Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Playing with the Specialty Bobbin Case....

This past weekend I had to time to play with the Specialty Bobbin Case that I purchased last week.  Here's the two bobbin cases together:

You can't really tell any differences in the two exception for the color.  The black one is the bobbin case that came with my machine and the grey one is the specialty bobbin case. Here's a close of the specialty bobbin case:

If you look a little to the right and down from my finger you can see a big slot.  That slot is what allows the heavier thread to move through the bobbin case.

In looking through my thread collection, I found a 30 wt decorative polyester:

Pairing that with a quilting weight cotton and no interfacing , I played with the decorative stitches on my Lisa machine.  Here are the results:

I don't think I really needed the specialty bobbin case with this thread but I wanted to experiment a little. In the above picture, I started with a 3-step zigzag stitch and left all the settings as recommended.  I generally keep the thread tension set on 4. This produced a stitch with the upper thread being pulled to the back.  This definitely wasn't the look I was going for.  Every dark line in the picture above is a change in thread tension.  The second stitch I played with was the feather stitch. The other stitches are what available on my machine.  With this particular set-up, the tension looked best around 5 to 5.5 on all the stitches.    I also decided that all of these stitches would benefit from a stabilizer or interfacing.   Oh course, a second layer might work, too.

In continuing my experiment, I have repeated the same stitching above expect I added a cut away stabilizer.  Here's the results:

In this example, I did only use the thread tensions between 5.0 and 6.0.  Can you see the difference the stabilizer makes in the stitching?

Here are the two samples side by side.  The sample on top is the one with the stabilizer. If nothing else, I've learned that these types of stitches really need more support. I suspect that a heavy dose  of spray starch might even do the trick. This is what many heirloom sewists do.

Next, I will be experimenting with pearl cotton and I will probably move to Behemoth as that machine has far more options to choose from. The pearl cotton that I have is a size 5, I think. This will require hand winding on the bobbin.

Happy Stitching!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cardinal Quilt Kit Finally Arrived....

This is the first time in a very long time that I have ordered a quit kit.  It was ordered on May 1 and it just arrived.  Here's a picture of what is is suppose to look like upon completion:

I'm hoping to have this the top finished by late summer so that it can be quilted before Christmas as it is suppose to be a gift.  The finished size is 66 1/2" x 84 1/2".  I'm planning to get a black cuddle fabric for the back but haven't purchased it yet.  I suppose that can wait until the top is finished.  One of my friends uses cuddle fabric for the back of all of her quilts.  I'm sure she will help me with the any issues that might come up.

Wish me luck!  Two months of sneaky sewing might be hard.  All of my equipment will have to moved from the basement to the sewing room where is will be hot even if the air conditioner going.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

McCall's Early Autumn Pattern Collection....

As you probably know, I love seeing the new patterns when they come out.  I'm not always so happy when I can't find anything new though.  My pocketbook is happy. Here are the patterns I thought was interesting with new McCalls:

This is M7177.  Isn't this a sweet little dress for a baby?  I don't have any little people to sew for but if i did this pattern would have hopped right into my cart.

This is M7185.  Lovely little dress. I loved the look of this dress until I looked at it closely.  My first thought was this is a great dress for the office.  However, when I really looked at this dress it doesn't have a place in office attire unless you're wanting to be treated less than professional.  The neckline is a shade too low and you could do something with that but that front slit isn't good.  Save this one for a night out with your spouse.

This is M7203.  This is a very nice jumpsuit pattern with lots of options.  It is definitely a throw back to the 70s.  Most important measurement to take with this is the torso and remember to sit down when you take that measurement.  

There was a few vintage patterns also.  I do like the look of 50's full dresses but I would never wear them.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this pattern collection.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Specialty Bobbin Case....

Yes, my new toy from the Husqvarna dealer is a Specialty Bobbin Case:

I have wanted one of these since they were introduced but never had the opportunity to get one till this week.  I just need to get some fabric and stabilizer, and find some time to play.  I have several threads options.  The best part is this will fit all three of my Husqvarna machines so if one is busy it can be used on another one. Yes, I know having three of these machines is excessive but when your offered $100 for trade-in I think you would turn it down, too.

