Last night, I sat perched on my chair in a corner of my living room, bare toes working the cool iron of my newest toy, a Singer treadle sewing machine built around 1918. She followed me home a few weeks ago, and I am in love. She’s simple, elegant, and I am utterly entranced by her. She’s making me want to sew.
She’s been christened Ellie after my aunt, one of the kindest and most generous souls I’ve ever known. Isn’t she beautiful? I’m amazed by how little has changed in the basic mechanics of sewing machines. The bobbin looks like a bobbin, it threads like my modern machine, and both the bobbin and top thread tension work in the same way. It even takes modern sewing needles.
Here’s the bobbin winder, over by the hand wheel.
Already Ellie has helped me with rice packets (for moisture absorption in my sugar storage), book covers for the boys, and a pair of pajama bottoms. Next up: pajama tops!
If you have a penchant for sewing and a love for old pieces of engineering, a machine like this might be right up your alley. If you’re considering one, or already have one, I highly recommend the Treadle On site.
I do have a lot to tell you about, but I seem to be running short on time this summer! I do want to share two charity opportunities for those of you who are so inclined.
Iraqi Bundles of Love / IBOL
This is my favorite kind of charity work – someone saw a need, and decided to do something about it. In this case Art, an American soldier in Iraq (from a family for quilters), is gathering ‘bundles’ to distribute to regular people in Iraq who need them. Instead of sending a quilt, or a hat, or whatever, we are sending the tools and materials to allow these folks to make what they need themselves. If you have a lot of fabric, yarn, buttons, or sewing notions sitting around your house, I’m sure he’d appreciate your help. The mailing deadline is Sept. 7th. If you have plans for all your stuff, but have $15 to spare, you can buy a wholesale-priced IBOL here. The $15 IBOL includes shipping – note that shipping alone on a large flat-rate box would be $11.95 according to Art, so it’s really a good deal.
Call me Pollyanna, but this is how the world gets better. One person to another, one good deed at a time.
The IBOL Site
What to put in an IBOL
To buy a ready-made one
Operation Quiet Comfort
I’ve written about this charity before. They send quilts, ‘go bags’, and comfort items to wounded soldiers. If you are a quilter, or just have a sewing machine and some time, they are looking for people to put together “Gratitude Quilts”. It’s not hard, and they send you complete instructions and the denim for the quilt tops. One caveat: you need to have a machine capable of handling multiple layers of denim.
If you are interested in helping out (they use monetary donations to offset shipping charges), you can find them here.