Sunday, November 30, 2014

Butterick 6777 Finished...

Although it took me awhile to finally finish these, they are so easy to make I have no idea why I even thought of buying white cotton half slips or pettipants from Vermont Country Store!  I used the white broadcloth from Joann's that I believe I mentioned in my first post about this pattern. The fit is good, and the time involved is minimal. My two pieces sat there waiting for me to do the deco stitching on the hems. I just did a pale pink deco stitching around the hems to add a little something. I need these two pieces for next summer when I wear a couple of skirts I made that are pretty thin fabrics, so I haven't worn them yet.

The pettipants are an experiment to see if I like them. We did have some thinner waistband elastic so that is what I used in the casings for the waist. One could do it the lingerie way and get special elastic that sews on the outside and has a pretty edging to it. If I like these I may make more. I can picture them in a nice pale yellow. I used Kimono Silk for some of the deco stitching, but had two thread breaks, even though I changed tensions, presser etc., so I changed to the same color in Bottom Line that I happened to have. Truthfully the Bottom Line doesn't look different than the silk, and it sewed problem free.  I had a So Fine #60 pre-loaded Class 15 bobbin in in white.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fall, Thanksgiving and Christmas Place Mats done...

Down to the wire on Thanksgiving Day I finished the Holiday place mats. One side is Fall (Halloween, Thanksgiving, anytime) and one side is Christmas. Both sides are fun Peanuts prints and of course as usual place mat making was fun. I cut them out on Tuesday and sewed them up Wednesday with my Janome MC6300, which is FAST. I used the turn-method. No binding that way. Smaller quilted pieces really lend themselves to that. I used some Warm and Natural Batting left over from a quilt, and then I did FMQ on them. I used the Pfaff for that, as she really does it the most painlessly of any machine I have ever used and I wanted to get this project done for dinner Thanksgiving Day. :) I did two mats Wednesday night and then finished the other four Thanksgiving Day while I cooked dinner. A fun little project.

The pattern was a brown paper pattern I made myself back in about 2003. I have made lots of place mats with it. You get four out of a yard of regular width cotton quilting fabric. So you buy two yards and then a yard of batting between. this time I wanted six place mats so I bought a yard and a half. I used Superior So Fine #50 for the quilting, and I used OMNI and a Class 15 pre-loaded Superior So Fine #60 bobbin for the sewing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Butterick 6777...Cotton Half Slip and More...

Beginning to really need a half slip. Want cotton. So I am using the white broadcloth I bought a bolt of a couple years ago for muslins! It is a nice soft fabric after washing, and is working out well. I find you cannot find patterns for these items easily now days, especially ones for woven fabrics. There are a few in print though. I shopped and found one out of print that has it all and is not too complex. But if you want to shop around, Colette Patterns has the cutest two patterns, and there are more from other companies. So far I cut out and assembled the plain half slip, made it a bit more A-Line, skipped the slit in the side seaming, and have cut out a pettipant version of the tap pants. It will be sort of a half slip in pants. Anyone remember pettipants? It is my plan to finish off the seams, and use a small elastic casing waist.  And then I want to use several deco stitches to embellish the hems. I hope they look pretty.  I did purchase the KWIK SEW Lingerie book for the sewing sequence, and the finishing details. I am so glad I did - what an excellent instruction book even if you do not use the patterns! If you purchase this be sure to buy new so you get the included master patterns. Many used copies will be bereft of the patterns.  I did purchase my copy from AMAZON because it turns out to be less even though the book is more. At the KWIK SEW site the postage is high. But the pattern I am using is the Butterick pictured here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Amazing Pfaff 1222E...

I wanted to do a complete expose of the features of the Pfaff 1222E, since I have enjoyed my machine now for over 35 years. While surfing the web I came upon a really good site with info on the machine, and many comments which have enhanced the information quite a lot since the poster did her first installment on the 1222E.

I am going to make my post shorter because the first thing I am doing is linking to her blog posts! Her first post  covers some basics and her experiences and her update really gets going with the comments and the information that fill out the picture.

