Ask Jo: Need Some Help from YOU!

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days.

Today I have some question first and then I have some requests that I need your help with that I can do on my own…

First up from Patricia:
Jo, beautiful job on your cross stitch and framing. Thank you for sharing your technique with us. Since you are using 40 ct linen, do you use a lighted magnifying lamp? Which one would you recommend?
Also could you explain your method of deconstructing shirts. Thank you for sharing.”

Patricia wrote that after I wrote about finishing my Seeking Refuge cross stitch piece.  Read about that HERE is you missed it.

I do stitch on 40 count linen.  It’s seriously become my favorite.  I stitch one thread over two and that is my preferred favorite too.

I do use a light.  I have this Ott light…

Although spendy, it was well worth it.  I got mine from Joanns but it seems they don’t have them to order anymore.  I checked Amazon (HERE) and they seem out of stock there as well.

Ott does have this light and I’d assume it would work like mine…HERE

It appears it doesn’t have the clip and honestly, I don’t use the clip on mine anyway.

I also use these glasses if I’m not stitching at the couch in the living room…

HERE is a link for them.  I like these and they work great but…the nose piece takes a little getting used to.  There is a light in them so they really are fabulous and inexpensive.

Many people also just wear reading glasses over their regular glasses.  I’ve done that too.  Some get a higher strength magnification that what they would normally use.  You have to just work and experiment with what works best for you.

If you travel and stitch, you might want the white lighted magnifiers.  If you only stitch in the living room, you might want to invest in a great floor lamp.  It so hard to recommend things to people as I don’t what everyone’s life style is.  Maybe you already have a good lamp for light but just need magnification…for you then trying reading glasses in a higher strength might be all you need.

As far as deboning shirts…
I do have a blog post about that.  You can find it HERE.

I love using shirts in quilt projects.  It reminds me that I have another stack of shirts that still need to be deboned.  Hmmm.  Maybe I’ll pull that out the next time Kayla is home.  She’s great at deboning shirts.

The next question from Nicki:
Hi Jo-Is there a pattern for the Civil War Tribute quilt? I would like to add that to my “make someday list”.”

Jo's BOM Challenge 2018 | Jo's Country Junction
Kelli and I both made one of these.  I have Kelli’s quilted and mine sits here waiting for quilting.

From all I know, there is not anywhere to buy the pattern from.  I’m guessing a blog reader might have one that they are willing to part with.  When I finished mine I got rid of the pattern…can’t remember if I gifted it or put it in the Goodwill box.

If you have a pattern and are willing to part with it, please contact Nicki at

The next question comes from Julia via Messenger…It too was about the Civil War Tribute quilt.  She writes:


Here is Julia’s address:

She is missing months 8 and 10.  If you can help, that would be awesome.

A note I want to make for anyone making this quilt:  Please before you start any of the blocks, refer to THIS PATTERN CORRECTIONS page.  This pattern is riddled with corrections and changes.  If you don’t know it advance, you might end up frustrated.  I was so thankful someone warned me.

The next question also comes from Messenger.  This one is from Cindy:
I am a reader from Calif. I follow you and your girls. You girls are inspiring. I know you are into old singer machines. I was given an old 1953 15-91 that was my grandmothers. It is in really good condition. It needs to be cleaned and some electrical cord replacements done. I’m looking for parts,electrical cord and foot controller. Can you point me a direction for the parts please. I have no idea of value, maybe you might know. I really don’t know much about the machine, but I remember my grandmother sewing for hours at this machine. Unfortunately the cabinet fell apart many years ago. Thank you, Cynthia.”

I really don’t know much about parts.  Do any of you?  If so, please leave a comment in the comment section and let Cindy know a little about replacement parts and restoration of her grandmother’s machine.

As far as the worth of the machine.  I have my 15-91 and I adore that machine.

I am a terrible person to ask the value of a machine.  I paid $15 for this girl.  She was in good working order…That cabinet was included but was scuffed.  It was an easy fix.

Read the whole story on this machine HERE.

Restor-a-Finish  did wonders!!  Just look at the dings and scratches that it is hiding.

I guess with old machines they are really hard to value.  To many people they think the are treasured antiques and worth lots of money.  For me, the worth is more nostalgic as I’m pretty good at finding machines for pretty good prices.

I adore the 15-91.  She is a workhorse and can really sew.  She is worth WAY more than $15 to me.

I paid $50 for my Singer 99…She was a garage sale find.  She has a cabinet…it’s a simple one.  I’d like to find a nicer one for her.  Read the story on her HERE.

I don’t use this machine often…

My Singer 301 I paid $100 for.  Read the story on it HERE.

I might not have paid that much but Kramer was with me and told me to get it.  We bought it at the thrift store.  That particular store puts all it’s proceeds back into the community so I felt good about that and was one of the reasons I was willing to pay more than I normally would for it.

I adore this machine…I use it as my portable machine if I need a machine on the main floor of the house.

