Games and a new toy

The Gwilks invited me round for lunch with some friends of theirs (who included Gaby, who I remembered from the Chick Flicks group), followed (of course) by board games.  We spent a very enjoyable afternoon playing a wide assortment of games, most of which I’d never encountered before.  I won once, came absolutely last once, and the rest of the time came somewhere in the middle, so I felt I acquitted myself quite respectably, considering the others are all serious board-gamers.  The others had to leave mid-afternoon, to retrieve kids from sports and other Saturday afternoon type tasks, but the Gwilks invited me to stay on for dinner (to which I contributed the plate of leftover dumplings I’d brought home from last night’s lesson, which mini-Gwilk was sent to retrieve from my fridge (it’s handy that they just live round the corner from me!)), and another couple of games, plus the obligatory guided tour of mini-Gwilk’s Minecraft world (I think pretty much every child I know over the age of five has now identified me as “cool adult who actually appreciates Minecraft” :-)).
Mini-gwilk was very interested (and obviously a bit envious) to hear about the server I set up for the kids, so I’ve (with his parents’ permission, of course) given him the IP address so he can join the server.  He’s about Nephew #1’s age, and seems to be a good kid, so hopefully they’ll get along ok online.  I think I’ve made a friend for life, anyway – he was so excited when I offered to let him join!
When I got home tonight there was an exciting new toy waiting for me: Granny’s old sewing machine.  It’s a real beast of a machine, and was the latest whizz-bang model when she bought it.  That was probably 25-30 years ago, but that still makes it newer than the machine I’ve been using, and it definitely has a lot more features, so I’m looking forward to trying it out.  Mum inherited it when Granny died, but hasn’t been using it much, so she thought I might get more use out of it, now that I’ve been playing round with quilting and stuff.  So as some friends of hers were coming up to Christchurch for the weekend, she asked them to drop it off to me.  I haven’t had a chance to have a proper look at it yet, so I think I know what I’ll be spending a big chunk of tomorrow doing!

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  1. I’m currently considering buying a sewing machine. I’ve signed myself up for a beginner’s sewing course that starts in September, and I plan to make small things every now and then, perhaps dare a simple clothing item, and possibly repairs.
    I’ve borrowed my dad’s old machine for now (A Necchi from a store where big-ish brands sell their old and B-rated stuff) to try some stuff out on, but it’s really not that good and keeps jamming. My inexperience, or crummy machine, or both?
    Either way, I’m thinking of buying a second hand proper machine. What have you been using, and what’s your Granny’s machine, and what would you recommend?
    I’ve been googling of course, but I’m overwhelmed by the amount of choice and the varying opinions, I could use some advice/experience from actual people 😉
    On a different subject, I think husband will be receiving Minecraft for Christmas, I think it might be his sort of game, although I’ve never played it. Is it possible to play with two people on one license, or is it one license, one login and for two people you need two and never the twain shall meet? It’d be fun if we can both play.

    1. Before you buy a new machine, try getting your dad’s one serviced. In my experience jamming is usually either caused by having the tension set wrongly (usually too loose – if you’re getting a row of long tangled loops on the underside of the fabric that’s probably what’s going on), or by dust and fluff accumulating inside the machine, in which case it needs to be cleaned and oiled. You can fix those things yourself (you can probably google instructions for your machine if you don’t have the manual), but just like a car, it’s helpful to have an expert give your sewing machine a proper service every few years to keep it running well, and it’s amazing what a difference it can make. Most places that sell sewing machines will also service them, or ask at your local fabric or craft shop if they can recommend anyone.
      I’m probably not much help in recommending what to buy new – as I said, I’ve been using a 20+ year old machine for the last few years (and before that, I had the one that my mother got as a wedding present, so it was older than I am!), so I don’t know how the brands compare these days. But my old machine is a Brother, and Granny’s is a Bernina.
      If you’re only going to be sewing clothes, then you probably don’t need an overly fancy machine. As long as it can sew straight and zig-zag stitch, and you can adjust the stitch width and length, then that will cover pretty much anything you need to do – all the other fancy stitches look cool, but you’ll probably find you’ll almost never use them. So I’d go for a good quality basic machine over one with loads of features. But again, if you’ve got a fabric or craft shop in your area, go in and have a chat to them – the people who work in those shops are usually crafters themselves, and can often give you good advice.
      As far as Minecraft goes, if you want to be able to play together, then yes, you’ll need two licences. You can use the same licence on multiple computers, but only one can be logged in to any particular world at a time, so if you only had one licence you’d have to either play in your own separate worlds, or if you want to share a world, take turns playing in it, which isn’t as much fun as being able to both be in the game at once. The licences aren’t hugely expensive though (about US$25, I think?).
      Hope that helps!

  2. Sewing machines are mysterious creatures. My mother loves her machine to bits… and I have NEVER sewn a decent thing using it. I think they must be like pets, who have favorites or something. 🙂 Good luck getting to know your new machine. It might turn out to be your very best friend!

  3. I’m not getting loops, it just goes *gggggg* and doesn’t want to continue 😉 Helpful description, isn’t it. After a few turns back and forth with the hand wheel, it usually starts again. Possibly just needs oiling, I’ll give that a go. I don’t want to do too much to it, it’s not my machine and I don’t want to much it up.
    If I’m lucky, I’ll get my SIL’s machine to borrow next week. She has a Singer which is a few years old. I’ll try that for a while and see how I like that. And there is a sewing machine shop about half an hour away, I’ll have a look there to see if they’ve got any well-serviced used machines that fit my budget.
    Thanks for all the advice, both on sewing machines and Minecraft 🙂 A license is 19.95 in EUR here. Not that much indeed.

    1. Actually, I think just about anyone who’s ever owned a sewing machine would recognise the description “*gggggg* and doesn’t want to continue” 🙂 It does sound like it needs oiling. And if the bobbin mechanism can be removed, check in and behind it for stray threads and fluff.

  4. *lol* Oh good, it’s not just me then! I’ll oil it, and check the bobbin thingy. I know I can take it apart partially, so I’ll have a look 🙂 Thanks again!

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