Saturday, January 31, 2015


I did have a chance to play on the Nolting today. By noon it was warm enough in the apartment (55) for me.

 I ran the machine without thread and bobbin case for about five minutes as advised.  I set my channel lock and basted each side in a long, slow stitch.  The machine has a speed control.  For basting I used about 10 percent.

I hiked it up to about 30 percent for stitching.   I felt comfortable at that so inched it up to 35 percent.  Plenty of speed.  The Bailey was so slow compared to this machine.  I tried 40% but it felt much faster than 35 and I backed it off.

I make larger designs with this machine.

That may just be because I have no defining shapes on the practice muslin to restrain my designs.  The machine moves nicely, I am not fighting with it at all.  I think it's just a matter of practice.

I did have some tension problems after I advanced the quilt. Something was terribly wrong.  I think that maybe I wound the quilt too tightly when I advanced it.  I doubt it was because the bobbin was running out of thread.  This didn't happen when I, later, ran out of blue bobbin thread.
  The quilt is rolled onto the take up roller. It might be hard to orient your eye, but the blue stitching is the top of the new, and improved, stitching. The red chaos, eyelashing, is actually the bottom of the piece wound onto the take up roller. This photo may help. 

You may be wondering what that bobbin case is doing on the quilt in the previous photo.  Joyce advised that I remove it and un-thread the machine to before the TUL (take up lever) at the end of my quilting session.  That way the machine is ready for warm up at the next session.  Just imagine the mess if I started the machine up to warm it up, threaded and with a bobbin case.  ACK.

Thanks to Joyce and Ron of Delightful Quilting and Sewing, Avon, NY.  I am on my way!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Electronic Singer 9022

Fridays at  the Quilt Zoo  you can go and sew on any project that you would like.  Nina and Bonnie help if you need it. It really is quite a bit of fun.  I was FINALLY able to get there this past Friday.

"Oh good." Said Nina.  "Did you get a call about a sewing machine?'

"No." said I wondering if I should check the cell phone for messages (Turns out Betsy got the call and forgot to tell me)

Any way.  Someone dropped off a machine.

"She really wants to start sewing again." declared Nina

So I hauled the thing home.

Saturday morning I lit a fire in the shop, in the loft and kept the one in the house going. Winter is hard when you heat with wood.   By noon it was 60 F in the shop and I I was able to get to work on the machine.

I was unimpressed.

It is an electronic machine and at first I thought that I wouldn't even try to work on it.  Financial need (remember the Nolting?) overtook my trepidation.  I called the owner.  She told me that she was having trouble with the tension. " Big loops on the bottom " she declared.

OK. Big loops on the bottom mean that the top tension is too loose.    I looked.  She had it set all the way up. It could also mean that the bobbin tension was too tight.

First things first.  Clean the machine. Now that I have more experience with machines, I get caught up in the process.  When I was less experienced, I would take photo after photo to keep track of what I had taken apart.  Now I just go for it. Hence, less blog fodder. 

I regret that I didn't take more photos.  There is a camstack in the top but it is operated by the electronic function.  Incidentally, the machine had thick, hardened grease in the most incongruous places.

 Since it didn't seem to be affecting the function and I was actually working for money, not love, I did not chip this stuff away.  The renowned and inveterate Ray White would have declared that this was "cosmetic only."

I tackled the shuttle and bobbin area first.  The needle plate popped right off.

 The bobbin case came out pretty easily too.  I remember from previous Singers of this vintage, that there is a tab that must be moved back to release the bobbin case.

The bobbin case looked pretty good for a plastic piece.  No major dings and I couldn't find any thread caught in the spring.  I cleaned it all out with the compressor.  Seemed fine.  

The slide plate did not come off easily and it perplexed me.  Luckily I have some service manuals for Singers of this era.  While I did not have one for this machine, I found instructions for slide plate removal for a similar model.

There is a spring that is released with pressure from a small screwdriver just under the slide plate.

I turned over the machine and found it.
I was then able to remove the slide plate and gain good access to the hook.  I found a pretty good burr on the hook. AHA.  That could explain tight tension on the bottom.  I polished the hook in place. I blew all the lint away with the compressor and cleaned and  oiled what I could reach.  I checked the feed dog screws to be sure they were tight and called it good.

I did take off the top and the face plate.  I don't have photos of that.  There wasn't much to see.  I oiled what I could and checked the BW tire and elected to not delve into the hand wheel.  It has one of those odd clutch release mechanisms; you just push on one side of the center of the hand wheel and it releases the motor from the drive shaft, or what ever in an electronic machine.  Since all was working just fine, I closed up the top and headed south.

One screw allowed access to the shuttle gears.

