Friday, November 27, 2009

Sewing machines

Not too long after I graduated from college, and was living on my own for the first time, I started putting two and two together that making things for myself might be cheaper than buying them. So when my mother called and asked what I wanted for Christmas that year, I gave it some thought and said, "You know, I have always wanted my own sewing machine." My mother quickly responded, "You will never use it."
Perhaps her response was brought on by the fact that my aunt had actually given me a sewing machine not too long before, and I promptly returned the relic after it billowed smoke on a trial run and the man at the repair store told me it would be cheaper to buy a new one.
But, my mother did come through with the machine by way of Santa that year (yes, I still and always will celebrate Santa). A Brother LS-1520 Sewing Machine with about 14 stitch setting purchased at Walmart for about $100 (You can get the same machine at the same store for less these days, but I digress) and I totally fell in love with it. This machine and I have had an on and off passionate affair for many years. I have read and reread the manual 100s of times. I have learned basic small machine repair. I have oiled and tweaked and cussed it out on several occasions. And sometimes, I actually make things with it, once again proving my mother wrong (Ha. Ha. Ha. evil laugh).
I started fondly referring to my machine as the Tank. For a while, I would visit expensive sewing machine stores and think I had to have one of those fancy smancy models to be able to produce a fine garment. But then I spent a weekend sewing on one of those machines, and as it turns out, I was not impressed. The thread kept getting caught inside the bobbin case, most likely my fault, and I had to take the machine apart every few stitches. After that weekend I promised I would never bad-mouth my machine ever again. Clearly it was tough enough to withstand my amateur mistakes, and still run like a top.
I have a fondness for sewing machines. Like stray puppies and kittens, I just want to make sure they all find a good home. So when I found the thread on Crafter asking people to show off their machines, I had to flip through it. Photos proudly posted like parents with brand new babies. There were 57 pages of postings. 57 pages of love and adoration for machines fondly referred to as Baby, Beastie and Gretta . Not all were expensive toys, like the ones at quilt stores with complicated German names and price tags that rival my car. Some were Goodwill finds, Freecycle scores, and hand-me-downs from parents who loved these machines before.
So in honor of the day of Thanks, I am bestowing thanks to my own mechanical partner in crime, in which all garments are possible.

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