Monday, May 27, 2013

I call all my favorite things Princess

Belle, Aurora and Snow came to visit...
The princesses and I are back from vacation...and there is so much to catch up on!

- My digital camera was waterlogged by a rogue water bottle so right now my vacation photos are only on Instagram
- I couldn't figure out what the hell happened with Flickr; who can clue me in?
- I was devastated by This News
- Miss O turns 1 year old this week...AGH!!!!!!!  Clearly, her birthday party is on hold...
- I am facing four, yes four, loads of laundry vomit (clean laundry that requires folding and putting away)
- I need to unpack all the suitcases my least favorite chore EVER

I missed you all and my sewing machine.

Be back to Making soon!!!

- rebecca lynne

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

just a little bit of pixie dust...

So pure...
So angelic...
So angelic...
Haha!  As soon as Le Challenge theme was announced for May I knew what I had to be done...and damnit I just got the cojones to start sewing on knits so clearly it was meant to be!
I know this isn't an original idea (I've seen store bought shirts with little wings on them, shrug)...but hell who is too CUTE!  
In typical MRL fashion it is the night before we leave on vacation and here I am making these wings and taking these photos.  Honestly drawing, ironing, cutting, and sewing the wings took less time than it did to write this post!  Hence the Instagram shots, let's face facts, using the phone is just easier than finding the camera amidst all the packing!
I promise I will take a photo of Miss O wearing her new shirt.  I'm planning on putting it on her for her first plane ride, a flying angel.  Ha!

I will do my best to link up via smartphone (or email Lucy or Nat to do so for me???)
Le Challenge
Go check out all the wing inspired entries!

- rebecca lynne

Monday, May 13, 2013

Singer AF308467

Basement Find
Look what was sitting in my basement...
Singer No.
Anyone know anything about this model of the Singer?  I am going to contact the company with this manufacturing code (I think it was built in 1940) to find out more...

- rebecca lynne

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Giveaway Day Winner!!!


The winner of the 1 yard of Flannel Owl Friends is...
And then I did some serious laughing when I saw who won!  Hahahahaa...

Annabella of Life's Rich Pattern is one of my all time fav bloggers and someone I consider a virtual friend.  As she also participated in the giveaway I am glad she is getting her own surprise...although...what you will do with flannel in Morocco is beyond me...  But knowing Annabella, it will find a good project to go in!

Happy Mother's Day to all my American Readers!!!

- rebecca lynne 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Run Baby Run: A Paper Pieced Sneaker

Anyone for a run?
Some of my childhood was spent growing up in a suburb outside of Boston...I have always thought of the city fondly as the place with immense character and history, filled with brick, cobblestone, winding colonial streets, a harbor, chowder, lobster, where I visited with my father on a *date* to the Boston Symphony Orchestra when I was only 7 or 8 years old, to see the Ballet perform the Nutcracker, to a fancy seafood place where my brother insisted on ordering clams and then refusing to swallow them, the treat it was to go into the city and to eat breakfast with my mom at Au Bon Pain which to me with its awning and chocolate croissants was sooo fancy.  Yes, I have fond memories.

As soon as my Guild agreed to joining the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild's To Boston With Love project I jumped at the chance.  Plus, I knew I wanted my flag to have a running theme.  

Before having my three girls I was really into was my zen time.  I know, funny that my zen time consisted of totally pushing my body to its peak of exhaustion, but that pretty much sums up my personality!  It was really the best way for me to unwind.  For weeks now I have been trying to get myself up and out in the morning to start running again.  After the bombing during the Boston Marathon I felt immense guilt for not taking advantage of my two working legs as much as possible.

What better way to epitomize running than a running shoe?  I found this paper pieced tennis shoe for free on Paper Panache.  (sidenote: Do you call it a tennis shoe or a sneaker? Or something else altogether?  Trainers?  I call them sneakers.)  Having never really paper pieced before I was a tad intimidated so I flexed my paper piecing muscles on something else first, to be shown later as it is a pending gift.

MRL Paper Piecing Tip for Beginners: If you aren't paper piece savvy, use solid fabrics with no wrong or right side.  Trust me, it will save you a lot of time seam ripping while you figure out what you are doing!  Guess how I know???

If I do say so myself - I am really proud of how this sneaker turned out!  I chose Boston colors with a bright pink tie of course...  

To Boston With Love Flag (front)
To Boston With Love Flag (back) inspired by Boston City Flag

For the back I did a simple blue with a yellow circle as a nod to the Boston City flag design.  Totally modern and a small reward for myself after the intense concentration I spent creating the front.  Those laces were killer!

