Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Beautiful Machine

Today I taught my friend L. how to use a treadle sewing machine. I had been wanting to put a treadle in her house since the first time I visited her in her new home.   I could just see a beautiful Singer Red Head there. So last year, at Christmas time,  Betsy and I delivered one.  L. was away.  She had a house guest who let us in.

"What a beautiful machine."  He must have said it a dozen times. 

 We didn't know where she would want it, so we left it in the middle of the downstairs.  Then we left, feeling a little like the gardener who sneaks baskets of zucchini onto the neighbors' porches.  But this was different,  L. knew we were bringing the machine  and she actually wanted it.

 Sine then, every time I would see her at work, I would mention sewing and the machine. I had no idea that she hadn't put the machine in its stand.  No idea.  I just imagined it sitting there, beautifully, in her beautiful home. 

I finally invited myself over and went today.  There was the treadle stand, basically, right where we had left it.

I opened it up. 

"Where's the machine?"  I said, a bit startled. 

"Right here."  Still swaddled in its bed of sheets and towels, like you know who.

"Do you have a rubber band and a screwdriver?"

And I showed her how to put the machine in its stand.  

"Oh, I could have done that."  (Yup, I thought, you can deliver a baby, you can certainly line up a couple of hinge pins in some hinge holes on the back of a sewing machine, for sure.  Plus there were pretty explicit written instructions right there on the machine)

I demonstrated how to treadle and soon she had the rhythm and was stitching away on a practice piece.  I didn't tell her that when I started treading,  I practiced and practiced on paper first before I even put thread in the machine. 

"I like this.  Sometimes the electric machine seems to get away from me."

 She made one pillow case and was working on the second when I left to wash the car (that was an exercise in futility, January thaw)

I may have to invite myself over again. 


  1. A nice machine in a timber frame home! I have 15 machines in my timber frame. 2 of those are treadle, 10 are Singers, 1 Willcox and gibbs, 2 elna, a Franklin, and a plastic embroidery machine.

    Sew on ~ ~ ~ ~Patti

  2. I am not sure what I like better, the machine or the house! My refinished treadle is oh so close to being put together. Can't figure out to get the lift spring back in tension. I don't know what holds that big nut in place for the spring tension. So frustrating.

    1. There is a 1.5in rod that goes flying out when you remove the assembly (AMHIK).

  3. That looks like a Red-eye (Singer model 66)! Very distinctive decals. Great vsm.

  4. Can I ask what is the rubber and for?

    1. The rubber band holds the hinge pins up so that they line up more easily with the holes in the back of the machine