Friday, July 17, 2009

From Grama's Farm

With holidaying in Yellowstone over Ike and I are now in Thunder Bay visiting with Grama and Grampa. I did still have some swaps on the go to finish up with and these things can be a bit of a challenge when you are away form home. My last swap needed a sewing machine for a small sewing project and with my usual source of a machine (Auntie Pat) away........I had to come up with another alternative. Above is a photo of the machine I ended up using for this swap. It was nice to spend some time with this machine which has a lot of sentimental value in our family. This was Grama K's 1911 model 127 Singer Treadle machine. It sat in the window of the dining room and then up in a spare bedroom when it was eventually replaced with an electric model. The poor electric model never stood a chance in competing with the performance of this treadle machine though. I remember Grama still preferred to use the treadle. It would sew through matter what. On the down has no zigzag, and no reverse....but if a nice straight stitch is all you need it is more than adequate. I had always loved this machine as a kid....I mean what kid wouldn't be in love with the wildly exotic paint job and the cool mechanics of the machine. All those neat little cabinet drawers filled with all kinds of treasures and each one with a story to tell. Left over buttons from dresses made for relatives long ago....the cut off pant bottoms from hemming Uncle Billy's and Uncle Ivan's work pants. Each uncle had a different colour preference in work wear so you can quite accurately guess which one came from which uncle. And snippets of lace, rickrack and ribbon that is just a little different from what you might find in today's fabric stores. The one thing that surprised me the most when cleaning out the drawers....was all of the old spools of thread. I fully expected to find bunches of wooden spools.....and I certainly did.....but I did not expect to find spools of silk thread. I sew mostly with cotton my self and expected to find that and some polyester....but not silk. It was actually the feel of it that I first noticed. It is absolutely gorgeous to touch. Go figure....I'd have to say it was silky smooth, if I were to describe it. Now I wonder what project Grama might have been working on to need silk thread. My grama lived through the depression (born in 1903) and she was one of the most 'thrifty' people you might ever hope to meet. I imagine that silk thread would have been some kind of luxury. I'm even more curious now to image what she might have been sewing. The green spool standing and the one of the extreme left are both spools from silk threads.
Well it took 3 days to get the machine running properly. I the end that the upper tensioning dial was assembled with one piece in backwards putting too much tension on the top thread. After replacing the bobbin spring and some fiddling with the top tension arrangement it seems to be sewing as it should. There still needs to be some adjustment with the tension as it all needs to be a touch lower on top and bottom....but at least it's up and running now. I am looking forward to making a project on it on another visit.

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