Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chattanooga Bound!

Morning came WAY too early yesterday. I was up at 6am because some things STILL needed to be packed for this 10 day adventure. There were clothes in the dryer that weren’t quite dry when I went to bed, you know how that goes?

But I was on the road a little bit before 9am, praying the rain would mostly stay at bay – It’s just NOT as fun to take a road trip through the mountains in the hosing rain as it is to have it moderate. I really wanted some beautiful sunshine, but truth be told – a bit of cloud cover is easier on the eyes and keeps the glare down. At least I was consoling myself with that thought as I made my way down I-40 westward toward the Tennessee State line!

I get SO excited when I see the mountains appear in the distance! This is where I was, getting closer to Asheville NC…and I could see them…just peeking ahead of me toward the horizon:

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See them there? Dang straight ahead….yep. Mostly covered in clouds, but they are there!

This route is greatly populated by trucks, but luckily they are not allowed in the left hand lane so you can pass them as it gets steeper and more windy:

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Hello Tennessee! It’s great to see you again! The last time I was through this way was in March for Mountain Quilt Fest at Pigeon forge. Was that only MARCH? It seems farther away than that, so much has taken place since then!

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Can you see the clouds just sitting on top of the mountain there? I guess they don’t call them the “Smokies” for nothing!

I drove and drove and drove and stopped for gas when the light came on telling me…stop now, or run out on the side of the road!

When I pulled off, there was a little sign that said “Visit Historic Sweetwater 2 miles”. Do you know what the word “HISTORIC” means to me?? ANTIQUE MALLS! So I pulled out my phone and googled Sweetwater TN Antiques and BINGO!!

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Can you feel my excitement and anticipation building already?

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How about the view up this quaint little street? Can you see the “MAIN STREET ANTIQUES” sign??

Or how about this one:

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Doesn’t that quilt bock on the side of the building just stop you dead in your tracks?!? This shop was WONDERFUL..in fact, there was a whole collection of wooden quilt blocks that you could buy to hang on your barn, your garage, the side of your house….where there are not fabric quilts, there are painted wooden ones! LOOK!

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Aren’t these great?! And there were more!

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I loved all the old farm tools too. Something in this shop for everyone! I loved the wild goose chase block with the pink setting triangles! Definitely a bold color combo..LOVE it! ((Pink and red and yellow and black and blue? Oh YES!))

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Here was a bear paw tucked up on top of the cabinets. Seeing it next to the chair there should give you an idea of the size of these quilt blocks.

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This shop just had the coolest stuff. Look at this old nail/screw hardware bin just filled with OLD bottle caps! I’m not sure what I would do with them, but they were all colors and varieties and interesting to read the labels. Kind of like pawing through my baskets of scraps and crumbs! A lifetime collection of bottle caps.

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I desperately wanted this spool cabinet. But honestly? Where would I put it? But I LOVED it! I didn’t love it over a $1,000 dollars worth though!

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I was amazed at this 1920’s electric stove! Can you imagine trying to cook your Thanksgiving Dinner on this little thing?! Maybe it was apartment sized. And I’m sure it beat cooking on a wood stove…but boy, am I glad to be a MODERN girl!

Quilts were scattered everywhere, but not as many interesting ones as I’ve caught other places. Quilt-seeking is a treasure hunt, and sometimes you find cool ones, sometimes you don’t….

This is the last shop I visited:

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And it was HERE that I met my downfall!

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Solid red, solid cheddar!! With cutwork applique! My heart nearly stopped! You know, cheddar has ALWAYS been a solid for me. Not really ever a print. The prints are more butterscotch color in history….and when someone says “CHEDDAR” in my mind it is a solid. And here it is in all its splendor…..but do you see what is sitting on TOP of it?! DO you need a closer view?

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I saw this case first – do you see the beautiful design on the side, and the inlaid wood detail on the top around the handle?

I spun around looking for the machine it went with…and there on the table behind me was this beauty:

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Serata hand crank machine, circa 1910. Vibrating shuttle bobbin….gorgeous decal work, though worn from hard use. I was drawn to this machine like moth to flame…I love seeing machines that have had a HISTORY of constant use. A “pristine” like new machine doesn’t hold as much interest to me as one that was used by someone who loved to sew and sewed often.

Did I dare look at the price tag?! It was hanging by that string there, attached the screw at the top.



