Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Tale of Two Treadles

During TOGA preparations, I distracted myself by working on a treadle stand.  It had some peeling veneer and I sanded it down a bit so that it would be smooth.  I had to repair some peeling veneer and fill in some gaps.  I finished that project yesterday and today.  I must say I am pleased with the results.  The stain is a bit lighter.  But close enough. 

Yesterday, while I was waiting for the glue to dry on the veneer repair I started cleaning the 1890 treadle stand with GOJO.  It was laborious.  I decided to try some Denatured Alcohol and quadruple ought steel wool.  It worked better than the GOJO.  Then I changed to coarse (#2) steel wool and really made progress.  Of course I did not take adequate BEFORE photos.

I have one goal with these machines.  Get them functional.  I did not spend hours cleaning.  I removed as much of the old finish as I thought necessary.  The denatured alcohol dissolves the old finish allowing me to then sand the wood to achieve a smoother finish without gunking up the sand paper.  I did have to reglue some veneer on this stand as well.  Once the tops were sanded, I applied stain and today, the first coat of poly urethane.  I don't much care about the stains in the wood  I guess it can add to the "charm"  The old patina is gone.  Sorry, purists.  I wanted to be able to use these machines and actually sew without snagging the fabric.

I will clean up the draws and the frames.  I won't need to go to this extent with them.  I just hope that I can find room to display these gems.  I love the smallish irons.  No big SINGER logo.  Just a simple design.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Genius, simply Genius

I am talking about my friend A.  She came to the TOGA, and besides saving my tuchus, she gave me the greatest idea for keeping fabric mouse free.

"Hang it up."

Well now, why didn't I think of that?

So today, instead of sewing or playing with my poor, neglected Juki serger, I organized the sewing loft.

I did not take a before photo.  Trust me, it was awful.   Stuff was piled on the cutting table.  That same stuff ended up on the floor because I needed the table for the TOGA.    L. saw the loft in its disarray.  I understand she has a beautiful, organized and tidy studio.  I don't hold it against her.  She is one of the loveliest people I have met in a long time.  So was I embarrassed when I took her to the loft over the weekend?  Nope. My 201-3 as a treadle was there.  I wanted to show it off.

I stole some plastic hangers from the closets.  I think that wooden ones would be stronger.  Some of the fabric is pretty heavy.   Oh good, something else to collect!

Now all the fabric is safe, I think.  I put smaller pieces in Sterlite storage bins.    Scraps, grouped  by color, went into gallon, plastic, freezer bags.  I had planned to dump the genuine, pressed board, fake cherry, paper veneered Barrister bookcase but found a use for it; housing the little plastic boxes of other scraps, grouped by color. (These photos were taken with my iPhone panorama option.  The ceiling doesn't really curve up and down like that.)

The hanging rack is on wheels.  I can park it anywhere I need to.  (Those black things hanging on the wall behind the rack are tracks for the quilt frame)
My loft is housed in a building with a gambrel roof.  The walls slope making for cheaper construction but less room.  That could be a good thing.

I think that you will agree; A had a brilliant idea.  She is a Genius.

Where have all the Onions gone?

 For some reason, people who belong to the Treadle On list call themselves Onions.  Since the TOGA is an offshoot of the Treadle On group,  maybe I am an Onion now too.  Who knows?  But the dogs were certainly lonely yesterday after spending the day with only me.

Over all I have had positive feedback.  It was a tremendous amount of work.  I won't do it again.

At the proverbial Eleventh Hour (i.e. early Sunday morning) I received an email from a woman who lives not far from here.  She saw the local ad on CL.  I emailed her back right away.  She came over with her White Rotary and we cleaned up the little bits with the ultrasound cleaner.

dirty bits

clean bits
We did get it back together.  There is a bit of a trick to putting the face plate back on a White Rotary and the likes, but that is for another post.

All in all, I would label this TOGA as a growth experience.  I met some truly wonderful people and have nurtured some friendships and started others.  I suppose none of that would have happened without the TOGA, for that I am grateful. 

Thanks to all of you who read this blog and who came to the event.  I could not have done it without you. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


It was another great day, for me, anyway.  I am, at this point, exhausted.  It's a good tired, though.  You know the kind where you feel tired, but not cranky.  I spent the day with some truly wonderful people.   Our TOGA is small.  I like the intimacy. 

I reviewed the different belts I use on the treadles: leather, urethane and coil spring.  I showed off my cool tool.  The belt pliers. 

A. was busy with the 201.  I had demonstrated how to service the motor the day before and she dug into cleaning the rest of the machine.  Today she finished it.  That is a stand alone post and maybe one  day I will tell you all about it.  Not tonight, dear. I have a headache.

She also starred in the attachments demo:
You should have been there.  She WOWED us with her knowledge and skill.  She even made a zig zag attachment WORK.
Some of us sewed, some of us worked on machines, and some of us just hung around.  It was really quite chaotic.  Thank Goodness we were a small group. 

Tomorrow: more of the same.  Half day, though.  I am beat.

Would I do this again?  It certainly has been fun and a dream fulfilled.  To have others who love these machines come and play with me.  Honestly, I wish I had a better venue.  But for the price, this one was perfect. 

What is wrong with this picture?

It's really OK.  I am sure that I will be fine.  Don't worry about me eating soup and bread while I work on machines.  I am pretty sure that it is ok.  I mean, at 60, my brain is fully developed, and on the way down.  I don't think I can consume enough petro-chemicals from the PB Blaster JUST BY PROXIMITY.    I had too much fun today and more for tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

TOGA preparedness

It is just a few days away; the CNY TOGA (Treadle On Gathering and Academy) is being held here.  The house is finally presentable.  Though I would have loved to wax the floors. (Do you really believe that?  Me, on my hands and knees with floor wax and rags?)

