Saturday, August 30, 2014

The New Girl In ThistleFire

Sometimes it's funny how things happen.

This summer, I was excited to become the owner of a 1935 Singer Featherweight
And a 1950 Featherweight
They are awesome machines and I absolutely love using them. 

But there was one more I wanted to have. I wanted a treadle. We had one when I was a kid. I don't remember seeing it sew but it worked when I pumped the foot tray and the wheels got turning. I just wanted one in my home. Even more specifically, I wanted a Singer treadle so the accessories I have for my featherweights would work with it. I searched for one for almost a month but had nothing hit me saying, "I'm the one!" 

There was a shop I went to that had a cabinet that I liked but I didn't like the machine that was in it...
and a second cabinet that I didn't want but the head was real nice. It was electric but could be retrofitted to treadle. 

I would need to fuss with them to make it happen. Not perfection, but function was the goal. "Just swap them out", I thought, but the cabinet cutout was too small. "I can cut out the 1-1/2" it needs to make the head fit", I thought. But I didn't have the tools. So I called my sister and told her and her carpenter-husband about my idea. They said they could try to help me. But the shop was closed until Friday and it was Sunday. So I had to wait and think about it. I was ok with that. It was a big undertaking. 

Then, the very next day, my sister called me back. "I have a treadle for you." What? "It belonged to Aunt Rose." (She was actually our great aunt but I knew who she meant.) "We got it after she died. No one in the family wanted it so I took it." Suddenly, the conversation was going in slow motion. My mind started to spin a little. I asked, "Is it a Singer?" "Yup!" Now I was getting excited. "On a Singer cabinet?" "Yup!" I knew this was it, and I haven't even seen it. It didn't matter because it was heritage. My aunt, er, I mean, great aunt, was a seamstress. She sewed garments for the Cluett & Peabody Clothiers back in the early half of the 1900's. This was the machine that she'd bought new for her home. This was the machine my mom learned on. And it was coming to my home. I was so honored! 

Day one was cleaning day! Lots of dirt, coal smoke, dust, and lint came off of her. But she was still looking gorgeous before that. 

The gears were all dirty and dry. 

The end plate had beautiful scrollwork on it under the layers of brown. 

Behind that plate, there was a lot of cleaning that needed to be done. 

She didn't sew. The wheel wouldn't do a complete turn. I'd say here's why-
All this came out of the bobbin housing. I don't know how it all fit in there!

Here she is now. So much better!

Look! It's chrome, not brass!

The best result of the cleaning is she sews!

She is a Singer Model 66 and dates to April of 1926. 

The cabinet and iron cleaned up beautifully too. 

There's wheels on the iron legs. One was locked up with grime and goo. We cleaned it and got it rolling again. 

I love the amazing wooden details. 

So, sometimes things happen in ways you will never be able to plan out yourself. In those weeks while I was looking for a treadle, nothing was working out and I was ok with that. My patience was rewarded with a piece of history that is meaningful to me. I can cherish this one more than any other. ThistleFire needs some rearranging to properly house her... and I'm happy to do it!

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