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Sep 6, 2015

Home Again + TWO New Sewing Machines!



Friends, you can exhale -- I'm back!

We had a lovely time in Provincetown, MA, where we ate lobster, swam, read, and just relaxed. 





We heard octogenarian songbird Marilyn Maye perform and she was terrific --AND we sat three rows behind -- no joke -- Bob Mackie!

If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen enough chihuahua photos to last a lifetime, but it was fun posting there in real time.  I'm very sold on Instagram!

Now, onto the BIG news: I have TWO new (to me) sewing machines in my life.  Well, one isn't quite in my life yet since it won't be delivered till Wednesday, but it is very close.  It's an Elna Grasshopper I won last week on eBay and this time I'm hoping for a smooth transaction, unlike my last Elna drama.  Perhaps some of my longtime readers are wondering if I hadn't already owned an Elna Grasshopper.  The answer is, yes, but in a fit of overzealous decluttering a few years ago, I sold it.  It's one of the few sewing machines that I've wanted to replace -- actually, the only one. 

Meanwhile, today at the flea market I stumbled upon this:



No, I didn't buy the stuffed hen in the basket, but just minutes later I saw this:



Now you know that I love those black Singer 15's -- they're great machines.  This one, it seems, is a 15-30.  It probably originally came with a larger spoked handwheel for treadling, and I'm guessing the owner had it replaced with a smaller wheel and had the machine wired into its current wooden case (in excellent condition, complete with functioning lock and key) that operates with a knee lever.  This was likely done many, many decades ago (1940's?), judging by the condition of much of the wiring.



The seller was asking $50 which certainly seemed fair, but I was on the fence.  When 20 minutes later he said I could have it for $25, I was sold, or rather it was, to me.  I rolled it home (with the aid of a handcart) after lunch and inspected my purchase more closely.  The machine turned freely and the decals (called Tiffany) looked beautiful, if a bit grimy.  According to the serial number, the machine was produced April, 1910.  It's my oldest machine.




 





I've already rewired the main cord.  The motor (an Amsco, not a Singer) runs quietly; the knee lever works well.  The machine's missing its belt so I'll have to pick one up this week.  Otherwise, it's complete: bobbin case, bobbin, even a spool of thread.

Best of all, it sews a lovely, balanced stitch (I turned the wheel by hand).



Nice addition to the family, no?

In other news, I've signed up for a patternmaking class at FIT that will meet on Wednesday nights from now untll December.  I'm very happy to be returning to school to broaden my skills.

In closing, I hope the summer has wound down well for all of you.  I'm excited about what's next.

Have a great day, everybody!

(Marilyn sang this song at our show last week and blew us all away.)

41 comments:

  1. Singer sewing machine envie...

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  2. You all look so relaxed in the photos!

    I love the decals on that 15-30, just beautiful. It must have been in dry storage for the last 105 years to look that good.

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    Replies
    1. If that's what it takes, I may go into dry storage myself!

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    2. Maybe that's why many retire in Arizona.

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  3. I learned to sew on a similar machine.....I think you'll love the new class...IF I ever get to New York (from Australia) the FIT and the fabric stores you mention are on my itinerary.

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  4. Is there anything lovelier than the moon in Provincetown - except perhaps the singing of Marilyn Maye?

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    Replies
    1. She was superb. Somehow I'd never seen her before. We plan to catch her New Year's Eve at The Metropolitan Room.

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    2. Wow, a really great performance, thanks for sharing!

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    3. That video took my breath away!

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  5. That is a beautiful machine. Congratulations!

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  6. Beautiful. I see you finally fell off the wagon. Is there not a twelve step program for this?

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    Replies
    1. I believe it's called Hoarders Anonymous. ;)

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  7. Glad you got a new machine, these are hard to get in Australia and very expensive.
    There is another famous quilter Bonnie K Hunter who also collects these types of machines; she knows a lot about them... you can check her out on www.quiltville.com.
    Enjoy your pattern making course.
    Celia (Melbourne, Asutralia)

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  8. Oh, I love the Tiffany Singers, such wonderful style and such a good machine. I nearly bought one when I was having a collecting fit last year and bought four or five vintage machines. There are so many beauties that you could go quite crazy, but there's only so much room in one's house unfortunately. I still haven't really sewn on my Bernina 117 or my Necchi Nora due to a lack of space to set them up. Those old babies don't lend themselves to being moved around easily.

