How many sewing machines does a normal person have? Because I have six (seven, if you include the overlocker I’m unlikely to use at any point). Seven seems a little more than average to me.
Seven seems a bit like a collection.
The weird thing is, I have no idea how it happened.
A couple of years ago, my sewing machine collection numbered precisely zero. I didn’t sew, therefore I had no need of a sewing machine, no matter how adorably retro those old treadle machines were. Knitting and crocheting neatly filled any need I had to be creative. Whenever people asked if I sewed as well, I always explained that my innate laziness and supreme procrastination skills stood in the way of doing anything as useful as sewing.
Then my mother-in-law offered me her mother’s sewing machine.
“Thanks,” I replied, “but I’m not really into sewing.”
That should have been the end of it. I don’t sew; I knit. End of story. Yet, somehow, the mere offer of a free sewing machine started something growing in my mind. Before long, I was thinking that perhaps I should accept the offer. I used to sew back in school – maybe it was high time I got back into it. What was the harm of saying yes and adopting a sewing machine into my life?
I should have known. There was a hint when we visited the Maryborough Sewing Machine Museum ages back, when it was still housed in an old, three storey flour mill. Each floor was literally packed full of every type of sewing machine you could imagine.
“How long did it take you to collect all of this?” I asked one of the owners.
“A couple of years,” was her reply. I thought she was joking. She was not.
It should have been a warning to me: adopt a sewing machine at your peril. It’s as though they can’t bear to be on their own.
I started with the 1970s Singer from my grandmother-in-law. It didn’t have all of its accessories at the time (I have them now), so we ended up heading to Spotlight and buying a new machine with all of its requisite bits, which came as part of a combination deal with an overlocker.
Then the Chef’s aunt offered me her treadle machine: a 201K from 1950. At some point, I was also re-united with the Husqvarna my parents gave me one Christmas when I was still at school.
Eventually, I out-grew my Singer and started thinking about investing in a more sturdy machine, which is how I brought home a thirty-year-old Bernina earlier this year.
This clearly wasn’t enough, because then I found out that my parents still had the machine I learnt to sew on (a much sought-after machine known as the Elna ‘Grasshopper’) and I hinted with absolutely no subtlety that I could look after it if they didn’t want it any more.
Most of the machines are hidden away in their cases or boxes, but the above two are allowed to see the light of day. That’s my 201K in the background and my new-old Bernina in the foreground.
This all leaves me with two over-riding questions: 1. What am I actually meant to do with seven sewing machines? and 2. What if I can’t stop collecting them?