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Topics - KayK

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Embroidery and Embellishment / Free motion embroidery
« on: February 23, 2021, 13:59:24 PM »
Just a little sample of free motion embroidery wot I have been playing with!

Your Favourite Suppliers / Sewing Machines Direct (SMD)
« on: February 17, 2021, 18:05:15 PM »
Sewing Machines Direct get a big thumbs up for me - I like to do a lot of free motion embroidery, and am very heavy on the thread - I have used Simthread before, and was quite happy with its performance and price.  I saw SMD were selling it, so I ordered 7 various reels online yesterday afternoon, and couldn't believe they arrived in the post the morning!

I might just have to order some more.........(£1.39 for 1000m reels) whereas 1000m of 'Glide' thread is £4 per reel!  Have used both and not much to choose between them (apart from price!!)

Sewing Machines / Babylock Sewing Machines?
« on: January 30, 2021, 20:40:05 PM »
Somebody has bound to have answered this question before:

Are Babylock sewing machines available in the UK, and if not, why?  I know they sell Overlockers, Coverstitchers and Embellishers -

Its only that I was watching a Bargello quilt tutorial on YouTube yesterday, and the demonstrator was using an enormous Babylock Jazz - 12" throat space and in the US costs around $700 - which was amazing!  I seem to think that I have heard an urban rumour that the machines are very similar/same as Brother?

Vintage Machines / Singer Touch and Sew720
« on: November 06, 2020, 14:03:43 PM »
OOO I've gone and done it again!  Saw a locally advertised Singer Touch and Sew for sale for £60, and it appeared to be pristine - well, I took a punt on it and it is like brand new (its 51).  I bought it from a lady whose elderly mother had 'given up' sewing, but from the look of it, she had never started!  Some of the accessories were unopened in their original packing, and everything works a treat.  I am more than impressed with the chainstitch option, makes a lovely attractive stitch on the underside.   The feet and accessories are beautifully made and heavy.  It was one of the last Singer models to be made in West Germany.  It does have a few 'nylon' cogs in it , but these have hardly been touched!

Lots of playing and one happy customer - however I will say I had one years ago and it was a right mare!

Tech Know How / How to add a link?
« on: September 01, 2020, 17:06:48 PM »
It must be somewhere! I wanted to add a link to a picture of an item found on Amazon, and don't know how to do it!  My usual copy & paste method gave me a whole load of gobbledegook, not the nice little emboldened like that others managed to do!

All help gratefully accepted, and am using a MacBook if that's any different?

Sewing Machines / Sewing machine for sale at exorbitant price anyone!
« on: June 09, 2020, 16:41:43 PM »
I have never seen so many requests for 'sewing machine for beginner' adverts on Facebook!  It's good that folks are thinking of rekindling old skills or taking up new ones, but I fear a lot of them are in for a big disappointment! 

Adverts seem to now be of 2 types - those after a basic machine and being 'sold' a real cheapie toy machine (new) costing about £70, or those who have found their Nan's old Singer and are trying to sell it for around £300!  I have seen many an old hand crank Singer up in excess of £150 (the type with the shuttle and no bobbins!)

My favourite are those who have found an old electric zig zag, with what appears to be dire electric bits, no attachments or feet, with smashed and broken cases with and want to know what it's worth.  Now there is nothing wrong at all with a vintage machine, provided it is safe and working, but there is a nasty rash of all sorts going on out there!   There are souls who ask 'does it work' and the reply is often 'dont know'.......eek!

Machine Accessories / Bernina Walking Foot
« on: May 29, 2020, 11:29:55 AM »
What a fantastic bit of kit! It was included with the machine, as the individual prices for them eye-watering. (£110) However,  it is a heavy, well engineered foot and hardly makes a sound.  What I really, really like is that fact that it has 3 soles, including a 'stitch in the ditch' or 'edge' foot.  The piece of metal that makes it ride along the ditch is pretty solid, and has a hefty spring at the side of it which keeps it firmly in place, and it just doesn't move out of the ditch.  The comparison with that which came with the hated Juki is beyond belief. The Juki foot is still £50 tho!  The Bernina foot is more than twice the price, but is certainly more than twice the quality!.  Even the little screwdriver used to change the soles is excellent!

It has fast become my favourite foot!

