The Free Motion Quilting Project: Getting Bit by the Treadle Bug

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Getting Bit by the Treadle Bug

QUILTING RED ALERT!

There has been an outbreak of a serious, very contagious illness: Vintage Machine Obsession!

VMO is easily passed from quilter to quilter. Watch out for friends carrying around square black boxes with old latches on the front. Be especially wary around any solid black machines, especially if you see the word SINGER printed anywhere on the surface.

Only enter antique stores if absolutely necessary and never, I repeat, NEVER touch a treadle sewing machine!

VMO is usually transmitted from via VME - Vintage Machine Enthusiasts - but many quilters seem to be able to catch this illness entirely on their own by simply coming into contact with a treadle sewing machine.

Consider the cast iron treadle bases armed and extremely dangerous.

Symptoms of VMO include excessive machine purchase, historical fascination and education, frequent exploration of antique stores and flea markets, tinkering and cleaning of rusty bits of metal, and radiant joy.

If you see any quilters exhibiting these symptoms, be warned. You have already been infected. There is no vaccine. You will very likely come down with similar symptoms that will only be cured by owning a vintage sewing machine. 

Or two... 

Or a few hundred!

WARNING: The following post is extremely dangerous to your health! You will likely be infected with VMO instantly. Be ready to travel to you closest antique store or click to Craigslist to begin your search for the perfect vintage treadle sewing machine.

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You know, if I'd read this warning a year ago, I would have shrugged. Naw, I'm not interested in treadles. They're cool and all that, but they're heavy and take up so much space. Naw, not for me.

Then somewhere along the way I caught VMO and overnight I had to have a treadle! I also happily began watching hours of Youtube videos about treadle irons and cabinet restoration. 

In the space of three months I've acquired two vintage treadles: a Singer 12 and Singer 27 and I can't seem to stop myself searching for more. Yep, I have VMO big time and I'm a super contagious VME!

I was seriously helped along the way by another VME, Cheryl Warren. She is the author of the Dragon Poodle blog which is all about restoring vintage sewing machines. 

I had Cheryl on the podcast to talk about treadles, vintage machines, and how to get started on my vintage machine obsession. Click Here to check out the episode.

Warning - you'll likely not survive without coming down with VMO too!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

16 comments:

  1. Oh this is such a darling/clever post! I have no room for another sewing machine, so I may be safe to watch the podcast. However, I'm already having my doubts as I love those antique machines.

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  2. I haven't gone treadle YET. The ones I see are in pretty bad shape. I have gone vintage as my backup machine with a Singer 457 Stylist Great Britain model. Had it reconditioned and it still has some issues but part of that is operator error. Would love to have a Singer 221 but they bid up too high on the auction sites and I have never found one of those at thrift.

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    1. Keep looking! It's amazing what you can find when you're looking. Oops! There I go trying to spread the disease!

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  3. Beware of the reproductions! All treadles may be a treadle in the strictest sense, but they are not all original! There are reproductions all over the place. If you aren't concerned about the repro then you can find a decent deal. But if you are looking for an original, do your homework.

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    1. That's good to know! What gives a repro away in your opinion?

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    2. Turns out Singer is still making a version of their treadle for sale to people whose religion precludes the use of electric machinery. Imagine my surprise at buying a "new" treadle!

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  4. WOW, thanks for this post. I somehow came home with a Singer 27 two years ago. I have had the treadle base for about as long. This past month I made a wooden top for it. It needs a bit of cleaning, polishing ans the chrome is starting to rust up. I need to learn more to get it up and running. Thanks for the new resource of knowledge ;) I'll be hearing right over to Dragon Poodle's site.

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    1. That's great Wendie! I'm so glad you enjoyed this episode!

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  5. I didn't realize until a friend pointed out this post that I have already contracted VMO. It's a mild case, but your post along with frequent power outages last winter make me wonder if a treadle needs to be in my future. :-)

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    1. Oh yes, if power outages are a problem, you most certainly need a treadle or three to keep yourself busy during the blackout!

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  6. Stitching on a treadle machine or quilting is really contagious. From the time, when i started to sewing on them, I ceased to want to have modern machines. Happy quilting or sewing with your Singer. Thank you for all the quilting patterns. Jana, Czech republic

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  7. I sold my Treadle. I've move on to Featherweights. I have a 1941 named Rosie (another sign of addiction is naming your machines). There are several Vintage machine FB pages that are total enablers.

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  8. I love my vintage machines, I do and they have names. I have: Singer: two 15-91 workhorses, a mint green 15-125, a FW, a b/o 301A and a grand dame 125 with awesome decals. I also have a vintage Kenmore all metal machine that is a sewing beast. After I found my FW while traveling to DC, I stopped looking/collecting at vintage machines. I found what I had been searching for. But who can resist those pink, blue or green vintage machines waiting to be discovered.

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  9. Oh, Leah...You have crossed into dangerous territory with vintage treadles. I started off with an adorable handcrank at an auction. I have acquired a *few* more (AHEM) since then. And the TREADLES are taking over now. They are a joy and a cinch to restore. I much prefer reconditioning them over the vintage electric machines.

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  10. I so need a treadle in case ISIS comes...or a tornado comes...or...no reason...I just so need one...xo

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