Friday, August 28, 2015

Vintage Machine Addiction

I am fairly certain, I have been bitten and now addicted in obtaining vintage sewing machines.  I have obtained another vintage machine, and the story goes like so:

My SIL was at my parents house when I bought this vintage machine.

Upon explaining why I wanted to own an older vintage machine, she asked, very causally, would I like her Grandmother's sewing machine.  I off-handly said sure and didn't think much about it.

I have been sewing on this machine for about 5 weeks and just love how it sews.  Of course, then I just had to start following a couple of groups on Facebook regarding vintage non-singer machines, Featherweight machines, and Vintage Singer Machines.  (hope the FB links work, if not just type in these titles in the search part of your FB page.)  Reading all the FB posts about vintage machines, just moved me to appreciate these solid metal work horses!

I really didn't give my SIL's offer much creedence, as it was just said in passing.  Move along 5 weeks later when I come back to my parents house to do the actual moving of them to my home, my SIL again asks if I was serious about taking her Grandmother's machine.  This time, though, she said it was a "really old" singer, and I might not want it.  I again said sure, I would find a place for it and would love to have it.  I asked her if she knew the model, and she said no, but would take pictures and send them to me to look at, and then I could really commit or not in taking the machine, as then she tells me that it is in a big table/desk case.  At this point,  my excitement is growing and I am getting more curious by the minute.

Today, I got a text from my SIL and it had pictures.  I started to look at the first picture, and my heart started beating hard, and I am saying to myself, "Can it really be what I think it is going to be?  Please, please, please let it be what I think it is going to be..."  BAM!  There it was, big as day, a Singer 500A.  I could not believe my eyes.

Can you believe it?  Yes, it is the model that the sewing community calls the rocketeer.  It is one of the most coveted models (in good working condition of course) in the quilting world.  And check out the cabinet that comes with it.  A nice solid piece of furniture.  

My SIL tells me that she remembers her Grandma always sewing on it, and knew it was in good working order the last time she had seen it working.

See there, Model 500A!  


My SIL sent a new picture of all the attachments:

I am astonished, as it has all the original feet, cams, buttonholer, manual, and the case that holds it all. Look at that oval pink case that holds the buttonholer!!  It's a case that has the same shape as the head of the machine.  Most of the time these little things get lost in the shuffle from the many years and owners it goes through until it lands in a safe place.  I am still pinching myself over the package deal it am going to end up with in my home!

It is going on the moving truck and on it's way to my house!  Whoo!! Hoo!!

When I told my SIL how excited I was about the machine and its model number, she was excited in return because she is glad that someone was going to enjoy having it and possibly putting it to use.

Yep, that would be me!

If you want some nightly reading, or more interested in this model, this blog post is most informative about this particular model.


Friday, August 21, 2015

New Featherweight Sewing Machine

I was out of town a couple of months ago, and my husband sent me a picture of this:

Then asked if I wanted it?  Wanted it? Of course I wanted it, I have been wanting a Featherweight for years.  On top of that it came with bobbins, extra feet original manual, original lube tube and original oil can.  Then, it also came with the original tray that fits in the original box.  I was jubilant!   

These are the pictures he took and then texted me when he got it home.  Believe it or not he found it at a gun and knife show.  Yep you heard right a gun and knife show.  It's not the first time we have seen one at these shows.  The featherweights in the past though have been totally out of my price range of over $400.  My husband picked this one up for $300.  

According to this expert web site regarding Featherweights, this serial number means that this machine was produced and released for sale on April 22, 1947.  It is not possible to accurately state the manufacturing date of any Singer Featherweight. Singer claims to be able to do this, but the information the  company gives out refers to the dates on which large batches of serial  numbers were released to the various factories. It's pretty safe to assume that  a particular machine was not made before its "birthdate" but it could have  been produced considerably later.  They made 20,000 of them that year. It is amazing to me on just how many they made the whole time they were making the Featherweight, when they are so rare today???  

