Caution: If you have animals, I will automatically love them.
One thing I've noticed a lot lately is that people with animals always seem to be worried that their animals will annoy me or bother me while I'm working. Please, please, please, please let them come over and pester me. I love my little assistants and their wonderful little bits of love. Last week I worked on a few machines and had a relatively large French Bulldog as an assistant. He made the cutest noises and he kept coming over and laying on my feet or headbutting my hand while I was working under the machine. They bring me joy and are some of the most rewarding parts of service calls.
I have two dogs and a cat, and they are almost always acting as assistants while I am working. Either by being foot warmers, elbow nudgers, or, in the case of my cat, a table assistant sleeping on the edge of the table while I'm tinkering away. Sometimes it leads to me having to clean little bits of oil out of their fur, but it's well worth it.
So, please, if you have pets, please let them come and bother me because I will love them forever. I will likely ask about their stories as much as I will ask about the stories of your machine. It's the little things in life, and a lot of those include small creatures that cohabitate with us.
Busy times and odd schedules.
I would honestly describe this as a musings post. Don't mind me, this is just something my brain came up with this weekend, and I wanted to know if anyone else has seen this sort of pattern in the sewing industry.
Throughout the year, business picks up and drops off randomly. The times that I notice it gets busy are usually for the first two months of the year, the latter parts of tax season, June/August when schools are about to go back in session, and around Thanksgiving. The week between Christmas and New Year's Day can be hit or miss. The past several years have had an uptick, but this past one had only a few. It's all odd, but part of being a good mechanic is noticing trends and how they change.
I can see why tax season tends to pick up, businesses and people tend to get their tax refund and want to get a few large orders of machines worked on. The first two months of the year also make sense. For schools, the semester is about to start, for businesses, their budgets just rolled over. June/August also makes sense for schools to get their costume shops or textile classrooms serviced. The Thanksgiving/winter holidays tends to confuse me a bit. The only thing I can tell is that most shops are closed during those times and they want to get everything looked at when they're shut down for the holidays.
Those are the consistent upswings of business, which I can rationalize out. However, there are some times during the year that just crop up when everyone and their brother needs a mechanic. Don't get me wrong, the business is awesome. It just seems that the collective hive mind of stitchers announces to everyone that there is a need for service.
Deviation from the norm to visit with family!
This past weekend I took a long vacation from sewing machine work and went to help out my family on the ranch. Cousins are all spread around the great state of Texas, and that's left my grandparents and my uncle to work the ranch on their own for the most part. So, we scheduled me a trip to fly out and not just spend time with family, but also help out as much as I could in a few days.
In all honesty, aside from visiting family and getting to work with my hands outside, the best part was being able to get away from city life for a few days and get out in a heavily wooded area with actual meadows. Being winter, there's a lot of overgrowth until they can get back out in spring to run the tractor around and churn up the long grass and seedling trees. Not to mention cut up the old oaks that fell down over the winter; just driving around we saw about 3-4 during the quick run through to top off deer feeders and check trail cams.
This is more of a nostalgic and whimsical post than anything. This week it's back to sewing machines and working on my shop for the winter organization spree. Hope everyone is well and stays safe!
Where are my mounties?
Okay, so, one thing that I know I'll never work on for money is lumberjacking. I spent a nice chunk of my week with friends cutting down trees and making wood smaller. It hurts so... I'd almost say "good," but I think my joints would revolt and try to kill me as their oppressor. Taking it easy on my hands for a few days and catching up on home machines that don't require a lot of manual dexterity to work on.
Lumberjacking is probably one of the best workouts out there, but you will hurt from it. It works just about every single muscle in your system, and you will definitely know that you didn't skip leg day. Swinging an axe is the better workout, but you'll get some decent work just from moving logs. I read once that the two best "on the job" exercise routines are shoveling and chopping wood, because they work everything in your system, and you'll not only gain muscle and lose fat, but it will be useful muscle.
I mean, I lift 80 lbs machines all the time and have to be a contortionist to get into some machines, so I don't quite ever see the point in the gym, but I know that a lot of people swear by it as a stress reliever, or something that helps them work towards a goal. Gyms, good ones without anyone making fun of one another and helping people learn, are good places.
ANYWAY, sewing machines! I think the hardest to find piece that I've had to look for lately is a shuttle bobbin slide cover for a Damascus that was built sometime around the invention of sliced bread and Betty White being born. The most common slide cover seems to be for old Singers, but they're almost a full inch wider than those for this Damascus. Manufactured by the National Sewing Machine Company, Montgomery Ward sold them branded as Damascus, and they were the some of the upper middle range for sewing machines at the time. For a vibrating shuttle bobbin sewing machine, they weren't amazing, but they were pretty darn good.
Also, we have a winner for the "Weirdest Sewing Machine I've Ever Worked On" award. A few weeks ago I worked on a Singer 457G. Pictured below. These things do not have a normal take up lever. Instead, they have what looks like a set of longhorn steer horns attached on a swivel. The thing looks like some futuristic space ray gun mixed with a sewing machine, and it, surprisingly, works quite well! The machine is a multi-step zig-zag machine that has three different stops for the needle. Not sure the proper terminology for it, but it can sew zig-zags with two stitches going either direction. Pretty nifty for some projects!
It's a little monster of a machine, but it worked great after I worked on it!
Your sewing machine guy:
I am a Jack-of-Most-Trades that was roped into working on sewing machines, and managed to find a knack for it. I love hilarity, fixing things that are broken, video games, dogs, cats, most other creatures, and sleep. Especially sleep. On here you'll usually find tidbits about recent visits or ADORABLE CREATURES THAT LOVE ON ME WHILE I WORK. There may be ancient machines, there may be unique machines.