It's long and difficult to explain, but the bloggy silence around these parts hasn't been for lack of subject matter - rather there are back end things involving our web servers and the FreeBSD they runs them that means all my blogs are quite crippled to work with, and editing anything large scale is quite difficult. Not impossible, but enough of a hassle to change that I haven't been posting.
Never fear, though, because that Honey-Do project is floating to the top of the heap and has to be dealt with sooner than later. And in the meantime I've been taking lots and lot of pictures, just waiting to put together blogs to accompany them.
And this brings me to the subject of this post - one of the (many) machines I have the pleasure of calling my own is a beautiful White Family Rotary treadle sewing machine, in a quarter sawn oak parlor cabinet (circa 1917, with thanks to Katie Farmer for helping me nail that down). I got her off of Craigslist for a song, after stalking the listings for months looking for a treadle machine or hand crank that wasn't ridiculously overpriced and in horrible condition. On that note, I actually just missed a handcrank machine today that sold moments before I was able to email the seller. It was the first I'd seen in six months of stalking listings and priced right, in excellent condition. I didn't weep.... I just really wanted to.
The White - I have become acquainted with an amazing group of online people-powered sewing machine hobbyists in a group called TreadleOn. They're helping me to overcome my big fear of quilting by suckering me into to particating in a block exchange, with the blocks being made on our fully functional antique wonders. Now, I'm intrepid about my quilting skills at the best of times, but one persistent issue I've had with my White Family Rotary is that my stitches seem to all have a slight skew to them, which I didn't think was typical for a straight-stitch machine. But my standard of comparison are mechanical marvels like my 158.1601 Kenmore, Necchi Supernova BU, Pfaff 360, and other incredible zigzaggers. A rotary lockstitcher may well produce a straight stitch of a slightly different character than these newer machines (all are from 1950-1970).
So I consulted the wise Onions, as they call themselves, to point me in the direction of what 'proper' stitching from these treadles looks like. That way I know if mine is doing just fine, or I'm missing some adjustment or gremlin in the works that needs fixing. In the last year I've gotten very adept at tinkering with vintage machines and do believe I got my lovely White degummed, lubricated, threaded, and adjusted for the correct tension. But every machine I have is wildly different in terms of specific threading paths and characteristics. Yes, they all operate on the same basic principle and go about making a stitch in roughly the same fashion (with some variation) but I could very well be missing something obvious and thus need some help from other eyes more experienced with treadles, to let me know if I'm on the right path.
So before I make a dozen blocks and ship them out to unsuspecting individuals whose final product is depending on MY precision and skill *gulp*, I went ahead and made a few sample stitches with two different threads, at the behest of Beth, the wonderful and helpful host of this exchange.
Aaaaand so the explanation for this blog is simple, despite my longwindedness. With the back end of my blog messed up and barely working, I cannot edit my sidebars to display links, albums, etc. So until this is fixed, for my own records and the ease of anyone gracious enough to help me with my stitch issue (if there is one), I'm posting the link to the album that SHOULD be in my sidebar but isn't, so it can be found easily at a later date. Because I have LOTS of machines needing documenting and photo shoots, I'm potentially getting into selling some reproduction parts, and quite frankly the more information passed around about these machines the better.
taryl | General | 24 April, 7:29am
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