Monday, August 17, 2015

DIY shuttle style bobbin

I currently have three  machines with vibrating shuttles in the living room.  Each one uses a different size of bobbin.  My 65 year old treadle from my in-laws came with 3 or 4 extra bobbins so I'm good for a while.

The crank machine I bought yesterday came with 3.  So no problem there.  Both machines use the solid pin type of bar bobbin.

But the 110 year old White that we saved from the granary is a different story.  The one bobbin that we found for the machine is falling apart.  And the shuttle has a pin inside that the bobbin has to slide over.  We found several bobbins of this type for sale.  But they are well used and not in great shape.  The cost was $25 US per bobbin plus shipping. 

So DH decided to try his hand at making one.  First prototype worked!  He dismantled an old Bic pen, cut off the appropriate length of plastic.  Using only the plastic where there was no longer any ink of course. (One of the few times I was happy that we are hoarders and never throw out any thing.  We have enough pen inserts to make dozens of bobbins.) 

After cutting the correct length DH threaded on a small nut on each end.  He used a machine screw size #6 nut.  Then he tested the bobbin.  It worked great, with little messing around.

Here is an example of a bar bobbin for vibrating shuttle and the pen refill we used to make a DIY version:

The new owner of this treadle was thrilled when she tested the prototype bobbin out.  She was over yesterday to visit her machine.  She's still waiting for a delivery guy to call her back to arrange pick up and delivery.  My FIL offered to take it over for her, but she lives across the city.  There are a few freeways he'd have to take.  At his age he doesn't do freeways well.  And we wouldn't put him through that kind of stress.

Hopefully we can get the treadle out soon as I'm finding DH checking it out more and more every day.  He's bonding with it.  Which can't be good.  It's one of the reasons I bought the crank machine.  Now he has a machine that needs some TLC, cleaning etc. to play with.

A huge thanks to Deb on hearts2hands quilting group for getting us interested in using the vintage machines!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Too many sewing machines. Is it intervention time? Probably

I'm not going to list all my sewing machines here.  Suffice it to say that there are more old computers in DH's office than sewing machines in my quilt studio.  But there are a lot of sewing machines!

This evening yet another one was added to the collection.  A 1903 Singer crank sewing machine with vibrating shuttle.  An impulse buy.  But what a find.  She's beautiful!

Unfortunately the machine was dropped recently when being moved from one place to another.  A thread guide broke off.  But DH has already added a temporary guide until we can order a replacement piece.

This is another amazing machine.  The couple we bought it from had no idea when it was last used or oiled.  It had been in their home for 8-9 years and prior to that in a parent's basement.  They had never seen the parent use it.  They have no idea of how it came to be in their family.  I'd love to know it's personal history.

As soon as we turned the crank, the machine worked flawlessly.  With no cleaning or oiling!

Top right of metal plate is where the thread guide broke off.

 Front of machine
 Top view
Back of machine

The people we bought this machine from were wondering why we made sure the crank would turn and the feed dogs moved.  They had assumed that the machine wouldn't be put to use.  In fact they didn't realize it could be used.  I'm sure they thought we were crazy when we started talking about how many layers of fabric this baby could sew through compared to the newer domestic machines. 

Now to figure away I can get this beauty to the local quilt shop for classes and volunteer sewing.  She is not light.  Hmmmm....a modified stroller perhaps? 

There is always an issue with not enough electrical plugs in classrooms.  It would certainly be a solution  I'll have to take it to class at least once, just for the reactions I'd get.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Another Treadle Follows Me Home

My sister in law and I explored a granary while we were at the farm last weekend (in-laws' 65 anniversary).  We found an old treadle machine and thanks to my sister in law, I now have it at home.  Of course my DH and my father in law were involved in the actual lifting and transportation.  But I'm giving the most credit to my sister in law.

The machine is a White treadle from about 1905.  And for such an old gal she looks and works great.  Despite being stored for many years, she sews great.  Nothing is ceased up.  Everything turns freely - without being oiled!

The cabinet needs some work (a lot actually) but it's in better condition than we originally thought. 

