Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Getting Some Stability Back In My Life

Lots of sewing lately and I feel like some sewing posts, so prepare yourselves. I suggest a hot drink with a candy cane stir stick. The candy softens nicely for chewing and the drink seems happier too.

I've had these embroideries from Embroidery Library (Christmas Boutique) for some time and they seemed like the classic sort of thing I might like for me. So I made me 4 new cushion covers. I like the idea of redressing the couch cushions from time to time. No one likes to wear the same thing every day.

I have A LOT of a raw linen that I used for the family room curtains. It's a huge bolt I got for nothing at an auction. Perfect for these cushions. I've been right into embroidery lately, but lower stitch count and lighter cloth. Time to experiment and figure some things out!

What stabilizer to use? It's a cushion, so let's err on the side of caution and go with a cut away that gets left in. It won't show and the stitch count is high (80,000+).

First I went with a semi fusible mesh.  You fuse it but it peals back off for trimming. I hooped a light tear-a-way and then basted (in embroidery mode) the fused fabric to that.

The linen has some good beefiness and I noticed that the embroidery foot was actually 'massaging' it as it stitched. Fabric got pushed around. Between that and the high stitch count I had some rumples. I had seen this before when stitching on knits, and had used a wash-a-way topper with some success. This might have helped the foot to glide better over the heavy texture. Raising the pressure foot pressure might have been an idea, but I didn't go either route (this time).

Now because the linen presses and steams so well I was not worried as I figured it would press out. (It did.)

But I had 4 cushions and room to experiment. Next I tried Whisper Web mesh and a light tear-a-way. This basically gave me the same result. Time to rethink, methinks! Cushions 3 and 4 got heavier tear-a-way and a stitch point cut away. Lots of oomphy stabilizers! Better results but still a bit of rumpling. Barely noticeable however and probably hard to avoid when you have heavily stitched areas surrounded by open fabric.

Next let's assemble the little darlings. The last thing I need right now is another UFO.


Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Playing Chess With Thread Spools

Big embroideries are easy to do until you are lulled into an air of complacency by the mindlessness of thread changes and bobbin refills. Just as everything is going oh so well, you forget what thread comes next.

Well, you don't forget so much as lose track of the substitutions you made, because no one in real life has all those colours in the one brand listed by the embroidery company. No One! Plus, who embroiders only when the shop (preferably located next door) is open and having a really big sale. We buy when we can. We make do when we can't.

I have threads from 3 big companies and a few orphans that looked cute at the time. I hate comparing thread charts and just exactly what is one to do when even the thread conversion programs can do some but not all of your needs? I eyeball the computer screen and throw caution to the winds. My colour choices are therefore not great but there's only so much tedious stuff this girl wants in her life.

So I finally got around to making a draft version of a thread red carpet. It worked fairly well so I may have to design and produce a more formal one in the new year. I pulled up the list of threads required for a cushion embroidery (15) and the thread change chart (28). It's not enough that I have to make substitutions but the substituted thread then has to reappear at the right time. I needed a mindless way to make that happen.

I took an old cutting board and flipped it over. I used a 2" grid and created a board of about 30 little boxes - numbered sequentially. Then as I decided which of the threads I do have was to make an appearance I placed them on their numbered grid. You are left with lots of unfilled boxes where threads need to make an encore performance. As I embroidered and finished with a thread I checked for its next position and placed it on the correct grid box or in the holding area for the next embroidery. You can see below that thread 1 is on the machine and that many of the first 12 threads will make a second appearance on the grid after they finish their first round.

Now the thread in my hand did not (ever!) match the thread colour listed. I just referred to the colour number for that round and looked for the same colour number in a future position. I have to say it actually worked. Also, as all my colours were on the board together before I began I could note any glaring colour issues - like a green that just didn't look like it would get along with the other colours on the board.

I did not anticipate the attraction of this tool as a cat toy. You may want to take precautions. It can be devastating.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

A Sewing Mystery

Yesterday we bought a family year long pass to the provincial museums. Great deal, and we plan to do lots of day trips to check them all out. Today we went to the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro. We took a guided tour of Wasson's Bluff dinosaur digs. There were 3 of us and 2 guides. It was a lovely day at the beach with lots of attention and information.

