The premature death of a hobby.

The premature death of a hobby.

The premature death of a hobby.

When Sarah turned 7, she got a sewing machine for her birthday.

She’d been sewing, with help, for at least a year. My mom bought her the machine: a Bernina, a nice one. Way nicer than the Craigslist Singer I’d been sewing on here at home.

I’m sure many, many people would hear that and wonder, why would you ever buy a 7-year-old a Bernina? Well, I probably wouldn’t, but my mom would, and it’s because she’s always been a big believer in having the right equipment for the job.

My mom’s philosophy is that good tools are a pleasure to use, and cheap tools are crap. Nobody likes to work with bad tools. How could Sarah ever develop a love of sewing if she was always fighting with a crappy machine?

In the case of the sewing machine, the good tools are expensive. Thankfully, that’s not always the case, but it often is, and my mom taught me that an investment in good tools is money well spent.

My mom’s frequently given me excellent cooking tools for Christmas over the years–it’s how I got my Kitchenaid mixer, Cuisinart, my dutch oven–so I’ve never had to wonder if it was cooking I hated, or the unpredictable results I got from my flimsy pans. (God bless the kitchen workhorses that are inexpensive and amazing performers: Lodge Cast Iron, I’ll love you forever.)

I’ve always had decent tools, and I’ve always enjoyed cooking. (Except the dishes. I still hate the dishes.) This is not a coincidence. 

I think about my mom’s philosophy whenever I need to iron something. I hate ironing, but then again, I do my ironing with a fifteen-year-old $17 Target iron I got during parents’ weekend at college. Those two things just may be related.

I’m sure this applies to other hobbies: I’m dabbling in art with quality colored pencils, I enjoy writing more with decent pens, I’d rather work out in my lululemons.

A lot of people don’t like to cook, or sew, or draw. I’m deeply appreciative that my mom’s philosophy enabled me to give these skills a fair shot: I never had the chance to mistake hating the skills for hating the awkwardness of attempting the skill with poor materials.

And if I’d ended up hating cooking, at least it would have been a fair fight.

I would love to hear: 1. What have you heard before about my mom’s philosophy, and 2. What kind of experiences have you had with really good and/or really bad tools?

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  1. Quality over quantity. It’s my motto, whether that is cooking utensils or shoes or tools for my husband. In the end, if you buy cheap, you’ll end up spending more on replacements than you would if you had just “splurged” in the first place.

    Can’t afford a “splurge”? Don’t settle for something cheaper… save your pennies until you can celebrate by buying better. You will be happier in the long run. I’ve learned that the hard way.

    Also, how’s this for a fun fact? I’m still using my 15 year old, college iron. Only I like it so much, I actually cried when I knocked it off the ironing board last year and the front shattered. Hubs saved the day by gluing the pieces back together, and now I have a slightly shabbier 15 year old iron that I still love. 🙂 I’m such a simple gal that the bells and whistles of the new irons freak me out. 😉

    • Monet says:

      A lot of what’s being stated is really good advice. Advice I always follow. But I’m an adult and not all these situations are the same. There are lessons to be learned..or not..it just depends.. But until I’m certain that whatever my child’s new interest may be and that they are not just giving me lip service and it is what my child loves my circumstances dictates I wait. I had a son interested in Hockey..Again, he could skate practically before he could walk.. Hockey equipment, especially Goalie Equipment, is EXTREMELY Expensive! Hockey is an Expensive sport. A pair of regular skates will cost you a $1,000 + to get them “Fitted” to the child’s foot, which will have by the child’s age of 4 years old, are already outgrown by the next season and you start all over again. So, please, it’s not a “One Size Fits All” situation. Smart people realize that especially when it comes to kids. You have to really know your kids and see that they express their interest it in other actions and ways. My best friend’s daughter wanted to play the Violin so badly, she promised she would practice, she showed immense interest and TALENT!!!… 4 months later that very expensive Violin is rotting away, very hard to resell Violins, they are not like other instruments. It’s Logistics and Personal Situations. Only you know your situation and your Child. Sometimes kids get better when they don’t have the best equipment to play with. The truly talented is not going to let that or anything else stand in their way or stop them, but make them better..Then, when they do get the great equipment not only will they appreciate it more but because they truly earned it, they will be all the more better and harder to beat having excelling with less than stellar equipment… 4 of my children are boys. If I bought the best of the best for every sport they were ever interested in, and there were plenty and they excelled in them all… Well let’s just say it’s not always feasible. Having only 1 or 2 children is quite a different matter. Also, I don’t mind my child getting a bit frustrated, it teaches them patience and it also teaches that not every interest they have are they going to get the best of the best, but if they put in the time and prove they will stick to it they will. So why not just agree to disagree on this one. There are no right or wrong answers.. Just what is right for an individual family and their circumstances at the time.

