Yes a manly and macho gift. It is a Brother Sewing machine. It cost £125 and it is the second from bottom of the range that John Lewis sold (of the Brother range).
I also looked at the John Lewis own brand (cheaper) or a Singer Brand (expensive and well known). The shop assistant recommended the Brother one. It is a good Brand and very easy to use (I was told). My cousin works for Brother.
I originally was swayed towards the John Lewis brand; however, the shop assistant said they are more limited, bobbin installation requires 4 separate parts and is fiddely. She opened the bobbin cradle on the John Lewis sewing machine and it seemed to fall to bits in a explosion of small and easily lost parts.
The Singer sewing machine was more expensive and officered less functions. The brand seems to rely on its name to justify the extra price.
Brother always seems a good brand and my cousin has worked for them for sometime and I have never heard a bad word against them.
I parted with some money and took it home the same day.
Since then it has been a steep learning curve.
1. Learning to thread the machine. Easy instructions, but my lack of experience made it slower than it should of been.
2. DO NOT PRESS THE FOOT PEDAL ALL THE WAY DOWN. It was all fast and out of control.
3. Going straight is difficult.
4. What the hell should I do as a first project?
I had some samples for some fabrics. I decided to make a cover for the sewing machine. I remember hearing on a podcast that it is a common first project.
It was quite easy to line up the pieces and then stitch them together. Ininvestigated the different stitch patterns. I found that a straight seam stitch is good for hemming and a zigzag stitch is great for joining two pieces of material together. Also right sides had to be facing each other for invisible joins. It was a good first project. My mum also gave me a few very useful tips.
There we are. It is not bad for a first attempt. My next project will simple, but I have not decided what to create.
On a side note. I went home to my parents. They live near a river. It was very wet and the river flooded. It was about 3 feet (1 m) higher than normal. It looked wonderful.
By the old mill
The path to the nature reserve completely flooded by a stream overflowing. The black thing at the bottom is my parents dog.