Sunday, November 24, 2013

Screw it!

This sounds a little like the name of Richard Branson's book, Screw it, let's do it, but it is not. It is all about having the right screw as in a small silver device.



I have a beautiful Pfaff sewing machine which I absolutely adore. My sewing machine and I spend many, many precious hours together on a daily basis. It works hard and so do I!


Don't get me wrong.....I have also had a long affair with a Bernina . In fact I still have my Bernina but she is rather worn out and just does not do the blanket stitch as well as my current friend. Before my dear friend the Bernina passed on I used an Elna(Stella) which I bought second hand for R600 and used in Swaziland when we started our small clothing business


The Elna bugged me from time to time as the threads jammed so quickly if you did not hold them towards the back of the machine before take off. This would mean pulling everything out, taking the machine apart and extracting all the jammed threads! A waste of precious time, tempers flying, bad language flowing etc. I usually work fast and could not bare the waste of time. It was time for my daughter to inherit that one! The predecessor to the Elna was some unnamed brand which I purchase from a friend's wife for two hundred rand and used until it died.


But my very first machine was the greatest! My grandmother gave it to me when I was just sixteen. A lovely faithful hand turn Singer. What a beaut. I learnt to sew on this machine and in fact it unlocked my passion for what has been my lifelong hobby. One of the first items I recall making were "Twist"dresses. It was the season where every radiogramme was blasting forth with Bill Hayley and the comets and "Let's twist again like we did last summer" and we would twist our bodies up and down, back and forth, getting our exercise without even realizing it. To match the music we had to wear the correct dresses which we made ourselves.

Off to the shops mother and I would go and there we would buy fabric which I think was called Sungleam for a couple of "bob". No pattern was needed as I would cut a long top out and then gather or pleat the skirt and attach it. It had to bounce and bob as I danced the twist. The zigzag stitch was a luxury that my old singer did not have but who minded.....the finished article was far more important. Voila! Before you knew it you had a new outfit to wear to the party where we could Twist the night away.

This darling machine went to College with me and many a time my friend Mignon and I would cut a dress out and while one would guide the fabric the other would turn the handle as fast as possible resulting in a lovely outfit we could wear to the next 'hop' as we called parties in those days!

That old faithful machine is safely ensconced in our bush house which does not have electricity, so should the emergency arrive out comes the Singer!

But back to present times. Somehow the screw on my Pfaff which holds the free motion quilting foot got lost. When ever I attend a course I have to take my machine along which weighs a ton and that must be how I lost the screw! That one little screw has caused untold misery! I searched and searched for the original, to no avail. Then I called in the help of my hubby. He went off to the hardware shop but without the machine they could not help him. My brother in law came to the rescue and gave us an assortment of screws to try out.

The position of this screw is so awkward..we tried screwdrivers of various kinds, long nosed pliers,tweezers etc.cursing, praying and eventually got a screw to fit. Hooray...I attached the special foot, dropped the feed dog and off I went at a hundred miles an hour. It did not last long.....the screw was not tight enough and the next thing the special foot came flying off and was cracked! Tears and frustration ruled the day, what to do.

After much googling I found an agent in JHB and ordered a new foot which we picked up during our next visit to the city. I still needed the screw. When next we visited the bush I popped into a machine shop in Hazyview and told the Uncle there my very sad story. He is a Mr Fixit of note and told me to leave it to him. That was in April this year. In October I popped back to his shop which had actually moved into bigger premises and shyly asked Mr Fixit if he remembered me and my sob story and lo and behold there was the illusive SCEW! Mr Fixit being a wiley old Fellow knows a desperate sewer when he sees one charged me a magnificent R75.00 for this tiny but IMPORTANT little screw! I hugged that little thing, stroked it and could not wait to get back to base to put it where it belongs and now I am pleased to report that I am a happy chappy and have not stopped sewing and quilting. What an amazing difference that little screw has made in my life! Did I ever confess how much it cost....never, who cares! Now to improve my free motion quilting skills.

Long live the screw! Let's screw it!


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