The other day I had a long talk with my new Singer sewing machine. No, not a talk with, sewing machines don’t answer you back, thank goodness. It was a monologue peppered with some more colourful language than normally is my style. The system with the underthread is completely different from my old Singer and I do. not. like it. Bits that were made out of metal in my old Singer are made of plastic on this one and I have to be careful with them. In fact, the whole old Singer was made of metal. This one's plastic.
I miss my old Singer. I bought it in 1972 when my sister got married and took her Singer with her. About ten years ago my Singer started having problems that pointed to probable bigger problems in the near future so I was advised to get a new one.
I’ve looked around, the underthread system is the same in all sewing machines now, apparently. They’re probably all made on the same conveyor belt at the end of which they just glue different logos on them.
I still have my grandmother’s old Singer from the 1920’s. The belt is broken but I have a new one.
What am I sewing? I am sewing produce bags. I don’t like the thin plastic bags in markets and food stores, I wanted something I can reuse. I wanted thin, thin cotton, but as I couldn’t find thin, thin cotton I bought sheer curtain material, polyester, argh. It is very slippery and everything has to be basted. The curtain material is three metres wide, so I now get ten produce bags, heh. My niece has asked me to remember her -- maybe I can bear to part with a few bags.
I’ve done the side seams now. I can unpick the basting while I watch television. And when I can keep my hands occupied, I don’t eat licorice. Or dark chocolate.
A finished bag weighs 12 grammes. As the food store scales have taken into account the maybe three grams of their flimsy plastic bags (I think), the price effect of my bag on apples, for instance, is a little over one eurocent if I weigh them with my bag. I can live with that. And I can weigh them without the bag if I want to.
I took my design of the produce bags a step further. You know when you just happen to see some lovely produce somewhere when you’re not actually shopping and you’d end up taking a bag from the store? I made a little pouch for a bag, so I can slip it into my hand bag for these just in case situations.
I’ve been to three big auctions this year. All the same, yet different.
One I went to was an auction people went to for a Good Buy. The quality of the goods for sale was high, but not prohibitively so. It was a rainy winter day, everyone looked more of less the same, wrapped in their winter coats. I came early so I managed to find a seat. The outside door was right behind me, it was a bit draughty at times. There were a few male voices who did a lot of bidding. They were probably making acquisitions for their antique shops. Then there was that couple who came for a specific painting. The lady who came for the necklace. The men who bid against each other over one lot of three statuettes. Paintings by well known and recognized artists didn’t even reach their estimates. An unsigned watercolour someone said was a Kandinsky got a bit more action. Antique furniture is just old furniture and doesn’t fetch high prices. What does fetch high prices is design from the 50’s and 60’s. I wonder, when the 50’s and 60’s are so not interesting any more, what comes next? 70’s chipboard?? IKEA flatpacks??
I had to clear out my parents’ apartment earlier this year.
This meant going through every single piece of paper starting with the waste paper basket, every single envelope, every single pocket in every single piece of clothing (coins, hankies, combs), every single pocket in every single bag and purse (coins, hankies, combs) etc, including every single everything.
This also meant figuring out where to take and what to do with posessions accumulated since my parents got married in 1947. There are some older treasures like my maternal grandmother’s song book from 1907 I think, my uncle’s war time letters from the front in 1944, some letters from my great aunts and uncles to my grandmother, old photographs in which I hardly recognize anyone. Luckily I’ve found a second cousin who does recognize many of these people.
Auction houses, charity shops and recycling centres are a blessing. As is the fact that it is more than ok to buy things second hand.
My siblings and their families and I took our share. I think we all would have taken more had we room for more. However, holding on to things for the sake of holding on to things makes no sense. Our parents are not in the paintings, furniture, silver objects, books, beautiful shoes, crystal glasses or tableware.
Our parents are in us, in our memories. Or, actually, we think they are at the cottage. Sometimes I can feel a presence. Nice.
I'm Piisa and I will be sharing with you my thoughts on this and that, maybe even on whatever.