Friday, July 29, 2016

An Italian Dreamboat

This little Italian gem, a Necchi Nora, came to me in a somewhat sorry state. Nora has seen many years of use, possibly abuse, and is broken down electrically speaking. There were some pretty scary wires that I didn't know what to do with. Multispeed motor?Switches?
Nora's motor on back with speed selector
 She stayed in her broken down box until I had time to think about her. Now was the time.

I was reading about treadle sewing machines and best types of machines to put into a treadle when I read that Necchi's make good treadlers. Necchi? Maybe a Necchi Nora? Well, I have one of those I could try out...

Necchi Nora in treadle (she's actually a pale green)
I measured and could see it would fit into the treadle cabinet I already had but the leather belt that was on the Singer 66 I just removed from the table was too short. I hated to take it off, especially to open up the clip, but it had to come off. At first I tried my plastic tubing in the standard width but it kept slipping. Thinking it was too long, I shortened it. Twice. Maybe it was too thick so I used narrower tubing. This time I cleaned the tubing and the track it runs in with rubbing alcohol to remove any residue. Nope. I shortened it. Nope. Finally, FINALLY, I got out a spare leather treadle belt. To shorten it to the right length is always a bit of a judgement call because when you add the clip it is just so much work. I've only done this a few times before and I'm far from experienced so I want to do this only once with the leather belt. I get it all in place with the clip pinched down and give it a whirl.
Treadle belt in place with metal clip on the left
It works! It works really well! I'm a bit surprised because I've been singing the praises of the plastic tubing...until I couldn't get this one to actually work. It sailed right along with very little effort, and now I have a sewing machine that can treadle with a zigzag stitch:
This is considered semi-automatic, making special stitches with the black hard plastic cams. You do not choose the width control or that takes it off of the special stitch. If you only want zigzag in various widths, you move the width control. It only does special stitches with cams, zigzag with control lever, and straight stitch. Of course, it has stitch length control and will go backwards, too. It does need some adjustment because even though the needle can move into left, center, and right positions, the cams only work when it is on the left needle position. I'll have to see what I can do about that. It came with a whole variety of feet but there are only 3 that actually fit along with three cams (one is in the machine):
2 decorative cams (black) along with three feet plus zigzag foot on machine
I can look through my collection of feet to find more, print out a manual, add needles and class 15 bobbins, and she's a complete set. Oh, that door up on top? It is missing but not at all necessary so I'm thinking it looks a bit like a convertible with the top down, don't you think?

Nora, you can speed along without a motor and are a delight to use.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wizard Update

Despite being disappointed with my Wizard sewing machine arriving damaged (the wood box, not the machine), getting it to sew with the automatic feature took some time and ... wizardry? I tried Triflow sewing machine oil, I tried a hair dryer blowing on old oil, and I even got up every morning to move the camstack while giving it another try. Nothing. Over the weekend, I turned it over and used the hair dryer blowing from the bottom up. With a penlight I could see the bottom of something that was covered in dark oil. Maybe that was it? I set it up again to run it and I couldn't get the camstack to turn. Oh no, what had I done? I went ahead and tried to just see if it would run at all and now....(drum roll here) it was turning automatically! I did it!
I don't know just what I did, but the automatic feature now works. This means you can choose one of the six stitch patterns, pull out the red knob for automatic, and the stitch is made automatically. No cams to insert, or lose, here's what they look like:
Wizard stitch sample

Okay, so they are not as precise as a Bernina, but not too shabby either.  I will have to compare it to the Brother Select-O-Matic since they are nearly the same machine. It runs quiet, but not as a whisper like the Brother but it's still a very nice sewing machine.

Since the box came in pieces, I had to glue it back in to shape and then covered it with a jaunty stripe fabric:
What's inside?