      • Anne says:

        $1000 for hockey skates? Holy smokes! Can you tell I don’t live in a hockey state?

        Monet, the sewing machine was just one very specific example. Our cheap (new, like a commenter said–not an old classic) sewing machine had one speed, and that was VERY FAST. It terrified both me and my daughter, and we didn’t want to sew on it.

        My main point is for the grown-ups: if you hate cooking because you hate fighting with your poorly-made skillet, is it really cooking you hate, or the skillet? Both answers are possible, but it’s good to know the answer to that question. (Luckily, a decent skillet is a lot cheaper than hockey skates!)

        While we’re on cooking: I love how Cooks Illustrated has always given two final answers for their equipment and product tests: which one is best-of-the-best, and which one offers great value. Sometimes those two answers align, but sometimes they’re many $$$ apart. You can probably guess which one I buy (the cheaper one!)

  2. Leanne says:

    I agree with your mom, quality is king almost all the time, especially for beginners. I see this a lot as a music teacher to students just starting to play instruments. The kids who come in with cheap instruments from Target or Wal-Mart always struggle to get a decent sound, and it frustrates them to sit beside kids playing good-quality instruments (even if they’re used). I understand the parents’ rationale in these situations- they just don’t want to put a lot of money into something their kids might not be into for long- but it always ends up backfiring when the kid isn’t into it BECAUSE they didn’t put the money in.
    Sometimes it’s also just a matter of the RIGHT tool. I hated doing dishes until I discovered my Oxo dish wand. Now I really enjoy it! (Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap helps too.)

  3. Ginger says:

    I am somewhat learning this with cleaning supplies. Trial and error is a bit cheaper when it comes to cleaning, but when you find that one product that is easy to use and actually works, I find I look forward to scrubbing the shower, and actually do it almost every day (glass showers look so pretty when they are clean, and so not pretty when they are not). It’s easy. I know how. And I see immediate results.

    I find that a lot of times when I dislike doing something, it’s really just because I don’t know how to do it properly. Therefore, I avoid doing it. Therefore, I never get better with practice. How much knowledge & confidence could it possibly take to vacuum, mop, or clean a tub? You’d be surprised.

  4. Erin says:

    I hate to vacuum, and it’s probably because my vacuum is a clunker. The attachments are always falling off, it’s heavy and awkward to move, and the suction has always been sub-par, thus requiring me to go over and over the same spot. When I borrow my mother’s Dyson, I could vacuum all day! It’s easy to manipulate, the suction is awesome, the hose attachment is long enough to reach ceiling dust bunnies, and it has handles in all the right places.

    I only wish it were a financial priority to buy my own….but it’s on my “someday” list! And scooting up.

    • Leah says:

      We bought a miele vacuum and love it. Our other want is a rainbow. That’s what I had growing up and it’s just too pricey at the moment. Quality definitely makes a difference. The vacuum we had before was a dirt devil. Ugh.

  5. Rachel says:

    My dad bought me a Bernina for Christmas a few years ago, and I’ve been amazed by how much more I like sewing than I had thought. Even the sewing tasks that are a bit tedious (hemming pants, etc.) are not so bad when doing them on a nice machine. I really want to get new kitchen items for this same reason–I enjoy cooking now, but I wonder how much more I’d like it if I had quality knives and pans and dishes.