The bobbin winder is missing some parts.  So it's a bit more complicated to use the "bar bobbin" for the vibrating shuttle.  There was two shuttles in good condition and one that is unusable.  Only one bobbin was found for the machine.  It's not easy to find this type of bobbin.  We've been discussing how to make them using empty ball point pen refills.  Who knows.  It might even work.

The embellishment/decals on the machine are in excellent condition.  Quite a bit is still gold.  Detergents did not touch this machine since that would have caused the decals to go silver. 

The attachments were found in the original tin inside a drawer.

For now this treasure is sitting in my front all waiting for it's new owner to pick up.  Anyone who has come over to see her has fallen in love.  Including those not interested in sewing!

The first to offer the treadle a home is it's new owner.  One of my best friends is making pick up and delivery arrangements.  I can only hope it doesn't take too long.  Both DH and I are bonding with this treadle more and more each day.  The only thing that reassures us is that the new owner will give the treadle the loving attention it needs.  And will actually use it for sewing.  It's about time the machine was used properly.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cool Trivia Regarding My Treadle Sewing Machine

In my last post I mentioned my in-law's Reliance treadle sewing machine.  As any reader of my blog knows, I am a quilter and a Disney fan.  Could there be any connection between the treadle machine my in-laws gave me and Disney?  You bet there is!

Having no experience maintaining a treadle let alone using one, the first thing to do was find a manual.  Only pages 11 to 20 were in the sewing machine cabinet drawer.  So a search on the Internet was required.

Mom and Dad purchased their machine from the 1950 Eaton's catalogue.  It took time to create the sales ads and ship out the catalogues.  So one of my first searches was "Reliance sewing machine 1949 Eatons".

What I found was a Disney connection.

The artist who drew the Eaton's catalogue illustration of the sewing machine was Charlie Thorson from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Mr. Thorson worked for Disney at one point.  Besides working on a large number of animated shorts, he is credited for his work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

One never knows where an Internet search will take you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A 65 Anniversary

My in-laws will be celebrating their 65 wedding anniversary in a few days.  Wow.  Thinking of all that they have lived through together makes me feel very proud to be part of their family.

They started married life farming.  After a few years they moved to the city.  Dad worked while Mom took care of not only her own children but others as well to help make ends meet.  They also took in boarders.  And still farmed!  Every weekend and vacation was spent on the farm to work on the fields and in the garden.  Of course there was also a huge garden in the city as well. 

What are they most proud of raising?  Their three wonderful children.  The most important blessings of their lives.  And now their grand children and great grands.

After 65 years they still own a farm although they rent out the land.  But the maintenance of the yard, taking care of the garden and machinery still has to be done.  And yes, there is still the garden in the city. 

What to gift them for this anniversary of a long and caring marriage?  They really don't need or want anything more except more visits from their family and friends.  But there has to be something to honour the occasion.

One of the first purchases they made after their wedding was a Reliance treadle sewing machine.  It was purchased from the Eaton's catalogue.  The machine was used to sew all their clothes, canvas for the swathing machine, bedding, curtains....the list goes on. 

After I started quilting Mom and Dad offered the treadle to me.  I was thrilled to receive it.  I had never sewn on one.  I just wanted it as a piece of family history. 

Well for their 65 anniversary I took the TV off of the cabinet, opened it up, and let the machine see daylight.  After a good cleaning, new belt and a whole lot of YouTube videos so I wouldn't mess up too badly, I started sewing. 

I'd like to say that I made them a huge complicated bed quilt.  But that didn't happen.  What I made was a reversible lap quilt that can be used while watching TV during the colder months.

My intention was to make the entire quilt using the treadle.  And it almost happened.  I'm going to blame the recent laser procedures on my eye for what happened.  But I can still see clearly out of one eye so that's just an excuse. 

The quilt was finished including the binding when the problems were noticed.  Just before it was going into the wash I found several strips of fabric that had shifted during the sewing and did not get caught under the seam. 

There is no way I was going to take the quilt apart to fix it.  So decorative stitch on my Janome was used to hold the fabric in place.  So not every stitch was made using the treadle.  But I tried!