So does it feel like I have been avoiding you guys? Well in a way I guess I have .. this is my 99th post and we all know what is meant to come with my next post ... I have thought up a pretty nice giveaway but I am so heavily overcommited at the moment that actually making it in time has been impossible. Being as far behind with things as I am at the moment isn't fun it's nauseating I'm afraid ..... :(
So I figure my options are either to keep my head stuck firmly in the sand and hope you all wont notice that I haven't been around or just to stray from the line and have a surprise party celebration instead .. . so that is what I have decided to do ... sometime between now and my 106th post I will host the whole 100th post giveaway celebration ... I hope the blog police wont mind!
Just a little note regarding the entries for the giveaway ...
- everyone who leaves a comment on this post and the next posts that come before the giveaway will automatically get an extra entry for each comment that they leave ...
- if the person who ultimately wins the giveaway has purchased one of my patterns before the end of the giveaway then they will get an extra little something (can be purchased from either my self or any of my stockists - must have proof of purchase) ...
Since my last post I have been frantically trying to complete my next magazine project. I decided to do alot of the applique for this one by hand and honestly it feels like I have been treading water without really getting anywhere for the longest time ... until Monday when I finally finished the hand sewing on the centre panel and now it's where it belongs under my Bernina getting stuffed ... in a nice way I promise!. There is still some turned edge applique that has to be done in the borders but hopefully now I'm over that initial hump things will move along a little faster.
Thank you to everyone who sent me birdie love from my last post. The cage is about 8" x 4 1/2" and it was all sewn using free motion stitching and a regular Mettler polly thread. As for a pattern I will be thinking about that for a bit ... but for now I have to get through to my ever growing and rapidly approaching list of deadlines ....
While I was visiting Lara earlier in the week I was inspired by her fabulous review of her sewing machine that was originally inspired by a meme from Sew Mama Sew. Now those of you who know me, know that I am rubbish at attending to memes and tags and the like ... you see it always takes me so long to write a post that by the time I have written what I wanted to write my allotted time is up and I never seem to find time to do the meme. On this occasion I am going to break the drought and actually join in with this meme as I think that this process will create a fabulous resource for us all in the future ...
What brand and model do you have & how long have you had it?
I have an almost brand new sparkling Bernina 820 - this is one of their new models .... it's the one without the Embroidery attachment. She came home with me in March this year. She was one of the first in the country and it was one of the machines that was used as a demo at the Australian Quilting Convention here in Melbourne
How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
This is a high end machine coming in at around $7000 (AUD). I was given an exceptionally good trade-in for my old machine (Bernina 440) and a large discount because the machine had been used as a demo at the Australasian Quilt Convention. (I have a horrible feeling that the price I have listed is wrong ... it may be $7900 so don't quote me I will check on this tomorrow and correct it if need be)
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
My machine is predominantly used for patchwork and quilting. I do make kids costumes and some odd crafty items but I don't make clothing.
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
You had better sit down for this ... usually around 4 to 6 hours a day ... sometimes much more! My machines earn their keep! However ... I clean it every few days and oil it every second day or so when quilting. I also change my needles every 4 to 5 hours of sewing - this is not really related to the machine itself, however, a worn needle will effect the performance of your machine & the consistency of your stitch.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I love this machine. I tried out the 830 at Houston last year and fell in love. Knowing that I would never be able to afford / justify the expense of the 830 I was thrilled to hear that Bernina was offering a very similar machine without all of the embroidery gizmo's that I would never use anyway.
She runs so smoothly and effortlessly. The extra space is a God send ... it is amazing how much of a difference this alone makes on the quality & consistency of your machine quilting. There are at least a gazillion stitches most of which I will never use but if you are into that stuff I'm sure you'd be thrilled. It has the ability to hold stitches in a programmed memory file ... I haven't used this yet but the theory sounds wonderful! It has everything that opens and shuts ... and more!
I am very happy with Bernina in general my last machine a 440, was also a great machine. I am not on their payroll either by the way ... although I could use the extra cash ;)
What features does your machine have that work well for you?
with machine quilting and free motion stitching this feature is essential ... you know I use this feature all the time! It means when you want to stop stitching ... your project stops too ... no more little skips and movement when you need to readjust yourself and / or your project.
this is such a convenient & handy feature as when I combine this with the knee lift I never need to take my hands off my project at all. I suspect that all Bernina's have this feature which allows me to lift and lower my needle by tapping on the front edge of the foot peddle. This feature is invaluable when it comes to raw edge applique ... particularly with my designs that tend to have lots of little bits.
if you have one of these and haven't used it or haven't persisted with it well pull it out and plug it back in! Go and do it right now!! This feature is so useful particularly with quilting or when free motion stitching with raw edge applique that once you get used to it you will wonder how you ever managed without it. Lifting your foot with your knee means you never have to take your hands off your project ... it's so much quicker and it helps with consistency in your stitching.
I never really realised just how much this would help my machine quilting! Having that extra space just reduces all that pushing and shoving ... that's a no brainer ... but it also helps to make your movements much smoother and more controlled and your quilting more consistent
I know that lots of people like top loading bobbins ... if you're a quilter top loading bobbins, in my opinion, are a pain in the bottom! To replace a bobbin I don't need to remove my quilt I simply lift up the front of the quilt a bit and pop the bobbin in and I can continue on stitching. The bobbins also have a large capacity - this is fantastic when you are using the same coloured thread through out a project, however, if you just need a little it seems a bit of a waist.
does anything at all need to be said about this really??? What a luxury!!!
this is heaven! This process has been upgraded in this machine compared to my old 440. In the 820 it really is totally automated ... press a button and the machine makes a few little buzzing noises and a little lever flips around and my needle is threaded first go, everytime!!!