  6. Carmen says:

    My husband always says it’s about having good tools. He always encourages me to buy good knitting needles and not to cheap out on them. I remember when I first started knitting on needles from Hobby Lobby and the difference of buying professional needles. The quality made all the difference. The same goes for yarn. If you want to knit a beautiful item, the quality of your yarn matters. When I teach knitting, I always encourage my students to buy a higher quality yarn. In the end, they will be encouraged to continue with their new hobby.

  7. Melodee says:

    This has always been my dad’s philosophy: in his mind vacuums, vitamixes, sewing machines are the “tools for the trade” for my mom’s job as a homemaker. He always wanted her to have the right equipment. Somehow I didn’t pick this up, however. 🙁 In my (often unfounded) anxiety about finances, I am always tempted to buy the cheap thing, and often have done so with poor results. Thankfully I married a man who says he doesn’t mind spending money, but he minds wasting it. That has slowly started to change my perspective: if I spend a little more for the higher quality, I won’t be wasting money on something that won’t last or will frustrate. It’s still a lesson I’m slow at learning, though!

  8. D says:

    My husband taught me this a few years ago when he was convinced to join a few neighbors for a 150-mile bike ride. He enjoyed biking as a kid, but he only had a mountain bike that was middle-of-the-road quality and knew he’d need a good road bike to train and accomplish that distance, especially starting at 0. We spent a small fortune on the right frame, three different seats, clip pedals and shoes, two helments (he cracked one!), jerseys, gloves, bike shorts with rump bumpers. Not only did he enjoy riding on his super-lightweight road bike, he got to know a whole new group of cyclists in our neighborhood, and accomplished a really amazing goal (both the ride and the fundraising for cancer research).

    Now I use his experience to say I need high-quality gardening tools.

  9. Anne says:

    Hmmmm….I think your mother is right, but I can’t say I’ve lived by that philosophy. The closest I’ve come to that is buying Purdy paintbrushes. (Does that count?) Her philosophy also reminds me of the shoe/bed argument: you are either in one or the other….buy good quality beds and shoes! (Heard that on a show, cannot claim that as my advice.)

    Come to think of it, it also reminds me of Charlotte Mason and the reading materials we present to our children.

  10. Julie says:

    AMEN! I was an orchestra teacher in the public schools for six years, and could predict which kids would stick with it based on the instrument they had. Cheap violin, that won’t tune, sounds lousy, and is ridiculously heavy = quitter. Nice hand carved violin rented from the local shop = kid who will earn a music scholarship to college.

  11. Kimberly says:

    This is my husband’s approach to everything:) I love it and hate it simultaneously. I have a kitchen full of amazing, top of the line cookware, and I STILL hate to cook. Can’t blame the pans for that one;)

  12. Allison says:

    I totally agree with your mom. Quality will last and give good results. Crap will not last and wind up costing you more with all the replacing.
    Also, my mom taught me to respect the item in question – if you treat it right, take care of it – it will do right by you and last and give good results. My ex never understood this and it was very frustrating on me.

  13. Joslyn says:

    Being minimalists we thrive on quality vs quantity at our house and since most of the things in our home are sewn by me and I’m even trying to sell some of my creations on Etsy, my husband graciously let me purchase a really nice and very expensive Baby Lock sewing machine and I have to say, it has indeed made my sewing time so much more fun and I’ve found myself gravitating to my sewing room more and more, which is good since it’s a source of income. I’ve never minded doing dishes but in our current rental, I hate it because of the sub par sink. The right tools makes a world of difference to me.

