Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oh No; You Must Care For Me

Thought I'd run up some curtains on my Kenmore sewing machine, at purchase guaranteed for 25 years. "Good Lord," I thought, when I asked for and received this as my college-graduation gift, "It's guaranteed until 2003," and by then we'd all be piloting flying saucers. "I might go hungry," I told my parents then, "but with this I'll never go naked." And I never have, although I quit sewing dresses, pants and skirts around 1999, when clothes got so cheap that fabric and notions cost more, and my sewing skills honed in junior high school rusted out. Few things are as piercingly clear as when someone eyes your outfit and says, "Did you make that?" I use this wonderfully-made, solid-state, 23-pound machine rarely and take it totally for granted.

Curtains, however, I can still run up with confidence. Thirty-six years after the purchase and the five free lessons at an urban Sears store, I chose black fleece to insulate my single-pane windows when the cold is deep--as it will be someday soon.
I set to work. Straight seams are no problem. But the needle clanked and stuck, and the thread snarled, amassed on the underside and broke, and the machine whined and resisted and I finally consulted the instruction book, a fascinating object in its own right.

My mechanical masterpiece was asking me to clean and oil it and recalibrate the thread and bobbin tensions, using the tools that came with it. Instead of a blue screen and non-response it spoke and told me in its language, now almost a lost language, that it needed TLC. Just a little. Now it runs sleekly.

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