Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Getting ready for Maine

As some of you know, the island in Maine, where we spend a good part of the summer, has no electricity. You can read about it here.

This year I am taking a sewing machine! I converted a Singer Spartan from electric to hand crank.  That was really easy to do.  I purchased (on line) a hand crank attachment , which simply screws on to the spot that held the motor.  This is not an authentic Singer hand crank. It is clearly not up to snuff quality- wise with its metal work and paint job, but heck.  I'm not trying to be a purist.  I want a machine that works.  The crank turns the wheel and the machine sews fine, so who am I to complain?

The Spartan is a heavy little bugger.  It isn't much bigger than the featherweight, but it sure weighs a lot more.  I am rigging up a transport / storage box for it.  Over the winter it will stay on the Island, sealed in its box with some silica gel or other absorbent crystals. Hopefully it won't rust.  That is my biggest concern.

Blue foam board will be cut to make a cradle to hold the machine while in transport

Why not take a treadle instead of a hand crank?  Treadle machines are awkward and heavy to transport. I cannot imagine clambering over the side of a lobster boat into a  rocking skiff and then trying to handle the transfer of such a machine. I can barely hold myself steady.  I'm sure somewhere someone has done it, but I don't want that experience!  Then, I'd have to cart it quite a distance to my place from the beach.  How could I keep the whole thing as dry as possible over the winter?  Already three counts against the treadle.

What are my big plans for using this machine this year?  Making curtains for the bedroom. I have six windows in the bedroom! I've cut some muslin lengths and will sew the sleeves and hems once the final measurements are determined.

After that project is done, I will be concentrating on hand quilting a large quilt.  When I take breaks, I'll play on the machine with scraps.  Already I'm looking forward to NEXT summer, when I can concentrate on creating with this new toy.


  1. We have got to get together when you get back from your Maine island and us back from our Canada almost-an-island. I love what you did with the machine! There's an ancient crank machine in Canada, I mostly use it to make replacement curtains or couch cushion covers for the cottages. I convert it to "electric" by making Steve a snack and a beer, then get him to crank the machine when I "step" on his foot. Genius, huh? Have a great summer!

    In stitches,
    Teresa :o)

  2. wow, better you than me! I think I'd get carpal tunnel pretty darn quick. I like Teresa's solution! enjoy your hand quilting and your entire vacation!

  3. Whoo hoo! Now you can play faster! I think your transport/storage solution looks good. Crossing my fingers for you that it all works as planned.

    Doing a hand crank machine makes me imagine that old "pat your head while rubbing your tummy" thing. I don't know that I'd be that coordinated! *grin* Good luck! And have a wonderful vacation.

  4. How clever of you! Being on an island with no electricity sounds heavenly.

  5. I have really enjoyed your blog and the quilts you create. I am in awe of you using a hand cranked machine to make curtains, but I guess we do what we have to so we can sew under any circumstances!!!!
    have a wonderful time in Maine one of my favorite places to vacation.


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