Free class number 2 was all about needles, thread, and basic maintenance. (thank you SEW Hut!)
Since I had already run in significant obscenity causing problems with needle selection AND I had already partially disassembled my machine I was really looking forward to this one.
Ingrid started us off with a truly fascinating (no, I’m not being sarcastic, hater) discussion on needles and thread. She has this gigantic aluminum prop needle that, when she’s not using it to fight crime, she gives a really great demonstration of what is happening while your machine is pumping away at the fabric. I wish I could share everything she taught us, and if I find a good link to similar information I’ll be sure to post it somewhere. (I have to get a pic of that needle…)
Next up was Brian and machine maintenance. Brian walked everyone through the BASIC stuff of taking the covers off the most common problem areas and illustrating some of what can wrong.
Before everyone left, Brian made sure everyone had reassembled properly and our machines were working at least as good as when we brought them in;)
It was another great offering by this shop. I’m extremely pleased I chose to buy from here.
It may come as a shock to many, but people have babies. My little sister just had a baby. My friends have babies. Babies freaking everywhere! My mom made my sister a beautiful baby quilt this spring. Now, I know from personal experience that my mom’s quilts are fucking fantastic, and are so nice you don’t want to risk damaging them. That’s when I had the god. damn. brilliant. idea to make a delightful baby blanket that was virtually shit and puke proof. A little internet research later and I had settled on a fleece/quilt/applique baby blanket. My sewing experience up to this point was a (great) motorcycle seat and a “quilt” (with no batting) fit only for my dog. But let it never be said that I know my limitations.
This also led to my first time going to a fabric store for actual fabric… I bought WAY to much fabric (now everything I sew will be made from 5 different colors of fleece).
I created a design in my mind, took a few measurements and got to work. Let me tell you, fleece is kind of a bitch. The stretchiness gave me some problems during cutting as nothing wanted to stay square. I’d be humming along cutting strips of fabric only to stop and notice I now had a pretty trapezoid shape rather than a square. Queue the swearing. I trimmed edges and got things fairly square and decided to see how it impacted the design as I went. This (first) blanket was more of a prototype anyway. The stretching continued to give me problems, but I persevered.
Everything seemed to be going alright until I got to the free motion part of the quilt. I had skipped stitches, no stitches, broken bobbin thread, broken top thread, everything. Fuck! The wife and the dog hate it when I yell. I finally got fed up and partially disasembled the machine. I mean, hell, if I can take apart my bike, put it back together, and scream down the road at 90mph I can take apart a sewing machine. jk. I didn’t really take it apart. But I did open it up and lube everything – it made no difference. Off to my sewing shop I went with partially finished quilt in hand. The delightful people at Sew Hut promptly told me I was using the wrong needle and set me straight.
The difference the different needle made was astounding. No more problems, no more swearing and BOOM – the blanket was finished.
I washed it, wrapped it, and delivered it to my friends down the street. One baby done…
and learning. seriously, I LOVE learning things. My wife is constantly amazed by the shear volume and randomness of the things I know.
Anyway, one of the reasons I bought my machine from SEW Hut is that they offer some free classes about how to use your machine and how not to shoot your eye out with the damn thing.
Anyway, I read the manual and was mostly good to go, but I’m all signed up for all the classes. The first one was a “how to use your machine” course taught by Lynn – what a fantastic course. The manual told me pretty much everything she covered but she was full of great tidbits and tricks to make life easier. Can’t wait for the next one…
So I have this machine, but the first “how to use it” class isn’t for about 2 weeks… fuck it. Let’s light this candle.
I have to give Janome credit – the manual for my machine is very good. I read it cover to cover and busted the machine out. The wife and I had done some fabric flowers for our wedding reception center pieces a few years ago so we had a bunch of miscellaneous fabric left over…
I got to cutting and sewing and having a grand old time teaching myself to use my machine. I had problems with inappropriate fabric, and I wasn’t about to go buy any new fabric yet, but I kept at it. I ended up with a not-too-bad “quilt”. I hadn’t used any batting for thickness, but I had done some nodes and straight line quilting and the thing was a very successful experiment. I did have to bribe the dog into using it…
as Betsy Ross would say, "fuck this, I'm going home! I've got a burrito to eat and a quilt to finish"