Sunday, June 14, 2015

Celebrating a National Holiday (warning- photo heavy)

A National Holiday you say...well maybe you've never heard of it, but yesterday was National Sewing Machine Day! I didn't even know about it until I read it on the Aurifil Facebook page in the morning.

If you happened to miss it don't fret because apparently it is celebrated TWICE in the year. 

Date When Celebrated : June 13th and September 10th

I'm not sure exactly why but it may have something to do with the fact that there seems to be a difference of opinion as to when the sewing machine was actually invented. on one website here is what I read...

Sewing Machine Day celebrates a very important invention ----- the sewing machine. The first sewing machines were made in France in the 1830s. It wasn't until 1846, that they were patented in the U.S.

On another website I read this...

Skilled cabinet-maker and English inventor, Thomas Saint, received the first patent for a design of a sewing machine in 1790.  It was meant for leather and canvas, was never advertised and no evidence of it, other than his drawings, could be found.   In 1874, William Newton Wilson found Saint’s drawings in the London Patent Office, made adjustments and built a working model.  This model is currently owned by the London Science Museum.

    • Walter Hunt invented the first American lockstitch sewing machine in 1832.
    • John Greenough patented the first sewing machine in the United States in 1842.
    Accounts say that Thomas Saint received a patent for his invention on September 10, 1790 but as for June 13th, it is not known why this is a second date for the holiday.

    Enough of the history, and a little of the day...yes I did some sewing yesterday, in the morning and then spent the rest of my time cutting scraps into 2.5" squares and strips or 5" charm squares in an effort to organize my sewing space. 
    I have 6 sewing machines in my little space and I keep threatening to get rid of some of them, but when push comes to shove I just can't bring myself to do it. Each one has it's own redeeming feature even if it is only the fact that it looks good or was owned and used by a previous family member.

    Would you like to meet my "family " of machines?

    Well you all know Ruby...she is my current work horse.

    Before Ruby came to live at my house I had my QC6260
    I was never able to come up with a name to suit her and now she sits on the sidelines nameless but faithful; waiting to be called up when needed.

    If you can think of a good name for her I am open to suggestions. I have entertained the idea of Jenna or Jenny (she is a Janome after all)

    My serger that I have had for 4 years and just learned to thread this week! Shame on me!

    A VERY old Eatonia sewing machine that belonged to my husbands parents. It is all seized up and doesn't run and I keep threatening to toss it, but I cave at the last minute.

    An Elna Supermatic circa 1952.
    This is a copy of one given to me by my Grandmother. The original was weaselled out of me by a sleazy sewing machine salesman who knew the worth of the machine when I did not. I traded a good, top of the line  machine for a bottom end Omega because I had a broken bobbin casing...I have since educated myself!

    An antique machine I bought almost 40 years ago and have also threatened to get rid of, but darn it! How can I? it is just so pretty...and it sews well!
    Just look at the detail on this machine...

    Singer Treadle circa 1887
    That's 128 years old people! How many things made 128 years ago look this good and still function?
    See why I can't get rid of it!

    So there you have it...these are the machines that live at my house and held me celebrate National Sewing Machine Day, but it gets better folks! Yesterday my sister was at a yard sale almost 3000 miles away from me and she sent me a text and photo and said, "hey Sis, are you interested this?

    Umm let me think...YES!! Is the Pope Catholic?
    Of course I am interested! 
    This machine my good friends is what is called an Elna Grasshopper. It has all it's parts and accessories including case. It is Elna's answer to the Singer Featherweight. I had never heard of it and after doing a bit of research this is what I found out.