If anyone knows of any instructions for bobbin work, please let me know. Husqvarna's instructions are bare minimum. I thought that they might have some projects using bobbin work but couldn't locate it.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cooking....Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Lime Chicken

In an attempt to become healthy, I've been adding more vegetables to my diet.  I'm trying to roughly follow a dash diet but not exactly.  Last month, I received a spiralizer and it has been fun to try new recipes.  Here's the latest:

This is Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Lime Chicken.  This is pretty good.  Lots of veggies with the zucchini and cilantro.  My garden is producing a lot of cilantro right now.  I should be getting zucchini but unfortunately it just seems to be rotting on the vine before it is big enough to eat.

I have accidentally fallen into a raw diet / paleo diet world with this experimenting. This was not my intent but the food is good so why not. This is a super fast meal.  It will certainly leave you with extra time for sewing.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sigh of Relief!....

Yesterday was spent driving through the mountains to the Husqvarna dealer that is about an hour away.  I had made an appointment to have two of my machines checked.  One just needed to be checked and cleaned, and the other I thought had a huge issue which fortunately turned out not to be a huge issue but I had it checked and cleaned while it was there.

The technician allowed me to watch what he was doing so I got to see guts of both of my machines.  Since I'm so far away, the technician also spent some time showing me different things that I can check on my machine without causing an issue with my warranty.  Believe me when I say that it isn't going to an issue because with the computerized machines there are just too many wires.  Curiosity is one thing and I certain got to check my machine out well today but if taking a cover off requires unplugging several electronic components you had been know what was unplugged from where.

So Behemoth is safely home and ready to go to work.  Now, I just need to figure out a project or two to check it all out.  My older machine actually did come up with a slight issue.  It was decided to not worry with it at this time.  The one stitch that the tech pick to stitch wouldn't stitch. Since it was a stitch I never use, I decided to leave it as it is until something else that is used fails.

Now, you know going into the dealer means that you get to look at a lot of great stuff - fabric, notions, patterns, and accessories for your machine. I'll have more at that one another day.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Books! Books! Books! and More Books!....

Oh, yeah, I've been shopping again.  I hope I enjoy each and every one of these titles:

I have been wanting to get The Couture Skirt book ever since it came out.  I already have the corresponding jacket book.  Maybe this will be one of my winter projects -- a skirt and a jacket.  We'll see.  I always seem to plan big.

The Quilter's Reference Tool.  This book is packed with information which I'm hoping will be useful for me.  Information contained within bed/quilt sizes, handy little charts for the number of blocks needed for different size quilts, yardage requirements, conversion charts, cutting information, supplies, piecing information, and 20 quilt blocks.  Can you ever really have too many reference books?

Think Big.  I can't remember what drew me to this book.  It has several nice projects.  

Quick Column Quilts.  I'm sure I got this one because Nancy Zieman is the author.  I enjoy reading/doing her shortcuts and this book is packed with them.  The designs seam like they lean more to the model side of quilting.

Kitchen Stitches. I haven't had a chance to really look at this book yet.  There were a couple of projects that I really wanted to do.  I hope I get this finished.

Quiltmaking Essentials 2 is all about settings and borders, along with backings and bindings. I'm hoping that this book has a many interesting tips as the first one book did.

Well, it looks like I have plenty to read and do with these books.  Hopefully, they will keep be busy over the summer and through the fall.  I also pre-ordered another book that should arrive sometime in August.  If your interested in any of these books, I may be able to order them for you.  

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Fear of the Unknown....

I can't remember if I mentioned it or not but the Behemoth (my fancy sewing machine) broke down in March when I was sewing the knit dress.  I haven't gotten the courage yet to take it to a dealer to see if it can be repaired.  Now, I'm sure you're wondering why I say "if".  I have had Husqvarna Viking machines for the past fifteen years.  I have 3 machines.  When I had a dealer nearby, these machines were taken in on a regular basis to be serviced.  Unfortunately, there isn't a nearby dealer anymore and haven't been since about a week after I purchased Behemoth.  The nearest dealer is about 35 miles away and I have no idea if they are willing to work on my machine since I didn't purchase it from them.  I suppose I should give them a call and see what they have to say.  It would be nice if I could drive and have the machined serviced right then but I doubt that will be an option.

