looks like your top tension is too tight. Check to see if there's lint or something stuck in the space behind the tension adjustor (the round knob above the needle). If it's clean, then loosen the tension a little (turn to a smaller number), test, and adjust again until it's working right. Nice pictures!
What type of projects can be made with glass and it's processes? there are tons of things made of glass. Even if you just mean lampworking, that includes sculpture, lab glass, neon, beads, glassware... the list is only limited by your imagination
How creatively satisfying is the craft? Depends on if you enjoy it. I love it, others never get it going. I mostly make beads, vessels, and small sculptures, but the possibilities are endless.
One thing to consider; it's an expensive hobby. I recently got back into it, and have spent over $1000 in the last six months for tools and supplies, including the very basic Hot Head torch, but no kiln. It also doesn't include the gas and electricity I use when torching. Oh, and I use the less expensive soft glass.
I wouldn't bother shipping a machine from the '90s. Older machines (to mid-'80s) had metal parts and gears, and last forever. Newer machines, especially cheap ones from big box stores (hint hint) have nylon or plastic parts that literally crumble in a few years.
Make sure the cat has his own space and toys, but pretend you don't want him to use them. When he's lying in the middle of the fabric you're trying to cut out, go play with his toys until he comes over to supervise.
What kind of craftster are you if you're afraid to torch a little thread?
Use an ashtray or old saucer, wad up about a foot of thread, and touch a match to it. You aren't going to get a huge blaze.
for thread or fabric: If the result is ashy, with a burnt wood smell, you've got a plant-based fiber like cotton, linen, or rayon. If it's black and melty, with a chemical smell, it's petroleum-based synthetic like polyester If it doesn't burn well and smells like burnt dog, it's animal-based, like wool or silk.
sometimes just the outer thread on a spool gets wrecked; you cold try unreeling several layers and strenght testing it again to see if there's anything salvageable.
I used manilla envelopes when I used to make dolls. The advantage over plastic is that you can make notes on the envelope--a sketch of the items enclosed, when you used it, any ideas you have for future changes.
I like to keep notes with my clothing patterns, too, like "11/2011 black swirly fabric" so I know definitely what I'm going to get from it. Of course, then I wad the pattern up and stuff it anyhow into a bag or envelope, and shove it in my pattern drawer... I got no respect.
Just how many patterns do y'all have anyway? How many do you actually use???
On the rare occasions I buy a pattern and actually get around to making it up, I cut the pattern out. If I want to alter it later, I pin or tape on paper to add room--or, more often, just mark it directly on the fabric. And sometimes I just pin or weight down the pattern and add the extra as I cut.
thicker fabrics won't gather as tightly as thin fabrics, and will stretch the elastic more, so it will end up longer.
If you're making a lot of dresses from the same fabric, you could just take a looooong piece of elastic and start stitching to an even loooooooooonger piece of fabric; when all is stitched, measure your 20"