Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Bananas

Well, how else would you describe this little treasure?
Most definitely Banana coloured...


I took this one to the Festival of Quilts, and used it to demo quilt blocks on the Guild stand all weekend, then sold her and all the others I took with me.. One blue, three black, one most definitely in need of custard.
Made probably by Vickers, in the late 1940s, this shuttle machine was well-mannered and quiet, and, apart from having to wind bobbins more frequently than I am used to, quite the most delightful old girl.. Gone to a new home near Bedford, with a Blue Alfa for company

Now, back to Counting things...

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A is for Alphabet...

From a customer, much excited with her Alphabet Stitcher attachment.. Posted with permission



Hi Helen, Received the Alphabet Stitcher this morning and am pleased as punch! Thank you so much. There is a little story attached to this. I have a New Home Memory 7 which I bought in 1981 and it's still going strong with the help of a service each year. The shop where I bought my machine had the Alphabet Stitcher attachment for sale and as money was tight at the time I bought the machine and the first letter (A) and was planning to buy the rest of the alphabet a bit at a time but before that happened the shop went out of business and I never got to acquire the rest. How lucky I was to find your online shop. I found you through a google search for an Alphabet Stitcher.
Thank you once again and all the best.
Kind regards
Julia

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Breeding Treadles

(They need privacy, but I hope these two will make an industrial ZZ between them)
Singer Improved manufacturing, probably from about 1880. In it's original treadle and from the son of its long-time user (probably not from new)

Elegant ironwork

And, my birthday present to myself, a Singer 216g zigzag treadle.. It came with a horrid motor, which we discarded

School-house treadle.. 1950s, so about my age

Decals from the 216g. I don't think these are on any other models

Badge from the IM

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Art Nouveau Elegance

This beautiful boy came in to gather a key and be opened again to the world.. Such lovely decals



They don't make them like this any more..

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Crankling

Had a Really Dirty Day, and fixed all these lovely hand-cranks
An amazing amount of grot removed, new grease, leather finger-fettles, all sorted and numbered and listed for sale here
http://www.helenhowes-sewingmachines.co.uk/cranks.html



Oh, the fun we have...
I have also reduced all the Repros (mine are good, as repros go, but I would like them to go away... Few Parts, too

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

About some needles - be warned, not sympathetic

I get two or three emails a week which run something like this one, which came recently..

"I was wondering if you sold the needles for the 319k.
Also I know that 12's and 14's are most commonly available. I wondered if it's possible to get any other sizes? 
I sew a lot with denim and want to know what needles is best to use. I have been naughty and using schmetz leather needles in my machine. (Which work beautifully) but I'm scared about damaging my machine (because I adore her) or loosing or eye! " (all mis-spellings sic) 

I generally reply in the vein of "Don't do that, please. Your machine is nice but sadly a bit obsolete, and it was not designed for this type of work even when you could buy other sizes of needles" 

At this point I usually get an almighty snit from the enquirer, and indeed, today's was no exception.. "you're mean, you're rude, you're brusque and not helpful; I expect better, I expect nicer, I expect, I expect..." 
Possibly, but if you ask an expert for (free) advice, then dislike the advice, it doesn't make the expert any less right, or the advice any less cogent.. 

And, I answer 100 emails most days - would you like an essay next Tuesday, or a reply today? You might wait a really long while for the essay, unless I like you, or I think you are a Nice Person..

I'm not your mamma; I don't have to soothe you, particularly if I think you are being silly...

Now, there's a lot of good reasons for not using the wrong needles.. The 206 x 13 type has a much shorter point below the eye.. (No, I don't know why Singer did this, but I suspect it was another of their "You can't get it elsewhere" games.)
This means that the regular needles (which have a longer point) will hit the bobbin case sometimes or more-often-than-sometimes, with results from scabby bobbin-cases to broken needles (You'll have your eye out with that...)
This in itself would be bad enough, but if you are working on "over-thick" fabrics (these are machines for dressmaking, maybe suits, not for car seats or boat covers or denim bags) then the needle is still in the top layer of the fabric when the feed is moving the cloth along, and this leads to all manner of scabs, breaks, frustration, and eyes-out.

None of which are good for you or the machine.

Unsympathetic? Moi? Too damned right I am unsympathetic. Or, I have no sympathy for you, but much for the poor old machine...

So, use it nicely, make frocks and patchwork, buy up needles when you see them. I have 12s (small) and 14s (medium) and absolutely nothing else.. The above correspondent assures me that "many sizes" are available on eBay, but I certainly cannot find them...

Happy Sewing!