Friday, April 28, 2017

Some Downsizing and decisions about retention...

This is a selection of machines and accoutrements I donated last Winter to a church sponsored sewing class that will rev up this late Spring.  The idea is to give each lady a machine upon finishing a series of classes. The classes will be composed of ladies from a refugee community here, and they have expressed the wish to learn to sew.  This finally catapulted me into parting with four machines, books, accessories and so on.

I waited to post about this because I wanted to see if I had regrets or felt sad to part with any of these machine. I loved them of course, but in the end I have not regretted giving them away because they may be used!  Mostly they sat here.  It also freed me to think about selling a few more! My list is now down to 7 including my serger, one of my DD's Janomes, and one that was my DMIL's machine which we just cannot part with, and which is a lovely old Pfaff 1199 and still works fine.  Donated were the Pfaff 307, Kenmore Blue Mini, Elna 2100, Elna TOP 300. All with accessory boxes, feet, bobbins and assorted other accessories and all with manuals.   All in working order.

I would urge any of you who have multiples sitting around and not being used to donate machines where they can be used. It isn't always easy to find a suitable donation site, but if the occasion arises, give it a thought!  You don't really retrieve much real estate - few square feet, but it is oddly freeing!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Blue Quilt Done...

Blue Quilt is quilted and bound. It's recipient will, I hope, be pleased. :)  I had an inspiration pic which I posted earlier on in the process, and the blocks in mine were 16" blocks. Simple really but took me almost a year. I work slowly. Most of these fabrics are Robert Kaufman Asian fabrics, but some are a line of Batiks I forget the name of. I used OMNI thread from Superior Threads to quilt the quilt and a Superior Threads pre-loaded bobbin for the underside. The back of this is a nice gray small floral pattern flannel from Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I used several of the fabrics from the quilt for binding. :)   I see that the backing is no longer in stock at Missouri Star. Too bad - it is a lovely small floral leaf sort of pattern. It is hard to find nice backing. Now to plan the next quilt! It will be from old cotton plaid men's shirts my son gave me for a quilt. I will add some vibrant red KONA cotton to the quilt for OOOMPH!! Those shirt plaids do not have much in the way of color going for them.  Very subtle!  I do like them though and look forward to making the quilt. Planning on a 9 patch, might be Disappearing 9 Patch - do not know yet. The muse will tell me in about a month or so.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

More Brother SE400 Embroidery Fun...

Some more fun stuff with my machine.  I know nothing I have done is exceptional or new to many of the embroiderers out there but the FUN!  And maybe someone also new to this game will benefit! :)  These above were kitchen towels I just did - two for my daughter's kitchen and one for us.  I love the red work!  And you don't have to change threads. Yes, I am working up to changing thread colors. Soon people, soon.  Meanwhile I have fallen in love with Embroidery Library. SO many designs and such nice freebies every month as well as good sales.  I have purchased a few, but really have to watch myself. My need now is for something to embroider on. I have never really been much for the bling or embellishing, so useful items will be what I look for. :) And with a 4x4 field there are still a lot of things to embroider! Here is a photo of the package of towels I bought at Joann Fabrics.They also have a few more styles and one of these days I am getting more.  I also experimented with the alphabets on the machine. It has four alphabet fonts, upper and lower case and numbers etc., but they are not sewing stitches, they are in the embroidery location.  In addition there is a built in very nice monogramming font which has larger and smaller settings, as do the rest of the embroidery patterns, including the builtin four font sets.  I experimented with my name, and it seemed to come out well. I could position it better.  I expect that to come with practice.  When I have something amazing, I will post the picture! HAHaaa...

Meanwhile I am slowly getting my Blue Quilt quilted.  Pictures will follow when that project is done. After that I am starting on an old fashioned  pieced squares quilt made out of a collection of shirt fabrics my son gave me - it will be a quilt for him.  I will add solids out of my stash and maybe buy some red to set the squares off a bit.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Superior University Fun Again...

Having the time for fun is great!  I revved up my Superior University subscription again, and finally got around to the little hedgehog pincushion. I picked the wrong fabric. I picked a soft flannel, so the deco stitching being a wide stitch was a teenie bit distorted by the fabric stretching as it sewing. Next time stabilizer or a firm fabric. BUT, this was not only a fun piece, but a chance to use the Brother SE400's cache of sewing stitches! On a firmer fabric they are perfect.  My hand sewing skills are not the best at any time, so his little eyes, nose and ears could be much more professional looking, but he is cute anyway! Here you see him sitting on one of my practice pieces for free motion quilting.   

Meanwhile sitting around last night reading the Brother SE400 manual I found out that it stops sewing when the bobbin is too low! How cool is that? Another great feature of it's sewing. You really do have to read manuals on these computerized machines from Brother because they do so many things - you can either just use as all the defaults already there or you can change a great many settings in the machines memory for every use and then cancel them out again later on. Many settings abide after the machine is turned off until you decide to reset and save them again.   This sort of thing is usually found only on the more expensive machines in other brands. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

And Then We Embroider...on the Brother SE400...

Setting up for embroidery is pretty simple, but it took me awhile because I was extremely nervous as it was my first time ever at machine embroidery.  Luckily I had bought a small set of Madeira Polyneon Thread last year from Nancy's Notions for that class on free hand embroidery so I knew I had good thread! I had the one piece of pre-stabilized felt from Brother that came with the machine, so I used that. I wanted the butterfly since I first saw the advertising for this machine. :) It is programmed for blue, but I used a lavender that I love. Blue isn't my favorite color.
Took me awhile to hoop that felt with stabilizer but finally I got it and we started - I followed the directions meticulously and it all worked - it really is fun to watch the machine stitch out a design. Between watching and running out telling the family "Oh you should see THIS!" I was thrilled!!  One son wanted to watch and we were both amazed. Since this was a one color design there were no other colors to add. So - next time it needs to be a multicolor design. The Brother manuals are always so well detailed, but sometimes there is just a little something you should have been told that you cannot find. A few YouTube videos and you are on your way.  They do tell you to hold the thread just for a few stitches when you start, which is rather like quilting, so I did. Then you stop and clip the thread and go on your way. :) Here is a video of the machine - from YouTube - not mine - the loudness is most likely from the closeness of the mic to the machine - yes, the machine makes noise - partly die to heavily stabilized fabric, and then there are the little repositionings the machine makes, but it isn't this noisy - however her video is excellent.
Some videos do not do this, but they should!
All in all I love the machine. I feel I got a machine that turned out far better than I thought it even might!  It is stable, sews a very good stitch, and embroidery turns out to be a lot of fun. I looked on Amazon tonight and there are only third party sellers selling this machine, however Amazon has the embroidery only machine, the 525 which much resembles this machine. And right now it's a really good price! I know as time goes on this information will be old, a quick Google and you should be able to find one of this family of Brother machines near you at a good price. I am so glad I bought it. It will be a lot of fun over the next several years. The next project I am going to do on the Brother will be a quilted greeting card.  It is part of the Superior University Course which is a lot of fun as well! As I move along in those lessons I will post them here because that is another plan for the year - to move along in those Thread classes from Superior University.