Wizard ready to sew in her newly covered base
Wizard with top behind (just showing off)
I use a spray fabric adhesive so it's not difficult but tedious. This is much better than the old covering and now she's all reinforced and looking spiffy.  I even covered the inside of the top so all of the old paper covering is gone now. I still need to gather up some attachments but she does have a new power cord and foot control since the old one would get too hot and it wasn't safe anymore.  I'm please with the end result and know it's a good machine after all. Print manual? I think I could write up one of my own that would be clearer than the Brother Select-O-Matic but not sure I want to spend the time to do so. We shall see.

Now my Brother has a brother that's not only functioning but easy on the eyes, too. Will she get sold? I hope so but it still needs a nose plate for the left side and that might take some time to locate the right one. But maybe someone will fall in love with it, flaws and all, as I did. Who knows? These things happen!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

We're Off To See The Wizard

We aren't going to the Land of Oz, but we are going to look at a sewing machine called a Wizard.

Early on in my sewing machine adventure I was given a Brother Select-o-Matic that is just a dream to sew on. She is a bit shop worn but is still quite beautiful:
Brother Select-o-Matic
Yet, as with so many beauties, she is complex. No simple push of a button for her, you need to read the rather complex manual to figure out how to do even a straight stitch, let alone the wide variety of decorative stitches. there are three dials and two levers to make stitches! But the quality of those stitches is quite good and she is such a quiet worker so I was on the lookout for another one. Of course, in time I found one, a Wizard:
Wizard 2JC 8867 after cleaning
They are not quite identical but are certainly fraternal twins, don't you think? The only difference I could see was the lack of a needle position lever but you can't have everything so I went ahead and bought it from eBay. Now here comes the tricky part: it showed the shipping & handling was free but when I sent my payment I got a note back about when was the shipping going to be sent. Ah, it was free S&H. Oops, there was a we agreed to split the cost of $57 for S&H (she's hefty sewing machine). I sent another note asking for the head to be wrapped in bubble wrap, take out the needle, put the presser foot down so the lever didn't get broken off, and to please wrap it securely since it was so heavy it could easily get wrecked right within its own packaging. Here's how it came:
Wood box in cardboard box
Added to the box were other boxes as spacers with only newspaper tossed in. There were 3 small pieces of bubble wrap that were just thrown in, not wrapped around anything. The wood case was nearly shattered:
Not much left of this case

but the good news was the machine seemed to be fine. Whew! It was one of the dirtiest machines I have ever seen but that's not impossible to clean up and I set to work.
Nose plate is missing (I didn't notice this?)

Hardened oil underneath

So much to clean up on the bed
 After so much cleaning and oiling, I finally plugged it into one of my new motor blocks and she ran like the wind. That was too fast so I checked over the wiring of the foot control and cords that it came with and they were fine so I went ahead and plugged it in: she was purring. This is so nice and I might even find that nose plate over time but it works fine without it. Even with all of the nicks and dings in the bed of this machine, it still cleaned up and had a very nice shine on its finish. My satisfaction was tempered when I found out I couldn't get it to do those fancy stitches, even though I used that difficult manual. So I placed my Brother Select-o-Matic and the Wizard side by side to see what the problem might be. As it turns out, the camstack isn't turning (pun intended) so I'm oiling and rotating it every day to see if the Triflow can work its magic.
I did manage to glue the wood box back together but there was a section of the cover that was missing so I used some indoor/outdoor filler compound to form a new piece in place. When it gets covered with new fabric it will look wonderful, so spiffy in her updated box. I'll post updated photos when she's ready and let you know if I get the camstack to turn just like the Brother sewing machines does.

So now my Brother has a brother (but it's a Wizard) and doesn't feel jealous. After all, it was here first.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Beginnings and Endings

Another whirlwind weekend where I stayed home, for the most part, yet managed to add to my stash. How does this happen?!? While taking a break from trimming bushes, I sat down at my computer to see who was having garage sales that might include sewing machines. Wow, there was a nice one not too far from home that had a large box of cone thread, the kind that is used on sergers. I sent them a question via Craigslist asking if there were any thread cones left and what was the price. They weren't full cones so were only 3 for $1. I wrote back that I would be right over. With only a slight pause in the flurry of emails she wrote back "You know the sale is for next weekend?" Ah, that's why they still had thread left. I asked if they would consider a presale customer as I would also like to have some of their elastic. Sure, a sale was a sale and I could come over.

