Last weekend I had a two day workshop at Amitie on free motion quilting. It was run by Deborah Louie from Sydney, a woman who definitely knows one end of a sewing machine from the other. I met some wonderful women and had my quilting horizons blown apart. I had an absolute ball, learned so very much and would thoroughly recommend it. I just have to make some more quilts so I can put in practice what I’ve learned.
To do the course we had to bring a few bits and pieces with us, such as a sewing machine, specialised sewing machine feet (which I didn’t own), a few pieces of fabric and wadding to work our free motion magic on and a few other things. I signed up for the class a couple of months ago, which gave me ample time to get ready. I was very conscious of this. I kept looking at the calendar, musing that I really should get a walking foot and darning foot for my 30 year old Singer and go and buy that fabric. Yes, I really should…
A week before the class the Singer stopped sewing straight stitch. I raced it straight over to the sewing machine guy (because procrastination is the root of all evil) and implored him to have it back in time for the class. He obliged…I had it back the day before the class, with the brand new feet I needed. Only $150. Earlier that day I used my lunchtime to drive like a maniac to Spotlight and buy some thread and homespun. I didn’t have time to eat lunch but that was ok. I was prepared!!
I walked into class and within half an hour it became obvious that my ancient sewing machine wasn’t up to the task. It was chewing up my fabric because the walking foot wasn’t able to fit it properly. The other class members looked pityingly at me, as their sleek new machines hummed smoothly over their work. My type of machine was so old that they don’t make walking feet for them any more. I was in trouble.
I had to use the teacher’s machine. It was embarrassing. Also nerve-wracking, because technology and I are not usually on the best of terms and I was worried about what might happen if the machine picked up on my fear. But it was kind to me. It had little red lights and all sorts of features. My heart warmed towards it. It could do a multitude of things. It had switches and dials which looked intimidating but which promised so much. Plus it didn’t chew up my fabric. I was growing fonder of this machine by the minute.
I looked around the room at all of the Berninas. Everyone who had one was sewing with a smile, singing happily in harmony as their machines turned out beautiful work. I wanted one. I knew it would have to be second hand because the brand new ones cost as much as the national debt. But I still wanted one. I still had a couple of grand from the Economic Stimulous package… a computer for the kids, a sewing machine for me… it was do-able. But far too self indulgent. That money should go straight off the mortgage like every other spare bit of cash I get. But I still wanted one.
Plus I was sure that I would instantly become a better sewer if I had a better sewing machine. That’s logical, isn’t it? Can’t argue with that. A workman is only as good as his tools, after all.
At the end of the class I watched as the Bernina owners showed off their exquisite work. I looked at my awkwardly shaped flowers and swirlies. It was clear to even the simplest mind what had to be done. For the good of the class, for the benefit of aesthetic standards in this country and (let’s be honest) for the good of the sewing world in general, I must investigate whether I could afford a decent sewing machine. It was my civic duty. When I got home I flipped open the Yellow Pages and picked up the phone.
If I’d known what would happen the next day, I might not have been so eager…
(To be continued…)