Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Herd

It's time to fess up. I have developed a slight problem with collecting sewing machines. It's an odd thing to collect, since a quilter really only "needs" one good machine.  So what's the deal on the "herd" (that is what quilters call a group of machines)? 
It's like any other addiction I suppose. It started with just one sewing machine ... a basic Janome with no frills, purchased in 1990 for $300.  I took my first quilting classes with that machine and sewed the guts right out of it. It is still kicking around here somewhere, but it has been retired.
Ny nephew helping me to clean my Brother 1500

Then I realized that I really liked quilting and I needed a real work horse for machine quilting. So I bought machine #2 - a Brother 1500 that supposedly sews 1,500 stitches per minute. It has been such a fantastic machine and I love it. If it ever dies, I will immediately replace it with one that is exactly the same.




Janome Jem Platinum

One Christmas Santa brought me machine #3 - a lightweight portable machine called a Janome Jem Platinum, which is a great machine to take to classes. It is also the only machine I own that does a zigzag stitch, so I use this one for sewing batting scraps together, and anything else requiring a zigzag (like making fabric bowls).
1901 Singer Treadle


Then I started to covet a "people powered" treadle machine and purchased machine #4 - an amazing 1901 Singer. I love this machine and it is set up in my dining room. I have a scrappy project that I only work on with this machine whenever I get the urge to treadle.
White Featherweight




Just after I bought the treadle machine, a wonderful friend surprised me with machine #5 - a beautiful collector's white featherweight machine, which I love but don't want to sew on it too much for fear of wearing it out! It is so cute and makes a perfect stitch even though it turned 50 years old last year!





Blue White

Then I met a lovely blue machine while I was taking care of my brother when he was sick.  After my brother's death I bought machine #6 - that pretty "blue White" machine. This machine is a very heavy industrial machine and I can barely lift it - it's 100% metal parts (nothing plastic in this baby!). But it purrs like a kitten when it sews and makes a perfect stitch.



Then an old singer found it's way to me... I've never mentioned it before on my blog because I was embarrassed that I adopted machine #7! This really is a beauty, but I haven't had much time to get it working well yet. In addition to being a pretty machine, it's a lovely piece of furniture (being modeled by my Granddog Max). 




Twin 301 Singers


Last year I was given two 301 Singers (I call them Lucy and Ethel) by a generous blog reader. She wasn't sure they were working machines, but I have spent some time cleaning and adjusting them, and they are now sewing perfectly. Machines # 8 and #9.
And so you see how a herd appears. I have also become somewhat of an expert at restoring old machines and am amazed by the variety of machines. And here's an interesting fact - not one of my machines uses the same bobbin! Here is a photo of 4 different bobbins.

I do take full responsibility for my addiction collection and enjoy using each machine for various tasks. But I must admit that storage is becoming an issue.
My next machine purchase will be a hand crank machine, but working ones are in short supply. It's like searching for a needle in a haystack, but I'm fine with that. But that machine will be my last one for sure!  *snort*

34 comments:

  1. Me too! I have a herd! Yours is lovely.

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  2. Love all your fun machines!! I have one or two myself, LOL!! But the older ones just call to me...that blue machine is gorgeous!

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  3. I would love to see some of these old machines working. They look so good. Lucky you

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  4. Love meeting the herd! Each one seems to fill a different purpose, so all are necessary!

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  5. I loved meeting your herd! They are all wonderful (well, you really didn't say much about #7, but I'll wait patiently!) - but you knew that!

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  6. What a fun post. I'm holding at 7, but frequently find myself scanning estate sale ads.

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  7. I have 5 in my herd but use every one.... my main sewing machine Janome memory craft, love it! then my back up for that on is a simple singer I think from costco, then I have my long arm, and my embroidery machine and I got back my serger after lending it to a friend for 2yrs...... so I'd say the 3- long arm,embroidery and serger are NOT really part of the herd as they are specific to their tasks, so really I only have 2 right?? isn't that a step in recovery, to NOT have excuses??
    BTW have you seen this youtube of a farmer who brings HER crank sewing machine into the tractor and sews because the tractor is on GPS and she only has to turn it at the end of the row..... look it up, it's fascinating!

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  8. so many LOL, I wouldn't have space for them, I have three and have to keep 2 in bags when I am not using them as I only have room right now for one out all the time. You should use your featherweight sometimes you won't wear it out - I have one too and admit it stays in it's bag most of the time.

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  9. I have a few machines, well I have lost count. But they are all loved, I use them all except my white feathweight which has a broken pedal, and a transverse hand crank German machine which I need to research more.

