"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The best laid plans of mice, etc.

Today (Easter Sunday) did not turn out as planned.  You can read about it hereSo, still no sewing done.  But I've been updating some of my other blogs in the meantime - art and crafts blog here, swap cards blog here, and photos of our latest baby chicken on the Birds blog here.   As if people don't have more important stuff to do, like STITCHING.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Nothing done yet.

I've just spent half an hour surfing my favourite blogs, and after seeing all the stitching and patchwork you've all been doing, I feel (a) utterly ashamed of myself and (b) all fired up to get going again!  It's funny (not) how something like a dead sewing machine can completely flatten your motivation to sew.  I have plenty of hand stitching I could have been doing, even cutting out fabrics ready to put together, but my mojo just vanished.  
Instead I've been concentrating on my art classes and messing around with paper craft. 

But today was the last of my art classes for the course I was in, and although I have a dozen library books on my table with lots of paper projects I still want to do, I think I am just about ready to start sewing again... in one form or another.  Helen hasn't asked for her sewing machine to be returned - just as well, because it is still on the floor where I left it last week, not even opened up to play with!  But I hope to do that over Easter.  The weather forecast is for some rain and cool days, and we haven't made any plans to go anywhere, although Ken will be out with his mates on a motorcycle ride on Easter Sunday, so I'll have the day to myself to mess around without interruptions.

Now I just have to decide what to start on.  In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy and safe Easter.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sewing machine saga continues.

Well, I collected my machine and the box of bits from the shop at Greensborough yesterday.  I thought they might have been a bit hostile to me about taking it away instead of leaving it to be fixed, but the lady was quite friendly.  I think she is confident that I'll go back there to buy a new machine, but I doubt that I will.
There is another sewing machine shop in Bundoora, so I'll be visiting them shortly.

In the meantime I was telling my friend Helen about all my woes and she said "You can borrow my machine if you want.  I haven't used it for ten years, and I'm not likely to now" (she had a stroke a few years ago).  So her hubby lugged it from their house to my car and I brought it home, but haven't opened it up to use yet.  It is a very similar model to mine from the outside case, so I don't think I should have too many problems using it for the kind of straight sewing that I have been doing.

Apart from proper quilting accessories, the other aspect that I am looking forward to of a new Janome (or whatever I get) is the facility to do blanket stitch on the machine - no more hand stitching around all my applique!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To repair or not to repair?

Ken and I had almost dismantled the Singer on Sunday, as when I consulted the little book that came with it all those years ago, there were quite clear instructions about getting fluff and dust out of the bobbin area, as well as where it needed to be oiled.   We removed all the fluff and a couple of broken needles, but when we tried to put it together, we couldn't figure out where some of the bits went.  So I put them into a box, while Ken managed to screw the base back on the machine and we took everything over to Statewide Sewing centre in Greensborough on Tuesday.   I showed them their invoice for $185 and said I wasn't happy about getting just 18 months use from the machine for that amount of money.  The lady at the counter said the bloke who specialises in old machines would be in on Wednesday.

By 4.30 on Wednesday afternoon, we hadn't heard anything, so I phoned them.  The same lady said the bloke is just looking at my machine now, and I heard him in the background "Who the hell pulled this machine apart, and why?"   I explained to the lady that we followed the instructions in the book about cleaning it, and after speaking to the man, she said "Well you've gone too far with it and he will have to try and figure out how to put it together again, and reset the timing"..  I asked how much that would cost and again after asking the man, she said $99.  I told her to just leave it there with the box of bits and I would collect it tomorrow.  I said will there be anything to pay for his time in looking at it? and she said no.

I'll take it elsewhere and get quotes.  Even if it does amount to $100 to get it going again, I don't want the same bloke 'fixing' it.  Do you ever stop to think that these people might deliberately not fix a machine properly,  to force you to buy a new one?  That's probably not really fair, but I'm not going back there anyway.  The lady showed me some machines, and heavily promoted the Janome, the cheapest 'decent' model being $500.  Oh, you had to pay another $100 for a walking foot.  I said "Don't all machines have them included?" and she said no, only the better ones, and they start at over $600."
Hmmm....I think I'm going to spend a month or two looking around at a few shops.  Most of my readers have said Janome is the way to go, so I'll certainly keep it in mind.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Thank goodness!

Thank you dear bloggy friends for all the advice, which I greatly appreciate, as I've never had to go and buy sewing machine before  (my father bought the Singer for me when I started to learn dressmaking at school at the age of 14).
I'm hearing more and more about Janome being reliable, but I still have a fondness for the Singer brand as I feel I know them so well, whereas when I look at Janome and similar brands, they look tricky to use.  There is a sewing machine shop in Bundoora, not too far from us, and I vaguely know the owner through her stalls at various quilt shows.  She does workshops and classes all the time, and I'm sure if I bought a machine from her, she would have no hesitation in teaching me how to use it properly. 