The flags will be strung at the Boston Museum of Fine Art on Memorial Day Weekend.  If any of you attend please tell me!  For those of us, myself included, who won't be lucky enough to show our support for Boston in person, feel free to check out the Flickr page and see all the flags being sent to Boston on May 21.

Linking up...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sewing Machine Adultery: Juki TL2010Q Review [Part 1]

Sewing Machine Adultery
{click on image for previous SMA reviews}
I tried my mother-in-law's brand new, like literally out of the box Juki TL-2010Q.  (Talk about mad trust right?  I felt like I was cheating with the Juki on my mother-in-law by using it so extensively before her!) As happened to me with my review of the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 I've been biting my lip and revising this post about a million times before posting.  As I wrote before that review I will repeat again here...

After using the Juki I wrote down my impressions, and took a pause before finalizing this post because I really wanted to think about what I thought of the machine so I can give an honest impression.  I am going to put my questions in pink, if you know the answer do tell!

First, let's be real here, I am not paid to review machines nor do I have any affiliation with any sewing machine manufacturer or shop.  There is a reason why the first piece of advice anyone gives you when machine shopping is go try them yourself.  Because, no matter this is only my opinion, and please, what the hell do I know anyway?

Secondly, keep in mind that I sew on a 15 year old sewing machine.  Now some of you may be thinking that in the scheme of things that really isn't that old.  True.  There are older machines.  I've sewn on lots of older machines and I learned to sew on industrial machines as a textile major in college.  However, when I bought my Bernina Activa 130 it was one of the few computerized machines available.  It was unique, a pioneer if you will, into the world of computerized sewing.  From my point of view I've always considered my machine to be cutting edge - until I recently realized that duh it isn't anymore!  That was such a shock and you can read about my impressions on that here.

Third, and most importantly, I am looking for insight here.  It is not my intention to offend.  I'm used to my Bernina after 15 years of using it.  So if you are a Juki lover and I mention something that I am on the fence about or am flat out negative towards please feel free to educate me!  That is the whole purpose behind Sewing Machine Adultery.  I encourage anyone reading this post later to peruse the comments and see what people add to my thoughts.

