So several weeks ago (um, about seven) I made mention of my birthday gift to myself but never followed up.
Well, here it is!
I randomly search Craigslist on occasion looking for a cheap serger. Assuming that most such items are listed by the children of mothers who sewed and might not know there's a difference between a sewing machine and a serger, I always search on both terms. Well, the week before my birthday I did a search and came up with this beauty.
Turning 34 was difficult because I'm basically in the last good year of my fertility and have not had a real boyfriend in more than six years, much less am anywhere near finding a partner to raise children with. I have known for many years that having children is something I will have to do by myself if it's what I want, but knowing doesn't make it easier to do. This is the year I'm supposed to make the decision, and I still don't feel prepared. So, it's a hard year.
When I posted the article on my birthday dress post about 34 being the most expensive year of your life, Vicki said I should *make* it the most expensive year by splurging on myself. Excessive shoe purchases notwithstanding, I am not much of a splurger, but this sounded like excellent advice.
When I was growing up, some family friends down the street had a treadle sewing machine in the front hallway. I LOVED it and always wanted to play with it, but knew I wouldn't be allowed to. Now I have a treadle machine all to myself that I can play with whenever I want! It's gorgeous. I assume it's from the 20s as it has the Sphinx decal from the Art Deco craze for Orientalism. It is in working order (though unfortunately the tension and stitch length knobs are completely immobile; if anyone has any ideas for loosening them I'd appreciate it, because the tension is set tight and the stitches tiny) and absolutely gorgeous. It's not in mint condition, which is infinitely preferable to me. I want a machine that was *used* by generations of sewists before me. I want to see their dreams and fancies etched into the wood and worn into the decals.
The sellers were entirely sweet; they delivered it to me for $15 extra, set it up, brought me a photocopy of the manual, and showed me how to use it. What's amazing to me is not how different it is from an electric sewing machine, but how much it's the same. It operates identically, even to winding the bobbin!
The head folds down so that it just becomes a little side table, perfect for serving drinks from at a party. And check out the tiny casters! I just love everything about it. I don't know that I'll actually use it as a sewing machine, but if we have a long power outage over the winter I'm set.
Then last week I was idly searching for a serger again and somehow came up with an eBay listing for a White Speedylock 1600 listed at $75 with a buy-it-now price of $99 and, most importantly, a seller in the DC area who was willing to do a pickup to avoid shipping charges. I had decided I'd spend up to $100 on an impulse serger purchase, and there it was staring me in the face. I'm sure I could have had it for the $75, but the auction didn't end until Sunday night and I wanted it for my long weekend. I did the buy it now and the seller, another wonderfully kind person, met me at a metro stop (she lives in the far suburbs, outside metro's reach) on Friday, which was my day off. I serged all weekend long, I tell you what. I've already managed to serge through a pin (oops) and KNOW the day of doom is coming when I slash into the middle of a garment with the knife, but oh the beauty of my seam allowances!
And just so it doesn't feel left out, here is my first love: my Bernina 1008. The pastel 80s paint splotches are god awful and I wish it had a few more decorative stitches, but after 10 years of sewing on a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad New Home machine every day with the Bernina is a dream come true. I've had it for four years now! Time flies when you're not sewing on a Machine of Doom. Really, I cannot say enough foul things about that old New Home. Blood, sweat, and tears don't even begin to cover how frustrating it was. But all that is behind me now, and ahead of me are miles and miles more with my 1008.