Friday, March 07, 2014

While Ice Storms Rage ---

Studio_March2014 017
It started raining ice last evening as darkness fell.

Roads are treacherous –and I listened to the ice crystals pound the house through fitful sleep all through the night – finally pulling myself out of bed at 5:30 am.

It looks like there is snow on the ground – but it’s all ice pellets.

My internet is down also, so I am typing on my laptop, barely hanging on to the signal coming from the hotspot on my cell phone, a hot mug of tea at the ready.  What a doozy of a winter 2014 has been!

I am supposed to have Shamu, my van worked on today – routine maintenance, but there is no way I’ll be able to drive there by 10am, so as as soon as they are open, I’ll call and reschedule for maybe later this afternoon if this stuff is going to clear up.

There is also no way that Tonya is leaving this morning for Augusta, Ga!  Not until the ice storm passes….Dang! I guess she’ll have to stay and sew some more!

See these three black and yellow tubs?  Guess what arrived home?  My QUILTS from my new book, More Adventures with Leaders & Enders!  YAY!!

Everything is going on schedule with the printing.  I leave on the 11th for the wilds of Kentucky, and I hope to have the website ready to accept pre-orders by the time I head out that morning ---I’ll work on that this weekend, so be watching for that post.  I’ll  be giving you a trunk show of what quilts are in the new book!

I want to share with you a lovely story from Norma and her beautiful machine named Ruby!

She writes:

Dear Bonnie,
I'm new to your site - I love what I see, and reading your posts inspires me! Your site combines two loves of mine - reading and sewing!
I read what you posted about the lovely Singer treadle gifted to you, and it inspired me. I have a neighbor who brings me "lost" sewing machines when he finds them. He brought me one in an old case. I opened the case, and could have cried for the condition of the machine. She was an oldie, I think she may have been a treadle that someone electrified - then left sit in a very damp place. I could not face the destruction of the machine, so I closed the case and put her under my cutting table.
When I read about your "new" treadle, I went out in my shop and pulled out the case, and brought Ruby out in daylight again. I removed her light and her motor, the motor has completely bare wires so until I get that taken care of, I can't try running it.
Her front slide plate had been opened about 1/2", and rusted solid in that position. So I carefully bumped the slide plates loose with hammer and screwdriver, being careful not to ding them.
Ruby's whole underside and the corners of her bed were blooming with orange rust. I spent all morning carefully wire-brushing rust from Ruby's undies, took out her feed dog- it was solid with lint and gunk.
Birthday & Ruby 022

 I carefully cleaned and brushed for hours, even her mechanism inside her head was rust-covered.I carefully disassembled and cleaned her tension, it was filthy! 
I had other plans for the afternoon - so it was evening before I got back to Ruby. I continued cleaning, then oiled her up - that's when I found that Ruby - along with the scrolls and flowers in her decals- has several unicorns in the design!
I have never seen unicorns on a sewing machine before! I went to move her to a different side of my cutting table where the light is better to take pics, and it dawned on me (duh!) that after all the cleaning and oiling, I could actually try sewing on her! (Silly me!)
Ruby has a shuttle bobbin. I threaded her up, got a piece of fabric, and that lovely abused girl stitched perfectly the first time! I was ecstatic!!! I have no idea what company made Ruby, but on her front slide plate is "Patented June 29, 1897". 
Do any of your followers have any info on where Ruby came from? She does have a serial # on the back of her base.
Birthday & Ruby 028

 And here is a picture of one of the lovely unicorns that were hiding in plain sight the entire time I worked on her!

