Scraptastic!

This week I received my signed copy of fellow Canadians, Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg ‘s Sunday Morning Quilts which inspired me to reorganize my scraps by colour. The task was daunting, I had what seemed to me to be so many scraps it felt overwhelming. I jut never know what to keep and what to throw away but I threw away ALOT! Why was I holding on to such tiny pieces of fabric??

It took awhile but finaly finished then pulled out my current favorites, sat down and began to sew scraps together randomly. Because I felt that all the scraps I pulled went together well, it didn’t matter which pints or colours were paired but I did know that I wanted a lot of white space.

I want this to be a full size quilt so it will be an ongoing work in progress. When I was finished this section, I put all the scraps in a zip lock bag and started Kimberly Einmo’s easy lonestar.

This week I also dusted off my Janome 350E embroidery machine and fell in love all over again. This really is a great machine, it’s easy to use and embroiders beautifully. The only problems I have with this machine are human error. ūüėõ

Unemployment Day 6 (Working days: 3)
For those following along, deep house cleaning ensues, the toilet, tub and kitchen floor have been bleached within an inch of its life and the ceiling beams have been dusted in the bedroom. I’d like to get some yard work done but it’s going to be stinking hot today. Although I was up at 4:00 a.m. this morning, I’m started to settle in, I think… I’m looking forward to sewing without guilt today!

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The Mother of all Posts

I’m ¬† A L I V E !!!

No, nothing happened to me, I’ve just been stuck in a sewing rut and not the stitch in the ditch kind. I pieced my sister’s quilt 3 weeks ago, finished the backing but dreaded quilting it so I started making zipper bags and fooling around with craftsy stuff.

In November, I mentioned the Craftsy online course on free motion quilting (FMQ)¬† and how I kept breaking thread, quickly becoming frustrated. The kind folks on PatternReview suggested changing thread brand and type, trying different needles and when all else fails, bring the machine in to see if there are any burrs. Burrs usually occur when the rotary hook, shuttle or needle plate are damaged when the needle hits them — your needle usually breaks. My Jukie isn’t even a year old and the only time I broke a needle was when I tried fmq.

Bernina 550 QE (image from Bernina website)

Then I discovered the Bernina 550 QE.

Berninas are notoriously more expensive than any other machine on the market. In my mind, they are the Mercedes or holy grail of the sewing world and out of reach for me… until now.

Yes, that’s right, I am now the very happy and proud owner of a Bernina 550 QE! After just 5 minutes with this beauty, I knew the difference between Bernina and every other brand of sewing machine. I have sewn on Singers, Kenmores, Baby Lock, Elna, Domestic, Viking, Janome and my Juki and none can touch the craftsmanship of this Bernina. Everything is S O L I D on this machine and built to last!

Bernina Stitch Regulator

The Bernina 550QE came with all but one attachment a quilter would want or need. The 1//4″ foot, walking foot (with three soles!) and the¬†patented¬†Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR). The BSR helps you regulate your stitch length and quality by only stitching when you move the fabric when FMQ. It does not help you with your fabric movements, of course. IMHO, quilting gloves are a must for FMQ and I can’t imagine doing without.

I spent most of Friday afternoon merrily fmq a piece the size of a placemat. Although my fabric movements need a lot of practice and  work, I was very impressed and happy with the results I was obtaining. I tried a few different beginner patterns covering the entire piece and when there was no room left, I started to applique fabric scraps to create a scene.

Bernina Walking Foot

The walking foot is the heaviest and most quiet walking foot I’ve ever encountered. I had one with my Baby Lock which I also tried on the Brother and Juki, all of which worked but were extremely noisy and clunky. The Bernina walking foot in comparison is smooth and although not silent, but quiet.

The bottom line is that Bernina is worth every cent you pay. Yes, it is probably the most expensive sewing machine on the market but it holds it’s value, even when the model is no longer in production.

Today may be a double post day, I want to take photos of my fmq to show you how the BSR can help an amateur build confidence and get results they can be proud of.

I’m Owl Crazy!

I’m in love with my Janome Memory Craft 350E, the stitch outs are fantastic and I’ve found it very user friendly. I LOVE the step forward/back and page forward/back so you can redo an area or omit a portion of the the design (i.e. text). Having a USB port was top on my list when shopping around for an embroidery machine and using a USB key to transfer your designs leaves your computer free to watch NetFlix. I think I put this embroidery machine through its paces this weekend and it really stood up to my abuse. If I could change anything on this machine, I’d put in LED lighting and use the same auto-threading mechanism as Baby Lock or Juki. A nice little bonus is that my Juki accepts Janome bobbins.

Sewer’s Aid is a very handy thing to have for both sewing but especially¬†embroidery. I think it’s probably a silicon. You put a single drop on your needle and it aids your needle and thread to slip through thicker fabrics, I was using batting with my stitch-outs to make pot holders, it works like ¬†charm.

Stay tuned next week, I’ll be walking you through the Janome MC350E as time permits.

Honesty really IS the best policy!

Today I am the proud owner of a Janome Memory Craft 350E embroidery machine and I LOVE IT!!!

