Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Accomplishing of Little to Nothing -

This was my day yesterday -

I had  hoped to tune up some machines in the hopes for finding new adoptive parents for them.

Five machines came up with me from Wallburg on Sunday – I grabbed the 5 that I thought would be easy enough to get going.

It was a day of fits and starts, and disappointments as one by one each machine had something so wrong with it that I was unable to get ANY of them going. 

This 15 with the potted motor?  Something is wrong with the motor and I don’t do electrical.  It stitches SO SLOWLY even after oiling it a bunch and letting it sit.  It seemed to go SLOWER the longer I tried to get it go. SIGH.

Which means – as it is a potted motor (Gear driven, no belt) If I want it to work it needs to go to the fix-it guy, and that’s going to cost me at least $75.00  if not more to bring it up to the point where I can re-home it to someone else.

I’m thinking this one needs to be a parts donor.  Come to think of it – wasn’t this machine given to me for parts anyway?  I couldn’t remember. It’s a pity.  She is a beauty.  I may at some point just take her in and get her fixed – but as far as having her on hand for one of my Quiltvillians to adopt?  Nope.

There was a 1970s singer reproduction of a class 15 that wouldn’t run either.  In fact, I don’t think it ever had been used.  It was a “collectors” item.  It is completely frozen up – parts donor?  I can glean the bobbin case and bobbins, tension assembly, spool pin, motor and foot pedal, assorted nuts/bolts/screws – but that machine was made in Taiwan and was more of a looker than a sew-er.

This one was a toss up as to what to do with it.  Click to Play:

It’s a sweet Diplomat – the decals are pretty, and while the bobbin winder works well, she doesn’t sew worth beans.  LOL!  I think I bought her because she was cute as all get out.

And she will continue to be cute – on top of a book shelf at Quiltville Inn where everyone else can say “Isn’t she cute?!”  But I can’t sell her – unless someone wants her just for display.

One machine needs the electrical completely redone.

Another – a Necchi BF – works perfectly, but the whole bobbin/belt guard mechanism is missing.  I think I adopted it as-is hoping to find parts at some point.  It works great as long as you can wind  bobbins another way – but I’m not up to re-homing that without a bobbin winder and belt guard.

It’s not a total loss – I have made the decision to get these 5 non-working machines OUT of the machine fleet and either parted out or displayed.  The next batch I bring up here will be better.

And it still tugs at my heart – these sweet machines who should be sewing but aren’t.

And while I was at it -

I tried to solve this mystery!

The manual that came with the machine that you can just barely see the decals on – says it is a SINGER IF (Improved Family) or VS2.  I thought the VS2’s had fiddle bases – but whatever.

When I adopted a treadle from Charlotte Angotti last spring it came missing a slide plate.  I assumed the machine was a 27 -

It turns out the 27  slide plate does not FIT Charlotte’s machine – but the one I borrowed from the IF does fit.  So is Charlotte’s machine also an IF – just with Sphinx decals?

This fits.

The one for the 27 only slides in this far.

So I am in search of a FRONT slide plate for an IF (VS1 or VS2?) that looks just like the one above that fits.  instead of the hole, it has a fingernail indentation for sliding it out – and the embossing on the front. 

I’m putting this out there in case anyone just happens to have one.  You never know! 

This one – no belt!

This one received parts from another donor machine (Another given to me – and I grabbed the spool pin off of the donor machine, and also the face plate – (I should have taken a before and after photo!) and it is ready for a maiden voyage, but the belt in the machine was for the IF and was way too loose for this baby as the IF is a taller machine. 

I ordered more belting – but where is it? At the cabin not here.  I’ll pick it up on the next trip.

It was just a “dead in the water” kind of day for vintage machines all the way around.  Some days are like that.  But I did get to give the machines some love – and we move forward from here.

Please tell me I’m not the only one heartbroken over machines that don’t work!

This was this past weekend while I was on my way to Bedford -

The snow was falling with such big flakes – you can see them in the photo.  I thought this might make a great Christmas card photo for next year.

Today is a day for making all ready for the Sisters of the Stash who are arriving tomorrow – They are coming from Missouri, Kentucky, and even Boston!

The cleaners are here doing what cleaners do – and that is working out well.

One small batch of mail to go out, and then I’ll be playing in my studio here letting them do their thing.

I keep flip flopping between the Tulip blocks (SPRING! SPRING! SPRING!) and the Sugar Loaf blocks (FUN FUN FUN!) and can’t seem to light on any one project because my mind is in such a whirl with all that is going on.

The sun is shining – Time to get to it!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

You will never be happy if you are only seeing yourself through the eyes of others who are not you.

