Singer 31-15 Treadle Sewing Machine

Here she is, and we don’t know her name yet.  I got a new to me, Singer 31-15 Treadle Sewing Machine from 1926.  She needs to be cleaned up, cleaned out and the cabinet cleaned, but everything works as is right now even without the polish.

1926 Singer 31-15 Treadle Sewing Machine

I bought it from a lady in Grand Rapids, MI who bought it from her husband’s uncle in the 1950′s when she first got married.  She told me that she took tailor and sewing classes and used it for years.  Her husband’s uncle bought it new from Singer in 1926 and he had a tailor shop on Plainfield in Grand Rapids making suits.  She belongs to me now.

I always wanted to learn to sew as a child but even though my family did sew, it did not make sense to me.  I remember taking one class with my mother and grandmother at the local high school and we had to make a blouse that had buttons down the front, a ruffled removable placket for the front, collar, cuffs, and was fitted.  I found it next to impossible.  I wasn’t able to sew straight lines, had to rip and tear out and redo so many times the end result was holes in the fabric everywhere….and worse yet it caused me to hate sewing and be terrified of sewing machines.  The machines went too fast and no amount of ridicule from my family made it any better for me.

1926 Singer 31-15 Treadle Sewing Machine

Fast forward about 35 years and I am stuck with many of my designs with my weaving of wearable art into too boxy of shapes and need something more fitted and tailored.  I decided to get a treadle sewing machine so that I can learn to sew slower speed and get past this childhood fear.

I remember that patterns did not make sense to me, cutting them out was hard on my hands even as a child, how they went together made zero sense and the instructions were even more gibberish to me.  None of these things were taught to me.  None of this was explained.  I was made to feel horrible, useless and stupid because I couldn’t “get” it.

I have decided that I don’t need patterns, don’t need electricity and don’t need speed.  I can learn to sew without all that my own way and be able to design what I want and how I want.  I can sew my hand spun, hand woven and felted fabrics together, put them on a backing, make quilts, bags and other assorted things without patterns if I so desire.  I may decide in time to give some simple patterns a try again, but this time I know I will succeed because my husband, Charlie does understand patterns and used to help his Mam make dresses on her treadle sewing machine.  He also has something I have never encountered before…..patience with my mind blocks that don’t make any logical sense.  So I know that he can teach me what I can’t figure out myself without giving me another complex for the next 35 years of my life.

Lazy day this summer by our new French Doors

Came across this photo today.

With 29.5 inches of snow in seven days time this last week, I really appreciate this photo of Sassy and I enjoying looking out into the woods and the orchard by our new French Doors.

Sunny day in the rocker

I believe I wasn’t feeling spectacular that day and was just having a pajama day.  Isn’t Sassy Gorgeous!!!

I do like our French Doors and sitting in the rocker with the sun shinning in was so wonderful.  I would enjoy that now….but it is more like frost bite out there right now.

Sassy loves the French Doors as she can stalk the cats through the window…eye ball to eye ball…as they go by and stop dead in their tracks and freeze because of that all powerful Border Collie Eye!!

Todd Morrison Jan 2002 – August, 30, 2014

August 30, 2014 was a sad day for Charlie and I.

Another of our furry family members passed.  It has taken me some time to be able to write a post about Todd’s passing. Todd came to us when he was about 8 years old.  I had started herding lessons with Kathy in Ft. Lupton, CO for Abbey, my red tri color border collie.  During the time that I was taking a few lessons with Abbey, I met Todd and we bought Todd.


Todd wouldn’t always work for everyone.  He did like to work for me.  He occasionally worked for Charlie but most times he would not work for him.  Todd needed a firm but patient handler and if anyone shouted at him, he shut down and would refuse to work.  He and Kathy had a difference of opinion.  He wanted to gather up the sheep and bring them to her, she wanted to train him to go further and drive and do other things.  If the sheep or goats were moving away from the human, Todd was NOT happy.  Well for us and our minimal needs, Todd’s style worked well.  He could gather up the sheep and goats and bring them to us all day long so I didn’t have to go down that big steep hill on the Colorado mountain side.  He understood that he wasn’t required to work every day, that when we walked even without any critters to herd I would run through his commands for practice, and that this was his retirement home.  We had about 6.5 years with Todd.  He adored my husband Charlie, me too, but there was a special bond with Charlie.  Charlie was his playmate.