The high points I believe are the needle UP that you get with the use of the presser foot lifter and the many many patterns you can make with the stitch patterns in combination.  I have used that about three times over the years.   The Pfaff 1222E was TOL when it came out. I wanted it very much for two reasons. At the time I was sewing on a Kenmore 1602 flatbed machine - nice machine, but I wanted the narrow free arm because I was sewing little children's clothing at the time, as well as doll clothes.

I also was in love with the idea of the newest thing on the sewing block - the MATCHMAKER FOOT!  That was the original name for what is now called Pfaff IDT.  And believe me when we bought the Pfaff it seemed like a whole lot of money and caused me some little guilt but I got over that very very soon. The IDT is the very best thing since the wheel I think.  Note the all metal sturdy IDT on the 1222E.

I never even heard of seams becoming uneven after that, or collars not turning out even. Nope, the IDT solved all those situations with ease.  The fact that there is not a presser foot pressure adjustment is just not relevant at all - I have sewed heavy canvas, light gossamer voile, and everything in between with my Pfaff.  For those who need a manual, there is one now on the Pfaff site.  The free motion quilting this machine does is the best I have seen on any of my machines. It is not thread fussy, and will really remain stable while you toss around a quilt on your sewing surface. I have used thread ranging from Isacord's lightness (which the machine did for me but didn't particularly care for) to heavy 30 weight C&C quilting cotton. The results are always lovely except for my user errors.

The machine has electronic features ranging from the needle UP feature to the variable speed foot control, and it all works incredibly smoothly. I still have the original needle threader on it and it works.  It has needed a couple of replacements of it's smaller nylon-plastic gearing and a new screw in the needle threader but for 37 years I don't think that's very much to have to have had done.  I bought her a Sew Steady extension table and just last week installed ECOLUX lighting. We are a happy couple.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ecolux Part II...

I need to augment the first post about the Ecolux Lighting  with before and after pictures on both machines.

Ceiling lights on and normal room illumination in place.

After I found I could sit and sew at night now without a cluster of OTT lights, I really could not curb my enthusiasm about these lights.

The Janome and the Pfaff are very happy with the new lights, just as am I.

I promise not to wax eloquent any more about these...maybe....

Ecolux Lighting is Worth It...

Last week I finally ordered the Ecolux LED lighting for both my Pfaff and my Janome. One 6 LED full kit and one extra 6 LED strip with connector. The pictures do not really show the full impact of this lighting because they are so bright they cast the rest of the picture into more darkness than exists with the eye in the room. Top photo shows the light strips in place under the harp of the Janome 6300. The strip is thin vertically, so it nests up in there really well.  It adheres with 3M adhesive which is the top of the light strip. You remove the backing and stick it right on the machine, and then the delicate white cord goes right around the back of the machine, and doesn't take up measurable space in the harp at all. two small holders stuck to the back of the machine hold the thin cord which connects to the switch connector which then connects to the power cord which goes to the adapter in (hopefully) your surge protector.

Both the Janome 6300P and the Pfaff 1222E measured within the parameters of the 6 LED set. No sense getting the 3 LEDs unless you want to put them in a very very small machine.  Here you see the Janome 6300P with the LED lights on and the Pfaff 1222E with the LED lights on. I notice that in the pictures the LEDs tend to make the machine's own light look dim, but of course it remains the same. I did not turn on the overhead lights in the room so that the pictures could better reflect the lighting of the LEDs and machine lights.

I wanted to photograph the back of the machine so you could see the attaching of the small holders as well. I am very very happy with these lights. It would seem there are other less expensive ways to accomplish this sort of lighting although for the past two years I have looked at other options out there, I really haven't seen anything that compares aesthetically with these lights. I don't like black cordage, so this suited me just fine. It's kind of an Apple sort of treatment - all white and very delicate, very nicely put together. Yes, I could have put the holders on a bit straighter, but I installed both sets in under ten minutes since I was excited to begin sewing with them! I was able to sew at night a few nights ago which I wouldn't have been doing last week before these lights came. Not having an OTT lamp taking up space behind the machine will be an asset in pushing quilts through as well!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Trio Project Finished...

