Friday, October 26, 2007

New sewing machine

Just in case you were wondering why I'm not blogging in rapture over my new Brother, it was a lemon. I started sewing gingerly, afraid I'm hit the wrong buttons on the computer screen and somehow screw it up. So when the needle shaft when down into the fabric and I was only able to lift it with great difficulty, I was very upset with myself. I managed to dislodge it, do a little more sewing (and I really like the speed, ease, embroidery features) until it went down again and refused totally to come out. Menachem took it into the shop where they determined it was nothing I had done but a faulty part. They have ordered me a new machine which will hopefully arrive any day now. And I fully intend to check it out at the shop before I bring it home.

In the meantime, I pieced another challah cover from the scraps of my colourful quilt. And embroidered the centre panel with variegated green thread. On the previous challah cover, I embroidered the centre panel first and then attached the bottom, top and sides. On this one, I put it together and then embroidered the centre panel. Embroidering first is the better way to go.

I also "made" myself a light box -- I took 4 shadow boxes, stacked 2 high on either side and put my long long 6" wide omniruler on top of them with a strong table lamp lying on its side under it. I traced onto the white fabric with an air soluble pen. I got about half of the embroidery done yesterday morning. This morning, the markings for the second half had disappeared... So I marked again and finished embroidering. Now I just have to wait for my machine to quilt it.

Tomorrow, Inbal and I are going to the Creativ Festival to check out what's new in sewing/quilting and scrapbooking/collage. I usually enjoy the Festival -- I hope Inbal will too.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Brother

So I've been trying out sewing machines and went with Menachem to Newmarket to Evelyn's Sewing Centre in Newmarket to test drive the Brothers. I had been told that Babylock, which I liked, and Brother were the same machine. And indeed, they are identical. I tried the Brother 450X and liked it and it was on sale $500 less than the list price and $300 less than I had seen in Markham. Menachem kept saying "buy it, buy it!". I'm not so sure it wasn't because I was sitting beside a machine which was also on sale: $7000 marked down from $10,000.... lol
Anyways, the salesperson told us that the machine wasn't in stock and that it didn't include several of the feet (walking foot, freemotion foot, 1/4" foot) but that we could buy anything, including fabric and sewing machines accessories, for 15% off for the next year.
Friday we got the call that the machine had come in and yesterday we went to pick it up. And it did include the walking foot and free motion foot! So all I want now is a 1/4" foot which I'm hoping to pick up at the Creativ (needlework and sewing) Show this coming weekend.
The purchase includes free lessons but I want to get a basic understanding of the machine before I take the classes. And since I have an aversion to reading manuals, it should be interesting...
Right now, I am busy trying to reconfigure my sewing room to accommodate all of my stuff... I think I am going back to the previous configuration.
Inbal came on Thursday and is wedding occuppied until this afternoon. We drove her down to the Hyatt at Bloor and Avenue Road where the wedding took place yesterday afternoon/evening. She looked beautiful. She had this lovely emerald green dress with gold accents and gold shoes. Friday, she came to the office for lunch and bought a gold pashmina at Winners. On the way home, I bought some gold fabrics and trims and yesterday morning sewed her up a little gold purse. I hope she had a good time. Today she has a brunch so she stayed at my mother's last night (subway convenience) and will go down to the Hyatt for the brunch from there. We will probably pick her up this afternoon, after Menachem gets off work.
So I'm off to play with my new Brother...

