The Sewist

I sew, knit and crochet hats. (Not all at the same time. Whaddaya think I am - a machine?)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How About
Them Vikings?

I saw this vintage Singer Sewing Machine sign at a Westport, Ireland shop. In case you can't read it too well, it says, "Sewing Machine Orders Taken Here." It isn't readily apparent, but this advertisement must date back at least to the 1930s if the image on it (a woman with her hair up in a bun, wearing a Victorian shirtwaist, and a long skirt, hunched over a treadle sewing machine) and the font (it appears to be one popular during the Depression) are any indication. When I saw the metal shingle I had to wonder if this shop (Moran & Co.) still took in machines for repairs, since the wealth of wellies in the window just didn't make me want to dig up my grandma's Singer out of my storage unit more than 3,500 miles away.
So I went inside the pencil-thin doorway to ask the proprieter if he fixed up sewing machines. This 60ish gentleman, skinny enough to squeeze through his 4-feet wide entryway, said, "yes." Did a lot of women still sew today? Yes. In fact, he said "yes" to everything I asked. Could you fix up a Viking Husqvarna 730? You know the answer. I'd actually be leery of bringing my treasured baby to this store, never mind the logistics of transporting this object overseas. This shop was such a throwback to the Victorian era with its wavy glass 11-feet tall storefront windows, that I'd really would be amazed if this man would be up for the task of fixing a computerized machine. I think I'd be better off buying the boots or the pale pink Crocs on dispaly and sending my machine to Vogue Fabrics (not that it's broken, for heaven's sake). After I visited Moran & Co. I searched for a yarn shop to get help on my knitting. I found O'Brien (not a pub) which sells mostly home decor fabrics, curtains, some sewing utensils such as scissors and Gutterman's thread. There was even a corner for yarns, some acrylics and wool, but not nearly the plethora of fiber I'm used to seeing even in the tiniest American yarn shop.
The owner, with that ink black hair that so many Irish women seem to have, was able to help me a little. But she didn't have time to correct the more than 100 stitches on my knitting needles that needed some tender loving care (I'm making a skirt), so I was back to square 1: return to the good ole U.S.A. for assistance on this project, which seems to be taking far, far longer than I expected.
Upon my return, what do I get in my email box? Coupons from Jo-Ann Fabrics. I don't know if there's anything remotely like Jo-Ann in Europe, but after the two shops I saw in Ireland it really made me appreciate the abundance of fabric and patterns in Jo-Ann and Hancocks Fabrics. Now that's something I really could have said a prayer of thanks for at the Adoration Chapel my mother and I visited last night (!!) in Ennis. As it was, I just daydreamed about my next Guinness while my mom did the hard work. I think I she borrowed a rosary hanging on a pew to do her duty.
For those of you who've been to Europe, what do you think of knitting and fabric shops there?

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Blogger Eithne said...

I live in Westport and it was pretty unreal to see you post about my little town!I know that man and both those shops.o'briens is the only place between westport and castlebar that i can get sewing notions.I've to buy fabric online unless I go to hickeys in galway or dublin.I think there are more fabric shops in other countries,just an observation from looking at blogs.I hope you liked Westport!:)

4:39 AM  
Blogger the_sewist said...

Eithne: I loved Westport. My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time there. I do have a picture of myself with the Knight in Shining Armor at the Heraldry Shop. I'm not going to post that one because it's not most flattering shot...

7:13 AM  

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