Posts Tagged ‘sewing machines’

The workshop community

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Back from the cottage – what a glorious May weekend! I meant to work on designs for my show in Comox, but somehow, between gazing over a cool lake and inhaling the scent of warm spruce needles, the time slipped by. Apparently nothing has changed since my undergrad days. But… a closer deadline brings me back to reality, my Net Collage workshop, starting tomorrow at the lovely St Aidan’s Hall at Christ Church.

Christ Church Flamborough

Christ Church Flamborough

I’m checking my list of participants, most of whom I have not yet met, and I wonder, how will it go this time? Each workshop has a different feel. And how could it be otherwise, with this diverse mixture of creative characters thrown into one pot for two intense days?

Over the years, my issues of timing, hall rental, food and help have worked themselves out. But set up can still be stressful at times, when upon unpacking, it dawns on each participant, one by one, which crucial item got left behind at home…  tantalizingly abandoned in full view – the bagful of special fabric, the darning foot, the box of pins…

The wonderful thing is, no one is ever without for long. Someone forgets her plugin cord for her machine… but it just so happens another participant has the identical machine and is more than willing to share. Another time, it’s the cutting board that goes missing – instantly, someone produces a large board and sets it up so everyone can use it. Fabrics, yarn, needles and threads are freely and generously offered to those who don’t have enough or who just didn’t bring the right thing. Infinite patience and advice are doled out to the inevitable few dealing with stubborn machines.

Nearly every time, this group of perfect strangers magically bonds and becomes a small community, with each individual contributing in her own unique way. I always look forward to this process, just as fascinating and rewarding as the teaching itself.

Morning glory

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

At the risk of sounding like I’m obsessing, this is one more post about my ailing industrial Bernina, aka Wild Thing. Wild Thing had been losing much of her old zip, to the point where I thought I may have to rename her, perhaps to Old Thing. Not that I don’t identify with the feeling. We all have our ups and downs. She’d been failing in areas of thread breakage and stitch timing. She emitted a funny shriek at the start of each session and her bran new belt was rubbing against the wood table groove, filling the air with the dark rubbery scent of poor health. How to bring back the happy hum of perfect gears and belts, that vitamin shot, that kick in the … pants?

Enter Ricardo! Ricardo is from Panama. A short stocky smiling Spanish gentleman bearing all the tools of his trade in a deceptively small red metal box. Ricardo, who called back yesterday within an hour, and asked if I was a morning person. Because he could drop by after taking his wife to work… at 7:30 am tomorrow morning. Now I didn’t tell him this, but I would gladly have got up at 4:00 am – heck, I would have stayed up all night – for the joy of having someone look at my baby.

To make a long story short, in his capable hands Ricardo had soon cracked open the long neglected motor, cleaned it up, checked under the hood, made various fine adjustments, liberated gears with generous dollops of oil, and walked away at half the price I would eagerly have paid for his services, all while laughing up a storm at his own stories. Perhaps I should hesitate to say this, seeing how easily one can get in trouble on blogs, but the depth of feeling a seamstress has for her machine repairman can not be underestimated. I have fallen in love. Let’s leave it at that.

Wild Thing awaits me now, as I gather my creative flow, in anticipation of trouble and interruption-free stitching. Now if only Ricardo could do computers too!

Sewing machine woes

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

I’m back in the studio after a hiatus of a couple of weeks, while I worked on my lecture and caught up with business. All geared up, rarin’ to go, my old Bernina 740 Industrial chugging away…. and suddenly the needle catches the end of my finger (OUCH) and breaks. This happens. It happens a lot. But this time, when I put a new needle back in there were nothing but problems… needle breaking again, thread constantly stretching and breaking. So frustrating!

So, I’ve had lunch. Going back in there. I’m going to clean out the machine, oil it, replace the needle again, re-thread… and cross my fingers. In the meantime I have a call out to a local sewing machine repairman, a new one for me. It’s not easy to find someone to trust with these older models. My previous guy lived an hour away and I would make the trip with a smile on my face. But last time I stopped by, he wasn’t there, and I learned that he had died of a massive heart attack. This was very sad news… he was a really nice man and I always enjoyed seeing him – his family were devastated, it was so sudden. This leaves me with no alternative but to find someone new. Wish me luck!

Me and my formerly trusty Industrial Bernina 740. Sigh.

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