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Forum > Sewing Machines > How many use crank sewing machines? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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How many use crank sewing machines?
and what do you use them for?


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Date: 11/3/12 2:40 PM

Wondering if I would like the cranking and holding fabric with left hand.

What are good machines to consider? I'm a quilter.

m/m

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Date: 11/3/12 4:07 PM

Personally I wouldn't want to use a hand operated machine for quilting unless it's the type of quilting that doesn't require perfect seam allowances and/or carefully placed quilting. I've used a hand crank machine and I never developed enough accuracy for perfect quarter inch seams on it. It was fine for clothing and things like curtains though. If you're in a situation where you want something that doesn't need electricity to run and you've room for a treadle base I'd go with that. My husband use to crank his mom's hand crank sewing machine for her and his main memory of that was how much she yelled at him for going too slow, too fast or not stopping immediately when she told him to stop.

On the other hand, if you're left handed you might have better luck with it than I did. Also I've seen tailors who travel door to door with their hand cranked machines on their shoulders who are quite good accurate sewing with their machines but they've had years of experience.

nancy2001
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Date: 11/3/12 4:18 PM

I'm a garment sewer not a quilter, and retrofitted a Singer Featherweight with a handcrank (from ebay). I don't use the handcrank often but wanted it as a back up so I'd be able to sew during thunderstorms.

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No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

jzygail
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Date: 11/3/12 4:23 PM

My very first non-motorized sewing machine (to sew on) was (is) my 1925 Singer 99 hand crank. I actually already had a 1924 Singer 66 Redeye in a treadle, but it took me some time to get up the courage to do a motorectomy on him and teach myself how to treadle, so I was sewing on the 99 first.

The very first project I ever made on it was a mystery quilt top that I pieced (it was a mystery quilt project on Treadle On). I'd sewn garments as a teenager and figured I'd try a simple piecing project to see if I liked using the hand crank. I did, and it wasn't very much of a learning curve to get used to guiding with the left hand. In fact, I liked it so much, as soon as that quilt top was done, I immediately pieced a bowtie block (using the origami method) on the hand crank as well. That was the first top that I actually quilted, although I quilted it on the aforementioned 66 Redeye which I'd finally set up for treadling.

My advice is whatever machine you decide to try, make sure she moves easily. My 99 sews so sweetly and smoothly. I have a 128 that still gives me fits and starts--if the 128 had been my first handcrank I might never have bought another. However, I don't think the problem is the model 128, but this particular machine desparately needs a deep cleaning. It sews very easily if I let it sit in my car on a hot summer day first :)

I've never quilted on my hand crank, but I piece a lot and I love the control of a hand crank, although there is a bit of a learning curve, but once you've got it down, you can stop on a dime, drop one stitch when you need to and you're your own Needle Up/Down. :)

pknord
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Date: 11/3/12 5:29 PM

THIS QUILT was paper foundation pieced on a Singer VS3 hand crank sewing machine with lovely rose decals. The blocks were sewn together and the top was quilted using a Davis Vertical Feed (no feeddogs) treadle machine. The butterflies were WonderUndered on, and then hand buttonhole appliqued around (the only hand work in the entire quilt). The binding was sewn on entirely with the Davis treadle. That person with the enormous grin is me, LOL. The quilt is made of indigo prints from South Africa and shirting prints from the U.S.

I love hand cranks for the stitch-by-stitch accuracy when doing the paper foundation piecing.

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Pat in Rockport, TX
"As ye sew, so shall ye rip."
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PattiAnnJ
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Date: 11/3/12 6:30 PM

Would you want to go back to hand cranking the motor each time you wanted to start your car?

NO. Same for anything else that has been updated to at least the 20th century.

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

beauturbo
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Date: 11/3/12 6:56 PM

I bought my daughter a really nice, 1920's Singer 99 in a bent wood case when she was 3 or 4 years old. I thoughtthat one was very nice, for her, as she could not run though her fingers with a needle with an electric foot pedal, and even better for that than treadle, as I thought she would stop hand cranking then, if that happened in way, that might not, if that more momentum would be going on with a treadle instead. So, if you want to piece a quilt top or such hand cranking, I think one of those might be nice. I would not try to actually quilt though, a big heavy quilt top with it though, and also you can't free motion worth a darn, on them, or at least not me, if one hand has to be cranking something, as then you are just too one handed to make that work very good at all. Maybe if you could stick your item in a hoop, then hand cranking would be better.

Also good for using someplace where there is no electricity, and it's small to carry around. Much smaller than a machine in a huge and heavy treadle .

I also have a 1800's Frister and Rossman hand crank, with a long boat shuttle, that you could piece a quilt top with. I kind of actually like the singer one better though, just because I'm not a real big fan of boat shuttle kind of machines for real and lots of sewing at all.

Truely though, I have found that every thing you normally need or are used to using both and two two hands for to manipulate your fabric with, is just not going to work the same good way, if one hand has to be hand cranking a hand crank machine instead. So if you want to see what it would be like, just sew on any electric or treadle machine, and just don't use your right hand for much, as long as that machine is moving at all, and that is just what it would be like :)

AminaHijabi
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Date: 11/3/12 8:25 PM

My step-mother-in-law has a hand crank. Its her sole sewing machine and she uses it for all kinds of mending. But then she doesn't live in the USA and they frequently experience blackouts for 12 hours at a time. I wish she has a treadle though. I spied a treadle at a cousins house, but I guess the hand crank is more storable (doesn't require dedicated sewing space). They kept the treadle outside on the porch.
-- Edited on 11/3/12 8:26 PM --
-- Edited on 11/3/12 8:28 PM --

JEF
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Date: 11/3/12 8:36 PM

I just got a hand crank a few weeks ago. Last week was really my first time playing with it and I pieced a few quilt blocks. Worked very well. I was surprised how quickly I got used to the hand cranking.

My seam allowances can use a little work but I think that is almost as much from not having a 1/4 foot on there as anything else. I tried to use a metallic seam guide and for some reason that screwed up my SA even more!

JEF

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"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." --Abraham Lincoln

jzygail
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In reply to JEF <<
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Date: 11/4/12 1:20 AM

I've had better luck stacking 3 or 4 flat advertising magnets on the machine head and using that as the seam guide than the smaller metal attachments originally made for that purpose. They stay right where you put them and stacked, create a nice edge to use as a guide for the fabric.

And since the old vintage machines have no electronic gadgets to be confuzzled by a magnet, it's all good :)

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