Sunday, July 25, 2010
A Tale of Two Sewing Machines, part 1
You know this machine. Maybe it had a different name on it, but you remember it like it was yesterday. Those Halloween costumes and doll clothes your mom made. Grandma's kitchen curtains. Maybe that first Home Ec. class sewing project in the 7th grade (mine was a wrap-around skirt ).
My mother-in-law loaned this sewing machine to me for my first quilting class in 1994. Like many musicians, I always have summers off from orchestra work and I was looking for something fun to do, maybe dabble in a new skill. The fact that I had no sewing background and my ONLY sewing project had been the previously mentioned wrap- around skirt nearly 20 years earlier didn't faze me. I enjoyed the class, kept quilting, and she generously let me keep the sewing machine. Of course it was far from new in 1994; she had bought it used in 1961.
So take a look at this old friend. It's solid cast iron and weighs as much as a small car. See the stitch length adjuster on the right? Forget about it. I never saw any evidence that it actually worked. You got one stitch and learned to love it. I could never remember if the needle threaded left-to-right or right-to-left. And those attachments! Has ANYONE ever been able to figure those out?
But you know what? It was good enough for a long time. Those old mechanical machines are great for beginning sewers-- there's just not alot of things that can be messed up. A little oil, an occasional tune-up, and it purred like a kitten and just kept chugging away. I made some pretty nice quilts; the one stitch it had always looked decent. Plus, after my son was born in 1996 my quilting time was very limited for several years. So it was fine for my occasional sewing sessions during that period.
Well, we all know that children get older and more independent. As my son got older I once again had time to really do some quilting. And I started to feel like alot of projects, good projects that I wanted to do, were passing me by. There is, after all, only so much you can do with one stitch.