Pleasant drive interrupted by a stop at the Masstown Market for snack and a fruitful visit to the antique shops in Great Village. Wow! have they ever tidied those up and the displays are lovely. Well worth a visit. I saw several sewing machines and picked up this little mystery. It has few identifying markings to my eye. There are a few scratchings on the face plate. It's missing its shuttle and bobbin (I think). I usually prefer to buy only machines I have a hope of using but this one was really new to me and that makes it interesting, eh? If anyone can help me figure this one out I would greatly appreciate the help. Maybe that says The Lockman? 1860? But I don't see markings anywhere else.

Friday, 1 June 2018

We have cats. 2 lovely Bengal cats arrived in November and have been training us ever sense.  Currently we bough Princess Leia a new toy, so I took this opportunity to wash her current arsenal of fetching mice. The girl fetches! With enthusiasm!

They have been and continue to be intensive. They were around a year old when we got them. She was 8 months, had just weaned her first litter and was pregnant with her second. Didn't know about the pregnancy, That popped up when we had them both fixed. She was just started, so I think it worked out well in the end. She had also been sleeping with her brother. Neither of them knew, and we haven't told them. So embarrassing! And not their fault. Some people are not cat worthy.

They had been living in a small apartment with 2 pieces of furniture and high, small windows with no ledges. Therefore they fell down the stairs for the first few days and were amazed by space. We have space.

The first few months saw a lot of bloodletting and skin exfoliation. Bengals are very physical cats with fierce independence and a need to burn off energy. They were not in the least social. As we told visitors - 'They bite, and they scratch. With intention."

So why are they still here? They are the most lovely, entertaining and dedicated cats ever! We do nothing in the house without close, constant supervision. Ollie can unpin my sewing faster than I can, and he is so proud! He distributes sewing notions about the house and has been seen carefully depositing them in my handbag or DH's lunchbag. They chase anything, especially flies. They talk, they indicate their needs with 1 small claw carefully placed on your calf, they now cuddle and will endure being picked up for at least 20 seconds. Sometimes. They are smarter than any cats I've ever know, and I've know some really great felines. We are truly in love with these cats.

Now Ollie was quite aggressive and active when we got him. Dh researched cat wheels and tried to order one, but they were badly backordered. He had to tackle the chore himself and accomplished the task in amazing fashion! We were worried about Ollie knowing what to do. DH brough it in the house and Ollie hopped on before it was in place or installed. Now the lap counter tells us how much he loves it and he has calmed so much. He has a need to be admired when loping along and gets off the wheel for pats regularly. Also, like a 2 year old he watches us closely to see if we are watching.

Here they are, about to jump each other again. I had to make a think bedspread so we have some protection at night. Now that they have learned to cuddle they will crawl under this and then attach any moving toe they find. Life is more complicated now.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Irene Gets a Table

Just got back from a family wedding in Fort Myers, Florida. Always interesting to put family together in the same condo. We had a great time, and the wedding was beautiful! My nephew is such a sweet guy and he's found his princess, so all is well.

Fort Myers has a lot of damage from the hurricane, but they seem to be putting it back together with a positive spirit. We went to a Tampa/Detroit hockey game. Excellent! Saw some museum stuff and help a cute alligator named Marshmallow. Had quite an adventure on the return flight. I had to bring back my running career in the TO airport to get from one flight to another. West Jet handled it well in the end. I appreciate that, but someone somewhere dropped a few balls to put us in the crazy position we were in. I think my BIL is now on a terrorist list. That's not something I saw coming.

I have had my new Pfaff icon (Irene) for a few weeks and it has been an emotional experience! I love it. Pure, simple love. I spent 2 days just pushing buttons. I didn't even thread it. It is so easy to use, can do so much and has everything I could imagine. It uses texting to keep me up to date on what it's doing. It is wifi connected, updates itself and transfers designs with wifi. And it truly threads the needle all by itself. Hands free! When you have 25+ thread changes on an embroidery, that makes a difference.

But it's my DH who has really made this experience a little more emotional that needed. I tore apart my sewing room and spare bedroom (other fabric storage room). There are stacks all over the house. I want my sewing space to be laid out right. At one point he could not go to bed without crawling in from my side. His reaction was to insist I get it right and take all the time I need. Wow, eh? It's still a mess, but coming into shape. Wonder how far I can stretch his patience?

