May 17, 2005
As you know, I hold a grudge against German appliances. I know it’s not fair to hate the entire industrial output of a country because of one INCREDIBLY STUPID WASHING MACHINE, but that’s me: narrow-minded. Let that be a lesson to you: if you dye my kitchen floor blue, I shall be extremely wary, not only of you, but of everything that comes from where you come from.
But that’s all over now. Yesterday, I met a charming German appliance. A purring, rational, user-friendly little guy: Cristina’s sewing machine, Herr Pfaff. Cristina made a Coolpix movie of me and Herr Pfaff getting to know one another in a special way, but the file was too big to upload. You will just have to trust me on this: the Pfaff is a sweetheart.
Why did I drive all the way to Philly to use a sewing machine? First of all, it’s always a pleasure to see see Cristina and eat what she’s cooking and hang out in CristinaLand. But I also needed her help. A few weeks ago, in a moment of Angela-induced insanity, I signed up for Back-Tack. Back-Tack is one of those bloggy secret-pal thingies, but it’s for people who–unlike me–know how to sew. The idea is, you send a package of fun fabric to one person, and you get one from another person. Using these goodies (or not), you make a clever notions pouch, stuff it with sewing-geek treats, and send it to someone else. Everybody gets cool surprises, and the Post Office makes out like a bandit.
Here’s the part that got me: if the recipient is a knitter, you can make them a needle case instead of a notions pouch. I have always wanted to make one of these. I have been stashing fat quarters of Kaffe Fassett fabric for years, in the hopes of someday acquiring Miraculous Sewing Knowledge and being able to use it for something. I signed up, requesting a knitter to sew for.
Mind you, I haven’t had my foot on the pedal of a sewing machine since 7th Grade Home Economics Class. (Just for fun, here is a picture of me in the skirt I made, with Mom’s help, for Maxi Day when I was in 6th Grade. Scary, yes? I think the belt is macrame!)
Seeing that I was in desperate straits, Cristina volunteered her Pfaff and a clipping of a Martha Stewart Living article on how to make a tool roll out of a placemat. Hey, it’s a Good Thing: how hard could it be?
Not hard at all, and REALLY FUN. Get this: Sewing is faster than knitting. A lot faster.
When sewing, you get to do one of my most favorite things in the world:
Handle a massive and powerful steam iron. (Also German, as it happens.) (Since I know you’ll be impressed, I’ll also share that Cristina has one of those double-wide ironing boards; more of an ironing table, really. You could do surgery on that thing. Strictly for the Seriously Crafty.)
After an afternoon of lunching and sewing and admiring baby Elio and brother Bruno with Cristina and another Philly pal, Cheryl, here is what we had to show.
Mach 1: Cristina’s Trial-Run Needle Roll.
Small (Cristina favors circs so only has a few straight needles to corral), flap-less, green. If it were a car, it would be a VW Beetle: easy to park, but still stylin’.
Mach 2: The Dee-luxe Back-Tack Stretch Limo of Needle Rolls.
(The perfect knitterly touch–Cristina’s idea– i-cord ties!)
An inside flap adds extra cushion, but in truth it’s just a vehicle for More Fabby Kaffe Fabric.
The Needle Roll, loaded. (The pocket is suave wool felt from Cristina’s stash.)
I had a real swell time, and yes, I’m in the market for a Pfaff of my own. Wait’ll Hubby sees THAT on the dining room table.