So, what is the problem with Behemoth that makes me wonder if it can be fixed.  It's black grease.  Oh, yeah.  I was having an issue with it sewing and decided to clean it good and see if the issue was just needing to be cleaned a bit.  Instead during the cleaning process a found black grease.  I turned the machine off and haven't touch it since.  I've never seen grease on any of the other machines and I strongly suspect that I shouldn't be seeing any grease on this one.

So, what is my fear?  That this machine has something broken that will prevent repair and it's not part of the warranty.  My machine has very low hours on it. I think there is less than 40 hours of use on it.  This makes me very sad to think that you can spend so much money on a machine and get so little use out of it.  My only hope that this is part of a long-term warranty.  

One of my friends has been harassing about getting the machine fixed.  So,, I am going to try to call the dealer tomorrow and see about taking it in.  I'm hoping that I can talk my son into going with me so I won't be such a lonely trip there and back.  So, the question that I have been struggling with is if it can't be fixed, do I replace it?  One of the features that I wanted on this machine outside of the large embroidery field was the lighting and this is something I do not have on any of my other machines.  My old age eyes tell me that I really need this feature.  Granted there are a lot of other features that I wanted and got with this machine.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to have an issue like this but I sure wish it wasn't me having it.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cooking....Butternut Squash Noodles with Spinach and Mushrooms

I recently received a Spiralizer and I've been trying new recipes every week. We tried this butternut squash recipe this past week:

This is Butternut Squash Noodles with Spinach and Mushrooms.  We ate it as a meal but it would make a very nice side. My version wasn't as pretty as the one pictured but it was very good.  I didn't follow the recipe exactly as I don't normally have shallots available so I substituted 1/2 an onion with some garlic.  Now for the good part, this takes about 30 minutes to make.  If you're looking for ways to  either add more veggies to your diet or add an interesting side, this is a good one.  This is so quick to make that it will leave you lots of creating time.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, June 1, 2015

May's Garden....

May was a busy month in the garden.  We planted lots of flowers and vegetables.  The perennials were/are beautiful.  Unfortunately, the weather did get hot before I took a lot of pictures but I did get a few. Here are the totals for May:

Asparagus - unknown.  I forgot to weigh it but we had fresh asparagus a couple of times a week for 4 or 5 weeks .

Lettuce - 2 lbs 3/8oz - there is nothing better than fresh lettuce.

Parsley -  3/8 oz - I strongly suspect that I missed weighing and/or writing this down.

Sage - 3/8 oz - this is only picked as needed.  Harvest is actually in the fall.

Chive Flowers - 1 1/2 lbs -  yum, yum

Chives - unknown, I missed weighing and/or writing it down.

Spinach was available also but I decided not to harvest as the leaf miners attacked before I was able to pick it and I didn't really want to eat the larvae.

I have also been working on restocking the jelly.  So far, I have made 15 half pints of strawberry jam and 6 pints of blueberry.   I think the next round of jelly making will be at the end of June when the apples are ready.

Here's a few pics:

The 1 1/2 lbs of chive blossoms are marinating in white vinegar.  In a couple of weeks, I should have some beautiful chive vinegar.  Flowers from around the garden:

Two of the three iris varieties bloomed.  We're not sure why the 3rd type didn't bloom.  We made the assumption that it was something to do with the severe winter we had.  If you happen to know why irises quite blooming I would like to hear about it. These flowers are in various places around the house.

Love the poppies.  These are also in various places around the house.  We had attempted to move the poppies only to find out that we would get poppies in the spot we wanted them and where they were originally located.  They are beautiful though when they bloom even it is only lasts for a couple of days.

I do love the peonies.  This is another plant that we attempted to move and ended up with them everywhere.   I do enjoy using these for cut flowers.  The buds have opened since this picture was taken and it rained before I could make any bouquets.

Hope you making more time for sewing than me.

Happy Stitching!