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.

Friday, February 17, 2017

More Brother SE400 FUN...Sewing...


Unboxed and waiting for tryouts!  Why do people leave on those stickers that look like ads? I have no idea, but I removed them. 

First up - sewing. Set it up for sewing and the stitches were as good as any machine I have ever used, including the Berninas I used in classes for two days, or Janomes, Pfaffs or Vikings.  Really does a nice stitch without my changing tensions or anything else. Very impressed. The only accessory I need to purchase is the SA187 free motion/darning/quilting foot, and that's on its way to me at the moment.  I will only do small projects on this machine however, as my Elna 720 is much more a quilting and everything else machine. So - the Brother will be a small project/embroidery machine and I hope it lasts as long as my wonderful Brother 1034D serger! The serger just had a spa day and is in excellent shape after owning it for over 11 years now.  Here is a stitch sample of the Brother SE400.  I was a bit sloppy there with the serpentine stitch, but I was so happy to see it has the true serpentine stitch!  The fabric is a little piece of batting within two layers of muslin here. 

For some time I have looked at Brother machines and read good reviews from people who have low end Brothers, and mid range machines as well as those high priced TOL machines. It made me want to experience the Brother machines. Also, having the little Audrey Babylock at my vacation location was fun. It has many differences from Janome machines, and that was fun to assess and use. As Brother and Babylock are siblings and quite alike, I was always on the lookout for a brother bargain, and getting gift cards sealed the deal!  Here is all the manual/CD included help. You get a lot of manual in this deal! My CD was bad, but it copied to another CD well and it is informative!

That's all for this time, but there will be more!

And Now For Some FUN! With the Brother SE400


Yes! Another machine! With gift cards given me by friends and family over time I have added the Brother SE400 to my sewing room. Thought that I may as well toy with a little bit of embroidery. People tell me I could get in the habit! It's kind of fun. First though I needed to check out the machine functions. Got it on Amazon at a really good price, and wanted to check out all functions in the 30 day return period of course.  Turns out it all works! And well! I am amazed at all that is packed into this baby at the price it sells for. Of course it didn't always sell so low. It is years old as a model and was mid range in the beginning and has proven itself over years of use by lots of folks who have gone on to machines with larger hoop areas.  First a shout out to Kamala who has documented this machine so well on her own site!  Her site was so useful to me and many others I am sure. Also here is a good video on how to use the USB facility to get designs to the machine. The manual is very vague on that, even though the USB has it's own little manual. I found the Burley-Sew video excellent and in passing he mentions the saving of the design to the machine. THAT is the part the manual overlooks.  Once you see it it is easy.   I will be posting more on this machine in future, but for now here are more pictures! 



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Getting there...

It's getting there! Not such a wonderful picture of the quilt top, but I finished it.   Now to pin and quilt - I am going to do walking foot quilting, as I really loved that the last time I quilted.  There is a lot to be said for large scale quilting - even though it has taken me ages to do this one, I think I love the design process and the fabrics so much. Just looking at the fabrics is pleasurable and then taking the time to mull over a design is good therapy. It rests the brain and lets the data process through the tunnels of the mind until something percolates outward.  At the moment the brain is processing a quilt out of old shirts, and maybe that design will spring into consciousness one of these days. That's next.

Meanwhile, retirement is a good thing! I have no trouble with time on my hands, that's for sure. So much to do and think about and read. Read and think. And add this and that to the sewing area and take this and that out.  Next post will cover additions.  I am thinning what I am not going to use or don't want to use, and adding only what I want!   I am in love with Madeira Polyneon.   Glad I took the class last June and had to buy some!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Vintage Ironing Board Tribute...

This is my trusty vintage combo board and iron.  I have another trusty iron, much newer, but also a Sunbeam.  The Sunbeam pictured is a Made in USA model that still works just fine. I had never read the booklet of course, so when it didn't seem to steam correctly I bought another bottom line Sunbeam. THEN I read the booklet. Seems you can clean the steam holes by pushing the little steam setting lever or dial back and forth and guess what?! IT WORKS!!! So....I did that on my old iron and it works too. Then newer Sunbeam is not Made in USA, but works just fine. I love it - it's all white.   I decided to blog my board and irons because of the hype about expensive irons and boards. ALL boards seem too expensive now days. I have to admit I bought my sturdy metal legged, four legged board back in the era of about 1970. This board is a keeper - not wibbly and doesn't have any problems except a squeak that is my fault. I could clean it and oil it one of these days and get rid of that squeak I suppose.   The cover is one of the ones from Joann Fabrics with the measuring tape theme and it really works so well.  Handy for straightening up lines in ironing and in pinning together both garment pieces and quilt blocks. Helps in grain line placement as well. The legs of this board are nice thick metal and there are four of them.  I was inspired to blog about the board, boring as it may be, by a friend who also has a vintage board and who recently posted pics of her refurb of said board. You just cannot get this quality any more without spending a fabulous sum. It never occurred to me to take pictures of my ironing board before. You just never know. HAHA.  You can see in the last picture that I have left on an older cover I bought several years ago with its pad, and added the tape measure cover on over it for the depth of padding. Here is a link to my friend's review on Patternreview.com for her lovely new cover! She links to her picture tutorial on her own site, which is a lovely set of pictures and a really wonderful tutorial!

My blog is hardly that inspirational, but I do think our vintage equipment that still serves and does it well deserves to be highlighted a bit now and then! I will keep my board the Harvest Gold color it came with, as it is so indicative of the age of it's inception.

Don't we vintage ladies have Harvest Gold Tupperware as well? I know I do. As to quilting - I will get back to my Blue Quilt very soon and post a few pictures of the finished quilt top. I do need to purchase the backing and batting. I will, of course, be using Warm and Natural as usual and for this quilt flannel is the backing fabric I choose.I think flannel makes the best quilt backing there is. Warm and comfy and really good for winter as well.