Stones and a Sewing Machine

I plan to put a little plot of vegetables in my garden Next to the fence along the driveway.     I added some compost and topsoil and turned it all in and decided that there was now too much soil and I needed to add an edging to keep it in the bed.      I decided to use stones

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Now I have a barrier to keep the soil in the bed and out of the grass.     I continued the stone around.   I have some more to do but that will have to wait for a while.

It will be a while before it is warm enough to plant tomatoes but that is the plan for some time in mid to late May.   And a few peppers and beans as well.

I have another fun sewing machine to share.     This one is a Kenmore 117.740

In 1955, White Sewing Machine Co. was the manufacturer for Sears’s Kenmore sewing machines. White didn’t have a zigzag machine to compete with the new Japanese machines so they contracted with the German company Gritzner Kayser to produce zigzag machines for them. ( They eventually lost the Kenmore contract anyway and Kenmore machines were made by various other companies in Japan) The GK Company built Kenmore machines 117.740 and 117.840 and were released in 1956.   Gritzner Kayser also sold essentially the same machine with their badge and White sold one with their badge.
In 1957 Pfaff bought GK, they changed the bobbin access to the front of the machine and rebadged it as the Pfaff 139 and 239.    The machine weighs a ton because it is all steel.   New machines have so many plastic parts and gears that I doubt they will stand the test of time like these old machines.
Here is the Kenmore
 According to the International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society this machine cost $239.95 new with out the cabinet, adjusted for inflation that would be $2,117.69  today.
The cams go in the little door in the center between the knobs.
It has a standard belt drive motor
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here is the White badged machine.
Here is the Gritzner Kayser
Here is the Pfaff 139
If you look at the center between the knobs you can see that the area where the cams would go is solid with no door.    The 139 did not have the cam option.
Here is the 239 with the cam door
Both Pfaff and Gritzner Kayser realized the design flaw in the bobbin access door.   The white and Kenmore versions have a standard looking bobbin cover plate but when you slide it open it looks like this.
The problem is that the bobbin goes in from the front and with the side access door you can not get to it.   You need to flip up the machine and do it from the bottom. (My Singer 206 is the same way)
If you look back up to the pictures you can see that the Pfaff version made the cover huge so that you can get to that bobbin and change it from the top.
The machine has 4 cams which are 2 sided so in addition to the built-in Zigzag and curvy stitch it will do 8 additional decorative stitches.  The machine is running great now.   I had to rewire the power cord and give it a cleaning and oil it but it is working great now.
This machine takes standard class 15 bobbins and standard 15×1 needles.    Like some of the other older Kenmore machines it takes high shank presser feet but they are easy to come by.
Back to hand quilting

34 thoughts on “Stones and a Sewing Machine

  1. Rose in Vt says:

    Wow Tim! And I was proud of myself for remembering to bring upstairs thread and fabric that isn’t 80 years old to play on the treadle with.

  2. Mrs. Plum says:

    Thanks for the sewing machine history lesson. I learned to sew on my grandmother’s White treadle machine. Don’t know the model–it’s long gone now.

    • timquilts says:

      I am looking for a white treadle …..some day the right one will show up… many out there are in pretty bad shape…..they would still sew but I like to find them with the paint still in nice condition

  3. Barbara Rasch says:

    Your garden sounds great. Machine is really interesting.

  4. Granny June says:

    I recent purchased a Kenmore from a second hand store for $20.00 for my Daughter, it escapes me the age but looks very similar. I have a neighbor that is in the sewing machine business, he is an excellent mechanic. He cleaned, added a new belt, made it road ready, she purrs like a kitten. Mama purchased a 1/4 foot, just in case, (get it?) Granny June

  5. Pennie Brown says:

    Wow, I am in awe. How can you get so much done, inside & out? And know all about sewing machines? And do hand-quilting. And I love your little dog. Am so glad I found your page. Thank you for inspiration. Pennie Brown.

  6. Wow Tim!
    The garden space and the grass look so nice. It’s probably not too early to plant lettuces or greens of some type. Cool weather veggies will do okay now.

  7. Cheri says:

    I really enjoy learning about vintage machines, so this is so interesting. Where did you learn this in depth info about one particular design? I’m amazed! Thanks for sharing pictures of the machines. Am enjoying the garden and Teddy pics too.

    • timquilts says:

      I usually do research about a particular machine that interests me before I buy it ….sometimes after , but in this case the machine was for sale on eBay and it looked so much like a pfaff machine that I looked it up to find the connection

  8. Pam G says:

    Your garden area is coming along nicely! Your ‘new to you’ sewing machine is awesome! It looks so clean, like it’s never been used. I can’t believe all the finds you come up with. Haven’t had time to work on my Free treadle machine, but soon… I’ll let you know how it goes.

  9. Marjorie Rich says:

    Interesting! Am pretty sure that the sewing machine my mom has is a White. Straight stitch. Probably purchased when she was a newlywed in 1951 or 1952. First time I’ve ever seen anyone else mention the brand.

    • timquilts says:

      What Machines were pretty popular……they almost always had a friction drive motor…no belt . and those from the 40’s and 50’s usually had a sort of crinkled finish in dark gray or a sort of brownish color

  10. Susan Steele says:

    that is a really clean machine..when I find those I wonder if they were used at all by the original owner…not complaining, as that eaves them prettier for us!! I have a special affinity for hte blues…be they baby blue, turquoise blue, or a neat periwinkle/grey blue like this…they are so pretty with the chrome! I got a pink Atlas last night at auction for $20…looks to be perfect but extremely dirty…they are not known for high quality (noisy and quivering I hear) but are in high demand and somewhat pretty, so I couldn’t resist. I do love the looks of some of the Japanese machines! Is your cabinet nice or a typical blah mid-century modern cab?? Happy sewing!

    • timquilts says:

      this one was used a bit based on all the link I got out of the feed dogs …..
      the cabinet I have it in in the picture is a junky 70’s press board cabinet….I just use it for machines I am working on……when I want to actually use a machine I put it into a nice cabinet

  11. Lauren Hill says:

    Tim, back in the Dark Ages–when I started to college in 1964, the Textiles classes at the college I attended had all Singer Slantomatic sewing machines. They were made to sew right over pins. I loved that machine, but I have no idea of the model to look for to find one now. Do you have any ideas about what model it might have been?

  12. Becky in VA says:

    I think you are having too much fun with all these wonderful machines!
    Do any sew BETTER than a Singer 301???

  13. My grandmother had several machines – all steel like that. I remember how heavy they were when we moved them for her one time. But could they ever sew! Thanks for the memories.

  14. Phyllis says:

    Do you know what the cams are called (number or letter)? I am looking at a machine I believe to be the same as yours, but the seller hasn’t told me what the model number is he.


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