Thanks to my sister Howdyl, I have some REALLY OLD friends.
She is a collector and re finisher of vintage sewing machines. She lovingly cleans and fixes the old Singer machines and then finds new homes for them. Although she hasn't had time the last year to put allot of attention into this hobby, once she gets settled into her new home I am sure she will start again.
When I set up my sewing room, I bought 2 table tops at a used office furniture shop, and laid them out in the corner of the room in an L shape. I mounted the treadle irons at one end and I had Neo-Man cut the hole so all I have to do is drop a machine in the hole and put the belt on- READY to sew!
All of my machines have names- they are my sewing buddies and I rely on them to help me be creative... so of course I have them named.
Now Neo-Man has made comments about the fact that I have so MANY machines... and to this I say "Well you have many saws out in the garage, a table saw, a compound miter saw, a jig saw, a hand saw, scroll saw AND you paid big bucks for them and you hardly use them... I at least use ALL of my machines" He knew he lost this battle and walked away.
Back in 2004, Howdy helped me locate and acquire my 1st love "Ruby" a 1920 Singer Red Eye 66 class treadle machine, for $20.00. I LOVE this machine. She sews so smoothly and is so pretty to look at.
Then in 2005 the little sewing machine repair shop she worked for was clearing out old machines so he could move to a new location. He was (sadly) pitching machines into the dumpster and she had to watch this. When she told me about the pretty colored machines she had seen- She got one that was John Deere green... I told her to get me one- any color. She called me later with the news about my next friend- I call "Ol' Blue Eyes". It is a 1950 something White machine that has a reverse and a darning setting. I love the finish on him! it is like METALLIC ICE BLUE... also sews wonderfully. He was my birthday gift from my sister... such a nice sister!
Then in early 2006 I saw an ad for an old Singer machine in Philadelphia PA. For grins & giggles I went to see it... bad move! So $30.00 later I now own "Phil" a 1930 Singer 66 class treadle machine, and he came with a carrying case. He is like Ruby only plainer looking. Again just wonderful to sew on.
In 2006 I acquired the machine of my dreams- Cleo. It is a 1920 Sphinx Singer 66 class shuttle treadle sewing machine. My Granny had one of these machines and I remember watching her sew on it and us working the foot pedal for her. I have always loved this machine!! Now I own one. It has some rust- very minor... BUT the decal is almost perfect on it. It truly is beautiful!!
I have no desire to sew on a shuttle machine- I will clean this up and just display her. She is a trophy machine... but she is all mine! She came in an old treadle cabinet I will have Neo-Man refinish... All for $55.00 - such a deal.
Then in 2006, my 1985 Montgomery Wards zig zag machine "Gerty" started showing her age... she would zig but not zag. She was tired... I had done all of my sewing on her untill I got Ruby.
She was just a good straight stitch machine now. Well I have plenty of those- I need to have at least 1 zig zag machine for machine appliqué. So I found this Janome on sale for $49.95 ... So I told Neo-Man, if I fix Gerty it will be $50.00 plus parts to fix a 21 year old machine... I just got a new one for UNDER $50.00!! A DEAL!! He looked at me and said "so you are getting rid of Gerty now?" I stepped back and said "sure"... so I mailed her to my daughter who needed a sewing machine.
So now "Millie" is my portable machine to take on sewing adventures. It is light to carry... I don't really like it so much though- It is very noisy and the straight stitch seems to wiggle in the line... not very smooth. But it is my only electric machine I own, and it will do many decorative stitches so I will keep it.
In 2006 I was finally able to get my mid arm sewing machine to put on my frame. I bought a new Voyager 17 by Hinterberg. I also have the Hinterberg stretch frame... so they went together perfectly. I call her "LuLu" coz she is a LuLu... so fast and smooth.... I love having the frame. This machine sews very nicely and once I got the hang the hang of it I am able to keep my stitches even without a cruise control. It makes quilting so fast... I am working on building a client base so I can do the quilting on others quilts.
My friend Neen is a collector of vintage Singer 301's machines. She mainly uses them for all of her piecing and quilting and LOVES them. I used one of her machines and fell in love with it. I told Neo-Man that I had one more machine to get- a 301! I have watched the papers, yard sales, junk shops and ebay for nearly a year. One day an ad on ebay had a listing for a 301 as a "Local Pick-Up ONLY" and it was in Philly!! Only $40.00 for the cabinet, machine and the buttonholer.
I was SO excited when I went to get "Homer" he is just beautiful and sews a lovely stitch.
So now he is now my travel machine and the electric machine I reach for when I need one...
So yes- I have alot of machines! But in my defense I can say that I use all (except for Cleo) on a regular basis and each has it's own personality and need.
I find the rhythm of the foot pedal on a treadle machine very soothing to my soul. I can sew for hours on it. It is very calming! It has really helped me this past 2 years to be able to sew and work through my sorrow, by creating beautiful things for others to love.
All with my OLD friends.
Like Neo-Man says "will that plastic Janome Millie still be around 85 years later and still sewing up a storm- like Ruby is?" I doubt it very seriously!!
I still look at the old machines- and I've even helped my friends acquire themselves a NEW old friend... but I am not buying anymore... Neo-Man will kill me if I bring in another one!!!
I am very happy with the ones I have!!
I can never Thank Howdy enough for helping me find them...
Well I have a old friend waiting for me to come sew... gotta run.