setback and opportunity

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It took me awhile to finally accept it, but my sewing machine was abandoning me. There was no getting the tension right, stitches were loose or tangled or skipped. I fussed with the tension, changed needles, cleaned the machine. Nothing I did changed anything, in fact, it was getting worse. It got bad enough that I finally realized that the stitches, or the lack of them, simply were completely unacceptable.

This machine is like my right arm. I think in sync with it. We have stitched miles together for years and years. I can’t bear to let it go.

A few years ago, I found one on eBay and bought it as a backup for precisely such a moment. I broke that baby out.

All was well for a little while. Just a little while. Soon, however, it became clear there would be no zig zag stitches. Then, there came an odd noise. Finally, there was a growl and the needle just snapped during straight-and-level stitching. The replacement needle simply slammed into the bobbin. It was done.

It would appear that these machines are just getting old enough, and well-used enough, that they’re ready to retire.

This is a pretty troubling development for me. I need to sew. My old machine knows how I think. I knew what to expect from it, how to work with it. It’s got little pencil marks on it that only the two of us understand.

I thought about taking the machine in for repair, but I have serious doubts that any repair would last long, as old as my machine is.

It would appear that now I am going to have to learn a new machine.

I am trying to digest this. It’s uncomfortable. I also realize that I can’t stew too long, because one day – and I’m sure it won’t be long – I will have need of my machine.

Change. It’s just hard.

Nevertheless, after all these years, I suppose a new machine could be an opportunity. I will have to learn all about my new friend. After a tentative, unbearable glance at new machines, online, it appears likely that it will have tons more stitches than my old machine – so much to explore, right? It might even thread itself. Huh. And, of course, if I take the plunge and invest in a new machine, I will certainly want to justify it by putting it to plenty of use, right?

Change, after all, is a given in life. Sometimes we invite it, and other times, it is foisted upon us. Either way, best to buck up, practice smiling, be curious, and wade in.

I believe it was Einstein who said,

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Still, I’m not quite past my grief just yet. I’m going to open up my backup machine and have a look at the innards. Maybe, just maybe, there’s something fixable in there.

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