October 10, 2007

Yoo Talkin' Ta Me?

smachine.jpgWhile you, my venerable and honorable sewing senseis, are all now also my new BFFs (you’ll see why in a minute), JanKnitz is my ESBFF, my Extra-Special Best Friend Forever, because she described exactly what happened with my sewing machine when she wrote, “My Singer does that loop de loop all the time and it's not because the bobbin is in backward or the tension is wrong. It will go along fine for a while, and then, WHAMMO, a mess! The bobbin did not suddenly jump from being correct to being backwards and the tension did not change.” I experienced exactly the same “whammo.” I was sewing along, feeling all smug with my groovy self—hadn’t touched the bobbin, hadn’t changed the tension—and then there was a quiet “chunk” and the gouting forest of blue loopage started. And I wasn’t able to fix it, no matter how much incense I burned, how many prayers I chanted, or how many small animals I sacrificed…

…until I walked up to my sewing machine Monday night, loomed menacingly over it, lowered my voice until it was quiet, cold, threatening, guttural, and said, “My blogging friends know about you.” Then I rethreaded and repositioned and reinserted everything One More Time, just as I had done six times on Sunday, and guess what? No more gouting forest of blue loopage, and 1.5 hours later I was the proud owner of something vaguely pants-shaped. You guys do good work!!

I am now contemplating the mysteries that are a soon-to-be elasticized waistband and two pant legs that are so huge that both TMK and I could fit inside just one—and I know this because I spent the last fifteen minutes of my night wandering proudly around the house in my very unfinished pants, clutching the waistband tightly in one hand, tripping over the unhemmed legs, and constantly adjusting the crotch, which is a good foot lower than it needs to be, and feeling very accomplished and smirky. I must have looked like, what?, a gang-banger clown seamstress? (And lest ye judge, you know this is exactly like gimping around in an unfinished sock with the dpns still in and bristling every which way, just to see what the sock looks like. You’ve done that. You know you have.

Haven’t you?)

I suppose that, now that I'm a gang-banger clown seamstress and no longer have any street cred to maintain, this is where I should also confess that your comments reminded me that it’s helpful to keep pieces of leftover fabric around to test the unreliable functionality of my sewing machine...which is why Monday night you would’ve found me poking earnestly and a little shamefacedly around in my kitchen garbage can. The rescue mission was successful; the strips of fabric I pulled out were as clean as clean could be. But still, poking around in the garbage can? Where has my pride gone?

To wrap up this quick entry, some Eye-Candy Fri... er, Wednesday. The reigning queen of TMK's yard this fall has been her tiny Japanese maple, which has exploded into an over-the-top display of orange and red. Here, a close-up of the leaves and its little solar-lantern companion:


And here, all of its 2' tall cute self. You can't really tell from the picture but this little guy only comes up to about my knees.


Posted by Ryan at October 10, 2007 09:53 AM

Oh! Is that a lace-leaf maple? So gorgeous. Maples rule fall. And I'm glad to hear your sewing machine is behaving!

Posted by: Crystal on October 10, 2007 10:59 AM

Ryan, will you come over to my house -- shaddup, it's only about 2000 miles -- and say that to my machine? It's not a Singer but it does that thread gout thing on a regular basis, all my rethreading being useless.

And count me green (or orange?) with jealousy over TMK's gorgeous Japanese maple. I've wanted one for years but they are not hardy in MN or WI (unless I move south to Milwaukee or some dumb place like that). They are sooooo beautiful.

Posted by: kmkat on October 10, 2007 11:03 AM

Pretty tree! And I have no idea what you're talking about - all my socks are finished, all my clothes are perfectly tailored, seams trimmed, ends woven, and you'll never get me to admit otherwise!

Posted by: Carrie on October 10, 2007 12:06 PM

Oh, the tiny maple is so *cute*! It looks like bonsai! I have a Japanese maple (which I will have to tell kmkat about, because I live in Wisconsin, and not in Milwaukee either, it's a hardy cultivar) and it is one of my favorite photographic subjects. (See my maple leaf photoshop series from last week, if you like!) But it does not have the lacey leaves nor the sugar maple colors; it's dark red. Love it.

Bad Bobbin! Behave!
Thank you.

Posted by: Cathy-Cate on October 10, 2007 12:08 PM

Hey Ryan -

You made me delurk just to say that, "gouting forest of blue loopage" is my new favorite phrase and possibly a great name for a rock band.


Posted by: Chris in MN on October 10, 2007 12:29 PM

I am happy for you and proud of you. Threats can do a world of good. In an office where I used to work we had a sign, "Never let anything mechanical know you are in a hurry." I believe it may have had a tagline about machines detecting stress levels, as well.

