At Plum Loco Ranch, Door County, WI.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My mother's obssession...err hobby.

My mother "collects" sewing machines.  At last count my step dad said she has over 40!  Does she use them?  Mostly, yes she does get one out here and there to make sure it works.  She has certain things she likes to do on certain machines.  She doesn't embroider and she doesn't quilt - she's a seamtress.  I say that now b/c she's been doing alterations for years and always makes something for the county fair.

Now, my mom will tell you that she's a collector and that most of the machines have been given to her.  I don't quite buy that.  I remember when she tells me that she bought a third, yes she has three, Singer 401 on eBay and travelled to northern Illinois, almost to Iowa, to pick it up.  She has three 301s and a Montgomery Ward "featherweight" (not sure if it was called that or if it's just a teeny, tiny machine) and about 4 treadles and too many for me to list.  She has been given several b/c people will tell her that the machine doesn't work.  Mom takes them home and works on them and adjusts tensions, etc. and viola!. they work.  Over the summer her repairman, who has to FL a few years ago, came back to Indiana for a family visit and spent a day at my mom's house servicing machines.  How many people do you know who has a repairman that does house calls?!
Mom also gets cabinets and has one of these FW tables.  She once got a 301 b/c she saw a cabinet sitting beside the road.

Sew, for Christmas I always find it hard to buy for Mom.  I tried to get a last minute quilt but just ran out of time with our travelling schedule - that will be for Mother's Day.  Somewhere in our discussions I must have gotten curious about something Mom said and ran across the International Sewing Machine Collector's Society web page and bookmarked it.  With time ticking away and no books at the chain stores about sewing machines or the history of sewing on the shelves, I bought her a membership.  What was I thinking about a quilt - she loved it and immediately checked out the web site. 

Then, she moved to Craig's List in our area, of course.  She says there are lots of good buys in our area.  Mom knows a good buy - she found a Singer 301 in its original case with all attachments at a flea market for $10!  My step dad said she paid for it and practically ran to the truck and locked it up!  I borrowed it while mine was in the shop - sweet little machine that I might have tried to talk her out of if my MIL hadn't given me the featherweight.  I refuse to "collect" more than I can use (and Mom has given me 3 Vikings, so the FW makes 4 - that's enough).

Back to Craig's List - she found Singers, another 401 and another 301.  Sew, yesterday I picked this up - no attachments and no stool, only a dusty little machine in a cute cabinet that needs a bit of sandpaper and varnish.  It runs!

Sorry for the quality but it is raining here and despite being next to the window it is DARK.  You can't really see how the leaf turns and almost makes a corner cabinet.

This isn't the first time I've been Mom's pick up service.  Before Thanksgiving she found a 221/FW on Craig's List in the city.  That one didn't run but she's working on it - I think she has two others in her stash of machines!  I have seen her turn down machines - I was amazed!


  1. I guess I need to comb craiglist for a new machine. Mine is very basic, only two stitches. Also it is newer and all plastic. The part that holds the needle breaks often because of the walking foot. I have a machine in lay away but it will be quite a long time before I can get it out. Perhaps I can find something to get my buy on Craigslist!

  2. What beautiful machines! I can only dream to someday own a featherweight!


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