Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Treadle on Me!

Actually, DO treadle on me!! What an interesting afternoon I had yesterday. My sister sent me a link to a Craiglist posting for a treadle sewing machine. When I asked her if she was showing it to me because she was pursuing it or because she knew I would like to, she told me an interesting story of her own. Just that morning, she had received a call from a friend who remembered her commenting several years ago about wanting a treadle machine. A friend of this friend had one for sale right there in her town. She went and bought it. Then, thinking she should compare pricing on machines, she looked at Craigslist and spotted another one. That listing was for a machine that was not listed necessarily as working, had no attachments, and needed a part. But that turned me on to another ad for a WORKING machine, with a box of attachments and a manual. I called and spoke to the nice people who were selling it and arranged to drive the nearly hour and a half one way to buy it. Steph was visiting and so she road along and since Kathy had started me on this quest, I invited her to ride with us. So we had a fun time visiting and drinking wonderful frozen coffees that we got at a Starbucks drive-thru using gift cards that Kathy and Steph had in their purses. Here's my new ~100 year old Standard Rotary treadle sewing machine with it's great protective covering cabinet:

And here is it's pretty little self unveiled. It sews true and even with great tension. It will take me a little practice to get the feel for it and I'll need to master new techniques, like seam tacking because it doesn't backstitch. Turns out there's a friendly and helpful selection of folks online who are happy to share their knowledge and encourage other treadlers.

One of the interesting features of the cabinet is this swing out bobbin compartment. And I was having trouble opening the drawers until I discovered that the hardware has a spring mechanism that keeps them from pulling open until you twist the handle in a clockwise motion. Then they slide quite freely.

The box of attachments was a bit of a mystery. I guessed correctly at one and was able to identify the others through some online pictures. There are hemmers in a number of widths, a tucker and a gatherer. And a couple more I'm still not sure about.

And I found the belt quite interesting. I've never been around a working treadle machine. I've seen the heads by themselves and, sadly, many cabinets turned into tables, minus the head or belt. Imagine my surprise to find the belt to be a leather cord secured with a staple. When the leather becomes stretched, open the staple, snip off a bit of leather, poke a new hole, and put the staple back in place. Quite simple, really. If you click on the photo and look to the left of the little gold heart I used as a marker, you can see the staple connection.

And it turns out that Valerie can get us parts quite readily in India and bring them with us when they move soon. I'm going to be requesting two drive belts and some bobbins. Otherwise, with a little practice, it looks like I'm good to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love love love it!!! Beautiful!! I'm starting to feel my creative juices start to flow again. Thanks! I really needed that. :)

~ Lisa W