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Thread: Power outage sewing machines

  1. #1
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Power outage sewing machines

    Looking at the scenarios for power outages from Sandy reminded me of some that we've suffered through in the past. Being without power for long periods gets to be tedious (though I'm sure the people facing flooding would be happy with tedious!) so I was thinking a treadle machine would be great to cut the boredom. Then I remembered that lighting is variable during the day.... I'm thinking a hand crank machine could be a nice thing to have around, all ready to go, if we ever went through another long outage. Move it from window to window throughout the day and use the concentration needed to sew well (at least I have to concentrate) to help the time pass more quickly.

    For all of our friends in the affected areas - be safe!

  2. #2
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Yes, I hope everyone stays safe!! I have my treadle in a well lit area, but, when we lose power, I am very "not motivated" to sew! We usually pace around waiting for the power to come back. Anyone else have better sewing results?

  3. #3
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    I'd just move one of my 5 treadles out on the front porch and sew. Unless the weather is crappy that is.

    Here's an idea. Remember the old bolt on generator powered lights we used on our bicycles eons ago? Hook one of them up to a treadle and put a battery in the circuit. As you treadle you charge the battery that runs the light.

    No I'm not planning on doing that. At least not in the near future.

    Joe

  4. #4
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    What do you mean 'eons ago'! I still have one of those for the tandem (my single uses a much nicer generator built into the front hub.)

    There are actually battery backed LED bike lights all set up this way but they'd probably wash out the work area.

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Well, that shows just how long it's been since I've been into riding bicycles. I think with a little judicious thought a person could set one up. Better than sewing in the dark .

    Joe

  6. #6
    Junior Member Kittywolf13's Avatar
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    How about just a battery operated OTT light? Or book light? I know a few people have glued a strong magnet to the light an just attached it that way. Not pretty but it works. And if your afraid of scratching just put a small swatch of thin fabric to cushion it. good luck to those in affected areas! For once this Floridian doesn't have to worry too much about it.
    Proud owner of: Eleanor, a 1896 Willcox & Gibbs Chain Stitch Treadle; Tucci, a 1952 Singer Featherweight; my mothers Singer Touch & Sew 758; Brother XR 6060
    1910 Singer 66; Singer 99K Shadow, 1929 Singer 128 (currently w/hand crank)

  7. #7
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    I converted one of my machines back to a hand crank, as it had originally been and absolutely love using it.
    And will be grateful to have it if/when the world really goes dark...
    But as mentioned before, during a power outage we usually seek out fellow sufferers to talk about it
    Four days was our longest during an ice storm in Portland Oregon in the 80's.
    Our little wood stove was such a blessing. My neighbor make a giant pot of chili on day three on top of her woodstove...and put cinnamon instead of chili powder in it. That low light problem, oh dear! We ate it all up, anything warm was welcome.

  8. #8
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    The problem with a pure battery solution is that outages can last and last and last (as I'm sure some people are going to find out shortly)

    The problem I see with bicycle generators is they're designed to put out quite a bit more power than you'd need for a sewing light so they would - except for the top notch systems - put a noticable drag on the treadle. I think I'll just make sure we always have a hand crank up and working.

  9. #9
    Junior Member totosmom's Avatar
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    Yes! A hand crank! If we lose power here in PA, I will probably set this girl up in front of the window and crank away. No sense in worrying; the power will come on when it comes on. With a full tank of propane for the fireplace and the stove, we should be good for a few nights. But yes, the sunlight will be variable, especially during a rain storm, but, hey, it sure beats pacing about.

    OTOH, we do worry about all the people who are smack dab in Sandy's way.
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    Dorothy in PA

  10. #10
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    I want. We don't have a full sized Singer hand crank and we don't have a Lotus pattern 66. Two birds, one stone! Enjoy it and do your best to stay warm and dry.

  11. #11
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    We haven't lost the power yet, just a couple of times to annoy all the electic clocks.. All my machines are electric, so I will have a problem. I have a flash light that recharges with a thing that you squeeze. The light is bright as heck.. I can see taping it on my goose neck lamp, and sew away if I had a person powered machine..

  12. #12
    Senior Member pinecone's Avatar
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    I have a head lamp similar to this http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/69364...er-xr-headlamp The batteries last a long time and you have your hands free to cook, sew etc and it points on the stairs leading the way where ever you go. My dad who is 90 wears one of these http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63736...finder-led-cap to walk across to the driveway, it leaves his hands free to use a cane and carry the mail. My DD has DMIL's treadle, I have my cathedral windows project.

    piney

  13. #13
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    Sounds like I need a new headlamp - the batteries in mine don't last all that long. They are great, though, for night bicycle rides. With one of these you can read street signs and drivers can see the light when you look at them. I probably wouldn't have thought to use it in a power outage, though.

  14. #14
    Senior Member star619's Avatar
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    Ladies, check out men's hobby resources. My husband does all sorts of vehicle/hunting/household work. He has a cap with LED lights on the brim," headband" LED lights (he got me one to read with during outages),etc. There are answers- guys aren't going darkness stop them!

  15. #15
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    Hand cranks are wonderful! I have a 201 hand crank that I love to use, even when the power isn't out. I just purchased a battery powered bendable LED light that I could use with it at night. I would just have to make sure I had some extra batteries charged up! The light attaches to the machine with magnets, so it can only be used with vintage machines. Works great!
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  16. #16
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
    Yes, I hope everyone stays safe!! I have my treadle in a well lit area, but, when we lose power, I am very "not motivated" to sew! We usually pace around waiting for the power to come back. Anyone else have better sewing results?
    One day last Spring I was sewing with one of the treadles and DH asked me if I knew the power was out due to the thunderstorm...I said so? I just moved over closer to the window and kept on piecing log cabin blocks.

  17. #17
    Super Member DonnaC's Avatar
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    How funny the way we all think. The first thing I did when I heard about the storm coming was to put the hand-crank back onto my Singer 66 (I had previously converted it to a motorized machine). Then I found my headlamp and my battery-powered Ott light (the little clip-on one). Of course, I did all of this FIRST - before I filled containers with water and gathered up my non-perishable foods...LOL. Priorities!

    After all that, I actually never lost power at home. Parts of my state were really ravaged, just not where I am.

  18. #18
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    But still I prefer to hand sewing machine after a big facilitation...Because hand sewing machine is best for hand exercise...

  19. #19
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    No one has mentioned oil lamps with either kerosene or the lamp oil in the small bottles. That's what they used in the days before gas lighting or electricity. Set a reflective surface behind it to throw even more light. I have treadles and handcranks, and they can be moved if you absolutely have to sew into an area close to an end table, as I don't recommend placing an oil lamp directly on the machine itself.

  20. #20
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    Being out in the middle of the country several miles from the nearest town, this was one of my primary justifications for acquiring treadles. If storms or such knock power out we will be way low on the priority list for restoration so I want to be well prepared for long term power outages. Of course we have the standard provisions too, but my sanity can be saved, which is far more valuable than food and water

  21. #21
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    There are hand crank portable radios available. My son-in-law had one we used during Katrina. I bought one that also has a light. Some even have the ability to charge cell phones.

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