Saturday, December 15, 2012

And I Shall Name Her ----

This is the tale of a miss-listed 301a!

The verbiage on the ad went like this:

I have a 1970 vintage Singer model 756 sewing machine.  The instruction book describes it as “touch and Go Deluxe Zig-Zag Model 756”.
It comes in a hard case and has a small box of accessories plus some thread.  The machine powers up and the needle moves up and down slowly so I would assume once lubricated it will work normally.”

Now if you read that description and saw the photo of this manual with the listing --- wouldn’t you assume it was for a singer 756?

Only the other photos were not right.  And I totally BLAME my acquisition of this machine to the gals on the Vintage Machines page on Facebook…they are the ones who posted it to the page alerting me to the fact that this machine was only a mere 80+ miles from my house.  By far I was the closest one to it, and therefore I was under obligation to go save it!

The ad page looked like this:


But the machine pictured looked like this:


That’s not a 756!


In fact, the plate under the badge says plainly 301A!

And off I went.

The big concern when picking up a machine is to find out if it does turn, and how it turns.  The guy was right – it did turn…half way --- and then the needle would stop.  You had to crank the OTHER way to get the needle back up.

When I got it home I wiped it down with a damp cloth to remove a lot of grit and grime.

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She shined up really well – but something was funky with her paint….she’s spotty!

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Even here on her extension!  Polka dots!

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Remarkably – she was VERY clean in here – but dry as a bone.  Oil, please!

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Here was the first problem….see that little finger that sticks up into the slot where the needle plate fits?  It wasn’t in that slot when I first looked at it.  It was down at the bottom loose – and the needle can’t go all the way down and back up unless that finger is in that slot.  Fixed that ---oiled in here too..behind that bobbin hook.  It was REALLY grindy!

When I finished oiling and lubing the gears ((301’s are gear driven, there is no belt –)) I looked at the needle – well heck! It was in ALL WRONG!  Whoever THOUGHT this was a 756 put the needle in so the eye was facing forward – and this machine threads from right to left – no wonder it wouldn’t sew!

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Serial number places her date at 1956!

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She came with THESE assorted goodies ---all slant shank which I didn’t have.
That bobbin case alone is worth more than $29.00!

My mom was 15 in 1956.  I love picturing her at that age ---so vibrant!

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Here I set her up for a test run!  She ZOOMS!

This is the fastest, most smooth sewing 301 I have ever come across!  I was having so much fun testing her out last night!  Beautiful stitch – I didn’t even have to mess with the tension.  The only problems for the previous owners were a wrong manual, wrong needle position, and the rocking finger was not in its slot to allow it to sew.

Because of her characteristically spotty finish –I’ve decided to name her Freckles.

The little table with her is a “mini-mate” from Sewingmates.com  I have this one to take with me with my featherweight ---the legs unscrew and it goes right in my suitcase.  It provides “just enough” to the left and to the front when working in a hotel room that has little space, or on a retreat when you don’t want to take up half your neighbors space with a big extension table.  The legs are fully adjustable – and here I have them off to fit the 301 – the shortest machine height I’ve found so far.  She’s only 2” from table top to machine bed.  I put an extra scrap of carpet underneath Freckles to bring her to even height with the mini-mate! It just gives me “that much more room” for featherweight sewing   ((or 301 sewing!)) in a tight space!

This morning I have more of THIS going on ---

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Love my book cases!

We mounted them to the wall so there is no danger of them tipping over.  And the book organizing begins.  I am making a stack of books to list on my etsy site – I’ve got to clear some of this stuff out so I’ll let you know when I have that up and running.  It will be a few days yet ---

One thing I didn’t check before buying these book cases…quilt books are taller than regular books, so there are only a couple shelves that full size quilt books will stand upright on…but I don’t mind books on their sides either..makes the shelves look more interesting!  The really big hard bound books have to go on their sides anyway…

I’m trying to categorize things..but you know what? How do you do that?  By genre?  By author?

I think I saw a site somewhere where someone categorized by the color of the SPINE of the book…..I’d never find anything if I put them that way…I don’t often remember what color a spine is!

Have a great Saturday everyone!  You know where to find me if you need me ---

Oh, and next Quilt-Cam?  Tomorrow ((Sunday, Dec 16)) at 2pm Eastern!


