Sewing Machines

I took the sewing machine that was given to me in to get tuned up. The repairman called and said it needed a lot of work and that it would cost around $250-$300. For an old sewing machine that I didn't like all that much, it was too much money. So I let them keep it for whatever parts they could salvage from it. I don't sew a lot, but it is a tool that I'd like to have. So I've been researching sewing machines.

One thing that I did was look at the type of sewing that I do. I have never used any stitch except a straight stitch. When I was looking at a bunch of home machines, they all bragged about having 50 or 100 different stitches. This is not a selling point for me. I've also never made an article of clothing in my life. I'm trying to remember if I ever repaired one and I'm not sure that I have. What have I made? Quilts and curtains. What would I like to make? More quilts and curtains. But also, bags and tablecloths. I'd also like to be able to work with leather. It would be nice to be able to make a leather bag or a leather book cover. And in the far future, I could see me trying upholstery. So I want to get a sewing machine that can handle thicker fabric.

After googling around a bit, I think I want an industrial machine. You can get those that run on regular power in your house, which is what I'd like. A lot of them come with a large table, which would be fine. I don't need a portable machine. I'm leaning toward a Juki machine because they seem to be really good and there are a bunch of very old ones still in use. I was looking on Craigslist and found a couple of used ones. And then I also looked up new ones, which don't seem to cost that much more. Plus, there's a distributor in town who will give you a free hour tutorial on any machine that you buy from them. I think that would be a great idea, since I'm pretty much self-taught on sewing machines. I'm sure there are some basics that I just don't know.

For now, I've set up an alert on Craigslist to let me know anytime someone posts a Juki. If I find a really good deal, perhaps I'll get a used one. Otherwise, I'll save up my money and look into a new one.

Yearly Oatmeal Update

As the weather gets cooler, I change to eating oatmeal for breakfast. I didn't grow up eating oatmeal, so I've been trying to teach myself how to cook it. I like a very creamy oatmeal, often how I get at a restaurant. However, when I made it at home, my oatmeal wasn't nearly as good. Now, after a few years of making it, I feel like I have the perfect recipe for me.

I finally figured out that my main issue in previous years was that I was trying to cook too little oatmeal. I only wanted to eat about 1 cup of cooked oatmeal. And you get that from cooking maybe 1/2 cup of oats. Oatmeal seems to cook best when you cook at least one cup of oats. I had thought that I was wasting a lot of oatmeal because I couldn't eat that much. My breakthrough this year was that I found I could keep the leftovers in the frig and reheat them the next day and they tasted just as good as when I made them. Now that I know I'm not wasting oatmeal, here's the recipe I follow:

1 cup water
2 cups milk
1 cup oatmeal
tablespoon of vanilla (I don't measure, but just pour some in)
pat of butter

Usually, if I wake up around 4am, I'll put all of these things on as low as I can go and cover the pot. It's usually done by 5am when I get up. The drawback is that the bottom will burn and stick to the pot. If I start things around 5am and can get myself to get out of bed to stir it every 15 minutes or so, it usually doesn't stick. Keeping the stove as low as possible is needed to prevent the oatmeal from spilling over. Sometimes, it still spills over, but I'm ok with that.

I take a bowl of it to eat and put the rest in the frig. The next day, I drop the leftovers in the pot. Add some milk and a little more vanilla and heat until creamy. Tastes just like the previous day.

I like to top it off with some blueberries and some chocolate chips.