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  10. I have been wanting a 301 Singer. I look at them on E-Bay but have not taken the plunge. I have not seen one in an antique shop or thrift store. I love your collection and have a few machines myself.

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  11. You make my 5 seem reasonable. Thanks for introducing each. 2 of mine are older, three are more current. Does a 1980s machine qualify as current? Grin!

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  12. I love your machines....I have sold a few just trying to thin the herd....but for some reason I keep adding to it....it is a sickness....enjoyed seeing yours.

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  13. I love collecting and hunting for old vintage machines. I currently have 50+ of the small toy machines displayed in barrister bookcases. My herd of 3/4 and full size machines is 30+, love to collect and tinker with them. VERY ADDICTING!

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  14. Blasphemy! A quilter only needs one machine? That's like saying a quilter only needs one fabric bin. I'm not even a collector, and I have three. Collect away, and enjoy them. You're in good company.

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  15. Ha! Why is it that we are like magnets when it comes to machines? Storage does become a problem. It's not like we can set them in a curio cabinet. LOL

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  16. I think I have a collection of machines in my basement, not ready to really pull them out yet. A girl can not have to many machines, you never know when one will break down and you need something fast. Keep on collecting there is alway storage.

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  17. I remember the day you adopted those 301. I was very jealous!!! There is nothing wrong with your addiction...I mean herd!! My herd is growing too.My herd is up to 7(that includes one serger) so really it is only 6 sewing machines!!!

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  18. Nice to meet the entire herd--and to see photos of the caregiver.
    I say that a hand crank will be my only other machine, too. I only have 5 machines and I'm not sure that qualifies as a herd. : )

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  19. I also have a small herd/fleet.A modern Brother along with a 301 which I love; and a Singer 185 & 66. It's great to have a few extra machines when friends come over and they don't need to bring one. Can't have too many machines.

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  20. I have 11 or maybe it's 12. I converted one of my Singer 66 Bentwood case machines to a hand crank because it didn't have the knee control when I bought it. You are so lucky to have suich a variety of machines. A Treadle is on my bucket list and if a 301 happened to come my way I wouldn't complain. The bobbins are a little confusing. I try to keep the ones that go with my machines together with the machine in a zip bag. It's always good to have a spare when one doesn't want to play nice.

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  21. LOLOL A herd of machines - just brilliant!
    And why not if you have space for them, then they are in a loving home and all is well!
    : )

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  22. My herd isn't quite that big but getting there! I put them on a page on my blog so I can keep track of their stories and names! Love that you have a Lucy and an Ethel!

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  23. Of course you need a herd - so when a horde of your quilting friends drop in, you have machines to go all round as you work on your projects together. (Did I mention that they bring food, drink and chocolate?) Count me in!

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  24. You have an amazing collection of machines Kathy. I have a small herd of 6 but nothing vintage like yours. It's wonderful that you can service them yourself...that saves a lot!

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  25. That is one awesome herd of machines you have there! I can see that each one has it's purpose and is well cared for (and used), so no need to feel guilty about your collection! ;-) That's the first I've seen a white featherweight and looks to be in pristine condition! Enjoy!

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  26. You have lovely herd. (I didn't know it was called a herd.) I have 5 machines but at the moment only two are in working condition. (Saving some $$ to send another one to the Doctor). Would it be considered a herd? Your White featherweight is so cute but I droll for your 1901 Singer. Such a beauty!! Thanks for sharing.

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  27. You have a nice assortment in your herd. I just have a small flock of 4!

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  28. Your herd is beautiful! I must profess that I have 7. They are beginning to take over my living room. Each of them bought for a different reason. Not all of them work YET, but I'm getting them in shape (with the help of the sewing machine guy) a little at a time. I keep saying all I want now is a featherweight. But who am I kidding? I also want a singer red-eye.

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  29. Very small herd. I have 7-8 machines just in my sewing room. Another 20+ machines on the first floor, and lots more, besides that. Have fun collecting.

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  30. Seems you have a use for every one of the machines in your collection. I'd have more than one, but no room to set them up.

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  31. When asked "How many machines do you have?" I reply "More than ten." Truthfully, I began to count my sewing machine and came to a number than is more than I wanted to know. I stopped counting. And I've added several electric machines, hand crank machines and machines with a treadle. It's fun!

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  32. You referred to your 'herd' of machines in your National Sewing Machine post and I had to check out your collection. Your machines look like they are loved. I have an old metal Singer in a case and it is a workhorse. It will sew naugahyde like nobody's business.

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