Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Congratulations Alex . . . .

This is Alex. My first Grandchild. I guess first Grandchildren are always a little special. Alex surely was and is. He was a delightful child, full of curiosity and energy; just about the sweetest little boy you could ever imagine. (I hope I don't sound too prejudiced!) The top picture is Alex at 17 years of age, all grown up and dressed in his first tux, going to his first big prom. Saturday, he graduates from High School in Greensboro, NC. That's where I'll be all week, bursting with pride and enjoying my visit with my Son and his family.
Congratulations, Alex! Well done! Now it's off to the University of North Carolina and Engineering School. I keep wondering . . . where has the time gone?! It went much too fast. See you all next week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

How Big is YOUR stash??! Question of the week

A few weeks ago I was talking with Trisch, the sweet lady at my local sewing center, where I hang out a lot. She was telling me about the garage sale she had last spring. She needed to make space in her sewing room, and garage. Well, after she had gone through everything she wound up with 60 bags of fabric for her sale! Boy, am I sorry I missed that garage sale!

The question of the week is, how big is your stash? Small, big, on the moderate side, or absolutely enormous? How old is some of this fabric? I have some pieces that are over 20 years old and, most likely, will never part with them. Do you, like me, have a co-dependant relationship with your fabric? I must face the fact that I will probably never live long enough to use it all.

Well, how big is your stash?? We'd love to know!

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

My First Custom Order for Etsy

How exciting! My first custom order for my Etsy Shop. Glad it's finished. You know Murphy's Law can take over at any time during a project. Fortunately for me, it all went without too much trouble. (Well, not too much anyway.) The customer liked the shape of the bag, but preferred a different fabric. So she chose this great Amy Butler "Lotus" fabric. I can see why Little Amy is so hot right now. It's lovely.

It's a great feeling when someone thinks your work is something special. Keeps you keepin' on! That's what sewing does for me. It always makes me feel good when I finish a project I can take pride in. Don't get me wrong, I've had my share of bloopers, but with each disaster you learn something new. You get a different perspective, a new idea, pick up a new trick, and lo and behold, you've got a winner. I almost hate to see this one go. I learned a lot about inserting grommets. Always a pain in the neck before, I've found a slick little gadget that makes it a snap. I'll post a little blog about this gadget on another day, so stay tuned.

I'd like to know what you think, so please comment. Have a happy Sunday.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

So You Want to Buy A New Sewing Machine

Believe it or not, my Mother had one of these beauties. This little hand crank model was used for about 4 years, until she could afford a "real" sewing machine. I learned how to sew on this little cutie. We sewed garments, mended clothes, and produced some of the loveliest doll dresses you could imagine. This purchase was made in the early 1940's, and we considered it a real treasure. (I told you I've been around for a long time!). Mom purchased it from the Salvation Army Resale Shop, and it probably cost all of $2.00. Our machine didn't have a fancy case like this one, it just had tiny little legs and it sat on the tabletop. My guess is it weighed in at about 20 lbs. Boy, we've come a long way Baby!

The I'm taking this little jaunt down memory lane, because I want to give you some hints that I think will help you in your quest for a new sewing machine. I don't want you to get stuck with something like the rare old Singer pictured above; a machine that's antiquated, and with very little else to offer except a straight stitch, and a zig-zag.

So you've decided to go shopping and purchase a new sewing machine! Whoa! Let's just do a few things before we head out the door. Let me tell you that your research will require a few trips, maybe several, until you find the right machine for you. Before you head out, talk to your sewing friends. Ask them what brand of machine they have and why they like or don't like it. Do they do the same type of sewing you're going to be doing etc.,etc.,? Write out a list of questions you may want to ask the Dealer/Salesperson about the machine.

This is an important point. You will need to determine how much of a sewing machine you should buy. Are you just going to do the basic stuff, like fixing ripped seams and hemming jeans? Or do you want to go further, and maybe start garment sewing, or quilting, or draperies or bridal wear, maybe machine embroidery? Your answers to these questions will help you determine how many of the bells and whistles you'll want on your machine. Not only is it important for you to buy what you need, and maybe even a little beyond, but it's also good for your pocket book.