Know your worth! Your self-esteem is between you and yourself only.

Self esteem starts where comparison stops.

Enjoy your Wednesday!


  1. I do appreciate your blog and look forward every day to whats happening in your quilty world. The photo of the Quiltville Inn with the snow would make an amazing Christmas card!

  2. I do love all the things you do. I use to refere to you AS my mentor and sewing guru ha ha. Have a Nice day😊

  3. I am also heartbroken when beautiful vintage machines can't be repaired.
    Hope you have a wonderful day sewing up the scraps!
    That snowy photo would make a lovely Christmas card!

  4. Love the photo of the snow, definitely Christmas Card worthy...and a good one for "Winter at the Inn", now for the other 3 seasons.....

  5. I am really loving the combination of the tulip blocks and the shoo fly shoo blocks. Very cute! Thanks for all you do.....

  6. I think I have the faceplate you need, should I email a picture?

    1. Yes please! I am unable to reply to you by email as your email address is not associated with our comment - it comes back as "no reply blogger".

  7. Beautiful snow photo of the Inn. Yes for a Christmas Card. Also how abut a wall in the Inn of the same photo position of framed photos in each season. I enjoy your postings.

  8. I have a 128 that some friends gave me. (I have them collecting machines for me now, apparently!) I usually go through them right away, but this one has sat for months now, dang. I need to get at it! Your post is pushing me there! At least if they sit on my shelf, I know they have been oiled and work, but I hate when they just sit. I have a couple treadles in our cabin that need to be gone through, and I HATE IT that I haven’t been able to get it them! (No heat and then summers have been too busy!) I do have to make them a priority...some of mine will have to go too...😫 They are my babies. I hate getting rid of them!

    1. I wish I lived close enough to give a good home to one of your treadles, I just love them, not too easy to get them here in South Africa unfortunately

  9. Dear Bonnie, Thanks to an old quilt cam that I was watching last winter I decided I just had to have a black 301 . It has become my absolute favorite to piece on. Though it is the first machine that I have encountered that will not stitch correctly with any sort of 3 ply thread on the top. Fortunately I am not limited to polyester as Aurofil is only 2 ply!Thank you for all I have learned from you about vintage machines! Alice Woodring

  10. That photo would be perfect as a Christmas card!! Sorry those machines seem to say use my parts!!

  11. I had a model 15 that was slow to sew as well. Cleaned, oiled, lubed and STILL ran really slow. Sold it to someone who said they would take a crack at fixing it. No idea how that worked out.

  12. Bonnie, on that 15-91--you might try releasing the clutch and running the machine slowly while heating the motor with a hair dryer. Can't hurt, and it might help.

  13. I love these old work horses! Buying a used Memory Craft from a friend. They just are so much better than these new plastic ones!!

  14. Keeping some working machines at Quiltville Inn as loaners might be a good idea. For the machines that decide to be difficult and for the quilters who just bring their machine on an aeroplane.
    I’d love to join a retreat there.... but even if I did bring my machine, it would not work over there as USA has different voltage to Australia. So there is no point to even putting it on my wish list... :-(

    1. Everyone has suggestions on "you might want to do..." but no one considers the extra work it brings me to keep machines cleaned, oiled, new needle, sewing ready - often with just a day in between one group leaving and another arriving. My local sewing machine guy doesn't have time or ability to add my machines to his list. I can keep a couple on hand in case someone's gives up the ghost in the middle of a retreat, but I don't want to offer machines on a regular basis because of the work and expense of keeping them running.

  15. Eh, Mercury is retrograde until early March making this an inauspicious time for working on machinery. Come back to them in a couple of weeks and no doubt they will purr. So says this old hippie anyway.

  16. So sad the pretty machine are not workinff as you hoped but I’m sure the next batch will be better.
    The last picture of the IF is beautiful I hope you can solve the mystery.
    Your snowy photo will be a wonderful Christmas card, have a great day with your stitching really looking forward to seeing your sho fly shoo blocks become a top.
    I had great success yesterday with my frolic got the 25 pinwheel blocks completed and the first 3 partial blocks I’m loving the raspberry pin wheels.
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  17. Bonnie, if that beautiful machine is parts worthy only, it would be a great lamp for the Inn.

  18. i had to chuckle over your sentence "Please tell me I’m not the only one heartbroken over machines that don’t work!" a few years ago, my husqvarna #1+ just stopped. i took it to my dealer who tried to fix it then sent it to the husqvarna headquarters in tennessee. it could not be repaired. i nearly cried. maybe i did cry. i kept telling myself "it's just a thing. it's just a thing." i am still heartbroken when i think about it. i loved that machine.

