Garden pictures and a Wilcox and Gibbs Chain Stitch Machine

Since I started collecting sewing machines I have wanted a Wilcox and Gibbs chain stitch machine.     Around the new year my quilting friend Teddy Pruett was working on making room in her studio and had one to sell, which I was happy to buy!

Next I started looking for a treadle base for it, and I found one a few months ago…..and the last part was the wooden top which I found this week.

I got the three parts put together and made a video of how it works.

I also took a bunch of garden pictures this morning…and here they are (click pictures to enlarge)

I am in the middle of a few quilts right now so back to work.

Happy quilting



I got a bit of piecing done on the new sewing machine……starting with strip sets


and then adding some striped fabric


It makes a big block….16″….but I think the quilt will be pretty cool.

I got a fun vintage quilt top in the mail from a friend


It is going to be really great once I take it apart to individual blocks and put it back together…mistakes in the placement of the blocks are easy to make


I often leave mistakes as they are but this one will be an easy fix and I’ll post more about that when I do it .

Teddy tested it ….but he knew something was a bit off.


As you may have noticed I have been accumulating a lot of sewing machines.     I have been thinking about dong some built-in shelving to display them.    I started to add up the time it would take me to build them and more importantly the cost to do it like I want and I decided that I could live with something temporary for a while.  So I bought a few shelves.


This one has 10 machines on it and there are 4 machines in treadle bases and 4 in desks and 2 more in cases …so the total is 20..   I have another shelf to put together when the collection grows more.

I’ll post some more about the new top as soon as I get a few more blocks finished so I can show the secondary pattern.

Teddy says HI


Happy Quilting


New Home Sewing Machine

Another sewing machine project today.    This New Home Machine was in pretty good shape but it needed a good cleaning.


Old sewing machines are often in a lot better shape than they look.   Old machines need oil frequently but the oil they had at the time was not the same as the sewing machine oil we use today.    The old oil dried up and became almost like varnish.     An old machine often has a coating of that oil all over it… becomes yellow and gunky and oddly enough that gunky coating of oil does a pretty good job of protecting the decals and if you are careful it can be cleaned off to reveal the beauty under the gunk.

I start by taking it apart a bit to make clean up easier here are a few pictures (click to enlarge)

The internal parts of the machine I clean with WD-40 …..WD 40 is NOT oil…..but it does remove the old dried up oil.    If you read the manual for a 100-year-old machine they recommend using Kerosene to clean off dried oil.  I find the WD-40 works just fine…..then after cleaning I wipe it all off and then oil the machine using sewing machine oil.  I spray a bunch of WD-40 on the crud on the underside and the unpainted parts and let it sit for a while then scrub with a tooth-brush and extra fine steel wool.      The decals are a different story, I don’t want to risk scrubbing them off so I use sewing machine oil and rub it in over and over with a cloth.  That takes off the dried oil without too much abrasion.  After that I wipe down the head with some mild soap to remove any excess oil and then give it a buff with a soft cloth.

Here is the result….the before is on the right

new home

See how the decals on the head have come back…before I started the decals by the bobbin winder (on the right) were almost totally covered.

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It is sewing and looking great!

Teddy had to take a look


After he said it was good I pit it in the treadle


I’ll give it a try tonight with some piecing for the next quilt.

Happy Quilting



can you believe it? …..another machine

About a month ago I looked at a Wheeler and Wilson Treadle machine at a local antique mall……it was $110 and I thought it was a great deal but I ended up buying a Singer 201-2 and a Montgomery Ward in a cabinet. Neither worked but  I worked on them and they work great now and both together only cost 50 dollars.     Yesterday Bonnie Hunter , who is here in Lansing with the Capital City Quilt Guild, posted a picture of that treadle machine on Facebook.  Some of the people from the guild had taken her to the antique mall and she saw the machine.   Last night I told her I almost bought it a month ago and she told me it was on sale for 55 dollars…….I went and bought it today 🙂


It was missing 2 drawers….I found one that fit at the mall……I’ll find another some day.     The Wheeler and Wilson D9 was launched in 1887 and was destined to become the company’s most successful domestic. Driven by an efficient rotary hook, there is a tightness to the engineering that makes for very smooth operation.

