Saturday, 18 August 2018

Sometimes...

... there are unusable leftover bits of sewing machines.. While I detest upcycled sinks and stupid lamps, I do hate to waste good metal

This is Raveningham School- Fish Rising, our little unofficial part of the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail.
More details HERE

Monday, 16 July 2018

Cor, Blimey...

This happened
I bought 12 machines on eBay, all described as "worse than the pictures" and "with free woodworms"
Drove to get them, 20 miles. Man who sold them turned out to have lived in my current house 22 years ago..

So, I spent a day-and-a-half taking all the good bits off, labelling, little baggies, lots of oil and PlusGas and dirt (particularly dirt) and now I have three buckets of good spares and a corpseyard...

...which makes the scrap man happy

Then I got an email from my friend-and-collaborator in the Other Local Sewing Machine Shop
"I have been clearing out the garage and have about 50 wrecked machines, when can you collect?"
This is the First Installment (26 machines) - we brought another lot back today and have at least 2 more car-loads tomorrow

Two deep and two back, plus these Big Boys

(Probably the best ones, but Oh! the cases...)
This is what happens to a Viking case left on a wet floor

And this, surprisingly, is the pedal we removed from that case - not even dirty..



Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Still stocktaking, and comparing treadles...

Now, counting plates is all very well, but life has to continue unabated, and in spite of the snow. And, I was asked to compare the regular domestic treadle and the industrial types, and thought this might be a useful idea.
I have used a Singer 15 class domestic treadle for over 40 years - it's precise, fast, slow, and strong, and it sews chiffon at least as well as canvas. I actually think a machine that sews chiffon is superior, of course. Straight stitches in the Forward Direction only. Here it is (excuse the mess)

The irons are 21 inches wide, and the top is 29 inches from the floor. It's not very clear in this photo, but mine has a "big" drive wheel, which makes it faster. I have long ago lost the table-top, and it is set under and on top of a standard kitchen worktop about 8 feet long. This is useful. I have also set it a little further back than is standard, as the extra space in front of the needle is very useful.
And here's an Industrial one - this has a Singer 31k15 in it





Now, you will note that this machine is much bigger - it's not a "heavy-duty" machine, being designed for the tailoring trades, so fast and precise. 
It needs a longer treadle base, or your knees hit the left side of the irons, and this is done by adding a spacer top and bottom to a regular set of irons (this one also has a "large" wheel)
Apart from the spacers, and sometimes a set of pieces to raise the top, this is much the same as a domestic treadle. The width of the irons is 26 inches, and the height is still 29 inches. I have had electric (clutch motor) machines - they almost always seem to be taller, and I have been known to cut them down. I have a modern machine (a Juki ) but it still has (and needs) only those ever-so lovely straight stitches. Mind you, it does go backwards. And it's robust in many ways, but not like these two old ladies...

The 31k is for sale, by the way, see here for many other types and shapes of treadles from 1880 onwards

Now, back to the Plates Pages. Ho, hum...

Friday, 29 December 2017

We have had...

... a difficult month. John has had a major operation, the workshop has been so chaotic that I fell over things and swore a lot, and the sewing machines have been breeding.

In the interest of not making you all gasp with horror, I won't show the chaos, but will reassure you that J is recovering, the boxes are slowly being sorted, and I can now see (most of) the floor...

And we have an honest January Sale, 25% off any order in January over £10 (excluding postage)
So, mosey along to the WEBSITE
and go a little mad...

Here's a little treat for you to dribble over.. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

It's Amazing..

...how grunge accumulates

Bill Holman taught me to always take this part out (from Singer 99 and 66 machines) and check that the little rollers do still roll. This one was particularly grungy, but still moving.. Rinse and replace

Friday, 27 October 2017

Buttonholers!

And zigzaggers

Now, buttonholers have to be one of my favourite attachments. They are chunky, magical, work soooo much better than any modern machine's automatic buttonhole, and are fun.  This week I spent a happy day testing, oiling, completing, checking, boxing-up, and making manuals, and here  is the result...

A whole shelf-full of goodies..

And then, some zigzaggers too..
Page here
http://www.helenhowes-sewingmachines.co.uk/bigatts.html

and more to come, including a Singer Swiss...
and a lovely ZickZack Wurker...

All for sale, of course..

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Just Like Buses...

I have a liking for Willcox and Gibbs chain stitch machines - beautiful, useful, and cute..  And, like buses, they come along in bunches.. This week's intake

Treadle number 1 - a most beautiful beastie, with a convoluted and pretty iron base. It's tiny, and surprisingly heavy
Side of the irons

And the plate - it has a wooden pitman and a really nice little concealed drawer in the top for the tools. It came to me from a local contact

Number 2 has a much lighter and more elegant set of irons, and a rather crude single-layer top.

This one I collected (from a top-floor flat!) in Bedford, and for all it is lighter, not a heck of a lot lighter by landing number 3. It came with a most curious thing - a Guhl and Harbeck with a Willcox and Gibbs hand crank (loosely) attached - I think this may be a Straw Hat machine. No foot, but my box of Odds has provided a good candidate..
And then, this little beauty, yesterday

With a box, tools

and more.  Fettling time!
All three will be for sale, pretty soon