Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Long Distance

You never know when someone will contact you to buy, sell, or give away a sewing machine. An Elna  SU68 is the focus of our attention today, a very nice model that was still made in Switzerland back in the late 60's and early 70's. I had one I sold over a year ago and was not looking for another one until a woman got in touch with me via Craigslist and asked if I buy sewing machines. I'm thinking "Yes, but people usually don't get in touch with me quite like this?' yet she had an Elna. My ears perked up at the mention of this maker of fine sewing machines so we wrote back and forth until she finally brought it to me later that same day. So here was this fine model:
Elna SU68
Why would she ever want to get rid of this sewing machine? It still worked quite well and only had some surface dirt from being stored in the basement. As it turned out, she and her mother bought twin sewing machines and took classes together but now she was ready to move on. Move on? To what? I hate to tell you, my vintage sewing machine fans, but she had a friend who worked in a chain fabric store and got her a deal on a new Singer sewing machine. NO! No! no. New Singers are not very good sewing machines and I knew she was going to regret this so I suggested that maybe she was going in the wrong direction? But, no, she wanted to sell this old one because she liked her new Singer. I tried, honestly, I tried to convince her she had a better sewing machine with the older Elna than almost anything new. Yet we closed the deal and as she walked to the door she asked if I could look at her new machine "when something happens." I had to tell her that I wouldn't have the know-how for a newer sewing machine repair and that most repairs are quite costly and not worth the cost of the sewing machine. This did cause her to pause a moment but not change her mind. I was sad for her but delighted with this new acquisition! She was perfect, sewed wonderfully, only needed some minor cleaning. As I used her to make up some men's-shirt aprons I noticed the foot control was difficult to use. I consulted the Elna Herloom Yahoo group postings and found out the connection into the sewing machine need to be cleaned, an easy fix, and she was off and running.

I was enjoying her company when Mary Sue got in touch with me via this blog and asked if I had an Elna for sale and explained her saga of an Elna Jubilee that had a kaput motor and was looking for another one. Well, I did have an Elna but where was Mary Sue located? St. Louis? We both got a chuckle out of that one because I won't ship but I suggested maybe she would come up to the Twin Cities for a visit. Wouldn't you know it? A month later and many emails in between, Mary Sue and her husband come up to the cities to move their son from Madison to St. Paul. Not only interested in the Elna SU68, she is looking for a beginners sewing machine for a friend who might be interested in a new hobby. The only time we could meet was early Saturday morning and we were all on time with a selection of three sewing machines set up on the dining room table. Mary Sue tested the Elna that started all of this and it met with her satisfaction. It was different because her Elna Jubilee has all of its stitches on an internal camstack but the SU68 had a smaller selection on a camstack but was capable of additional designs with individual cams, something new for Mary Sue.

Then she tried an Elna 1500 for her friend but we both agreed the tension and threading was just a bit fussy so maybe sewing machine number three at the table would be good. It was a Kenmore with a nice variety of stitches that turn out quite well but it didn't have the feel of the Elna. It was a difficult decision but I had to agree the Kenmore was probably easier to use. And my readers know now much I continue to love vintage Kenmore sewing machines.
Kenmore 22 Stitch
New friends were made and Mary Sue promises to return in a couple of months with boxes of Sew News magazines for me. I haven't read Sew News before but I'm pretty much into educating myself and look forward to years and years of this magazine. Maybe there is someone else who is reading this blog and thinks "I'll never be in the Twin Cities" but life has a way of bringing many of us together in ways we never suspected. Right, Mary Sue?

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