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Sep 8, 2015

Say Hello to My New Elna Grasshopper!



Readers, this has been a good week for me sewing machine-wise and it's only Tuesday!

As you know, on Sunday, I picked up a lovely Singer 15-30 from 1910 at the Chelsea Flea Market.  Her new belt should be delivered later this week and I'm excited to start sewing with her. 

Today my Elna Grasshopper arrived.  I wasn't expecting her until tomorrow, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this message:



She arrived relatively well-boxed, with lots of bubble wrap and styrofoam so she didn't knock around too much in transit.





You probably already know that the Grasshopper's case converts to a sewing table (you can see how this looks with my first Elna Grasshopper here.)  I don't expect to ever use the table, but it's a clever feature nonetheless.  I believe this machine was originally designed in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and was meant to be carried into battle -- or did I dream that?  Somebody fact check please!





My machine is dated 5-51, i.e., May, 1951.  Impressive!

I oiled her liberally at all her oiling points.  All in all she's in good shape though, unlike my other Elna, she's missing her accessories box and the (often lost) speed reduction gear.  A complete machine is nice but as far as my actual sewing needs go, they're just that much more clutter. 



Best of all -- and this relates to the reason I sold the other one -- her longest stitch length is nice and long.  Not as long as the longest stitch on my vintage Singers perhaps, but long enough.  My other Grasshopper could only manage a very small stitch no matter what I did -- and I tried everything I knew of at the time -- so I never wanted to sew with it.  This Grasshopper stitches beautifully.







You can hear the motor and see her run on Instagram here and here.  (Do those links work if you're not an Instagram member?  Hope so.)

In other news, I've also been busy sewing, finishing up a shirt I started before vacation.  Love how it's turning out.



My patternmaking class starts tomorrow evening, so I'm very excited about that.  What shall I wear?

And that's it -- time to go play with my little Grasshopper.

Have a great day, everybody!

Mom's impressed.

24 comments:

  1. I love the picture of your mom! :) I'd never heard of this sewing machine--very interesting.

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  2. I had the opportunity to buy a Grasshopper about a year ago and didn't. I've occasionally kicked myself ever since. Thanks for sharing yours with us -- and for my now-sore a$$.

    Have you considered buying an industrial? The space/noise/weight issues are overstated and I've found them for prices less than their domestic counterparts (probably because of those overstatements).

    Anyway, you have some really great machines. Enjoy them all!

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    1. Wish I had yours. My industrial scares the cat and dims all the lights in the county.

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    2. You have to move out of Hooterville, Roberta! LOL

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  3. The Instagram links worked for me even though I'm not a member. Your Grasshopper stitches beautifully!

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  4. Wow wow wow, she's gorgeous! And hip.

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    Replies
    1. So is the Grasshopper.

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  5. Peter I love the Elna! You are correct in thinking it was designed in Spain (1930's) but was manufactured in Geneva, Switzerland by Tavaro SA. They were an ammunitions company and the early ones had metal cases, somewhat resembling munitions boxes. Not sure they were made for carrying into battle but the free arm design was definitely good for sleeve work.
    Your shirt, as always is impeccable and I love the pattern. Definitely something I would choose

    Kind Regards
    Jamie

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  6. The shirt is gorgeous, and your *new* Grasshopper's stitch is beautiful!

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  7. Lovely, and I will be following any maintenance/ revision work you do on this one assiduously!
    I found a 1949 Grasshopper a couple of years ago but have never been able to check whether it works as the plug is the original one, now long out of date, as is the voltage (110v, for 220v in the UK). At one point I wondered whether to have it converted to 220v but am glad I didn't as my grandmother (who owns the Elna Supermatic, 1950s successor to the Grasshopper) told me how electrics often worked poorly post conversion. She went down the adapter route instead and her machine still runs smoothly to this day! So I might try a plug change with adapter on mine at some point, but in the meantime, I'm just happy looking at it as it is such a lovely thing!

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  8. My mother was given one of those instead of an engagement ring by my highly romantic father - back in ....1951!

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    Replies
    1. That's a great story! I am thinking of selling my engagement ring, now.

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  9. fabulous - that sewing table case is brilliant

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  10. This is one of those machines I've always wanted. But, I've unsubscribed from local craigslist machine postings. They are addictive.

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  11. Wow she is cute! And your Mom too! I had never heard of an Elna grasshopper and you'r right - she does stitch beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. What a great find! Love your shirt choice of color and pattern. Your mother is adorable.

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  13. Your Elna is adorable, and honestly, I think if everyone going to war was issued a sewing machine, the world would be in better shape.

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  14. i had to learn to smile every time a camera was in evidence--love the new machine and the shirt. hope you had a great vac and the puppies are darling, as usual.

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  15. What a cute machine!! Personally I can't imagine why you want all those machines, living in an apartment, but to each his/her own!! I have 3 in a studio...so hence my confusion.
    Has your Mom seen that photo?

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  16. Seems like a nice, dependable, quiet machine. Best of luck with it!

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  17. My little Elna 1 Grasshopper is my pet. I do have machines that work better, but these little ones are just like art and deserves to be admired as good example of design. Nice to see you tried again with this model.

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  18. Hi again Peter, I just found your post on getting a Grasshopper. I got one on Ebay at just about the same time you did! See my review of my new Grasshoppr at http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/sm/readsmreview.pl?readreview=1&ID=5847
    I absolutely love this little gem!!

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