Saturday, October 22, 2011

Me and my Elna

"When you're in your 20s, you begin to lose brain cells a few at a time. Your body also starts to make less of the chemicals your brain cells need to work. The older you are, the more these changes can affect your memory."  So say the good people at FamilyDoctor.Org

That gave me brief consolation.  Until I realized just how many years that has been happening.


I was in my mid 20s when I bought my sewing machine.  It's body shows the sign of a long life, it's getting a bit frayed around the edges like I am.  And, like me, it has days when it just doesn't want to work.  Unfortunately yesterday we weren't synchronised.  I wanted to work, it didn't.

Last weekend when we worked together my attention was drawn to the sad state of its innards.  A case of rubbish in, rubbish out?  Hmm.  I suspected that sewing machine oil I've been using wasn't up to the usual standard.  And I oil it before and after every use.  Religiously.  Never miss.  

So yesterday, when it just didn't want to do anything, I decided to give it my version of a service.  I've done this about twice a year for the 40 plus years we have been together and the initial stages went well.  Take it apart, soak all it's bits in methylated spirits, poke around inside with cotton buds soaked in the same stuff, remove all the gunk, then put it all back together again and give it a good oiling with quality sewing machine oil. 

Except.... when it came to the putting back together again part, I couldn't remember how to do it!  I just couldn't get that bobbin case (I think that is what it's called) back into place.  I know there is a knack to it but my fingers seemed clumsy, and the more I tried, the more frustrated I became.  I stubbornly spent hours hunched over it's innards, refused to give up until darkness and my hunger got the better of me and I packed it in for the day.

I don't want to be over dramatic but I was seriously shaken about all this.  This morning I procrastinated about what to do today and avoided the room housing that dratted machine. 

Then a bit of Pauline logic and decision making saved me.  Go mow the lawn, the exercise will do me good, and then have one more go at the machine.  I would have done something constructive with my day and if I couldn't fix my machine, I'd take it to a service man.  After all it has only had one expert service in all its years and surely deserves another.   

I honestly don't know if I was more amused or more annoyed when, tired from mowing the grass, semi-refresed from a shower, I sat at the machine and flipped that casing into place, first time. 

Guess that just proves the argument that exercise is good for the brain cells.  All is not yet lost!


  1. I am completely in awe of your ability to take it apart and put it back together again. I've had my sewing machine since 1980 and I've never taken it apart - as far as I'm concerned, it works by magic.

  2. I ws going to make a comment but I've forgotten what it was going to be - something about brain cells dying for twice as long as they were thriving... Aaaargh!

  3. Revisiting our Textile Museum again last week I was struck with the quality of old machines, that they were built in a way that if they are kept serviced like you do yours, they continue to work. Well done, you, for keeping yours going. When I was in my early 20s, I took over my mother's machine which she had had since HER early 20s. I kept it another 25+ years until I got a new one for my 50th birthday. The old one got too heavy for me (or I got too weak for it!).
    While mum used her sewing machines "all the time" - until the last 10 years or so of her life - I only used mine for repairs and changes. I was never into making clothes from scratch.

  4. Oh I am so glad someone else has problems with putting that darn bobbin back in its place. Your Elna must be a Brother to mine.
    Happy days.

  5. oh goody, i am headed to exercisea as soon as i finish this, i NEED my cells to function better. and if it started in my 20's well no wonder i can't remember anything any more.
    i have many times gotten so frustrated trying to do something, even with the computer. i go away and do something else and when i come back and i can do. i must say though, i would never be able to take apart and put back together a sewing machine.

  6. At least you are in your right mind to know that you might be getting old enough to have this be a consideration. I think when you don't want to go mow the lawn as a diversion, it will be time to worry. Or not...who would know anyway!!

  7. Bravo!!! Never give up the fight, its what makes life interesting. :)

  8. Exercise is definitely good for the grey cells- but I'm envious of your pluck in even trying to take that thing apart

  9. I know that it's not much comfort but I'm so glad that I'm not alone. I started a post entitled "Old Age Cometh Not Alone' earlier today. Unfortunately I have forgotten one of the key elements I meant for the post. I'm hoping that when I wake tomorrow the information will come to me - if not before!

  10. If at first you don't succeed, go and mow the lawn. Then try again.

  11. love it.....I have had problems like this with my computer. in the years I worked, problem solving was my forte.... now after 8 years of retirment and I don't know how many upgrades (improvements) by the software people I can no longer figure out problems I am having. I think that there are house gremlins (that hide your glasses) car gremlins (that take your car keys then return them after 3 days) and computer gremlin.... you must have sewing maching gremlins at your house - there is no other explanation.

  12. I love this story! Good for you...on being able to put it all back together again. Here's the thing...I still have my first sewing machine as well...purchased when I was 19. And I have inherited my mom's old Elna. So I have two old machines...and neither have given me much trouble.

  13. Consider yourself a special person, no matter what your age. I am 62, and can't sew a button on. Luckily, the Marines taught my husband more than how to shoot a gun. That reminds me, I bought a pice of crap made in China top that is pulling apart at the shoulder seem. "Honey, can you fix this for me?"

  14. I think that is common with lots of things. We tend to get in a rut and do the same wrong thing over and over. Walking away, sleeping on it or some exercise frees up our mind to do it the right way.


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