If you've known me for awhile, you are aware that I have only been sewing on a machine since 2006 or whereabouts. Judy Skeel went with me to Westerville Sew & Save to help me pick out a machine that I felt comfortable with and that would give me enough bells and whistles to make me happy. Plus, I wanted a machine that I could if necessary take me me to doll maker conferences out of town. I chose a Janome taking it home with a little trepidation as in High School I actually flunked Home Economics sewing section. Hey, why was it considered common knowledge that you flipped down the foot to start sewing...I wasn't told that...is that just in our genes that we know how to use a sewing machine. Nope, didn't think so. Therefore, I wasn't too thrilled to begin learning to sew when I was in my 50s, but it is never too late to learn.
The first conferences I took my Janome machine to were full of frustration for me. I struggled to get my machine to do anything and even just plain straight stitching was a real painful experience. So back to basics with a little help from my Guilded Liliy sisters on how in the world do you actually sew on a machine. All the time, I'm pulling thread here & there, I was picturing in my mind the voice of HAL 9000 talking to Dave in the movie 2001. So, I started to call my little machine HAL because I knew "he" was just a machine and there to help me in my job of creating, BUT...in the back of my mind I knew there was something evil there. Hal and I have struggled over the years getting to a certain understanding where our relationship could actually be pleasant. I also learned that for Hal to actually work well I had to do certain things that once again came naturally to others but I had to be told. Mainly, I didn't realize that you actually have to CHANGE the needle periodically. Oh and there are different needles for different types of thread. And number one rule is that Hal does not like hand embroidery thread going through his needle. Not to mention tension and thread count and this list of things I had to know before I was suppose to start sewing grew and grew. Meanwhile, there sits Hal on my work table, patiently waiting for me to learn more about how to use a sewing machine. He's done a pretty good job with my total lack of knowledge.
And don't laugh, but until recently I didn't realize that there were two different stitching options on Hal. I had been using the zig zag instead of the straight stitch. DUH! Of course that made a big gigantic difference when actually trying to do free motion embroidery or even sewing doll bodies. Once again, did the teacher in 9th grade Home Ec. mention that in class...no! So I've been sewing doll bodies of my own design lately. I've had people in the beading world wanting me to sew bodies for them too. My biggest request so far has been for mermaids. I sewed up a bunch of 10 for one customer who I know will be embellishing them with lots of gorgeous raised texture. Then I had another order for three from someone else. Did Hal & I have a good time? Well yes...I did raise a glass of wine to our blooming friendship. But still hand stitching is going to be my relaxation time especially needle sculpting faces for doll bodies. I'm determined to make Hal my friend...and actually read the manual someday.