Back to Basics

I’ve loved sewing as far back as I can remember, I was 13 when I asked for my first machine, mom bought me a brown & cream Kenmore portable that I could barely lift.ย  It had a hard plastic case, front load bobbin and a habit of breaking needles.ย (I actually had to have surgery on my foot as a kid because I had lost a needle in the carpet and that tender space between my littlest toes found it ..still makes me cringe!)

It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I upgraded from that old kenmore to a blue and white lightweight, top loading bobbin, adjustable speed, automatic button hole Husqvarna, with its 1st generation (kinda shitty but kinda cool) built in needle threader and this feature that allowed you to start/stop with the needle in the down position (I still love that!). No hard case, instead a soft plastic cover, that the cats liked to chew on.

Over the years, I’ve managed to collect vintage machines (mostly from estate auctions and people not knowing what to do with grandmas old machine ..I can’t seem to turn them down or leave them behind for the landfill). Some have treadles and ornate wood cases, others exposed gears and hand cranks. Weighty highly decorated all cast bodies, silky threads, and gold leaf. There is so much history, durability, style and grace built into these utilitarian beauties and I was missing that in the newer machine I was using.

Granted I don’t want to pack my body into a little victorian sewing desk OR possibly run the risk of sewing over my finger (I think I saw this in a movie once as a kid and it has since become a valid fear!) and I’m far to lazy to want to treadle my own speed, plus the one time I tried, the leather belt must have been gummy and the treadle was stuck, so I gave it a good firm press and snapped the metal pedal right in half, slicing the bottom of my foot ..ugh more cringes! (anyone else sew barefoot?)

Instead this joined my life, the perfect combination of old & new.  A surprise from Jason when the reverse went out on my machine and I was frustrated with getting it fixed and flustered with using it broke. You wouldn’t think going back to manually adjusting stitch length at the beginning and end of a run would be such a big deal, but it was, it totally sucked.

I’ve come to understand I don’t use fancy stitches, my sewing needs are pretty basic: I want easy,  I want uniform straight stitches, I want strong and sturdy (this came with a Teflon foot and leather needles just to prove it’s industrial AF!), I want a high presser foot for jamming in bulky layers and the power to sew through it all with zero attitude. It doesn’t hurt that this has a much better built in needle threader, big tool bin, metal body and slip on hard cover. It even came with cute vintage decals ..WHAT!? ๐Ÿ˜

I didn’t even realize my old sewing heart was craving such a sweet little workhorse ๐Ÿ’•

Lesson in 10 pictures

I will just start by saying, I am a monogamous knitter, I just am, just as I am a slow poke English knitter. I’ve tried to be the opposite of these two things and it just takes away the joy of making for me.  I have tried to start multiple projects but the guilt, stress and loss of interest in juggling wips is enough to have me sit and do nothing.

I have tried to “speed” myself up continentally and have come to understand, I don’t want to speed up the process, I like the slow build, I like the mediative movements, the even stitches and few hiccups I encounter because I am focused and paying attention. For these same reasons I am also not a public/social knitter, and that is OK, we are all OK, no matter what your preferences (in tools, habits, yarn choices or projects) as long as you are making what makes you feel good, you are perfect, don’t let anyone tell you different.

The yarn was 2 years in stash holding, a souvenir from Boston, and a little more rustic (aka scratchy) than I usually like, but I fell hard for the color and the idea that this wool would at some point become something wonderful.

Yes, it’s a little weird shaped, sure, I’ve never made, let alone worn an A-line cowl, but I was 100% committed to trying. While I’m still not sure I love this or hate this or if I can even comfortably wear it without being smothered (I might be legit itchy hot mess), it felt good to try something new, push my boundaries, refine my opinions, expand my cold weather wearables and inch just a little closer to knowing and understanding what makes me happy.