Here is a pic of her bed decals, see the unicorn bottom left:
Birthday & Ruby 025
Now I have another treadle sewing machine head to clean up; a machine in a cabinet that is very sad that was given to me by a friend who moved away; and my grandma's old electric in its cabinet to clean and get to know.
Thank you so much for the inspiration! Rainy weather always makes me want to stay home and sew, happy stitching! 
I am hoping some of my readers ((Allison, are you out there?)) can help Norma identify her Ruby machine.  Isn't she a beauty?!
Now wish me luck as I use the two little bars on my phone to try to upload this post and get it posted via laptop ---it seems the homes all around us are without power, so I am really glad that we at least have power on!  The hubster is up and starting a fire in the living room fireplace just in case our power goes out next.
And if it does, I’ll be introducing Tonya to the joys of string piecing by hand crank!
Stay warm everyone ----

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  1. Stay warm Bonnie. I hope your power stays on.
    I'm enjoying watching your string blocks grow. I have a big mess of strings I need to get to also.

  2. Your post made it to NS. Can.! Such a great little machine. Be safe! Ice roads are the worst!

  3. I hope all your ice melts quickly. I hope to see you in the wilds of Kentucky next week. We're really not that wild..."reality" TV shows just make us look that way. LOL!

  4. Dear Bonnie,
    I hope the weather is getting better over there and you and your family will be fine. Here in Germany (Stuttgart), the winter didn't come at all! We had once oder twice snow and this weekend, there will be about +20°C!!!
    A really lovely story and I hope, Norma will get the info.
    Greentings from Germany, Rike

  5. While I hope your power does not go out, I hope you are 'stranded' in the house for one more fun day of stitching with Tonya. Stay safe.

  6. The "Ruby" machine is beautiful! Glad she found a good home. Speaking of home, New Home made a Ruby treadle. Wonder if that's it?

  7. It really has been a weather filled winter. While we in Northern Ontario Canada expect it...I am sure it has been very different for you folks in the south!
    Norma has a gem of a machine. Thanks to you I think many of these gems will be saved from never working again and brought to the forefront of our sewing rooms. Thanks Bonnie!!!

  8. Bonnie we got 7 inches of sleet last Sunday and it is still around. Good luck if you venture out out cause when it packs down it is just a solid dheet of ice. Stay safe.

  9. Bonnie we got 7 inches of sleet last Sunday and it is still around. Good luck if you venture out out cause when it packs down it is just a solid dheet of ice. Stay safe.

  10. Sorry about the double post.

  11. What a beautiful machine. So glad it has been lovingly restored. Keep warm and carry on sewing.

  12. Since a lot of us Bonniacs are hungering to get our hands on your new book, which way supports you the most? Ordering thru Amazon, or ordering directly from you? Or does it even matter?

  13. Glad you are all safe inside when it is so bad outside. You should design a quilt to memorialize this winter; you could call it "Never-ending Winter 2014". Hope you don't go without electricity. That is always a bummer. Loved viewing the scrappy strings and Tonya's quilt. Neat little quilt!

  14. Sounds toasty and calm in your cabin - with a wonderful treadle quilting day ahead.

    Can't wait for the Quilt Show you will give us soon. It might sound a tad silly, but relax and enjoy this day. All will be well.

    Smiles to you,

  15. Sounds toasty and calm in your cabin - with a wonderful treadle quilting day ahead.

    Can't wait for the Quilt Show you will give us soon. It might sound a tad silly, but relax and enjoy this day. All will be well.

    Smiles to you,

  16. Stay warm and safe, Bonnie.
    in regard to Ruby....I'm betting
    that if she joins the Treadleon yahoo group she will find the info that she needs. Those folks know everything about people powered machines.

  17. Anonymous10:15 AM EST

    Hi Bonnie, The Ruby was made by New Home in the late 192s. If you can find the serial number, you can get an exact date of manufacture here - http://www.ismacs.net/newhome/manufacture_dates.html. Here is a picture of the warranty from the Smithsonian - http://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/Trade-Literature/Sewing-Machines/NMAHTEX/0723/imagepages/image1.htm The history of New Home is here - http://www.ismacs.net/newhome/the_men_behind_new_home_a_history.html And you can get a reprint of the manual here - http://www.tias.com/173/PictPage/3923763440.html

    1. Wow. Awesome resources. This is great info for all of us.

  18. Anonymous10:19 AM EST

    The Ruby model machine was made by New Home in the 1920s. History of New HOme is here - http://www.ismacs.net/newhome/the_men_behind_new_home_a_history.html . Here is a picture of the warranty page from the Smithsonian - http://www.sil.si.edu/DigitalCollections/Trade-Literature/Sewing-Machines/NMAHTEX/0723/imagepages/image1.htm. You can get a reprint of the manual here - http://www.tias.com/173/PictPage/3923763440.html. If you have a serial number, you can date the machine here - http://www.ismacs.net/newhome/manufacture_dates.html Hope that helps!

