Hey Threadsters and welcome to my teeny tiny snippet of the internet.
I went on an adventure of the greatest kind a few days ago and I am busting to tell you all about it. Let me explain.
I have had my heart set on owning a hand crank sewing machine to take to markets and festivals. There is something so delightfully classic and nostalgic about them.
I’d love to show younger generations what sewing without electricity looks like and a hand crank is soooo much more portable than a treadle. Well my friends, this week the stars aligned and my wish was granted in the quirkiest way.
Eric the Goat Farmer
I met Eric a couple of years ago at the Blue Knob Market. He manages The Backyarders Table where local small producers can bring in a few dozen eggs or some homemade preserves to sell.
Eric is a man of many talents including making the most divine cheesecake and cajeta (mexican caramel sauce) from his goat milk.
He is also a skilled embroiderer and is passionate about restoring vintage and antique sewing machines.
Byron Bay Hinterland
Last Thursday I took the long and winding road to Eric’s house. Past the macadamia and avocado farms, around many bends (and thankfully not through too many potholes), past the pig farms and beyond.
Eric and his partner live near Kyogle, a charming little country town that among other things hosts the best Billy Cart Bonanza I have had the pleasure of attending.
Their rustic farmhouse is filled with restoration projects of all kinds, piles of books and all manner of wonderful vintage items. They also have two of the cutest little pugs ever!
Meet Tracy (the sewing machine)
I fell in love the instant Eric introduced me to Tracy. So shiny and black and lovely. Tracy is a Singer 99k.
Eric informs me that she is named for Tracy Turnblad of the musical Hairspray (Welcome to the 60s). Manufactured in 1960; timeless and beautiful.
I sat down at the kitchen table while Eric located a scrap of fabric to use as a test piece. The anticipation! The action of turning the hand crank and seeing perfect stitching coming out behind the needle is so amazing to watch.
These machines really are incredible pieces of engineering.
This particular machine can vary stitch length and go backwards as well. Eric tells me that I can add different feet and even a buttonhole attachment, though I decided that I should stick to the basics to begin with.
How can I meet Tracy in Person?
Tracy has now joined my market set up and was very well received at the Lismore Car Boot Market on Sunday.
Future events for Tracy include Lismore Farmers Market on the first and third Saturday in July, the Lismore Car Boot Market on the first Sunday of every month, the O’Heart Festival in Tyalgum and (drumroll please) the Eco Expo in Brisbane 14-16th September.
I will let you know more about the Expo in an upcoming blog post. There are a couple of other events she will be attending but these are not official yet and will be announced in the next month. In the meantime, you can be sure to see more of Tracy on my Instagram or Facebook page.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric’s email is email@example.com
Until next time –
May your bobbin always be full,