Lita, my grandmother on my father’s side, had a big influence on my life and in many ways was responsible for instilling in me a love for sewing and crafts. I was only five years old when she taught me to crochet, and even though she was not a quilter, I often hear her voice in my head whenever I do any kind of hand work: “it should be as nice on the back as on the front.” And I was lucky throughout my childhood to be gifted with many a wonderful garment sewn impeccably by her.
I especially spent a lot of time with this grandmother towards the end of her life. Quite unfortunately, by that time she told me she was too old and tired to do any intricate work, so I completely missed my opportunity to learn lace making from her. But she would watch me sew and critique my work.
I guess our time together must have been special for her, too, because one day she called my father up and told him to go pick up her sewing machine and take it to my place… she wanted me to have it and did not want it misplaced after her death. I was overwhelmed and delighted. That was over twenty years ago. And yet I never sewed on it. You see, it was a treadle sewing machine, and even though I had watched her sew on it, I had never used it myself. So it just sat… and eventually fell victim to my daughter’s and niece’s little fingers, who loved to unscrew its different parts, until they rendered it inoperable.
Shortly before I moved I decided to take this machine in to my technician, and he cleaned and oiled it, found all the missing parts and put it all together again. And yet it has been sitting again for over eight months, without me even attempting to use it. That is, until our Pedrito decided to take matters into his own hands. All that was lacking was to put the belt on and oil the pedal…
I am delighted! Why on earth did I take so long to get going on this? This machine is an absolute beauty! I’ve searched the Internet for information on this machine, without any luck. My technician, however, told me it is a Czech machine and was made in the 1930s, and that with proper care it will last decades more.
So now that I have it set up and am practicing treadling, I need to restore the cabinet itself… a little sandpaper and lacquer should do the trick. Let’s hope I don’t wait another twenty years to get that done!