I have left this amazing feature until last for a couple of reasons ... it was certainly one of the big selling features of the 440 when I bought it. A stitch regulator is a spectacular feature for those new to quilting and it certainly helps with gaining self confidence with a technique that can be a bit daunting for newbies. However, once you get the hang of free motion stitching it can hold you back a bit. I never use this feature anymore as I find I work better without it.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
I wouldn't say that this drives me nuts but it is a mild annoyance ... The machine is very big, don't get me wrong this is also one of it's features but because it is so much bigger than standard machines it only just fits into the drop down section of my Horn cabinet and when I say only just I mean it!!! I literally had to have the machine breathe in to squeeze it in there. This will make it a pain to take it out for servicing etc. Also with my teaching coming up I am avoiding thinking about how I am going to cart it around with me ... particularly interstate. Sure I could borrow a machine from the Quilt Shops but my machine is a bit of a security blanket ... a good old friend to tag along with me!
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!
This machine was a 40th birthday present from my husband ... it has sure softened the transition from 39 to 40! It also stands as a testament to my superior negotiation skills ... somehow I managed to put forward an argument that justified the expense of this machine and Mr DLN actually fell for it! Just kidding honey I really DID need this machine!!!!
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I would absolutely recommend this machine and I think that all of the reasons have already been mentioned!
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
There are so many factors to consider when you are sewing machine shopping. First of all you need to know how much you are prepared to spend then you need to confirm what you want to do with the machine now and in the future - for me this was free motion stitching & quilting but if you don't machine quilt or only do it once in a blue moon a machine that is right for me may well be a waist of money for you. Once you have confirmed this make a list of essential / must have features and those that would be lovely to have but you could manage without.
If possible find dealers that have several makes so that you can try out a few at the same time, this will help when comparing machines. It may also be helpful to ring ahead and book an appointment so that the sales person knows you are coming and will hopefully devote one on one time to you and not need to stop and serve other customers. Take notes and make sure you get to have a go at each of the machines you want to look at ... and make sure you actually try out the features that are on your essentials list to make sure they adequately meet your needs - if you want to try out free motion quilting take a small practice quilt sandwich with you to use.
When considering price make sure you use all of your assets to get the best machine for your budget ... don't forget that your old machine can be traded-in and make sure you get the best possible price for it - ring around the dealers and check as this can vary greatly! Try doing what I did and buy a machine that has been used as a demo at a show or on the shop floor - excellent savings can be made by doing this!
After sales service is also a very important factor - make sure you feel confident with the staff's skills and their knowledge of the machine. If you have something go wrong you want to feel confident that you can go to them and get friendly, knowledgeable & timely help. Also look at their servicing arrangement. The shop I bought my 440 from took 2 to 3 weeks to service my machine .... that is too long as far as I am concerned. The dealer I bought the 820 from has told me that I will have my machine back in 2 days ... this is a much more satisfactory arrangement especially for the same price!!!!!
Do you have a dream machine? .... oh baby yes I do ... and this is it!
If you have managed to make it all the way through my ode to the 820 I congratulate you ... well done! To finish up this post there are just a few more tid bits so hang in there ....
There has been another workshop added to the class schedule at Patchwork House in Hawthorn. This will be a repeat of the class being held in August however it will be held with a few weeks gap between the classes. If you want to come along you will need to be quick as the waiting list was long enough to all but fill another class.
Patchwork House are also now stocking my patterns. So if you're in Melbourne and not into the whole on-line bit then this is the only Melbourne based shop where you can currently find my patterns. I am also very relieved to add that I have finally finished the How does your garden grow? pattern so don't forget if you happen to be the first person to contact me with proof of purchase of one of my patterns from Patchwork House I will send you out one of these patterns ...
There are some sales on this month too for all of you thrifty lovers of fabric and the like ...
Patchwork House- Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st of June
Ballarat Patchwork- in store annual Stocktake sale from the 23rd to the 30th of June (on-line sale starts a week earlier)
11am - 4.30pm LightHouse, Ashburton Uniting Church you will even see a few of my bits and pieces on display ... and you may even find me lurking around in the shadows ....
11am - 4.30pm
LightHouse, Ashburton Uniting Church
you will even see a few of my bits and pieces on display ... and you may even find me lurking around in the shadows ....
There have been quite a few additions to the Your take on my designs album lately so make sure you take a peek! You should also pop over to Deekie Belle Design and look here & here at what this amazing woman has been upto! There is even a Rocket Ship pillow in the album now which is the first one I have seen so far! Well done to Claude from France ... I am sure your Grandson will love it dearly!
If you have some finished things or some progress shots on your blog that you might like to share then please let me know as I would love to add them to the album.
OK so I had better run ... enjoy your weekend!
EDIT: I forgot to make a time frame for the pattern giveaway for this post ... so let's make it Sunday the 21st at midnight Australian EST. Sorry guys. I will post tomorrow with the winner.
PS. Hopefully now all of the problems that some of you were experiencing with my blog are now resolved. Apparently there was a problem with a piece of script in the Linkwithin feature that I had installed - this was the three little thumbnaillinks that were found under each post suggesting other posts that you might be interested in. I really loved this feature, however, because of the Operation Abort error it had to be removed. I contacted Linkwithin however they haven't replied as yet with a solution. If any other typepad users find that they encounter this problem, try removing this widget and see what happens ...