  1. Love Love the shelves! Looking good in your studio! Most very inviting and cozy!

  2. Iorganize my quilt books by author, if recognizable & enough books (so yes, I have a Bonnie Hunter section), otherwise by subject.

    But I have ended up with a misc sectipon for books that don't fit into a subject.

  3. Love the 301! I have one of those in my storage unit. I can't wait to get my machines out and play with them. As for the books, I have those dividers that you buy at Office Max and I sort my books by author's last name and then by title. Just like they do at the bookstore. And I have a list of them on my computer and I carry a printed list with me so that I don't buy the same book again! I know that I'm OCD!

  4. I saw that "by color" thing on a dec. Show. Pretty, but for people who dont READ their books if you ask me. I put authors together. However, i also group quilt history / oral history type books together. Amish stuff together. Museum books together. Do what works for you. My husband jokingly says im like a client of his once. He had a huge desk piled with papers and every time hed ask him for a document, he'd reach his hand into the piles and retrieve exactly what he had asked for. Lol that is me. I think if you USE your things, you are going to naturally do what works for you and find it. I have a huge book collection and constantly read them. Did you ever get the v&a one? I find suh inspiration in books like this. My new favorite is the (too lazy to get up and get it right now) Quilts in Ga History by Anita Weinraub. I think this is the info youd need to find it on amazon. It is a huge book, packed with quilts from a project to document antique quilts.

  5. Anonymous10:10 AM EST

    Your shelves look great!!! Like the black, the colors sets off the books and pretties very well too :)

    Bonnie? I have a name suggestion for your newest 'girl' Singer. How about Polka Dotty --- due to her dottiness. I am so glad you did rescue her. Amazing what folks do not know about sewing machines, isn't it? Here she is a perfectly terrific machine laying fallow...and need to oil dinner too lol.


    1. Anonymous4:38 PM EST

      Freckles is a cute name-to-order name for your new girl. lol

  6. Anonymous10:12 AM EST

    The machine is beautiful, and the bookcases look great. I have quite a lot of books. I much prefer to have all of the same types of books together. At the same time, I want it to be quick and easy to find the book I'm looking for in a given section. So I organize first by genre, then by author. If I have multiple books by a given author, individual books will be in alphabetical order by title, and series will be kept together and put among the other books either by the series name if there is one, or the title of the first book in the series if there is not a series name. Within a series, I order them by the order they were published.


  7. Organizing is done - at least, over here - by "gender": woodworking, cooking, needleworks (I don't trust my DH to fondle his way into my quilt books, so those 2 meters went upstairs!), metalworks, nature, science, ecomics, children's books, books about travel and boating, antique books, gardening, novels, arts and culture. There are some 60 mtr of books living here, and I have already sent some 10 mtrs out into the wide world to find new homes.
    And done this categorizing first, I put the smallest books in the middle, or towards one side of the shelfs, so there is some waving through the graphics of the shelves themselves. I put sometimes a jar, or cookie bin in between the topics, to have a break from the massive book backs. It comes in handy that we don't have a television set to squeeze in =^}.
    When writing this down, I realize that study books are not included, nor the ordners and so on..... I need to accept that I don't collect sewing machines, which would occupy a lot of shelves if I would ever collect them like I do collect tin boxes 8^{
    I should not and could not be trusted to enter a bookshop with money, creditcard or husband to buy me some!
    BTW, I do really love your luck for finding this new freckles!
    Love from a grey Amsterdam,

  8. I thought for sure that I would read the name 'Seabiscuit'! Maybe the next one! You know there will be a next one! LOL!

  9. Hi! I love Freckles! I had a 301 once, didn't know what I had, gave it away for the price of a pack of fat quarters!
    I few years later I learned what I gave away!
    I organize my books by technique, or unless I liek an author, I put all those books together.
    Take care, Leslie

  10. I suggested you name her Dotty last night during quilt cam ... LOL ... but I think she likes Freckles now!

    I categorize my books on my spreadsheet by technique ... but the nice thing is that I can sort the books by author too! On the bookshelf they are by technique.

    Where do you find all that energy?

