I must admit, I recently purchased yet another electric gadget. I could try to describe it by mentioning how powerful the motor is, or all the moving parts it has, or how if you're not careful with it you could get a nasty puncture wound, but I'll just skip all that and say it - it's a sewing machine. Specifically, it's a Kenmore 19110.
Yes, it might not seem the most masculine of gadgets, and combined with the fact that I was doing some scrap booking a couple weeks ago, it has brought some teasing. When I mentioned this purchase to a friend at work (who also was aware of the scrap book project for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary), she asked me if there were any other feminine hobbies I might be starting up. Yeah, yeah... Very funny. Single guy in his forties, hasn't been on a date in over 5 years, does scrap booking and sewing in his free time...
I mainly purchased the machine for repairing my karate gis. My gis are made of fairly heavy cotton - it feels a bit like canvas and occasionally one of the ties that hold it in place will tear off. The place where the tie attaches is on a hem about 4 layers of fabric thick. Sewing the tie back on by hand is a real pain - I end up breaking needles and it takes me over a half hour to just repair one. And, the repair work usually doesn't last very long. Now with the sewing machine, it only takes about a minute and it's super durable.
A few days ago I repaired 5 of my gis. Sewing by hand was such a pain that I had resorted to buying a new gi whenever the tie ripped. Now I have 7 usable gis. Looks like I won't need to buy a new one for a long time.
The sewing machine has a clever little attachment for threading the needle. It's a spring-loaded clip that you can pull down adjacent to the needle and it inserts a tiny hook through the eye of the needle. In the center of this picture you should be able to see the hook.
You then pull the thread under the hook like so...
Then pop the clip back, pulling the hook and thread through the eye of the needle.
Here's a close up of that last step. (Sorry this picture is a bit blurry. I had a hard time focusing on the hook beyond the needle, especially using just one hand.)
Then, you just pull the rest of the thread through and you are ready to sew.