  14. Corrie Anne says:

    I go through this all the time with new piano students. A piano is typically more motivational to practice on than a keyboard (unless it’s a super nice one), but it’s a bigger space commitment in our neighborhood in the city where houses tend to be fairly small. The worst though is if a student is trying to practice on a piano that hasn’t been tuned. A mediocre piano that is tuned well can usually get you by, but not a piano that’s totally out of tune. I suspect that’s why one of my adult students quit last year. He kept telling me that things “sounded differently on my piano”, and I kept telling him to get his piano tuned. That being said, both my piano and keyboard are from Craigslist (and so are many of my students – haha).

  15. Molly says:

    I have to admit to being a financial fretter. I blame my upbringing. My parents were always fighting to make ends meet and we often didn’t have two nickles to spare. While my situation is not identical to my parents, finances are still consistently tight. It kills me to spend a ton of money on better quality but I’m often glad I did. I recently got married and used my registry to replace and upgrade a lot of my junk. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking. Now I am loving my new Kitchenaide mixer, pots and pans, and everything else even more. I’m still not sold on the idea of a $15 ice cream scoop though.

      • Leah says:

        Spring for the good scoop. I have some cheap ones and they look pretty rough. They were gifts so I never bothered to get another. Every time you use something, it should make you smile, not sigh. Lol

  16. i am a runner. i buy expensive running clothes. i run expensive shoes and i replace them often. i feel stylish and comfortable when i run. i enjoy it all that much more for high quality equipment.

  17. Dena says:

    I thought I would LOVE my silhouette cameo. Wanted one for years. Finally saved up enough… and then told my husband he was buying me one for Christmas. I had piles and piles of ideas and inspiration and things I was going to create and give as gifts. WELL…. after giving it a first go around I completely gave up after a few hours out of complete frustration. I consider myself quite computer savvy but still couldn’t get images or letters to do exactly what I wanted them to do. Guilt ridden at this expensive machine collecting dust, I spent last Saturday (the ENTIRE Saturday) going through tutorials in an attempt to help my daughter with a 4-H poster. I did get the thing to cut but by the time we actually decided what we needed, the blade was too dull to cut anything else and the mat looked like it had gone through the garbage disposal. By the end of the day I was in such a foul mood, my daughter suggested I send the machine back. I will give it another month, let myself forget the frustration, and then try again. AFTER I purchase a new blade and mat, of course.

  18. My husband and I have gone through this SAME discussion, especially regarding sewing machines. I have an old singer replica that only sews a straight stitch, but it’s a gorgeous machine. I enjoy sewing on it, and I haven’t ever used anything else. My husband thinks that if I had a newer, easier machine to use that I would be able to do more things on it (like sew zippers and button holes…) and therefore WOULD. I’m not convinced… but I’m glad you posted this article as food for thought. Especially regarding getting a machine for my 6 year old some day!

    • Laura says:

      the old singers are great, the new ones are terrible. So if you do decide to upgrade, make sure you get a high quality one (i.e. not a Singer). Usually you have to spend at least $300 (on a super sale) to $400 and up to get a good one.

    • Jackie says:

      I have a friend who sews everything on a 50 yr old Singer, that she refitted from being electric to manual. She loves it, and watching her work with it she seems very happy and connected to her projects, in a very down-to-earth way.

      Anyway, having a basic tool, I believe, can help a person develop the foundational skills and understanding to tackle bigger projects.

  19. Kayris says:

    I agree with her too. My seven year old got a hello kitty sewing machine for Christmas this year. It’s adorable and actually a really good machine, I think the brand is Jansone? Anyway, between sales, a 20% off coupon, and an additional percent off that target gave all customers one day before the holiday to make up for the data breach, she got a 150 dollar machine for about 85. That was her big gift and she loves it. My mom is thrilled because while I can sew, I don’t really enjoy it.

  20. Breanne says:

    I agree with your Mom. And that idea is shaping many of our thoughts about purchasing stuff for the home/ourselves/our girls.
    For me, that looks like investing in quality clothes, a very few at a time. Sometimes I find something I love second-hand but not something that I keep for years.