It was a really long garage, two cars wide and two cars deep but now it was filled with long tables and oodles of sewing and craft items. Two tables were full of fabric, all measured, another two long tables with crafts, one big section with patterns, and that was just one side. They had been working on this for weeks as this was from her mother and they really didn't know what else to do with all of it. Let me help I proceeded to put thread cones in a box they provided. From there I spied zipped plastic bags with elastic and sewing machine feet. They asked if I could identify Singer buttonhole attachments and what they might be worth. Man, this was serious fun! Then I spied sewing machine needles in various packages and brands. Then I found nylon webbing like I use to make the bentwood case holders:
Carrying strap for bentwood cases
I had to call it quits and get my total just to see if I could afford all of this:
My bounty!
Those hanks of elastic? $3 for all of it. Thread cones? At 3 for $1, I bought 42 of them. Nylon webbing was 50 cents each roll. Then there were 55 class 15 bobbins for 10 cents each and, finally, there were 75 sewing machine needles at ten cents each. All of that fabric? I bought one 1.5 yard piece for $3. That made the grand total $34. I told them I would help advertise by putting it on Facebook on the first day of their sale in hopes they get a crowd. I got home and then proceeded to sort and organize to try and fit all of this in with my other sewing supplies. All of that elastic will come in handy when I make ironing board covers and I think about the ten chair seat covers I made last December that used up so much elastic but now I have that covered! My own bobbin boxes were filled with the bobbins and the needles were sorted into size and type categories. This was so great!

I stopped on my way home to see what was going on at Hancock Fabrics as they were finishing up the last days of their closing sale. At first, it was just three of their Minnesota stores that were closing and I got some bargains at that time but realized I had missed the big sale when I didn't keep checking every few days. Then it was announced all of their stores would be closing and my local Hancock was one of the last ones. Over the next few months I checked in weekly but didn't buy much, knowing the really good prices would only come at the very end and I would need to act fast. 60-75% off was very good just a few weeks ago and they even gave and extra 10% off if you bought the whole bolt of fabric. I came home with some nice fabric and kept checking back. This weekend was their last hurrah, closing July 22, and fabric was 85% off, 95% if you bought the whole bolt. I looked everything over, bought 2 patterns, and went home to take a look at my own inventory. I also dug up a calculator and figured out what the per yard cost would be and headed back there.

I picked out polyester mini-gingham, yellow corduroy, and some pink knit and red satin. It rang up $283.26 and before I could gasp the clerk said to just wait and see what the 95% would take off. I focused my eyes on the register as it came up to $14.50. If I hadn't been so shocked I might have gasped but all I could say was "I'll put this in my car and be right back." More stretch satin and knits plus six pink pincushions that are marked for sizes of needles, something to be given out at classes as a bonus. All of this rang up a total of $332 and the magic number I paid was $18.50. That was over $600 of fabric for only $33. That's what 95% off looks like. Here's what came home with me:
Corduroy, gingham, knit, and satin all stacked up
How will I use it? I can already see red satin dresses for Christmas and yellow jumpers for school. I'm going to be dreaming up ideas for all of it since that's what I like to do best: find interesting ways to use up all sorts of fabric and patterns in styles that are creative yet fun to make.

