The accountant made a house call today to update the journal entries in QuickBooks for me. I didn't want to be too far away in case he had any questions while he was working on my computer, so I got out one of the Necchi Supernovas and set it up on the kitchen table to work on it. It's a given that what I think is going to happen when I work on these vintage sewing machines is never what actually happens. The only question is how far off the trail I am going to go.
I have four Necchi Supernovas in the house at the moment. One is an olive green Supernova that came from Spokane last summer. I cleaned that one a few months ago. It has a knockout in the bed so it can be converted to a treadle, and that is probably where it is going to end up.
Supernova #2—the one I worked on today—is also olive green. I bought it in Libby, Montana, about two years ago. I assumed that it was the same model as the first SN, but when I started working on it, I noticed a few differences. Both models have this very cool circular needle plate:
There is a lever underneath the machine that elevates the needle plate and allows it to spin on that pin in the center. I went to look for the lever on SN #2 in the same place that it's located on SN #1 and it wasn't there. Hmmm. Eventually, I found it in a different spot. That's when I had the bright idea to look at the badge on the back of the machine. SN #1 has this badge:
(I appear to have missed a few spots when I cleaned this machine. Ahem.)
The "Automatica" designation normally refers to those Supernovas that use cams to create decorative stitches. However, a few of us on the Necchi Facebook list also have Supernovas that are cam-capable but are badged like this (including my SN #2):
(This is before cleaning.)
There is nothing on the machine to indicate this is an "Automatica" and yet it has a cam drive. It is missing the knockout that would allow it to be used as a treadle, however. The lever for the needle plate is in a different spot. It also has a different power cord terminal with three prongs as opposed to the four prongs on the other Supernovas.
I posed a question about this and a long conversation ensued on the Necchi Facebook group. Sharon, the incredibly helpful group moderator, says she thinks that the BU Supernova was originally sold as just a zig-zag machine without a cam drive, but dealers could offer the cam drive as an option to customers who wanted to pay extra for it. That may have been the Necchi company's way of gauging consumer interest in a cam drive before switching over production and making cam drives standard on all Supernovas. But just to keep it interesting, one of the guys on the Necchi Facebook group has two machines, both badged as BU Supernovas, both with cam drives, but one has the needle plate lever in one spot and the other has it in the other spot. And one has a 3-pin terminal and one has a 4-pin terminal. Of course, in any manufacturing business, there are going to be situations where parts from one production run get used in subsequent production runs rather than being tossed out. It all makes for a lot of lively speculation. As Jeff, the owner of the two BU Supernovas, quipped, "You know how it goes ..... it's Friday and you want to go home and you just ran out of Automatica badges so you grab a label off your co-worker's machine cause he left early."
My other two Supernovas are both pink. One is a Supernova BF, which is a straight-stitching Supernova (no zig-zag and no cams). I purchased it from Sharon last year. It's a great machine and I should use it more often but I usually default to Vittorio. I also have the Supernova Ultra Mark II, which came from Tera.
Vintage Singer owners are spoiled; the Singer records are all extant and thus it is possible to nail down the exact date of production of a Singer machine from the serial number. Apparently, there was a fire in the Necchi factory and many of the records were lost, so we do a lot of guessing about models based on what machines people have with what features. I say Vittorio was "born" in 1948 just because that's a good ballpark guess, but I really have no way of knowing for sure.
The Bohemian Carpet Bag has gone to project time out, at least until I can get the Necchi industial up and running. (Hopefully I can get the treadle irons painted this weekend if we haven't floated away by then.) I am just not feeling the love for this project right now and I know better than to push when that happens. I've redone the main panels and I am satisfied with them. The Godfather Necchi is actually doing a really nice job with the faux leather. I am quite amazed at how easily that machine sews through even four layers of it. I did handles yesterday. It's only going to get tougher from here, though, when I have to sew those handles—with all that thickness—to the bag. I think it's better just to wait and sew it on the industrial. I just have to come to grips with the fact that it might be next fall before that happens, although if it doesn't stop raining, I may be doing more sewing than I planned on.
I don't think I am in danger of becoming obsessed with bag making. I don't enjoy it as much as other kinds of sewing. Or perhaps this was just the wrong time of year to take on a new challenge or start a new big project. April was just a strange month all around. I have not felt so discombobulated in quite a while and I don't like it when things are so off-kilter.