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Friday, March 29, 2013

A New Old Friend

Look what Mickael got me for my birthday!  (Turning 40 this weekend - not nearly as scary as turning 30 for some reason.)  I had been wanting a treadle machine for a while now and he told me to find one and he'd get it for me.  So I started watching Craig's List.  And I watched, and I laughed (no, your nasty, old treadle with the charming family of mice living in it is not in good shape for it's age and it's certainly not worth what you're asking for it).  I laughed some more.  Craig's List is probably the easiest place to find an old treadle machine, but apparently it's also a great place for the delusional to sell things too.  I'd been doing my research and knew what was a reasonable price for a treadle machine, and I knew which models I was interested in.  So I watched, laughed and waited.
Last night, I looked again.  (I had already peeked at lunchtime and didn't see this listed).  I saw her and I knew she would be worth checking on.  It was a Singer 66-1 Red Eye, she has the 7 drawer cabinet (there's a wide but shallow center drawer with no knob that needs a new bracket on one side), and it looked from the pictures that she was being kept in a house (which would be easier to clean up than one that was "Barn Fresh").  I called and we were able to go out and see her last night.  We were met by two very nice ladies and an older German Shepherd who stood waist high to me, and was a complete gentleman.  The machine had been the seller's husband's grandmother's machine and she (the seller) didn't sew, but was using it as a table.  I took a look at it and even though the treadle belt isn't on it (it's in one of the drawers, but they can still be purchased as well), it seems to be intact, move smoothly and well.  There is only one bobbin, but Singer 66 bobbins are easy to find and she takes modern needles.

I will be cleaning her up and oiling her and getting her ready to sew again over the next little while and I thought I'd drag you, the blog along with me.  She's not really dirty since she's been in a house, but the machine part could use some TLC, and it's a great way to get to know her.  Max and Logan have already welcomed her to the family.
You want to know the best part though?  I checked the serial number to find out her age and apparently she was manufactured on March 27, 1923.  She just turned 90 years old!  The fact that our birthdays are 50 years and a handful of days apart seems like she was meant to be mine!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's beautiful!
I learned to sew from my grandmother on a singer treadle machine. Sure made learning to spin easier--since treadling came naturally to me. I still have that machine, purchased by my grandfather shortly after their wedding in 1919.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Lucky you! I grew up learning to sew on a treadle machine, and when I was 16 I purchased my own Elna Supermatic, because the treadle machine was long gone.

These old machines were so lovely--are so lovely--and make sewing a little more to human scale. Congratulations!

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Marjorie said...

Congratulations on your beautiful machine! I had a treadle machine once and have regretted selling it ever since! Enjoy!

3:49 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Happy Birthday! What a lovely machine.

4:59 PM  
Blogger auntiemichal said...

Maybe we should start a Ravelry group for people whose grandmothers taught them sewing on a treadle machine! I'd be a charter member, too. It's a lovely machine, and I can't wait to see what you make on it. Oh, a machinist friend of mine recommends kerosene for getting old oil out of sewing machines that are gummed up.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Merry Karma said...

Well...my mother taught me to sew on her treadle machine that was given to her as a cast off when she first came to the States in the late 1950s. I now have it in my game room, waiting to be given a little TLC. The cabinet needs to be refinished and the machine needs a little cleaning and oiling. I don't know when the last time my mom used it. Probably in 2004, before she came to live with us...

I should check to see if I can tell how old this one is.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Ginger said...

The case looks exactly like the one I recently came home with from my late aunt's estate. She had two of them...unfortunately I wound up with the one that needs *major* tlc. It wasn't stored in the barn, but close enough. The cabinet has been refinished at this point, and I just shipped the machine off to have it brought back into condition. I'd be interested in finding out where you are planning to get parts for future reference.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned on a treadle, too - in home ec class in 1960. There were also the black electric heavy-head Singers, and we were expected to use both. I see you can purchase replacement belts at Lehman's in PA. http://non-electric.lehmans.com/search#?p=UK&srid=S6-USCDR02&lbc=lehmans&ts=ajax&pw=singer%20sewing%20machine%20parts&pu=28263&uid=69603679&isort=score&w=Sewing%20Machine%20Belt&rk=1

Ever wonder why a hardware store that caters to the Amish has a website? Just asking.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Connie Peterson said...

I have my grandmother's sewing machine and love it. It works better, mostly, than my electric one!

Enjoy ..... you will have a wonderful time! Sometimes the stitches seem off, but a few adjustments will make it work. These babies don't break or go "bad."

9:12 AM  

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