Thursday, October 27, 2016

Grandma's Sewing Machine

Two years ago we took Luke trick or treating at my aunt's house.  That was the year he was a dinosaur in the costume I made for him.  My aunt asked if I had made it and if I did a lot of sewing.  At the time I wasn't.  But she asked if I might be interested in my Grandma's sewing machine.  It had been over a year since she died and so obviously she wasn't using it.  I said maybe.

Nothing happened for a year.  I kinda forgot about it but I did start sewing more, mostly at my sister's which was a ton of fun and SO EASY with ~4 kids running around and wanting to help.  Then October of last year the question came up again.  Would I like my Grandma's sewing machine (an Singer Athena 2000).  This time I had a definite yes.  I would.  My Grandpa was fine with that (he wasn't using it).

So my parents and sister picked it up on a visit and brought it to our house where my sister and Matt got the lovely job of hauling it down to our basement.  It weighed more than Luke's easily.  It's a beast.

And then the sewing machine and cabinet sat there for another 4 months.  I finally worked out with my aunt a time she could come show me how to use it.  It took about 5 minutes.

And then I started sewing.  A lot.

I sewed 116 burb cloths and 21 pillow covers alone in 3½ months.  I sewed a lot.

I was down in the basement sewing when my Mom called me to tell me my Grandpa was dying.  I sewed the day he died.  I sewed before going to his viewing.  I sewed after getting home from his funeral.  On my second to last visit with my Grandpa I told him that I had Grandma's sewing machine and thanked him for giving it to me.  He gave me a big smile and told me he was glad it was getting used.  And I certainly used it.  During that crazy two weeks I sewed a lot and felt so close to my Grandparents while doing so. I had Grandma's machine, something she had spent hours with, and I had Grandpa's blessing.  It was very special and a lovely way to kinda spend time with them still.

Then June happened.  And in June it broke.  All of a sudden the needle started catching on the bobbin holder (I know no technical terms).  I tried to fix it.  Matt tried to fix it.  Matt's nephew looked at fixing it.  I finally took it in to be serviced.  They said it was probably just a timing issue that could be fixed with a $100 tune-up.  I said yes.  I knew I could buy a brand-new machine for that price or less but I really liked sewing on Grandma's despite all the fights I had had with it.

When I went to pick it up two weeks later they told me the drive shaft was busted and they couldn't replace it because the machine was ~40 years old and that piece wasn't made any more.  So I was left with a bum machine.  And no idea what to do with it.  What do you do with a 40 year old broken sewing machine that weighs about 40 pounds?  If anyone knows, let me know.  It's still in my basement.

I was initially really sad about giving up on Grandma's machine.  It had lasted for 40 years!  My googling told me it cost $800 back then!  A figure which is just mind blowing to me.  I wouldn't pay close to that for a machine now!!  BUT...knowing that it was busted and no reasonable amount of money would bring it back...I felt better about letting it go.  We tried to fix it.  We knew what the problem was.  It wasn't fixable.  It had lived a good 40 years which I think is pretty good for a sewing machine!  And it, in a strange way, helped me though some tough weeks of really missing my Grandparents.  I feel like it did it's job.  

By that point I had gotten used to sewing and was doing quite a bit of it when I had a working machine.  I had briefly borrowed my sister's machine.  Then I had my Mom's machine for about 3 months.

I kept sewing, kinda looking to replace it, checking out some used options and watching some sales.  Finally, a few weeks ago, I bit the bullet during an Amazon sale and bought a brand new machine.  Amazon Prime had it to my door in less than 48 hours.

I now sew on a much newer machine, usually at the dining table.  I use some of my Grandma's supplies but not her machine.  But it's ok.  I feel like she passed on her love of sewing to me and that part lives on, regardless of what I'm sewing on.  Strange to get a little emotional over a sewing machine?  Maybe.  Strange to get emotional over dearly departed Grandparents and the legacy they left behind?  Absolutely not. 

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