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1  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Halloween Quilt 2011 on: October 05, 2011 11:49:09 AM
I've been working on this for a few hours with my 6yo daughter, and finally got it finished this weekend.  It's a 4 ft square, and I was going to make a wallhanging, but she really likes snuggling with it on the couch (probably because of the lush minkee backing).

2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: Stupid Machine!! Frustrated Nearly To Tears... on: August 07, 2008 01:46:24 PM
Dude - been there.  Suggestions from my experience:

1.  RELAX: take a deep breath.  Stop glaring at the box.  Have a glass of wine or cup of tea.
2.  INFO:  Find out the manufacturer of the machine, and check online and see if there's an instructional video or DVD available.  Isn't one?  We'll get to that later.
3.  PREPARE:  get yourself a chunk of time, an hour or something, and a clean place to work.  Play some music you like.  Good lighting is key.  Some scraps of fabric to practice on.  More wine.
3.  Break out the manual and start with the diagram.  Touch every part of the machine and learn its name and function.  One thing I have is one of those air in a can things, like for your computer keyboard to get the dust out.  This is handy after you've sewn a bit to blow out all the lint.
4.  then, following the instructions, thread a bobbin.
5.  then, following the instructions, thread and re-thread the machine a couple of times, stopping in between to sew a few stitches.  Don't think beauty or style now, just think straight.
6.  There should be a "how to maintain" section in your manual - the oil (just a teeny DROP) goes wherever metal touches metal INSIDE the machine.  It should have a picture pointing to all the bits that would need it, generally after every project (depending on your pace and fabrics).

If all else fails, check your local fabric store and see if there's a crash course for machines available, or even check and see if there's any seamstresses in your area that'll help (mine did, for like $20).  Your local sew and vac repair guy might know of someone, too.  Get to know this guy, you should take your machine in for a tune-up about once per year to keep it healthy.

Fabric not feeding smoothly - check the feed dogs for junk, dust, lint, etc.  Also, check and see if your thread is "jumping" when you hit the pedal (like gunning a car).  Bobbin too tight - is it evenly wound (a lot of practice and you'll get the hang of it), or is

Don't be discouraged!  We've all been there, so you're not alone.  You just need your machine to obey and respect you, and with practice it shall LOL. 
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: So you want to learn how to sew on a machine? A beginners checklist on: August 07, 2008 01:31:30 PM
One thing my teacher had us do was thread, then sew on scrap - over and over again, with a different stitch type and length each time.  Got used to the buttons and dials and threading with ease really quickly.

Great list by the way - wish I had that a year ago LOL
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: Jordan Marsh sewing machine on: August 07, 2008 01:29:27 PM
I wasn't clear. I know what JM is (I live in MA) but not clear on who the manufacturer of the machine is.  I think it might be something they either used in their tailor and alteration shop (yes they used to have them on site) or something they sold in housewares at some point.  I'll take some pix this weekend and send a link.  This thing is a MONSTER, and I'm dying to use it!
5  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Re: Bland? What is this.... bland of which you speak?! on: August 05, 2008 09:06:56 AM
My DH has the same problem, and here are my flare-up menus:

1.  Veg soup - any unseasoned broth with chopped carrots, potatoes, and rice stewed in a crock pot for many hours.  Not bad with a little salt and bread on the side, but way bland.
2.  Veg "pot pie" - add flour to above soup to thicken, line an oven proof bowl with day old bread, dump in stew, cover with another piece of bread, and toast it.
3.  Rice, rice and more rice. Mushy stewed in soups is best.
4.  mock avgolemono soup - veg broth, lemon juice, orzo

It's not much, but it seems to work.
6  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Vegetarian cous-cous with fruit and nuts on: August 05, 2008 09:02:24 AM
1 package Israeli cous cous (this is a larger size than standard)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup honey roasted walnuts (or any other kind of nut, finely chopped)
1 cup Craisins (dried cranberries)
1 bunch chopped fresh celery
1 tsp olive oil
1 fresh lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper

1.  In skillet with a tsp of olive oil, place nuts over medium heat.  Pan fry until the aroma really starts to fill the room (about 5-7 minutes).  Remove contents from pan and set aside.
2.  In skillet, add dried cous cous, and pan fry for 3 minutes.  Then add vegetable broth.  Stir slowly, keep over medium heat, until liquid is almost entirely absorbed (about 20 minutes)
3.  Add nuts, craisins, parsley, lemon zest and juice and mix well.  S & P to taste.

Can be served cold, but fresh off the oven is a great side dish or main with a nice salad.
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: Newbie help - I want to sew! on: August 05, 2008 08:42:28 AM
Post on your local Freecycle board or check yard sales for a used good quality older machine, then spend a little to get it cleaned and tuned and you will be so happy.  I'm using a 25 year old Kenmore (free from my mom, $50 to tune) and a Singer Fashion Mate from the 60's (free from FreeCycle, $75 to tune, clean and repair belt, $15 to order manual from Singer) and I love them both.  That Singer will sew through darn near anything.  I also have a fancy pants Brother computerized one. It looks nice, but I've found that it can only do 2 layers of cotton fabric, and the fancy stitches are a bit finicky.  The husband spent his $ to buy it for me for a gift, so I try to "let" him see me use it every once in a while LOL then sneak back to my old girls.
8  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Jordan Marsh sewing machine on: August 05, 2008 08:38:00 AM
Hi all!  I recently found a Jordan Marsh labelled sewing machine.  It's electric, all metal and beige, with no serial numbers or markings on it.  Based on it's appearance, it's at least 25 years old.  Wondering, have any of you heard of such a thing, and where I might find more info?  I've got my sew and vac guy on the case, too, but have found nothing online that's helpful.  I'll try to post a picture when I'm allowed to (I'm a new member and can't post 'em yet).  Thanks so much!
9  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: ah! help requested - sewing machine questions! on: August 05, 2008 08:28:07 AM
Check your local sew and vac repair shop.  I found an old Singer Fashion Mate on the curb (I KNOW!!!!) and took it in for a clean and tune before using, and my guy was more than happy to go over it with me.  I then contacted Singer and bought a manual online for about $15.  And let me tell you, I LOVE this machine. 
10  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: How do I wash quilt tops? on: July 24, 2008 02:28:43 PM
I was on gentle/hand-wash cycle and stick a white hand towel in there, on the cold cycle.  The towel catches the dye (that I later bleach out so I can resuse).  In the dryer I put the quilt in a linen or old cotton pillow case then dry on the lowest heat setting with a couple of dryer balls.  If I have the time, I line dry then toss in the dryer for a couple of minutes to soften it up.
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