Friday, May 8, 2015

tried and true

here i am, as i thought i might be

sometimes i have a hankering to write a blog post but i feel like i have nothing interesting to show, nor even to write about

other times it feels like i could write a new post every. single. day. if i only had the time

lately it's been a bit of both

something happened this week though, that made me exceptionally happy and i thought i might share it with you...

you know how it is, when you feel like you've had an epiphany, a revelation, or the planets have truly aligned and delivered something wonderful, you just want to share it???

for my 50th birthday, four years back, marc bought me a brand new sewing machine - complete with all the bells and whistles, it did just about every thing but make dinner

all the space needed to quilt a king-sized quilt, five lights for excellent viewing, favourite stitch memory and hundreds of pre-programmed fancy stitches - a real boon for my aging eyes

i'd been schlepping along with my plain jane bernina for well over two decades and whilst i loved it, there were things i wanted to do that it just couldn't

regardless of it's limitations, i loved it dearly, and could not bring myself to part with it so i stored it in a spare room closet, bringing it out for the odd bit of sewing now and then

i enjoyed the new machine for the next two years, but discovered it too had it's very own set of limitations
ones i found very hard to accept, so in the end i traded up for the latest and greatest incarnation 

it was better - most definitely better, but even so, there was something lacking

namely, a clunky design that doesn't afford a good sight line at the needle, making machine quilting awkward at best

and a size that takes up a huge amount of space

 not deal breakers by any stretch, but having had a machine where sight lines are superb, and the basics are accomplished with amazing perfection, i just couldn't get attached

and you know i love my hand-work best...

i've been dithering over this for the past four months and this week i finally made up my mind to sort it all out

so on Tuesday morning i set up the bernina and did a little bit of machine quilting

and a little on the latest and greatest

and i made my choice

a phone call and an evening to ponder and the next day it was out with the new and back with the old

i've spent the past two days re-organizing my sewing room - loving the new-found table space

i've set the bernina up on the little table where i usually do computer work and writing and moved those activities to the larger table that was usually reserved for the sewing machine

you see, much as i love my bernina, i've discovered over the past four years that i really do love hand sewing

more than love it really - it's what i do, who i am - i'd rather make it by hand, or not at all

and it was all beautifully reinforced for me the morning before the deed was done when our janome educator came to town

i took part in her hands on demonstration, illustrating just what an $8000 sewing machine can do for you

we appliqued a flower, uploaded the same design to the computer embroidery machine which then created an outline for me so i would know exactly where to place a piece of fabric in order to create a second flower, which it stitched beautifully, programmed in a phrase of my choice, using the cursor to place the words exactly where i wanted them, and them selected a pre-programmed alphabet font

easy-peasy, lickety-split

i sat back with my feet up and watched the machine do it's thing

very relaxing

when all was said and done, i took it to show a co-worker

"look what the machine i sat in front of did" i said

and i knew then that new machine had to go

and so it did


Createology said...

You sound so relieved to be able to enjoy what you truly love doing. New fangled machine vs. trusty standby and in the end your hands with needle and thread are what bring you the most Creative Bliss. There is something very special about your hand sewn pieces of art and I am such a proud and happy recipient...Thank You Sweet Jillayne.

Deb~Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

Technology is grand but it will never replace the artistry that working by hand imparts. The whole charm of hand work is the imperfections, the varied sizing of stitches, the individuality and uniqueness of the sewer encapsulated in the finished piece. You are an artist Jillayne and while technology has it's place, it is your own two hands that add the magic to your beautiful creations. And $8000 for a sewing machine?! Yikes, I am seriously out of step with the current sewing machine market it appears!

karen said...

yes, if you are a passionate hand stitcher it's hard to be comfortable with a machine doing the work. I have seen some beautiful design work created for those machines though where the talent lies with the designing (which is a very precise skill too). For me it's handwork versus computer, a little like doodling versus photoshop. Each requires skill it's just a case of personal choice, or obsession in our case.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Hand stitching speaks to my heart. I truly 'hate' using a sewing machine. I made a lot of my cloths in jr. high and high school, a little as a newly wed, but sewing with a machine tenses me up.

