If Today Is All We See*

So. I went in yesterday with the two sewing machines that I had killed now, and even though I made sure the newer one didn’t work in the morning, it worked by the time we got there. But what he thought it was now was something that wasn’t even worth it to fix…it would cost too much. Parts aren’t even made any more (my “newer” machine is probably circa 1990). The older one he could make work, no problem, but he cautioned me that it wouldn’t hold up to my quilting practices.

So it’s not that I’m hard on machines per se…it’s that the average person drives their car about 15,000 miles a year, say, and if we’re talking about my car, I drive it more like 100,000 miles a year. Except we’re talking about sewing machines. And it’s not easy sewing…it’s hard on the machine itself. So dirt roads for the car.

To shorten the story, mom and I went back and I’m currently test-driving an older Sapphire, which has the larger harp, but is more of a workhorse. It’s used…but probably not much. Yesterday, I managed to quilt most of this one using only one bobbin…

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Not bad. I broke a needle in the beginning, but I think I was using the wrong foot. I switched to the one my mom loaned me, a springy bouncy free-motion foot, and I was much better off. It’s different than my old machine, of course, but it was pretty easy to use after I tried four different things and ripped a bunch out and tried again.

So later that night, I tried the outline quilting I do, which is very different…much slower, I need control, and it goes through a ton of layers. It did really well with this.

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It was late by then, so I didn’t do a lot, but I’ll do some more today and then make a decision. I think it will work, though. All my sewing machines have been hand-me-downs from my mom…but she does more of the design work, and I don’t need something like that, so she’s been trading in her old ones over the years to get the one she’s got now. This one is much simpler, but will hopefully stand up to the work I give it.

And the good news is that I can now quilt this shit out of this thing and get it done. I want the quilting done this week (although the next three days are kinda screwed for that…).

We did walk the dogs yesterday…

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There are so few dog walks left with the kids this summer. Wah. Calli had something wrong with her foot at some point, and boychild considered carrying her. It didn’t last long (she fussed and squirmed)…

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The other thing about this machine is that I can close the lid and the thread is covered up completely. So it’s CAT PROOF. Oh yeah.

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That’s a selling point. I still have to do this with the quilt to keep Midnight from lying on it or vomiting on it, but I don’t have to remember to remove the spool and rethread every time. That’s a plus.

It’s funny though. I was sitting there contemplating having no working machine at all, or limping through on the old one until I completely trashed it, or trying to use other people’s machines and knowing that I couldn’t do that forever…and I thought, shit, I should be a painter or something. No major machinery that you need for that. But it’s not actually cheaper in the long run, I think. Brushes and paints aren’t cheap if they’re good quality. Certainly I could still quilt without a machine, do it all by hand. I did that with a few of my early quilts (and even they aren’t hand-quilted…just hand-appliqued) and it took FOREVER. So I’d finish like one small quilt a year. When right now I’m looking at needing to finish three or four large quilts before the end of the year, certainly before next spring, another two more. And two or three smaller ones. Oh yeah. It’s crazy, but you can’t do it without a machine that works. So there we are.

It’s my Christmas present. I have good parents who try to support my crazy art. And honestly, when you think about the stuff you get for Christmas and birthdays, this is one of the best presents for someone like me.

*Zero 7, Morning Song

One Response to If Today Is All We See*

  1. birdie says:

    Painting can get very expensive indeed, brushes not so bad, paint, middling but surfaces? They get very expensive or, if you choose to do them yourself, time and energy consuming. Of course there’s always paper, but then paintings have to be framed… You definitely have the better deal in terms of upfront expenses I think.

    Love the black woman quilt.


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