Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ever made a stupid decision?

I forgot to tell you - I finished the 9-patch blocks for Debra that I posted about here.  Those demons blocks pushed me to the limit.  I sewed.  And I ripped.  And I cursed.  And I stalked off and ignored the sewing room for a couple of hours.  Then I went back and I sewed.  And I ripped.  And I cursed.  And I stalked off -again.  I was afraid I was going to let Debra down.  I had promised some blocks, but it just wasn't happening.  Can you say "failure"?  Boy I sure can.  But I guess it's a good thing I was born under the sign of Taurus the Bull.  Because I certainly am bull-headed.  I got those blocks finished and mailed well before the deadline Debra had set.  I've asked for honest feedback regarding the quality of those blocks.   That's the only way I can learn.

I had so many problems issues while sewing.  I've got this super-duper Pfaff sewing/embroidery machine.  Me!  Heck, I'm doing good I can figure out how to program the microwave.  Operate a computerized sewing machine?  I don't think so!  I may be 57 years old, but had never really done much sewing.  Sure, I had made the occasional Halloween costume (a clown, a Queen of Spades costume) - things I didn't have to worry about actually fitting. 

So what made me want to start quilting?  When my daughter was pregnant, I was in Germany.  I was friends with a woman who had quilts throughout her house.  So I asked her if she'd make one for my soon-to-be-grandchild.  Her answer?  "No, but I'll be glad to show you how, and you can make it."  And that is how I got started.  I bought a 15 year old Singer sewing machine for $20, bought fabric, she found me a pattern and I started sewing.  That first quilt was hand-tied and was made with much love.  I can remember so well presenting that quilt when my granddaughter was born. 

My granddaughter will be 6 years old in July, and I haven't seen the quilt since I gave it to her.  I'm almost afraid to ask my daughter about it, because I would be heartbroken to find she doesn't have it any more.  Maybe one day I'll get brave enough to ask.  After all, it was my very first quilt.  It started this journey I've been on for the past 6 years. 

Fast forward a few years.  That friend took a job and moved to Alaska.  In the meantime, I had formed a friendship with another lady that quilted.  She had a Pfaff sewing/embroidery machine and somehow I convinced myself that's what I needed too.  No way to buy American since I'm in Germany, so we go out on the German economy and I buy me a sewing/quilting machine.  Quite a few thousand dollars I spent on that machine.  My new friend is telling me about how she's going to show me how to use it, how all those special feet I bought will each serve a purpose, and how once she shows me how to embroider with it, I can individualize little shirts and skirts and bags and hats for my new granddaughter.  Oh how exciting! 

And then...and then...almost immediately after I take possession of my new sewing machine (within weeks), that friend leaves Germany and comes back to the U.S.  And I'm stuck in Germany with an extremely expensive Pfaff sewing/embroidery machine I don't know how to use.  And since I bought it on the German economy, the only training I can get will be in German.  Can I converse in German?  Well, heck yeah!  In a restaurant (yessiree, nothing gets between me and my food).  But technical terms for sewing machine lessons?  Nuh-uh.  So I start searching for an American that can help me.  Surely someone can help me.  Nope.  Nobody.  Seems as though everybody else had a Bernina.  So why the H-E-double-hockey-sticks did I get a Pfaff???  Because that friend guided me in that direction.  And I'm a dunce.  An idiot.  A wuss.  <Insert deep sobbing here>.

I got back to the U.S. in July 2008, and haven't done a lot of sewing since then.  I did a table runner for an International Christmas swap in 2009, and recently I've been working on a quilt for my other daughter.  Every time I sit down at this computerized machine, I'm overwhelmed.  And intimidated.  And scared.  I can't figure out what foot does what, how to figure out the stitch width and length, the IDT, the decorative stitches (heck, I don't even need to worry about them now anyway considering I still don't feel comfortable with the straight stitch).  And I've checked to see if someone locally can train me how to use the machine, and it will cost me $60/hr for training.  That's money I don't have. 

I wish I had my $20 Singer sewing machine back.   There was not one thing wrong with that machine.  She worked wonderfully.  And I tossed her aside.  Like I didn't love her.  If I had her back, I'd dust her, and maintain her, caress and cherish her, and whisper sweet words into her ears (do sewing machines have ears?) and maybe she would forgive me.  But sadly, I gave her away when I got my monstrosity Pfaff.  How I miss her. 

Please don't get me wrong.  I don't dislike Pfaff.  It could just as well have been a Bernina or a Singer I had purchased.  My problem is I bought something totally above my level of comprehension.  And I knew it at the time.  But I was depending on someone else to bail me out.  To save me.  To be my safety net.  And now that "someone" isn't available.  That someone left before they could pass on their knowledge.  So please, don't think I'm saying Pfaff isn't a good machine to have.  I know it is.  I saw what that friend could do with hers, and I wanted to make the same magic with mine.  But like I said, I'm a dunce.  An idiot.  A wuss. 

So...have you ever made a stupid decision like mine?  If so, what did you do?


Barbara said...

I have a Pfaff that I love, but that's because it doesn't have any 'bells and whistles', and it isn't an embroidery machine. It's one of the totally mechanical Hobby series, and I can service it myself because it's so basic. I honestly wouldn't trade it for anything else, not even one of the expensive computerized machines, and it only cost $249.00 back around 1995. If you really are feeling overwhelmed by your Pfaff, maybe you should consider getting that machine out of your life by downsizing to something that's more "YOU". To answer your question, that's what I try to do when a decision doesn't feel right to me. I somehow undo it and go in a different direction. You aren't a dunce, idiot or a wuss, you just made a choice that isn't right for you. We all do that sometimes, and you can undo it. I vote to go for it! On the other hand, if you really want to use this new machine, there might be a class nearby -- check with Pfaff.

quiltzyx said...

Have I ever made a stupid decision? Oh no! Not me!!!!
And after I DIDN'T make that decision , I just slogged on. Not much point beating myself up.
Have you looked online to see if you could find an owner's manual for it? I'm guessing that the one that came with it is in German?
Or see if there are some Pfaff groups online - maybe they could help.

Good luck - and be nice to yourself!!

Debra Spincic said...

Your blocks arrived! They look fine--no problem at all and they will go nicely with all the other blocks!
Thanks so much!!