OK - High level plan - make some hammocks.
Found me a machine at Goodwill: Kenmore 385.1278180. It looks pristine and operates quietly. Missing the shuttle so I can't verify if it actually sews though. One on order for $13 from Searsparts and 7 day return policy... I think I got a killer deal on a basic machine. First project is to dismantle it and clean/lube everything. Thank God for YouTube! Hmm - debates abound over oscillating vs rotating shuttles - I guess I'll have to read up a little.
I found a 36" bolt of nylon for $1/yd so will be starting with some bags for practice. BTW, I haven't sewed since Home Ec. way back when. Wish me luck...
Found the fabric I want to use for my first project, Amsteel, and rings at DIY Gear Supply. I'm going with the 1.4 OZ Ripstop 2nds (7yds). Enough 7/64 amsteel to make a couple whoopie slings, and I'm also adding descender rings on each end for flexability for the time being. If this project works out, I think I may try the taffeta tablecloth as it sounds like it's already hemmed.
Found some load rated tubular webbing at REI
I am focussed on outfitting the crew for an excursion next summer. I figure this will get us all involved to some degree and give us something to look forward to.