  19. Sorry to hear that you are having bad weather Bonnie, we had 6" of snow here yesterday, but that is nothing compared to an ice storm, that is just nasty and treacherous to walk or drive on.
    Hope your weather gets better soon and that spring comes early for the entire country.
    Congrats on your new book, I just read your post from awhile back where you mentioned the new book and showed a preview of the front and back cover, I am looking forward to the trunk show to see what's in your new book. Thanks again for all you do for all us quilters, enjoy your day!!

  20. Anonymous10:24 AM EST

    Sorry for the double post! If you are interested,I have a brief history of sewing machines on my blog -

  21. I almost get giddy on icy snowy days...means free sew day to me!! with no guilt. Nothing I love better than sewing by the fire. I do have to keep my fingers crossed the electricity stays on...no treadle lives in my basement yet but I'm hopeful. I just missed out on a chance to have my grandmother's...broke my heart they sold it at auction before I could get there. :( Is ok...I will find one. OH and the Ruby is so awesome!!! Hope Tonya stays warm LOL! Her bare tootsies might need to borrow some socks. LOL!

  22. Stay A W A Y from that ice!!!
    There is a wonderful FB group called "Vintage Sewing Machines" that has lots and lots of friendly informative posts about machine revival.
    Janet in WA

  23. Bonnie here is the manual for Ruby!

  24. What a wonderful story about Ruby. Take care and try to make the best out of this horrible weather.

  25. How wonderful the "Ruby" is I see several have found her origins and even a manual! Wow have fun with the strings .

  26. The Ruby is beautiful! I meant to ask earlier- I know with antiques, they advise not to do any cleaning or refinishing that would damage the patina of the piece, which I would assume on a sewing machine would be the case with the decals, but what of the chrome pieces, the pieces that can rust? Would it ruin the value of the piece if you took some rust cleaner and removed the rust and made it all shiny again? I don't know if sewing machines are collected for their monetary value, I would presume from what I've seen that they are "collected" to be used occasionally...just wondering.

  27. Anonymous2:42 PM EST

    It's lovely here, sunny, warm about 80....come on back to Arizona!

  28. You are just like the postman(or what used to be). Rain,sleet,snow or power failure will never stop you from your appointed rounds or sewing. Grab those hand cranks and keep on sewing.
    The story of Ruby is encouraging me to go back to a gifted machine that I got last fall. It is a rusted mess and I was unable to find anything about it. Its an Excelsior D -Wright Mann treadle. I searched all the typical sites and ask on Treadleon and never heard from anyone. I found some bare minimum info about it online and know it came from England around the turn of the century. To see how Ruby looked after some clean up gives me hope.

  29. Oh my Ruby is just Beautiful! I'm glad the delivery man got through with your precious cargo totes. I'll be watchign for the pictures of the quilts int he book. I know I've seen one of them. Hoping still to get my Midnight Flight done this year. Next week is a year since the Block Party. I am sew glad I went!
    Hope the weather clears and power is returned to full capacity.

  30. That machine looks very sweet. I giggled that you called Norma, "Normal." No one would call me that!

  31. Thank you to everyone who commented on Ruby - but my Ruby is NOT a New Home Ruby, the machines look nothing alike. My Ruby has a front tension assembly with the discs and spring, and the needlecase is different. If you look at the pictures of the New Home Ruby, you can tell they are not the same machine. But I do appreciate the information. Keep on stitching!


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