Finally finished the project from my class at the Vermont Quilt Festival. Trio by Sue Cleveland. I added button embellishments and decided on some more stitching and the beading. The beading was a part of the project example, and since I never did a stick of beading whatsoever in my life I decided to do it - many transferable skills in this project. It is a small wall hanging but has several techniques learned in it - one is piecing very small pieces, one is prairie points and one is the various threads used int he stitching. I used Kimono Silk, Gutermann Sew all, and Wonderfil Spagetti. Spagetti is a great 12 weight thread - beautiful. Size 16 Titanium needle from Superior Threads is best with this thread.  It was a lot of fun to do this, as I never have done anything just for a wall hanging. Not perfect that's for sure, but I am glad I finished this one.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Arrow Tables COTM! Surprise!

August 2014 - I am the Arrow Sewing Cabinet Customer of the Month. Yes, I KNOW! Well, I had said some good words about my tables on Facebook and on over time, and from the FB posts I was asked to be COTM. I was honored. My sewing space is not what you usually see - a lovely well appointed room with space to spare - no, I have a crowded area which I love because it incorporates my CDs, my books and my sewing machines and tables. AND the stashes of various sewing materials.  I will now say more good things about my Arrow tables! They are, most of all, easily repositionable. I move them at will. I also use them for several different machines, and can easily lift out one machine and place another in the well, as well as take out a machine when I need the table space for an extension while quilting a quilt. In addition, these tables are portable in a sense - you can easily fold them. The Gidget I holds most machines, but the Gidget II holds the larger machines, and I use it for my Janome MC6300P.  I do use the ruler feature along the edge of each table. I got my tables over the years from a couple of sources, and they are easily findable online.  Also just as a high note, Arrow sent me a cute little tote bag for the COTM honor. It is really a cute little bag!  I have my heaviest machine, my Pfaff 1222E, in a Gidget one right now, and it sews with almost no wobble. There is some vibration, but so is there in almost any cabinet. The one place I don't get ANY wobble is in my very large, really heavy oak public school teacher's desk that dates back to the 1950s and is NOT a sewing desk anyway.  I do have another sewing table - it is the Sullivan Portable Sewing Table, and is nice but too high! Most sewing furniture is 30" high and I really LOVE the 28" height of the Arrow tables I own. That height is just what I need. In addition, the Sullivan table is a nightmare to assemble - it really is. It's very non-intuitive. With Arrow you just unfold it and turn it upright! ;)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My 15 Minutes of Play Fun....Pattern Free Quilting from Craftsy too!

The book 15 Minutes of Play is so inspirational. Terrifically freeing and fun. But there are quirks to this sort of thing which you learn while trying it out. Victoria Findlay Wolfe is a textile artist, quilter and innovator. I suppose her book is another way of crazy quilting, but approached in a different way, and Victoria's way is the best I've seen. Most quilting or sewing books, good though they are, are not the sort of thing you sit and read through in a couple of sittings. I did this book just like that! She makes you want to run to your scraps and hit the sewing machine to see if you can do it. The photo is my first attempt and I did 8 blocks. Now I think I need to chop up some fabric to keep the pace. It's also the sort of thing you can do between other projects, building a hoard of blocks that you can make into a quilt at some future date. That is what I plan on doing.

I reference the class from Craftsy by Joe Cunningham  in the title of this blog post. His work is amazing. The Craftsy class is Pattern Free Quilt Making and I highly recommend it. I finished it and will be watching again. I watch the classes, don't do projects usually but use the classes for tips and inspirations. The class really ties in with the 15 Minutes a Day as well in his very appealing delivery and techniques. Basically you make the quilt as you go along, pattern and all, and it is a truly innovative approach. Joe is a textile artist for sure, and his work is amazing. So after watching all of his class, and reading the book above, I had to try some of the techniques. They aren't as easy as they look, and it is truly fun to try.

The other project I have in the works is my long-in-the-planning and kind of different Asian fabrics quilt. I love the Oriental/Asian patterned fabrics, and have admired them all my life since my Dad sent both dolls and fabrics home from Japan way back in my early days. I have some Japanese dolls and love the colors and styles of the textiles. I completed the first block of the side panel for the quilt today. There will be a side panel of blocks and a panel design for the rest of the quilt which again - is my own idea and has perhaps the chance of being too different, but we'll see. I think it will work out all right...I do love working with these fabrics.  I did fussy cutting on the middle square, and the other blocks will have different fabric arrangements around but all will have the black fabric with gold flecks on the top of the block.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Another Lutterloh Skirt...

