2009 was a tough year.
I’d like to go into detail, but it might upset some people deeply and I still haven’t got the hang of writing one of those disclaimers that include the word trigger.
Suffice it to say that by the end of Summer I had very little reason to get out of bed, and to be fair I can be barely remember doing that, let alone leading what I consider a normal life.
I know I must have done, because every day I went to sit at a desk and be bullied, and every month someone put some money in my bank account in exchange for all that.
I also know that I was doing the ComedySportz UK Improv workshops, although all I can remember about that is one boy that I desperately wanted to be friends with me. That one didn’t end that well either.
I could go on forever about the red mist, the grey days, the blues, the loneliness that nobody notices now. But I won’t. Earlier this year I looked back at stuff I had knitted in the past, and discovered that during that awful, awful time, beautiful things were made. I mean, look at this:
It’s a child-size cape all worked in feather and fan stitch in 4-ply weight wool, which is a lot thinner than anything I would normally want to use. And it’s beautiful if I say so myself.
You can see the rest of those project in this post. There is no denying that I was in a horrible place, and I think the real sign of that is the fact that had completely forgot about those capes. Or the mittens. The scarf is a different story, and one for another day, but it didn’t exactly register either.
So back to those capes. I bartered my knitting time for a Brother XL2230. I had bought and read every single Elizabeth Zimmermann book I could have had shipped to the UK, and I was itching to steek something.
The machine arrived without a pedal. The pedal came a few weeks later, and by then the darkness had won the battle, and by the looks of it, the war. I can remember very little about December 2009 other than someone being afraid of leaving me at home by myself. Yes, it was that bad.
Anyway, I managed to get better and forgot all about the sewing machine until March 2011, when I moved house.
And May 2011, when I moved house again.
And June 2011, when I moved house once more.
Fast forward to March 2012, when I am getting ready to -guess what?- move house.
Before you ask, no, I don’t like it that much. It just happened that way, and I am hoping it won’t happen again for a while.
In the middle of packing my stuff, I checked that all of the XL2230 was present and correct.
It was, so as soon as I was settled in my (not so) new home I plugged it in and got practising with an old napkin.
The napkin begat a headboard cover, which begat a skirt, which begat lined curtains, which begat the Scarlett O’Hara dress and a fabric stash that grows like Seymour Krelborn and will soon start feeding on people.
But sometimes relationships progress at different speeds, and whilst my love for sewing was growing at the speed of light and I was ready to settle down into a forever Sewing Machine relationship, the Brother was still at the dating stage. Unsure and definitely suffering from indecision, cold feet, fear of commitment and a very temperamental bobbin winder.
I pondered a standalone bobbin winder. For about 15 seconds, which is the time it takes to realise that for the same money you can get an all-metal machine in working condition.
I spent Easter Sunday lounging and looking at machines on eBay. They had to be cheap, they had to have a motor/ belt / pedal, they had to be local enough for me to be able to pick them up by simply getting a lift from a friend.
Enter Judy Garland Minnelli Jones:
Judy wasn’t exactly local, but I asked the seller (a true gent!) to name a price for delivery and was very happy with the figure quoted. It was “sold as seen”, it was heavy, it had a table, it was blue.
You know when they talk about little girls going through a princess phase and a pink phase?
I didn’t. I went through a speed-skating phase, a burning-ants-with-magnifying-lens phase, a build-cars-and-trains-out-of-paper phase and so on.
I also went through a blue phase. When I was about four, I pestered Mum until she painted my bedroom walls turquoise. It’s been over 30 years, and that phase is still going strong.
So when I saw a blue sewing machine, I lost my shizzle.
I told myself that the worst-case scenario was me having the world’s heaviest bobbin winder.
But it would be a blue bobbin winder.
-to be continued