  21. Gabrielle says:

    My mom has always been a firm believer in buying quality, and if we can get it for a steal of a deal, even better! She found my sewing machine a few years ago at a garage sale for $25.00. She knew was she was looking at and the lady selling it was a seamstress so it was well taken care of. Coming from a family of homeshoolers with a long list of hobbies, it seems like someone is always in the market for something. My mom would much rather splurge for the good stuff, or give money towards a bigger purchase.

  22. Tim says:

    That’s how I buy my dress shoes for work, Anne. Spend a ton and then wear them for 15 years. Comfortable and never falling apart, just a new heel or sole occasionally.

  23. Polly says:

    It’s so hard though, when you are trying out a hobby for the first time. I do want to embrace the quality supplies but then I have a drawer full of nice embroidery thread that I’m not using and I just feel guilty about it.

  24. Janet Worthy says:

    As usual, Moms are always right:) And I’ll stake my life and reputation upon my KitchenAid Stand Mixer against any $30, $60, or $100 mixer on the market! As for crafting, I am passionate about scrapbooking ~ preserving my precious photographs and memories. Why, oh why would I spend the time to create then slap in a tacky or un-proven or poor quality notebook or album? Creative Memories, now Ahni & Zoe, are the only albums and tools for me!!!

  25. Dianna says:

    Oh, your iron hit a nerve with me. I had the worst iron ever and it didn’t even get wrinkles out. My grandma got me a fancy top-of-the-line steam iron and now I like ironing (and sewing) much more. I’d definitely rather spend more when I can afford it and enjoy my work or play more.

  26. Laura says:

    I had a $200 Singer sewing machine – it was a wedding present and my mom had a Singer so I thought it would be a good one. Turns out, it was awful – it could hardly sew two lightweight pieces of material together. I HATED sewing with it! So I invested in a over twice as expensive Viking and almost six years later, I am in love with sewing and wish I could sew all the time.

    I TOTALLY agree with your mom’s philosophy and it’s what I tell people all the time when they ask me about sewing machines! And yes, I love Lodge cast iron too!

  27. Erin says:

    I love this!

    Monday was a snow day (yay) and I sat down to do some sewing on my Christmas gift (a Singer, not a Bernina) and thought to myself, “I wonder what Anne’s mom’s philosophy for buying her granddaughter a good sewing machine is.” Thank you for sharing!

    I love my Lodge Cast Iron too! So much!

  28. Liza says:

    I’ve always been in the cheap is good enough boat, but every year I lean more towards your mom’s philosophy. There are some things that I just can’t bring myself to spend a lot of money on. But I’m finding that most things are worth the price. It’s also nice that my family is to the point that we can afford good quality. For a long time, we bought cheap simply because we couldn’t afford better. The funny thing is that sometimes I need to convince my husband that something is worth the price and sometimes my husband needs to convince me! And sometimes we think the other will balk at the cost of something and the other is all for it.

    I love that you mentioned ironing. My iron crapped out on me and my (cheap) replacement gets the job done, but I hate it so much. I bought another of the iron that I used to have, even though the first one quit working after only a few years. Why? Because I loved using it right up until it quit. When I mourn an iron, you know it’s a good iron – because ironing is my least favorite job. I just unpacked the new one and am happy that I’ll have a chance to use it tonight! Me, looking forward to ironing? THAT’S how much I hate the cheap one.

  29. Jackie says:

    Here’s further proof that sometimes a better tool can be essential.

    When I was 9 and choosing an instrument for school band, I was offered a silver clarinet–it looked cool, but also was weird, and its tube was much thinner than a ‘normal’ black clarinet. I didn’t realize until I got a regular black clarinet years later how hard it was to get a note out of that silver one. Damage done, I already hated playing the clarinet and was sorry to have spent several years trying to sound good with that silver one.