Another Lutterloh Skirt! I actually made two of them from two lovely pieces of poly-rayon from the going-out-of-business sale back several years ago locally. Lovely fabric and I wanted to use it up finally. The other is a print as well, only lighter tan as a background and different print. This is all about using up my garment fabric! I have one 4 yard piece of Amy Butler fabric left. That is earmarked for a bag sometime when I need a bag. At present I need no bag of any size. Vera makes them so much nicer than I can!  But one of these days I will want to make one. These skirts are omni-seasonal, and that is handy.  The serger is the most valuable addition to any garment sewers repertoire. I was thankful to own one for this type of sewing - the hems are just serged and then sewn with a narrow hem on the machine.

There is more to say about quilting plans, but that doesn't belong in this particular segment!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fun Festival Time 2014...

This year's Vermont Quilt Festival was really lovely. In this bunch of pictures are just a few quilt pictures I wanted to share. No real detail, so that the good folks who made these will I hope know I loved their work, and I hope it can inspire others to quilt!

Nothing like a friend to enjoy the show with, and so this year was fine because two friends were able to make it. We did miss some regulars who could not make it this time.
 The colors and the designs were a feast for the eyes!
 Nifty idea - a pieced back with the scraps from the top! Lovely quilt with a lovely back! Thanks for showing it!
 Some design in the zigzag pattern of the displays added to my enjoyment....I love the zigzag black display sheets....with colorful quilts hanging from them. Like passing through a hall of fantastic tapestries on an adventure for a day or two.
 This quilt was my favorite out of all the quilts. Love the design, and the layout of the colors and just the whole thing. Perfectly lovely and very very Oriental in design aspect - clean and linear.
 Longshot of the hall, with people and booth showing - gives you an idea of the scale of the thing.
 A very cheery busy piece this one. :) Loved it!
 ZigZaging around the designs in and out of the corners and colors!
 Another favorite! Zingy sea blue and right next to triangles of a more sedate design....lovely juxtapositioning of the deigns and colors in this show.
One detail of the winning quilt - Best in Show - all silk and just an intricate feast of loveliness....
 Some reds!
 Plain and simple next to a juggernaut of color!
 Susan Cleveland is an excellent instructor and just so much fun to take a class from! A great time was had by all in the Trio class. Here is a detail section from her exhibited quilt in the instructors row. Her work is as vibrant and colorful as she is bouncy and fun!
Cough....last but not haul from the vendor booths. Somehow it all ended up sort of going together! And the good news is I refrained from purchasing a new machine! And that is not easy folks! they all looked so tempting!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Kenmore Blue Mini Ultra rides again...

Isn't that little Blue Mini Ultra cute? Well, I had been using it for a bobbin winder for a year or so now, and I decided to give it a good cleaning and oiling and so on. While doing that I did notice it sews better than I remembered! Maybe it's doing the proper oiling? Ya think?

I decided to buy it a snap on shank so I can use some of the other Janome feet I have, and so I ordered the one I knew to be correct from SewVacDirect. Very minimal price. And that gives the Mini Ultra the wherewithal to use snap on feet. I played with the 1/4" foot a bit, and also the buttonhole foot that snaps, on and the applique foot as well. It is really nice that you can swap shanks. I am pretty sure you can do this on the Janome Sew Mini as well, and that machine, although completely different than this blue one, can then use a few more feet. This Mini Ultra (Kenmore 385.11206) uses vertical feet as it is a vertical bobbin machine. It makes some nice stitches. This is a light machine for taking to a class or just sewing out on the deck or a like place in the Summer breezes. ;) I thought I might use it for some piecing.
Well I'm at it, here is the photo of the jammie pants I made on the Babylock Audrey which features in my last post! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Babylock Audrey goes home...

