Saturday, February 23, 2019

À la Recherche d'une Aiguille Perdue

This needle kit is my idea of au courant; but it's apparently démodé.

I've been doing basic clothes repairs & alterations with a sewing machine since I was in high school. About 30 years ago my mother let me have her Kenmore, as she was done with kids and I was just getting started. I brought it with me to Ecuador, and it's gotten plenty of use as we have no car, and have lost a mess of weight walking up and down hills at 8300'+. My nextdoor neighbor is a tailor, he takes up my jackets. He asked at some point, don't I have any pants that needed alteration? I said yeah, I can do that on my mother's machine; but I can't pin my own jackets. He thinks I'm crazy, but I explain that if you can DIY in America, then you DIY.
Anyway, sewing layers of denim requires a heavy-duty needle, more of a spike than a rapier; and I was out of them as of today, having somehow misplaced my needle stash during the move. I made yet another check of the sewing machine cabinet's drawers, no luck. But for the first time in my life, the lower drawer didn't want to shut due to some obstruction. Pulling it out completely, and shining a flashlight in the recess revealed missing bits that I had bought over the years, and also stuff of my mother's, including a supply of both hand and machine needles that will probably outlive me.

Friday, February 1, 2019


Patience Is Rewarded

Like most folks in Cuenca, we have a tankless water heater, a calefon, which is bolted to an outside wall. It is terrific, but can be finicky for safety reasons. E.g., if anyone flushes, the pressure drop will cause the heater to shut off. Then you have to shut the HW faucet off, wait a minute or so for the flushed toilet somewhere in the house to refill, and turn the water back on. So today it wasn't heating any water. Last time, it needed a new D-battery which provides the spark. but this time, plenty of spark, no gas. Took the cover off and had my daughter turn the water on and off in the house while I watched. Turned out a solenoid had got stuck, and wasn't letting the pilot have any gas. A bit of wiggling and it was happy again.