Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My new Sewing Machine - Brother Innovis 50

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 It came yesterday morning.  Although the old machine is fairly new i.e. 3 1/2 years old I figured it's about time I got a computerised sewing machine.  I wanted some features that my old Singer Inspiration 4205 was not capable of.  After all it's a basic model without bells and whistles.

And since I'm doing so much sewing, I thought I'd make it more enjoyable.  And I was looking for some features like needle down, speed slider, drop feed dogs, etc.  I narrowed it down to 2 sewing machines.  The other was the Singer 988 Computermatic.  Frankly, I 'm quite partial to Singer since their pretty old hands when it comes to sewing machines.  But this model just did not feel right.

For one, there was hardly any write-up / reviews of this model on the internet.  Singer USA does not carry this model.  Although I am aware that certain models are only available regionally, the Singer 988 is nowhere in Singapore or Thailand either.  It's only available here in Malaysia!  I emailed the Singer regional manager in Singapore and he in turn passed the buck to the local sales manager.  It's been 7 days and no return email from either of them.  In fact a Singer dealer recommended another lower priced model when I enquired about the Singer 988.  She said the Singer 988 had some inherent problems.  Something is seriously wrong

Nevertheless, I tested the machine in a Singer shop nearby.  To their credit the sales people were quite obliging and knowledgeable.  They even opened a new box to demo the machine to me. It had all the feature of the Brother Innovis 50 (Innovis 80 for you people in the USA) and then some.  It had a throat space of 7 1/2"  which is wonderful. But after trying it out the upper thread tension was out of whack even when adjusted. 

I decided on the Brother sewing machine without testing it.  I read up on the reviews, website, forums, videos and made my decision based on that and of course the price being lower than the Singer 988 surely helped.  I've been playing with it and it's really looking good.  I want to explore the FMQ capabilities of the machine. The throat space of this model is 6 1/2", still better than my old one.  It has a built-in 1/4" feature for seams when piecing.  I had a good discount even with the extension table from a reputable dealer JP Doshi.  The service was good and the delivery prompt.

 Friendship Stars blocks still a work in progress.  Piecing these blocks were a breeze with the new machine :)

The Cheddar Bow-Tie quilt top is completed.  Love it to bits. It's 12 1/2" x 18 1/2". And it goes into the 'to be hand quilted' basket!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bow Ties Anyone?

Came across an interesting project going on in some blogs.  I first read about it on Juliann's blog post where she wanted to reproduce a Cheddar Bow Tie quilt that she saw during the Sisters Quilt Show.  She did start it but with a nice twist.  Really like her version of applique for the centre square.  Juliann shared the measurements with me i.e. the centre square is 3/4" finished and cut at 1 1/4".  The 4 patches are 2" cut.  I am using a remnant piece of Kona Solid Amber for my cheddar from Cheddar Cheese & Crackers Quilt.  There's a tutorial by Bonnie Hunter on how to do a pieced version of the Bow Tie block.

I like the use of silk thread to applique.  It's my first attempt and I find the actual thread could be a little fiddly but the results are lovely.  Now to get some basic colours to play with :)

 Sean's shirt is almost completed except for the buttons and button holes.  I did a better job on this shirt this time round.

Last Saturday's Civil War block #28 called Next Door Neighbour.

X-Quisite blocks doll quilt top is completed.  It's a challenge by Kathleen Tracy of the Small Quilt Talk Yahoo! group.  The size is 17 1/4" x 15 1/2".

Fabrics from This-N-That Fabric's recent sales arrived mid week.  Now in the process of being washed.  The days are cooler here and it's been raining.  But this morning as I write this, the weather looks promisingly sunny.

ETA:  I'm trying out the Google Reader MP3 Player, so please bear with me. 
ETA2: Sorry peeps, okay I decided to use another player provided by the files service instead.  Should work now ;)

A simple tune, not polished yet but I'm working on it!  It's called Roddy McCorely an Irish folk tune.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Irish Influence

Block #27 of Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts.  It's called Irish Chain.  I kept to green.  Also I would like to incorporate plaids into future blocks.

 In keeping to the Irish theme, I bought a tin whistle over at eBay.  It's a Clarke's Sweetone in D.  I've been reading about inherent manufacturing faults in tin whistles.  So I decided to get a 'tweaked' tin whistle by Jerry Freeman no less!  It's sounding really nice and I am following online tutorials by Fr Ryan Duns.  So I think I am set up for some daily practice.

 Friendship Star quilt, coming along albeit slowly ...

 Added 2 more blocks to this long time WIP.