    The color and the styling resembled an insect. Thus, the first sewing machine made by Elna became known as the Grasshopper.
    The Elna Grasshopper was in production from 1940 until 1952, and was one of the best selling sewing machines of the time.
    It was the first mass produced portable free arm sewing machine, and gave the Singer Featherweight a run for its money.
    The Grasshopper was invented by a Spanish Civil War refugee named Ramon Casas, and mass produced in Geneva, Switzerland by the firm, Tavaro S. A.
    While the Grasshopper was not released for public distribution until 1940, it has actually been around since 1936. At the time, Europe was embroiled in World War II, and Tavaro was involved in manufacturing munitions.
    However, due to the Swiss policy of neutrality, the war related product line was eliminated. With the factory quiet, Tavaro shifted to making sewing machines and the world was introduced to the Elna Grasshopper.
    The Grasshopper’s efficient and functional metal carrying case was ideal for wartime.
    Whenever bombs were dropping, bullets whizzing through the streets and soldiers were marching through small towns, the Elna sewing machine was easy to pack up and compact, making it possible for refugees escaping the horrors of war to carry it as they fled to safe havens on trains and buses.

    At A Glance

    When you first see the case, you aren’t sure what’s inside. Then after opening it up you are first struck by how cute the whole thing is… a little green sewing machine tucked inside with a metal accessories box, operating manuals [this one had two] and an electrical cord.
    Elna Grasshopper, first sewing machine by elna
    Elna Grasshopper, first sewing machine by elna
    The machine itself looks kind of funny. There’s this metal thing hanging from it. At first glance, we weren’t sure if it was a hanging rod or some weird attachment.
    Upon further inspection, we realized it was a knee controlled replacement for the traditional foot pedal.
    Elna Grasshopper at a glance
    Elna Grasshopper at a glance
    The next thing that caught our attention was the fact that the fly wheel is at the bottom of the machine, not the top.
    At least it’s still on the right hand side. The motor is located directly behind the fly wheel. It really looks a little funny, but very innovative for when it was made.
    The power switch is located on the very top of the machine. The light housed above the needle, giving the user the best possible illumination while sewing, a definite improvement over the Featherweight.


    This odd looking all metal portable sewing machine is equipped with the following standard features:
    • Straight stitch only
    • Knee lift
    • Two owner’s manuals
    • Carrying case doubles as work table
    • Free arm

    Working on the Elna Grasshopper

    The carrying case is functional in more ways than just providing a neat means of transport for the Grasshopper. It converts into a sewing table.
    Carrying case converted in to a sewing table
    Carrying case converted in to a sewing table
    I’m not sure how many other portable sewing machine carrying cases have as many unique features, but this one has certainly got to be at or near the top of the list.
    Unpacking the case is reminiscent of opening one of those surprise gift boxes. As we opened it up, we found not one but two owner’s manuals, the accessories box, an electrical cord … of course the sewing machine itself… and once it’s empty, it lies flat to form a sewing table.
    I am making a trip to Saskatchewan in 2 and 1/2 months to visit family and this baby is coming home to live with me! 
    Oh and I forgot to tell see the sticker with the price of $50.00 on it in the first picture...that is not what I paid. I purchased this little gem for $30.00! 
    Thanks Barb! I owe you one!

    Now that's how I celebrated national Sewing Machine Day!
    What did you do?


    Debbie Carpenter said...

    It's so fun to read your posts Wendy! I think that you'd better keep all of the machines...

    Barb Gibney said...

    Heh p!easure! When I got home with this little gem the first thing that I had to do was Google it to. Pretty unique little machine. Enjoy! I'm sure you have already cleared a spot in your sewing room for it!

    Mother Standring said...

    Hey.....I have an idea for your nameless sew is a Janome....and inside of the that word is "nome"....break that down into "no" and "me"... Since she faithfully waits on the side line....I was thinking that when she see you head for your "other machine" , she no doubt wishes......"No, Me!".... Thus her name...Nome.

    Miss you, and Love You

    Sis Judy

    Barb H said...

    What a treasure! I'll be keeping my eyes open for both the Featherweight and the Grasshopper and maybe I'll get lucky!

    (Not your sister) Barb

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