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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: Anyone have a Brother LS-2129? on: March 16, 2010 09:38:01 PM
I'd pass. It looks like you have to hold the lever down to sew in reverse, and also it sounds like it doesn't have a thread cutter--I mean, not even a little stationary blade that you rip the thread against. That would drive me insane in about an hour. I would think you could find a better used machine for a similar price. Personally, I'm partial to old-school Singers (I have a 201 from 1951), but you can get a machine from the 50s or 60s (Kenmores are frequently good) for less than $40, probably on craigslist or at a thrift store that will last roughly forever. Bonus is that you can buy old attachments for super cheap on eBay or wherever. Machines as "new" as your mom's are generally not made to last that long, but the older ones were. Even if you want a new machine, though, I'd still pass on this one.
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Re: Where do you buy fabric online? on: May 12, 2009 12:58:02 AM
I just checked out thousandsofbolts.com and, while the organization is truly lacking as noted above, I wanted to point out that there is a search feature where you can limit by manufacturer and/or enter search terms. The search link is semi-hidden at the top of the page. You can also use Google to search just that site [e.g., Google search for "Michael Miller site:thousandsofbolts.com"]. Wouldn't want anyone to miss out on a good deal because of frustrating technology. I didn't see all that much that I was crazy about but the prices were definitely tempting. In particular, they seem to have loads of batiks and batik-like prints.
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: I'm on a time crunch, whats wrong with my viking?! on: May 11, 2009 09:13:09 PM
I have this machine also and I just looked at my manual, but unfortunately it doesn't offer any suggestions other than change the bobbin, clean lint out of the bobbin area, and check bobbin threading. My machine was doing something similar for a while when I first got it, but it turned out that I had been threading it incorrectly. I assume you tried changing the tension already... Perhaps try a different needle and make sure the needle isn't loose, or maybe try a different kind of thread? Also are you using genuine bobbins or generic ones? They claim that makes a difference. Have you tried letting it run with no fabric in it so you can see what is going on with the bobbin?
4  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Newbie Question on: December 08, 2008 03:50:10 AM

I got a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116 for Xmas last year and it is AWESOME. They're around $300, and you can sometimes find a deal where it is on sale for slightly less. However, you have to get them from an authorized dealer or else used. I haven't used it for quilting yet but I can report that I've sewed through six or eight layers of corduroy, canvas and denim and only broken one needle so far, and that was my fault for not threading the machine correctly when I was first using it. As long as you have the right needles and thread and everything is correct (threading, settings, etc) it doesn't skip stitches or give you a bunch of loopy knots on the back either. Also for that price you get about eight presser feet--most cheapish machines only come with one or maybe two.

Before that I had a White that was supposed to be a "jeans machine." Yeah. Sure.

Hope that helps!
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Need help finding quilt pattern to go with these fabrics! on: December 08, 2008 12:21:27 AM
So I bought some fabrics to make a quilt for my mother for Christmas, but now I'm having trouble finding block or quilt patterns to go with them. Here are the fabrics:

The scales of the prints may be a little off as I scanned the fabrics then resized using GIMP, but hopefully you get the idea. I think the problem is that I decided these are Jane Austen-y, early-nineteenth-century prints and that they might not look good in a traditional American quilt block (like Ohio Star or whatever) and probably won't look good in a more modern design either. Another problem is that the fabrics are all really similar in terms of color value (which I realized when I was buying them but couldn't find any coordinating fabrics that were medium or dark), so any pattern that relies on a lot of contrast may not work well.

I hope some of you can help--I really don't want to start just cutting out 8" squares.

6  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / Re: Could someone tell me how to vote on a craft challenge?? on: September 08, 2008 08:28:39 PM
Could someone help me? I'm having the same problem not being able to vote for open challenges! I tried it in IE and Firefox both, and I can see the list of items that are linked to the individual entries but no box to check or button for voting. Am I just being an idiot? I know I used to vote in these challenges all the time...

ETA: Nevermind. I went back to the page five minutes later and the little boxes and button were back. I don't know what was wrong but it seems to work now.
7  COOKING / Dessert / Re: Cookie Recipe Desparately Needed on: May 20, 2007 08:55:34 AM
Secrets for soft cookies:

1. As someone said above, baking time. Bake longer, at lower temperature. I use the Mrs. Fields recipe (but I don't like her chips, I use Ghirardelli bitter sweet), which calls for (I think) baking a dozen at 300F for 18-22 minutes.

2. Use parchment paper under cookies. This prevents cookies from scorching and getting runny and flat, and therefore crunchy. (Silicone baking sheet liner thingy probably works even better, but I haven't tried one.) This also prevents them from getting all messy and destroyed when you scrape them off the sheet. They just slide off the paper, and the cookie sheet stays clean. I'm pretty sure this also eliminates the need for a really good airbake cookie sheet (they have a layer of air in between the metal).

3. Refrigerate dough before baking (like, at least 1/2 hour and then in between batches). This prevents them from spreading too quickly and getting runny, flat, and crispy/scorched.

4. As someone else mentioned, I think using more brown than white sugar has something to do with it too, since the Mrs. Fields recipe follows that pattern. I prefer dark brown sugar because it's moister and makes the cookies darker and yummier.

5. I also beat the egg (lightly!) with the vanilla before adding it to the other stuff (general baking rule not to overmix eggs); am careful to shake the flour into the mix rather than dumping it (keeps it fluffy, introduces air), and make sure butter is softened (should be able to press your thumb into it) but not liquidy (or cookies will be like cheap leather). To clarify about the flour, rather than dipping the scoop into the flour, I use a spoon to shake the flour into the measuring cup until it is slightly overful, then scrape (don't tamp!) the excess off with a knife or something with a flat edge.

Here's the recipe I use:


Since using this recipe and these methods, I have gone from making yucky cookies to awesome ones. It might sound like a lot of work, but it's only a little more than just doing it the way most recipes call for, and it is totally worth it for awesome cookies.

Follow these rules, and your cookies should be chewy (but not in that nasty squishy way of soft supermarket cookies), almost perfectly round, and of even thickness rather than flat at the edges. Most of these rules probably apply to other types of cookies, but I just happen to make chocolate chip cookies all the time.
8  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Re: "Too Sexy" Reversible Kitschy Tote and scrap cupcake patch on: May 09, 2007 05:30:59 AM
It kinda looks like a face in profile--like, where the cupcake's face is would be the neck, and the pink part is the face facing right--like the picture of the young woman looking in the vanity mirror which is also a picture of an old crone if you look at it differently. Any chance that's what you were going for?
9  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Craftster Itself / Re: buffering problem? on: April 12, 2007 10:37:43 PM
Could also be a virus doing it... I had an awful virus that gave me that message, although it wasn't just on one website--do you have antivirus software?
10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Re: Need to find a pattern similar to... on: April 07, 2007 03:08:32 AM
chickadee--no problem. It was literally the only pattern I could find that had two triangular pieces for the bodice that didn't overlap in the front (or plunge obscenely low), and I thought that was the key part of the design on the dress you liked. I forgot to say before, it looked like the ebay dress had side panels from slightly below the hip to make it more flared. (That is, it has side panels all the way up, but the flared part is a different panel attached with a horizontal seam.) I know I've seen patterns before that had those but I didn't see any when I was looking.  Or you could maybe just widen the panels toward the bottom. I don't have any experience with that type of dress/skirt, so it's hard for me to judge. You might be able to use a smaller size of the pattern for the bodice front so the skirt will start higher--I thought it looked kinda sloppy, on the pattern model at least. But her breasts were pretty small, so the dress might not fit everyone that way.
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