Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shiva Paintstik and collage

I really do prefer shiva Paintstiks for portrait work. 

Happy 27th Birthday, Ben!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Things I love about my new Brother Innov-is 950D

I never thought I'd want another sewing machine. My Sears Kenmore lasted 20+ years.  There was nothing wrong with it.  Why would I ever need another one?

But one day I decided I wanted to do free motion quilting, the kind where you sew in any direction using a special free-motion presser foot and putting the machine's feed dogs down. You can do circles or other shapes, follow the lines of the fabric patterns or make up your own design for sewing.  I couldn't do this very well on my Kenmore -- so finally I faced facts:  I needed a new machine.

I started out by checking facts.  Consumer Reports rated the Brother 400 model (Project Runway version) a best buy and it's VERY nice. That's where I was headed.  But I decided to spend a little more and get the one that has programmable embroidery stitches -- my thing was that in case I'm making children's clothes over the next ten years, I'd need it. (You never know what the stork might bring...)

So now that I've been using it for a couple of months, let me tell you about all the little things I love about this new machine.  Like.... When I'm threading the top thread, I just loop it in and around and when I get down near the needle -- no more eye strain to thread the needle.  I push a lever and it THREADS THE NEEDLE FOR ME.  All by itself.  Yes, you read that right.  Cha-ching.

Second great thing:  after I'm done sewing a seam, I push a button and it cuts the thread and lifts the needle.  Heaven.

Third thing - and this amazes and delights me.  It let's me know BEFORE the bobbin thread runs out.  That's right.  It gives me a little message that says, "your bobbin is running low, darling."  Ok, maybe it doesn't say darling, but it FEELS like there is an implied darling in there.  Because in the past I'd be, oh, 3-4 inches of sewing with only the TOP thread before realizing there was no bottom thread accompanying that dance.

You can adjust the speed 3 ways depending on if you are a slowpoke or a speedy gonzales just by using a slider, and there is a little panel in front that tells me what I'm doing.  Best of all, there is a great little book that is totally easy to use -- and I keep it next to me whenever I'm trying something new.  I highly recommend this little doll face.

Now.  If they could make a little housekeeping machine like this to dust and clean while I'm sewing?   I'd be first in line.