Feb 8, 2013

The Virgin


This very old treadle machine was given to me by an student who felt I would appreciate it more than she ... one of these days I'll try to use it ... she has a wooden cover that locks onto that box.
The gorgeous cloth that she sits upon is one I found in an antique/junk shop ... hand embroidered, in beautiful condition ... for $35 !

... has drawers full of original tools, bobbins and instruction manual !
The Virgin

I don't teach free-motion machine embroidery any more because I found myself in the impossible position of 'fixing' someone's sewing machine all the time ... wasting valuable time which should have been with the class as a whole. 
I'm sorry about that, too, as I really liked teaching this stuff ...  but just had to start saying 'no' when asked to teach a course. Even when my list of requirements to prospective students stressed 'for advanced sewers', I'd still get half a class that didn't know their machine at all ...  "I haven't used my machine in a few yrs, but I used to sew a lot." ... right !

At one point I would begin my class with a lesson on cleaning/care of a sewing machine ... it was the best lesson that I ever got way back in 1983 ! 
I would begin by introducing my very old Kenmore as 'The Virgin' ...( this would always get their attention !) ... as no man has ever laid hands on her !, I would explain.   
It was the absolute truth and still is today ! 
The Virgin worked so hard for me, for over 30 yrs, until 'things' just started to fall off of her ... the lever bar wouldn't lift anymore unless I spent a few moments jiggling it, and more small things just fell off, but her heart was still willing to work, bless her soul. 
I finally retired her, went straight to the local sewing machine shop and asked if they had any 'old' machines. The clerk thought I was nuts when I refused a newer, computerized, fancy-dancy machine. She finally 'got' what I wanted and led me to the basement where boxes of sewing machines were stacked to the rafters. She rooted only a minute and presented me with another Kenmore even older than my retiree ! It had never been out of the box ! Had a steel body (my main requirement), was heavy, and had a zig-zag stitch ... all I would ever need in my work. And for $128.00 ! 
I haven't named this one but she works just as hard for me and I swear that after a while machines get to know what you expect of them.

This morning while browsing some Canadian blogs I came across an article in Judy Cooper's blog where she posts about the care/cleaning of your sewing machine and references this article in Threads magazine. I really want to share that with as many sewers as I can, as it's so important and so easy to do and takes only a few minutes ... and so good to your wallet ! Enjoy.


Snowing for hours now ... shot from my studio window into mine and my neighbours far thru the screen on the window ... just adds to the 'grey' today.

7 comments:

  1. what a beauty she is :) just cleaned mine--and WHY do they make the new ones so hard to take apart and get into????????

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  2. Mine needs cleaning right now as she has been working overtime helping me get my piece of a joint project done ! Almost there ! Yes the Vibra is a pretty little thing and one of these days I'll research it.
    I wouldn't attempt to 'fix' my computer either and that's what they are these days.
    Good luck on your house hunt !

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  3. Mine is not as old as yours, but when I had it serviced I was told that the older machines are much better in construction to the newer ones. I would like to be able to take mine to pieces and clean the bits,which I can't do on my Pfaff. I started free motion machining on a Singer, and had to actually remove the feed dogs to make it work.Good luck with the caterpillars.

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  4. Thanks Jackie ! Cleaned and oiled now, my Kenmore is humming !
    I started on an old treadmill as well but I can't remeber if it was a Singer or not ... probably was.
    I am anxious to find a few hrs. to start learning the caterpillar stitch ... it looks fabulous !

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  5. ... oops ... secrets out !
    Yes I author the Connections blog, too !

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  6. I know what you mean by the 'joy' of teaching free machine embroidery. I would spend all my time fixing student machines as well. We used to try and get all our students to use Bernina's so at least I was familiar with fixing them. Like arlee commented earlier though- machines are getting harder and harder to pull apart. My Bernina 830 is wonderful to pull apart and I can nearly always fix the problem. Yet my 1230 Bernina that I adore is almost impossible to get a single part open on it. Maybe it is a conspiracy to make us all pay to get them fixed.

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  7. I'm glad to hear I am not alone re: teaching machine embroidery .. and, yes, I think you may be right .. there is a conspiracy afoot !
    Thanks you for visiting, Sarah !

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Sharron.