I no longer make my clothing, I buy mostly from thrift stores, etc. and I enjoy hand stitching.

Your creations always inspire me and I am thankful to have found your blog. I have a couple of your sweet creations, a star and a heart and they are dear to me, especially the heart.

I'd like to see more of your creative space. :-)

Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog, I appreciate it.

Have a nice weekend ~ Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Marj Talbot said...

Something done by machine, though perhaps beautiful in it's own way, does not compare nor hold the same beauty as that which is done by one's own hand. It just doesn't compare. Your new machine did give you the opportunity to explore and try new things - sorry that didn't work out but I can appreciate your zest for hand sewing and it shows in the beauty of all your creations. Thanks for posting and sharing - love to read your posts. Hugs!!

gracie said...

I recently had to replace my 30 year old machine. I also love the hand sewing more than machine so I bought a decent Singer that does what I need it to do. I am not personally fond of the machine doing all the work and me sitting.

Tilly Rose said...

I've just discovered your beautiful blog.....

Love it!
Tilly x

Monica said...

I love that you're back to basics!!! Well done!! Love to see glimpses of your studio, too. So very much.
The very first sewing machine I've used was manual (my Great Grandmother's, and I still have it), the second pedal (not electric, my Granny's, and my Mom still has it), the third pedal and electric (my MIL's old one, which I made explode right in front of my face after a few years of crazy sewing because I really was committed to learn well, will have to tell you the whole story). Then, after I was scared to death by the accident, I was determined to have the simplest thing ever on the market, so hubby got me a €100-Singer at the mall. Then I had it is storage for 3 years and I needed another, got it, destroyed it with mixed- media paper projects, and got yet another one :) that I still have it as well! It's normal, mechanical (and has the electric pedal), and I also have the other one back from the storage! So at the moment I have three! Now I'm not a professional quilter as you are of course, but I manage to make my teddy bears, quilts, and all things for the house. Even clothes. After all, when you can sew, no matter the type of sewing machine that you use... unless of course you want to sit down and relax watching it do its thing!

Magpie's Mumblings said...

That's exactly how I feel about those 'fancy' machines. They take the fun out of creating things. I love my basic Janome and wouldn't trade 'up' for anything and I know I would be heartbroken if anything happened to it. I also have a vintage 1950's Singer machine that is my backup machine - DH bought her for me at a yard sale for the princely sum of $5. She's so pretty!

Rachel said...

Yes, that's it. The machine goes and does the fun bit for you - and where's the fun in that!

Diane Kelsey said...

A brave decision, but now your artistic talents will truly be yours. x

Suztats said...

DH offered to buy me a new-fangled machine, and I thought about it, dreaming of FME and precision in fancy stitches, but I'm still with my old, basic Janome--so old it's all metal and weighs a ton-- as I too, want the pleasure of stitching with my own hand. There may be imperfections, but they're all stitched with love and mindfulness. I occasionally use the sewing machine for repairs, or sewing pajamas, and sometimes for piecing CQ blocks, but it's a tool to create the base upon which I'll stitch. Wishing you many pleasureable hours with needle and thread.

Deb said...

I too made the choice to give up the bells and whistle of a modern sewing machine after endless problems with the bobbin, I replaced it only to use for a quilting class I was taking. The 45 year old Kenmore is still reliable when I want to sew by machine.
Hand sewing is my passion, whether I am piecing a quilt, sewiing a seam or stitching hand embroidery I am relaxed and comfortable with needle in hand.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I had no idea! I'm glad you finally figured out what you wanted and I can't say I blame you. The quilts that Granny handmade are so precious and hopefully you can add one to my collection someday ;)