Yesterday I spent quite a bit of my day sewing. I made quite a few more of those little vintage camper-trailer mug rugs.
I must say - I don't know when I have enjoyed myself as much when sewing, as I did yesterday. I was appliqueing all the tiny pieces using my Mother's old Elna sewing machine. There was a time when I couldn't sew anything on that machine - and not that very long ago either. I hated it - and it hated me - I am sure of it. In fact it got so bad that I packed it away, bought myself a cheap no-frills Brother machine, and forgot all about it.
Till we moved out here. When I started doing some of the small quilt projects I have been working on here, I was using the Brother - and while it is fine on a long straight seam - it is a slug when it comes to finer work... so I hauled out the Elna.
I remember when my Mom bought this machine. She was a seamstress, and way back in the 1970's she purchased it brand new for over 800.00. It was a lot of money for anyone to pay for a sewing machine, back then and my parents had a modest income - but she wanted a top of the line machine that did everything - and so she bought it.
My Mom and I seldom argued about anything - but when we did - it was usually about sewing. She could sew anything, I, on the other hand messed up everything I tried to sew. I blamed it on the Elna - it intimidated me, almost as much as my Mother did when it came to sewing.
We butted heads every time I sat down to sew - so I quit. I was in awe of my Mom. Not only was she a Seamstress, she was also a Pattern-Maker and a Milliner. She made exquisite gowns - Bridal, Bridesmaid, Graduation, she tailored suits, and she also had clients who had physical deformities who could not buy clothes off a rack. She custom- made patterns and then sewed outfits for these women who normally would never have been able to wear the latest fashions.
Believe me - I knew how talented she was - I too wore the most beautiful clothes - all made by her. I would see a outfit in a magazine - show it to her - and a few days later - I was wearing it...
The Elna was her most prized possession - and it sewed beautifully for her. I could sit down and try to sew something just minutes after she had used it, and it would jam up and eat my fabric - to me it was possessed!
Fast forward to a few months ago - I dug the machine out from under my desk, knowing it was capable of doing very fine work, I had seen that fine work in my Mother's creations - but I had no aspirations of it actually working for me. I threaded it up - plugged it in - nothing...
The motor made a noise but the needle was seized. I removed the thread and needle, and just ran the motor for a while and all of a sudden the needle head started to move - so I ran it some more. I did this for about an hour, thinking I may very well fry the whole thing - but I really didn't care. I didn't stop it until it started to smell hot.
I gave it some oil, threaded it up - and it has been running like the beloved machine my mother always thought it to be, ever since.
I have been using it exclusively for all the applique work I have been doing - the mug rugs, the three friends quilt, the farm scene - everything, and it has been the easiest machine to work with - ever!
WHAT THE HECK?
"Yeah - Okay Mom - I get it - I should have paid attention and listened to you when I had the chance!"
If I have thought that once in the years my mother has been gone - I have thought it a million times about many things Mom tried to tell me, or teach me, or show me.
In the end I have after all, grown up. Like happens so many times in life's relationships - I grew up too late.
All of her instruction was not wasted though - I have some pretty good work coming off this old machine to prove it. She would be smiling - she IS smiling I am sure - to see her machine working, and to see her daughter at the helm of her beloved machine.
I am proud, and I think she would be too... and you know what - I love that stupid old machine after all!