The outhouse is ready.

The mice have been evicted.  Actually they left long before I got there.  But no wonder they moved in.  It is a lovely spot.
And quite close to the shop.  There are modern facilities available, too.  Don't worry.  But I am going to use the outhouse. 

I painted some signs to post along the various routes to the venue.  I hope people don't think they read  "T06A"  I am not good at lettering.  My G looks more like a 6.  
But people who are coming will know.

I set up a few treadles just to see.  There is a 6 foot table, too.
But I distracted myself from more cleaning and instead did some gluing and woodworking.  The treadle stand above is a "portable" stand.  It is quite heavy, even without the top.  The top is an old board that Steven found.  He cut out the opening for the machine but we didn't really get the holes quite right for the belt.  Nor did we get the machine hinge cut outs quite right.  I worked and worked on trying to fix those problems.  I finally chiseled out the hinge cut outs.  But my chisel is old and dull.  I did turn on Steven's bench grinder but it freaked me out too much.  So I didn't sharpen the chisel.  I never did get the belt holes right.  It still rubs.  But less so. It will suffice.

Now this little treadle stand is much more portable. We won't be doing any wood working during the TOGA so I won't leave this one out.  It is in pretty sorry shape.  I think that the veneer can be re-glued and it is worth it to me to rescue it.  I love its foot print and its weight.  You can see how it would be much lighter.  The legs are wood, not cast iron.  I probably should have spent the time on this one instead of the homemade one.

A while back I accidentally dropped a coffin top on the floor.  I hate it when 100 year old wood meets 7 year old concrete.  On the other hand,  I do love yellow glue and clamps.  You cannot even see where the break was.  This was a solid piece of wood.  Now it has been repaired and I think that I can get the thing back together without too much more trouble.  I wonder, though.  If I should reinforce the repair with a patch.  I could gently drill some small holes through a piece of luan and using small wood screws screw the luan to the board.  This wouldn't have to show since it will be on the inside. 

 I don't know.  I guess I could consult the carpenter.

No more distractions for me, tomorrow.  I have a list and I am sticking to it!    I just hope that the motor bearing in the shop vac holds out a bit longer.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Montgomery Ward Threading Diagram

A reader sent me two photos and asked how to thread this Montgomery Ward Sewing Machine.  I don't know for sure but I sent back the two diagrams below indicating how I would thread it.

If anyone out there has this machine and knows better, please let me know!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Steven bought this cabinet for me a few years ago.  I am not particularly fond of it, but I want to clean it up and put a White Rotary Machine in it.  The original machine was not salvageable.   As a distraction I played with some GoJo and Formby's Furniture refinisher the other day. 

The Veneer is peeling; I will sand it and put a coat of poly on top to help smooth it out.  The Gojo works very nicely to clean the grime from the wood and it is not water based so it doesn't raise the grain. 

I used denatured alcohol on the drawers.  They cleaned up quite nicely too.

Too bad that the ornamental pieces on the front are missing, but it will be pretty just the same.  I wonder where I will put it?

Monday, September 2, 2013


 I love Foam and Fabric Outlet in Asheville.  I bought some denim remnants for 2 dollars a pound so that I could make a tote bag for Alice.  I also found some upholstery remnants for a buck a pound.  While I was pawing through the upholstery bin I recognized some of the fabric; Crypton.  It was almost the same design as that of my couch slip covers.  I passed on it but bought some really lovely stuff. I spent five bucks, total.

When I finally got around to cutting out the pieces for the denim tote bag I discovered that I had bought one piece of stretch denim.  ICK.  I used it anyway.  Not the best decision but Alice didn't care. I also cut the straps too short.  I couldn't make longer ones because I used up all the interfacing I had with me.  I fused it to the straps before stitching them up.  It helped with the STRETCH. The tote bag turned out all right; it won't be entered in a contest and is functional so I should be satisfied.  She likes it and that's what counts.
 The little Kenmore 158.1040 had no problems going through the multiple layers.  The bag is sewn with French seams and I was a bit worried it would not be able to navigate the bulk.  I used Alice's machine to sew the boxed bottom.  Then she needed her machine so I returned to the 1040 for the last seam.  It walked right through all those layers.  I was impressed.

We all know how therapeutic sewing can be. After my long drive on Friday and Saturday,  I needed therapy, big time.   Yesterday, my first day at home, I headed for the sewing loft.  I reorganized the space a bit.  That was good for me, too.    I would love to show you photos of it.  But after two hours of hauling bins and moving machines, it still looks pretty messy.  Too much stuff.

Finally, I had a chance to sew another tote with the upholstery fabric.  I like this one much better.
You know how it is on the learning curve.  Each time you make something you figure out another trick or technique.  I decided to make one more.  I promised a friend I would make her a summery looking tote.  I had made one for her in NC but I absolutely hate it.  (A totally different design, too)

For some reason I had trouble with the pocket and the straps on this one.  I am not as happy with it but it sure is summery looking!  I lined it and put a pocket on the inside.  It's chintz so it has that shiny surface.  I think it will make a nice beach tote.

 Summer is over.  We had a hot day today but the front moved through, dumped some rain on us and shook up the skies (and Wilson) with some thunder and lightening.  The TOGA is coming up.  Now I have to get seriously busy.  No more play time.  WORK WORK WORK