  30. Debra G says:

    I love your mom’s philosophy. It’s so true. My experience is with vacuuming. Not that vacuuming is hobby, but when you have a good vacuum, it makes a huge difference. I used to work for a housecleaning co. years ago, and they used these awesome canister vacuums (not commercial). So I had bought one for myself before I got married. Recently, it needed to be replaced. Well, my hubby bought me one without me along, and I HATE it! I liked the convenience of being able to remove and use different attachments with the press of a button. This one does not do that. I would say it sucks, but it doesn’t even do that very well. he he he
    Another thing is with scrapbooking. The quality tools just make it much more of a joy to work with.

  31. Oh yes! We started thinking about this when our oldest kids were small–when it comes to stuff like a sewing machine, cooking utensils, butterfly nets, magnifying glasses–should we give them toys, or tools? Almost always, we side with tools, for the same reasons you’ve laid out here. It means we have less stuff (because the tools are more expensive), but… that’s kind of a bonus. 😉

  32. I’m really learning to value quality. I grew up pretty much on welfare or other government income (orphan’s benefits), and my dad’s small accident settlement annuity, so I never had the chance to learn the difference between cheap and quality tools, clothes, and materials. (That said, my mom always had the best sewing machines and serger…but then, that was her job) I still don’t have a big budget, but I much prefer waiting to save for something than just buying whatever cheap version Walmart happens to have. Unfortunately, my husband hasn’t yet learned that lesson. I’m working on him!

  33. Monet says:

    I agree and all. If that is what the child is truly interested in.. But are you suggesting to buy the best just to figure out if that is what they would like? Mom of 8… I’d be more then willing to spend on the best.. I just don’t want to do it if it’s a passing fancy or something that is a phase and not a true passion. If I had the money maybe I would.. But I remember my own parents buying me the best and me not loving it and feeling guilty for a lifetime because of all the time, energy and $$ they put out. Maybe I misread your post and it’s about children’s passions already established. But tell me how to do that when you have many kids whose passions seem to change with the wind. Honest question, Honest answer appreciated. Trolls need not apply.

    • Anne says:

      You’ve put your finger on the sticky point here: of course I don’t want to spend the money on the best unless they’re going to truly enjoy the activity and stick with it, but how will they know if they enjoy it and WANT to stick with it if their tools are terrible? There’s so much tension there and it’s difficult to navigate.

      As for Sarah and her sewing machine, she’d been sewing for a few years on my mom’s, so we weren’t flying blind. Plus, I would be using it, too! But there are lots of other situations–like with all the instruments mentioned here in the comments–where the kids don’t have any experience, and the parents have to guess. I hate the guessing part. Before investing in the good stuff, we typically start with the cheap stuff, or better yet, borrow the good stuff.

        • monet says:

          Back in my day you couldn’t.. And even now they are not the top of the line. They’ve been used. I know. My son is interested in art. Brushes can cost a lot of money for just a singly brush and that’s just a tiny bit of what you need.. I like your answer, Anne, that you already knew your daughter had the interest and if it faded it would go to good use (yourself). I was interested and talented in the Piano, violin and guitar.. If my parents would have bought the best of each one, back then you could not rent, theyd be broke.. They had 6 other children with different interests. While I believe in your post in theory, especially if one ony had one child and knew their interests well, I would very much agree. To others, it’s not feasible and can make them feel bad as a parent if they can’t affor the best. You can’t RENT eveything. Art Supplies are extremely costly and non-refundable. Time and money spent on an instrument for lessons alone can wipe a parent out. I believe in what you’re saying, but kids interest vaary at different ages.. At one point intime all I wanted to do was play the flute..Glad my parents never considered it because as it turned out piano and violin is what I love and am proficient at. You have to remember.. If a child finds out they are not as good at something as they or others (teachers) expected them to be they are more likely to give up. My child, and this is just my opinion, will get the best of the best when they’ve demonstrated a true passion and not a passing fancy. Passing fancies they WILL NOT stick with.. true passions, especially if they have loved ones and teachers that cheer them on will remain. I would never give a parent or child false hope if I recognize that the child just doesn’t have the passion. So as not to belittle your post, I see some validity in certain situation such as when the child show an extreme interest andnot a passing fancy, I think it makes parents whom can’t afford the best feel guilty. My youngest was born to Ice Skate.. He did so almost before he could walk.. We all thought we had a Champion on our hands.. Now mind you, Hockey gear is one of the most expensive out there to buy and you can’t buy used.. Skated have to be “Melded” to the child’s foot… Only for him to turn out as a baseball player. Bottom line, I see your logic but it needs to be used very discriminately or you will not only end up losing a lot of $$, but you will let the child think they are talented in areas where they may not be.. That is where growing up comes into play. Worst of all is I hate to have to see others parents feeling shamed or feeling they’re not good parent because they don’t but the “Best of the Best.” Surely you can see where I am coming from.

