Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Don't miss out!

There is one spot left in the Cute Skirts class!

Class will be held Tuesdays, September 25th and October 2nd, 7pm-9pm.

Call Bolt Fabric Boutique at 503-287-BOLT (2658) to sign up.

Here's your last chance to get a fall skirt started! These skirts look great with tall boots or with tights and the cute shoe of your choice! They also look fantastic in light wool, which would last you through the winter in this area!

Have I mentioned that I can even ride my bike in this skirt? It's just the right length for decency and just full enough to allow me to easily pedal! This skirt is awesome!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Which sewing machine to purchase?

I was just over at Whip-Up where they allow readers to submit questions and someone asked what machine to purchase. After typing up my comment in reply, I realized it's a question I answer frequently. So I'm re-posting my comment here.

My advice is to buy from a sewing machine dealer!

You can find all sorts of cheap, unreliable, and unpredictable machines from Target or Sears or Jo-Ann Fabrics or Costco. That's not to say that all of them are bad, but most of the machines under $250 simply aren't worth buying.

I see a lot of different machines when I teach, and the least expensive machines I endorse are the Huskystar machines made for Viking. They are made in China, so not the highest overall quality (compared to machines made in Europe), but they are good machines. They currently have four models of regular sewing machines, of which two are mechanical and two computerized. The mechanical models are fine, but have very few features. The computerized ones have speed control, a drop-in bobbin (making them quieter), and are very simple and easy to use.

By purchasing a machine from a dealer, you can take the classes they offer. I really recommend these, so that you learn the ins and outs of how to care for your machine properly and you can develop a relationship with the dealership so you can fearlessly have your machine serviced there when needed. Those folks will know your machine really well and can teach you all the tricks!

If you buy a Bernina, the dealer will likely offer Bernina Club, which is an amazing resource of monthly classes, each month teaching a new use of the machine. My mom has been sewing for 45 of her 55 years, has taught sewing and fiber arts classes for close to 30 years and attends Bernina Club down in Eugene and still learns new things (and has a lot of fun!)

Once I have daytime child care (aka preschool), I will totally go to Bernina Club!

I have a Bernina 1080 that I have mixed feelings about and a 1970s Elna that I also sew on. Both have great features. You just have to find the machine that you like and can afford!

Things to consider shopping for:

-Speed control (especially handy when doing small work quilting)
-One-step buttonhole (see the demo to confirm it really is one-step)
-Walking foot attachment (for quilting and for working on specialty fabrics)
-Symmetrical zipper foot (most machines have these, but low-end ones don't always and an asymmetrical zipper foot makes zipper application much more difficult)
-Portability (if you'll be taking a lot of classes)
-Large work surface or a table that fits your machine to increase the work surface.

Locally, the places where I have had (or witnessed) good service are:

Montavilla Sewing Center (NE Portland)
Sewing Center West (Beaverton)

Aloha Vac and Sew (Aloha)
27th Street Fabrics (Eugene)

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Cute Skirts!

If you are one of the many on the waiting list for the Cute Skirts class at Bolt, rejoice at the addition of two more sections of the class!!!

The Cute Skirts class will be held:

TUESDAYS September 25th and October 2nd, 7pm-9pm


WEDNESDAYS October 10th and 17th, 7pm-9pm

Call Bolt Fabric Boutique to sign up: 503-287-BOLT

This is a bit later than other weeknight classes I've offered at Bolt. We've changed the time to make it easier for me to get to class on time without causing crazy stress at our house at the changing of the guard... If I have to be in Portland at 6:30pm, my sweet husband has to hurryhurryhurry home and then we barely say hello as I dash out the door. The last time we did this, the little one was bawling at the front steps. So this should make it much easier. And if it works for everyone involved, I may be back in business for weeknight classes!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's not that I don't have things lately that I've made, but this fort that I made today for my son is the most interesting this afternoon! This is a quilt my mom made for me for my birthday this year (if you zoom in, you can see how old I am!) and my son has just discovered the fun of building a fort and hiding in it!

Here's a little "then and now" on our garden also... The first photo was taken in May. The second one today while little O was playing with our friends who were visiting from Norway (!!!). It was so good to see them. And good to take a break from the never-ending processing of the harvest from the very bountiful garden!!!

I've hardly had time to sew for all the canning I've been doing! I've put up another peck of pickles (we don't have a scale large enough for the pickles, so all I know is that I filled five 2-quart jars of pickles. This is in addition to the 20 or so quarts already in the fridge! We are in pickle heaven around here!!!

I've also made a few preserves from this book:
It has a really varied selection of recipes, which I especially needed in dealing with the zillion pounds of plums from my parent's tree! I've made Amaretto Plum jam, Orange Plum Marmalade (with Cointreau in it!), Orange-Blueberry Jam, Plum-Raspberry Jam, in addition to spaghetti sauce from our tomatoes/leeks/peppers/herbs and today we're working on harvesting our grapes and turning them into grape jelly. The juice is so good I'm tempted to just drink it, but I bet it will make superb (if a bit cloudy) jelly!

Eventually I'll get back to that solid color quilt I'm supposed to have done at the end of the month!