Thursday, April 19, 2018

Status Update to Juki; Coda; Self

My Fourth Sewing Machine (And Probably Not Last)

I am the proud owner of a Juki TL-2010q sewing machine. It is one of the most popular and loved sewing machines for quilting. Quiltmakers type on the internet about how much they wish they had one. I have made zero quilts so far, but I got one anyway. My recommendation to people who want one is simple: get it.

The machine is blazing fast.

That'll do. The build quality and intended purpose remind me of my 1948 Singer 201, but the Juki has some modern features that I'm glad to have. The Juki stops needle down, so you don't have to turn the flywheel by hand. The motor stops exactly when you let off the pedal - the Singer is fast, but holds momentum, meaning you let off the pedal before you need to stop, and reach up to feather the flywheel like a brake. It's a cool skill to practice, but I still prefer the Juki. I am getting more precision at a faster pace. The heel of the Juki's foot pedal has a thread cutter. The thread is cut close to the work. After cutting, the bobbin thread remains below the needle plate, and the tail on the needle thread is very short. All of this is much easier and faster than pulling the work away and trimming threads with scissors. Skilled people are a blur as they trim threads manually, and it is another impressive skill to gain. I'm still keeping the automatic thread cutter.

I've been making hundreds of lined zippered pouches using quilting cotton with fusible fleece interfacing. I started on a Brother embroidery machine, moved to my Singer 201, and used a Singer Featherweight (221) as well. The Juki combines the conveniences of the Brother with the speed and quality of the old Singer. I am still in slight disbelief that I get to use a machine like this. I am glad that I tried other machines first. Now I have a basis for comparison, and I know how great the Juki is, and why it costs more than other options. You can get a great sewing machine for under $100. I got the Juki instead. I am a satisfied customer.

I'm still not done with new sewing machines. Now I want one with a walking foot. The Juki is perfect for quilting and working with light to medium weight fabrics, but it is not the perfect machine for layers of canvas or materials as thick as leather. It also doesn't zig-zag. I want to make bicycle bags, and a walking foot machine has advantages. Overlock machines are also pretty mind-blowing, but life is long, so I can think about that later.

I made a practice handlebar bag. It's slow going, because I don't really know what I'm doing. Learning new skills goes more smoothly when you are learning from an expert and you can ask questions. I'm not there yet. I am floundering through the early stages. I am satisfied with this first attempt, but I know that I have a lot of work and skill-building ahead to achieve the level of quality and proficiency that I seek. 

The Jamis Coda Is A Frame Requesting Respect 

I am having a great experience upgrading the Jamis Coda Sport. When I pulled it out of the box, it was set up like a nerdy dad's neighborhood cruiser. Again, that is not a statement of judgement, but simply an objective fact. I have more changes to make, but I could also ride it happily forever as-is. I fixed the final piece of the three contact points: handlebars.

I installed northroad-style aluminum handlebars sold by Velo Orange as their "Tourist" handlebar. I was surprised that flat handlebars were so uncomfortable for me. But I guess that riding with northroads 99% of the time for the last decade makes a big difference in what feels comfortable. I have them set up with ergonomic grips right now, but I will set them up my personal way soon enough. I like to use standard cheap rubber grips underneath handlebar tape. I wrap the bars with handlebar tape all the way to the stem. On my Hoopty, I have two layers of tape. My hands are not small, and I like the slightly larger diameter.

Wrapping the handlebars gives two comfortable hand positions. I hold the handlebars in the curves and lean forward for an aero position, and sit up and use the grip section for cruising. Both of those options are compromised with a flat bar. Long live northroads! More options than ever exist, and I am glad that this shape of handlebar is going so strong these days. The Velo Orange Tourist has my favorite bend angle and rise, and looks most similar to the handlebars on old 3 Speeds. The Jamis Coda now feels comfortable, lively, capable, and fast.

My Mental State

I'll always be fine. I'd prefer to be better than just "fine" and sometimes that happens too. I am resilient. I feel like I'm in a transitional state. It's a feeling that I'm familiar with. This time it has become uncomfortable, and I've been having panic attacks. Sometimes I feel like I am watching myself from a distance instead of occupying a connected body and mind. I don't like that feeling. I often get the eerie sensation that I have lost contact with reality, and I am not able to access a reference for what is normal or what feels normal. I can use logic to conclude that none of this matters, and life is on track. I am learning more than ever that logical reasoning and all of the components of a great life do not assure wellbeing. It is still possible to have erratic emotions which elude your control, and cause you to feel all sorts of ways. The feelings are coming in waves, and I'm doing my best. Mostly I am afloat. I am adrift, but afloat, and alive is enough. I can wait for alive to be great.

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