Wednesday, January 21, 2009

just around the corner

A couple of days ago I HAD to sew. It was MLK Day, and I like to celebrate it by giving thanks that I'm not a slave or a sharecropper or cleaning anybody's toilet. We've come a long way, baby. How better to express that than by symbolically drinking from any water fountain I want? In other words, by making something pretty, just because people have fought and died for me to have the time and the means to do so.

With the history of my people behind me, I readied a project. You probably already know an act this epic might be doomed.

Down here in Houston, I've got two sewing machines. The now named Mrs. Eaton (after my paternal grandmother), which is the one I got in Bakersfield, and my first one, the late-model Brother. I always want to sew vintage, so I got out Mrs. Eaton, plugged in the foot pedal, and prepared to fire her up, only to find I didn't have a power cord. I looked hither and yon, but I couldn't recall what I'd done with it. I had my heart set on using that machine, so I looked up Singer shops and found there's one in Meyerland, 5 minutes from where I live. I couldn't believe my great good fortune. I hopped in the car, drove around there, and yes, they did carry the cord. I squealed with joy, until the saleswoman told me the price -- $35. My heart wasn't that set. I'd seen the same cords online for 12 bucks, including postage. I mentioned this, and the woman snatched the cord back and told me I'd best go order one. We can't even get them that cheap wholesale, she said. My ass, I thought. Probably she didn't figure I'd done my homework. I let it slide, thanking her kindly and looking around the store for a few minutes. Even though she'd tried to commit robbery, I didn't want to offend her sensibilities.

Why? Because the place is vintage machine heaven. Stepping inside is a trip back in time. The outside is pure strip mall, but the inside is a bygone era. You walk in expecting all these new plastique machines, but you're greeted with a herd of sturdy throwbacks. I can't get myself banned from a place like that. I'm thinking of going back tomorrow, just to oogle the machines and dig for treasure. I don't think I'd seen that many vintage sewing machines in good condition in one place.

Though shifty character the proprietress may be, she was generous with the photo policy.

Prices on the machines indicate that they've been well-serviced -- I saw nothing for less than $199 -- but for a person in the market for a vintage machine she won't have to work on, the investment could be worth it.

A Singer wonderland, just around the corner.

After petting and picture taking, I came home and decided to go ahead and use the Brother, but guess what, I couldn't find the cord to that machine either. I gave in and ordered a cord for Mrs. Eaton online. It came to $11.20. Right after, I got to thinking: Is it really like me to leave behind cords for the only two machines I brought with me? Even during a move? Oh no. No. I racked my brain, and thought of one more place to look, and when I went there, voila! I cancelled my Internet order, plugged in Mrs. Eaton, and went to town. Later I found a cord for the Brother, too.

So the venture wasn't exactly doomed, but it appeared mighty unlikely for a while. I lost precious daylight sewing time, but the night, oh the night, it was grand.


Ellen Bloom said...

Excellent photos! That vintage machine shop looks fascinating.

So, what did you sew???? Inquiring minds need to know!

Stacy said...

Oh, I can't wait to see what you are making!! I just got a bunch of fabric and am itching to get back to sewing too....

carlita dee said...

Top secret! Just for now.

Elbee said...

Oh you are a mean TEASE! Just curious, you ever like NWA? Completely off topic.

j.kaori said...

That store is a find! What a cozy little place for your sewing. Can't wait to see what you are making!

AllyB said...

Wooo, it's good that store is not close to my home. And it reminds me I have an old clunker in a really nice cabinet in my basement I should take to be refurbished...thanks for the nudge.

Anonymous said...

What a sweet story. I must say you are made of steel because you stayed in that shop, smiled and got your pictures too!!! LOL....

I am also thinking that no wonder there are so many darn machines on the 'bay without power cords....they all go out with the moving boxes.

Love your knitting too!

So how did Mrs. Eaton function!

woolanthropy said...

Highway robbery!...good thing you did your research. But the place is like a museum.

Yay for sewing!