Friday, August 5, 2011


White Rotary treadle head my DH bought for me
My new White Rotary waiting to get cleaned up
 TOGA!  No, not the kind from 'Animal House'.  Treadle On Gathering and Academy type of TOGA!  More fun than the 'Animal House' toga, and without the hangover or the 'oh no, what did I do' factor.  Last weekend I attended the Loosen & Lube TOGA at the Barron County Pioneer Museum in Cameron, Wisconsin.  I brought several of my machines so that I could learn how to clean them.  After I'd cleaned my machines on Friday,  Mary and Paul thought I did well enough to clean others machines the rest of the weekend.  Woohoo!  The other Togateers are such good teachers.  I still have lots to learn, but, this was a fun start.

Lets start at the beginning of my trip.  My hubby came with me on this trip.  That doesn't happen very often.  With him in scouting, and barbershop singing, etc, he is
usually headed one way while I'm usually
Paul, Mary & Chryssa
headed another way.  
On the drive up, we stopped at a cute deli/grocery store in Wisconsin.  As we were eating, my hubby points down to the floor and asks if I'd seen the sewing machine yet.  Of course I put my sandwich down and go look.  A dirty White Rotary treadle head is sitting there.  No price, no base, alone.  My hubby says: "if it's for sale for $10 or less, you can have it."  Well, that was some challenge.  Did I just sit there and finish my sandwich?  NO!  The owner of the store walked back in the room, and, I asked her if the machine was for sale.  "Well, I guess so" she says.  I then tell her what my hubby said.  She says, "I'll take $10 for it."  Yipee!  A new (to me) machine.  You better bet I cleaned her up the next day. 

Bob & Paul adjusting the feed dogs on my Singer 15
 Unfortunately, I don't have a White treadle base, only Singer bases.  Whites don't fit into Singer bases.  Also, Whites don't convert easily to hand cranks.  I'll find out more about this machine when I contact the lady who is the 'White guru.'  She will be able to help me determine what model I have and how old it is. 
Machines being sold

More machines being sold
 While I worked on people powered sewing machines, my hubby was either planning his hike on the Ice Age Trail, or hiking the trail.  He'd planned for weeks to hike 10 miles a day on Saturday and another 10 miles on Sunday.  Well....  he wound up hiking about 14 miles on Saturday, part of it in the pouring rain.  The grass on the trail was waist high, and in some places, chest high.  Now that is a hike!  It was more than he'd bargained for.  He was still sore on Sunday morning, so, he didn't hike again. 
Onions during a rare quiet time

Paul adjusting a treadle

Chryssa threading a treadle that I had cleaned
 Behind the great machines is my Christmas quilt.  No, not the one I just had the block exchange for.  This was from the first block exchange in 2005.  Some of us brought 'show-n-tell' that we'd done.  I wish I'd gotten a picture of Kate doing free motion quilting on her treadle.  It was great.  Betcha didn't think you could FM on a treadle, did ya? 
Linda working with machine owners

After this weekend, I now have three machines that I am in the process of turning into hand cranks.  The lovely Singer Spartan that Caryl gave me last month now has a wooden base and a spoked hand wheel.   I still need to stain the wooden base.  I can still use the motor on the Spartan if I want to.  Hand crank number 1 is almost done.

The Singer 66 Red eye that was so dirty and I didn't know if it could come back to life, is now pretty and functioning.  I can either treadle her, or, if I want, attach a hand crank and crank her.  I still need a base to put her in.  Hubby is going to make me one. Hand Crank #2, when I get another hand crank and the base.

The New Home A that I bought back in February had a 'motorectomy' at the TOGA.  Paul took the motor off her while I was still bringing machines into the room.  He's fast!  She is clean and waiting for the adapter so that I can turn her into hand crank #3.

I also took my Singer 15 treadle to get the feed dogs adjusted.  Paul showed me what to do and got her fixed up quickly.  I even found a small amount of time on Sunday morning to make a few 4 patch blocks on her.

I did find some time on Sunday to look thru a few of the buildings at the museum.  I took pictures of some nice, people powered machines and some lovely, vintage quilts.  I'll show those on a later post. 

Now a challenge to you.  If you have a treadle or hand crank sewing machine sitting around your house, USE IT!  I've learned the basics for cleaning and oiling these machines, and, I know a group of people who know LOTS more than I'll ever know that can help you.  I also know at least one person who sells parts for many of these machines.  Singer parts are the easiest to obtain.  Parts can also be found for some of the other brands. 

Bob, Anne & Mary working sign-in
 Research how to clean the machines BEFORE you start.  I accidentally silvered the decals (what was left of them) on my first treadle (the Singer 15) by using water on it.  Oops! 
Paul adjusting one of the many treadles

Cindy, our parts person
I'm headed back to Wisconsin in the morning to pick up my son's stuff from camp.  This will be my 4th trip there in 4 weeks.  I'm getting tired of all this driving. : )  Have a good weekend!


  1. Fun post, I don't have any treadle machines but have several older singers that I love.

  2. Hi Cheryl,

    It's a White FR (family rotary) and a wonderful machine. I think the Captain was at first more into Whites than Singers. Don't forget that the FR handwheel goes backwards! You are missing the T-shirt plate, but I'm hoping you can find one.

    Dorothy in Oz

  3. Looks like a great TOGA. I went to my first one this summer too.

    Laura has a picture up of an alternative to a hand crank--guess you would call it a handwheel knob. I've done one for a machine that would not take a hand crank. Check it out at

  4. Looks like fun! I love the quilts that are on the walls. Glad you had a blast.

  5. Wish I lived near you, yet again! That sounds like a great conversion workshop.

    dezertsuz at gmail


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