Friday, December 16, 2011

I promise i'll shut up about this soon

I just wanted to show this adorable little kitty that I just did on the new machine.  I just wanted to try something and it was one of the preloaded patterns.  Maybe i'll make a dress for one of the dolls out of this piece.

It's not easy to see that there are 4 colors in the design (light's pretty crappy at 9:30pm) - the background is all filled in with white, that's not just the fabric, then there's beige, grey and black.  It worked like a real charm!  I've already emailed a picture to my mom! (even though she won't see it till she gets to work on Monday!)

Apparently the Amazon warehouse is like a mile from my house

I don't know how else my sewing machine was able to get to my house this afternoon!  What?  I'm not complaining, mind you.  

She's amazing!  First I just sat down with the big honkin' manual, then i wound a bobbin and threaded the machine and did a little test sewing.  Love. it.  ok, for those of you with electronic machines, i'm sure all of this is like "duh Chris, that's what sewing machines do" but i've been using a Kenmore machine that I bought back in high school or college - it's been so long i don't even remember.  It was fine, but this is amazing.  it can be programmed to automatically back stitch at the beginning and ends of seams.  It will cut the thread for you.  whaaaa?  yep, it pulls both threads to the back of the work and then neatly cuts them before you even touch the piece to take it away from the needle (which will automatically stop in an up or down position - which ever you like.)  All these years I've been using little scissors like an idiot.  and then doing that thing where you pull the bottom thread to get a little loop of the top thread on the back side, then pulling it through with the tip of a pin, and if I feel like doing what my grandma taught me, tying the two threads together.  unbelievable.  It all seems so inefficient now.  I haven't done any embroidery yet - i had to leave it to make dinner and do a little holiday candy making, but I'm making a quilted pillow for my mom this weekend so it'll be getting some use in terms of sewing.  the preprogrammed embroidery patterns are pretty gawd awful - i might put a scrolly "C" on a cardigan or something though!  The pair of parrots, and cross stitched boy with wheelbarrow that come programmed on the machine... those will never be used.  seriously?  I did find this site though with all kinds of cool machine embroidery patterns for download, so I see some cutie apron pockets or kitchen towels in my future!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My parents rock!

I'm getting something for my birthday that i'm wildly excited about even though i've never really wanted it before:  This Brother sewing machine with embroidery capability!!

I'm pretty sure I've consciously thought that I didn't want an embroidery machine because all I could picture was middle aged women with embroidered Disney character sweatshirts, and whatnot.  However, I was talking to my mom about the western shirt I made for Billy and I'm not even sure who brought up the embroidery machines, but I told her there was no way because they were thousands of dollars.  As we talked I googled "embroidery machine" and saw one for just over $300 so I thought maybe they'd come down a lot in price since I'd last looked.  The more we talked, the cooler it sounded, and she told me I should look into it and that they could get it for me for my birthday!  This was pretty shocking - the last I remember, my birthday price range was about $50.  I did some research that night and found out that this Brother SE400, combination computerized sewing machine/embroidery machine was the only one on the market in the $350 price range and I read a bunch of reviews from owners who said it was a good beginner embroidery machine (only a 4x4 size capability) and intermediate sewing machine.  For the price, it seems like a cool way to see if I have fun with the embroidery, and also get a snazzy new machine with bells and whistles that I haven't had since that unfortunate event with the electronic Singer I ended up sending back.  Since then I've fallen really hard for my old 1930's Singer (whom I call Alice) which is pretty much the opposite of everything I'm saying about this new machine.  However, the idea of a new machine is really floating my boat right now - probably because it's being offered as a gift!  So anyway, I got back with my mom the next day and told her about this machine and where I could get it, etc. and she said "ok.  we can definitely get you that for your birthday!  go ahead and order it!"  I'm kind of flabbergasted!  I even asked to make sure she wasn't delirious from her recent cold!  My parents have always been very frugal and don't wildly throw around gifts, and maybe $350 doesn't sound like much, but for a birthday gift it's definitely outside the realm of what I'm used to!  My mom is just SO supportive with any crafty thing I do, which I just love her for.  I ordered it today - it ought to be here before Christmas even!!  Whee!!  i'll keep you updated!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I took a vacation day on Friday so that I'd have a three day weekend to get some work done on Christmas projects.  Because everyone on my team at work has to travel for the holidays, I knew I'd be stuck working right up to Christmas so I decided I needed a couple 3 day weekends to get on track.  I sewed up a storm on Friday and today and I made some great progress!  I made this denim western shirt for Billy and I'm pretty damn proud of it, if I do say so myself!  It's much more involved than the usual instant-gratification projects that I tend to make for myself.  However, it was pretty straight forward when I sat down to put it together.  I think, sort of like with knitting, the hard part is getting enough experience so that the terms and jargon are familiar - after that it's just doing what the instructions say to do.  I did a bunch of measuring against his existing shirts and I think this should fit well (fingers crossed) - just hope he likes it!

Because the denim is dark, its hard to see the details, like the yoke and the pearlized snaps - but you can see them a little in this shot.  I think it's pretty snazzy!

Then, for my niece, who's big into Japanese stuff, I made this kimono-ish robe.  I figure she can wear it as an actual robe, or as dress up.  That tie around the neck is just the belt.  It's got a few imperfections because slippery fabric is harder to work with, and because I just didn't feel like doing a bunch of ripping and resewing for something that might get worn during water balloon fights or trampoline-ing.  I think she'll still like it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cyber Monday got me

It's this time of year when I start not wanting to go to any stores for anything - like sometimes I wonder if I should just get a box of dried milk and hunker down so I don't even have to venture to the grocery store.  It's all the crazy Christmas shoppers.  Other times though, it's kind of exciting to be in the hubbub.  Right after Thanksgiving though I was not thinking it'd be exciting and when I realized I didn't have enough interfacing to make the shirt that I was working on, and JoAnn's was offering free shipping for $35 orders, I just ordered it online, which seems pretty silly considering how close the JoAnn's stores are, but still...  Interfacing, of course, doesn't cost $35 so I bulked up my order with a bunch of paint for Billy's stocking and for some reason I got this sparkly yarn because sparkles just seem appropriate for this time of year and I was envisioning a sparkly woven scarf.  

Then, on Cyber Monday, I broke my yarn diet because Knitpicks was having a sale and I noticed so many colors of Telemark listed as "last chance" that I started fearing they were going to discontinue the line.  I have no idea if that's true, but I bought up 2 skeins each of a bunch of colors and then also got some Merino Style and 3 skeins of Chromoa because I pictured that too as a woven scarf (I love to weave self striping yarn because it makes a cool plaid and I thought the slow color changes would look super cool!  do i need another plaid scarf?  that's beside the point.)  When I took these two big bags out of the box, i was like "whoa!" It was a bit more than I expected.  Jeepers.