Monday, February 15, 2016

This Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think It Is

I love sentimentality but I have to admit that it can be a problem sometimes. Some months ago - no, actually more like a couple of years ago - I was in an antique shop and saw a treadle and cabinet, without the machine, just like mine (which you can also see in the picture below) except that it was in much better condition - in near perfect condition, actually. I was tempted. I actually do sew on my antique and the peeling veneer and rough spots can be a problem functionally. It would be nice to have a nice cabinet. But then I thought, "It's my grandmother's machine. I can't swap the cabinet; I can't do anything to change it." So I let it go and I sort of regretted that I passed up the chance to get a nice cabinet but at the same time was glad I didn't because, "I can't do anything to my grandmother's machine."

Well, feeling like I shouldn't let sentimentality rule me, yesterday I somewhat hesitantly bought this:

The treadle and cabinet are a different style from my grandmother's machine but the top, the machine itself, is the same. But see, here's the thing. From poking around on the Internet trying to figure out what model it is, I have pretty much come to the conclusion that my grandmother's machine was put together from parts of two different machines. It also has some small missing parts and there is a lot of play in the treadle because it has been "repaired" using a non-original part.

Something I've always sort of felt guilty about because of sentimentality is that I've always wished I had a prettier machine. I wish it still had the decals and I have always liked the style of cabinet and treadle like the one I bought yesterday. But it's my grandmother's machine and I'm supposed to love it and never want anything else. I actually do love it but still, that doesn't keep me from guilty wishing. I don't think my grandmother would mind at all. I once heard her say she didn't even particularly like this machine. Before it she had a different one, a different brand, not a Singer, that she liked better but it stopped working and she bought the one I have now. Later a sewing machine repairman told her that old machines can always be fixed and she really regretted not keeping her other machine. I was pretty young when I heard her talk about this and I can't remember what brand she said the other machine was. But anyway, it's not about whether or not she would mind; it's about having and using the same machine she used and having that connection.

The machine I bought yesterday is in sad condition. The treadle is rusty but it moves smoothly. The machine still has the decals but its parts are also rusty and when I try to turn the wheel it barely moves. Nothing a tanker load of WD-40 couldn't fix, I'm sure. The cabinet is in worse condition than I thought at first. The center tilt out "drawer" is missing. The bottom piece - I don't know what you call it - is coming apart. The veneer hasn't actually peeled off as badly as on my other machine but yet, it looks more dried out, like it could easily peel off.

I'm still considering what to do. At first I thought I might just swap out the treadle but it won't fit the other cabinet. I would have to swap both cabinet and treadle. But what if I could get this machine working? Why bother to swap anything? Why not just repair and use it? But what about my grandmother's machine? My grandmother's sewing machine! Well, do you see the problem?

One thought I have had is that I might use one of these old machines as a stand for my electric machine since I normally just set it on the dining table when I use it. It doesn't really have a place.

The machine I bought yesterday also had this stuff in one of the drawers. I have no idea what any of it is or how to use it but I'm sure it could be useful.

UPDATE: Just realized something. The two machines are not exactly the same. The bobbin filler is the same but the tensioner is in a different place. Funny how sometimes it takes a while to see the obvious.

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