  34. monet says:

    Anne.. Not to belittle a point, but you stated ” how will they know if they enjoy it and WANT to stick with it if their tools are terrible?” Well.. at that age when they are learning most tools aren’t so bad.. I’ve learned on crappy sewing machines when Home Ec was a must take at a young age.. I learned quickly how to fix problems and not become frustrated by them..ftrustration leads today’s kids to quit more easily. I’m glad I had to learn at a young age how to change a bobbin or a broken needle in Home Ec class. I didn’t look at it as a contention to give up, but as a way to gain knowledge. I’ve since bought Vintage Machines and pride myself on how to use these antiques when nobody else can and had given them up to Goodwil! I learned on my grandmother’s machine, it required a whole built in desk apparatus. But at the age your daughter is she can learn and retain anything. I’m thankful I got to learn on those antiquated machines because now I’m capable of operating any machine and trouble-shooting older machines for $$. I guess it’s all in how you look at it. If a child has a passion for ANYTHING! Crappy equipment won’t stop them.. It will make them better and more appreciative. I’ve raised 8 children. They excel in their passions and they certainly ever had the best until they were old enough to contribute… My Grandmother thought it was a gift just giving me her machine and it was! All I’m saying is don’t paint everybody with such a broad yet narrow stroke. True passion and creativity can never be restrained and I believe you truly become a proficient when you’ve had to master your skill at a rudimentary level.

  35. Rebecca says:

    I think that is a wonderful investment for your daughter! I still remember my mother’s old Singer hacking up threadballs right in the middle of a top-stitched seam. Your daughter will probably use that machine for several decades.
    I admit I always look first for a “Morgan” – an all around good performer that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Often professionals in the field mention the item on their discussion boards or even Amazon reviews. An Opinel pocketknife or Eureka Mighty Mite vacuum cleaner are both good examples of this category. If I can’t locate a Morgan, I’ll usually try to get a better quality item used or refurbished rather than buy something cheap.

    • Rebecca says:

      …and I just looked up the Mighty Mite. The Amazon title for the commercial version I own is the “Sanitaire SC3683A Detail Cleaning Commercial Vacuum”. It’s the Mighty Mite, but pro grade.

  36. Monet says:

    I believeI just learned something today.. or maybe something I’ve know for quite a while but was not ready to admit. To those whom don’t know.. I was the first female fire firefighters in Chicago and in the Country. I served in the Military. I have many kids of my own. Today’s female firefighters, I’m sorry to say, are mostly “token.” They never would have passed the same tests I had to pass as the males. Not bragging..just showing clarification. I learned on a sewing machine from the 50’s.. at the age of 8. Nobody taught me. It was a passion of mine I was determined to learn. Now I think I have figured out the difference… Kids want to learn, have passions, but for some reason will only engage in them if it is made easy for them. Not true when I was growing up. But that was a different Era. Seems like today it has to be made convenient or a child loses all interest. I accept that . Times change. I’m glad, though, that I grew up in a time where when you had a passion and wanted to learn it you invested and used, albeit how inefficient, to learn. I’m not dissing anybody here.. Just noticing a difference. Though I don’t agree at all with today’s solutions I need to respect it.. all I ask is that you respect the time and era that I grew up in and hopefully can see and appreciate the differences. <3

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