming with a manual that told you how to add a motor if you wanted to which if you ask me, is pretty damn handy.  What I found says the later ones in April 1936 came with the manual and “electrifying”  instructions in the envelopes that had Jones CS marked out and No 35 stamped over it.  Makes you wonder if they had started production of the new machines and were using the manuals to get rid of the last of the No 35 models.

Funny. What info I could find was on British sites.  The few US sites I found that list all the Jones models seem to skip right over the No 35.  Maybe it is as uncommon as he claims.  Either way let’s hope she cleans up some cause she is kinda ugly.   I had debated using her condition as an excuse to have her painted red.  I would love a red vintage machine but can’t make myself strip a nice, well cared for machine.   This one would fit the bill but if they are that uncommon, I think I’ll leave it unpainted – for now.    I’ll give you more pics after I pick her up this week.   Ahhh that vibrating shuttle bobbin again.

Funny  the machines before and after these were very decorative but this old girl didn’t get all those fancy gold decals.  Here’s a link to a bit of Jones history if you’re interested.





Soon To Come Home

This past week I contacted a local vintage repairman to ask about info on that German treadle.  Although he had none, he did unfortunately have a machine he wanted to sell.  An absolutely stunning 1950 Singer 99.  These machines were a workhorse.    This model started back in 1911 because people wanted lighter, more portable machines.    Can you imagine buying this beauty for likely around $10-15.  They sold in 1911 for around $6 because people wanted more options of having a machine that didn’t need to be in a table to use.

They are called 3/4 machines because they are 3/4 the size of the original Singers.  Many still used the shuttle bobbins but luckily the one he offered was a 1950 model.  While it still had the nice wooden base, it also uses regular bobbins.    I still have to learn to wind, load and use those shuttle types of bobbins.

Once Singer stopped making the Brentwood wooden lids they changed to a mock croc finish that looked more like the modern day covers.  That cover came with the 1950’s.  Eventually they changed to plastic bases and plastic lids.  Obviously those will never last as long as the older ones.   I hate the look of plastic machine bases.   Just looks so cheap.

I added another picture here of the 1923 Singer model 128 Sue gave me so you can see the difference in decals.  I know there are so many different models but both the 123 and the 99 were classified as 3/4 size machines.   I will have to see which others are classified as 3/4 machines.  It amazed me how nice the 1950 looked but even more so how well that 1923 was preserved.  Both are just stunning machines.   And they are mine.  Well, soon as I pick up that 99.  Then it will be on the shelf right under the 128.


I’ve Rekindled My Love of Vintage Machines

A few years ago I gifted or sold most of my vintage machines.  They were pretty t look at but none really worked properly and I didn’t know how to repair them.   Recently I have really gone back to enjoying these old beauties and learning about their history.  I still have my 1800 Household treadle that I will gift to my sister once she moves, but I have now added a few.

A few months ago one of the members of our monthly craft group approached me about helping her sell a Singer 221.  Well, since I’d given one of mine to my son in law and one to my sister, I thought I will grab this one for myself.  Taking it home, oiling it up, polishing it etc, it just reminds me how much there is to appreciate about this machines.  69 years later they sew like butter.   Can you imagine what it felt like 69 years ago to sit in front of that brand new, shiny machine and start stitching?  The Singer 221’s have and will always, as long as taken care of, purr like new born kittens.

Ever read the history or Issac Merritt Singer?  The man was amazing.  His net worth when he died was 18 million dollars or what now equals over $200 million dollars.   Installment payments or financing was virtually invented by him.  He realized women could afford sewing machines easier if they could make payments.  You could buy a machine and the sales rep would come around monthly and collect your payments. Genius.

I read an article that claimed they started the 221 (commonly known as a featherweight) because women would sew more (or buy more) if they could meet with friends.  So along came the 221 portable weighing in at 11 pounds.  Crazy thing is they then put it in a 14 pound wood box.  I envy the women that got these from family members.  Imagine being able to ask, how did it feel getting that brand new, tiny little black machine.

My collection now includes a 1947 I got from a church member fondly named Ms. Dixie (the lady I bought her from) and a 1950 I picked up for about half the usual price just this week.  The latest one came with not only all the additional feet but the original bobbin case, needles, motor lubricant and a tiny little Singer oil can.  I am not sure what she will be called yet.  The seller said she was non-working but looks like it’s just a few minor repairs.   We shall see.    Ms. Dixie is the one with red thread.   I never even had to polish her.

I’ve even started a shelf to display them.  The one on the second shelf is the 1923 Singer I posted about prior, that Sue gave me on my visit to Michigan.  I’ll let you know how the new 221 works in a later post once I get her running and polished.


