Well, I finally gave in... After 7 months of resisting, I finally gave in and bought a sewing machine. Actually, my wife bought it for me for my birthday. I was admiring the quilts I had made while we spent a month in Anchorage, Alaska (where I learned the fine art of quilting from the generous and talented master quilter Elise Rose), and caved!
I kept telling myself that our little New York City apartment was too small for a machine, a cutting space, and (especially) a stash! In reality, IT IS!!! Yet somehow we are finding space. I bought a Singer 301a (straight-stitching Singer) on Craigslist. The guy was selling it for his mom's friend (the proverbial little old lady who only sewed on Sundays...), came with the original table, and was delivered to my door (which is a big deal, since I dont have a car, and he saved me the hassle of renting a car and driving to Queens to pick it up). When it arrived, the bobbin case was missing, so I bargained him down from $100 to $60 (I think the case cost me about $36 from Jenny at Sew-Classic). Some of you might be thinking that I could probably find an old machine at a thrift store or garage sale for next to nothing...I was thinking the same thing. However, in Manhattan, buried treasure is much harder to find, and when I went to the local sewing machine repair shop, I asked the owner what I should pay for a 301a, he said he regularly sells them for $400-$500! Needless to say, I jumped on this machine. I also decided to save some cash and do the tuneup myself. Given the reputation of this model as an indestructable dream machine, I dove in with the manual and some online advice. Runs like a top now!
Since I have no dedicated workspace (wife, baby, and I live in a 1br apt in Manhattan), it was essential to have a stow-away machine. It sits quietly in the corner during the day, and once the baby is down, the living room is converted into a workroom- machine pops out of its hideaway, coffee table becomes cutting table, ironing board and iron are set up by the window, and I dive in!
Before I even found a machine, I had compiled a list of quilt recipients. I love the quilting process- it's a creative and artistic outlet that, unlike singing opera, yields a physical and tangible result that I can enjoy too! But how many quilts can you own? Well, in my small pad, not very many, so I already see the gift-giving potential. My mother-in-law will be first. She and my father-in-law live in St. Petersburg, Russia, and as you might imagine, a quilt will get used! I am making a wonky log cabin quilt for them in fall colors. I had eight blocks done, but my wife doesnt like one of them (and I guess I have too agree), so it's actually only seven. Here's one that we both like:
They are coming to visit next month for my daughter's 1 year birthday, so I am anxious to get finished. Others on my list include...hmmm...I guess I shouldn't say who, right? If they read this it spoils the surprise. On the other hand, now every family member who reads this is hoping it's them. Well, if you are a family member and reading this, rest assured that I will eventually get around to you.