In 1905, the Wheeler and Wilson Co. was taken over by Singer. The D9 was well-established in the market and Singer wasn’t going to turn down sales, so production was switched to Singers Elizabethport factory, the center of Singer’s domestic production. The company re-branded the machine as the Singer 9W1. With its square arm pillar and W&W styling, the 9W had never looked quite at home in Singer’s catalog and by the 1920s, once the Singer 101 rotary had established itself, the 9W7 was phased out.

It threads from right to left and uses a 127×1 (9W1) needle which are no longer made so I will be looking for some old stock needles for this machine.    The bobbins are also odd sized and I only have the one that came with the machine so I will be on the lookout for those as well.

An unusual feature of the thread path on this is the tiny pulley on the face plate that forms a secondary tension device.  That feature was later used on cloned (and licensed) versions and  became common on several of Singer’s Bridgeport industrials.


It sews beautifully (after a good cleaning and oiling) and the treadle base is great.     I do plan to use it when I get a few extra needles and bobbins.     For now I took the head out and put in a Singer 127 (I had to do a little modification of the base, but the old machine will still fit back in when I am ready)

I started another machine quilting project with it.


I had planned to do a different quilt but when I looked at the thread I bought I realized that It just didn’t go well with he fabric so I started this one instead.

I got the backing fabric for my rose applique quilt today and I will be basting that soon for hand quilting……more on that soon

Happy Quilting


Free motion treadleing

I really will be posting hand quilting updates soon, but I am in the process of finishing the snowball quilt ( done all on the treadle machine)

I am doing free motion feathered wreaths in the snowball.    Since I am not good at it yet I marked them first.     I found an alternative to a darning foot and it works pretty good.    A spring needle….which was an idea from a reader.  I found it on-line and it is a Schmetz.   You quilt without any foot just the needle with the spring. ( be careful not to sew your finger because there is no foot to protect you )


The spring puts enough pressure on the fabric when it goes down into the quilt so that the needle will catch the bobbin thread on the back and make a stitch.      It also makes it very easy to see where I am going with no foot in the way.

It is a learning process and I am getting better as I go.   Here are a few pictures (click to enlarge)

Teddy says HI


There is a bone in his mouth here but it is hidden on each side by his newly groomed beard.

Happy Quilting


Play Time

I have become fixated on getting the Free Treadle machine to cooperate with me for Free Motion Quilting. (not to worry, I am not abandoning hand quilting 🙂   but it never hurts to try new things)

If you remember the issue was the presser bar…..which doesn’t fit a standard foot. And they don’t make a darning/free motion foot with this attachment.  They attach like this:


Here is how a most “modern” feet attach:


The solution I tried is changing out the presser bar with one from a Singer 127 machine.  It would have been great if it worked…..but there were problems.     The Singer presser bar is smaller in diameter so it made for a wobbly foot.   When the back and forth the needle can hit the foot and break.  I did however spend some time playing with it while the singer presser bar was in it.   I set the stitch length to zero to keep the feed dogs from pulling too much (they can’t be dropped and I don’t have a cover for them) and  used a quilting foot.  I got pretty decent results (the opening in the quilting foot is big enough so the needle wont hit it).

Here are a few pictures of my playing.   (click pictures to enlarge)

I was just sort of doodling so there is no real design to any of it.

I did put the old presser bar back in so I could do some piecing.  I am nearly finished with the snowball top and want to do all of the piecing on the treadle machine.

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I bought an antique singer 127 machine that is due for delivery Monday, after I get it cleaned up and oiled and adjusted I might try to put that in the treadle cabinet, I’ll keep you posted on that.

Teddy says Hi


Happy Quilting



I have made some progress on a few projects.

I have been having fun on the treadle machine

Here is what I have so far


Five more rows to do then it will also get a few borders.

Making some progress on the rose Applique


The remaining applique pieces are going on today ….here they are ready for stitching


It will be a while yet…..but I am really looking forward to hand quilting it!

Teddy got a new bone……..he can hardly contain himself

Happy Quilting