This post was originally published on the TU Fiber Arts blog in March 2017.
Good morning and happy Saturday! Did you like those few days of spring like weather we were teased with recently? I know I sure did, and so did my dogs. They were able to spend a lot of time playing in the yard last weekend and in the evenings early this week, and it was such a rare treat to be able to open the windows and let some fresh air into the house. This weekend, I think they are all going to spend a lot of time burrowed under their blankets and going no farther outside than the garage, and that’s okay. I know exactly how they feel.
Remember that short video of the people dancing in the street dressed as sewing machines? We still haven’t found out where that took place, or what parade or street carnival that was a part of. It was a pretty timely piece for me though, as I have been staring at some fabric that I purchased longer ago than I care to admit, and longing to make use of. My dilemma was that there was nowhere in the house I could set up a sewing machine and leave it set up while I worked on some sewing projects. The kitchen table was the only surface big enough to serve as a proper work area, but by no means would I be allowed to leave my work there for any length of time.
Much of my recent reorganizing, cleaning, and de-stashing of my tiny little craft room was done with the intent of having some space for things I could work on for as long as I needed to, and then pack up and store away when done, opening the space up for something else. My rigid heddle loom and my continuous thread looms and their stand are perfect examples of these kinds of projects, as is sewing. Last Sunday after our friends who were visiting from Maine had departed, I made a quick trip out to get a small folding table to set up in this corner, and dug my long neglected sewing machines and my bins of notions and patterns out of the basement, dusted them off, and got them ready for use.
At one point in time, not that many years ago, there were more sewing machines in the house than spinning wheels. Not that they all got used as sewing machines, but they are here. I have an electronic Singer with multiple stitch options available at the touch of a button, and a basic Kenmore machine that are my go-to machines for any project. There is also a vintage White Company machine from the 1960’s in its own table that was left behind by the previous owners that currently serves as my drum carding table. I’m not sure if the machine actually works. It might, but I would not even think of using it until it has been professionally cleaned and serviced. I also have an antique Singer Sphinx treadle machine in a desk that is in working condition, complete with the bobbin winder and some bobbins, and just needs a belt. This machine currently serves as my desk though, with my printer and laptop on it. Someday I may get a belt for it and put it to use just to say I did.
Of the two modern machines that I actually use, it was the Kenmore that I had used the most, which was given to me by a dear friend when my Singer seemed to have developed a timing issue (for the second time) and for which I was reluctant to send it in for repair again. When I brought both machines up out of the basement, I fully expected that the Singer would need to have its timing issue resolved again before I could use it, but decided it would be worthwhile to set it up, thread it, and test it out to be sure. To my surprise, it seems to be doing straight stitch just fine. I am hesitant to try any of the other stitch options though. The last time I used this machine, and when it seemed to develop the same timing issue requiring it to be repaired again, I was using one of those other available stitch options. So for now, I’m not going to tempt fate, and I will continue to do what I need to do as long as this machine keeps doing straight stitching as it should.
I am happy to have some sewing projects to work on again. It’s a craft that I have enjoyed for many years, long before I began knitting and spinning and weaving. When I’m done with the projects I want to do in the immediate future, I have a space set aside to store my working machines so they no longer have to live in the basement, and the folding table can be put away until it is needed again.
That’s it for today. I’m off to spin for a bit this morning. I have one last piece of a special fiber to finish up and then it will be time for plying. Later this morning or this afternoon I will venture out to get thread for the first of the sewing projects I want to tackle, and hopefully get started on that.
Have a great weekend, and stay warm!<span