I'm going to miss you, Hancock Fabrics, but what a way to go out in style!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bargain Basement

Years ago large department stores used to have a bargain shop, sometimes in their basement, where all of the sale items ended up. Imagine, a whole floor of bargains! We don't see that too much anymore as the sale items are usually kept within the department and relegated to a section of shelves. But I got a bargain last night and here is the story:

Tuesday is Senior Day at one of my favorite thrift stores so I make it a habit to stop and check their sewing machines and fabric to see if there is something I "need" and can now get at 40% off. The first store had three sewing machines and one was a newer Necchi but the whole aisle smelled like mold from the case so I didn't linger. The next store had two Singer's that were later versions of Touch and Sew and I only paused a moment before I turned to a Kenmore 158-1560. This one I looked over carefully and considered plugging it in but decided I already had several that fit the bill for good straight stitch and zig zag with stretch stitches and didn't need another one. The above three were on an endcap of the shelving so I was surprised when I turned the corner and found another one, a Montgomery Wards UHT-J1947. When I turned the handwheel it didn't move much so I looked at the bobbin and needle to discover it was partly jammed. I took out the bobbin case, and other two parts to find they were a bit rusty. After the needle was removed it would turn but was still pretty stiff. No foot control could be found but I could see it took a standard pin configuration and I had several at home. There were enough accessories in the storage compartment to more than pay for the low cost of this machine, now 40% off.
Montgomery Wards YHT-J1947
Then I spied a white plastic sewing machine extension table with a price sticker on it. Should I pick it up? Would it fit a machine I already had or would hope to have? I looked around and found a Brother XL-3750 on another shelf with a price sticker on it. Thinking they should go together, I removed the front compartment and fit the table right up to it: perfect! Handwheel moved easily but no power cord yet the pin configuration is one I knew I had at home so I could try it out. They both came home with me for less than $10.

Brother XL3750 with extension table (I couldn't get it off at the store!)
Once home, the MW sewing machine had that familiar thunk thunk of a broken gear. I couldn't get the motor to stop straining and it just didn't take off. I did find an extra power cord and foot control and now needed to just take a look at what I feared was a broken gear. No broken gears. There was that yucky tan grease that is not at all fluid, heading towards solidifying so I scraped it out and replaced with Triflow lubricant, oiling the other areas with Triflow oil with Teflon. Still very little movement and the motor just didn't want to turn it over. I made an executive decision to let it sit overnight and maybe the Triflow will have worked its magic and it would be ready to go in the morning.

Before I even could take a shower this morning, I sat down at the MW sewing machine and turned it on, moved the handwheel, and hit the gas: she ran! Pretty smooth except for a light ticking sound that turned out to be the left cover what housed the light needed some adjustment. I couldn't wait to see if it would stitch so I put in a new needle, threaded her up and got it to sew. Not bad, small adjustments and she sewed better, even a zig zag stitch. I dialed other stitches but she wasn't going to do that yet. Looking under the hood I could see the fingers that read the stitch cam configuration were not engaged enough and it was more of the stiff tan lubricant holding up the works so I'll need to get out the hair and get things working better. As it turns out, this did not solve the problem because I noticed the dial wasn't turning just right. Yes, there was a broken plastic part on the gear so it wasn't turning for each type of stitch. It's such a small part but essential so I'm not sure what to do next. Should I just try to sell as a straight stitch and zig zag but no special stitches? Should I take that part out and see if I can glue it? Or maybe I should just strip it down and see what parts I can use from it.  See what I have started?
See the crack in the black plastic gear in the foreground?
My other gem-of-the-day has an even sweeter story. The Brother XL-3750 needed a power cord/foot control configuration that I had on another machine but I don't have an extra so that's going to cost...only $20! The missing accessories could cost more than that so this is pretty good news. After I get it threaded up and stitch, I can see it skips stitches pretty bad so I change the needle and check the top tension and find this time she sews just fine. It is so easy to use and the wide variety of stitches isn't too difficult to figure out how to dial to each one. They all work, utility stitches and stretch stitches. The extension table is handy but feels a bit flimsy compared to working on a table made for a sewing machine but it is handy and I realize its all what you get used to. More clean-up is needed inside of the machine, at least the bobbin area needs a good cleaning, but what a gem for a lightweight plastic machine that retails for $200 and can be bought now for around $100. This will make a nice beginners or a travel machine so I plan to make a carrying bag for it so the accessories are kept with the machine as well as the awkwardly large extension table. Now I'll need to order that power cord/foot control and she's nearing completion.

