After inheriting my mother’s New Home sewing machine, an often used piece of equipment with which she magically made tons of incredible things, I had to decide if I would ever come to enjoy using this computerized version as much as she did. There was nothing she couldn’t make. My sewing experiences, often failed attempts, usually left me with a bad taste for machinery of any kind.
I decided to take the machine to a repair shop and have it serviced. The technician was thrilled to see it; reminding me that this expensive gem (then and now) was totally worth cleaning up. Quite a few dollars later I brought the machine home and gave some thought to returning to my challenge of using what I imagined was a complicated version of needle and thread.
As an art teacher I had no-kill Singer sewing machines once used by formerly called Home Economics teachers. These Singers were indestructible and believe me my students always tried to do them in. Hesitating to dive into the sewing arena with my refurbished New Home, it sat collecting dust until I decided to add stitching to some of my collages. I really liked the result, but worried I was doing something harmful to the machine…so it has sat idle again, and again.
My clipping file of bird images from magazines and calendars (I receive a ridiculous number of calendars annually from organizations soliciting donations) was becoming large and was crying out for something new, or at least something different. After cutting the bird images out, I flipped them to expose the image/type on the back. The outline still identified the species, but the image usually became one of type, photos and textures…right up my alley. I used iron on transfer paper to print the bird flips onto fabric, used permanent markers to add some drawn lines and textures, then constructed fabric birds resembling ravioli. They are slightly stuffed, surrounded by embrodiered stitching and pinking sheared edges. They are probably destined to end up on a bird themed Christmas tree unless I figure out a more inventive way to use or display them.
Happy that I met the sewing challenge, these avian pieces of printed, pasta-like craftiness are really no great achievement. However, I did discover that merely pressing a button on the stitching panel would direct the New Home machine to create lovely lines of all sorts of embroidery. For that reason and the fact that no screaming or foul language was uttered by me, I consider my activity successful. Maybe I should have stuffed them with catnip. My four cats would have probably been more excited than me about these little creations!