Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Coming Home

After a whirlwind week in Portland, getting over a bad cold that can't decide if it is in my head or my chest, and getting back to work with a holiday coming up, it's no wonder I haven't been writing much. Even though I was gone from my sewing machine business, I still managed to set up appointments and sold two only 12 hours after we landed.

The Learn-to-Sew machines continue to get  a lot of attention and I had three of them set up for Dave who was on his way back from Missouri. I set up a Singer 628, a Touch & Sew that was complete with cams for extra fancy stitches and additional feet with other accessories, a Singer 237, and a Singer 514. I could not get the 514 to work right, with a wonky tension adjustment set-up that I could not get adjusted. The Singer 237 was perfect for Dave but I could not get the bobbin winder to work. That left the Touch & Sew but I was reluctant to have him take this one since it's a bit complex but Dave was sure this one would be fine. Right after he left I looked again at the 237 and found out I was using class 66 bobbins for winding when it took class 15 bobbins: a classic mistake and now you know even a seasoned sewer can make a simple mistake! I worked quite awhile on the 514 and finally sent it to partsmachineland. That's right, it gets stripped down and then the metal carcass goes to a friend who uses the metal for salvage. Here are three on their way out:
White, Kenmore, and Singer Merritt
Next I set up two Viking sewing machines for Marie who wanted a portable machine to take for quilting classes. Her good Viking recently had repairs that she suspected were due to lugging it around and now sought a lighter weight model with the Viking brand she grew to love. It all boiled down to weight since both the 210 and 4300 worked well and had their own different set of features. She gave it the weight test: set both on the floor and lifted each, then reversed with different hands. The Viking 210 walked out the door with Marie and a Singer Merritt walked back in with me. Someone gave it to her and she wondered if I could use it so it wouldn't go into a landfill. It had several problems that were not worth solving since it had plastic gears and is known to be a less reliable model. It's on the floor with the other salvage models in the above photograph.

As happy as I am to have sewing machines walk out the door, I continue to find classic models in my neighborhood with reasonable prices. On my way home from work I picked up a Singer 237 (yes, another one) from a couple who were downsizing and getting ready to sell their lovely lakeside home. It had been his mother's and he complained it would only work with the needle in the left position but I suspect the warmth from a hairdryer will loosen up the position mechanism and a good sewing machine oil will take care of the rest.

After a yoga class I picked up a Kenmore 1690 in a wonderful table with two drawers and a nice multi-position top for the freearm. The gentleman said it had been his mother's and she had been gone ten years so it was time to pass this on.
Kenmore 1690
Doesn't this sound familiar? Two sewing machines on the same day that belonged to mothers of these older men. No one in their families sews and they don't know what to do with them, hating to see them end up in a landfill. I could tell by the former owner of the Kenmore that she was quite skilled, using decorative threads and interesting attachments. These sewing machines were not the first ones the women owned because I found parts from other machines within their drawers and accessory boxes. This always makes me wonder if they had straight stitch models and moved to multi-stitch models for their added stitches or if they had to replace beloved sewing machines with something affordable for their later years. The Singer 237 was a late 1960's model and the Kenmore was early 1980's and even though they work fine, they never were top-of-the-line models but good workers anyway. They will find new homes and be put to use again but I can't help but wonder about their past: who owned them, what did they sew, were they simply a machine or were they beloved. We will never know so you can make up your own story about your vintage sewing machine: make it a good one!

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