In the midst of all the very interesting discussion on Sharon B's blog about slow cloth, I went and bought a serger. Other than the fact I have wanted one for years, what on earth prompted me to do such a thing?
Well, in a suspiciously convenient rationalization, I think if I can go faster for some things maybe I'll have more time for other, more fun things, like hand embroidery. I do a fair bit of garment making, where the overlock stitches could come in very handy, but I also do a lot of quilting. A serger is darn near useless for quilting, although if I'm wrong, I hope some clever reader can enlighten me.
I must also confess to being slightly terrified of the thing. It goes so fast, has sharp blades, and an alarming number of unfamiliar parts. (Sounds like my first husband!) However, I did have a lesson with the lovely and patient Evelyn at the Pfaff store and I feel somewhat more confident - at least I know how to thread the machine, which sounds like half the battle.
But strangely enough, now that I have this powerful new toy, I just want to do a little handstitching. The above image is a detail from a piece I made a few years ago, called Falling Leaf. I embroidered maple leaves on an old, worn wrapping cloth. I remember the process as being very warm and fuzzy: sitting by the wood stove, watching movies on TV, with no deadline as to when I needed to be finished. So satisfying making all those hundreds of little stitches, watching the leaves take shape, each with their own unique character.
I can't imagine my new serger fitting in to such a cozy scenario. I hope I will discover its special talents and capabilities and learn to love it for itself. And if it gets me home from the studio an hour or so earlier each day, I won't complain a bit!
And as an effective antidote to the seductions of the serger, I need look no farther than Spirit Cloth, Jude Hill's beautiful and inspiring blog. If you don't know her work already, do pay her a visit - her words as well as her stitching are unfailingly wise, thoughtful and from the heart.