O.K. So, we've talked to our friends, we're armed with our wish list and questions, we put on our coats and comfy shoes, and head for the door. We Leave our Credit Card at Home! Hello! Impulse buying is not an acceptable behavior here. Next, we head to A Dealer/Sewing Center! We Do Not go to a big box store! Why? Because the big box stores haven't a clue about sewing machines. The clerk just sells what's stocked on the shelves. If you had a question or a problem with the machine, you wouldn't be able to ask a soul. There is no servicing. Need a repair? Forget it. You'll have to pack it up and send it to some service center in New Delhi! You'll be frustrated with the machine, and it will wind up on a shelf or in your next garage sale. Money down the drain.

So, you go to the Dealer/Sewing Center and you talk to the owner/salesperson and explain the type of machine you want. (You did remember to bring your wish list and questions didn't you?) After listening to your wishlist, the owner/salesperson will gently direct you to a machine that will suit your needs and maybe have a few extras. Sit down, relax, and get a demonstration. Watch how the machine performs, the steps it takes to get a particular stitch or technique done. Now, you tell the owner/salesperson you want to try it. They'll be happy to let you play. Don't be embarrassed or timid. It's your money, and you want to spend it wisely. Sit behind the wheel and test drive it! Test the stitches, test the button holes, refer to your questions, and see if it all feels comfortable to you! If it doesn't, say thank you and leave. Repeat this step as many times as necessary.

Stitch quality and ease of operation is very important. The learning curve shouldn't be confusing and time consuming. The dealer should provide you with free lessons, regardless of how much the machine costs. Ask the dealer if they do their own repairs, or if they farm them out to a third party. The fact that you can talk to the in-house service person and discuss the issues you may be having, is a definite plus. When repairs are sent out to a third party, you rarely can speak with the person who did the repairs, and you may wind up bringing the machine back several times. Nothing is more frustrating than a machine that has mechanical issues. The "issues" always seem to happen when you're in the middle of a deadline project, like your daughter's wedding gown! A good quality, reliable sewing machine, makes any project you tackle easier, and the end result so much better. Last, but not least, make sure you get a warranty. Even if you buy a good used or refurbished sewing machine, the dealership should give you some kind of a warranty. Be sure you get one and that you understand it.

I'm a firm believer in buying the best sewing machine you can afford. Even if you wind up with more bells and whistles than you feel you'll ever need, you'll never regret it. You'll enjoy your sewing adventures more, and feel encouraged and excited to go on to more challenging projects.

Hooray! Your research has paid off! You've found the perfect sewing machine! Congratulations! I've babbled on I know, but I sincerely want you to be happy with your purchase. I want you to enjoy your sewing experience, and expand your sewing knowledge. I want you to enjoy the creative process and revel in the accomplishments, and the compliments. And lastly, I want you to pat yourself on the back for being a very savvy shopper!

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Dream Machine . . . .

Since I posed the question in my first blog, I thought I'd better let you all know about my dream machine~ My Pfaff 2170, which I purchased last January. I'm really thrilled with it. I've been a Pfaff user since the early 1970's (o.k. so I've been around for a long time). In 1986 I purchased the Pfaff 1471 which was Pfaff's first real "computerized" machine. I've used this machine consistently, until I purchased the new Pfaff last year. The 1471 was (and still is) an amazing machine, and a real work horse. Seekers on Ebay snatch them up like crazy. I'll probably never part with it, and will keep it as a backup.

The 2170 has all of the bells and whistles that anyone could ask for, including machine embroidery which I love. The stitch quality is excellent, and of course the wonderful IDT foot helps with any task. Pfaff was the originator of the IDT technology, and the reason I purchased the Pfaff way back in the 70's. One capability I wish the 2170 had, is to be able to upload my machine embroidery designs directly to the Pfaff with a memory stick. This feature is now available on the new Creative Vision, which costs several thousand dollars more than my budget would allow. I guess it will have to be a feature I learn to live without.

I love this machine, and it's a joy to use. It has many wonderful features, far too many to list here. If I piqued your interest, you can go to the Pfaff website and read about this machine, and many other models they manufacture.

Even though my 2170 is a great machine I'll admit sometimes, when I look at those higher priced machines, I'm still shamelessly guilty of sewing machine envy.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

And what do you drive??

Hi everyone and welcome. I thought to get us started it might be fun to have some comments on the types of sewing machines we all use. Since most of us sit behind the "wheel" every day, we've certainly made a list of our likes and dislikes, and "if onlys". If you're like me, your sewing machine is like your right arm, and you go through "withdrawl" if you just can't get to it for a few days. So get the ball rolling, and give us a "review" of that great, or not so great machine!

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