Monday, October 15, 2007

Treadle Pot Holders

This chenille potholder was begun (and nearly finished) at Conversations in Cloth in September. Gill showed us how to make them last month. She says you can use any woven cloth. I think these are homespun. Since it's just straight-forward sewing (literally!) I thought it would be a good and easy project to try on the old treadle sewing machine.

I sewed the blue potholder below on the treadle. After I had cleaned, oiled and lubed the treadle, I thought I was ready to go. But I was still having a problem with the top thread not catching the bobbin thread--until I figured out (at Katy's suggestion) to turn the needle 90 degrees, so the hole runs parallel to me as operator (not like on modern machines where the hole faces us).

On the old treadle, I kept wanting to use the reverse button and thread cutter ... Old habits die hard! Things ran reasonably smoothly until the bobbin thread kept breaking. I can see how the rotary bobbins were an improvement for less stress on the thread. I loosened the bobbin shuttle screw, and still the thread would get stuck ... I finally got the channels sewn for the blue potholder. It took about 90 minutes. There's no dual feed on the old machine either, so the plaid came out a little crooked (I trimmed it down here). I also discovered that if I work the tradle in daylight hours next to the window, I have plenty of light. Night-time sewing is difficult on it since I don't have a decent light there ...

These are samples of the potholders before they've been thrown in the washer and dryer with a fluffy towel. Channels have been cut, but not fluffed. The handy slash cutting tool on the right is a must-have item if you want to make any chenille. It makes cutting the channels go fast and relatively easy.

For the red potholder, I went back to my not-so-old sewing machine, and sewed the channels with much less fuss and hassle. Maybe my old treadle machine will just sit there and look nice ...

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