I should be ashamed...

But, I'm not.

Hi. My name is Lane and I'm an addict. I am addicted to sewing machines. I knew I had a problem when my family drove me 70 miles, in the rain, for the second time in two weekends, to get me a machine. I also knew I had a problem when I started looking for pictures and realized I couldn't find pictures of two of my favorite machines. But, we must power on.

I will likely stumble again.

In my own defense, I make them all work.

So, let's start with my latest conquest and work backward.

Ken Moore, my 1950's era Kenmore sewing machine. Bought him off ebay and he was damaged in shipping. I spent a lot of time bringing him back and on vacation in August, I picked up his original cabinet from the seller and rewired Ken and now he is my main piecing machine. He was purchased in Spring 2011. He has a very deep voice.

And, while I was waiging for him to be delivered, I bought this machine; a real powerhouse 231 at goodwill. I like this machine and would love to send it to my Mother in Law as it would be a great machine for her, but she'd have to set it up and take it down as a portable and it is a very heavy machine. So, for now, she waits her turn to make something.

This is my only mistake. Stupid, stupid mistake. This machine was in the auction at Goodwill. I got caught up in the frenzy of bidding and paid as much as I would have paid for one on ebay (not including shipping). I declined to try it out at the store. I got it home and it took a couple of days to figure out it had been dropped and had serious problems. By then, it was too late to take it back. So, i started dropping money into it and just when I got everything else going fine, the motor mount breaks and the housing cracks. Previously unseen damage. So, for now, it sits in the closet in it's case while I look for a white motor housing. I am now a much more careful shopper. (oh, and btw, if you just happen to have a white motor housing for a singer 221 just sitting around, please call.)

Now, this is an inherited machine. This was my Grandmother's machine. Or my Mother's machine...depending on who you asked. When my Mom got her first job, my Grandmother said, let's go trade my treadle machine in on a new machine. We'll use the treadle as the downpayment and you can make the payments and when you get married, you can take the machine with you. Well, apparently that went along well, until my Mom got married and then my Grandmother wouldn't hand over the machine. Anyway, my Grandmother sewed on it forever. That spot where the varnish is worn off is from her arm. My Mom and Dad were going to get rid of it and my Mom asked if I'd like to have it and we picked it up on vacation a couple years ago. Unfortunately, this machine is temperamental. I suspect that is a holdover from my Grandmother. So, she doesn't get used much anymore. I mean, there's really only so much time I can feasibly sink into working on one machine, right?

This is my Singer 128 handcrank. Totally an impulse purchase. I thought I would enjoy hand cranking much more than I did. A couple of bobbins into it and the thrill had worn off. She's a great machine tho. I used her when I made a denim quilt. Didn't want to do that on one of my electric machines, so I did it all with manaul power. When I got to the border, it was much easier to take this machine onto the floor with the quilt than it was to haul that heavy quilt up to my treadle.

Now, here is my Singer 127, treadle. We call her Jenny, in honor of Rob's grandmother who sewed on a treadle all her life. Another great and classic machine. There's a video somewhere of me treadling on this machine...just going along, no problems. It is very relaxing. But, it's not likely to replace my electrics anytime soon. Barring armegeddon, that is.

I should not have to take credit for this one. This was ALL Rob's fault (yeah, right). We were at a city wide garage sale and just stumbled up on it. I tried to bargain them down and they weren't having anything to do with it. I could have gotten the card table for what I now recognize was a song and was too cheap to realize how valuable it would have been. But, nonetheless, I love this little girl. She went on vacation with us and helped me piece a quilt while we were there. Her name is Esther.

THIS IS NOT A TOY! Those are the first words of the instruction manual for this little machine. Okay, but if you sew much, it's kind of a cheesy substitute for a machine...machine splenda. But, for $6 I couldn't pass up my little Pinky. I've done everything I can to make her quiet enough to use her, but she is not having anything to do with it. So, she also sits in a box in the closet...

This is my Pfaff, Elizabeth. She was abandoned at a fundraiser when she didn't sell. Nobody wanted her because nobody could figure out how to reset the password, so she wouldn't work for them. Rob stumbled up on her through one of his man connections (why can a man take apart a car engine and put it back together, but a sewing machine intimidates the heck out of 'em?) He brought her home. I contacted Pfaff and they said I'd have to send her in to have that password reset. I asked the local repairman at my LQS and he said, take the batteries out for a minute and then put them back in. She's been sewing for me ever since. When I need a modern machine, she just cannot be beat.

