Musical machines

Think Chinese fire drill. With sewing machines. But let me back up.

I collect old sewing machines. I've lost count and perhaps I don't really want to know how many there are. But they're everywhere. Mostly in cases.

I prefer to piece quilt tops with a straight stitch machine. Old straight stitch machines produce a wonderful stitch. Many of the machines are straight stitchers. A couple months ago my main piecer, a black 1940's Necchi BF,  started acting up. The thread kept breaking when I tried to go "faster". After many attempts at trouble shooting possible causes, I cried 'uncle'. A little voice said....You know.... you DO have other machines. So the beloved Necchi was put away and will be given a thorough going through at a future date. Cabinets were swapped mom's old Horn cabinet is more accommodating to changing out machines and the first machine to audition was a recently acquired late 40's Singer Featherweight (aka model 221).

She belonged to my MIL who no longer quilts due to failing eyesight. I gave her a quick cleaning, oiling and lube and she just purrs. I stitched on her for over a month. But Featherweights are small machines.

I love to check out Craigslist and online auctions just for the fun of it. I found a Singer model 404 (a gear driven, slant shank, straight stitch) on the shop site...and it just happened to be local so I didn't have to deal with shipping fees and issues.

So I snatched it up. It needed a few parts and a good cleaning/oiling. Operator error kept me from getting it up and running quickly but I finally got it to stitch beautifully. The bobbins drop in to a top loading bobbin assembly and they make a rattling noise as they spin. I'm guessing aftermarket metal bobbins are the culprit but until I can pick up and try some plastic alternatives, I decided to bring out one more machine and decide between the two.

The third ones the charm applies.... I pulled out the Singer model 301 (also a gear driven, slant shank, straight stitch - but with a traditional bobbin case) and we have a winner. I only pieced one block today but so far, I love it!! So for the time being.... meet my 'new' piecer, born in the 1950's.



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