Christmas contests and sewing machines

I popped over to the other day. I’ve been trying to check it more often. Their site has undergone a couple of changes recently and it seems to be a little easier to navigate everything. Since my success with the pdf pattern from Bettsy Kingston I’ve been much more willing and eager to play around with some of the other free downloadable patterns on the site.

During my exploration of the new, updated site I discovered a wonderful contest that the folks at Burdastyle are running. Known as the annual Holiday Giveaway Calendar, the site is giving away a gift a day during the month of December. You need to be a member of the site (membership is free and easy), as you have to leave a comment in order to put yourself in the running for the contest. Each day they announce a new prize and post a question for you to answer. Don’t worry, it’s not like a quiz. It’s more the personal experience type question.

For instance, yesterday’s prize was a set of 500 colored pencils. The question you had to answer in order to enter that specific contest was “What would you do with 500 colored pencils?” Pretty simple, eh? The answers can be in depth or a quick sentence, whichever you prefer to do, and the winner is chosen at random.

The first of the contests that I entered was for a sewing machine. The question that we had to answer was: How long have you had your sewing machine? Are you the first owner?

The question got me thinking, naturally. I use my machine regularly – almost everyday during the month leading up to Christmas – but I don’t often think about its journey to my sewing table, or about my own beginnings in the world of sewing. Sure, I’ve written already about my first time visiting G Street Fabrics and how JoAnn’s nurtured me through my development as a crafter/quilter/costumer/etc. I have not, however, written about my adventures in sewing machine land.

I figured I’d do that now. 🙂

A moderate sized Singer sits in the center of my tiny workspace in the basement. The table is cobbled together from several different pieces and none of the furniture around it matches. In fact, the sewing machine is the only major piece in the area that didn’t pass through a number of other hands before it wound up there. About seven years ago I came home from a day of school and work and was greeted by a smile from my mother and an enigmatic “I got you something. It’s out in the back of the van.” Intrigued, I stepped outside and pulled the back hatch open to reveal my very own sewing machine.

Until that moment I had never had a machine I could call “my own.” The first machine I worked with was my mother’s old, temperamental Singer – a behemoth with a surly attitude and a penchant for tying my bobbin thread in horrible snarls. I gave up working on the machine for the most part, preferring to keep my sanity (if not my fingertips) intact simply by hand-sewing everything. When I became heavily involved in my high school theatre department I started experimenting on the machines at school. I had my choice of three sergers and four regular machines but I still preferred my hands, a needle and a spool of thread.

It wasn’t until college, when I started working on costumes with Maggie in my spare time, that I started to use a machine more. Her mother bought her a brand new model with several bells and whistles – much fancier than the old monstrosity that had always lurked in the corner of my house. Since Maggie wasn’t all that familiar with a sewing machine yet I was given the chance to work on it most of the time.

The machine at home must have realized what I was doing and got jealous because the two of us soon worked out a tentative agreement – I wouldn’t speed through my projects like I did on my friend’s machine, and it would only do an occasional snarl, on crappy fabric, near the end of a seam. The relationship went well until a freak power surge knocked out a number of the appliances in the house – including the old machine. It wasn’t cost-effective to rebuild the entire machine (which is what was needed), so the sewing table once again languished in non-use…until that day when my mother, realizing how much peace and joy sewing brought me, gave me my very first machine.

There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t use my machine. She’s not the fanciest on the market and I’m pretty sure that model isn’t even on the market anymore, but she gets things done and she’s mine. Yes, she. I’ve decided my machine is female. She’s even got a name, though I won’t tell anyone what it is.

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