Friends, today I'd like to take a break from sewing men's boxer shorts and return to something we all can relate to: The Daily Ditch!
Please don't think I wasn't ditching this week during the sew-along, because I was. And would you believe there is still more ditching to come? Decluttering my apartment is very much like digging a subway in Rome: you unearth ancient Roman ruins, only to find Etruscan ruins underneath, and then you're digging up dinosaur bones and pieces of Fred Flintstone's old car.
To say I'm discovering stuff I'd forgotten I owned would be an understatement. In fact, I may have inadvertently tunneled into my neighbor's closet, which would explain all the plaster dust and pieces of cinder block. I hope they won't mind.
Here are some of the week's highlights:
I found this cute plastic Sixties-era storage unit in the street while walking the dogs. It's actually kind of collectible, part of the Combonibili line designed by Anna Castelli for Kartell. (Yes, we have good trash here.) It was a little grimy but I was still able to make money on it. Is that wrong?
I sold a few other things as well.
This vintage mannequin seemed so cool in the faded industrial setting of the flea market, but looked like junk in my apartment, and it took up a lot of space. Some artist ended up buying it (for an art project, presumably -- good luck with that).
Hours after purchasing this used bicycle on Craigslist about five years ago I realized the frame was too big, but I tried to make it work. I couldn't -- it's really not safe for me to ride. I sold it to an attorney who actually insisted I let him test drive it. I let him, since he was willing to leave his personal belongings behind. Was I wrong to snatch his VISA card and a few twenties? I think he can afford it.
I am always finding cheap plastic sunglasses at the thrift store only to be reminded why they ended up there in the first place. They're fun to use for photo shoots but, at my age, I really need to start taking better care of my eyes. Back to the thrift store they go (went)!
Did you know I used to knit? Well, for two weeks. I liked knitting and found it very therapeutic, but the yarn is so expensive, and -- this was the main problem -- how many scarves and hats does a person need? Actually, maybe I'll save a pair of those needles with the plastic between them, just in case.
Oh, I almost forgot -- that Mickey Mouse push-button phone pictured up top. Nobody seems to want a real phone anymore, not even a priceless Disney collectible, alas.
And now, friends, the b*tch:
I counted yesterday, and in the past two-and-a-half years I have owned twenty-two sewing machines, more than half of which I have sold to make room for others. Except for a rusty Singer 66 I found in the curb without motor or bobbin case and a Sixties-era Singer (with table) I found in my building's trash before I knew anything about sewing machines, I always found new homes for them, and passed them along in better condition than I found them in.
Remember my Viking, 3240?
This is really weird: on a whim I was looking at vintage Vikings, models like the 6440, on eBay -- not seriously considering getting one, just window shopping. After all, my 3240 was working fine, even though it was beat up -- missing, among other things, the door to the shuttle area, a few screws, etc.
The very next day, I tried zigzagging on her, only to discover that she had seized up almost completely: turning her hand wheel was like trying to pull your foot out of the La Brea Tar Pits. I couldn't believe it. This was one of those self-lubricating Vikings, which after many decades have a tendency to freeze, though usually as a result of disuse.
Do you think sewing machines have feelings?
Of course, my first thought was that I would fix her myself and I immediately emailed Rain to ask where I could purchase Tri-Flow or some other miracle grease solvent. Well, I didn't hear from him for days; turns out he had been away on vacation (from fixing vintage sewing machines?).
Readers, to make a long story short, I have decided not to invest another hour in this machine. I paid $40 two years ago and it has given me a great deal of pleasure. I don't know how to take it apart, and it's simply not worth paying what it would cost to have it restored here in NYC. I feel kind of conflicted about it because, like I said, I have never junked a working machine before, but what can you do?
Oh, I should mention that I'm replacing her with this (thank you, eBay), a Viking 6020, apparently one of the last of the Vikings you could oil yourself. Let's keep it simple. Keep your fingers crossed.
I have also decided, after working on a second pair of boxers on my Kenmore 158.141, that I don't really want that machine around either. Don't get me wrong: it's a workhorse, but I'll stick to my vintage straight stitchers, thank you very much. (And one Viking for the times I need to zigzag.)
And that, readers, is the end of my Saturday Ditch 'n B*tch.
If you have something to ditch and need support to actually do it, or merely want to b*tch, please feel free. I realize that my sew-along hasn't fostered much discussion and you may have things to get off your chest.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!