One May day I was idly browsing through Facebook and came across an advert on my local free site. It was a very sad looking sewing machine. I carried on past but it was still there later on in the day and my interest was piqued. I thought it looked pretty old because it was small, it was calling to me, and it would look good all cleaned up in my craft room. I messaged the lady and picked it up the next day. It was extremely heavy, covered in dust, and came with a few spiders in the case.
When I got it home I put it in the garden and (if you know anything about Vintage Sewing Machines put your fingers in your ears at this point) and washed it down with some mild washing up liquid and hot water. I left it in the sun to dry and did a quick google, and learnt some things, mainly that you should NEVER put water near something that is made cast iron, it will make it rust and the paint work drop off. I am pleased to say that neither happened to my machine. The crank handle was only just moving so Master Clicky gave me a hand and we oiled and cleaned the innards. Over several days it began to move more freely. According to websites there was a serial number that I could look up, which I duly did. I was astonished to learn that this Singer 12K dated from 1883. People were still wearing bustles, long skirts and hats then! It was 136 years old.
It has a boat shuttle, rather than a round bobbin, which I have never come across before and I began to wonder whether I could actually sew with it.
I joined a Singer group on Facebook and was met with comments like 'you lucky thing' and 'whoa'. They explained how to clean
it her with sewing machine oil on the main body and chrome cleaner for the metal parts and she was soon sparkling again. They also told me that all sewing machines had to have names so I have named her Janet after my (long dead) aunt; a bit stroppy but likes sewing. She is a bit temperamental but does sew, with a lovely neat stitch. Some of the decals are worn off but that just shows how much she has been used over her 136 years.
I had had the best time getting this piece of history working again so kept a lazy eye on Facebook Marketplace to see what else was around.
A week or so later, this popped up. It was £22 and, happily, fairly close to a very dear friend of mine. I dropped her a message and she said of course she'd pick it up.
After the same cleaning and oiling she was looking pretty, this one had mother of pearl inlay. Records for this machine we harder to find. I thought she was European because she had a centimetre ruler inlayed in the base. It turns out it is a German machine probably dating to 1900 or a bit a later. On the shuttle cover it says 'American Sewing Machine Company'. Relationships with Germany around that time were getting frosty so these machines were made to look anything but German.
She is called Gladys after the seller's Aunt who owned her. I was about to getting sewing on her when.........
I found this Singer, round the corner from my brother and sister in law's house, for £5.00. Had to be done. This is a Singer 28k dated to 1892. It was left in a house that the seller bought and he just wanted rid of it. By now I was getting good at cleaning and lubricating. She's been called Ivy and even more well used than Janet.
I've actually used her to sew a quilt too. I used Mr Clicky's old shirts, which I've been amassing for a while. This is a massive learning curve for me, not having done much quilting. The machine is lovely to use, she makes little hiccups every few stitches and has the added quirk of the end of the crank handle falling off if you're not careful.
Lastly I bought an Essex toy sewing machine. This is tiny and sews a chain stitch with a single thread. Called Dot she belonged to the mother of the lady I bought it from. It has the original receipt dated 1953. She owned a knitting shop although she preferred sewing; apparently all the wool for the shop was stored in her daughter's bedroom.
That's me for now, see you soon........Clicky Needles.
P.S. I have my new laptop and still couldn't comment on either my own or other people's blogs. With some Googling I have discovered that this is an Apple v Google issue. I am now using Chrome rather than Safari as my browser and all is resolved.