Model: DC4030PR (Same as a DC4030, but I guess they donated some of the profits for boobie cancer, so it has more pink in the decorative graphics than the regular one.)
Year: Not certain, I bought it in 2013, but it was the floor model at the store.
Cost: They started at $800something, but seem to have dropped in price this year to mid $500s. I hit a Memorial Day sale that was fantastic, on top of an open stock and floor model discount, so I think I paid around $300.
How long have you had the machine? A week so far.
Is it a basic sewing machine, serger, or embroidery machine? Basic sewing, but computerized functions.
What are your favorite features? The computerized functions. Seriously. You. Can't. Screw. It. Up. I remember using my Mom's Singer, you nearly needed a manual every time you wanted to use one of the fancy stitches- everything had to match and be adjusted just right or it would get totally screwed up. This one is SO easy. Pick a stitch, make sure your foot selection matches the letter that is written on the stitch button, and go.
I like the needle threader, it works very well, and the whole machine is a dream to thread. I also like the drop in bobbin, and ease of threading.
Feed dogs are really easy to drop and raise too. It came with an absolute ton of feet too.
It's not hard to figure out how to use it, and the manual it came with is pretty decent. I like how lightweight it is for carrying to classes or group sewing gatherings.
What are some of the unique features it has? I haven't seen this on many other machines- you don't HAVE to use a foot control. It has a stop/go button. It's magical. So easy if you are like me and don't have an optimal sewing table/area to use- plus your foot doesn't get tired! The bobbin winder is an independent motor. Automatic buttonholes!!!!! Drop your button in the button foot, select the type of hole you want, and let it do its thing. Boom. Buttonhole. It is super easy to adjust stitches, size, length etc. The tension of the presser foot can be adjusted for lighter materials too.
How well does it run? Really well. I even tried the roller foot (purchased separately) and leather needle on some light to mid-weight leather. It works SO well. The machine just ate it right up, (meant in a good way- no jams, no slowing down), and the seam was lovely. I haven't run it for hours and hours yet, that will be this weekend. I'll update as I use it.
Has it ever broken or needed maintenance you couldn't do yourself? I got it at a local dealer that is super trustworthy. (I work with a family member of the owner.) So I do trust them when they say this model is really solid. It seems like it will be easy to access the machine for adjustments and things. Plus they said something about a bring it in to be fixed type warranty for the first year, and their servicing is very affordable.
What are your least favorite features? I'm really not into the color pink, even if it is for a good cause. I wish the hard cover it came with locked on rather that just rested. I wish it was a little longer for quilting and stuff, but that would take away the portability and ease of storage.
I am not sure if I would have paid the full price, or even the $500 something price though. For $300, I think it was a steal of a deal. I'm kind of thrifty though.
Would you recommend this machine to a friend? I recommended it to my Mother! I told her she would enjoy using something like this so much more than her current machine.
It's the most wonderful time of the year: College Graduation! Ah yes, the time when students move out of their apartments and dorm rooms, only to realize they have too much to take with them. Time for totally awesome finds!
This year my seriously awesome find is a tie. A New In Box boot dryer (silent variety and fully functional), and a quilt I found in a garbage bag. I didn't expect much more than a store bought quilt at first, but when I pulled it out I was amazed.
I found a lap quilt made with some really gorgeous batik fabric, and another lovely ocean creature print. The bad part- there are bars of black totally non-matching flannel run between segments of the quilt. Whomever sewed it didn't even add any interfacing, so the flannel (obviously) started to pull away at all of the seams. There are two tiny places where not enough seam allowance was left on the regular cotton, but that is fixable. I was stunned how beautiful it looked once I washed it too!
Taking a closer look- it appears the entire piece could really use a nice boarder, and the backing will need to be enlarged, as the front was sewn under anywhere between 3 and 4 inches when the back was attached.
On the cool side of things, the person(or people) who made it got creative. Rather than batting, it is lined with a piece of polar fleece. Neat idea for a quilt up here!
My hypothesis about the quilt: 1. Someone didn't fully realize all of the work involved after finding a pretty fabric they liked. Towards the end of working on it, they just wanted to be done so they slapped it together the way I found it, ended up getting sick of it as the flannel pulled out at the seams and dumped it. 2. Same start of someone getting in over their head either work-wise or time-wise, and ditched a half sewn quilt as a bag of fabric. A second person picked it up, figured on the flannel and slapped it together as their first quilt ever.
So I think I'll try and find some complementary fabric to add a boarder. I think I might do away with the strips between panel sets, since I think it breaks up the beauty of the fabric patterns too much. I have seen some at a few local fabric places that have both similar colors and carry the ocean theme very well. Thoughts... ideas....
I want to do something about the back fabric to enlarge it. Do you think a boarder on the back would look odd? Maybe if I got fancy and ended up making it something different like satin or velvet?
Or should I cut it in half and add a different color fabric shot through the middle as a spacer?
I may keep the idea of polar fleece as the batting, I can keep the original bit and end up getting some clearance stuff to add in. It gets so cold that the extra warmth is nice up here.