  19. Your photo of Quiltville would also make a great blank note card. I think that there would be a market for for them at the Inn and in the store. Note cards showing the Inn in each season would be lovely.

    1. What a great idea, Buttonflower!! And seasonals would be great. (Bonnie, what about offering them online for those of us who won't get to you?) Although I think the Christmas/Winter one should have a quilt on the rail. Come to think of it, each of them should! I'm always on the lookout for nice blank cards.

  20. Love the picture of the Inn, a Christmas card!

  21. Heartbroken, yes. Just took a donated Red and White - White machine to my repair man. It was frozen and try as he might, he sadly could not break it loose. He was as heartbroken as me, as he had never seen one in these colors. Hopefully all that metal will go to make something new and useful. Alas, nothing lasts forever.

  22. I know you may feel like you did not get much accomplished, but I see it as you know more about the machines you love and are taking inventory and know what you need to do a few machines at a time before you downsize. You post are always so interesting and fun.

  23. Do you collect Singer attachments from the 40s / 50s? The hemstitcher.the buttonholer. the zigzag-er. In their original boxes with instructins as well. They are from my Mother's sewing room - may or may not ever been used.
    I am 85 and paring down my quilt room.but can't bear to toss these in the trash.

    1. There is quite a market for these attachments. You should check on selling them on E-Bay!

  24. Love the picture of the house in the snow. Agree it would make a glorious Christmas card.

  25. Bonnie, On the 15-91, have you tried a hairdryer to soften the grease in the motor? Try a replacement controller. Check that nothing is binding in all of the areas you can get access to.
    The diplomat is so simple, there is no reason it should not work. It just needs time, which I know you don't have. If it is electrical, I would change it to a handcrank, if all else fails.
    I am an hour south of Knoxville and pass that way up 81 often, but on scheduled trips, not much wiggle time.
    Maybe, I can stop by sometime and take a look. Please, please do not part out.

  26. Oh Bonnie I feel you about recalcitrant machines. A couple of months ago I rehomed a machine through a local Freecycle want ad and went through six, maybe seven machines before I finally just tuned up and sent the early nineties Singer I used up until about two years ago. I know darn well I can get every last one of the machines I tried (all Kenmores) up to speed but I was on deadline and it was just one little thing after another. Sometimes you just have to set the problem children aside for another snow day and take a breather. (One machine just needed the buttonhole attachment plate and I found that on ebay, so now there is one more machine that can go out the door.)

  27. Could it be the foot pedal on that potted motor machine? I have had that happen and it ended up being the foot pedal wires (inside the pedal) were crossed.

  28. If you are coming to AR, I would be happy to take the non working 201 & the one that needs electrical. Just saying!

  29. Your house looks beautiful in the snow.

  30. Dear, Dear Bonnie: I wish I had your knowledge of all these vintage machines. I recently acquired an 1881 Singer Sphynx machine (the serial number tells me it is 1881). By Phone, the Singer company was not sure if it is a model 15 or model 27. The sewing machine shop in Soldotna called yesterday and said it is ready to come home. It has had a thorough cleaning, oiling and gone through w/ a fine tooth comb. She has a new belt and spool pin. I still need a manual, and I hope Jessie can tell me the model number, as well as get me extra bobbins and needles. I am anxious to get her home to try her out. Now I have to clean the area where she will reside.

    It took years to find one up here, now several have shown up in the last couple of months! Go figure!

    Kasilof, AK
    Where the sun is shining today, it is cold, but not brutal.

  31. Bonnie, I was also working on fixing up machines today! Mine thankfully is going well, while I can't say from reading/seeing your Instagram post why the others aren't working -- your 15 with potted motor just sounds like it need new motor brushes. You can actually get those pretty cheaply at a number of parts stores, and replace fairly easily. (Added note, it's not too much of electrical ;) )

  32. Added note, Donna those attachments are always lovely to have on hand -- I'm a vintage machine lover, and can tell you I'm still on the hunt for a couple of those decently priced! It's incredibly kind on so many levels to offer them to Bonnie for use or display, as well as just to keep your mom's memory alive!

  33. Barbara, Fayetteville, NY
    A friend sent this to me. Very interesting. I love the vintage machines and have a 221 Singer and a 401 Singer. They are special.

  34. I too need to spend a day or two working on machines, I need to get all mine working for when the grandkids visit, I have enough for each grandkid to have one to see in!
    I am teaching them all how to see and quilt, boys and girls
    My machines are different ages, all but the quilter are considered vintage


Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you? Without ads, this blog would not be possible.

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog every day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)