July was a busy month. In addition to working on some quilts, I also added a 'new' sewing machine to the family. A few of the folks in OKCMQG have adopted vintage machines—namely Singer Featherweights (1933-1964). It's the same model my mother had (though I don't know the age of hers) and on which I first learned to sew around five or six. Years later, she gave me that same machine. I used it quite regularly in the late 1980s when I was sewing decorative 'country' collars at home. I kept a ruffler attached to it and it served me quite well. Trouble was that when I divorced in 1993, I left it behind in the house. It just never occurred to me to keep it with me. Yeah, I didn't think about it for years and wanted to kick myself. Alas.
Twenty years later and 'all the other kids have one,' so I jumped on the bandwagon. There were lots less expensive ones to be had, but I bought a pristine one from Jim Sorrell in Seminole. He is pretty much the Singer Guru in the area. Another lady in our guild was headed out there to have him look at her Singer 301 and I tagged along for the ride. Angela's machine needed just a basic tune-up so was a really good value for what she paid. I had a chance to ooh-and-ah over all the pretty Featherweights at his shop and came away with a 1952-made one. It wasn't until later when Angela named hers Ethel that I named mine Lucy. Yes, there's the Lucille Ball connection, but I also have affection/affinity for Lucy Van Pelt, of "Peanuts" fame. Charles Schultz's comic strip started in 1950 but its Sunday presence launched in 1952. Tah dah!
I told Tom early on that having Lucy was primarily an emotional purchase for me. Yes, I do like how she sews and all the attachments and so forth. But it's the aroma of the case (supposedly from the glue used to adhere its lining) that takes me back to a very pleasant bubble in my childhood. And threading it makes me happy as I recall how fascinated I first was with the delicate little wire spring on the tension knob—'Wow, machines are cool!' Lastly, she is a classicly, silver screen-gorgeous.
Sometime in the early 1990s, my mother also gave me her 1975 Lady Kenmore model 1914. It was a top-of-the-line (at its time) and newer model of my first machine from 1971 (see below). I gave the older one to a friend. I used that 'newer' machine for everything until getting Bertie a couple of years ago.
I'd also been keeping an eye open for a Sears Kenmore 1601 model sewing machine. It is the same model as MY first machine I got when I was about 14. I found this one in Midwest City last month. She was in rough shape so I got her for less than asking price. She could use some maintenance and replaced bobbin winder if I use her, but again, she's fine to look at, as is. After all, isn't it all about sentimental value?
What's been quite educational in this whole vintage machine process is how expensive these machines were when they were new and what they'd cost in today's dollars. For instance, that Kenmore 1601 was under $200 back in 1971. That's around $1,100 today. I would be hard pressed to buy a 14-year-old an $1,100 sewing machine today. Yep, I was, and still am, spoiled.
So now, I have five sewing machines, including a seldom-used Singer serger. I am trying to keep the herd in check. Wish me luck.
Is it ironic that as we get older and have less time that we amass more things that once made us happy? Pharaohs were buried with their earthly treasures and the things to take them to the next world. At this rate, I am going to need a pretty big pyramid.