the bargain hunter

Soooo since making this crazy-awesome move to Cork, where I imagined I would be free to make and bake and knit as opposed to working all the time, I have been dreaming of getting a sewing machine again. But without a car (with which to collect one from or several hundred quid to spare (for a new one from the adorable AND ORIGINAL Singer sewing shop) I had sort of put it on the back burner.

Cork City is known for its shopping though – its got a great variety of department stores and a number of excellent specialty shops as well. People come in from across the south for the selection. It also has an excellent selection of charity shops, or what I would instinctively call a thrift shop.  Now the charity shops don’t always have great stock, but they operate the real money making (for charities, of course) through window sales. They fill the windows with the best stuff and for weeks at a time, let all the thrifty passersby imagine what kind of bargain they could get on that handbag, or that vintage picture frame. When 9am on the Friday morning of the Window Sale arrives, everyone lines up and hashes it out. The psychology of the window sale is brilliant – it creates a lot of pent up demand for items which would normally just be sold for 50 cents.

Anyway, I had no clue about all this. I had been looking for a large, classy wooden poster frame and the Irish Cancer Society had one in the window which was JUST the thing. Sure enough the window sale was January 16th and I assumed if I showed up first thing, I would get a bargain. I made it down at 9:30 and the window was STRIPPED! Everything was gone! My poster frame was nowhere to be seen. The lady told me there had been a FIGHT over it and “You’d want to get down here earlier if you actually wanted that frame.” My internal bargain hunter kicked in, and I eyed the remaining china plates and silver trays for anything worthy… I even went outside to ascertain that the shop window had actually been emptied. There were just two sewing machines left in there, a pathetic old black featherweight and a dusty plastic-y Singer.

15Ean2015_0099A Singer Sewing Machine. I know my sewing machines, and the moment I had that heavy handle in my hands, I knew that this machine was a solid 1980’s model, with internal metal parts and a good strong engine. The pedal was missing, but it looked in good condition. I scooped it up for only 35 euro.

I went straight to the Singer repair shop, where they checked it out right away. Everything worked, and I was even able to buy a replacement pedal. Total cost for a working machine: 80 euro.

I last had a sewing machine in 2011 – so it’s an absolute dream to have a machine of my own at home, to work away on as I please. I have load of projects to work on already! I have jumped right into making a set of patchwork pillow covers, more on that soon…

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