Distractions & Toys

A couple of weeks ago allergies flared up, turned into a sinus infection, and now I am enjoying the enforced silence bronchitis brings about.  Talking makes me cough.  The funny thing is that I don’t really feel sick, and never really was down.  I am staying home for two days because I have to talk when I work, and coughing fits are hardly conducive to good instruction.  I am glad, though, that I hied myself to the doctor, and with modern chemistry am probably well on the road to recovery.  I also broke my toe last night, stubbing it on a bed post.

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That said, I have taken off on quite a sewing tangent, and have really been enjoying it.  The problem is that everything else gets tossed to the wayside, such as knitting projects and photography and painting.  I pulled out all my machines, and did various things with them, played with attachments and drive bands and such, but then settled down to do some sewing, some serious sewing with specific goals in mind.  It’s really fun because I am not sewing out of desperation or for an eighth grade home economics class.  Instead, I am being mindful of what I am doing, with the focus on accomplishing certain goals with each project.  This may mean paying attention to little details, such as clipping curves and staystitching, to overcoming longtime fears and frustrations.

Doing all this sewing has made me really value having good equipment.  Equipment does not have to be fancy, but fancy stuff does spoil one, such as the automatic needle down / up on the Janome machine.  A good iron and ironing board, room to work, and lighting are equally important, as are good quality pins and scissors.  Another plus is I am actually quite pleased with my work because it is good.  Not perfect, but I feel pretty skilled compared to the stuff I made in high school!  And the results are blouses I am not displeased with.

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In the midst of all this sewing, it turns out that my primary mechanical machine – meaning an electric, open-arm, larger-than-a-featherweight – was no longer functioning. This machine is a Viking 19e, dating from the mid 1960s, and is the one I learned to sew on. It went in to be checked out at my favorite sewing machine repair place, Art & Jenny’s in Ventura, California, and was found to not be worth fixing. I decided I wanted to replace it, as a back up and for the open arm. My final decision, after weeks of research, was a Bernina 930e, which I won on eBay, and which arrived last week in excellent shape. It came with a lot of accessories, but no dust cover; today, I made one out of a remnant of quilted fabric!  Of course, the Bernina was put to work to make it.

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This machine is really nice. It handles thick and thin quite easily. No complaints so far. Using it and my other machines, I have made four blouses in the past three weeks, with another one cut out and begun, this time to be done completely on the the Bernina, except for the buttonholes. The Janome can take care of them, or I’ll try one of my mechanical ones out . . .

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