More dust and more hardened grease.  I carefully turned the hand wheel to inspect the shuttle gears for cracks.

I thought I saw one.  Uh Oh.  Nope.  Only a piece of thread. 

Honestly,  I just cleaned out inside of this area as best I could.  I didn't see the point in putting any lubrication on these gears..  I have Tri Flow grease but I think that would just attract dirt.

I removed the base and discovered this.  Those wires travel up to the top and connect somehow with the camstack.  I have no interest in learning how

I did inspect the motor and found that the commutator was filthy so I cleaned it up with one of my Ray White abrasive sticks.  I need more.  I had no interest in removing the motor.  I could see both brushes well enough to determine that they were adequate.

I oiled all the points where metal met metal and closed her back up.

When I tested the machine, it sewed quite nicely.   I tested almost all of the stitches and they all worked.  I did not test the button hole function.  I set the tension at 3 and all was good.

I called the owner.  She was surprised it was ready so quickly.

I advised her that I wasn't sure the machine was up to the purpose she intends.  She wants to make bags.  If the bags aren't too heavy, she will be fine.  That motor looks wimpy to me.  It sounds wimpy and overall I am not a fan.

If fixing this machine gets someone sewing again, excellent.  After all, the more people who sew, the better the world will be.

At this rate, I only have 95 more machines to fix before I have enough cash for the Nolting.  Don't forget.  I sold the Bailey, one Featherweight and a Viking.  It is a good thing I have a day job because the Nolting arrives on Friday.

We are ready.
The frame is twelve feet long.  This is the only place on all of our property where it will fit.  Stay tuned.

Wilson is ready too.
Tomorrow he has surgery to remove his spleen.  I have been working to get him to go into his crate voluntarily since last week.  Tonight he got off the couch and stood in front of the crate and gave me a look : "how about something soft in there?"  I put in the blanket and he followed, turned once around and went to sleep. 

I guess all that turkey and all those clicks worked.  I will send that blanket with him to have while he is at the vet.  It smells like home (especially Wrigley who has Poodle hair but Lab smell).

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Dear Readers,

I just received an email from someone who was offended by the watermarks on my photographs. This blog is mine and mine, alone.  I do mean to offend, if comments such as: DON'T BE RACIST,  END THE WAR ON WOMEN, DON'T BE A JERK, REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE, and NICE MATTERS , offend, then I clearly have struck a nerve.

After the Ferguson, MO decision, I put up the watermark END RACISM.  That prompted an email: "I am sorry you don't like white people.  I am leaving your blog."  I thought that was an interesting interpretation of my watermark.

We all have our biases and I do have prejudice.  Mostly I dislike interacting with racists, misogynists and jerks.  Luckily I don't have much opportunity.  Maybe I should say "Please."


My blog, my choice.  I am not posting any more comments about this topic.  Back to sewing machines.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015



I am not really sure where that expression came from.  Betsy uses it all the time when she packs up a machine for shipping. She actually uses a slightly different version. (Use your imagination)   As I was packing the featherweight on Saturday.  I kept thinking about it.

Tight is good.  You really don’t want anything shifting around.  It is also prudent to have the packing able to take a beating.  I use foam insulation to line the box.  I used to  double box the machines but the foam insulation works the best.  It is lightweight and strong.  It protects the corners of the box and because it is light, shipping costs are less.

 Today I packed the Viking 6010 for shipping.  I intended to take photos but I became so engrossed in the process  that I  forgot all about it.  I really hate packing up machines.  Betsy doesn’t mind.  She sees it as a puzzle.  I find it irritating and annoying.  Since I want to sell more machines I need to just get over this.  On Saturday I refused to become irritated and annoyed.   I was very methodical;  just kept plugging away.  I didn’t enjoy the process but I hated it less.  Today I was much more efficient and managed to shave 30 minutes off my packing time.    On Saturday I spent two hours packing the FW.  Today I was finished in 90 minutes and that included wrapping the box with brown paper.  I used a Thin Prep Pap smear box from work.  It was clearly marked “Flammable Liquid” so I thought I should just wrap the whole thing up.   I like that box.  Perfect size and heavy weight cardboard.  Time to call materials management and ask that they save the boxes for me. 

Two machines are off to their new homes now.  The quilt frame is scheduled for delivery in ten days.  I guess I should take a look at the inventory and see what machine is next for market.  I am thinking about the black 301. Or....maybe not.  
Maybe the LBOW

needs a foot

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. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Betsy and I cleaned this nice, "vintage 90s" Over lock sewing machine (AKA serger) today.  It is a nice little machine.  Quiet and from the beginning, stitched beautifully with all of the tension settings at "3." It was made by Juki for Bernina.  Maybe Bernina was still making sergers in the early 90s, but I know that my Bernina 2000CDE is just like my Juki.  I wonder if this was marketed as a less expensive alternative back then.

