Involuntarily downsizing

(The newest member of my art studio familia)

I started my sewing adventures with a $99 machine Patrick bought me back in 1999. My Nana Cano had passed away and I cried because for many years she offered to teach me to sew, but I never found the time. Patrick went out, bought me the machine and brought it home. When he presented it to me, he wiped the tears from my face and said

“All she wanted was for you to sew. Just sew.”

I haven’t stopped since. That little machine served me well for many years.

Before I began my sewing book, I received an offer from Janome America to partake in their coveted designer endorsement program. Me! Of all people, me!

They sent me their most prestigious model, the Memory Craft 11000 (retail value $7,000). This baby was sweeter than cherry pie ala mode. It had a digital screen that moved up and down and a gazillion embroidery stitches. Albeit, it was a heavy sucker, but it performed like a sexy cyborg personal assistant. I felt like I hit the big time, a rock star designer – I mean, Marie Osmond got one too! l giggled at my abandoned $99 machine, what use did I have for it anymore now that I had the MC11K??

I turned my former machine into an art piece that ended up in our museum exhibit.

Well, guess what?

Janome has discontinued their DE program.

This isn’t news to me, I actually got word about a year ago, but haven’t been able to part with the machine. I stalled and I begged for more time to use it in my projects. Every time I used it, a wave of guilt flooded over me. Like I was a renegade crafter, using a machine that I shouldn’t have in my possession any longer. It’s not like I wasn’t going to send it, it was that I kept receiving new assignments to sew! I needed it because no other in the machine in the entire world would work for me! You know how that goes! The Janome folks did tell me I could buy it at a 50% discount, but I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I spent $3,500 on a sewing machine! Finally, the universe settled the issue for me.

I received a polite, yet formal. letter to send the machine back, like – NOW.

Ok, ok! It’s going out on Monday. I already said my goodbyes, my thanks, I kissed it and lovingly packed it up. Wouldn’t you know, I received an emergency high profile dress design I have to make next week?

I came “thisclose” to asking for one more extension, but then I decided to LIG as the kids say.

Let. It. Go.

This morning I went shopping for a new machine – not a $7,000 model, but a basic one, kinda like how I got started. My intention was to go to JoAnn’s and spend a couple of hours combing over each and every machine, taking notes, searching message boards, etc. But I have a book signing today and when I get home, I have to start on my dress.

Basically, I just hoofed it into Target, stopped at the sewing machine displays, saw the Singer Esteem II for $129., My thinking:

1. Singer (the kind Nana used).
2. Martha gave it her seal of approval.
3. Afforable.

Good enough for me. I plucked it from the shelf and bought it. You know what? It feels good to go back to the basics. The MC11K served me well, I made a great many projects on it, but now it’s time for the next chapter in my sewing journey.

Thank you so much to Janome America (Thanks, Allison!) for allowing me to use the machine and being so patient, I thoroughly enjoyed every stitch and second of the experience!

Those of you reading this that do not craft probably think I sound loca, spending this much thought on a sewing machine, but when you craft for happiness, love and money, it is a big deal!

Lesson learned: Just sew!

Love & light,

10 Responses

  1. Hey Kathy…I remember how we oooed and awwwed over that fancy schmancy sewing machine last year when you taught us how to make bags…. no more being afraid you might break something…have fun with your very own Singer!

  2. I am so proud of you! I have 3 of those same sewing machines from Target. Two are with friends while I am away in Belgium and one is in Texas waiting for me to come home. Sewing machines at $99 a pop are so wonderful. (Thank you China!) They are so expensive here in Europe and it has been hard to be without one all year. I loved this post! Have a great day!

  3. Your Nana is smiling, and probably giggling.
    I know exactly how you feel. My sewing machine was acting up. A Baby Lock Companion. So I went to Walmart and bought a Brother Project Runway Limited Edition. I left it in it’s box for a year. (Until my 2nd “Make a quilted jacket out of a sweatshirt” class” Got my Baby Lock fixed (no dealer down here) by Singer and it’s almost good as new. Wish I could buy you that 7k machine. You deserve it.
    Kathi Kraftyzales

  4. I know about sewing machine additions. A few years ago I had to have a Vintage Singer Featherweight. It’s very small and all it does is straight stitch and zig zag but I love it. I used to take it with me the the Houston International quilt show so I could sew on our day off between Quilt Market and the retail show. Fun!

    Now I also have a Pfaff and that’s a good machine but I’ll never get rid of my Featherweight

  5. Hi Kathy! When I got my first job as a “real” reporter at the Tucson Citizen, I saved my money until I had enough to buy a sewing machine – a Singer for $99. I used to make all my own clothes then – in 1978 – but I still use that old machine now….to sew on Girl Scout badges, hem Homecoming dresses and take in cheerleader uniforms! I love that old machine. I took it to the Sew and Vac to get it cleaned and asked the guy whether I should buy a new one. He said “Are you crazy?” I’ll take my old machine…it only has a front and back stitch and one zigzag, but it’s all that I need. Thanks for prompting a great memory! Love, Marian Frank

  6. Auwe! (Hawaiian for Caramba!) I feel your pain, but isn’t the simple machine satisfying? I’m still on my first Singer from 1966 (and it’s not plastic). Your creativity will be inspired by a $129 straight stitch as much as a $7K zaggity zig. Enjoy!

  7. Now why didn’t they just GIVE it to you? Now what are they going to do with it? I had an old Montgomery Ward machine from the 1980s that I’m sorry I got rid of. LOVED that machine. I have a singer now that I really, really like but still miss some of the features on my old one. Hope you enjoy your new machine!

  8. i knew when i signed the contract that it would be for a limited time, so no worries about sending it back. they are super nice folks!

    i think of that dr suess quote: “don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened!”

    it’s worth a hecka lotta money, so i bet they refurbish it and resell at discount. at least it will have my happy spirit on it for the next person who uses it!

  9. I agree with Patrick. Just sew Kathy. You so obviously love it. My first machine (at about 9 years old) was a Singer. It was all my mother used and she bought me my first machine so I would not be using hers when she wanted to sew. I still have it. It uses the long bobbins. I also have a Singer featherweight that I inherited from my husbands’s mother. I don’t use those now but will never part with them. I’ve been in a sewing slump lately but I love to sew. SOON! I need to just sew too.

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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