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Guess what is now riding shotgun on the floorboard of the passenger front side of my car?! Look at that detail where the handle is!! **SQUEAL!!!**

And of course, this is all justified by the fact that I sat in the car for what seemed like for hours on Mother’s Day while DH went in to the golf shop for “Just a minute” and came out wielding a new golf club that I KNOW cost more than this machine did….Equal opportunity purchasing, right?

Thank you Sweetwater, for your welcome beckoning! It was a great couple hours of browsing! I’ll definitely keep you on my map and perhaps hit you up again the next time I’m through this way!


  1. Very cool machine!! What a find--lucky you! Dare I ask, how many sewing machines share your space now?

  2. Beautiful machine! My guess is it's a Frister & Rossman. They made a machine that was based on the Singer 28. There's some good info on this site.
    One of our Treadle On members, Di, will be in your Tenn class, be sure to show it to her!

  3. Awesome finds! My 10-year-old son loves antiquing with me just for the excitement of what could be waiting behind those doors. He collects bottle caps and would LOVE that bin - we may have to make it to Tennessee sometime!

    I love how many photos you take to share with us but PLEASE be safe while driving and snapping! ;-)

  4. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE QUILT!?!?! Red and cheddar and cutwork!?!? The machine is lovely, of course. The quilt -- yeah, that'd been my downfall! LOL How much was it!?
    What fun! Wish *I* were riding shotgun! LOL
    Mary Lou

  5. That is a beautiful machine! So glad you treated yourself, it would have haunted you with regret if you had left it behind!
    I hope the remainder of your journey is as nice as the first day. I can hardly wait for the PB class on Tuesday!

  6. But what about that fabulous solid red, solid cheddar quilt? Sandi

    Sorry about your recent blog incident.

  7. That machine is GORGEOUS! I can't wait to see it in person!

  8. What a lucky find! Actually I think it was just waiting for you to get to that shop. It is a beautiful machine! Have a safe trip.

  9. I love it! What a find!!!!

  10. Way to go, Bonnie.
    Lucky gal today.

    oh, ya, love your dashboard art.


  11. What a post! And what a great advertisement for this little town! I'm so glad you both found the machine & went ahead & got it. Did you buy the quilt, too?

  12. I have to echo the others...did you buy the QUILT too??? It was very pretty, how much was it? Lucky find indeed. I have a Featherweight on my WISH list.

  13. I totally would have snatched up that sewing machine, too. I want a hand crank machine. I already have 5 machines, and my hubby can't understand why I'd want another!

  14. Thanks for the giggle today..."equal opportunity purchasing"...love it!
    What a beautiful treasure you found!

  15. love that sewing machine but really love its case!
    just beautiful.
    Oh that quilt with the applique in the red and cheddar irish chain LOVE THAT!!!!
    what a great little town....did you buy a quilt block sign for your barn/garage?

  16. Your new/old machine is gorgeous. You should have taken home that red and cheddar quilt too! Yes, I know that our pocketbooks have limits. Mine especially. But you really scored big points with the beautiful sewing machine.

  17. That machine is fantastic. I love it when you take us antique shopping with you.

  18. I'm squealing here also. You got that machine for a steal. The cabinet alone is worth more than $165. Oh! to someday find something like that. I bet you paid for it and ran before they figured out they made a gross error. LOL I love old machines and have some, but there is always room for some more. How much was the red and cheddar quilt and did you consider buying it also?

  19. I love that,...equal opportunity purchasing! I'm saving that one up!

    I miss Tennessee, my home state :(


  20. O.K. so it seems I'm not the only one who wants to know, did you also get the quilt? Or did you just take beautiful pictures of it? Remember why you were driving early? Guess there was a reason,
    right, so you could take your time, enjoy looking around... score a beautiful machine!!!!
    Yeah for you! We are right there with you!

  21. Great machine - I think you were entirely justified in buying it - but you left that quilt there? My guess is that it must have cost more than the machine LOL.

  22. oh if you didnt buy that machine, i was hitting the road for a long roadtrip, and i would have been waiting by the door when that place opened in the morning..........great find, for a wonderful price too!

  23. I know what you mean about treasure hunting. My husband and I were at an estate sale a few years back. We were at opposite ends of this barn, and both spotted a black case at the same time and thought we knew what was inside. Lo and behold, a Singer Featherweight, obviously used, but still in great condition. Price tag said $50. We said SOLD!!!!! I just love sewing on it - the best straight stitch ever! Enjoy your new baby. But like a lot of the gals out there, I really want to know if you bought the Quilt???? Safe travels.

