When I first moved, my goal was to spend my newfound time learning how to sew. I used money that I’d saved from selling off possessions on Craigslist to purchase myself a new machine. Now, I rarely buy brand new things preferring instead to purchase things that have already had a life, i.e. previously owned. But I decided to get a new machine as an investment in my new creations. This machine was to become my companion in craft, but our relationship soon soured with each and every mechanical breakdown. My quilting group took to calling my machine names on my behalf. It was not a good thing to have a new machine with a new, addictive hobby and not be able to complete my projects.
Then I found out about my grandmother’s Bernina sewing machine languishing unused in storage. I asked for it, and my mom had it serviced for me to bring home from Colorado. This machine is everything I hoped for, and more, in a crafting companion. It is solid and strong, made of metal and not cheap plastic. And just like the intangible benefits of my heirloom cast iron pots, sewing on this machine makes me incredibly happy. I’m connected to my grandma as she too used this machine to make things for loved ones. There is something very special about creating on the same equipment as your family.
Today, I took a quilting class and set up right across from me was another Bernina Record, made even more interesting as it was a grandmother/granddaughter duo taking the class together. My classmate had purchased her machine online for her granddaughter, a very enthusiastic and grateful eleven year-old excited about her “vintage” machine. Several other people chimed in about the quality of our machines, sharing memories of their own and finally I was proud of my machine, forgetting all of the old negative feelings of my previous one. But for me it isn’t just a high quality machine, it is an heirloom that I will have forever. I am connected to this sewing machine because it had a life before me, a life with my grandmother.