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  9. Beautiful machine! I have the same one (13 years younger) in a treadle cabinet.

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  10. First comment deleted due to typo's.........

    Your new machine is a work of art. The colours on the decals are gorgeous.

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  11. I have two old singers like this, one is electric (my grandad replaced the wireing) and one is a hand turn. How do I find the serial numbers to see how old they are? X

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  12. That's a beautiful Singer, and with the decal I hope to get someday. That's my favorite.

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  13. That's a modest little number for Scarbie (top photo). Lucky find!

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  14. He's back! Hallelujah!!! You know Test and I are doing the twist, swim and hully-gully! LOL! First of all when I saw the stuffed hen I was thrown.......then when I saw the Singer I knew you came back with all of your senses! The decals on the machine are beautiful, I'm starting to sweat thinking of the best way to clean and polish something that old......luckily there's a wealth of info. on the net that you can tap into. I hope the Elna turns out to be a good acquisition also! Welcome home!!

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    Replies
    1. Do you have a camera in my home?

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    2. Maybe a miniature
      drone outside your window!!! LOL!!!!

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  15. Great machine. Could it be the much rarer Singer 115 rotary (rather than oscillating) hook model?

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    Replies
    1. Not sure I can tell the difference....

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    2. This site seems to explain it with photos:

      http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage-antique-machine-enthusiasts-f22/15-vs-115-pictorial-t235346.html

      It seems mine's the 15-30.

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    3. Well worth checking and knowing. The 115 is an interesting machine but the 15-30 ought to be easier to find spare bobbin cases etc for. Whichever way it's a gorgeous machine enjoy it! Gxx

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  16. Love the Singer, an early 15 (as it doesn't have the bobbin winder tension assembly in front of the pillar). The decals are in beautiful shape and the price was so, so right!

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  17. I just realized that you will be taking a patternmaking course this fall! Oh how I wish there was someplace around Hartford that offered classes like that. Uconn use to have fashion design courses years ago but doesn't offer them anymore. Patternmaking would be so much easier to learn in a classroom setting. What's funny, is that there are so many legendary designers who couldn't draft a pattern or sew......can you believe it! I'm looking forward to your posts when you get started!

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  18. Looks like you had a fabulous vacation and also now have a fabulous sewing machine. I have never seen those decals before. They are beautiful!

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  19. What kind of wire do you use to rewire the main cord?

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    1. I took a piece of the old wire to the hardware store and we matched the thickness of that; nothing special -- like you'd use for a lamp. Same with the plug, a standard two-prong.

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  20. Your "new" singer is beautiful! I was just thinking this morning about how I regretted not taking my grandmother's Singer treadle when he offered it several years ago. When I decided I wanted it, he had given it to someone else.

    I do like your pink shirt you're wearing on the beach, also. It looks great on you.

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  21. Lovely machine. Wish I had it! I know you'll love the patternmaking class. Looking forward to your comments as it goes forward.

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  22. What a gorgeous Singer! The decals (from here anyway) almost look like mother of pearl. And, yes, I'm jealous.

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  23. I actually was looking at that Grasshopper on ebay! lol I am glad you ended up with it... I had no idea how to justify another machine. Cant wait to see what you make with your new machines.

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  24. Is there such a thing as too many Chihuahua pics? I really love Instagram too. There's a lot to be said for sharing with a community without the need for typing out more than a sentence or two. I know I enjoyed your vacation through your "eyes" and in close to real time.

    Congrats on the new machines! I'm thinking I may have to declutter some of mine soon.

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    Replies
    1. It was always a treat to read your comments, Debbie!

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  25. wonderful to see Marilyn Maye again and singing one of my favourite torch songs.

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  26. Looks like it was a great vacation! I love that beautiful machine. Enjoy your class! There's something thrilling about starting a new class in the fall.

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  27. Lovely photographs. Not a fan of the singer, too Ethel Mermany for me. I guess you have to like cabaret music. It is good to see someone enjoying her craft and still going strong.

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