The View Up Here

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A New Machine

Posted by Tom Benedict on 15/02/2011

Late last year I wrote a post about our aging Brother sewing machine, and the Singer Millennium I found at the transfer station.  To make a long story short, neither machine is in my house any more.  I had an explosively bad session on the Brother, and my wife said enough is enough.  We dumped both machines, pooled our money and all the gift certificates we got for Christmas, and bought a mid-range Janome that was being closed out.

I love this machine! It’s head and shoulders above anything I’ve used since my mother’s older White and my grandmother’s pre-WWII Singer.  And much as I hate to compare my new Janome against those elegant machines of a bygone era, it holds its own against them.  Within the first couple of days I fixed a kite bag I hadn’t been able to fix before, made a new pocket for the Fled, did some repairs on some other kites, and modified a big light baffle for work.

Over the weekend I figured the time had come to make something entirely new.  I had a bunch of Dacron lying around, so I got nylon webbing, a stack of D-rings, some snaps, and some carabiners, and I made sand anchors for the kids.  A sand anchor isn’t hugely difficult to make.  It’s a square of cloth, in this case 12″ on a side, hemmed all around, with nylon straps extending out diagonally from all four corners.  In use a sand anchor is buried in sand, the four straps are brought together and clipped, and a kite is then tied off on the clip.  It’s a simple project, offers lots of instant gratification if it works, and produces something useful.

I made two of them to begin with, and still have material for a third 12″ anchor for my older daughter, and a 24″ for me.  The machine performed beautifully.  Where the nylon webbing extends past the corners there are six layers of Dacron, four layers of 3M tape, and the nylon webbing itself.  The machine barely acknowledged how thick it was.  It just kept punching stitches through.  No problems with jamming, or uneven stitches, or any of the problems that plagued our old machine.  In the end I had two not so bad looking anchors and two happy kids.

We went to the beach on Sunday, and while the kids played in the water I launched one of my kites and tied it off to one of the anchors I’d made.  There wasn’t much wind, and I can see I’ll need the 24″ anchor to hold down one of my KAP kites.  But it worked!  And clean-up and pack-up was a snap.  I’m pleased as punch with them.

So what’s next?  Time to use the machine for what we got it for: making kites.  My wife has her heart set on a 12′ Delta Conyne.  Here we go!

– Tom


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