Friday, July 29, 2011

Scrapbusting...ch-ch-changes...

A while back, I set out to organize my overflowing scrap piles and fill some scrappy project bins with properly pruned little bits that are just waiting to "be someone."

Pruning scraps is very gratifying...especially if you have a good DVD or book-on-CD to listen to.   :o)

Well, now some of my scrappy project bins are overflowing!  Time to do some SERIOUS chain-piecing and get some units and blocks stitched up!

One thing that has stopped me from doing all this is my sewing machine.  Honestly, my sewing machine is a piece of crap.  I used to think that a sewing machine was a sewing machine...since I pretty much just use it to sew straight, why spend a lot of money on one?!? 

Ten or so years ago when my childhood Singer started wearing out (a 1970 "Genie" model...back when Singer was REALLY Singer...), I blindly (and stupidly) bought another Singer.  It was one of the "Quantum" models and it turned out to be a truly horrible machine (Singer is no longer Singer...).  I paid about $500 for it, which seemed like a lot of money to me at the time...my daughter was a toddler and I no longer worked full time.  It had some bells and whistles, and I blamed my immediate disappointment with the machine on the fact that it was new and fancy and I just wasn't comfortable with it yet.

Ten years later, experience has not made up for the fact that the machine is poorly lit, the throat plate "eats" the corners and edges of piecing units and "leaders," it doesn't feed well or evenly, winding the bobbin is awkward, it is clunky and noisy to use, it "walks" across the table when I am using it, there is limited room to manipulate what I am sewing, the buttonhole stitch is horrible, the foot pedal has a "delay," the tension is never correct, and the walking foot is huge and sounds like I am killing the machine when I try to use it.

And that describes its BETTER qualities!

And don't get me started on my attempts at free motion machine quilting...

Anyway, I have been paying attention to what other people sew on and I've been listening to them complain and praise various machines.  I just purchased a Janome Memorycraft 6600.  I am in love...

My friends describe this machine as dependable and a work horse...sounds like me.  I'm still learning how to use it, but decided that throwing together some wonky stars (a la Bonnie Hunter) would be a good introductory project for the new machine.  These blocks are liberated and don't require the accuracy that other piecing demands.  I can work on establishing that perfect 1/4 inch seam tomorrow...

Here are some that are finished...I make them, then trim them down a little crooked so that they look even wonkier.


Here are the last ones I made, before the crooked trimming job.  I almost got through all the neutral squares and little triangular scraps that I have been collecting.

I also managed to prep 20 more applique basket blocks...all green ones.  I have a few meetings coming up, and I always take some small handwork to do.  I listen better when my hands aren't idle...


Tomorrow I will solidify that elusive 1/4 inch seam on my new machine and catch up with some blocks for my Bee Balm group.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

40 comments:

  1. dear teresa,congrats to your new sewingmachine,i have an old singer 412 treadle machine from the 1950s,and ther was "singer" singer,i believe,and this is a solid,wonderful machine without electronical tiles in it,love your baskets and the wonky stars,happy stitching and thanks so much for your nice comment on my blog,susi

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  2. Isn't it fabulous to get a new machine? Especially this one. I have the model before it and have loved it. I think it is about 98% perfect (is the 100% perfect machine out there?) I've had mine for about 5 years now and yes, it has been a great workhorse. Love your stars and baskets. xo

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  3. I have the Memorycraft 6500. Great machine. It has quilted lots of quilts. I use it on a Pennywinkle quilting frame.
    Have fun with your 6600. A new machine is always fun.
    Love visiting your blog!

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  4. Congratulations on your new machine! I want a new machine with those fancy scissors. No more trying to cut the bobbin thread in the middle of a big ole quilt.

    Have fun!

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  5. An artist needs the proper tools!! I have a Bernina and I love it -- but knowing what I know now :-) I'd just as soon have an older model with all metal parts and such! Good idea to sew-off the scraps. I need to get to a place (and find the time!) to do some of that!
    Blessings,
    Mary Lou

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  6. So fun to have a new machine! I've heard good things about Janome, too.
    Love your cheery, wonky stars and cute baskets.