  11. That is really wonderful. I have an idea, wouldn't it be cool to have a 301a painted like you did your Featherweight? I have an interesting story to go with my 301a also. My ex-husband knows to let me know if he finds any sewing machines that are in danger of being thrown out or donated. He called to tell me there was a sewing machine on the front porch of his rental house. I went over and peeked at it, it was a 301a!!!! I tried to contain my excitement as I said, "Yes, I want it." He bought it for me for $65.00. (We were still married at the time btw.) It turns out that it was a classroom sewing machine for the school where I teach and used to live in the home-ec room right next to my own classroom! It had papers and things in the drawers from the school! I love my 301a and feel lucky to have one with such an interesting story.

  12. For fun I checked Craigslist for our area. Two 301s listed -- for around $500.00! Ouch!


  13. Most of us gals born in the '50's now have "age spots" just like Freckles does! Oh, well, it could be worse, not sure what it would be, though! Let's just assume age spots are a sign of maturity and let it go at that!

  14. Anonymous11:25 AM EST

    Bonnie, I watched the quiltcam last night, and Freckles sounds so wonderful! You are such an inspiriation that I this morning, finally got up enough energy (emotional and physical) to wade through some furniture from my grandmother's home. I knew I had three sewing machines in the mix. Two were somewhere in my garage and my great-grandmother's machine (in cabinet) is used as the "launch pad" in the foyer. I knew GGM's was an old treadle, but had never really been terribly interested in itsince it doesn't have a belt. SCREAM -- My great grandmother's is a Minnesota-A treadle machine! I am scared to even put it aright in it's cabinet to check it out (for now). The two machines in the garage are my aunt's beautiful deep blue Kenmore 148.392 that the wiring is cracked/bad and my grandmother's Kenmore 158.3160! I guess I will be joining some yahoo groups to find out more about them. Woohoo! Vintage machines right under MY NOSE! So many GOOD memories of my family!

  15. Well! Congratulations on a fantastic find! I just found out this week that those spots are from it being cleaned with water!? Mine has the same spots but the machine runs like a champ just as yours does. Sounded fantastic when I tuned in to Quiltcam last night for a sec. Love the LBOW two tone as well!

  16. I try to put my books together by topic then author, but then that is the librarian in me...

  17. Bonnie as you fill the bookcases make a database of where the books are in access or excel. It really helps to find a book you need. I love Freckles. Have fun sewing on her!

    1. Anonymous3:26 AM EST

      Or get a book catalog APP...

  18. From one Luann to the next, HI!!!

    I put my quilt books and regular books in alphabetical order by author. Makes more sence that way!

  19. I do mine in a loose alphabetical order by book title, but I have to admit that by author makes a little more sense - may have to try that since I do tend to group authors together, no matter what the title is.

    I also have my books listed in an excel document - that is copied into a notes file on my iPod touch so when I see a book at the store that I just have to have I can make sure I didn't just have to have it before.

  20. I sort my books by genre or author, depending on the bood. For the simple reason if I want to make a quilt with stars, then all the star books are together, if I want to do paper piecing all those are together. But then there are books like yours and Jason Yenter, that they all go together by author. I group those together in one area. Makes finding what I am looking for so much easier.

  21. Hi Bonnie, room looking good! I have a software program called Book Collector. It has a barcode reader and I just scan the books and it lists them all with colour photos. You could then number your books and it wouldn't matter what order they were in. The info is very easy to find in the program.

    1. Here is the link: http://www.collectorz.com/book/

  22. My daughter is a librarian who is job-hunting. Well, technically, she is archivist, but she knows how to organize books! She got bored one day and organized all the books in the different rooms of the house by genre, then alphabetically by author. So all my books are easy to find (if I remember the author.....)

  23. I have had to get rid of so many books over the years I try not to buy any more. I try to do everything digital if I can. I even put off subscribing to quilting magazines until I discovered they come in pdf format. Yay! I love books and having book cases to admire them. We moved into a tine house about 8 years ago to be near the grand kids and have no room for anything! You walk into my craft room and walk back out and that is it. We have a two butt kitchen--get more than one person in there and you bump butts. Oh, well, it's worth it to be near the kids. I love Quilt Cam and will miss it when you start traveling again.