Brother XL3750 without extension bed: compact!
Wow, what a day when I've said no more machines but sometimes you just have to look and then it leads to bringing them home. Can I spell A-D-D-I-C-T-I-O-N? But it's fun when your addiction turns into a small business, too. Isn't that why you are reading this, too?

Monday, July 11, 2016

You're in Good Hands

There is great satisfaction in putting a good sewing machine into someones hands and that's today's story. One of my neighbors has a friend who sews and they dropped in at my sewing machine garage sale last September. They couldn't stop to shop long enough but promised to be back. LeaRae came back! It was ten months later but now she was ready to buy. As with so many who sew, LeaRae already had another machine but it was in Texas and she wanted one for when she was up north during our beautiful summer months. She had a list of wants and a price limit so we set up a time and I got four machines all ready for her inspection. There was a Signature, Kenmore 385-18836, Elnita 220, and another Kenmore model 158-1430. Each machine had its plus and minus points but it finally came down to plastic parts. We opened up all but the Kenmore 385-18836 (I knew it was the most modern and did have plastic parts) and found they all had plastic gears except for the Kenmore 158-1430. It was nearly sold until I asked where it was going to be stored when she was back in Texas and we were in a deep freeze up here. Yup, it was going to stay up here so for sure the Kenmore would have the best chance of a freeze and thaw cycle but it's not good for any sewing machine. LeaRae stopped to consider that and is hoping she can leave it with a friend or neighbor who lives year round in the coldest north region so would be able to keep it at a steadier temperature.
Kenmore 158-1430
About ten days later I get an email from LeaRae with photos of her quilt tops:
Simple piecing but effective!

More advanced piecing
She points out these are only beginner types of quilts but I think she did great in such a short time. She loves her new machine and the only problem is the bobbin winder doesn't work quite right. She's coming back into the Twin Cities at the end of the month so we will connect again so I can look at the bobbin winder and get it working. By that time she should have the borders done on the quilts and have them ready to be quilted. I hope she is planning on quilting them herself with a stitch-in-the-ditch method since that would work well with her simple block pattern but we shall see.

A buttonhole attachment was included with her Kenmore and was a wonder for LeaRae so I hope she gets a chance to use it if she decides to make a few items of clothing. Or maybe she could make a towel holder for a kitchen cabinet or stove handle. I've been making up batches with a seasonal theme and have been given advice by a friend to make the folded handle part convertible for hanging on a door handle or on a knob of a cabinet. This means each towel get two buttonholes:
Handtowel hanging on a knob

Knob is hiding inside through the buttonhole

Inside with one long buttonhole for knob
I think this looks a bit confusing but I hope I can explain it: a typical handtowel would only have a buttonhole on the top layer that flips over the stove or door handle and then buttons with the button sewn on the inside flap. If you only have knobs instead of door handles, you can place the knob through the long buttonhole (see photo 2) and then flip the top layer down and button it on a shorter buttonhole on the top layer using the button that is on the bottom layer. Trust me, it works but it does mean I need to make 2 buttonholes for every towel. Here's a photo of some of the towels spread out with my collection of buttons to see what would match and what I still needed to buy. I hope to make up sets of four seasons of towels and a few sets with six towels to include Christmas and one other holiday.
Towels and their buttons!
As always, I find the creative part more fun so matching up buttons with fabric and towels took way too long but was so much fun. If LeaRae decides to make a towel holder she might even get to use that handy dandy buttonhole attachment without having to make a blouse!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Hey Stella!