Kramer bought my Featherweight for me…It was at an auction. He paid $5 for it.  Read the whole story about that HERE.

I was thrilled!!  It’s one of the best $5 we ever spent.

The kids bought me my Franklin treadle as a birthday present.  They spent lots on it but it was in mint condition and the cabinet was gorgeous.

I think it was over $200.  Read the story HERE.

All of these machines I bought blindly without knowing if they worked.  That is always a risk…and one person’s definition of working is sometimes different than mine.  When I say working order that means I can sew a whole quilt with it and the stitches are good.

If you look at the machines I have, I look at their worth differently….the $15 I paid for the 15-91 was a steal.  That machine can sew!  Fixing up the cabinet was so fun and I bought it on a day that Neighbor Girl was with me.  All of those memories play into it for me.  That machine is in the priceless category.

My Featherweight…priceless too.  $5 was a steal but more than that was the look on Kramer’s face when he gave it to me.  He was so proud of himself for snatching it up for $5.  The truth of it..they couldn’t get a bid for it at first and his initial bid was $3…someone else bid $4 and he got it for $5.  He was tickled and always told everyone the story about getting that machine.

I guess I wouldn’t worry about the “value” of the machine.  The real value to me would be that the machine was your grandma’s and knowing that brings the sweet nostalgic memories.  Those are priceless.

If you can help Cindy locate some parts…or if you have an opinion the value of vintage sewing machines, please chime in.  I’d love to hear what you all think.

As always..if you have a question, leave it in the comments, contact me Messenger or email me at THANKS.

15 thoughts on “Ask Jo: Need Some Help from YOU!”

  1. For the lady who got her grandmother’s 15-91 sewing machine, I would suggest she go to WordPress, Inc. and follow Vintage Sewing Machines by Elena. While she is in the UK, she has a lot of good detailed information about renewing old machines. You can search on her blog for your type of machine. That said, I wouldn’t discount taking it to a good repairman. Call before you take it to be sure they can work on old machines, some don’t. I found my old Singer 66-16, and took it to an 82 year old repairman here in NC and he cleaned it right up, gave me several bobbins for it, and sold me a quilting foot for it. It sews beautifully.

  2. Darlynn Venne

    the best place i have found parts for old machines is on ebay.

    jo, girl, you are so stinking lucky with paying low dollar for your machines.
    example: i have all the “colors” of the 301 except the black. been looking for a long bed one for YEARS! found one on marketplace and paid $200 w/a bad foot cord. still felt as though it was an ok deal

    the only good deal i ever got on a machine was an old singer, green, 185J in a cabinet with a bench at an auction for $5. didn’t know if it worked or not. worked and is one of my favorite machines ever!

  3. As far as parts, I’ve had pretty good luck finding parts for the old Singer machines on eBay. For harder to find parts, search for Fred Sanford’s Vintage Sewing Machine Parts on Facebook. He has hundreds of machines and has helped me out a few times. I was lucky enough to snag my 15-91 in a near perfect cabinet for $28 at a thrift store.

  4. I, too, sew with “elderly” Singer machines. I would recommend
    Love the blog, Jo–I’ve been surreptitiously reading for about a year.

  5. Another good source of information is the Vintage Singers group, a former Yahoo group, that’s now on Go to the website and search for “vintagesingers” – all one word. They have helpful members, and extensive files with manuals, parts lists and such.

    The 15-91 is a wonderful old machine, with a gear-driven motor like the 201. But most old Singers don’t have a huge value; there were so many of them made.

  6. You mentioned your neighbor girl, how’s she doing? Have you seen her lately?
    I love my featherweight! My husband got it for me when they cleaned out his aunt’s home when she moved into the nursing home for free!!! Love the machines that we get for a bargain! or for free! I do all my piecing on “Helen” (named after the aunt). HUGS… and stitches

    1. My Neighbor Girl moved away at the beginning of June. She hadn’t been coming over for about a year. She figured out that she couldn’t bluff me. She was always welcome just didn’t come. It was sad.

  7. I can’t get the link for the glasses to work. Can you tell what brand they are and where you purchased them? My old eyes could use some help. Thanks Jo.

  8. 5.00 for a featherweight!!! What a steal!!! I had by sister bid on one for me at an auction I couldn’t attend. It’s a white; 1969 model. I told her to go to 300.00. She got in a bidding war with another woman and I paid 500.00!!! I told her next time she has to pay the difference!!! It’s a great machine with all the accessories but I would never had paid so much for it! I too have been wondering about Neighbor Girl. It’s too bad she moved and no longer came over.

  9. There is a great sewing machine repair store here in Omaha. The owner has been selling and repairing Singer machines for years. I got a refurbished Singer 99 there. It is really heavy, but such a workhorse!
    He also has parts, we got a replacement motto controller for my other Singer (15-91) in a cabinet this Spring.
    Website address is:
    Hope this is helpful. I really enjoy your blog, Jo!!


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