Monday, August 19, 2019

CSKMS Conference 2014!

Still trying to catch up with history...   (written way back when and never published!)

Last July (2014), I hauled Elias Cabot on the Southwest Chief for the first leg of a trip across the country - destination Geneseo, New York!

This blog is about my fiber arts adventures, but I have to put in a plug for AMTRAK here.   I hate, hate, hate to fly.  Love to drive anywhere, and really love to take the train.  Having made the mistake, though, of taking an overnight train to Seattle in steerage (a.k.a. coach class seat, where the person in the seat next to you WILL TALK ALL NIGHT), I will only go on overnighters if I can get a  sleeper compartment.

The great thing about the sleeper is that you actually get to sleep if you want to.  Meals are all provided - if you're traveling alone you'll be seated with up to three other people which has been loads of fun for shy little me most of the time.  And you're free to wander up and down the train if you're feeling social.  But you're also free to lock yourself in your compartment and relax in privacy if you're so inclined.

It's not an inexpensive way to travel - but for me it's a self-contained vacation, not just a way to get from point A to point B.  For someone who always needs to be doing five or ten things at the same time, I always find myself just relaxing and enjoying watching the country go by for hours at a time. 

So two nights on the Chief, a brief stay in the Chicago station and transfer to the Lake Shore Limited.  My sleeper had an honest-to-goodness toilet (!) in one corner.  I'm not sure how much fun it would be sharing that space with another person, but for someone of my relative years, what a luxury not to have to toddle down the hall to the community bathrooms in the middle of the night.

I thought three days on the train would give me the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with Elias Cabot. First of all, these rascals are heavy.  Trying to haul Elias in his carrier up a very narrow and twisting set of stairs to my compartment on the upper floor of the train was not so much fun.  But I'm nothing if not persistent.   

So on my very first day, I set up my table and was ready to start cranking.  I never really notice the rocking motion of the train, so it never occurred to me that it might be a little difficult to knit.  Cranking was fine, but doing any fine work was out of the question.  Imagine trying to move a stitch from one needle to the next, while you have someone pushing on your elbow randomly and someone else moving your machine around. After a few tries and more bad words than I realized I knew, Elias went back in his carrier for the duration.



Jamie Mayfield

 Kathy Roletter

Sharon Lesio

Sarah Monroe

Sandee Plocharczyk


Dara Wagner

Marty Wieferich Shows her Ribbons

 Head Over Heels for Vets

Knitted Items Ready to be Given to Vets

We honored members and guests who are vets.

What I Learned

 When I wasn't visiting with the vendors and members, I was determined not to go home without getting a handle on heels.  I sat and cranked out twelve heels in a row.


 Here are most of the workstations in the center of the room.

 I was fascinated by all of the different workstations - from modified barstools to rolling cabinets.  Here are a few of them.  I took very careful notes about the owners of each and put them away safely.  They are so safe that I may never find them.


 Carol G. decorated this barstool with duct tape.


 This was my setup - a lightweight metal table from WalMart - fortified underneath with plywood where the CSM is attached.

 My neighbor had a portable workbench.  I had my eye on the wooden crate he built to carry his machine and supplies.


 Noah's Landing
Susan Sivey came from Shreve, OH with a supply of sock yarns.

Plum Cottage Crafts
Stephanie DeVoe brought a variety of yarn on cones and in skeins.  I didn't give her a chance to finish setting up before I snapped this photo.  OK, I actually didn't give her a change to set up before I was shopping for yarn.

Subito Farm
While daughter Sarah Monroe was teaching classes, cranking out socks, and winning contests, mom Cindy was manning the shop.  A nice variety of handmade accessories, handspun yarns, and patterns.

 Fred C. Hauck
Fred does CSM restoration and repair, and makes accessories - stands, buckles, weights, heel forks, you name it!  I was sorely tempted by the bright red weights until I remembered that I would have to carry that extra six pounds all the way back to California.  Fred spent most of the conference helping people solve problems with their machines. 

 Semper Fi Wood
John Hilgers makes beautiful wood things.  In addition to cone winder adapters and bobbins, he brought tool holders and a pair of carriers for Hansen MiniSpinners.
  John is also working on a CSM travel case.  You can see the prototype in this video:
 I'm now the proud owner of this hickory veneer carrier for Bunny Watson (the MiniSpinner) and this CSM tool holder.

 My current mania is turning wood, so I brought along a variety of my wood-handled hooks, latch hook tools, seam rippers, and needle cases for the 'garage sale.'  When one of the vendors couldn't come at the last minute, I sold the society's window decals and tote bags along with my tools at the vacant table.  It was pretty thrilling to see so many of my tools go home with society members.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In Which I Make An(other) Impulsive Purchase

I've been toying with the idea of turning an abandoned sewing machine treadle base into a table for Elias Cabot.   Love the idea of re-purposing some lovely cast iron and giving Elias a beautiful table.

So  last Sunday, after looking at Craigslist and ebay to see what's in my neighborhood and what the going prices are for various styles and conditions of bases, I set out for a local antique mall to see what they might have.   Big mistake.

Not five minutes after I entered the store, I spotted a New Home machine.  Beautifully painted, appeared to be in as good a condition as a machine in the neighborhood of a hundred years old could be.  In a cabinet that, at first glance, looked beautiful as well.

It was love at first sight.

I tried to do the responsible thing.  I really did.  I wasn't looking for a whole machine/cabinet combo.  All I wanted was a base.  Really.

So I wandered around the rest of the mall.  There were two other candidates.  Both Singers that had seen better days.  One's base had been painted (badly).  The other was rusted.   After seeing the New Home, I just couldn't settle.  I made several trips back to the NH just to make sure I hadn't made up its good condition. 

missing trim
bad patch job
There were a couple of problems - a tiny bit of trim missing from the front, two small chinks in the wood that had been badly patched, and a stain on the top.   Several times I walked away telling myself I didn't need the NH.  Then marched up to the front counter to haggle over the price.  After a brief pitched battle, the machine was mine.

So even though Elias is not going to be getting that base for his table, the NH has come to my home for a stay.  How long it will be I don't know - I'm asking myself right now why I needed it so badly. And where I'm going to put it.  Anybody want to buy an antique sewing machine?

In one of the drawers I found this box of attachments.   It looks like everything that should be there according to a brochure I found, is there.  And never used.  The fuzzy lining of the case is unfaded and unmarred.


I love the look of the base and treadle on this.  Although there's no drive band, I tested the treadle and it does move freely and smoothly.

The Bobbin Winder

It seems that the machine should held up from underneath by this leather strap - broken so it's useless.  Need to do a little research.

Serial Number! Machine was made in 1900.

The drawers really caught my eye.  There are no sides on the cabinet - the drawers are carved and simply slide in and out.

There's a somewhat hidden drawer just below the top of the cabinet.  Very shallow and narrow.  

There are six of these little thingies in their own holes in the drawer.  No clue what they're for.

I love the ornate floral pattern.  It doesn't seem to be as faded or as chipped as I would expect for a 115 year-old machine.

Another "what the heck is it?"  Found this in one of the drawers. 

Check out the floral pattern on the plate.  That's the stitch regulator just below the bobbin winder in the lower right. 

Some links I found while looking for info: