Monday, March 11, 2019

Know your sewing machine

Thanks for the comments or e-mails that you write on the blog or send to me. I still have a couple to respond to and I'll address them in an upcoming post about books! Oh yes - books. There are days when I just want to rant and rave about something, and I do try to behave most days. Some days I don't and you are all there to keep me in check! Thanks.

It's Monday and I get to go to Monday sewing today. I'm excited as it's been a couple of weeks that I haven't been. My hand applique project hasn't seen the light of day since the last time I attended Monday sewing. 

It was a totally crazy weekend. Five classes in four different locations over three days! I'll be editing and uploading more of those pictures this week. I thought I would share some pictures from some of the classes earlier in the week.

I was in the car for a wee bit over the weekend and I love the time in the car - quiet time to think about blog posts topics and just life in general. This thought has been on my mind for a while.

I mostly teach at two different quilt stores - one is in the country and you can only get there by car (although I did ride my bike there one day!) and the other is in the downtown core of a small urban center. The clientele of each is extremely different. And I wanted to know why.

Granted - I'm looking at it from a classroom perspective as I don't work in either. Almost all of the students at the store located in the country are somewhat experienced quilters/sewers. They know how to operate a sewing machine. The students in the urban shop, where there is a lot of walk-in traffic, are quite different. Many have never sewed before and want to learn. That's great news! One by one we'll convert the world to sewing! I'll equate the difference to the urban shop being an "impulse" as people pass by and see the fabric and remember someone in their family sewing.

I haven't done justice to that explanation, but hopefully, you get my drift of what I'm trying to say.

So at the urban shop, we have classes on "Know your sewing machine" or something like that. Wow - I've seen some interesting sewing machines pop up.

Some of the machines are older and come in all kinds of creative cases. I LOVE this vintage suitcase that has been commandeered into a carrying case for this older Kenmore sewing machine.

Love that carrying case

The owner acquired it at a flea market or antique mart. I have forgotten what she said. It was a set of two cases - both in pristine condition. Here's the label from the inside of the case.

Label inside the case

I mean this thing is immaculate. Even has the original keys to it.

Even the keys are attached to the handle

There are loads of sewing machines that come in the box. Personally, I find that it's difficult to carry a sewing machine in the box. It's bulky, but each to their own. These machines do NOT come with a hard case.

Some machines come in the box

I think we're going to have to have a class on making a sewing machine cover with a wee bit of padding to protect the machine. It'll make it way easier for these ladies to bring their machines to class.

Thank goodness most machines operate in the same way - more or less. However, the one above did have two spots on one dial that I didn't know what they were for. The manual included in the box was NOT for the machine that was in the box. Close, but not the same. I just downloaded the proper manual from the internet and learned what those two positions are for. Hmmm - interesting.

My biggest recommendation for anyone with any sewing machine - read the manual. Sit down at sewing machine and reread the manual and touch all the buttons and dials. You cannot harm the machine unless you do something that you shouldn't. I know - how do you know the difference???

I also taught a class on machine applique at a local guild. It's amazing how people do not see beyond the default stitches. ANY stitch on your sewing machine can be modified by the length and the width. The lowly zig-zag is a great example. That simple stitch can do a TON of different jobs, just by changing the length and width and using different threads. It's all about PLAYING with your machine to discover what it can do.

I also teach private classes where people can book time and come in and learn whatever they what. I had a lady last week who wanted to make pillow shams. She had already purchased the fabric and had to buy a sewing machine in order to make the pillow shams. All this was going to be cheaper than buying them.

I didn't know quite what she was making until she arrived. Thankfully, the pillow shams were super simple and in the course of one hour - we made one pillow sham. OK - I did the cutting for her.

Making a pillow sham
Her machine was BRAND NEW - never been taken out of the box and sewing experience from years ago! However, I'm happy to report that she made out pretty well. 

Brand new sewing machine - never out of the box

Oh yes - I never know what is going to show up when we book a class. Especially a private class. It makes for some interesting times, to say the least.

I'm excited to see these ladies learn to sew. Many of them have come back so we know they are getting hooked. Next time, I need to remember to ask what other types of things they want to sew so we can accommodate them in a class.

Your task today is to grab a piece (actually two pieces will be better). Experiment with the stitch length on your machine (if you're not comfortable with it). What's the shortest stitch? What's the longest stitch?  Then think about what things you could do with the various stitch lengths???

I made good progress on my mystery quilt yesterday. I'll show you that tomorrow. It's a tad hard to get photos of projects in my new space.

Have a super day!!!


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