Sunday, July 12, 2015

Free Is Always Good

It's been a very busy weekend of babysitting but I managed to squeeze in picking up a sewing machine on Saturday morning for free. That's a pretty good price, don't you think? And I thought I was too late...

Friday afternoon I was very busy at work but while drinking an afternoon coffee before having public desk duty, I checked Craigslist and found a Bernina 530 that had been posted for four hours. AUGH! It was gone for sure but I couldn't resist: I sent an email and said if the other offers fell through, please put me on the waiting list. She wrote right back and said "if you make an appointment and keep it, you can have it for free." After the adrenaline rush subsided I wrote back that if she could hold it until Saturday morning at 9 am, I would definitely be there. I was anxious to hear the back story on this one and why it had been so cheap and now free but figured I would hear a good one when I picked it up. Upon telling my husband he thought it was a great deal and would even come with me so it was a win-win.

It was about a half hour drive from us but traffic was good on a clear but hot Saturday morning and we found the address with no problem. They were very excited to have this piece of furniture move out but pointed out one of the legs had fallen off (was actually sheered off) and maybe I would change my mind when I saw it. It was so clean and shiny, with a mirror finish on the '50's styling, it took my breath away:

Bernina 530 cabinet with seat
When I saw the sewing machine, it, too, looked like it had only been dusted, not used. Her husband plugged it in and ran it, moving just a bit slowly but not much. Oh wow, this was just too good to be true so why was it so unused and why were they giving it away? She was not much of a sewer, making only a few costumes over the years and it was just taking up space now. I just had to tell them what a beautiful machine it was and so pristine but why give it away? They had a few calls about it, asking if it had extra "feet" and she didn't know what they meant. They seemed a bit pushy and she just wanted it gone, not to have to take more photos and keep fussing with it. Because I simply said when I could come pick it up they said SOLD to the lady with no questions. Keeping my mouth shut paid off big time in this instance! Between the four of us we got it loaded into the Jeep and were ready to drive off when they started yelling at us to stop: they forgot the storage seat. Now it is perfect:
Bernina 530 cabinet with bench that has a Necchi label
Once home I only had about twenty minutes before we had to leave to babysit but I still managed to get her plugged in and running again and she sounds smooth. Finally this afternoon I get to play with her a bit and make some sample stitches:
Bernina 530: so sweet
Because she is in a free arm cabinet there is no extension table (another question she couldn't answer earlier callers) but one isn't needed. It takes only minor cleaning but the stitch position lever is stuck and I take the hair dryer to it and get it working again. Here are the stitches I played with:
Look between the printed stars to see the pink stitches
I couldn't help but wonder why someone who only made a few costumes would have twenty spools of thread and a dozen bobbins full of thread but since she must have had it since 1959, there might have been some mending done, too:
Date in upper left corner is 12-11-1959
There is a stamp on the back for a Bernina dealership in Minneapolis on east 38th Street but I'm pretty sure that no longer exists. This is a model 530-2 because of the buttonhole feature. As I read over the manual and check the machine I see that it has been left in buttonhole mode but it changes back with no hint of being frozen in place. I am one happy camper with a new gem like this. But now I need to finish this up and go move cars around because we have golf ball sized hail predicted and we better get the newer car into the garage before it arrives. I wonder if a steel case of the Bernina sewing machine would stand up to hail. We are not going to find out but treat her with care as she has been over the years in her first home.