Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Unlike Some Bloggers, Her Life Is Not a Pretty Picture

Sure, it was easy to wax poetic about the fabulously retro pink sewing machine when all was right with my world. It was easy to let partial pretty lies roll off my tongue; to lead you all to believe that I had my choice of whatever machine to sit and spin gold at. It was indulgent of me to paint a glorious picture of my romantic life of kissing babies, wrapping myself in vintage gold fibers, filling my hours with song and productivity. But that was before my precious bernina got ferried off to the sewing machine hospital and I was left alone and vulnerable, hanging onto hope that she would soon be released and returned to her loving family. I had brought her in myself, set her down gently, gave her a hug, and asked her to be brave.

There were other things that I could do, I reminded myself. I could gather all my tax papers, for example. Something that I eagerly anticipate every spring. Nothing like piles of papers, filled with numbers, to get the creative juices flowing. Yup, sure could.

OR... I could cut out a number of bags, so that when Miss Bernina returns, all oiled up slick and surgically corrected, I could get straight to work on putting them all together.

That got me through the first evening. Sort of. By 8:30, there were five bags ready to go into production and what I really wanted to do was to see how they would actually turn out. So, I pulled out old pinkie. I had given her a trial run, and knew that her tension was good. She didn't have a foot control, because she used to be mounted to a cupboard and was powered by pressing the controls with one's knee. Well, without the cupboard, one simply had a control mechanism ridiculously close to the actual machine which required one to hold and maneuver the fabric with one or two hands while simultaneously using one of the same hands to operate the controls. That worked moderately well, right up to the time that I needed a second or third or fourth hand to work the control for reverse. Right about that time, the thread usually ripped and sent the spool flying across the counter and into the kitchen.

Patience, I told myself. Rome was not built in one day. It was quite possible that I wasn't threading her quite right.

After several hundred more oppurtunities at threading the blasted excuse for a machine properly, my patience did not seem to have paid off in huge dividends. By this point, I had driven repeatedly into a straight pin with the sewing machine and dulled the needle so badly that it screamed THUMP THUMP THUMP with its every insertion. The machine felt hot and frustrated to the point where the functioning light that I had been so proud of, simply turned off in exhaustion. That made the multiple re-threading experiments that much more intense and challenging.

Eventally, when my temperature rose to the point of my own light expiring, I retired from old pinkie. The sensible thing to do would be to wait for my other machine, or invest in a new needle, and some really high quality thread that won't break so easily. The even more sensible thing to do would be to get to those income tax papers. Really. Today.

I'm thinking that by about 6:00 pm tonight, the combination of an appalling memory and a borderline clinical obsession with sewing will align themselves to my benefit. By 6:00, I'll believe that it really wasn't so bad. That the pink machine is not only pretty, and unique, but incredibly practical. I'll get excited all over again at the prospect of turning out another Darfur bag.

Or maybe I'll just channel all that pent up frustration and energy into staging a hunger strike over at the sewing machine hospital so they'll hurry up and return my bernina to me. My plain, white, reliable Bernina.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I have considered purchasing a treadle machine in case of a power failure. Or, horrors, the permanent cessation of electrical power due to some world wide catastrophe. Laura

Anonymous said...

I'm not a sewer but I feel your pain too......and mine because I'm the sucker who looks at other peoples gathered tax papers filled with numbers ALL DAY......no time for the creative juices to flow this time of year.

btw - I have an almost never used sewing machine collecting dust - you're welcome to borrow it if you like

Heather said...

I have several old machines, one works similar to yours. I fixed it and now I am trying to remember what the problem was.

I did tear the machine apart, oil the whole thing, reset the tension spring, and clean all the dust and dirt out. In my case I believe that one of those things did the trick though I couldn't tell you which it is. :)

Also, a lot of vintage machine manuals are available online if you know the name and serial number it might be worth a shot--that was how I learned how to fix mine. (Still have a package of material to mail you, will get eventually. :))

Anonymous said...

Please Bernina! Get well soon or my friend might go mad!

Roo said...

i have been known to throw pointed objects when my sewing machine failed to do what it was created to do.

thank God for "fabric glue" or somebody might have got hurt. :)