October 26, 2006

New Friends and Old

I took my new best friend, Bernina, for an outing yesterday. I took a getting-to-know-your-new-Bernina class at a quilt/sewing center. It's not exactly a new machine, since it's been tucked underneath my computer table for the last three years, waiting for me to get a chance to read the manual. My old machine was a used, much-loved simple Singer, so I was a bit intimidated by the new machine when I got it, even though it's pretty much the bottom of their line (quite deliberately--I sew enough to know that I don't need--could never justify--a fancier model). This model is the only mechanical one they make, and clearly the ladies at the sewing center found it kind of quaint and inferior. It was as if I'd ridden a bicyle into the local Mercedes dealership to request service. Most of the quilting center ladies, it seems, own several different models of the elaborately computerized Berninas which are capable of everything including driving the family car and running a CT scan on the brain. The computerized machines do an unlimited number of embroidery scenes--horrifyingly sterile things. And if I wanted my quilt to look store-bought, I would go to the store and buy one!

Not only that, but my mother (a couture-quality sewer who used to make our lined winter coats), could sew rings around them and their fussy machines (jeez, you look at your computer screen instead of the fabric) with an old treadle machine that had nothing but a backward and forward stitch.

I did pick up one handy hint though, even for us hand-stitchers: cut your thread at an angle, and it slides right into the needle's eye--no wetting or pinching required. I tried it, and it works!

Anyway, I'm pleased with my machine (even though it's disconcertingly quiet; I miss the thunk thunk thunk of the old Singer). I want to cut up this table cloth and stitch it into a set of curtains for my sewing/computer/fish room. My great-grandmother stitched this cloth, and whole load of others like it, several of which I have. It's not particularly delicate work, as you can see, but it's charming anyway, indelible gravy/wine stains and all. I love the idea that it will hang in my sewing room where I have my comfy stitching chair and now my new sewing machine sitting out on the table, ready to be used. Maybe after the curtains, needlework smalls!

And here's an old friend--and not a single stitch of it done by machine.

7 comments:

Annemarie said...

I agree with you: stitching should be done by hand. I have a sewing machine, but mine's even more primitive than yours is. I've never used it. A course wouldn't go amiss...
Having said that, you seem like a little stitching machine yourself. Or are you employing elves to stitch 'Whale Hunting' for you? It looks wonderful!

Sue said...

AHHHHH, there's Whale Hunting again. I love seeing the progress on this piece.

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I have a new sewing machine myself. I finally had to get one as my 25+ year old Singer bit the dust! Took awhile for janome and me to like each other. Now we are pals! LOL! Whale hunting is looking good. keep it up kiddo!

Vonna said...

Whale hunting is looking great...You've been very busy!

Had to again LOL after reading today's blog about your new sewing machine and the ladies in your class....as a matter of fact I laughed so loud and long that 4 pairs of little feet came running into the office to see what I was laughing at....

Michelle said...

I love that you are going to make this into curtains for your sewing room. That is wonderful! Whale Hunting looks fantastic.

Stitch or no stitch said...

Great progress on 'Whale Hunting'.
Love the fact that you'll be able to see your grandmother's stitching every day in your sewing room. Almost as if she's sharing with you.
Margaret

Karen said...

The table cloth will make gorgeous curtains. It's really great that you thought of a new way to display it. I hope you post a picture when you get them done!