There she is...that beautiful bed, delicious space, simple simple simple display.  And...
In the photo below you can see the stitch length dial (straight stitch only of course), the needle up down button, the thread cutter, the speed control with the cute turtle to rabbit choices, the slightly enormous reverse stitch lever, and below that the switch to drop the feed dogs.  Clearly these knobs are Basic, Huge, and I doubt too many people will need to fumble for their glasses to find them.
This is not a machine interested in hiding the ball!
Photo Below: closeup of the presser foot area.  Definitely a hardcore all metal solid industrial set up going on here.  One person wrote that it reminded them of "Duplo Legos" and "bulky" - I suppose that is one way of seeing it.  To me it means that this puppy is as solid as they come for a home machine.
You can see the screw that secures the presser foot on.  I read that having to screw this in and out can be an annoyance...but I switched feet at one point and the damn thing is so substantial for a screw that it isn't like other machines where you are in danger of losing it or fumbling around to place it back in its spot.  The size of the screw is helpful when changing feet.
Lever to place the presser foot down is substantial and easy to find.
There is a manual thread cutter as well.Untitled
Feed dogs up/down switch.  Can't miss it!
Here is some playing around that I did.  When this fabric is flipped over you cannot tell which side is top or back.
With the extension table on, there is a little entryway to get inside and access the bobbin.  Very convenient to not have to take the whole table off!
Bobbin.  Metal.  There it is.
Here is me using the Juki to straight stitch the Chevron baby quilt.  It literally went so quickly I couldn't believe it!  Using the thread cutter, the knee lifter, and the speed was awesome.UntitledUntitled
  • Speed glorious speed!  I couldn't get over how fast fast fast this machine is...
  • 9" throat space
    • No, not 11" but still a lot of space.  Plus there is slightly more height on this throat than on many other larger throated machines.
  • Mechanical Straight Stitch machine
    • No fuss, no muss.  This machine can weather anything you throw at it.
    • My mother in law has since sewn tougher materials for her sailboat with ease
    • I've read that other Juki industrial machine owners sew leather and various other tough materials quite easily with this machine
    • Fact/Myth? I've read on other sites that quilting on a computerized machine will eventually ruin the machine because they just aren't built as sturdily as an industrial machine.  So, does that mean I'm just throwing away money if I buy a *fancy computerized machine* to quilt?  No matter the brand etc. are all of us quilters just better off going with a mechanical straight stitch?
  • Thread cutter
    • Noisier than some of the others I have tried on other machines, but it works!
    • Also, you have the option of using the presser foot to cut threads as well.
  • Needle up/down - essential feature
    • My mother in law is using this also as a way to slow start the machine instead of a Start/Stop button which this machine doesn't have
  • Nice extension table
    • Ultimately I think having a machine in a table is the best solution if you are going to do serious FMQ but if that isn't an option for you then this table is very wide and useful
  • Metal Bobbin - again the debate between metal/plastic continues.  I'm a metal girl...
  • Solid!
    • Just solid.  Really very sturdy.  Metal feeling not plastic.
  • Comes with a lot of feet
    • Decent amount of feet come standard with this machine.  Given that it is a straight stitch machine you don't need too much variety in the way of feet although you can find multitudes of options online through the right dealers.
  • Needle Threader.  Tip: use a size 14 or 16 needles.  More on that below under Customer Service.
  • Digital and hardcopy manual.
  • Maintenance for Dummies
    • Meaning the manual gives you the whole mechanical breakdown of the machine.  
    • To use a car analysis: This is like an Old Chevy ladies and gents, you can lift up the hood and take a gander without having to go and bring her into the dealer like you do with them new fandangled models...
    • For sewing machine owners this means you can find a local sewing machine maintenance person and not have to go to a Juki dealer for tuneups/cleaning.
  • Again - FAST FAST FAST.
  • Price!  
    • At somewhere around $999 this machine for its throat size, thread cutter, capability to be put on a frame, useful thread cutting foot pedal (Janome 8900 has that ability but not the 8200 for instance), it is a machine that is tough to beat in price.
    • Anyone know any other machine with these features that rivals that price?
  • Easy, easy, easy to use.  
    • Anyone who knows how to use a sewing machine can sit down at this machine and start sewing.  Absolutely a no brainer!  As I said previously, this machine is not interested in hiding the ball!
  • Excellent customer service.  More on that below!
  • Straight stitch only.  Make sure you don't need the other fancy stitches, or at least have another machine on hand to do them.
  • Oil.  Yes this baby needs its oil and in a number of places. (Top off my head I think 6?)
  • No storage mechanism built in to store your feet.
    • My Bernina has a tray to keep my feet in and I immediately noticed that lacking in the Juki when I went to change feet.  I don't know why this struck me as annoying given I rarely have my feet in the damn tray anyway...they are usually strewn across a set of drawers I have next to my sewing machine for easy access anyway.  Nevertheless, if that is something you like keep it in mind.
  • No computer fancy schmancy buttons, bells & whistles
    • This sewing machine is not going to satisfy your itch if you are looking for a bells & whistles type of toy.  It is meant to work and is a total workhorse.  Industrial - manufacturing - this machine is meant to make and get the job done.  ;)
  • Changing Feet
    • Not to sound like a whining brat...but I just really like the way my Bernina's feet hook in and off.  I made this same comment about the Janome snap on feet so clearly this is a Me Thing.  ;)  That said, these feet weren't hard to switch out, I'm just spoiled.
  • Buyers will find that Juki dealers are far and few between and will the debate over whether buying online is the right choice will ensue.
    • Online buying has never been an issue for me - I'm all for it.  Plus, I have a Juki dealer relatively near me at 1.5 hrs away.  However, for those of you interested I would do some research online regarding who is a trustworthy dealer.  Also, read my anecdote below re: customer service...
Customer Service Anecdote: With a previous career in retail customer service is very very very important to me.  In fact, this is one reason why certain brands have a leg up over others who sell essentially identical machines from identical manufacturing plants...CUSTOMER SERVICE!  (Can anyone say Babylock versus Brother?  Or so it is said anyway, I cannot profess to have any personal experience myself...)  What happened with this very machine?  Well my mother in law bought it from an online retailer who have been great, very helpful, very accessible via telephone and email, just wonderful wonderful couple who have been answering all her questions etc.  But, one of the issues I was having when I tried the machine was the needle threader.  It wouldn't work.  It was kind of annoying but something I was willing to overlook because, whatever, I don't use one on my machine anyway so I don't care.  However, this is a NEW machine so what the hell was wrong with the damn needle threader?  My mother in law contacted...I think the dealer, maybe Juki, I don't really recall but ultimately Juki contacted her [btw, this was in a matter of a day, so serious turnaround here] and gave her a name/number of a local technician to call for assistance.  She contacted him and learned that the size 11 needle she was using was the problem because the needle threader hooky thing (I know, real technical here) is about the size of a size 11 needle opening and so it wasn't always going through.  But, by changing to a size 14 or larger it would work fine!  She has and there has been no issue since.  Bam.  Done.  Customer Service?  CHECK THE BOX.

