Thursday, January 21, 2016

The curse of the U.F.O.

It's been quiet around here. Too quiet. For way too long. And let me tell you - I've been meaning to write this post for weeks, if not months. I've written and rewritten it in my head time and again. So let's find out what becomes of it when I actually write it down.

You see, there's this project - and I'm not going to go into detail here - that I've agreed to sew for someone I know. It's large. Huge. It turned out to be unsurmountable for months. It's not especially difficult to sew, but it included a lot of measuring, planning yardage, then being given fabric (cheap, ugly fabric!) to sew with, sitting down to plan yardage yet again (ugh), hours of pre-washing, ironing, cutting, and finally sewing. We are talking about 10 meters each of fabric and zippers, by the way.

I did manage to finish the first half of all the pieces in December, after nearly 6 months of brooding, wishing I hadn't agreed to take on this cursed project, and wishing I was dead in general. Okay, maybe that last point was a bit too dramatic, but I was definitely very down for a variety of reasons (including, but not limited to this UFO). After making the wrong choice of words (i.e. "yes" rather than "no, sorry"), a lot of things happened around here. I started working as a freelance teacher again, and one of my courses was a 3-week full-time intensive course that had me up and running basically from 6.30 am to way past midnight every single day. It might seem strange, but during these three weeks I felt great. I really enjoyed teaching again, the people in my class were wonderful, we had so much fun together. It was fantastic to do something more with my day than kissing boo-boos and wiping tiny butts. In the afternoons I made sure to spend some quality time with my kids, which I really enjoyed, and as soon as they were in bed, I would sit down at my computer to plan the next day's lessons. How cool! I'm a working mom, and I have my stuff together! Yeah!!! Then the course was over, and my mood started to shift. I was tired (how come?) and grumpy and feeling more and more depressed. So much so that there were days when I would sit on the sofa and stare at the wall for two hours. I even consulted a doctor, but oh well, let's not go into too much detail here. At least I now know that my blood levels are fine.

I had this sewing project breathing down my neck, and I really wanted to finish it. But no matter how many hours I managed to actually work on it, there were still so many hours to come. I was getting slower and slower, I didn't even want to be near my sewing machine. I decided I had to do something about this. I told myself I wouldn't sew anything else before this was finished. So - I didn't sew at all. As this didn't work, I thought maybe it would work the other way around. So I planned to take part in Kid's Clothes Week in October, and was hoping to find back to my love of sewing, and to use the energy I was hoping to regain to finally finish this thing.

So I chose a pattern (Zonen 09's wonderful Lars Jacket), took my boys' measurements and prepared the pattern, bought and washed and ironed some cool fabrics, avoided scheduling any appointments during the whole week, and was all set to go.

Then on the Friday before KCW, my mother-in-law said one short, but devastating sentence: "I think something's wrong with the sewing machine." She had been sewing curtains (in an attempt to finish one of her UFOs), when our trusty 9-year-old Singer Quantum 9940 stopped working. Simple as that. It would light up as usual, the display was working fine, you could even select a stitch and work that stitch using the hand wheel. But push the presser foot and nothing happened. I took the machine in to have it repaired on the same day, hoping that I'd have it back before KCW was over. For the next six weeks, I repeatedly called the mechanic, but he was less than enthusiastic to even try to find out what was wrong. In the end, I picked it up and took it to another repair service an hour's car drive away. They called back a few days later (yaaayyy!) to tell me that it was beyond repair (boooooo!) and what exactly was wrong with it (okay).

So now I was without a sewing machine. Da horror!!! I started looking at new sewing machines, but boy, these things are expensive! I had just earned a little money teaching, but not really enough for buying one of the fancy machines I wanted to have. Then my hubby commented on how my birthday was coming up, and Christmas, and that I really needed a new sewing machine - and he told me to order the machine I had cast an eye on, a Singer Quantum Stylist 9985. Happy me, I got it just in time for my birthday! I tried it out right away. This shiny, feature-packed toy turned out to be - way below the standards of sewing that I had known from my old machine. The stitching was so bad that some of the decorative stitches were utterly unrecognizable. Okay, I do have to admit that I'm a perfectionist bordering on pedantic. I get a kick out of achieving a perfect finish on a sewing project. A sewing machine for nearly 1000€ that is unable to keep up with my high standards is just a no-go. I'm not saying that this is a bad sewing machine. It has lots of cool features for a reasonable price, but at the cost of perfect accuracy. It might be a great sewing machine for someone who wants to try out a lot and doesn't pay too much attention to detail. But I just had to send it back. Especially after sewing through my finger when I attempted to get on with my UFO (I'll spare you the details and photos of that). At least it healed quickly.

But I was without a sewing machine again. So I decided against ordering another one online, and went to the shop where I had taken the old machine (the second one, that is). They convinced me to spend just a little bit more (ahem, or maybe more than a little bit more...) and treat myself to a Brother innov-is NV1800Q. What shall I say? I'm in sewing heaven! Yes, it was a splurge. And I'm not sure I should have spent that much money on a sewing machine. But I've been sewing like crazy since I got this technical marvel. It is the most amazing apparatus I've ever laid my hands on. And hello and welcome back, sewing mojo!!! Whoop, whoop!!!

I've since sewn an Appleton dress and a Washington dress by lovely Cashmerette patterns, but that is for another post. One with pictures and all ;-)

AND I just finished a couple more of the more than 20 lets-not-name-it I promised to sew. I see light at the end of the tunnel... And more dresses, and kid's clothes, and Karneval costumes, and decor for our new kitchen, and those jackets I wrote about, and... You can never have enough UFOs ;-)

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