Now, this is my good girl. She's also my big girl. She's my Evelyn. She's a Bernina 930 and she has quilted every quilt I've ever machine quilted. I've tried machine quilting on a few others, but it's just not the pleasure that it is on my big ole' Evelyn.

She was my mentor's Mother's machine. She's never given me a bit of trouble...well, okay, she was a little cranky when I first started using her, but I think that was because I didn't know what I was doing and she wasn't really happy about that, having come from an experienced quilter and all. But, we got through it and now she is my good and faithful friend.

And, last but not least, the machine I've had the longest, even though I couldn't really use her until about a month ago. This is Natalie Scarbrough. She's a National Rotary from early in the 20th century. I don't know much about her. That's kind of an obscure name and unlike Singer, you generally have to pay for information about her. And, I'm not really willing to do that. So, I just enjoy having her as part of the family. She's going to make a quilt, soon. I have it all cut and kitted up. A great, girly one for her maiden voyage...or is it. I really don't know what she did before she came to live with me 20 years ago. But, she hasn't done much since and it's time for her to do some work!

I also have a Singer 301, black, longbed. I don't know why I can't find a picture of her and I'm not at home to take one. And, I have Kathryn, my Mom's serger, who is a workhorse in my sewing room now that I've taken the time to learn to use her.

So, that's it. 13. You just never know when I'll find number 14, tho.


Okay, so I have some personal blog cleaning up to do. Yesterday, I finished The Help. I was moved. Moved to tears often. I really loved the book. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend it.

But, finishing it led me to the necessity of an apology. A couple of weeks ago, I compared DOMA, the Defense of Marriage act that prevents Rob and I from marrying at a federal level, to the Jim Crow Laws from the South. I apologize. They are not the same. At this time, DOMA is no threat to our personal safety and while I so wish for its repeal, I do recognize that our struggle is nothing compared to the struggles of other minority groups. And, like those groups, in time, we will prevail, partially because of the lessons learned from their struggles. So, I thank those that came before me and saw a wrong and took a stand about it.



Marla said...

Lane, Iloved that book too. My daughter and I went to see the movie and although I wasn't expecting it to be as good as the book, it is wonderful in it's own right. And maybe your situation is not the same as theirs, it is no less a burden to have as well. I hope in the next few years, that will change for you too and you and Rob can have have a fully legal marriage in the eyes of the law. Blessings!

Glenn Dragone said...


Impressive collection. I only have one machine. I'm thinking I need to get more. What if mine breaks??

Pauline said...

Geat post, like fine wine, you get better all the time.
I really have to be careful about collecting, I hardly have room for my 4 machines now! Ken has his great grandmothers New Home treadle. I've looked to see if I could make it work, but it's beyond me. So it sits and gathers dust. What a crime.

lw said...

Great post-- I lost track of how many machines you have. I've got ten of which seven are vintage. I think that my Singer 301 is my favorite.

qltmom9 said...

I *REFUSE* to count my machines because I don't want to confess that number. I *think* I have fewer than you do, but I intend to get a couple more...at least. Someday.

I enjoyed seeing your machines.

Hey, you can use my excuse that you are going to pass some on to your dd.~


Tammy said...

Hi Lane,
I'm so glad we share an appreciation for sewing machines. It seems I'm more into recycling than actually collecting because my herd keeps changing. Currently, I own 13 sewing machines and one serger. Even though I keep telling myself to downsize to just 8 bargains and highly desirable machines keep showing up in my radar. There is this gorgeous Singer 66 Red Eye treadle open to offers right in my city! I've been resisting the temptation all week. I told myself if she was still listed today, I would go check her out. Yeah right... just like looking at a new puppies. I think I'll name her Victoria.

Kim said...

You and Bonnie Hunter have the same addiction!
Have you met her yet? If you think you love her now...well in person she is just dynamic you'll be hooked for life!
I have a Bernina 1030, same strong working machine and all mechanical ( I'm the original owner) and a Singer 128 hand crank from my DMIL. My poor Janome 6600 doesn't get used much since I am so in love with Bernie! I've got to make friends with her soon :0)!

Happy Sewing

MariƩ said...

I am jealous! I have a number of machines but no vintage one except my old Bernina 830. I would so love a treadle that work!

Vesuviusmama said...

Oh, to come spend a weekend with you and learn how to make machines work again. I only have one functioning machine - the others just stopped. (sigh) Granted, they weren't top quality to begin with. And the Help make me say a quiet Thank You to all who came before me, too!