Monthly Archives: April 2015

Barn treadle

So I have been checking Craigslist again, looking at treadles. I found a post yesterday. The treadle had been stored in a barn and was in rough shape. She thought it might be useful for parts, so offered it up for sale. We went out on it last night. I imagined the worst possible condition, so that I wouldn’t be disappointed. I was happy to see it upright on the irons. And when she said that her husband thought he could turn it into a table, I handed over my fifteen dollars. I am ┬ánot ready to give up on it yet.

So here is my new White rotary. This is the first treadle I’ve gotten with an intact belt! The case is fragile, with some of the trim missing. The head was frozen up and dirty. I oiled it a lot last night and did get it to turn. I will be working on this a bit more today. I think it can be made usable again.


White serial  number Serial number. I’m guessing this could be anytime between 1898 and 1910.
backside It’s dirty
front of the head And rusty
treadle base And the case is pretty fragile.
I hope it can be functional again. I think it would be a good choice for free motion quilting. I just want to get these machines in working condition and keep them going as long as I can.

Fun with treadles!

I managed to sew on my treadles this weekend. I am working on the Folkwear Gibson Girl blouse on my fancy treadle (now named Rosebud, because I got tired of trying to talk about the machines without names.) Still need to finish the sleeves and hem it, but it was pretty smooth sewing. I wish I’d had time to play with the attachments.

On the sphinx Singer (now named Cleo), I have been piecing quilt blocks. Now, I am not a quilter. The last time I did anything like this may have been in the late 70s. So I do not have any rotary cutters or any of the new tools quilters now use. I have been going old school with scissors and rulers. I need a working iron and I am going to need those tools. I have joined the Treadle Quilters group on Facebook and I am determined to catch up on the block of the month series. Here’s my attempts, so far, on January:


Rail fence Notice that it’s a bit off where the patches meet in the middle.

second rail fence This was better, but the square is much too small now.

third try Looking better but needs to be pressed!

I am having a lot of fun with this. It turns out that Cleo has a lot more use than Rosebud. It sews much smoother. It’s hard to describe how a well broken in sewing machine feels. The parts just sort of glide past each other. And, I would expect the machine with the worn decals to be the most used. I am happy to have both. And it is still hard to get the cats off of Cleo!

And, now for number 2….

This is not the machine Lon wanted. He wanted a Singer in a parlor cabinet, but it would have required another trip to Seattle. Don’t ask me why we decided to get another treadle, but he’s still fascinated by them. And so am I!

1910 Singer vibrating shuttle #2 with sphinx decals:


sphinx decals

treadle base

seven drawers

The cats love it already!
cat bed

It’s not as pretty as the other machine and the cabinet needs work. (They put an aquarium on top of it and it leaked! I don’t want to comment.) I just felt like it needed to come home with me. I ordered bobbins and a leather belt from Treadle Lady. Installed the belt on my first machine, sorted out some issues with the tension and bobbin, and it now works! I should have a second belt this week for this machine. They still need a good cleaning and I’ve oiled them every day that I’ve had them. That’s what they need most. And I have my Viking 6430 out as I’m trying to finish a new skirt. Didn’t quite get it done in time for Depoe Bay on Saturday. That was a nice trip. Not as many boats as we usually see, but it was sunny.

Depoe Bay

My new toy

A long time ago, I used to have a treadle. I loved it. It was German made, turn of the century. I had it in the schoolbus, but when we moved into the Airstream, there wasn’t room. There was condensation in the trailer and I was afraid it would be ruined. I found a good home for it in Walla Walla.

I’d been talking to Lon about treadles and showing him pictures of them. He likes antiques and was fascinated by the decoration. I had a post from the Vintage Machines group on Ravelry with a link to a Craigslist ad in Seattle. It was the back of the machine and you couldn’t make out a lot. I sent the link to Lon. Then a day later, he told me he’d made the deal for it and she would hold it for us until payday. I used a vacation day yesterday and we went to pick it up.

This is a 1891 Singer VS2. That means is has the vibrating shuttle (long bobbin) instead of the more modern round bobbin. My old machine used a shuttle like this too. Singer calls this the roses and daisies decal. It’s one of the prettiest machines I’ve ever seen. It needs a belt, but she said it sews fine. It also has the “puzzle box”, as folks call these folding attachment boxes.

I’ve ordered a belt for it and will try and do a little work on it over the next couple of weeks. I’m just amazed to own this machine.

1891 Singer treadle en route home

side decals

more decals

treadle base


puzzle box

more puzzle box


attachments in place

stuff I don't recognize

beautiful machine

damaged spot

needs to be cleaned

I love the decals here!

don't use your treadle as a table

more decals