Friday, June 4, 2010

Old Tools

You would think that with a newborn child in the house, projects involving old tools would come to a screeching halt. You'd be wrong.

For the last two weeks, Grandma Pam has been a whirlwind of projects (as well as cooking and cleaning). With Anna, she has made puppets for a school project. With Maggie, she whipped up a batch of delicious chocolate frosted eclairs for French food day at school. And late into the night, the house has been echoing with the sound of the sewing machine. In the short time she's been in Cleveland, all three kids have new curtains in their bedrooms, and Sam's room has a fully coordinated decor- curtains, crib ruffle, bumper pad and storage bins, all in colorful, monkey bedecked fabric.

I, however, was quite distracted by the machine with which all of the sewing projects have been created. I knew that Kim had a sewing machine stowed away on our third floor, but it hadn't seen the light of day since I moved in. Pam unearthed it shortly after she arrived, and it has been whirring away since.

The machine is a thing of beautiful industrial design. A Singer 99K, its curves and lines evoke a time when such things mattered. The gleaming black enamel, golden pinstripes, and art-deco embellishments are worthy of a vintage automobile. Its cast iron heft is also a thing of the past in todays age of plastic and aluminum. Lifting it inspires confidence that the tool you are about to use is a serious one, not a toy. Looking at its beauty inspires the worker to create similar beauty in fabric and thread. It sports a "Made in England" badge, and according to my research, was probably built in the early 1950s. It was available in both hand-crank and electric versions- this one is electrified.

As with all old tools in our house, I plan to keep this one in top condition, even if it is only used during visits by Grandma. I've already poured through the owners manual and found other manuals online to make sure I can keep it correctly cleaned and lubricated. I have no doubt it will last another fifty years.

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