Sewing On the Road

During the first two years Derek and I were married, we were traveling almost non-stop. How it all ended up this way is a long story but the short version is that I fell in love with a man who has a huge taste for adventure. We had a whirlwind courtship, a two-week engagement, and were married in Prague. In the beginning our apartment felt more like a playground than a home. We wanted to sleep on the beach in Barcelona more than own furniture. Our Czech apartment on our wedding day, ten years ago this summer:

{The groom wore a white silk suit that he calls his Pentecostal preacher suit. I still have no idea where he found this and think he had the better costume! I scrounged mine up from a sale at Zara.}

I really like being a homebody now, so much so that when we travel I tend to want to bring my homesteader hobbies with me. And Derek likes to remind me I don’t have lightweight hobbies. I know with a little ingenuity some folks can make great art with an phone camera but sigh, I’m not one of those people. I like tools. I hauled a 40-lb bag of compost from Belgium to Poland during my phase of “pretend gardening” with little potted plants when we were making lots of road trips. I attracted a lot of affectionate looks toting a massive purple metal watering can through Heathrow airport. (I just had to have it, and the English have THE BEST gardening tools.) And so lately I’ve been wanting to take my sewing whenever I go somewhere.

Have you seen these before? Derek’s so cool, he looked at the box and said, “Look at that, it’s a Ja-NOH-mee Mini!” I never knew that’s how you pronounced Janome. And there ya go.

This is a $50 machine and weighs less than a pair of shoes and is about twice the width of my hand. I’d read about it on a couple of quilty blogs as being a decent machine to tote around so I thought, why not? It actually has a nice feed, although it’s verrry slow and there’s no speed control. There’s no light, but it has six stitches, including 3 zig-zags, goes backwards and forwards and that’s pretty much all I really need!

Of course I probably should’ve packed it better because it begs to be broken. Have you seen the way those guys throw suitcases onto the conveyer? The plastic bobbin winder broke off in my suitcase, and I ran out of bobbin thread before I could finish my project. But if any of you have a hankering for a travel machine, I’d definitely give this a cute and very useful thumbs up.

See, I got my lingerie-sewing fix.

And it sure beats hauling compost for a sense of home.


  1. Juliet says:

    So cute! Reminds me of the real/toy sewing machine my Mum got me when I was a kid. Not that I was interested until I hit my 20’s, but it was her thought that counted…

  2. Heather Lou says:

    The image of you hauling compost and watering cans across Europe just made my day. And that wedding photo is a “living la vida boheme” classic. Congrats on figuring out how to take bramaking on the road!

  3. Katherine says:

    I’d love to hear the long story of your marriage! Sounds most intriguing! In our next relocation I will be without our stuff for almost a month. I am wondering whether to take my regular sewing machine on the plane with me?

    I have sewn up the pattern you sent me and will send you an email when I make a “pretty” version of it, rather than just the duoplex muslin.

    • Amy says:

      Oh yes, I would take the sewing machine. I think it would help you “land” so that you feel a sense of continuity… and something to escape to when you’re tired of left brain stuff. Moving is so left brain! And I look forward to seeing the bra!

  4. Rosy says:

    Although I do not travel much, I share your feeling of carrying all possible tools for my hobbies, I am nothing without my sewing machine! No doubt your sewing machine is a great find!

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