As a follow up, Ken's sister did buy the $99 Singer at Aldi's.  We dropped in to her place tonight for Ken to sign papers relating to their Mum's estate, and she showed me the machine.  She has had a little play with it, and said it stitches okay, but there is no adjustment device for the width when you sew zig zag.  Not only that, when she took it out of the box to show me, it had a plastic fabric cover, not a rigid plastic, so if you had to carry it around to classes outside of  your home, it could easily get damaged.  It looked more like a toy than a proper sewing machine!  SIL said she is going to take it down to their holiday house so if she needs to do some repairs, or wants to make something, it will be there instead of having to wait until she gets home.

Phew!  Glad I got that infection, and glad I didn't get that machine - Lucky escape! There is no way you would get even a light weight quilt through it, that I could see. (By the way, the antibiotics have already taken effect and I felt so much better today!  Thanks for the sympathetic comments)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Everything happens for a reason.

A funny thing happened just after I received advice from Sylvia and Doreen about buying sewing machines.  Sylvia suggested buying a second hand one, eg. a Singer, but Doreen advised not to buy a second hand machine, as you are only buying someone else's problems.  She went on to say 'don't buy a Singer, they aren't as good as they used to be'.

A day later, I received an email from another friend (Connie) who alerted me to the specials on at Aldi Stores this weekend, including a Singer machine for $99.  I had a look at the advert in our local Aldi's store, and decided I would take a chance and get one.  It was a basic model (which is all I want) and had a three year warranty.  I thought what the heck, if I get three years sewing out of it for a hundred bucks, I'll be happy!

This morning (Saturday) I woke up around 8 am, and felt so unwell, I just could not be bothered going out of the house.  I had a  U.T. infection, and I was back and forth to the loo every few minutes, and in a lot of pain.  No way would I have been able to stand in the queue at Aldis and not wet myself!   Luckily I was able to get into our surgery and see one of the doctors.   By the time I got out of there, got the script for antibiotics, it was about 2 pm.  I went to Aldi's and was told both the sewing machines and overlockers (which was another special for $199) had been sold within an hour of  them opening at 8.30 am.

So!  As the title of this post says, everything happens for a reason, and maybe my UTI was meant to happen, to prevent me spending money on an inferior machine!  My SIL told me she got years of use out of her Janome, and when it wore out, she bought a second hand Husqvarna (Sp?), and she has never been able to 'make friends with it', as she put it.  She said "I hate that machine!  I might also go to Aldi's and buy one of those Singers".  I haven't spoken to her today, so I don't know if she did or not.  But I've decided now that I won't rush into buying something cheap.  I've got a cupboard full of fabric to sew up into things, and it's going to take me a lot longer than three years, so I'm going to have a good look around, and ask for demonstrations before I open my wallet. 

In the meantime, I've been amusing myself with more paper creations.  You can see them here if you want to.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Grinding to a halt again.

Just as my neck and shoulder problems are starting to resolve themselves and I had the machine flat out making cot quilts, it DIED on me yesterday.  I could scream; it cost me $185 to fix last year, and now it looks like the same problem.  In desperation I looked in the Yellow Pages phone directory to see if there was anyone who did home visits to fix sewing machines.  I found one bloke, but he told me he has since sold his business and is now doing something else.  But he wanted to know what my problem was and he was horrified to hear how much Statewide Sewing Centre had charged to fix the gears.  He told me I should take it back there and have a go at them.  I said the reason I was hoping someone could come to my home and fix it is because the machine is too heavy for me to lift and carry anywhere, so he took pity on me and said as he wasn't far from us, he would come over and have a look at it today.

That was yesterday (Sunday) and he said he could only do it on a weekend or public holiday because of his other job.  This morning he called to say he wouldn't be able to come today because his family had turned up for a visit, but he would ring  me next week.  I thanked him and said not to worry about it, I'd see what else I could do.  Ken looked at my long face and said he will take me and the machine over to  Statewide on his day off on Wednesday.   I can almost read your minds - "why the heck doesn't she just buy a new machine?"  I suppose if Ken can find $20,000 for a new motorcycle, I can put my hand up for a few hundred dollars for a new machine.  Goodness knows how often he has told me to go and buy one!  So I just might.  But being blonde and senior,  I just HATE learning how to work something new... So it is going to have to be something very basic, even if it is new.

