North East Texas T.O.G.A (Treadle-On Gathering Academy

Yesterday I had the joy and privilege to attend the North East Texas TOGA in Lone Oak, TX.  TOGA stands for Treadle-On Gathering Academy.  This group is about vintage machines, hand cranks, treadles, keeping them pristine, running, oiled, used, and loved!  This event consisted of many vintage machines (some of which I will probably never see again in my lifetime), vast knowledge, networking, freebies, live tutorials, great people, and GOOD food, with a cooking lesson thrown in as well.

I will be posting several posts in the coming days to cover all the goings on.  This first post is all about the doctors of vintages machines.  These people are true gems!  Walking sewing machine encyclopedias!  I am in awe and will be that way for quite sometime.  I got the opportunity to be seated in the first cleaning class on Saturday with Dr Margaret Snow, vintage machine guru!

She reminds me of my Aunt Ruby, I instantly liked her!  Here we are sitting at the table learning our lessons on maintenance for normal sewing conditions.  How to oil, where to oil, where the grease should be, and where to add more if needed.  How to clean the funk out.  How to take a machine that was froze up, and oil it, with a bit of patience, get it going again.  Three of us had various old singers, there was one beautiful vintage white.

dr snow

Pictured above…..Here is a machine that to my understanding was a problem child.  Not sure if they got it going, but it is an old hand crank.  Just look at those beautiful decals.  This is Dr Snow.  I would call her Dr Extraordinaire!

cleaning lesson

Pictured in the blue shirt is Gina.  She taught me how to tat on Saturday.  More on that later.  Here is the old White that would not sew before the cleaning class.  The featherweight machine sitting on its flywheel is Rusty’s.

Those of us in the cleaning lesson who had featherweights, it was a quick class.  These machines for the most part were well taken care of by those who valued their dollar enough to automatically take care of them.  So 70 years after manufacture, they just need a little dusting off and out.  A squeeze of oil here and there.  Thank all of you before me in this country.  You really valued your own hard work, built things to last, and made an heirloom to pass down.  Sewing machines, no matter how expensive today will probably not last 70 years.  Made in Japan….maybe…..made in China….hell no!

cleaning complete

I was done with the class and moved onto the learning room while Gina worked away with her old White Rotary.  Sometime after leaving, I meandered into the second cleaning class.  Gina was still there, diligently, and waiting patiently for everything to be back together again.  I got a tear in my eye when I wandered up and saw that old machine working!  I see in Gina’s lap Dr. Snow’s book.  She discussed this book a bit.  An encyclopedia of sewing machines.  A rare book written by a chap in Hawaii.  If you ever come across this book, we were instructed to buy it.  They will fetch a high dollar, but the information in that book far outweighs the cost.


Gina, after her hard work, getting the machine to sew again, went to the tatting table and proceeded to teach whomever wandered up to tat.  She handed us a free tatting shuttle loaded with thread as well as more thread wound on a embroidery floss holder and gave us her business card and proceeded to pass tatting knowledge onto all of us.  I learned to tat yesterday and enjoyed my success.  Here are my picos and my twists of over and under clove hitches.  I had always wanted to learn this.  There is no way a book could have taught me this.  I guess in this instance, I am a hands on learner.  I look forward to the day where I can get smooth and fast with the shuttle.  For those of you interested in learning some of Gina’s Technique she has a youtube channel.

Please do not confuse my work with the finished work at the back of my featherweight.  That is the gift Gina gave to me after attending her lesson.  Such a sweet gesture.  Much love in this gesture.  Truly I thank thee.  Another treasure to my TOGA trove!

And one of my favorite classes was with Janet Plotkin.  Does this name ring a bell to any quilters out there?  She is part of the success behind the Booty Ruler!  And she is a doll and a comic, with a funny story around every corner!  She is a member of North East Texas TOGA.

Janet Plotkin

Here she is in one of her serious moments!

And before I got to learn to tat wandering up to Gina’s tatting table, Janet’s partner in crime was seated and was given a tatted piece by Gina.


Allison is her name, and a clever girl she is!  She decided to put her tatted piece over the button on her jacket….genius!  Janet and Allison are the team behind the booty ruler.  I did not realize that the booty ruler is made right here in Texas, Plano to be exact!  That is were their shop is located and it is called Fabric Fanatics.  I must make a trip one of these days to go see this place, as I have never been and it is only an hour away.

I was hoping during my retreat visit to TOGA, that I might come across a spool pin doily for my machine.  No doily but I did purchase a flower that someone had made for the occasion.  Sew very clever!

spool pin doily

After I purchased my featherweight I realized all of my thread is on a larger core than what my machine accomodates and wondered what the solution would be for this.  Guess what?  At the door as you signed in yesterday, making your own name tag was a basket full of wooden dowels with holes in the center.  After asking about them, we were instructed to take one as they were free and an adapter to the thread problem that I had.  Wonderful!

spool pin adapter

My mind is blown to all the things I saw yesterday, all the people I met.  Sew much personality under one roof.  A truly joyous experience to treasure for years to come.  I came in like a sponge, and left feeling full of love, love for new people I met, and love for what they do, and love for what lays before me with the knowledge I now have.  Mission accomplished TOGA!  Nicely Done!  For those of you who were in attendance, who are reading this now, are probably wondering who the person is behind this blog?  I was the one who answered when you called the name Dawn.  🙂




10 thoughts on “North East Texas T.O.G.A (Treadle-On Gathering Academy

  1. I’ve always thought it was difficult to even begin to explain the happenings of TOGA, but you’ve done a great job. Kudos.


  2. Dawn, thank you for such a beautiful description of our great NETX TOGA. This is only my third time to attend, but have thoroughly enjoyed all of them. I am also a member of Cranky Treadlers that make the raffle quilt and enjoy that group as well. So glad you enjoyed.


  3. Thank you for taking me down memory lane. It was a great event and so nice to have met you.
    Janet “Pepper” Mentz


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