One of the wonderful things about creating something by yourself, for yourself is the ability to adjust it. You can fix the crotch if you want to (OK that is a strange sentence to type...) and you will master the waistband.

Have fun! (I have tried on socks with the dpn's in, but have never actually tried to walk with one on.)

Posted by: picadrienne on October 10, 2007 12:33 PM

I love the maple. It makes me remember how much I want a bonsai. Not one of the junipers (which despite being the quintissential easy bonsai to care for I can kill with alarming speed), but a tropical or indoor plant. Little trees are so expensive.

Posted by: Seanna Lea on October 10, 2007 12:34 PM

You know, I think, I possibly remember, that that problem can sometimes be caused by the needle being loose or mispositioned. For when the threats stop working....

Posted by: Janine on October 10, 2007 12:50 PM

Who knew that a virtual community could serve so well as a threat to a non-sentient machine? :) I've gotta remember that one (also that you've clearly got cameras in my home -- how else could you know about the walking-with-dpns-in-the-sock thing?!). The tree is lovely; they don't like our warm weather, alas, so I'll admire yours virtually.

Posted by: Jocelyn on October 10, 2007 01:28 PM

I totally just choked on my pad see ew. Will you PLEASE wear your clown-nose gangbanger seamstress pants to Laurie's signing next week?

Purdy please? Or at least bring them? :)

Posted by: Libby on October 10, 2007 01:47 PM

Thanks for coming by to visit -- I love your mother's insult! I'm definitely going to have to try that one next time (which will delay that conversation about what the s-word means a bit longer -- I can handle questions about fleas and camels if I have to).

Posted by: Jocelyn on October 10, 2007 02:19 PM

Aw! The Japanese Maple is adorable :)

And I've done the sock thing, but I do magic loops, so I've got cable all over the place, not DPNs. I even show it off, "look! A sock!!!" The response? "yes, you've got a half done sock on. Great..." Always a little anticlimactic...

Posted by: Crafty Coug on October 10, 2007 04:14 PM

Just what is it about the lives of knitters that makes me giggle uncontrollably whilst I read their blogs? What is it, exactly, about playing with twisted sheep hair and skinny sticks that makes so many of us quite so hysterical? (In all senses of that word)

Posted by: Lynn on October 10, 2007 05:15 PM

Sewing machines are like that.
I once took my highly expensive hand-me down machine to a dealer because it was doing exactly that same random loopy-thing. Being 19, they looked at me and said "Do you have it threaded right? Is the bobbin in right?" I was irritated, because I had, of course, checked that stuff multiple times. So the lady tried it and, lo and behold, it worked. I'm not sure if it just wanted a ride in the car, or if it liked being among others of its kind. I figure next time, I'll take it for a ride and see what happens.
Hey, and I knit another pair of your Dublin Bay socks. I think I have 3 pairs of them now-Thanks for the pattern!

Posted by: EricaLynn on October 10, 2007 05:56 PM

That little tree is ADORABLE!

Posted by: Emma M. on October 10, 2007 07:36 PM

ok, this is getting ridiculous! everybody's got amazing eye candy tonight! so, for the third time:

Hubba Hubba!

Posted by: minnie on October 10, 2007 08:18 PM

Oh, I have to try threatening the Singer! Next time I sew, which I hope is never!

Love the fall colors. More eye candy, please.

Posted by: Janknitz on October 10, 2007 10:55 PM

"a gang-banger clown seamstress"

Oh you slay me! Really--tears running down my face and the whole bit.

Posted by: Kristen on October 10, 2007 11:55 PM

As I'm typing this I can't get the "K" in Linda "K" to come out unless I really whack that key extra hard - you see there's a seed bead under it that I can't get out from my insistance on reading blogs while trying to finish up some earrings and using the slight depression in the laptop front finger directional touchy thing for my seed bead repository. Sigh...

So if nothing else works on the loopy loop thing (if it dares to come up again) it's probably the timing and you need to take the little stinker in for a tuneup. You didn't really wanna hear that did you.

Re the elastic waist... Take a tape measure and - while wearing a comfy pair of existing pants (hopefully with an elastic waist) - measure from back to front around the crotch area to find the height (from crotch) that the pants should be. Then add in the amount for the turnover for the elastic and the turnunder for the seam below the elastic and voila! Always good to pin in place and try on before hacking off the extra fabric. Bet you won't have near as much to hem at the bottom after that.

Posted by: Linda "K" on October 11, 2007 09:59 AM
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