  24. Hi Bonne, congrats on your new machine! I have a Singer 99 and the needle bar won't move very far up or down. I have oiled it but it is really stuck. Do you have any tips I could try?

  25. Bonnie, I'm loving my Sewingmate 16 x 16 table! I've GOT to buy that small one, too for my Featherweights! Thanks for the info about these.
    Judy McNeel

  26. Judy, before you do we are redesigning it to fit the Featherweights even better. Watch for the new "Feather Mate" after the first of the year. I'm so glad you are loving your table!

    1. Thanks for that info Barb.....I want one too so I will wait until the new year

  27. Love the shelves and chair! Looks comfy. Micki

  28. I love the name Freckles, Bonnie. So cute and very fitting!
    Can't believe all of the book organizing advice you have received. I just don't organize mine. : )

  29. I once brought home a Singer 403a that had sat so long the handwheel simply would not turn. A lot of elbow grease and WD-40 soon had it running like a top. I've stitched many a quilt on that 403a (and on my 301a).

  30. I found Freckles "twin" at Goodwill a couple of months ago. When I pointed out that she was missing a bobbin case, I got her for half-price. Love sewing with her...fast and smooth. Such beautiful stitches!

  31. I love the legs and color of your shelves. These purchases were a good year-end write-off for you! My mom has a 400 series Singer (one with cams) that ran very slow and the shop she took it to for repairs said the motor was blown. I can't help but wonder from reading your blog and some of the comments if it doesn't need a good oil/grease job. Maybe I'll give that a try when I visit her next (we live 700 miles apart).

  32. Hi Bonnie,

    I love the name of Freckles. I have too many 301's to name them! The best story of 301's I have is.....I wanted a queen anne's cabinet off ebay. I bought it for $80.00 plus another 30 for shipping. No mention of a machine. When it arrived...you guessed it! There was a black 301! Not only was it a 301 but it has a centennial badge! It is also spotless! No scratches...marks..I don't think it was ever used! I was offered $8,000.00 for it! Not bad for a not so nice sewing cabinet that I gave to my friend because I didn't really like it when it came! I still have the machine and the offer still stands...in fact he still emails me and asks how his machine is doing....and would I sell it if he ups the ante?! How is that for dumb luck?!

    Sue n.e. Ohio

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  34. I want to thank you, Bonnie, for being you. I organize my books by genre: applique, pieced, specialized (thread play, etc.) When I worked in a library a customer came in the children's room and asked for the silver book. Honest to God, that's what she said. Miraculously I found the one she wanted b/c she said it was about a trumpet. LOL

  35. Don't you feel sort of wonderful when you rescue one of of these vintage darlings? I happen to like my 301 far better than my featherweights. They do make a lovely stitch and that slanted needle does help. They have a cute factor going for them also. Mine is black and gorgeous, her name is Obsidian - classy name for a classy machine.
    Love your room, it reminds me of mine except I don't have the fireplace. But I do have the long arm..

  36. Love Freckles.
    The black bookcase looks great.

  37. Bonnie, you sure bring back memories with your new machine. My mother bought this machine for HERSELF on MY 16th birthday in 1956 - the same year your's was made! My present that year was a folding 2' x 5' table to use as a cutting table. I was also given permission to use her machine when she wasn't using it. I was given this machine when she bought herself one of the first Touch-N-Sew Singers. I used it for many, many years sewing for our 3 girls and 2 boys. I believe my oldest daughter still has this machine as a backup machine now.

  38. I organize my books kinda by both genre and author. Genre first (fiction, science fiction/fantasy, nonfiction, school books - which may/may not include most of the non fiction I have.

    In each category - particularly in fiction categories - I go by author. Same for much of non-fiction - although I subdivide my homeschool books down even further by mathematics, science, etc. - and social studies by each area being studied done chronologically - then alphabetically by author (ie, Social studies, mesopotamia, author's name).

    Sounds like overkill - BUT I have more than 10,000 (yup - ten thousand!)books overall - and I have to do SOMETHING in order to find what I want WHEN I want! NO Dewey Decimal system however - I hate that!

  39. I would say category first (applique, paper piecing, scrap busters, pre-cuts, general patchwork) and then by author's last name. Alternatively, I sort mine by category and then by size so the smallest books are in the center of the shelf and the largest on the outside where the most support is.


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