Sewing Machines / Big disappointment
« on: March 31, 2020, 20:06:04 PM »
 In my (usual) quest for the perfect sewing machine - or should I say - one that I really like - I have made an utter blunder!  I am part of the way through a potentially 4 year course of creative stitching, and this takes up a lot of my time machining my way through different techniques.  My main go-to machine had its niggly quirks, enough to drive me nuts, so I had a chat with DH, who would 'loan' me some money to buy a 'good' one.  However I couldn't quite come up with the funds to buy what i really wanted (a 7 series Bernina - the basic one - if you could call it that!) So, already owning (a second hand) Juki TL98P, a heavyweight straight stitch only machine, I thought I would go for another Juki, the DX7 , which seemed to fulfil all my requirements (thread cutter, single needle stitch plate adjuster, foot 'hover',  tie off stitch etc)

It took a while to arrive - a problem with the Juki suppliers telling the retailers they were not allowed to send the machines out  (mail order) without the purchaser seeing them first.  Ten days later it arrived and disappointment was rife on immediately opening the box.  Plastic fantastic is an apt description.  Not particularly heavy, the feet were cheap and flimsy.  The vertical spool pin won't take anything larger than a standard Guterman reel as it bends with the weight and the thread won't reel off.  The bobbin will only wind the thread in a barrel shape, and stops about half full.  The auto needle threader has a spring which you wouldnt put in a ball point pen, and the plastic cogs which operate it dont quite meet.  I started to stitch and the thread caught in the tension and shredded every time, despite trying various threads.  Funnily enough it worked with Moon thread.  I then decided to try some free motion stitching, which really is my 'thing' and it was not good!  The feed dog drop can only be accessed by sliding the accessory tray off to leave a free arm, and is very flimsy as well.  I couldn't get the tension right, no matter how I tried, (despite having a good look at the tension arrangement'  The foot was nearly all plastic, and creaked loudly when in use, I thought it was going to snap!

The comparison with the other Juki? None whatsoever,  It wasn't a cheap machine by any stretch, I was so disappointed.  I have arranged with the retailer to exchange it when we can all get out and about.  I purchased a little Brother Innovis 15 to take to classes, and it is far, far better for about one eighth of the price!  I really expected this to be the last machine I ever purchased, and one of the first 'new from the box' ones (all my others have been second/third hand).

Oh well, enough moaning!  I think I really need a sturdy machine like my Juki TL that does zig zag as well!

Sewing Machines / Lightweight machine to take to classes
« on: February 16, 2020, 14:18:51 PM »
Oh here I go again, on the whim for yet another machine!

I started in September a 2 year course (with a potential for another 2 years after that) in Creative stitch and patchwork.  it involves a lot of design work and a fair bit of class time sewing a host of techniques.  I am a pretty competent sewer and machine user, but the course is great and the camaraderie is second to none!  It is for a whole day each week, and there is enough 'homework' to keep me sewing for the rest of the week, with an assessment piece at the end of each term.

Now, problem, (although DH says it is not a problem!)  is having a machine to take.  I have two Bernina's - one 25 year old 1260 which, although working perfectly, is a little fragile, and a 550QE which i'd rather not take as it is pretty heavy, and am slightly bothered about it being bounced around in the car as I travel on windy 'B'roads.

I did (stupidly) buy a seriously cheap mechanical Toyota which was awful - never knew where the needle was going to drop, and it had only 3 stitch lengths, no satin stitch, no dropping of feed dogs.  My poor tutor has never heard so much language!  I had to use her machine as mine was just not up to the job.  I have to say I have sold it and it's new owner loves it.

So folks, I am partly torn by a second hand machine again, but now have doubts about whether it will be good enough, or if it needs a service that will all add to the cost, - or - do I buy a new lightweight which has at least a guarantee.

I shall only be using it for classes, but a high standard of work is almost expected, and need something fairly compact.  I have weighed both Berninas and all their gubbins that I need to take with me, and they come in at 15.5kg!

I have an (unhelpful) DH and I have to carry it downstairs and load it into the car.  I sometimes have a (short) walk to the class from the car park, and reverse, and I have having to unpack the lot when I get home again as I use them both and need the flipping accessories etc!

I really dont want to spend much money (£250 top whack) .  It does need to drop feed dogs, have a decent satin stitch and possibly use a walking foot.  Dont need an automatic threader.  would like needle up/down.

All suggestions gratefully received and it would be interesting to hear what others use!  (my classmates all have new/newish Janome's and one has an enormous Brother!)

For Sale, Wanted & Free to a good home / Immaculate Singer 401G for sale!
« on: January 03, 2020, 12:11:04 PM »
Ive only now gone and sold it within minutes of it being advertised on a facebook site!

