I rarely notch with scissors anymore, preferring to mark notches with a pencil -- something I picked up from my menswear sewing class at FIT.
Sometimes I'll use a washable pencil made specifically for sewers, but a lot of the time I just use one of the many dozens of colored pencils I've accumulated over my lifetime. I don't seem to be able to throw away colored pencils if they're more than an inch long. Actually, that goes for most any pencil. I love pencils. They can't leak and ruin your shirt pocket or canvas briefcase. And they last a long, long time.
But for decades, I've owned only cheap plastic portable sharpeners like the one below. Perhaps you use one like this.
Half the time the tip breaks off before the pencil ever gets sharp, or one side sharpens and the other will still be covered with wood.
But no longer!
I was over at my Mom's yesterday and today (she had to have cataract surgery) and I got to take home the pencil sharpener I grew up with; my mother doesn't use it anymore.
I think my dad brought this sharpener home from work (my parents were teachers). It wasn't new when we got it and I'm assuming he didn't just unscrew it from his classroom, or anybody else's, so I'm not sure how he came by it. Since 1967 it was screwed onto a shelf in my brother's closet and, today, more than 45 years later, I unscrewed it.
I brought it home and immediately installed it atop an old painted bookshelf in the bedroom. I'm sure you've seen these sharpeners before, probably in school if you're about my age (or maybe any age). As you can see, I'm not into polishing stuff.
Here's the inside. Those grinding cylinders are called burrs, which I learned from Holly Gates' excellent blog, Tooling Up. Those burrs essentially mill the pencil to incredible sharpness when you turn the crank.
The shavings land in the easily removable front section.
I am so happy to have possession of my childhood pencil sharpener, readers. Next trip, I'll have to grab my old Tonka trucks and board games (anyone want to play "Masterpiece"?)
You know that old chestnut about women being afraid of snakes? Well, I can't vouch for its accuracy or lack thereof, butI can say that, much to my surprise, every woman who has caught sight of my python jacket-in-progress has totally oohed and aahed over it -- my octogenarian mother included.
When I first started sewing five years ago, I used to shop at two bargain-basement fabric stores on 35th St. One is gone for good and the other seems to have changed hands: I haven't been by in a long time.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught home sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mainly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!