Before pictures forthcoming, I'm having issues with photos at the moment...
ETA- Here are some pictures of the original state
Whole quilt- don't mind the blur, I was standing on my trash can to get it all in one shot.
Both sides for a closer look at the fabric.
Some of the damage up close. There were also three blocks that had pulled at the seams that needed attention.
One of her wishes was for certain spells with the intentions of inner peace, protection, and healing. I'm kind of a different type of pagan, so I don't really write spells (it's more free form with me), however; I do use tools with intent- like rocks with certain traits, colors, and/or ritual scented oils.
All of the little pouches plus the explanation fit into the big pouch. The mini pouches contained little helpful things that could be used for each of her spells. Each color represented each objective too. Black for protection, green for healing, and blue for peace. They were tied with bits of white leather, as that can be more interchangeable and neutral. I also decanted samples of some of my favorite ritual oils that I have had good luck with for each objective. (Not of my making, but gave her the name of where they came from, as well as their description of each.)
The big pouch itself was made from some deer leather of two different colors. My partner's favorite colors were ocean tones, so I chose the blue for the main part of the bag, and green for the draw strings. The green drawstrings were either white or natural colored at first, but I got into my boyfriend's leather dyes so I could have some green lacing, as it's getting hard to find deer laces in a variety of colors now.
I wanted to try something a little different style-wise, so I started with a round bottom piece and stitched the blue around in a wrap style. I like making my pouches from scraps, to help ensure none of the animal parts I use are wasted, so the seam along the front is purposely a diagonal. It worked well with a pouch in general, as it gave it a round bottom with a neck that narrowed ever so slightly for the drawstrings to work.
I hemmed the neck of the bag, and added stone (and copper) beads that held the same traits as the kits inside. There are also three copper jingles above the seam, as bells or jingly things are meant to keep bad luck or negative energy away.
Along the seam are attached decorations of things my partner loves. Two beaded dragonflies made of crystals. One is green, the other is blue. They are flying at different angles, but both up the seam of the bag to channel positive energy towards the hands of the user. Again, blue and green are my partner's colors.
The middle beaded object is a triquerta. This is one of her specific symbols. It is a celtic knot style triangle with a circle through the middle of the points. I found directions on a blog that happened to be in Hungarian. http://ekszermania.blogger.hu/2011/11/25/triquetra-medal Through the help of google translate, and some most excellent graphics, I figured out how to make it!
The triquerta is made of size 11 delicas, and size 15 seed beads of the same color (Miyuki brand). It is a variation of circular peyote stitch. Really, REALLY fun to make!
Finally, I kept the drawstrings long, just in case she wants to tie them in a loop to hang around her ritual space. The ends of the drawstrings are capped with copper dangles, again for the spiritual properties of copper, and the jingle noise they create.
I also made sure to leave the bag, and each of the little inner spell pouches out in the full moon's light that night to give everything a positive cleansing and charge before the final box up to ship in the morning.
Finally my story behind the project: I really wanted to make something totally custom for my partner. I started planning and gathering materials right after signups. I had some great ideas too. The following week was my birthday, and I ended up getting a cold that knocked me on my butt so badly I couldn't even make beading go correctly! I ended up crafting the entire swap in less than a week. It was a lot of fun, but I hope I never have to get that close to a deadline again. As I made the bag, it fought me the whole way. I started putting things together backwards... The drawstrings didn't want to fall correctly. I did everything shy of drawing blood with the glover's needle (really, REALLY hurts. They are special needles designed to cut through leather, so they are triangular with a super sharp point and slicing sides near the tip). Finally it all came together, and everything got more and more inspiring for the finishing touches. The beaded hem wasn't exactly planned, and I wasn't entirely sure where I would add the finishing elements of dragonflies and triquerta until then.
Sometimes, the most amazing things come from a challenge. It's totally worth rising to it and coming up with something special.
Circular peyote stitch, size 11 delicas on a G2 pen. The ribbon is attached with a super thin bit of copper wire salvaged from a scrap length of heavy duty grounding wire.
The pattern is seamless, and the first pen wrap pattern I designed myself! I wanted something sort of random, so it would look like a real May Pole after people enjoyed their time ducking and weaving around it with the ribbons. So it's more realistic than colorful diamonds. Word to the wise- don't even bother trying to design something when sick or taking cold pills. I couldn't seem to figure out a way to make it work until I felt better, then it all fell together so quickly!!
Greens and blues, like ocean tones, were my partner's favorite colors so I kept with the theme on the pen. I really like the way it turned out, and so did she!
However, Fairbanks is seriously devoid of most crystal beads and what not at the moment. I didn't end up having enough time to make this one for my swap partner, and I like dragonflies, so I ended up making one for kicks.
It would have been way faster if I didn't have to wrap the body bead. I've never actually done a free form wrap on an odd shaped item before, so it was a learning experience; particularly since the bead was small, smooth and hard to hold on to. It came out fairly well.
The instructions were actually fairly decent once I got used to them, but they are in Korean I think. Thank goodness for fantastic illustrations.
