Friday, September 5, 2014

On a Mission

Did you know some of the sewing machines I have sold have traveled to Haiti? Ellen got in touch with me when she wanted a basic Kenmore I had for sale and asked if I had any others that were just no-frills sewing machines that would be easy to use and service. Kenmore certainly fit the bill and I did have a few for her consideration. We finally connected and she told me the story of sending these sewing machines on a boat to Haiti. They didn't just get boxed up and sent, these sewing machines were going to be packed up tight and put in a jeep-type of vehicle that was going on a boat to Haiti. When the boat landed and was unloaded she would be there to parse out the goods and work with those who would be using the machines. How wonderful to help women to become independent in so many ways, using these good basic Kenmore sewing machines that are nearly given away here in Minnesota!

This week Ellen has returned with two sewing machines that were given to her. Now I get to decide if they would be worth fixing up to be used for the next trip to Haiti.

Kenmore 12 stitch

She brought her friend, Karen, along and we had to talk about non-electric sewing machines especially after they saw the new hand-crank models that are on display right inside the door. Ellen told a story from their last trip when a treadle sewing machine was packed in with the other sewing machines. She learned that treadling is not as easy as it looks when you first learn! Yet a steady source of electricity is problematic so people powered machines are sometimes necessary. Anyone for a hand crank sewing machine?

I just brought home another Singer 66 Red Eye, not so much dirty on the outside but really dirty inside as it wasn't even moving. I've got it moving after cleaning out the debris and oiling but it really needs a box to sit in. It would be a nice candidate for a hand crank, especially since it already has the spoked hand wheel. Maybe it will take a trip to Haiti, too?

The donated sewing machines were a bit of a disappointment but I think they will work. First off, the Kenmore 12 has some kind of red residue that is left all over the top. I tried a variety of products to remove it but anything that was going to work was also going to take the finish off the plastic. It appears to be red duct tape residue but it's just cosmetic. The sewing machine itself ran pretty good until it came to the stretch stitches. Yup, it would only run backwards and when I could look inside there was very little I could get to. I think this is going to be a good sewing machine that just does not make it's stretch stitches. The Riccar, with those orange dots to indicate how to thread, sounded pretty funny but I got it to stitch okay. Then I noticed it had that wonderful feature of running in low gear, something that would be used to plow through heavy fabrics, and I had been trying it out in low. Once I put it up to high gear it sounded much better and even stitched a little better so there is hope. All in all, for donated machines they will work but I'm a bit disappointed. The older Kenmore's are great and I think I still have a few. Maybe I need to donate them so the women can have that great experience of sewing with a solid, not fancy, sewing machine. Gotta love those Kenmores!

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