Well, yesterday was a strange day. I went to the Bristol Embroiderers’ Guild Exhibition at Stoke Lodge in Bristol. It was a lovely show because it had so much exquisitely done traditional work: stump work, gold work and black work. I love contemporary embroidery and textile work and will be posting about the exhibition I went to on Saturday, but I also really admire the skill that goes into traditional fine work. That I can’t imagine ever doing it myself increases my appreciation of it. And who can resist an exquisitely embroidered 3D uterus in a glorious pastiche of Victorian stuffed birds under glass, presented under a stunning glass cloche with embroidered flowers? So that was great.
Then I went home and disaster struck. My beloved Bernina packed up. I can’t believe it. I have only had that sewing machine for 20 years and hammered it regularly and never had it serviced, and it packed up. The feed dogs just said: ‘No, don’t think we will, actually. Enough’s enough, Ann.’ I felt awful. It really upset me. It is such an old, reliable friend. I did momentarily think it would be an excuse to buy a new one, but I want my old friend and companion. It is a stress reliever, it is usually up for anything, we know each other’s foibles, it never complains. But, it wasn’t playing ball yesterday. It would stitch perfectly but it wouldn’t feed the fabric through. And this happened half-way through a line of stitching.
I should have packed up there and then, but, as it was stitching, I thought I would do some free-motion quilting. Bad decision. I should have quit while I was ahead, but no, on I pressed, and, for the first time ever in a good twenty years of machine stitching I sewed through my finger. I have always been scared of getting a needle through my finger and never have, but, I wasn’t prepared for it. It was like something out of The Tudors. I was amazed that there was so little blood, but my long-suffering husband had to pull the broken needle out of my finger with a pair of pliers. And today there is hardly any trace of it and no pain. So, not the domestic horror I had imagined when I wrote a short story at primary school about someone stitching through her finger in an English country garden on a summer afternoon. (I went to an odd school.) Then I imagined blood seeping out over bright white linen. Very wrong. Good.
But I started with a picture of Barcelona because I have been there several times and thought I was shortening the odds on having my purse stolen the more often I went. So, the last time I was there my purse was stolen, and guess what, the world didn’t end. My lovely friends rallied round, I borrowed a fancy phone and got the number of my bank on the internet, reported the loss and my cards were cancelled immediately. There was hardly any cash in it, and I had just been to my favourite notebook shop and so had done my shopping. The worst had happened and I survived. And the same with the needle and the finger. The thing I had been dreading most had happened and it didn’t hurt as much as I thought. I am not advocating stitching through fingers, but I am interested in how we can buck up and get on with it.
And now to find a sewing machine repair man.