We bought a table for the icon yesterday at Ikea. I had checked out the possibilities and took DH along for the final decision. Good thing. I had a height for the table in mind. We found lots of good possibilities in the desk area but also discovered desks that go up or down for the new standing desks. There was one possibility with a lovely crank to raise and lower the desk from 27" to well up in the air. It was just a bit too tall with the machine sitting on top. We went with a hydraulic lift table that starts down at 22". Amazing! I can adjust that baby to exactly the right position with one finger. I do like to embroider standing up. Not I can do it without stressing my back, and that has been a problem. DH also picked me up a perfect chair that cuddles my back and lets my feet hit the floor. I am feeling so spoiled by this sewing room and its support staff. Why did I need him for this? Because like most women I know I can't spend money on myself without trying to economize and 'make do'. It's good to have someone take you through the criteria without allowing economic digression. Sometimes it just makes sense to do things right.

I haven't been including pictures in this blog for some time. My dear iPhone Lucille is now about 8 years old and increasingly she cannot provide the latest apps or handle pics when needed. She couldn't do the West Jet app. She couldn't get me parking in Florida and had trouble with maps. Now there is a sewing app she can't handle. I am devastated, but she may be on her way to retirement. I will inquire this week about an upgrade. I do not understand why a perfectly good phone has been forced into retirement, but the writing is on the wall.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Everyone is Partying!

I had 2 female and 1 male birds walk through the yard later. They looked so scraggly I emailed a picture to my BIL for identification. He (the former hunter) didn't recognize them either. Well they were back today. Now that they have recovered from whatever party that was, they are actually pheasants. Truly unrecognizable the other day! Feathers in every direction, zombie walk - bizarre looking birds.

I have a cantaloupe in the garden! It was hidden under the strawberry plants, so as you can imagine it's not all that big. However I have it nicely sunbathing on a dry bed of leaves now, and I plan to cover it with a little blanket tonight. This is an event!

Have you been to Superstore lately? I pull up to the milk fridge, open the door and I hear mooing in the background. At first I thought it was the guy reloading the shelves, but after 3 more door checks I realized it wasn't him - it was cued by the door opening. I have to point this out to the woman down the aisle. We giggle. Along comes another woman who sends us to the egg fridge to hear the chickens clucking. How absolutely wonderful!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro 2

This post is about a sewing machine I am selling. Forward to anyone who might be interested. Trash it if you aren't. Thanks!

I am selling my 1 year old Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro 2. When I bought it I knew that a newer model would be coming out this October and that it would probably be just my cup of tea. Indeed it is, and I want to upgrade. I am perfectly happy with this machine, but I am in a position I won't always have to take advantage of the new machine.

I also took better than average care of this machine, as I knew I would probably want to sell it. I work at a Pfaff dealership and have access to people who really know what they are doing. This is one pampered machine.

Before you take ownership I will have the machine cleaned and tuned up professionally (value of $125). I will either give you lessons myself or provide lessons at the dealership. Your choice. Lessons usually involve two 3 hour sessions, but the dealership is always open to any questions or problems that come up.

I have a number of extra items to include with the machine, which came well equipped in the first place.

I have a Sew Steady extension table (value of $120.00). It is made for this model and slides in place to provide a flat, supportive surface.

I have a roller case for the machine (value of $300.00). It handles well and the Embroidery case will fit over the handles to make them a single pull.

The new machine has different bobbins (don't they always) so I am throwing in a LOT of extra bobbins. Threaded or not - your choice!

One treat I won't mention here, but will discuss with serious enquiries only. Huge advantage to the new buyer!

I have 69 hours registered on the machine at this time (no, I will not stop using it while you think things over!)

Here on the Pfaff site you can check out this machine. Some of the things that I find appeal to me would be:

  • cutwork needles included (yes, you can embroider a hole!)
  • over 700 stitches - love the ones that stitch sideways! Love the ribbon stitches! Love the ability to keep favs in memory just the way you like them, love the ability to alter or even create new stitches with Stitch Creator
  • Best buttonhole I've ever used. The foot plugs in and there is a huge variety of perfectly balanced buttonholes to chose from.
  • Straight stitch and zigzag plate included
  • 3 hoops that cover pretty well any job you need done. There are specialty hoops available, but you have what you need.
  • 9 mm wide stitches  - why yes, I did say 9, and then it will even go further -sideways! This gives you about 30 needle positions. Snuggle up to that seam exactly where you want.
  • IDT Which is why I am Pfaff girl. That built in walking foot is so nice! If I forget to pop it back on after embroidery I notice right away. It makes your fabric feed so much more smoothly and all layers travel together over the feed dogs. No drag.
  • Top of the line embroidery. Fast, accurate, a thread system that handles any thread beautifully! You get the best sewing machine Pfaff has made with a better thread delivery system because of the embroidery capability. 
Take a look. Contact me through comments below if you want more information.