Saturday, November 28, 2009

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving Day. We sure did. Maggie and Lizzie spent the morning making pies, so the kitchen smelled wonderful. Then I made sourdough rolls, and off we went to Mom's for dinner. It was nice seeing my brothers and their families. Darling Abigail is walking nonstop now.

Our family has been working on this puzzle all week. It is called State Birds and Flowers. We almost gave up was that hard!

This month in my Country Woman magazine (Reiman Publications) there is the story of a woman who gets together every Thursday evening with her siblings to do jigsaw puzzles. So for Christmas one year, her hubby gave her a huge brown box full of 15 puzzles...only he had dumped all 15 puzzle pieces into the box! It took the siblings 9 months or so to finish all the puzzles. What dedication...but what fun!I recently went on a journey to find a good treadle machine...and what a journey it was! I originally had a treadle machine from that I bought during the Y2K scare. I paid $300 for it. What Lehmans didn't tell us until after Y2K was that this Singer machine is for looks...not everyday sewing. I quickly found that out as I was never able to sew more than a foot without the threads breaking. So when Ruthie started asking repeatedly to sew on my treadle, I decided to investigate a low-cost machine. My goal was to get a machine that worked, in an oak cabinet that was nice to look at. Well, I quickly realized the oak part would have to wait...good cabinets run $300-400 here.

I found the above White brand machine on for $75. I still think that is a good deal. BTW, for those of you who live in VA, you can easily get a working treadle in a pretty cabinet for about $100! I almost made the trip. When I started to use the White machine, I realized it was completely different from the Singer treadles. Actually, it is a very nice machine, and there are restorers who will only touch a White machine.

I visited a Mennonite friend who showed me 3 of her 4 treadles. She had two Necchis, a Singer, and a Kenmore. But my other Mennonite friend told me that all the girls nowadays buy the 712T Janome that is built exclusively for the treadle machine. So I ordered one of those for $199 and free shipping from Amazon. I got it within 3 days!

However, the Janome didn't fit into the White cabinet because White does not follow standard measurements. Arrgh! So I sold the White machine for $99 (to get back my gas money as well as machine money).
Meanwhile, I walked into the thrift shop and the lady asked me if I wanted a Keystone sewing machine that didn't work. For free. I glanced at it and saw that the belt and motor were attached on the back so I could easily convert it to a treadle. I brought it home and spent an hour oiling and removing all the electric parts (pedal, light, and motor). I had way too much fun restoring this machine!

The good thing is that this machine now works like a charm. So I ditched the Lehman's machine and put the Keystone into my Lehman's cabinet. I didn't have to make one fit perfectly.

However, I still had the Janome with no cabinet, so when I saw a beautiful Singer treadle for sale on that was located 10 minutes away, I snatched it up for $80. Mike had to saw off a few pieces of the cabinet to make the Janome fit, but now it works perfectly...and what a quality machine.
Yes, now I have two machines that work wonderfully. I can't bear to part with the Keystone even though I don't need two machines. Right now it makes a nice lamp table in the music room, so I don't have to rush for a decision.
This is a closeup of the Janome 712t. Love it!  Added 11/17/11:  In response to the many emails I've received regarding my Janome treadle sewing machine, I've published a post just for this purpose here.  There are many photos on this post.  Hopefully this will help. ~ Kathie  Anna is trying her hand at the treadle. The best thing about this Janome is that the reverse works smoothly...usually treadles are hard to reverse. This also has the buttonhole feature, zigzag, and 20 optional feet! There is something very soothing about working a treadle.

Treadle machines are definitely making a comeback thanks to the emphasis on being green. There are several nice blogs about sewing with treadles, my favorite being Treadle Quilts.
Today Maggie and Ruthie went to VA with Mom and Dad, so Lizzie is making Ruthie a dress for Christmas. Lizzie got lonely down in the sewing room, so she dragged her machines up to the kitchen. Anna and Sarah had brunch with the peeps...their friends from church who are home from college. Mike is running around getting lots of little jobs done before he and Allen go hunting again. And I am trying to get interested in sewing. Once I start I won't want to stop, so I want to make sure everything else is done.
Just one last note. When I visited my Mennonite friend with the treadles, she had just gotten a brand new wood cookstove. She was cooking many pots of food and having a grand time. Her home felt so cozy...all wood flooring, paneling, furniture, etc. One whole wall of her large kitchen was windows with a beautiful country view. Wish I could take everyone there to enjoy it.

Many blessings ~ Kathie


millie said...

Thanks for this post. I want a Janome treadle, but have been having a hard time finding info about a cabinet for it. I asked at the SewMamaSew forum weeks ago, and finally someone shared the link to this post.
So now I know something about what to do!
and now I am going to see what else you have about sewing on your blog...

MamieL said...

I would really like to have a treadle sewing machine that sews other stitches but I read that the Janome 712t treadles stiffly.Do you have this problem?My Singer 66 treadles smoothly.I was also thinking about the Necchi sewing machine that Lehmans sells but can't find any reviews on that sewing machine.

Kathie said...

MamieL ~ No, our Janome 712t does not run stiffly. On the contrary, it's smooth and easy. Just love it!

PLEASE do not buy a Necchi from Lehmans. You can buy one for much cheaper (I think I last saw it for $189). My amish friends say the Necchis are hit or miss...some are good, some aren't. I did get to sew on was hard to start and stop. Very temperamental. (That friend has since sold both Necchis and bought Janomes...and she loves them.)

If you'd like to "talk" more, just go to my profile page and send me an email.

Thanks for your interest,

maria said...


So glad to find a link to your blog! I just received a janome 712 and have had a singer cabinet for years. I have looked very closely at your photo and it looks as though you removed the metal belt guide (I don't know the official name) on the right side. Did this allow the machine to sit more securely? Do you have pins in the machine to put it down? Would appreciate any advice you are willing to share.

Kathie said...

Good morning, Maria.

Will you go to my "About Me" page and send me an email? I took pictures that I'd like to send to you.

Yes, I think we did remove the metal belt guide.

If I don't hear back from you via email, then I will probably do a new blog post and list the pictures there.

Thank you for writing,