Prior to my mother in law's purchasing this machine she and I did extensive research.  If you'd like to read other reviews or hear other perspectives on this machine here are some of the bloggers we found who use the Juki TL2010-Q or a similar version:  Stitched in ColorDon't Call Me Betsy, That girl...that quilt, Pile O Fabric (this link is missing? But worth googling in case it comes back up), Candied Fabrics, Nancy Wick, Mommy's Nap Time, Better Off Thread, Plum and June, Kim's Big Quilting Adventure    

I pretty much have the same questions I had after reviewing the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900...

For me these questions remain, and in this order:

  1. Do I want a non-computerized machine?  I like bells & whistles.  Damn me.  I'm such a gadget brat.
  2. What do I NEED?  i.e. What kind of sewing am I really going to do? (I know that is Sewing Machine 101 when you look for a sewing machine but my needs keep changing.  I don't just quilt, I don't just make clothes, I don't just do home dec - I do a little of everything!  So what, I need an everything machine?)
  3. Am I going to be happy having to use 2 machines.  Clearly I will still use my Bernina at times to do non-straight stitch that going to drive me nuts?  Would I be happier with an all-purpose machine?  
  4. Will I turn to this machine over my Bernina?  I came home after my visit to sew on my Bernina and just fell in love all over again.  I know, I have had her forever and know her so of course she feels comfy.  But, shouldn't you just have that feeling right off the bat?
This review is Juki TL2010-Q Part 1 because I am going to give the Juki TL2010-Q another go when my mother in law visits this summer.  I had my heart set on absolutely loving this machine and I am still on the fence about whether it is everything that I want.  Don't get me wrong, it is awesome...I just didn't have a heart skipping a beat moment.  (To be fair I spent the day before trying the Juki TL2010-Q in bed with a very exhausting stomach virus and fever so maybe I wasn't in the best frame of mind to fall in love with anything...even a sewing machine!  But I was so determined to try it before I returned home that I woke up the next morning with sewing on the brain.  Dedicated much?)  I hope to play around with some piecing and FMQ.  I'll definitely link that review back to this one so stay tuned.  

If there are questions about the Juki TL2010-Q you'd like answered in Part 2 please leave me a comment below and I'll do my best to answer them in the next Juki post!

To check out all the Sewing Machine Adultery reviews click here!

- rebecca lynne

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Popping the Swap in the Mailbox!

These beautiful piles of fabric have been making their way out the door all week!  Seriously, I have never had such an amazing group of Gorgeous Modern Fabric.  To all participants of the swap - pat on the back - we compiled an amazing set of fabric!  I am completely honored to have been Swap Mama for this round of Modern Low Volume Swap...I can only hope the swappers feel as awed as I do by this fabric.
Ready to depart...
My goal this round was to have everything done and mailed by April 19th.  Unfortunately, multiple rounds of feverish children (first a random virus hit the house mid-April and then this week Miss O and Miss L have ear was a looong weekend full of sleepless nights and 102 temps) and a very busy travel schedule prevented me from reaching my deadline.  I am grateful that the swappers are as understanding as they are and are patiently waiting for their packages.
United States swappers should expect their packages soon, some any day now.  
International swappers are next!

What are you all working on?

- rebecca lynne

Monday, May 6, 2013

Giveaway Day: 1 Yard of Free Spirit Della Flannel Owl Friends

If you've never visited MRL before Welcome!  I'm in the midst of *slashing my stash* and what better way to do it than by giving some of it away?

What am I giving away: 1 Yard of Valori Well's Della Flannel Owl Friends
Winner can choose Warm (pink, yellow, orange) or Cool (blue, green) colorway...

DSC_0011 DSC_0009

Who can enter: Anyone!  Domestic US or International!

How to enter: In my Sewing Machine Adultery series I try out different machines and write up a review of what I thought as well as ask others to leave comments about their advice/opinions on that model machine or brand.  (FYI - next review is of the Juki TL-2010Q, it'll be a 2 Parter!) 

Leave a comment telling me what sewing machine sewing machine I should try out and why?

Giveaway closes May 10th 5p.m. PST

Winner will be picked at random!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Onesie Dress {TGIFF}

With all the machine tryouts I have been doing as part of my Sewing Machine Adultery series I've decided to do some projects that will help me decide what features I need in a machine.  With three little girls I have wanted to start experimenting with garment creation...and specifically clothes involving knit fabrics.  
Using my Bernina Activa 130, this project required my Overlock Presser Foot, my Overlock Stitch, my free arm, and a needle for stretchy fabrics.
I am glad to report that it was stupidly simple to do.  I am so thrilled with myself for rediscovering and using these features of my Bernina Activa 130 after all of these years!
Looks like someone enjoys the results at least!  Seriously - why does she want to walk so badly?  What is wrong with crawling???

Linking up!

- rebecca lynne