Friday, May 22, 2015

My Fiber Obsessions

When I was 7, I learned to sew on a Necchi electric machine that belonged to my mother. My grandmother had a Singer. When I graduated from High School I asked my mother to buy me a sewing machine for a graduation present. She bought me a new Singer in a cabinet  with a bunch of cams for making different stitches. Truly, this was not a very good machine and the bobbin tension issues drove me nuts. After about 3 years a cam part broke and it could not be repaired. I eventually traded it in on a simple Riccar (made by White).
I used the machines for embellishing clothing with lace and trim. I would hand embroider the items. It was great fun to make unusual clothing. 15 years late that same clothing style was all the rage. But I had moved on. I was making quilts and doing needle point and cross stitch. What I really needed was a good construction machine that could sew through several layers of fabric. The Riccar failed after about 10 years and there were no parts for it. I had it made into a simple, straight stitch only machine and it has worked for that purpose for 25 years. But at that time, I also purchased a Viking/Husky machine. It had more stitches and could be used in clothing construction. After 3 years, it was a constant repair patient. What is with these crappy machines? I finally put all my sewing away and haven't sewn for 8 years. Until this year.
The Riccar was traded for a BabyLock Melody. The Viking is in the shop (again and maybe for the last time because I will probably get rid of it). I have a Bernina Serger which I think I have now repaired and a top of the line Baby lock Ovation. And the queen of all this is the quilting frame and sewing machine (Grace and Juki combo).
I weave my own fabric and can't be bothered by these dysfunctional machines. I need some quality. So how would I know if they really are quality. The others seemed good for about a year. I bought the warranty just in case. And I am relying on the word of a close friend who sews all the time and has had problems with other machines but seems happy with these.
So now, I make my own yarn, knit, weave, sew quilts, and am trying to get full circle back to making my own clothing with embellishments. It is a small, round world.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Black Out Day

When my children were younger, we used to have an occasional black out day. That meant we turned off the electricity breaker box and went without - lights, tv, internet, computer, garbage disposal, dish washing machine, clothes washing machine, etc. We kept the freezer and refrigerator doors closed so that the cold was preserved. We cooked on gas outdoors or indoors lighted with a match. Water heater had a pilot light, so we could still bathe, by candlelight. It was fun, like camping.
Now my children are all grown and gone. I haven't had a black out night since the drunk down the street hit the power box in 2006. I think I need to do this black out thing more often though.
I have a loom that needs no power, just light. I have a spinning wheel that needs no power, just feet. I can see myself being busy for months with very little power on. I still have candles from the last time I did this with my children. And matches, although they are very old. I can barbecue stuff and heat water in a pot.
But I think it might be a better thing to try a NO WATER DAY. All day, no water. No toilet water, no shower, no dishes, no washing hands. Wait a minuter there. No washing hands? EWEEW! I am freaking out on that one. Maybe I can find a bucket to put water in for washing hands.
The idea that when you turn on the faucet nothing comes out is so un-imaginable for most of us that we would not even know how to prepare for it. All that earthquake preparedness stuff is meaningless if you have never tried it. How about 3 days with no washing hands. My mind quakes at the thought.
So I think it is time to do the NO WATER DAY combined with the NO POWER DAY just to see if I can prepare in advance for calamity.
I know that it is not fair to know the day in advance and store up water and foods etc, but it will give me a taste of things to come. I have some trashcans in the back yard that don't leak. I can fill one for toilet water if necessary. I have some very large pots to fill with drinking water and enough to make one just for hand washing water. I feel better knowing that I can have clean hands even if I can't take a bath. And in the dark, I may smell dirty, but you won't know how dirty I look.