She Will Kill Me For Putting Her on My Blog

So after years of nagging my daughter and worrying about the cyst on her jaw line, I put my foot down and told her it had to go.   Can you imagine asking your child how it looked to her and hearing “I don’t look in mirrors anymore”?  It broke my heart.

She has seen 2 doctors that have told her it could paralyze her face so I understand it was scaring her, but I set a goal I would find someone that would tell us what it was or tell us where we needed to go.  So after a few trips of can’t help you and being referred to USF even I was getting disheartened.  The USF doctors would only see her if she got a CAT scan first.  Who ever heard of having one before a doctor ever saw you?  When I called to schedule it, even the lab thought it odd as they would have no idea what kind of scan he would want.

I decided one more call to the new place in Zhills and then we’d just do the CAT scan and see USF hoping we didn’t have to pay for a second one after he saw her.  I looked into Riverchase Dermatology as they had several offices in Florida, including the new one near us.  I am so glad we made the call.  Not only did they agree to see her but said if they couldn’t help they would find us someone that could.

Wow after less than a 5 minute consultation, Dr. Blake said the whole situation was crazy.  If was a hard cyst with nothing to drain and he saw no reason any dermatologist couldn’t have removed it.   He even told her come back that afternoon and he would do the removal.  What a blessing.

Although it required a quick ER visit for bleeding that night,  it was just a matter of her head getting too low so they just cleaned and redid the bandage.  Tomorrow after 2 weeks, her stitches come out. Finally when she looks in a mirror she will see how beautiful we have always seen when we look at her.  But if you don’t leave the sutures alone – you get the cone.

New Things To Make Room For

What do you do when your cousin calls to say a friend has a treadle for sale and but if you want it, it’s free?  Well don’t be crazy, you get it your car and go get it. Which is exactly what I did.

When I went to research the serial number on this machine I didn’t get a lot of info which was strange as Singer has a national database of serial numbers dating back to some of the first sewing machines.   It turns out this sewing machine was not in the database as it was never meant to be sold outside Germany.  Apparently the info on the machines was kept at the German factory but Russia bombed the factory in 1945 and the records were all destroyed.  It was likely made somewhere between 1902 and 1922 but that’s as close as I can get.  So far I’ve found, it was likely owned by a dressmaker or tailor and was likely used to make German uniforms unless it was taken out of Germany prior to the war as I’m told most tailors and seamstresses were forced into making uniforms.  I can’t wait to talk more to the prior owner and see if she has the actual years it left Germany and more on it’s travels to the US.   It looks like it was likely moved to Austria when many Jewish people left Germany, and then brought to the US.   Imagine the things this has seen if it could talk.   I have found one woman in Australia that has a C serial number also so hope to talk more with her as well.

While there she also gifted me a beautiful old leather seat rocker.  These used to be called sewing or nursery rockers because they had no arms on them.  Looking into how long ago most of these were made, I would be curious to know if it made the same travels as that treadle.

The last thing brought home was a Victorian tapestry chair which is in amazing shape and stunning.  I have no idea where it will fit in the house but like I said, you can’t say no and see it shipped off to a thrift store.   I was thinking, if I get rid of my furniture, I would have more room for sewing machines.  I need to give that some thought.


More Going Out the Door

I am so thrilled that I am getting some of these tops done and they are going out the door so people can enjoy them.  Lately I have been gifting them to friends and co-workers of my daughter.  I love knowing they will get used.

This pink and black quilt was an absolute nightmare for me.  I simply cannot make tops without patterns.  I shredded 2 different fabrics sewing it wrong.  In the beginning, I even had all my teacups going sideways.  After taking it apart and remaking it 3 times, I thought wow I’m done, only to realize I had left black strips off the end of some rows.  I was not taking that thing apart again and laid it aside to quilt for the pups. I am so happy it found a home.  My daughters friend Tonia fell in love.  Even when I showed her the mistake she said she didn’t quite see what I meant.  I think it was destined to belong to her.   So it is now finished and residing in it’s new home.

The second quilt is one of my favorite patterns called Puzzle Box.  I just love it even though I’ve only made it once before. This was going to a young man so I wanted something masculine.  That isn’t as easy as it sounds in the quilt world, so viola, turtles.   I think the photo taken outside represents the colors more accurately on the turtle quilt.


Number 2 Went out the Door – Friday the 13th

This is my second one of the stockpiled tops being finished and gifted.  I wanted to make ones for some of my daughter’s co-workers that have worked with her for some time.  This one went to the owner’s daughter, Amber.  She works at the clinic running the office.

The pattern is called Magic Tile and was made using 12 Kaffe Fasset fat quarters and one of Philip Jacobs fabrics for the border.  Still not sure I like much of the KF fabric line but it was colorful and pretty