New but old

When I was 16 my mum and dad bought me a sewing machine – a relatively simple Singer, which did straight stitches, zig-zag, buttonholes and about six other fancier stitches. I used it to make skirts, coats, curtains, toys, ballgowns and even the most amazing fully boned purple satin dress to wear for a friend’s wedding. It has been serviced regularly over the years, but in 2018 it became clear that it was struggling and no longer up to the jobs I wanted it to perform – most notably zig-zag stitches in jersey fabric. I dithered about getting a new one because I really didn’t want anything too complicated or that relied on electronics, and so I made do.

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A mechanical marvel

However, back in the summer we were discussing sewing machines at Knit Night and one of the ladies mentioned her old Bernina 830 and what fabulous machines they are. She explained that secondhand models were greatly sought after and worth looking out for, but, even so, relatively easy to find because they were so well built and so long-lived. I searched ebay and finally found what I wanted in a location where I could go and collect it. And so, on my way back from the Crochet Sanctuary weekend, I picked up my new (old) machine. Indeed, it is actually older than my Singer. The lady selling it told me it had belonged to her late mother, who bought it new… and for which there was the original paperwork. Not only that, but she had the original cabinet for it that she also offered me, and for which I made a donation to a charity she selected. The cabinet is brilliant, with a platform that allows the machine to drop down inside at the flick of a lever.

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Complete with cabinet

Having had the same machine for 35 years, it has taken me a while to get used to a different set-up. Nevertheless, it has turned out to be a great purchase. The first thing I made with it was Sam’s t-shirt, but I’ve progressed on to more complex things and am finding it a joy to use. It has needed no more than a quick clean and the application of oil to get it working smoothly. I haven’t tried sewing jersey fabric yet, but my current project involves lots of layers of fabric/interfacing and it’s turning out to be a breeze, so fingers crossed for future projects.

I’m so pleased to have avoided buying a brand new machine, and the lady I bought it off seemed delighted that it was going to a home where it would once again be cherished. Hurrah for well made tools that can last more than one lifetime.

Pass it on

It’s day four of Zero Waste Week and I’m looking up…

… at my lampshades, that is.

A few weeks ago I happened to mention to my niece that I liked the lampshade in her bedroom. So she gave it to me. Well, not there and then, but once she had got the replacement she was planning to buy anyway.

So today’s avoidance of waste has been to replace this lampshade in the hall:

In the hall

In the hall

With the one from my niece:

Lily's lampshade

Lily’s lampshade

Then take down the torn one in the kitchen:

I do like paper lampshades, but this one only lasted 14 years!

I do like paper lampshades, but this one only lasted 14 years!

And replace it with the one from the hall:

Looks wonky because it was still moving when I photographed it!

Looks wonky because it was still moving when I photographed it!

Then dismantle the torn lampshade:

Ripping it up

Ripping it up… the paper has gone on the compost heap

So that I have the metal rings to use to make a crochet lampshade:

They need soaking to get all the remaining bits of paper off

They need soaking to get all the remaining bits of paper off

Which I will have in my office, and the lampshade that’s currently in there can go in the utility room where there is no lampshade at all at the moment.

How about that for using your resources wisely and producing zero waste?

Accio wand

I have a new wand… it’s magic!

Well, actually, it’s not brand new, just new to me, and the magic thing is that it’s so easy to find such things via the internet these days. Say what you will about the challenges of using ebay, it is a great way to access people who sell useful things secondhand, in particular to source secondhand spares from breakers.

Cracked!

Cracked!

The other day, whilst Mr Snail was doing the vacuuming, yet another part of our Dyson broke… the wand this time. Sadly, it wasn’t in a place where a repair was feasible. The model we own is so old (it’s an original DC01), that not all spares are available now (as, for example when the base plate cracked). In the case of the part we needed this time, you can get new replacements (no not from Ollivander’s, but from proper, expensive spares suppliers) but you can also get them from breakers for (as it turns out) a third of the cost.

So, Mr Snail got searching and ordered. The place it came from felt it necessary to explain that the items they sell may be scuffed and could be dirty and not to complain if they are, but we were happy with that, just as long the wand really did come from an old Dyson that was no longer working. In fact, when it arrived (very promptly) the part was only very slightly scuffed and had hardly dirt on it at all (we will soon rectify that). And best of all it was fitted easily.

So, that’s one more thing that we’ve done for Zero Waste Week – bought secondhand so that we could continue to use an existing appliance rather than bin the whole thing and buy a new one. What shall I do tomorrow, I wonder?

-oOo-

Just in case you’re wondering about the title, see here

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