Saturday, February 19, 2011
After a lot of de-griming, I got my treadle up and running. Like I posted before, she's a 1903 Singer 15, and according to the serial number she was made in Elizabeth, New Jersey, though, mysteriously, she came with a manual written in German. After several rounds of cleaning and oiling, I replaced the belt, and she was ready to go.
I got all my technical information, including a facsimile version of the manual in English, off the web. There are YouTube videos on changing the belt and threading the bobbin. If not for the Internet, I don't know that I could have gotten this machine working on my own.
After some false starts, I figured out that a small post was missing from the otherwise working bobbin winder, so I turned to yet another modern adaptation: the electric bobbin winder. These are pretty useful, I don't know why I didn't get one sooner. It easily solved my problem, and now the treadle is fully operational. There's something sweet about the rhythms of sewing on a 108 year old treadle machine, and the modern adaptations don't subtract from it one whit.
I'm reminded when sewing on the treadle of how easily I've adapted to the needle down setting, the automatic thread cutter, and other handy innovations of my modern machine. The old Singer is more temperamental and fiddly. I have to be very precise with my technique, which isn't the case with newer machines. I also have to pin a lot more than I've become used to due to that funny narrow foot. Now I'm remembering vividly what it felt like to sew on the old family Singers when I was a girl: I have to approach this machine like a wild horse: cautiously and calmly.
But when the woman- machine relationship is in sync, some lovely things can come of it. I've been making these big 9-patch blocks from 5" squares Debra sent me. I'll sew them together when I get enough of them--either with or without sashing--and let her quilt it for donation.
I also wound my Kool-Aid dyed yarn into balls:
I think I'm going to make a shawl with these coordinated colors. I'll knit the body in the variegated yarn and do a lace edging in the solid color.
The greenish yarn has already been cast on for a 28's Big Sister 77 shawlette, available on Ravelry. The old lime green sweater is adapting to its new life as two completely different colored shawls quite nicely.