One of the biggest problems with the old "suitcase" boxes is they stink.  And when I say stink, I mean stink!!!  Apparently the boxes and it's lining were glued with old fashioned glue.  This old fashioned glue is made from animal hooves.  Over time this natural animal hoof glue decomposes and starts to stink.  I researched and researched over the web to see if there was a way to get this stink gone permanently.  I used this method to try to get the stink out.  Basically it uses a 150 watt light bulb to burn off the smell (kinda like baking it out in the sun) for 8 hours.  

So 8 hours I did, and yes the stink was downgraded to just a smell.  Still not a pleasant smell, but not a stink.  It was recommend that one might have to do this procedure more than once.  So when I get back in town I will be doing it again.  I have also placed a shaved bar of dial soap in the box while I wait to try the the light bulb again.

I did get a minute to see how well it sews, and it purred like a kitten, but it wasn't threaded, so I don't know what kind of a seam it will be sewing.  When I get back home and get my parents settled, I will be working on bringing the machine out and seeing how well it sews.  Supposedly, Featherweight owners name their machines, usually old fashioned names like Beatrice, so I will have to think about a name.   I'll  have more pictures then too!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Swapped Fabrics

Back a few posts ago, I talked about a blog friend SLIKstitches who sent me some scraps from the United Kingdom.  I showed that I had cut most of them up and here is a set of ten Cheddar Bow Ties all sewed up.

Didn't they sew up nice and pretty!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What's Up at My House

I am traveling out of state again, for the next few weeks, to prepare my parents to leave their home and come and live with my husband and me.  One of the many things we have done in our home is to fix them up a room to sleep.  We had an extra spare room so we cleared it out, painted, added a light/ceiling fan, and I made some new curtains for the two windows.  I scored this gray fabric, which is one of my Mom's favorite colors, and made four panels. 

I only wanted the length to come to the edge of the windows, as I didn't want the curtains to get in the way of the beds that are going in the room.  The picture didn't come out so well, as the sun was directly coming in the windows this time of day.

I also have been busy with this year's harvest.  Remember when I posted about all the little seedlings raised in the greenhouse?  And then planting all those plants in the garden?  Well, all of those seedlings/plants have produced.  Boatloads of produce!!!!

Tomatoes, about a bushel.

 Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans:

That came off of these plants on the trellis that had peas on it earlier this year.

So the tally for the day was 18 quarts of tomatoes, and 9 pints of green beans.

Fall is going to really be busy for me this year!  Hang on for the ride with me....


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Finding Memories

It was necessary to go through my hope chest today, and in doing so, I came across a lot of memories.  Although, I don't have any recollection of this quilt, it was my baby crib quilt, made by my great grandmother.  She did quilt a lot, but she did manage to make a baby quilt for each of her grand children and great grandchildren.  It is all hand stitched, the quilting is tied with white yarn, and the backing comes forward to form a border/binding.  Don't panic about the white spots, that's just the sun shining on the quilt through the leaves of my backyard tree.

The simplicity of this quilt is what makes it so endearing.  A relic of its time, when things were slower, and simple, almost plain.  But the plain pattern and fabric is what makes it so beautiful.  This is a close up of the some of the fabrics used, and the white yarn used to tie the quilt together.

You can see here, in the next few pictures, my great grandmother, ran out of the print she was using and filled it in with what she had on hand.  There was not the option of running out and buying more to make it "perfect".

I noticed that she only ran out on the corner blocks, but if you stand back, (look at the first picture), you will see that the non-matching fabric doesn't take away for the quilt as a whole.  This only tells me that I have to stop trying to be so perfect in the quilts that I will be working on in the future and just get them done.

This is the backing print, which is a cute baby print, almost just like the reproduction 30's fabrics.  Although I was born in the late 50's, I am sure she had this in her stash from back then, because by the time I came along, my Great Grandma was in her 80's, and nearly blind, so she had to use what she had from when she used to sew for all her children in the early 1900's.  She did travel in a covered wagon from Kansas to Oregon when she was a child and sewed all of her clothes, and then later her own family clothes.  So, I am honored to have a quilt made by her, by hand, with little eyesight to add to my memories.

PS  She was still alive when I was born, but died before I could remember her.  I do have pictures of her though when I was a baby and a small child.

In loving memory of Amanda Jane Marsden

Four Generations from L to R:

Amanda J Marsden
Marvis K Merrifield
Janet L Steele
Renee L Steele-Smith