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!