  24. I am soooo glad you had so much fun in Sweetwater and found such a wonderful machine--and the quilt is a treat too.
    (Over 25 yrs ago, I used to sing in a friend's choir at the UMC there--and play in the bell choir when needed. Next time I'm in TN, I need to explore Sweetwater again!)
    Have fun in Chattanooga too (25+ years ago, I used to teach quiltmaking and tatting for a chain of fabric stores in that area!)

  25. great post - thanks for sharing. Loved the red and white tree of life quilt....and did you buy the cheddar quilt?

  26. Bonnie, I LIVE just outside of Sweetwater.. in an even smaller town.. Tellico Plains... the next time you come back to "explore" you'll have to let me give you the "local's grand tour".. just the thought that you were so nearby makes me feel all "quilty" *LOL* Oh, and we were without power for quite sometime a few weeks back from the tornados... what did I do? sewed with my Singer handcrank! Cathy in TN

  27. I was about to say, if that isn't in your car, do a u turn and go back and get it and ship it to me!!! Fabulous find, loved this chance to look at US antiques, nothing like that with the quilts here, love the block signs, am thinking my sewing room needs one of those!! Have fun, and keep out of way of those trucks! Tracey

  28. I'm still on the hunt for a hand crank. Congratulations! What a beauty! Use it, but, remember that drooling causes rusting. LOL

  29. do you need yet another person to ask about the quilt? cute machine and wow, just the case is gorgeous. I picked out that goose block too! I didn't realize just how big those suckers were until the chair pic. but I want one! and some bottle caps...

  30. Hi Bonnie In another life I worked in IT, so maybe I can help you for a change. A good way to get an easy to remember password is to think of a word (or phrase) that you will remember and then substitute 1 (number one) for all the 'i's' zero (0) for all the "o"s, and three (3 - like a backward E), for all the "e"s. And then put a capital for each of the first letters. Of course, don't use any spaces - you can use underscore "_" instead of spaces. So Bonnies Blog would be B0nn13sBl0g or B0nn13s_Bl0g. Once you get used to the rules, it is easy to create and remember passwords. Hope this helps. Sam

  31. Love the machine! Did you leave the quilt behind?

  32. Anonymous7:47 AM EDT

    I really loved that red and white tree of life that was kind of at the bottom of the rack. Would have loved to get a better look at that one!

  33. We all want to know if you bought the quilt!!

  34. BTW, Judy Laquidara recently posted a photo of the tabletop her son is creating out of bottle caps....

  35. What a lovely sewing machine. Did you buy the quilt too?

  36. I just got a handcrank too! It's for my granddaughter's sixth birthday present. Every 6 year old needs her own machine. I love your case though. The detail is gorgeous!!

  37. That quilt was fabulous! but the machine...oh my goodness! I can't believe that beautiful case! What a great deal for a great lady! Yes, equal opportunity purchasing...I like that especially at our age!

  38. Tripendicular! What a rare find and the cover is gorgeous! I bought a German Gritzner Exposition model handcrank sewing machine from about that era at an estate sale a few years back when we were living in Oregon. It doesn't have the cover, and at the time wasn't priced. So I grabbed it and walked up to the "guy-in-charge". When I asked what he wanted for it he said "Oh, how about $5.00?". Ummm, SOLD! My husband calls it a boat anchor but it works beautifully and the decals are almost perfect! Yippee for you and me. Someday when the electric's out we'll still be able to sew, and they can be used on a treadle stand with the belt going through the holes on the right of the wooden base.

  39. Anonymous10:34 AM EDT

    I've been catching up on your blog. :-)
    Glad you got yourself a handcrank....I think I told you that I own four....they are an easy find in Europe.

  40. Anonymous5:44 AM EDT

    that beautiful serata was made by newhome, massachusets, I have one, a little older with gilt, red, green and yellow painted decoration, it says "serata," exactly the same as yours, and also has, painted directly underneath, made in U.S.A. Your case is much nicer than mine though!!
    x Jo Carmarthen. Wales.

  41. Bonnie, you are the luckest gal I know in finding such great antique sewing machines and at great prices. I've been looking for a beautiful hand crank for ages and just cannot find one. I might have something that could be made into a hand crank but since I know nothing about altering machines, I don't know. I love your blog and spend so much of my time reading about your travel adventures. luv2stamp@carolina.rr.com


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