Saturday, April 11, 2015

Elna eXcellence 720...

Devoting a post to my new Elna. I am so pleased to have been able to purchase this machine. This is the same chassis as my Janome MC6300 had (the machine has been re-homed to a very nice lady who will use it well) but has several really nice enhanced features. The stitch package is very very nice. The deco stitches stitch out so nicely and I love the display. As you tweak a stitch the display shows the tweaks. My Viking has this as well, and it is really a good feature. One feature that is better than my Viking Platinum 770 is the selection process for stitches. The Elna has ten direct selection stitches - one push of a button and you have it. To get any other stitches in the entire package you just push the MODE button one time and then enter the numerical codes for each stitch you want. You can repeat or vary the stitches and save in memory or stitch right out. No need to go through several steps as you  have to on my Viking. So alphabets are easy-peasy. And yes, it came with lots of feet and one Accufeed foot which is handy in place of having to have a walking foot. The manual is large and readable. Most of this machine is already easy for me because of my Janomes, and of course the 6300 had the same body.  This Elna seems to have a more throaty powerful sound to the motor, but that could be my imagination. I was able to attach the LED strip for my Ecolux system right unto this machine and still use the second light it has in the harp! So I have got terrific lighting on this machine for sure! The Ecolux lighting is not on in these pictures.  I even added one Hello Kitty sticker once I sold the Janome 6300. I felt then I had really claimed my Elna. First project is to keep on with my 15 Minutes of play quilt blocks. Next will come the handbag and after that...who knows.  I already know it can handle all my sewing needs.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Elna 720 Plays for 15 Minutes of Play...

This year's long project will be the 15 Minutes of Play quilt blocks. I am taking my time with these because they are kind of fun yet challenging. Make-your-own-fabric from scraps and pieces is not always intuitive! Here is the link again to the site.  The book is full of good ideas, and everything from simple to very intricate is illustrated inside.  I keep it simple! I hope to make enough 6" blocks for a quilt about 5x6 feet as usual, and that will keep me busy for quite awhile. One nights hour or two of fun usually nets 6 blocks. Not bad. I do have a lot of scraps. Funny though how you don't even want to use some scraps - they just make you wonder why you kept them. I have to force myself to use them, and when I do they look fine in combo with other fabrics.  I will post pics of several blocks here just to illustrate the fun combos I try to do. I have a lot to go yet, and some blocks work better than others in my mind, but in all I think it will work to an interestingly busy quilt! I try to work on it every week a couple of times, but this week I got one working session.  And yes, you do see a new machine in the background. I heard that there is a possibility that Janome may discontinue the chassis style of the Janome MC6300, Janome MC6600, Elna 720, etc., and I had some downsizing in mind and consolidation of features among my sewing machines, and I had though of buying the Elna 720 at my local dealer for some time. The rumor mill sent me straight out to Smitty's to buy the Elna eXcellence 720. I love my Janome MC6300, and I love my Elna 720.  I am currently selling my Janome MC6300 after much love and such good service! It hurt to take off Hello Kitty stickerage. The Elna has the same measurements and fits into my Gidget II table perfectly and it comes with a large extension table as did the 6300, so that fits right on over as well. It was comfy in its spot in no time at all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oriental Traditions Quilt Finished...Happy!

Over a period of the last two weeks I finally got the quilt finished! I am happy with the results. I love the fabric for the binding, which is the same fabric as the black in the blocks on the right of the quilt. I bought this fabric in a store in Bothell on my trip to Seattle last May, and had it in mind for this quilt at that time. It is black with a lovely speckling of gold.   I did the label with that fabric as well. I think designing the row of blocks was the fun part, and daring to use the whole cloth panel as well. I bought three panels in a row, edged them with blocks and did the free motion quilting. The backing is altogether different. It's a really cute white floral on red that I bought a lot of from Keepsake Quilting when I bought it to make the binding on my Mom's pinwheel quilt. I love it and my daughter loved it and wanted it for her quilt backing, so here it is! :)  I really love these Asian fabrics and want to just sew with them as I go along, but right now I am working on a scrappy quilt in the 15 Minutes of Play mode. Not as fun as I thought, but fun anyway, and rather a learning experience. I do like to take my time, and the next Asian quilt is beginning to take shape in my imagination as we speak. Meanwhile, I love to look at this one!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Asian Quilt Free Motioned...Razzle Dazzle Fun!

I finished the free motion on the Asian Quilt last week. Now I am dragging my feet on making the binding. I will make the binding from the same black-with-golden-sprinkles as featured in the blocks I made for the quilt. I wanted to use Kimono Silk, but that didn't work out. I ended up quilting some with the silk, some with So Fine #50 and some with good old Maxi-Lock. About 75% of the way through, a friend suggested I try a Jeans needle. I had one and put in a 14. The difference was fantastic - that jeans needle seemed to entirely make the Pfaff happy, and on she went with the Maxi-Lock and the Jeans needle. I promptly bought myself a bunch of Jeans needles from Nancy's Notions. I think I will be quilting on the inexpensive side with a lot of Maxi-Lock and Jeans needles. :)

Meanwhile, I needed a break with a short project, and I finally started the Superior University classes with project #101, the Razzle Dazzle mug rugs. I decided to do mine from double sided quilted fabric I had in my scrap stash, and I used Metrosene on the top and hand wound that Razzle Dazzle unto a bobbin and did the bobbin work as directed int he class instructions. I tell you - this was fun! My Janome 6300 loved it, and all went very well. I had to use my own free form patterns of course, couldn't use the ones supplied, as I didn't really care at all for them. I love the results and am very grateful that I signed up for the lessons. I mean I never would even have tried bobbin work without this impetus. Looking forward to learning quite a lot of thread info in these lessons. Good news here - Cindy Needham has a video on using the Razzle Dazzle.