Special Double Issue of La Bloga
The Knitting Machines.
In my mother’s familia, all girls learned to amasar, make chile in a molcahete, and crochet. Such skills helped define a person’s womanly competence in her generation.
Are her tortillas round, thin, and even? How fast can she produce tortillas for a table of hungry eaters who don’t use forks?
Is the chile she makes chiloso and sabroso with just the right amount of everything?
Can she make anything other than a doily?
Including my mom, all the women in the family made great tortillas, always de harina. Aunt Stella is hands-down the best chile maker on both sides of the family. Stella's salsa makes gente sweat, wipe their eyes, fan their mouth, then ask for more.
My grandmothers weren't really into doilies, though they had them. As a result, mom didn’t find crocheting as engaging as knitting and quilting. Indeed, over the years my mom took night school and private classes, she bought books, acquired tools. She filled two rooms with yarns, quilting fabric, and myriad equipment for sewing and knitting.
As her arthritis worsened, a lifelong experimental attitude led her to automation: store-bought instead of the palo; a blender to make chile; and finally, she bought a knitting machine. Then another, then another, taking the classic good-better-best route. Her third knitting machine is something out of the industrial revolution; a punchcard-driven, motorized, knitting machine de aquellas.
She gave over two rooms to her sewing stuff; the three knitting machines plus her Singer Slant-O-Matic 403, four quilting sewing machines, and a rich variety of tools, and racks and containers of fine yarns.
RTFM; my mom invented the idea. There’s nothing you can’t learn on your own, and with the right tools you can do anything; that’s where I get those attitudes. I have the manuals, tech sheets, books, handwritten notes on needle counts and machine settings.
So what am I going to do with these old knitting machines, yarns, and equipment?
I offered them to the Home of Neighborly Service in San Bernardino. The organization has a sewing program—mostly quilts. But I haven’t been able to finalize their pickup of the yarns, fabrics, books, and machines. I suspect they depend on spirit and good intentions more than organization and planning, so I need Plan B if they don’t pick up the stuff before I sell the old homestead.
La Bloga is Plan B.
Who knows an organization—any organized group of people with or without papers—who want their gente to learn to set up and use knitting machines? And if the machines fail, use the yarn and textiles to fashion quilts, crochet, and knit? I called Homeboy Industries; they don’t do this type of occupational training.
If they’ll pay the freight and boxing, I’ll ship anywhere in the world.
The stuff resides in Redlands, California. Send a big pickup and labor and the whole kit and kaboodle are free, FOB Redlands California.