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  7. Good for you! Just as a carpenter deserves decent tools, so does a Fabric Artist! Very cute wonky stars :D

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  8. Congrats on the new machine and the great blocks you are making with it. Maybe I need to get a really good machine and I would be interested in machine piecing once in a while :0)

    Crispy

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  9. SUper machine - I love mine. You just have to use her and play with her and soon you will be best buds. I just love your basket project.

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  10. Congratulations on your new machine. I have a Memory Craft. It's old but is a work horse. Love your stars. Great way to use that stash. Nice baskets too.

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  11. Love the baskets - that's one on my wish list. Good luck getting your machine to behave.

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  12. Maybe your other Singer was defective from day one. But I am glad you got another new one that you are very happy with, it is sew more enjoyable to sit and stitch when the machine is behaving.

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  13. Congrats on your new machine. I have that model and really like it.

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  14. Wow a new machine...How great is that. Love your green baskets are you using a pattern?

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  15. Congratulations on your new machine! I know a lot of people that own that machine and they are so happy with it. I look forward to seeing your creations with it.

    I LOVE those basket blocks. Once I finish all the hand projects I have going, those are on my list.

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  16. Could we have a lesson on establishing that perfect 1/4" seam? I got a new machine not too long ago.. and I havn't done any piecing on it yet, which means I really havn't established that perfect 1/4" seam yet. I do have the 1/4" foot for it, so I figured that would do it.. but I'm not so sure about that, and I'm not the most experienced sewer. I mean I've done simple pattern sewing, but fit wasn't the most extreme in importance. With piecing of quilting, it is a bit more important, and I would love to get it right before starting a big project.

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  17. Congratulations on the new machine! The star blocks look great!

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  18. Here I am dripping jealousy! I had decided that if my old machine cost more than $100 to fix I would consider a new one a better idea. My old one came in at $80 to repair so it looks like I am stuck with it for awhile. Sigh.

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  19. Congrats on your new machine.....and how funny your list of issues with your old machine was! Sheesh! There just wasn't ANYTHING good about it, was there!?! Dang stupid machine!

    I have two friends who both own the Janome.....and they love it! Have fun!

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  20. How fun! I love my Janome! Your scrap organization reminde me that mine is in dire need of attention. I'm always so indecisive about how to cut them becasue I may need them for something else, but they are separated into color families. Looks like you are about to need a bigger 'green' box! LOL! Enjoy your new machine!

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  21. OK....did you really get ALL that done yesterday????????????
    Darn, I would L-U-V to have a day that appeared that productive!!! I'm impressed and feel like a total slow slug!! HA!

    Congrats on the new machine!!! Are you wishing you had done it earlier!!! I know what you mean about the Singers. They are NOT the same as they used to be!

    Your stars are just oh soooo FAB!!!!

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  22. My parents bought me a Singer when I was in high school (early 70s). What a horrible machine! They couldn't understand why I didn't use it since I had been sewing since they bought me my first old Singer when I was six yrs old. And I was polite and didn't complain. Mom and I finally sorted it out when I was in my 20s and she got us both Vikings.

    We have moved on! I'm a Bernina fan now. Or I get out an old "real" Singer. :-)

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  23. Teresa, I just recently bought a new machine too, the 7700 and am getting used to it. As for that quarter inch, look at the quarter inch foot that came with the machine and see if it says "O" or "O2". You want the "O2" because it is closer to the scant quarter inch than the other one. I have both and the new one is amazingly better. I don't have to put painter's tape on the bed of my machine to get the seam I want.

    This is my second Janome and I'm loving them. Have fun.

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  24. I was reading the post and thought I'd recommend the 6600, and then continued reading you have it great! I have one but still haven't put it through its paces, as I have a Bernina 1130 that I love too. I need to put the Bernina away for a while so I use the Janome more. I bought a 3 piece foot set for freemotion it has the open toe, closed toe and a big clear foot too. It is much better as the foot height can be adjusted, the clear darning foot that comes with the machine is not very good in comparison. There is also a 'blue dot' bobbin case that has a looser tension for freemotion if you don't want to adjust the bobbin tension yourself. Have fun

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  25. Gee, Teresa, tell us how you really feel! :-) I had a good laugh at your description of the faults of your Singer. I'm glad you have a good machine now. I have a Bernina 140 that I love. It was my first really good machine after sewing 40 years with second-hand machines. Have fun! Love the stars and adorable baskets!