We don't know a lot about sergers (Sheesh, do I sound like an eBay seller, or what?) They are not at all like sewing machines. 

"Should we take off that plate and see what's underneath?" Miss "I have a Screw driver and I am not afraid to use it" asked.

"Why Not?" said I.

BFD, thought I.  We swept it out and applied one drop of oil to the metal connections.  I caught a glimpse of the gears and determined that they looked fine.

"We could take the back off and really look at them." she said, again wielding that Phillips Head menacingly.

"No." I said with authority.  And since I was the Boss for the Day, she agreed.

We had it all clean and ready to go.  We plugged it in and there was absolutely nothing.  No light, no juice no nothing.  Betsy tightened the light bulb and that worked.  Good sign.  But there was NOTHING when we tried the foot controller. 

I suggested that maybe, for safety reasons, it wouldn't work if it was all open.  We closed up the side and the front; success.

 It is a bit of a pain to thread.  We needed the over lock threader   (about a hundred of them came with the South River stash).  I did not have trouble following the diagrams and directions in the manual.  Betsy complained, bitterly, about them.

"Why don't they write the directions more clearly?" she moaned.  Maybe it was because I had just threaded up the 2000CDE yesterday that I had less difficulty. 

It is a bit tricky to get the thread looped around the first guide.

 But we managed.  Once we understood how to do it, we were much more adept each time.

Getting the thread through the lower looper is a bit tricky.  You have to pull the thread through from the left (it helps to realize that the machine opens on that side) loop it over the looper from back to front  and then pass it back through to the right side to thread it through the hole in the looper.  Good thing we had four hands.

Betsy likes to sew fast and she loves to put all the power to the motor of any machine, including her car.  She let me take the first few stitches.  We tried it out on some muslin and then on some fleece: very, very, very nice.

 If I didn't already have two sergers, I would keep this one.  It is so nice.  Admittedly my 2000CDE is easier to thread and has more features (i.e. cover stitch capable) .  Oh, and it is a Bernina, though I am sure it is also made by Juki.  Still, I am a snob and it is the only Bernina I own.  Not that I could sell it, ever.  It was Mom's. 

Wilson was disinterested, though that is no surprise.   I am trying to keep him quiet for the next couple of weeks.  He has a tumor on his spleen and should it crack, it could bleed and cause him some significant pain.    He will undergo a splenectomy in a couple of weeks and if all goes well, will be cured.  He sure did perk up when Steve brought home some Brook's Barbeque (chicken).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Bye Bye Bailey

It didn’t take long.  I posted an ad on Craig’s List, on the Bailey FB page, and on here.  I had an immediate response on the FB page and negotiated a deal within hours. That fell through, mercifully, for I had offered to ship the machine.  I had had other interest and yesterday completed a deal.  The Bailey now has a new home.

I am relieved that I didn’t have to ship the machine.  I had all of the originally packing and was confident that the machine would be safe.  Mr. Bailey had  bolted the machine to two pieces of composite strand board and packed custom cut, rigid insulation pieces around it for shipping.  MA and I decided that the Bailey would be perfectly safe if we just packed it in the box without using the bolts.  So we did.  In the upstairs guest apartment. 

Then we looked at each other and we looked at the 60 pound bulky box and said “How are we going to get it downstairs?”   Too bulky for two people to manage and too heavy for one.  So we unpacked it and carried the packing and machine separately to the shop and repacked it up.

(Steven advised, when I told him this story later, “That’s what the appliance dolly is for”  I told him that it took less time for us to unpack it and carry it down the stairs and repack it  than it would have for me to hunt for the dolly, haul it up and then haul it back down. Smarty pants)

Taking the frame apart was another story.  I knew that MA wanted to take the whole system with her.  Of Course!  But we weren’t sure if it would fit in her vehicle .  She took the take up rail out to her car and when she didn’t come back with it, I knew we were packing the whole thing up.

 We were racing against the weather, as the snow had changed to sleet and freezing rain.  “Wintry Mix” the forecasters call it.  I call it miserable.  MA wasn’t fazed.  She kept working.  I was fretting, creating chaos and worried about her trip home.

“I will drive slowly,  I know how to drive in this weather.” 

“Yes, but, it is the moronic, other drivers who don’t”

Happy ending.  MA made it home, I learned via email. I went to bed and slept well for the first time since I put a deposit down on the Nolting. (I ordered a commercial Nolting frame so it won't like exactly like this).