Thursday, November 7, 2019

Fireside Retreat - Day One

We're here - we're at Fireside Retreat - my favorite retreat spot in the whole world. After I managed to squeeze everything into my car. The Scan n Cut stayed at home as well as one embroidery unit. Don't ask. It was a tad difficult to see out the back window and should checking was a wee bit sketchy, but it was all good.

The car was a tad full!

The roads were in good shape although there is some snow on the ground here. Not much, but enough to make it messy and I see there's some snow on the cars this morning.

Most of us arrived at 9 AM or very shortly thereafter. There's no wasting time when we come to retreat. However, when we did arrive, I noticed that a few just sat around and chatted before getting started. Some of us don't get to see each other that often so it's nice to catch up on what's happening.

I decided that it was going to be a serger day. Yep - I brought the serger along as well. I said - I'm determined to learn that darn thing inside and out. I had several kits with me - kits that were leftover from the convention. I had gone through the instructions to make sure that I had the appropriate stuff with me - different threads, ribbons, tools, etc. Like I said, I have a ton of supplies with me as well as projects to sew.

I'm using the Husqvarna Viking Amber Air S400. This is a four-thread machine with AIR THREADING. Life doesn't get much easier than that. I remember one of my colleagues saying that rather than tieing the threads off when changing them, that she actually cuts all the threads and starts over. I thought to myself that if it works for Emily, then it can work for me. I'm NOT competitive by any means. I'm determined to learn.

Let's just say that she's absolutely right. I can have the upper and lower loopers threaded in seconds with the air threader and with the NEEDLE THREADER, it's a breeze to thread the needles. So yep - I agree with her, cut the threads and start from scratch. It does help to pay attention, however. I was trying to thread the upper looped and it wasn't working. Then I realized the dial was set to the lower looper. AHA!!!!  It's all about learning. Whoosh!!! Whoosh!!!! 

What did I spend the day doing? Well, I started off by using the flatlock stitch to sew some fleece squares together. I've got a bit of a learning curve in everything that I do, so it took a bit longer than it would normally take. But I figured it out and made a child's quilt in no time. And I got to use up a decorative thread that I can't use on my long arm. Yeah!!!!!  I have three giant spools of this variegated thread and nowhere to use it. Now I have an excellent place to use it.

Remember that box of specialty fabrics that I cut up to have scraps to test my stitches on? I brought and what fun to have those scraps at the ready to experiment. I'm using the manual which has a very nice outline of the settings used for each stitch. But I'm happy to report that I'm also learning how to make a couple of tiny tweaks if I don't exactly like the stitch. And I'm learning just how easy that is.

I've only ever used serger thread on a serger, but I was outside my comfort zone yesterday. Once that project was done, I was onto the next project which also involved a three thread flatlock. This time, I was using a 40-weight rayon thread in bright colors. OH MY GOD. I never realized (or gave it any thought) that I could do this with a serger.

Then I was inserting a ribbon through the ladder stitches created by the flatlock. Let's say that it was a tad time consuming because I was learning. Of course, by the end of it all, I had the technique down pat. But not before I had to run to the quilt store to get a couple of different batiks for the project than were in the kit. And then not before I had a trip to Micheal's to buy a narrower ribbon. And then a second trip to Micheal's to try and find a flat bodkin. Oh yes - it was a crazy day, but I got the project completed.

I should have taken pictures of those projects. I will so you can see them tomorrow. I'm very excited about what I learned.

Then it was onto a third serger project. A quilted table runner. The top of the runner is together. Now I have to get my ruler foot out for the sewing machine and so some quilting. I need to do a wee bit of organizing as I can find everything else BUT that foot. Actually, I know where the foot is - I guess I was just too tired to get it out last night.

That's the one thing, I'm loving about my freelance educator job. It's the opportunity to learn so much new stuff. I could make another quilt, but why not learn something new instead?

That's it for today. I'm going to start the day by sorting through my projects and supplies so that I can easily find the things that I'm looking for. I think I'll spend today working on the serger as well and then the rest of the time will be on the sewing machine.

Oh yes - we used the embroidery machine to spell out some grand children's names so Paula could make reading pillows for Christmas gifts, Super cute and super easy.

Have a super day!!!!


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