Monthly Archives: October 2008

Laid to Rest

So if you follow my tweets, you saw that my sewing machine gave up the ghost, which is entirely appropriate given that it’s close to Halloween, although I’m not entirely sure I’m using that phrase properly. Anywho, after weeks of it making a loud “hwoaaaaaaaah” sound when I pressed on the foot pedal, and eventually “warming up”, it finally just made that funky sound all the time and would go any faster than I could handsew things.

I was given this machine by my Grama Eddie when I graduated high school which means it is 16 1/2 years old. Pretty good run, actually. It made random costumes in college, cat beds (got some nice paintings in my house as a trade for a custom leopard print cat chaise lounge), my wedding dress, my kids’ “baby” quilts (so quotated due to lateness of Bloomer’s), Halloween costumes for the kids, and lots of quilts for other people. It’s purely mechanical, and so the mechanic in both me and Brief thought perhaps we could fix it. After lubing up every conceivable thing we could find, and then taking it apart to find more stuff, we narrowed the problem down to the bearing in the motor.

Which is made in such a way that it’s a one-time put together motor assembly, which means you can’t unpack, lube, and repack the bearings without all the springs sproinging everywhere and making a giant mess. A replacement motor is $90 (not including shipping) if we do it ourselves, and I imagine it’s at least $125 to have someone else do it (and having someone else do it means that we have to shove all the little bits back into it and take it somewhere and hope they don’t wonder how that little square nut went that is now rattling around in the vent under my sewing table came off, because in that case, I am totally blaming one of the kids). So I waffled on whether to just pay the $90 and repair it, or buy a new one, leaning way more to being cheap and just fixing my old machine.

Until I used the loaner from my MIL (she has six machines, so just happened to have a spare handy I could use to finish up costumes and quilts and such this week). And it’s not that her machine is so stellar in function, but it’s so smooth and most of all QUIET. Love the juxtaposition of how I write “quiet” in all caps, like a silent scream.

That silent scream, I imagine, came from my old machine as it saw me do a seam and sit back and think, “Wow, if I got a new machine, I probably wouldn’t have to worry about waking up the kids when I sew after they are in bed. And Brief could actually watch TV when I sew without making his eardrums bleed from the volume!” So I think I’m getting a new machine.

The thing I hate about making a purchase such as this, aside from spending the money, is that doing research sucks. Not the actual researching, mind you, because I’m pretty good at that, but trying to make an informed decision taking into account the following things can drive you batty:

  • Reviews that were obviously written by orangutans, because they read like a bad text message. Example: “OMG this mashine sux and wont make leathur pants,”
  • Reviews that were written by people obviously expecting miracles but that have no talent: “As a first time sewer, I found once I took the machine out of the box and set it up that I had trouble sewing my exact replica in miniature Marie Antoinette diorama using real animal skins and satin” (satin is pretty aggravating to sew, trust me on that)
  • The mere fact that lemons happen- appliances, cars, sewing machines. To quote the bumper sticker, It Happens, and people that are disgruntled are more likely to tell the internet than people that happily chug along sewing their hearts out.

I think I have it picked out, and am ready to go get it since the store is close buy and has a decent return policy and if I have to look at another review I might stab my eye with a sharp stick. Or some mystery piece of machinery from my old machine.

Irish Chain Quilt

This is the quilt I did for Good Mews for the silent auction (aka Furr Ball) later this month. Excuse the crap lighting and poor photography- I’d like to think that the quilt quality is better than the photo quality!

Pattern is a traditional Irish Chain, and the brown fabric is actually a black background with really small brown patterned cats on it. It was leftover from material for tablecloths I was commissioned to make for tables for when the shelter has a booth at cat shows. I think the quilt dimensions were 54″x66″.