Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Last night I was watching Bonnie treadling away on Quiltcam and she was talking about her "Red Eye".  I have recently re-organized/arranged my sewing room (again!) and un-burried my treadle.

I was yard sale shopping a few years ago and picked up this gorgeous Singer "Redeye".  The grandmother I bought it from had sewn on it "for ages" but age and health problems left her unable to continue to do so.  Sadly, none of her children or grandchildren were interested in acquiring it or learning to sew.... That has worked out just fine for me!

The serial number G8546689 indicates that it was made in 1921.... a A Singer 66.
Looking on the internet I have found the decal pattern may originally have been called "Scroll (red)".  But the common names for it are "Red Head" or "Red Eye" due to the red eye-shaped design in the decal decoration.

It is in excellent shape for a 92 year old!  They sure don't build them like this anymore!

Some other general information I was able to copy off the internet:

The Singer 66 sewing machine produces a near perfect stitch. When sewing well the 66 will out-sew nearly any modern machine through a huge variety of fabrics from linen to lace, horse blankets to buckram. It is simply near perfect engineering but this came at a price. A Singer 66 was one of the most expensive sewing machines on the market costing several months wages.  Most sewers would opt for the smaller twin, the Singer 99, but for those professional sewers who wanted more foot clearance and space the Singer 66 was the queen. Expensive but simply the best.

The 66 arrived after nearly half a century of improvements and developments.The mass produced machine was introduced around 1900 and used the smooth oscillating hook. The hook mounted horizontally allowed the bobbin to be simply dropped into the machine. The simplicity of threading and perfection of stitch made the 66 an instant best seller. The high-arm clearance and sewing ability was second to none.

It ran from the 1900 right up until the model was superseded by the amazing Singer 201 in 1939. The Singer 201 was possibly the finest Singer ever produced. The smaller stable-mate to the Singer 66 was the Singer 99 identical except for size.

The British Singer 66's were adorned with three different decals. Firstly the Lotus petal; then came the Sphinx which was also used on the Singer 15k and a few other shuttle models. In America the red-eye pattern stayed with the machine whereas in Britain the Singer 66 had three decal changes.

The Singer "Red Eye" gets its name from the beautiful lenticular design used throughout its decoration. Several other machines earn names from their embellishments such as the Sphinx, Lotus, Memphis, Egyptian, etc.

Bonnie suggested starting with string blocks when learning to treadle... no need for perfect 1/4 inch seams....that is exactly what I plan to do.  I have a bag of gifted strings that need to be sewn!  

I'll need to research how to oil and clean her up a bit first; but hope to be ready to sew on her by the time Bonnie returns for the next Quiltcam.