My daughter in law was remarking at how fast time is moving along. I assured her it will get even faster. As I think back on when I was a kid, there are so many changes. I have a typewriter in my basement. In fact I have two. I probably could not get ribbons for them today but I still hang on to them. I recall that when Katie, my middle daughter, was 8 or ten, I bought an old fashioned typewriter for her for five dollars. It was an old black tall item with very stiff keys. She loved it. She pounded away on it, writing who knows what. Maybe that’s why I have kept the old, but much more modern in comparison, machines. Hey… it won’t be long before the new computer I am typing on right now, will be out of date and an antique.
I also have several sewing machines… I am slowly letting some of them go but I still keep a back up for when my favorite needs to go for a vacation to the repair man.
I learned to sew on a real antique. It required no cords and no plugs. It took hand power to make it go, right hand power, turning the wheel so the needle could make its progress across the fabric using the left hand to guide the fabric. I made clothes with it when I was in college. My mother tried to give it to a museum once but I begged her not to. It has followed me across the country whereever we have lived and was my back up, though never used, for when the power went out. I have just passed that machine on to its next owner, not a museum, but a seven year old who manages to create wonderful clothes for her stuff animals and has made a needle case for my needles out of felt. She is just the one to learn to sew on this very old machine. I told her the worst she could do is stick the needle into her fingers and she assured me she would be careful. Her dad figured out how to thread the thing and I finally found the old bobbins for it and passed them along. Good luck Lucy.
When I graduated from college, my gift from my grandmother was a Featherweight Singer sewing machine. In 1955 it cost $99. Today, some of the very same machines, sell for $500 and are very popular with the quilt class attendees. In fact I now have two Featherweights. I sold one which was my grandmothers to a fellow quilter. The two I have now are my original and one I bought for a bargain years ago because I felt I needed back up parts. Now they are so popular back up parts are available.
The Featherweight was the perfect machine for kids to work on. I took them into a fourth grade class room on the Cape when we were making quilt blocks said to be used as clues along the way for slaves to escape the south. I won’t forget those fourth graders standing before my quilt guild of some 150 ladies, telling the story of their blocks.
I took them to a school here in Bellingham where various middle schoolers made quilts to raffle for their school. There was never a problem with the machines and they await transfer to some other person someday… but not yet.
The machine I use is a Pfaff… I have two, one for backup. I use it every day. When I take it for its vacation repair, I am told it is full of lint. I do clean it and oil it, but I have yet to learn how to take it all apart and do the big cleaning. I use my second Pfaff when this goes on vacation.
I look at this array of 100 years of sewing machines and wonder what my granddaughter will be sewing with years from now. Will it be my featherweight, my Pfaff or will there be something beyond my imagination. And will my other grand children be writing on a computer like my new one, of will it, too, be beyond my imagination.