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Dec 12, 2010

Toggle-free Sunday

Friends, I made absolutely no progress on my toggle coat yesterday due to a wedding-related party my mother threw up in the Bronx (or rather mother threw, up in the Bronx) for all the neighbors she has known for decades but who didn't make the wedding cut.  Plus a few who had been invited but were too old and frail too attend.  At one point we had actual walker traffic, with a line of four waiting to get through my mother's foyer.

I am delighted to report that my brother and Prachee are still married.  Less happy am I to report that Prachee, whom I absolutely adore and who offered me and Michael a lift home, is the embodiment of the female driver stereotype.  The whole ride back to Manhattan I had my heart in my throat and I was actually relieved when she mistakenly turned off the West Side Highway and, realizing they'd never get the rented car back in time if they took us all the way home, let us out on Central Park West where we caught the subway the rest of the way.  White knuckles returned to normal flesh tone.

I suspect a great many MPB readers are themselves female drivers and I certainly don't mean to offend.  But there is a difference.  Thoughts?

I had a near decluttering setback yesterday evening when I found myself trolling eBay searching for vintage sewing machines -- no doubt due to post-family function-related stress.  Thankfully I caught myself before I bid on anything.  But I did toy with the idea of picking up a Viking 6020.  Yes, I know, I already have a Viking, but I don't have a 6020, a model from the early Seventies that comes with four embroidery cams. 

It's not rational, obviously.

Then I remembered my promise, made right here on MPB, not to buy anything on eBay for the rest of the year.  It's only three weeks. (I don't want a Featherweight, do I?  What would I do with it?  I don't go anywhere with a sewing machine.  Do you have one?  Do you like it?)

There's something about selling six sewing machines that makes it easy to rationalize the purchase of another.  I have to remind myself that my six remaining machines are still plenty.  I have back-ups of back-ups, and if we ever lose electricity, there's the treadle.

Friends, that's it.  It's pouring rain here this morning and quite blustery and unpleasant.  I'm having breakfast with an old friend I haven't seen in twenty-five years and that should be (wet) fun.  She has recently moved back to the States from London and is eager to check out the Chelsea flea market as she has an apartment to furnish.

Who knows what treasures we'll find there?  Hopefully nothing with a presser foot.

Happy Sunday everybody!


  1. For you, my friend.

  2. Have you ever seen those surveys where 95% of drivers say they are better than average? I long ago came to terms with the fact that I am in the other 5%, so I don't drive. :)
    But I think for a lot of women (and men too I suppose) driving is tied to independence - everyone has that elderly female relative who needs to be ferried around because she can't drive, and there's a certain amount of contempt/pity for her. And I think wanting to aviod being 'that poor woman' keeps a lot of women driving even though they hate doing it, are scared the entire time, and quite frankly are a menace to everyone else on the road.

    And thus ends birdmommy's rant for today. :)

  3. Oh, good grief -- customized Featherweights!

    My mother was one of those women who never learned to drive. I resented it!

  4. Love the 'comma' joke. Have you read "Eats, Shoots & Leaves"?

  5. Well, I'm a female and a driver but I'm not offended because, obviously, you aren't talking about me. I'm an excellent driver!
    Re your sewing machine irrationality - personally I think that six out entitles you to one (small one) in. But don't go by what I say - my fabric stash is quite ridiculous!

  6. Peter, you know I love you, but I can't believe you are dissing the women drivers! Really, every woman I know is a terrific driver (completely anecdotally). And I'm sure there are as many crappy male drivers out there as crappy female drivers. That's why they've got the higher insurance premiums.

  7. I think the best way to reinforce a stupid stereotype is a give voice to it. How idiotic. How disappointing.

  8. My mom came over yesterday. At one point, she ventured into my sewing room and just stared at it for a while. She pretended to be looking at a house plant, but I know she was counting the sewing machines!

    What is the stereotype about female drivers? That we drive better? Because I know I pay lower insurance rates.... so that must be it.

    Seriously, I hate driving and wish I could get rid of my car. Alas, I live in a state without subways.

  9. OF COURSE you need a Featherweight! Everyone who loves sewing machines needs a Featherweight. How could there be any question???

