Finding your People- Treadle On Gathering and Academy (TOGAs)

Finally we got the wordpress issues resolved and I can get back to writing to everyone about the cool sewy things going on….oh wait, its Thanksgiving already?  Well dangit, I’ve missed so many opportunities to write!!

So lets go way back in time to September, when I was able to jaunt to beautiful Lake City Minnesota for the annual River Rat TOGA.  TOGA stands for TreadleOn Gathering and Academy- basically a weekend of hanging out with Vintage sewing machine enthusiasts- focusing on techniques, cleaning, sharing the passion of our machines, and of course- admiring each others beautiful pieces.  These events happen all over the United States throughout the year, and allow those of us who do have a passion for these beautiful machines (especially the people powered ones), to commune with those who enjoy them as much as we do. 

My beautiful Vickers Handcrank, piecing my exchange squares.

It seems sometimes that many folks are only into collecting them to resell them for high prices, or other reasons besides using them or restoring them to their original glory.  In my case I use my vintage machines- for piecing quilts, for embroidery, and for making small clothing projects and other crafty things.  This year I was even able to demonstrate the treadle embroidery techniques I’ve been learning from classes by Marilyn Lee online, which was so wonderful. I also got to use my Vickers hand crank and become more familiar with her workings, buy some parts for other machines, and of course, participate in the raffles that we have at the event as well.  I also presented my Feedsack lecture and display, which I’ll discuss in a bigger post at a later time. 

My favorite raffle winning this year- an awesome New Home poster. 

If you’re  vintage enthusiast like myself, you should definitely check out the TreadleOn group ( and one of the great TOGAs they put on.  The mailing list also does block exchanges each year, which is a great way to learn how your machine works, and learn how to do fun things like quilting or making a pin cushion, or all sorts of neat stuff. And the folks on the group are always helpful and full of incredible knowledge about all sorts of machines, needles, etc.

I really can’t wait for TOGA again next year, to see what I learn and who I get to see.  Its really like a family reunion, which I adore.

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