It has been another Elna week, one I don't think I've had for awhile but it was entirely successful. One of my earlier customers, Sara, got in touch with me when her desire for the White "My Fair Lady" sewing machine overcame her husbands protests about getting another sewing machine. Her compromise was going to be one-comes-in so one-goes-out and her Elna SU was going out: would I be interested in buying it from her? My memory told me that this was one where she got a mother load of cams with this one so, yeah, I was very interested! But a couple of days before she comes I win the bid on an Elna Stella, an adorable 3/4 sized sewing machine:

Elna Stella 57
She comes in her own little carrying case but, no, that's not right, it's not a case but sides that open and flip down:
Flaps down (and removable)
Not only is she compact with the foot control and a few extra accessories in that vinyl pouch, the rest of her necessities are stored under the hood:
What more could you want ?
The machine came with all of the accessories in the vinyl pouch so when I remembered the overhead storage and opened it up I could see it have never been used. In fact, looking down into the machine in the bobbin area show NO LINT under the bobbin casing. There's a few pieces of red lint in with the bobbin casing but underneath it was clean as a whistle. I surmise it has hardly been used. Be still my heart! When ever I hear the name Stella I think of Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire where he yells to his wife "Hey, Stella" and boy, do I feel like yelling out "Hey Stella, you are one great sewing machine! But we are going to put you to use!" It does sew wonderfully and I'm planning on making the next little girl's dress on it.

Sara comes over with her Elna and the famous collection of cams, almost every one they made:
Elna Supermatic in beige
The beige color isn't as popular as the green but both work the same and this one came so complete with all those cams:
Can you count that high?
I hold the box out to my husband to show him the variety and his first response is "No, thanks" because he thought they were chocolates! I assured him they were way more valuable than a box of chocolates. The Supermatic runs fine with the neat knee lever but she definitely has a flat spot on her friction wheel but I've done that before and documented it on New Plan for Elna Plana. Then we find a new friction wheel is included so I only need Ray Whites special tool. It's certainly a happy day but wait, this is not an even exchange, so money passes hands as I made this a better deal for Sara. I'll have to do some work on this but think it will make someone very happy to have such a complete and good working model. Why was Sara selling? Like so many of us, she hoped it was going to be a really great sewing machine for her but they never really bonded. She's a White sewing machine kind of gal so now she has two Whites that she is comfortable with. I understand that and that's why I have so many different manufactures and models represented because we all have our go-to machines that just make our sewing experiences all the sweeter.

Ah, Stella: I hope you are just that sweet!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A to Z

Because of my interest in vintage items and all of my sewing machines, I've got a reputation at work for being able to find almost anything online. That's quite a generalization since I know I'm not that good but we can be at a meeting and talking about wanting this or how do we dispose of that and eyes drift towards me and I look it up. I have sold laminators, disc cleaning systems, furniture, and other odd items for my workplace. Now I'm on the hunt for a manual typewriter.

This didn't sound too difficult or expensive until I looked into it. The local Goodwill's send their typewriters over to their auction site and I haven't been able to snatch one up yet. Other thrift type stores don't seem to have any either although they all seem to have the early word processors. We do not want anything electric that has to be tied to an outlet, just something for our students to use in a creative maker-space that are so popular now. But then I found a portable electric, in good shape, for only $10. It looked so nice, just a little "linty" from the correction tape that was in it. Then I checked the tag again and found out it was the color tag of the week and if I was there the next day I could get it for only $2. I walked away. I had an appointment at home that I needed to hustle to so I didn't even plug it in to see if it worked but just got in my car and drove home.