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  26. Well, look at you go! So glad you found a machine that you like to work with. Lovin' those green baskets.

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  27. Hi Teresa!
    I discovered the SAME thing when I got my Bernina ten years ago. I had been using a Kenmore. It was the best I could afford at the time. But it would "walk" across the table as I was sewing; it would over heat when I did free motion quilting (the foot pedal) and I was always messing with the tension. Then, for my 40th birthday, I got my Bernina. And I discovered, it wasn't ME doing the crappy sewing; it was my machine. My Bernina works so smoothly and does just what I want it too. I love her!! So now I tell people: get the best machine you can afford! It DOES make a difference!

    Deb from clutteredquilter.blogspot.com

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  28. It really does make a difference what you pay for a machine. I started out with a Walmart Brothers model which actually served my needs and did well. I wanted a machine that did more so I purchased a Shappire by Viking ..... what a difference!!! The machines are so solid and sturdy. They sound so different and do so much more. I say get what you can afford. I again want to trade up to a machine that is more!!!

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  29. You're going to love your machine...I bought the same model last September and have never loved any machine more. ENJOY!

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  30. A new sewing machine, wonky stars, and green baskets. It seems that you are on a roll. Go, girl, go! LOL! Glad you like your new machine. I know many sewers who are purchasing the Janome machines.

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  31. Good for you! I love my 6600! Be sure to join the Yahoo board for this machine - invaluable.

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  32. Yep, almost quit sewing completely due to a "Singer" top of the line that I bought in 1978. Fortunately, had the sense (or my DH did!) to buy a Bernina in the 90's. My life has not been the same since! I want to sew all the time now. Have a fabulous time with your Janome! It is a wonderful machine too.

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  33. I am a new Follower and a newbie to quilting, even though I have sewn just about everything else, professionally. Congrats on the new machine. I grew up on & even sold SIngers in the 70's, but I am a Babylock fan now. Will be back to see your accomplishments & read some of the older posts. Thanks for letting me stalk!
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

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  34. This post is full of eye candy! I love the green baskets!! The stars twinkle and look marvelous!! I'm so happy for you that you have a new machine and like it so well. You had quite a list of gripes with your old machine - I can relate to some of those... :0) I can't wait to see all the wonderful quilts you make with your new machine!

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  35. congrats on your new machine!! nothing as exciting (well, maybe the new car smell with leather seats) as a new sewing machine. i hope you share your learning journey with us, especially that 1/4 " thing. i have had problems with my 6600 and thread jams, or let's say fixing thread jams. i am now an expert on this subject. let me know if you need help! still not using all the bells and whistles i paid for...maybe you can help with that. good luck and happy sewing. :>)

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  36. I love your wonky, wonky stars!

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  37. Hi Teresa! I saw your fabulous organisational skills displayed on the Stast Manicure blog, and I am amazed! Do you think you could pop over to South Australia to help me sort out my stash for my room in my new house please? I will feed you!! :0)
    Hugs n Blessings from Sue xx

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  38. Congratulations on the new sewing machine! You must be in heaven as it purrs along.... Love your star blocks and your prepped baskets.

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  39. Congratulations on the new machine! Last summer I bought the Horizon 7700 and I have been looking at the 6600 for my daughter who is now getting into sewing. What great machines. I went from a Bernina to the Janome and I am soooo glad I did. It's quite sad about Singer. My sewing machine dealer told me that they are actually an investment company now? I thought that sounded crazy. Sad.

    I loved your post today and couldn't help but notice some wonderful Jo Morton fabrics in some of your baskets! Those baskets are just gorgeous! I do love a basket block!!

    Have a wonderful time with your new machine!!! I can't say enough good about Janome :D

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