Seattle Area...Pawn Shop...Babylock Audrey waits in ignominious depression on the bottom shelf out of the way in a shelf unit facing away from view. She's lonely. She hasn't been there very long. In comes a woman looking guessed it...a sewing machine.  This was the scenario last month when I was on vacation out West. I had not much hope of finding a machine that I wanted, but I wanted a computerized machine to use on my trip to family, and I knew from the past that the pawn shop was a possibility.  I had bought a lovely mechanical Elna 2110 five years ago, and I wanted to see if a computerized machine was in the realm of possibility.  First pawn shop - first weekend of the trip. There she was, flanked by a Kenmore 16221 and a Kenmore 16126, both looking pretty good as well, but there - in the middle - a Babylock Audrey?? I was amazed. She looked pretty good, so I picked her up and took her to the counter.
I didn't hesitate because the price was under 200. I asked about her accessories, and the lady seemed vaguely to remember something was in the back. She left and came back in a few minutes with everything that machine had when she was new. Case, accessory feet (it has 8 feet with it) and all the rest, including the extension table and two manuals, all of which fit into the case nicely. Everything was still in the plastic it had come in and the machine and all the parts looked clean and pristine. No one sewed on this machine very much, if at all. I bought it on the spot without even bargaining. When I got it back to the house, I took apart the needle plate and there was no lint in there - to be on the safe side I did add one drop of sewing machine oil to the wick under the bobbin case, and just a teenie drip on the needle bar, revved her up and away we went. During the next two weeks I sewed three pair of casual cotton pants, and mended things from knits to denim. She is a great machine, heavier than advertised and very solid. The thing has so many nice features. Here's a link to the Babylock Audrey website.
The interesting thing is that people keep saying the Singer Featherweight 75 is the same as the Audrey. It is not the same machine. Similar in many ways, but it has a few differences that make it not the Babylock specs for sure since I just did a comparison from what I could see in pictures of the Singer FW75.

Just quickly comparing the Singer Featherweight 75 with the Audrey, listing features on Audrey that are not on the Singer: Different body and harp configuration, Audrey has 8 solid light up selection buttons for stitches commonly used or making it easier to go up to the higher numbered stitches, better button construction, metal not plastic presser foot, different table, different stitches in some cases - Audrey has 8 buttonhole styles while the Singer has 5.  The Audrey is, overall a very nice machine. The only drawback is the small harp size and the curvature of the harp as well. But this is a machine packed with features, and made small for traveling and classes. I like her very much!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Finished Bed Runner...

The bed runner was completed in late April. It was really fun doing it, and I would recommend this type of QAYG project for anyone with scraps and a bit of time! I used a scrap of batting that I had left over too, as well as the backing, and the size was determined by the size of my backing piece. :) I am thinking of doing this technique again for place mats. And it could be done in a pattern of some sort as well, or as a crazy quilt of sorts. I then went on an extended trip, so the next post will be about the sweet little machine I used on my visit to family in the far West. Meanwhile I also got another little Hello Kitty doll (I KNOW) though rest assured I do not collect them. I wanted the one with the cute glasses More of a Hello Kitty like me.  Keeps the sewing room fun as well as crafty!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bed Runner and Hello Kitty...

In a whimsical moment, I really wanted Hello Kitty in my sewing room! And you know, the Janome 6300 is a very plain no-nonsense looking machine. Obviously the only course of action was to get me some stickers! You cannot believe how many different stickers there are out there, but my grocery store had the stickers that really resonated with me. A restrained application of hello Kitty to my sewing machine made me smile. So many smiles that I had to have a stuffed Hello Kitty as well, so look for that in the background in future pictures. OH YES, the bed runner. I am using a tutorial idea from the web - It's Quilt-As-You-Go table runner from Diary of a Quilter and so easy - you lay out the backing and put down your batting, then proceed to sew strips starting at the half way point of the sandwich.  When one side is finished you go to the next side, after turning it over, so you never have more than a half of the runner in the harp of the machine. I used a variety of scraps I already had to do this runner. I hope to use this QSYG method again. I think with some planning you could do a crazy quilt style item this way - a table runner or bed runner or table topper - something not too huge. I just used pins to baste my runner, I didn't use any adhesive as I stay away from adhesive and other sprays - smoothing the piece regularly saves accidents on the back, and the pins are no problem for me. This project was a bridge project from the last larger item to the next larger item. My brain has a dedicated area for thinking about and planning my next larger quilt - Asian (Oriental) fabrics and a different assembly than I have ever done. I may as well say Japanese fabrics because I love the fabrics either from Japan or with Japanese inspired designs. That's all I want to buy any more. But I do have a buildup of scraps and remnants of other modes of design to use up on these projects.