Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

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Thursday, July 08, 2004
Eat my thread tail, Babylockers! The preliminary checks had been done. Tension, balance, position - all were perfect. Time to go.

With a practised touch of her foot on the pedal, Solent eased the mighty machine into action. This was not the gentle Sewland that she had trained on; the hard-pumping Janome engine could spew out twenty yards of thread in ten seconds. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty: the pattern repeats flashed by like milestones. Now she was flying, the knife cutting through the fabric with slick, contemptuous ease, the upper looper a blur. Yet some instinct warned of trouble ahead: external corner coming up. A curse escaped her lips, but already she was adjusting to the threat, reining in the plunging needle. At that, habits learned and honed from hundreds of hours on a conventional machine almost let her down with this beast and its different ways. She almost stopped too soon, the way she had learned in the old days, needle still in the fabric. Somehow, though, her first teacher seemed to be by her side speaking directly to her mind: Go further. Right outside the fabric. Don't be afraid. In that instant she regained control and cooly brought the needle to a halt that crucial three stitches on. In a fraction of a second the presser foot had been flicked up and the fabric yanked round by ninety degrees. Once more the pedal moved beneath her foot. Once more the MyLock motor gave voice. "Okay, honey," Solent muttered through clenched lips, "let's see what you can do." This time there was no holding back. Blades and needles seemed less to cut the surplus fabric than to vapourise it. Solent was no novice but it was all she could do to hold the seamline flat as the twin HA-1 SP needles ate up the yards. There was no time to wonder at the marvels of engineering that kept loopers, needles and blades dancing without a misstep even as the speed hit maximum.

Yet the end was in sight. As the pressure on the pedal eased the roar of the machine dropped to a purr. She gently brought it to a halt a precise two centimetres past the end of the seam. Presser foot up - thread on the cutter - snap! Securing the thread-tail could wait. For now the job was done.

"Coffee?" said a voice. Her trusty groundcrew was at her elbow.

"Coffee," she confirmed, flicking closed the power switch and leaning back. "Shaken, not stirred."