Todd moving Michelle, one of our angora goats

Todd started going downhill dramatically about 2 weeks prior to our decision to let him go.  We did run numerous tests and our best guess was that he had a bone cancer in his back hip and some sort of spinal injury as no messages from the back end were reaching the brain.  He was staggering, struggling to use the bathroom, didn’t want to eat, and in pain.  It was the correct thing to do for him, even though it sucked for us.  I waited a little bit and tried a few pain medications and he had some initial improvements but not any significant increase in the quality of his life.

Todd and his mate, Charlie

I had hoped the medication would turn the tide and was going to give him a few days to look for improvements, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  Charlie was offshore at the time but the extra few days making him a bit more comfortable with the pain medications allowed Charlie to get home to be with Todd that last evening before going to the vet the next day.



Todd working the training sheep

Our Todd would gather up the sheep, but he really enjoyed the belligerent stubborn goats.  Those were his favorite to herd and bend to his will.  He had a great eye and barely made a sound when doing any herding.  It was a joy to watch him work.

Todd will be missed.


Fibery Goodness Module One through Seven Yarns


Here is a little photo gallery of all of the Module yarns from One to Seven in order.  Enjoy.

Mod 1 – Basic Go To Yarn

Mod 2 – Chain yarn



Module 1 yarn is my Basic Go To Yarn that I spin easily without thinking.


Module 2 is a Chain yarn made up of 4 plys.







Mod 3 – Gimp Spiral yarn

Mod 4 – Beaded Spiral yarn


Mod 3 is a Gimp Spiral.  One ply is 50% smaller than the other ply.


Mod 4 is a Beaded Spiral.  Beads are fresh water pearls strung on a silk thread.







Module 5 – 4 Variation Spiral
1. Basic Spiral
2. Spiral with extra tension on one ply to make it a stronger spiral
3. Beaded Spiral
4. Super Coil almost core spun extreme spiral

Mod 5 yarn












Module 6 – Basic Go To Yarn revamped

Changes: 2 plys spun even, thinner and tighter. One silk ply with garnet seed pearl beads. Silk ply trapped between two merino plys to correct a previous problem of silk ply loosening off and beads getting caught and broken out of yarn

Mod 6 yarn










Module 7 – Slubby Flame Spiral

One ply tight, even and thin. One ply wild, slubby with huge changes between thick and thin. Fat uneven ply spiraled around tight ply to create a balanced strong and fluffy yarn

Mod 7 yarn

Fibery Goodness Module Seven Yarn

As promised, here is my Module Seven Yarn photos.  I spun these several weeks ago and just managed to get some photos taken this week.  Also of note, is that I spun Module Six in the morning and Module Seven in the evening.  Two totally different and unique yarns which required two widely different styles of spinning and plying techniques.  Make sure you see Mod 6 yarns as well.

Mod 7-7


Mod 7-2

I used the same 15.5 Micron Merino commercially prepared combed top in white.  I spun one ply a bit finer than usual with a bit more twist and evenness than usual.  I spun the other ply with throwing it at the wheel.  I spun slubs, thin bits, thick bits….anything I could to make the texture wild and crazy.  I plyed the thick slubby wild single spirally around the thin even tightly controlled one to get a lovely slub flame spiral yarn.  This is super soft and a very comforting sort of yarn but still has strength due to the tight controlled spun single.

Mod 7-6

This completes the spinning portion of my course with seven stunning yarns all created from the same 15.5 micron Merino commercial prepared combed top in white.

My focus in this course was creating the seven yarns using the same prep and wool in the same white color while creating 7 obviously unique and different textured yarns due to the ply structure and spinning technique only.  It was a challenge that I set for myself and I think I achieved it.


Mod 7-3

Now for the preparation that will be Module 8 and constructing a final project that will use some of all seven yarns in the final item.  Stay tuned because I have a fantastic final project planned.  It will involve circular weaving, rigid heddle weaving, wet felting, free form crochet and a lot of creativity.