I am now selling my Singer 401G.  I am having a cull of machines, too many and now not enough space for them!

This machine is immaculate inside and out, and sews like a demon.  It has lovely balanced stitches, five extra cams for more decorative stitches, and a whole range of feet, including a walking foot, ruffler foot, free motion foot, clear foot, and zip foot. It has its original accessories case and handbook, but it does have a new foot pedal and plug. 

Vintage Machines / Singer 401G
« on: January 03, 2020, 12:07:45 PM »
Well blow me, if I haven't gone and sold it within minutes of it appearing on a facebook site! It has now been posted off to its new owner!

I shall put this on the sales page as well, but I am now selling my Singer 401G.  I am having a cull of machines, too many and now not enough space for them!

This machine is immaculate inside and out, and sews like a demon.  It has lovely balanced stitches, five extra cams for more decorative stitches, and a whole range of feet, including a walking foot, ruffler foot, free motion foot, clear foot, and zip foot. It has its original accessories case and handbook, but it does have a new foot pedal and plug to comply with today's regulations.  It runs smoothly and accurately, and I only wish they made machines like it now.

As it is all metal (apart from the bottom which comes off if you wish to put it in a table) it is very heavy - just a warning!

It never had a case when it was in my ownership.  I would prefer collection, but will post if necessary.  I am asking £125 for it.

These are a real workhorse and collectors item! 

12's all getting stroppy out there!

A chap is describing a machine as "Semi-industrial" (which we know there is no such thing) and there are several replies!  It does annoy me when people do this for sales - I'm sure a lot of people out there buy one mistakenly thinking they can be used for continuous heavy work.  I know two bods who have purchased this 'type' - usually old metal bodied machines and expect them to cope with heavy repairs to horse rugs, and making dog beds and to sew through many layers of webbing, and both have been disappointed as they expected to make a business out of their services.  The old machines might cope with it on a few occasions, but not for long!

Well, here is the second quilt I've ever made now finished!  Another learning curve for me indeed.  This time, it was the cutting that nearly did for me.  As mentioned before I started with the Gemini die cutter. Not good, not good at all. (it went back to Amazon).  I then purchased some acrylic shapes - not that good either as my rotary cutting skills are not that good (still).  Third and final cutting was done with an Accuquilt die cutter - not cheap but brilliant.  Its also amazing how what is supposed to be a standard size isn't.  The same size shape in all three methods wasn't, so my 12" blocks weren't actually the same size - and I can do a mean 1\4" seam!

I didn't like the wadding I used - Heirloom cotton, and the backing was a very good quality egyptian cotton sheet from eBay for a tenner!.  Still quite expensive to make the whole thing tho. The fabric was Lynette Anderson's Dancing in the blossoms, but some of the colours were too subtle (for me, anyway)

I'm having a mini break from patchwork, as I don't have a stash, but am playing with more free motion which I love!

Patchwork & Quilting ... Welcome to the Darkside / Chalk and cheese!
« on: July 27, 2019, 18:08:39 PM »
Having bored the pants off you last week with the story of the dreadful Gemini die cutter, I have now bought an Accuquilt Go.  Also having spent many an unhappy hour with the rotary cutter (fairly successfully) cutting shapes and giving myself an even more wonky thumb, I thought do or die (geddit?)  0_0.

It arrived via good old Amazon this afternoon and is a totally different creature.  Solid, stable, German made.  Simplicity itself to set up (die, fabric, cutting plate - that's it).  Yes, it is more expensive than the Gemini, but I can see this lasting a long time.

In fact, my new obsession has taken such a hold I have signed up for a 2 year course!

As I am now a trainee darksider, with a fear of rotary cutters, I have splashed out on a Gemini die cutter.  It has arrived, been unpacked and works like a dream.  I am seriously impressed with it,  but of course, DH, who can take the shine off anything new with constant 'how much?' and what do you want that for' ......supportive he is not!  I have purchased some fabric for next project and will be cutting away very shortly! - that was my triumph! 

However the disaster came in the shape of a walking foot to fit the Brother V5, which didn't, and then found out I needed to buy an adapter to make it fit! ( I told the supplier which model I had).  The upshot of this is that the very dire quality foot is going back, and an adapter is not being purchased, the price for the both being over £50!  I shall stick to the heavy and clunky one that belongs to the Juki and not purchase stuff on a whim again!!

Right off to play with new toy!

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