Once I had a chance to think about it I decided to call the boss, Ann, our administrative assistant who is the real mover and shaker in our office. Is your job like that, too? I have a great boss and we have wonderful staff members but sometimes there is a "mom" who directs all of the traffic. I sent her a text asking if we wanted an electric typewriter instead and at first she said let's wait for a manual model and then followed up with a "use your judgement" message back. I returned the next morning and got the little cutie for $2:
Smith Corona Electra XT
Since sewing machines come so dirty I figured it couldn't be much different. Wrong! That linty stuff was not lint but flakes of correction tape and it was a bit gummy. I used cotton swabs, cleaning cloths, all kinds of tools but I just couldn't get inside easily. So I took it apart:

Inside the Smith Corona typewriter
This was good but I could tell I needed the bottom off, too and Ann even suggested where the screws might be hidden. I got the screws off, cleaned it all up. This is one naked typewriter:
Naked: top and bottom covers removed from SC Electra XT
To put it all back together meant I needed to get those screws back into the machine and screwed down onto the bottom cover but without my magnetized screwdriver, it wasn't going to happen. I looked through all of our community held tools, asked one of our techs for his tools, but finally had to settle on using a pair of tweezers to hold the screw in place. I actually considered waiting until the next day when I could return with my own screwdrivers but I got it back together in the end. Each key needed to be cleaned on all sides, the platen was cleaned with Soft Scrub to get the last of the correction tape flakes off, and a general cleaning of the exterior plastic covers made it shine. It does work but the ribbon was completely dry and we could still order them online. Surprise, surprise, they are extra small ribbons so were not as cheap as hoped for but we don't plan on using it daily either.

I'm still on the hunt for a manual typewriter, hitting thrift stores and checking local Goodwill online auction items. I'm not going to be able to get one for only $2 but I can keep looking! In the meantime, I'm setting up shop in the garage, moving everything around and getting the first project underway. It's the lovely No. 42 cabinet with a Singer 301 as I wrote about in Party Time. The top coat is an old "antique" finish that is coming off just fine, leaving the light colored wood in decent shape. Except the part right in the front on the horizontal surface, right where the machine rests and gets the most use looks like this:
Cabinet No. 42 top open
If you look really close you can see part of the veneer and part of the wood beneath, all sanded down so it would be smooth for that antique finish coating. This is terrible since it looks bad but it is also not flat with several "waves" in the finish that were made flat with the antique base paint. I think this needs to have new veneer on it so I'll take this to a shop to see what can be done.

Good news on sewing machine repair! I cleaned and adjusted a very nice Kenmore 158-1430 for a sewing class girl. Her mom told a story of getting this sewing machine right before she was married from her parents but then her husband gave her a Bernina years later and the Kenmore was stored away. Smart woman because when her daughters were ready to start sewing she only had to bring it over for a cleaning and check to getting it back in shape. It's all metal inside and with only a little oil it started to turn smoothly.

And now a serger story: Bob mentioned he had a serger that his wife gave to their daughter but now it wasn't working. That left a wide variety of problems but I was game to help Bob out. The handwheel didn't turn at all. When I opened it up, there was a large amount of seeds and other debris that needed to be cleaned out. Oh boy, another one that was stored in a garage and some little critter thought it might be a nice place to spend the night. Eventually I tracked the problem down to the motor and the wheel on the side not turning. That stopped the larger wheel from turning and stopped everything in its tracks. Checking online for a new motor didn't net much and it wasn't really worth +$100 for a new motor. I gave Bob the bad news and we agreed I could just keep it for parts, no charge. When I started to dismantle it, the first thing I wanted to do was to check out that motor so I lifted it out, got it open, and the wheel turned. Wow. I put it back together but the wheel didn't turn. I opened it up again and put it back together very carefully and the wheel turned. Oh joy! I fixed a motor! sang in my head. There was a little bit of soldering that needed to be done when I put it all back together but boy, did it run! The foot control seemed a bit wonky so I tried another one from a Pfaff serger and it ran very nicely but it was also a $65 part, something I'm sure Bob would not be interested in. Even when I opened up the foot control, it was all electronics and I could not see any blown parts so I just cleaned out the cobwebs and put it back together. It ran better but not like it did with the new foot control but it was passable as it was. I called Bob to let him know his daughter could take the serger back for only a repair charge and he was pretty happy. So was I.