Monday, February 16, 2015


Sewing machines come via sad circumstance some of the time and this story is one of them. When people hear about my sewing machine business they might seek me out for assistance when theirs' is acting up and Joyce was one of my brief sewing machine encounters. She had her Kenmore back and forth to the local Sears store and still she wasn't happy with it. After several attempts to either bring the machine to me or to have me stop on my way home, we finally connected in the church parking lot. The weather was still mild but it was autumn and nice days like this were limited. Her sewing machine was in the trunk and she wanted to know if I could help her with the clutch: she couldn't release it so she could wind a bobbin. Her grandson had even tried to twist the inner knob counter-clockwise while holding the hand wheel still but no luck. I peered into the trunk of her car and there was a basic Kenmore 158-1212 that was in very good condition so I leaned in and moved the inner knob and it released with ease. Joyce was a bit speechless - how did I do that? I suspected that young man had released it just enough to make it easy for the next person, like that pickle jar that won't open for you but is easy for the next person. Joyce and I had a good laugh over it but we were both happy she could now wind bobbins and we agreed the technician had really yanked on the wheel to tighten it more than necessary. Problem solved.

Later that fall I got a call from Joyce to see if I knew of someone or could post a help wanted ad where I worked because they were going to need a cleaning woman once a week. You see, Joyce needed serious surgery and she knew she wasn't going to be able to clean house for months. Joyce and her husband were raising two of their grandchildren who were now teenagers and had busy lives so a cleaning woman was just the thing to ease her mind. I got a few responses to the ad but in the end they hired a woman through another contact and wasn't she a wonder, cleaning like the place had never been cleaned. With her mind at rest, Joyce went to the hospital and we all took hope in a full recovery but that's not how this story ends. Four days after the surgery she took a turn for the worse and she died very quickly.

Our church was heartbroken to have Joyce gone: she was just a wonderful woman, full of life and enthusiasm, wise in the way of relationships and giving her heart to her family, especially those two grandchildren. This loss was a big one for me because I grew to love Joyce - how could I not- and I was going to miss her greatly.

Kenmore 158-1212
Fast forward about fifteen months and her husband is asking me to take Joyce's Kenmore and see if someone would want it. I reluctantly agreed, asking if his granddaughter would want to have it instead but, no, she didn't know how to use it and wasn't interested so I understood and stopped over to pick it up.

Not only was it sparkling clean, it came with a set of accessories in a cardboard box that was carefully used, included a manual, and a nice carrying case to give a convenient way to move it yet still have the free arm feature available:
What more so you need?
Everything worked, although it was a very basic sewing machine with a simple zigzag and no other features beyond the free arm style.
Only two controls, easy to use!
I did notice the four bobbins in the box: two were wound fine but the other two were very loose and irregular so it was possible the bobbin winding mechanism was problematic, sending her back to Sears, and that's when they tightened up the knob so she couldn't even release the clutch to wind a bobbin.

I saw her husband yesterday at church and he wanted to know if I got the sewing machine to work. Well, it was never broken, but yes, it was working fine and would be a nice starter machine for someone. When it gets sold I will have to tell him who bought it so he feels at rest. But for now it's sitting with other sewing machines, waiting its turn to be on display, patiently waiting, in a way that reminds me of Joyce who patiently waited for her sewing machine to be fixed, helped raise her grandchildren with a large amount of patience, but got so much love in return. I miss Joyce. I hope I can find a happy home for her sewing machine.

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