Saturday, October 13, 2007


So a while back, I wrote that I had sold a piece of my work which was exhibited at the Pomegranate Guild's 25th anniversary exhibit at both the Toronto JCC and Baycrest museum. Although the piece had verbally sold the day after the exhibit opened, I just got paid for it on Thursday evening. It's not the purchaser's fault that payment took so long. Rikki, who served as the intermediary between the buyer and me, was ready to write the cheque several times but whenever our paths crossed, either she was in a hurry or I was, and I knew (hoped) she was good for the payment. The exhibit ended at the Baycrest on September 30th and when I went to pick up my two pieces (the third, a shadowbox, is now going touring cross-Canada...), there was only one there. The "sold" item had been picked up by Rikki so I knew it was a done deal. Thursday evening, both Rikki and I attended the same lecture/event (an evening with tallit maker extraordinaire, Shirley Waxman) and I received the cheque.
And not a moment too soon. My trusty Singer is dying and I fear it is terminal -- the motor. The machine originally (18 year ago...) cost me under $200. To spend any money repairing it seems a waste. So I'm looking for a new machine, with more quilting/free motion capabilities. Thursday after work, I went down to a sewing machine store at Yonge and Eglinton to test drive some machines and figure out what I want. It was a waste of time. The woman selling (perhaps a new owner of the store?) wasn't terribly knowledgable and didn't go out of her way to show me the models in the store.
Yesterday after work, we went to another store in Markville Mall and saw a few machines. Here, the salesperson was certainly more knowledgable and it appeared they really wanted to sell.
Sewing machines with quilting capabilities can run up to $10,000. I don't want to spend anything near that much since it is still a hobby for me and I can't justify such an expense. I test drove a basic Pfaff with which I was not enamoured. Then I test drove a Babylock Decorator's Choice which I liked. As I said, the needlecraft and sewing festival is in two weeks and I will be able to test drive all the machines at the same time and hopefully make a more informed decision. And then see if there are sale deals, floor model promos, or if it's worth taking a trip to Buffalo...
At any rate, in the interim I am giving my machine a rest after ekeing (sp?) out the last drops of juice on Ezra's quilt. I am now binding it by hand.
Back to Shirley Waxman's trunk show/talk, although I don't think I'll be making any tallitot in the near future, I was inspired by her embroidery and it gave me some ideas for doing some handwork. The ideas are bubbling as I speak.
Today, Menachem is working and I am going to meet Devora downtown at the CBC building at 1:30 p.m. for lunch and to see a glass and pottery exhibit. Later this afternoon, I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing. Menachem finishes work at 3:00 p.m. Perhaps we'll hook up and do some visiting or something.
Inbal is coming for a visit this Thursday and I am so looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I haven't been blogging as religiously as I had hoped but I'm either tired, busy or lazy.
This past long weekend, I spent three days at Casa Loma as docent for "The Quilt" exhibit. In case you don't know what it is, please visit their website
Some of the quilts were breathtaking, in particular "Circle of Caring" (can be seen on the website). It's a bargello in the round and I have an itch to try one of those... The quilts are all manner of design, some traditional, some modern, some playful, using so many techniques and colours.
And I had the chance to sit with women from other quilting guilds and pick their brains about sewing machines. (Still not totally edified, but on the way) In the meantime, my Singer has gotten a second wind and I'm hoping to at least finish quilting Ezra's baby quilt this week. I got the quilting gloves I ordered and boy, do they ever make a difference!
Menachem has started working at Longo's so we're going to have to do some creative scheduling in order to spend time together.
I'm hoping to stitch after work today so I'll keep you posted if I get the quilting finished on the baby quilt.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Not much really. It's 3:06 a.m. Insomnia.
Have I already mentioned that my sewing machine is on its last leg? Bummer because I have four or five quilts to quilt. The walking foot from my Singer is compatible with my no-name backup machine but the threads, bother upper and bobbin, keep taking turns breaking. So I'm pretty much machineless as far as free-motion quilting goes.
I have started researching new machines and am more confused the more I read. Also, I'm not sure I want to remortgage the house to finance a fancy shmancy machine for what I still consider to be a hobby. Maybe I should go the route of an industrial -- I understand they can be considerably less expensive and have much stronger motors.
At the end of the month, I will attend the Creative Sewing and Needlework Festival, test drive their machines and try to make a decision.
I was hoping to take Menachem with me since he's much more technically inclined than me and I hope to get him hooked on the quilting part... but Menachem has landed a part time job at Longos, the local grocery store, doing front store customer service (can I help you put your groceries in the car? that's in aisle number 6, etc.). It's something to keep him busy from September to May until his summer camp job. His hours are, at the moment, unpredictable. This week he's working Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10-2. So if he works every weekend, I guess I'll be going to the Festival alone.
This week, the Pomegranate Guild exhibit at Baycrest ended so we went Monday to pick up my pieces. Actually only one because one was picked up by the purchaser's "agent". Yay me. First piece I've ever sold. My second piece is a gift for Yunkie. Maybe we'll find some time over the weekend to go there to give it to him.
So I guess I'll be doing handwork for the next while... I really must straighten up my studio -- it's a bit of a mess at the moment.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

First quilt -- finished

This is the first quilt I made which I just finished. The piecing of the top didn't take too long but I was afraid to ruin it by free-motioning it myself. My friend, Dee, graciously offered to do it and I just finished sewing on the binding. The back is done in the black and gold leaves fabric. The whole thing is IMHO stunning!!

About Me

I am in my mid 50's, have been married (happily) for 38 years, have 3 adult children who live an ocean away... By day I am a legal secretary. The rest of the time I play with fabric but I still won't run with scissors...