Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oh its a Blustery Day

I awoke this morning to the sound of thunder and dark skies. We really need the rain and the cooler weather is definitely a welcome site considering we have been in the triple digits for a month and the heat indexes are through the roof. I have a off the wall skin condition going on right now that the doctors are having fun trying to diagnose so they keep shoveling Antibiotics and Steroids in me to try and clear me up. The only catch is that I have to drink lots of water, that one is easy because I am always running around with a glass of iced tea in my hand (true southern boy) and I have to stay out of the sun. The later is not fun at all........

As I mentioned earlier I do work on vintage machines for others and I am sitting here thinking about how many I need to be working on right now. Two 301's, a 201, three 27's, three Featherweights and a gaggle of machines that are mine I need to put into my collection and in my quilting studio for use. I am a firm believer in the treadle. In fact I pretty much live and die by the treadle and I do not see me owning many eMachines in my life. I do have a Wilcox and Gibbs industrial that thanks to a really sweet friend she talked me into leaving it electrified so I can use it like it was meant to be. I guess she is right about that one because I do not think I could spool my treadle up tight enough to let the machine run at its full capacity of 4000 stitches a minute. Plus I really think the butcher block table top is very pretty.

I will try to include some photos on this post and show you a few machines I have in my studio and the central treadle. I have it built so that all I have to do is change out these wooden plates to accommodate different machines and the quilting table top is 36"x140" when I add my fill in leaf. But it is painted a nice cheery orangish and curtains I made from some of my stash for a quilty feel. I have a wall unit (which is way bigger now) that I keep 19 machines in that I have allotted for use in the studio. My good machines are in my home where they only get used on occasion but it is a house rule to make a quilt off of every machine that I own. But I have 3 or 4 more to add to the studio like a Singer 66-18, Singer 185K, W&W D9, and a 328K. The 185K and the 128k will be treadled along with the 66-18. I only have one electric machine out there and it is a 301 and its my version of the FW that I can take to classes if I go. But my 328K and the 185K will be repaints, the 328K will be a candy Brandywine and the 185K who knows but it will be a way out there color for sure.

Well I figured out how to load photos (which is good) and I have a few of my studio when I just finished the majority of the remodel. I still need to tile the floor and I am adding on another 2000sqft to it so I can house my collection, have a service department and a quilting area.It will be built to look like a Singer Store from back in the 1940's including the huge backlit sign that would be on the store front.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life is like a box of Chocolates...............

There were no truer words spoken when that quote was made in "Forest Gump". It applies to life in general but you can also apply it to quilting and vintage sewing machines.

In quilting how many times have we seen a pattern that we thought was just the prettiest but the fabrics were not what we had in our stash or what we really prefer in colors. I know that from a guys point of view I love to use a lot of color and I tend to stay away from whites and light colors. Where I see a lot of quilts that were made by the female gender have lots of white or light colors in them. So I always change the fabrics around to meet my needs and I come up with a totally different quilt that what was made in the magazine or book I have. But the quote really applies to the hunt of the vintage sewing machine.....................

How many times have we gone to a garage sale, estate sale or thrift store looking for what sewing machines they might have there. It is like a box of chocolates because when you enter the place you have know idea as to what may lie around the corner. Could it be a Featherweight for $25 or a really nice treadle with all of the accessories for $75, the hunt is almost as much fun as the find itself. My favorite venues are thrift stores and estate sales, the later is where I find the really nice and more rare machines for a good price. I went to the thrift store the other day and I looked around to see if I could see if there was any new machines put out and I did find a really nice White 614 that needs a few parts to it and a full service but all in all it is a really nice machine. It has the decorative stitches built in and several of the functional type of stitches like the blind stitch, zigzag, button hole you know where I am going with this. Then I found a "short shank" Singer buttonholer in the Green Egg in another part of the store. Well for under $10 I was out of the door and I have some fodder to sell to foot the bill for some more machines!

While I was in the vicinity I walked next door to another thrift store and the owner did a buyout of mattresses and had tons of them in there for next to nothing. I know this isnt on topic by any means (well it will be in a second) but where in the world can you buy a king size Sterns and Foster pillowtop new in the package for $350 for the set!!! Just so happens my daughter was needing a king size mattress set for her new bed so I called her up and later that day we went together and she bought a Serta memory foam top for $435 including delivery! Well here is where I get back on topic.........As she is making up her bed and getting things put away I hear her say "Daddy will you make a quilt for my new bed?"

Later that night she is looking through my newest Keepsake and Connecting Threads catalogs sticky noting the quilts that she likes. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Welcome to my Vintage Sewing Machine Shop

First off I would like to say hello and welcome to my shop. This is something that I hope that you will always feel at home and will come on in and pull a stool up and lets talk about sewing machines, quilting and any other things that you might like to discuss. I am far from an expert on Vintage machines but I have a really good data base that I work from and I also have lots of shop manuals and technical data for sewing machine dating from the 1840's to the mid 1950's. I am probably the leading expert on the Japanese machines and I have tons of records from the manufacturers that I am in the process of decoding and digesting it into my data base. Eventually I will be writing a book on them but that will be later on in my life, right now I am having fun with all of my machines.

I have mostly treadle powered machines and some of them quite rare including several other of Pearl Singer 12's and an FC Henderson Chain stitch machine from the 1880's. It is a Wilcox and Gibbs design machine but they sold the rights to their automatic tensioner and several companies (Standard being on of them) use their design in similar machines. I will be posting a few photos of my machines and Hopefully be posting some of my repaints that I do for others. I paint high end show cars and I have gotten into repainting sewing machines also in all sorts of neat colors including Pearls and Candies. But that is a whole nother story and they say.........

Also I will be posting photos of my quilts and items that I make on my treadles. I have 19 machines that I use on a regular basis in my studio and the number keeps adding on. For me it is like I have stepped back into time and time stands still when I am in my studio working on a machine or quilt. Just the fact that I am using an historical item to make something beautiful to give to some one, and to see their reaction knowing that they are holding a piece of living history in their hands. How many folks still quilt on a 100 year old sewing machine, not many but the numbers are growing I am happy to say. And if anything I hope that this blog will encourage more people to start saving these pieces of history and using them to make things on.   

So fell free to sit back and enjoy yourself and I hope you enjoy the experience....