I had a couple of fairly involved projects lately. My Mom's birthday was February 4th, and my work partner, Betty, had her birthday on the 6th. Both of them love purple, so I ended up stitching two (slightly) different triangle boxes.
I made one for my Mom first, since I had to mail it out in advance. Unfortunately she decided to change her plans, so even though it arrived on her birthday, she wasn't home. It looks like she will get home in the morning (the 7th) so I'll get her reaction soon.
The feet and lid pull are amethyst cut with little facets. It is peyote stitched size 11 delica beads. The pictures came out fairly well color-wise.
Inside, plus soda tab for size.
Yes, my apartment is small and I have a ton of stuff on my shelf.
I showed Betty my Mom's box before mailing it and she adored it. What she didn't know was that I had already started one for her! She was thrilled to bits when she opened it! The lid wasn't quite done, so I only wrapped the body of the box and let her open it on her birthday. She laughed when I explained I needed to steal it back to do the last 6 rows on the lid, but didn't mind. I finished the lid tonight and rewrapped the whole thing!
Betty's box has slightly different colored beads, these pictures came out kind of crappy. I'm not really sure why. I think my boyfriend used up the camera batteries taking pictures of the bunny. Her box includes darker purples, one is translucent and the other metallic. The gold is darker than the gold I used on my Mom's, and the light bead is a gold lined.
I tweaked the picture a little, and the true color is sort of between this one and the prior photo.
Picture failure, but the pattern is really cool. Pretend it isn't blurry anymore.
Slightly different pattern on the inside hem of the lid than what I did on my Mom's.
Betty's box taught me some lessons. I need some of that fray resistant line when using the translucent beads. The brighter purple thrashed my Silamide, so I had to keep restarting threads (UGH!) and going back if the beads started gapping from a broken line in the middle of the pattern- ie more starts and stops (ARGH!!!).
Not bad for my first couple of boxes. Until now I stuck to regular cylindrical peyote pouches and pen sleeves. If only I could find time to make something to keep!
I had a lot of fun making beaded snowflakes as little Christmas (and a couple of birthday) gifts for friends and family. Instead of plain white and clear, I decided to go with the recipients favorite colors. I spend too much time looking at real snow this time of year anyway!
The first picture is of the whole group. Here are some more detailed shots:
Those are the smaller snowflakes.
There are the big ones!
They were really fun to make, and a quick project. I was impressed, since I had never really gotten into bead netting. They were a big hit!
Here's the main item I created for a Secret Santa swap on another forum. My swapee wants to get into doing mountain man or voyager style reenactments in Wisconsin area set around the mid to late 1800s.
I didn't have enough time to make a bandolier bag, but there was enough to create a beaded panel for a small belt pouch. (Could be a tobacco pouch or whatever little trinket carrier.) I left the tie long, in case he would rather use it as a necklace type or what not.
The pouch is very soft buckskin leather, with an antler slice button for decoration. The lacing is also all deer leather, and the decorative tassels sport brass cone dangles.
The seed beads are size 11 square stitched together. The pattern I used was inspired by a large Sioux beaded bag. I took one of the aspects of the pattern and graphed it out on KG-Chart so I could stitch it more easily. The original appeared to be lazy stitched on the bag - but I'm surprisingly horrible at that. So I ended up fabricating the bead cloth first and then stitching it on the leather.
Surprisingly I only stabbed my finger once with the glover's needle when stitching the bead work to the bag!
It was a lot of fun, the first bead work I have ever stitched onto leather. I've usually stitched it on felt or something first. I wanted to keep it somewhat authentic to what was around during those times in that setting.
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT Native American in any means of which I have claim. I'm not claiming to be Native through this piece. I don't usually stay this close to real Native American patterns in bead work unless they are for my own usage at home. I only kept this one close, since my giftee has serious interest in this particular type of reenactment. I made sure to stress in the note included that this is NOT authentic, nor is it Native handcrafted.
I haven't made earrings, or even wire wrapped anything in a few years. This project gave me a good kick in the butt to get going on it all again. This was made to be a part of a Secret Santa Swap on another forum.
I wire wrapped a pair of halibut otolith (ear bones) with 26 gauge wire adorned with a few size 11 seed beads, a pair of drops, and one cube each.
My giftee has a fiancee who's favorite colors are black and neon green. The iridescence on the cubes is actually a lot more green than the photo shows, and one of the drop beads also has a nice lime-ish shimmer.
It was very fitting to make a set with green and black for colors. The fish ear bones came from this August when I was out with my boyfriend and his dad on their boat for a fishing trip in Prince William Sound. We anchored up overnight at a good spot, and ended up pulling big ones up left and right. When the fish took a break, and after I scared off a sea lion that was a little too interested in a few halibut we left on a stringer over the side of the boat, we reset the lines and got ready for bed. We killed off the lights, and saw something amazing.
It was pitch black out there, since we were away from civilization. Everything that touched the water lit it up with a green trail. All of the lines, the outline of the boat, anything we put in the water- the bio-luminescent plankton was very active. It was one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life.
Not only are the earrings made in someone's favorite colors, but they are a perfect reminder of the night the fish they came from was caught.