  10. Hey, I have many great women-drivers in my family! I am not one of them, though. :)
    I love my Featherweight and it is fun to hunt for original rare attachments for it! But if you do not do patchwork piercing, or needs to carry a machine for any reason, you really do not need it... I think the machine I miss in your collection is a Singer 401(A or G), a Singer 500 or better a 431G, which is the same as the 401, but with free-arm and attachment to do chain stitch. I have a 401G and it is a great sewing machine for dressmakers, due to the perfect stitch and it is also gear-drive! It sounds just great! But you also yet have so many Singers, no? I heard that the Bernina 750 is also magnificent!

    in Germany

  11. Peter, don't you know Italian MALE drivers take the award for worst drivers -- their exemplary, hair-raising technique usually includes talking on a cellphone, smoking a cigarette, and straddling two lanes at breakneck pace. Plus, as a recent Newsweek article on Berlusconi revealed, 70% have never used a stove and 90% have never used a clothes washing machine. Now enough with the women driver remarks.
    Be good -- stay away from those favorite searches on ebay.
    Am smitten with your toggle efforts.

  12. I am absolutely no help on the machines. I have both of those and love them both. Rest assured, they come around often if you're patient. Say ... until the first week of the NEW year. ;-)

  13. Driving in NYC isn't for the faint of heart so give your SIL a break. DH drives when we visit the tri-states and my heart is in my throat the entire time.

  14. Ahh! The Peter Prejudice Peek.

    I work in law enforcement, and from experience know EVERYBODY thinks that they driver better then average. A portion of the population under 20 takes driver’s ed in high school and that is the most instruction they ever get. A portion of the population under 20 learns from some who already drives (parent, etc.) and that is the most instruction they ever get.

    And over the years, these drivers gain confidence (not necessarily skills) then multitask or drive on autopilot more and more frequently.

    A small percentage of the population learn to drive as adults and are more conscientious.

    A small percentage of the population add to their driving skills by taking advanced driving classes.

    A small percentage of the poputlation drive professionally, take additional classes and and are more defensive because they know the above. (I include myself here).

    For male vs. female accident rates, check out the stats at any state transportation agency.

  15. There is nothing worse than a woman driving a mini-van. Nothing, except when she's talking on a cell phone. They simply need to be taken off the road. Period. They're a hazard and a pain in my ass.

  16. I guess you haven't seen the opposite of the 'woman driver', an elderly man losing his sight, driving way too fast and furiously. That was a relative until he lost his keys at age 90 some. My husband will also be one of those drivers. pray for my blood pressure.

  17. OMG, what hilarious comments. OK, OK, women drivers rock. I think I picked up that "women drivers" thing watching reruns of "Here's Lucy."

    Debbie (aka "Viking Girl"), it was your review of the 6010 that made me want to get a 6020!

  18. Count me in on the "you've got to be kidding me" side of the "typical female driver" debate. Bottom line of the debate - males are floating a lot more testosterone, and that is not a formula for success in driving.
    Sidenote: Thanks for all of the clips from old movies! I am never going to watch those movies from beginning to end, but I love to see the clips when someone links me to them. (-:

  19. I will only say that my grown children would prefer to ride with me driving, rather than their father who scares us all to death.

  20. Of course, everyone knows about female drivers. That's why we pay so much more for insurance than you do :-)..

    Besides, here it's not a matter of female driver, it's an Indian driver. You're lucky, she could have been Chinese.. or Italian!

  21. What I wouldn't give for either of those ladies' legs. Love Vera Ellen- she's fabulous in White Christmas, but her costumes are all super high necklines to cover up how thin she'd gotten. Fortunately, they didn't cover up her legs! :)

  22. I ADORE my Featherweight!! It is fabulous and what I sew on 90% of the time. I have a modern Kenmore, which I also love, but my Featherweight is a little workhorse. :)

    I'm not really helping with the 'buy nothing' promise, am I? LOL!

  23. Awww come on Peter! Enough with the prejudice and unfounded stereotypes.

    I second the comment from PokaDotPumps. I am one of those females who has advanced driver training and certification to drive Class A vehicles- which include tractor trailer rigs with 52' trailers. My Driving record has Zero Points- which means it is spotless. Not only do insurance companies charge female drivers lower rates (do to statistically lower accident rates) but in my experience,(and that of my commercial driving professors - who graduate a few hundred drivers of varied genders each year) Trucking companies seem to prefer female drivers for many of the same reasons that insurance companies charge us lower rates.

    Gender and skill are separate variables. I won't disparage all male seamsters based on gender. Will you call a halt to the misogyny and perpetuation of false stereotypes?

  24. Get the Featherweight! There's nothing like a 221 (or 222) for topstitching. I use it as much as I use my 2 year old Pfaff...both of which I love for different but equal reasons.

  25. Hey, Peter. I won't weigh in on the driving thing, but I do have a featherweight. And, I love it, even though I never go to classes or anything either. But, if I want to sew outside for a while, or in the dining room while my daughter cooks, I can move there easily. Take care and I'm enjoying reading about your coat. Lane


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