After I dug out the old Singer sewing machine and established that it had not rusted solid, I spoke my dad (to whom it belonged). He told me that he in turn had inherited it from his dad who had been given it by his sister-in law, Cissie (my Great-aunt). I looked up the serial number of the machine, and it turns out that it was made in 1931.
Using the Singer, my grandad made the fabric parts of a folding canoe, which he then gave to my dad and there are photos of me sitting it when I was very small. An aptitude for hand crafts seems to run my dad's family. My grandma (my dad's mum) was en excellent knitter and embroiderer, and my grandad used to enjoy similar things. He didn't knit but he had a spinning wheel which he made himself and used to spin yarn for my grandma to knit with from raw wool, having first carded it with big spiky carding brushes. When my grandparents were still alive I used to love visiting them in their house in Wantage (Oxfordshire). They made all their own bread, and jam from fruit grown in their garden or gathered from the countryside. They were frugal and self sufficient in an entirely non-hippy way, just because they were brought up in austere times and also because they enjoyed it.
So, using Great-aunt Cissie's sewing machine myself, I'm carrying on a family tradition of making things with it. I've now got to grips with adjusting the tensioner and how to fill up and thread the bobbin using the machine's ingenious mechanism. I really hope that I find time to use it, but there are quite a few jobs around the boat which will demand it - we need new curtains and the cratch cover needs fixing.
twitter // facebook // email // follow // any questions?