I would like to thank Sean Q., Sales Manager for Janome Canada Ltd., who was understanding of my situation and enabled me to FINALLY obtain my Janome embroidery machine from an alternate source. Sean went above and beyond the call of duty to make things right with me, he is someone who understands the value of customer service, brand loyalty as well as the power of the internet, I would publicly like to thank him and Janome Canada for all they’ve done for me.

Many events happened yesterday, I was in¬†possession¬†of evidence which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was truthful and others had been deceitful and dishonest. But forget them, let’s start embroidering!!

As you know, my first embroidery machine was a Brother HE-240 which was a great little entry machine but the 4″ x 4″ embroidery area soon became too small, especially for in-the-hoop projects such as oven mitts and towel toppers. The Janome MC350E has a great reputation as an excellent, affordable¬†embroidery¬†machine.

After un-boxing and setting up the Janome Memory Craft 350E on its own special table, I flipped though the designs and instruction manual. I hooped the 4″x4″ and stitched out a simple wheat pattern which came with the machine then a simple 2 letter monogram. Both came out beautifully, the stitch quality was beautiful.

I’m not sure about the threader, it’s very close to the threader on my ex-Viking Sapphire 850 and I threaded the needle manually the first few times. I’ve managed to get it working adequately but someone without experience with this type of threading system may have a few problems.

I stitched out a dense retro owl design on 2 pieces of cotton with batting between for a potholder. I started using WonderFill thread but it kept breaking, getting twisted and caught around the spool pin so I switched to Gutermann thread which works flawlessly. I’m using Janome pre-wound bobbins which are also working perfectly and were recommended by many MC350E owners.

To format a USB key, turn the MC350E off, insert the key then turn the machine on. That’s it! Remove the key and plug it into your computer, open the MyDesign file and drag and drop your JEF files. Unplug the USB key from you computer and plug it back into the embroidery machine without turning anything on or off. Press the USB icon and select the “MyDesign” folder. You should be able to page though the designs you’ve loaded onto your USB key. Yes, it really is that easy!

When you’re stitching out a design, have a printed copy available to look at or have the image displayed your computer screen so that you can refer to the colours being stitched out, especially if you don’t follow the colours selected for that particular design.

Dishonest Sewing Machine Dealers Are Everywhere!!!

I just received a call from Janome Canada, the same kind gentleman I spoke to yesterday, who shall remain anonymous. He informed me that a machine used at the CreativFestival was being shipped to Sewing Machine Factory Outlet and that it was probably for me as it was the ONLY MC350E going to them. He alleged that Terrie was going to sell that machine to me as a new machine so my other hunches were correct!!!  I posted on PR asking how you check the stitch count on the Janome MC350E a week or so ago as I was very suspicious.

Mr. Anonymous told me that the best Janome dealer in the Toronto area was a husband and wife team in Brampton. All others in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) didn’t provide service or lessons, you have to send your machine to Janome and eat the expense of shipping yourself. The only other dealer who takes care of any repairs is the one in Oshawa. Sadly, their hours cater to the retired group only.

I asked Mr. Anonymous about the dealer on Queen Street. ¬†He said that Lawrence didn’t provide service or support but honestly, I know that’s a big deal for a lot of people but it isn’t for me. Not once, in the past umpteen years, have I ever had a problem with one of my machines (knocking on wood) and support is not an issue, I can usually figure things out for myself.

That being said, DH found a Brother PE-770 available online, with taxes and shipping, the cost would be $921.99 however, what would I do with myself on a rainy long weekend?

I don’t trust any sewing machine dealers anymore, no matter how nice they seem to be. They’re nice because they want to sell you a machine, that’s it, that’s all, they don’t want to be your best friend, ever! No more deposits either, just say no! Walk away from the sale. Eventually things will change if ¬†sewists unite and stand up for themselves.

Day 26 and still no Janome MC350E in site.

Today is day 26 post deposit on “my” Janome MC350E. ¬†No one I’ve spoken to has ever had to wait this long for a new machine. I phoned the dealer yesterday and asked if my machine was there. Woman on phone said Terrie wasn’t there, she did not say that the machine wasn’t there. Again I asked if my machine was there. Woman said she would phone Terrie and call me back. I phoned Janome head office in the U.S., the only help she provided me was the number for the Canadian head office.

A number of hours later, I phoned the dealer back and asked if she’d spoken to Terrie. I explained to her that every time I call, they make me feel like a pain in the butt. Woman replied that I’d probably been told that my machine would take 2.5 weeks to arrive. I told her it was almost 4. Woman said it would be in for sure this week.

I phoned the closest Bernina dealer for pricing on the Bernette 340 Deco.

CreativFestival

SewTara and I attended the 2011 CreativFestival today, it was terrific! We picked up tons of fabric, specifically, fat quarters, something I’ve never purchased before. I also visited the Janome booth and discovered a lot of machines under the skirts of their tables, why don’t I have my MC350E yet??!! Janome Fail!!

I looked at the Bernette 92C and it is a solid machine, much bigger than I had anticipated. I was actually looking for a machine for my Mom. She has a Viking Emerald mechanical but hasn’t been able to bond with it. I would love to take it off her hands but would need to replace it. I think she would actually be happier with a computerized machine that selects the tension for her. She used to have a Kenmore but traded it in and now regrets it.

¬†¬†Lots of Japanese fabrics, we’ll be visiting again in the fall!!!