In the meantime, this is the last thing I was doing when the Singer carked it.  I had a few of those supermarket bags lying around to decorate, and instead of sewing yo-yos on them as I had done previously, I decided to make ap a little patchwork square with some left overs and sew them on to the bag.  I only needed to finish one more side.  I guess I could hand sew it if I was in a hurry, but I'm not.
Now the damn camera battery has gone flat.   S---T.  What next.  I'll post a pic shortly.  In the meantime I've gone back to paper craft and spent last night making some stuff using paper napkins.  I'll be post them to my Art and craft blog when the camera is charged up again.
Later that night...
Here is the tote bag I was working on, and the other photo is of the sunset applique that I have now framed myself.  It wasn't easy to get that mat border right, and it sure ain't perfect, but I hope nobody will look that closely!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Two quilts on their way to PNG

Ken's cousin David and his wife Yaso came to visit us today before Yaso flys out to PNG tomorrow to meet the tribal leaders of the community she is providing assistance to.  She said the elders are already walking to the village where she will be driven to from the airport.  It takes them four days to walk through the forest to reach this village, so she always makes sure she never misses the flight that takes her to Port Moresby for the truck that meets her to transport her to the village.

 I took the opportunity to photograph her with the two quilts I gave her to take with her.  One is the cot quilt I posted a photo of here yesterday and the other is a slightly larger quilt that has been on the back of our couch for a couple of years.  It was given to me by one of my home care clients who won it in a raffle but didn't like it.  So there is no emotional attachment to it for me, and I decided it would be of much better use in a community of people who are living in the forests of PNG on whatever plants they can find.

Yaso is in the process of teaching them to keep chickens, harvest water properly to grow small crops, and other basic survival techniques that the rest of the world take for granted.  I have asked her to do a brief write up for me to post on a blog along with photos of the conditions under which the natives live and where she works with them.  In the meantime, I will continue making small quilts out of my stashs, and will gladly accept any that anyone reading this would care to make.  Yaso says to make sure that the quilts have names of the makers on them so the native elders can explain to the women where the quilts come from and who made them.  She said it is part of their nature not to just accept any 'charity' without proper ceremony thanking the donors, even if they are not there, and she will photograph each quilt with it's new owner as they are distributed. 

It would be greatly appreciated if anyone reading this would post a link to it on their blog so word can get around. I know there are other bloggers making full size quilts for our Aussie servicemen, and of course Jan Mac of Oz Comfort Quilts has been distributing quilts to disaster victims for years now.  But my request might be easier to work with for those people like me who don't feel able to make a full size quilt for any number of reasons, but a little cot quilt is just a fun thing taking a couple of hours, and using up some of those scraps that all fabric collectors have!

Friday, March 08, 2013

One small project accomplished.

I have been resting this week instead of tearing around socialising every day, and it's paid off; I haven't needed to take any painkillers today.  I only took a couple of aspirin last night because I used the carpet sweeper to clean the carpets which haven't been vaccummed for a month or so and I couldn't stand the mess any more.  My neck and back ached for a few hours but then the aspirin kicked in.  Anyway, enough of that.

I think I've mentioned this here last year some time, about my husband's cousin Yaso (his cousin's wife actually).  She works for the (Australian) government in Papua N-G, helping resettle the displaced people over there.   Thousands of them have been forced from their natural living areas by the big mining companies, and they are sent up to mountain tops where it is so much colder than what they are used to, and their babies are dying from the cold.  So I promised Yaso I would make cot quilts from my stash, that she could take with her to distribute among the native people.  She was quite tearful about my offer, and asked who would pay for the fabric.  I showed her my stash which  has been mostly given to me or found at opshops, and I assured her it won't cost me anything except time,  and I have plenty of that if I do less shopping, gallery gazing and craft classes for myself! 

It only took me a couple of hours to whip up this little quilt using the fabrics in my stash.  Ken said it wouldn't keep him warm, but even though there is only a thin layer of wadding in the middle, it will be enough to wrap around a tiny bubs in its mother's arms.  I didn't use a pattern - just  joined colourful fabics up for the front, and used a brushed cotton for the backing.   And to make it faster, I didn't bind it - I used the 'envelope' style (I think that is what it's called, when you sew the layers inside out around three sides then turn them right side out, and sew up the top.

Monday, March 04, 2013

My apologies to everyone reading this.

I am very sorry that my last post was such a whinge.   I should not have posted it on this particular blog, as it is supposed to be strictly for my stitching and linen collecting.  I could remove it from here and re-post it to Patra's Other Place, but I've already done a similar post there, so why waste the reader's time by doing that?
I should have just simply explained that I haven't been doing any sewing for a while due to health issues, and if you wanted to know more, go to the other blog.

Thanks to everyone who left sympathetic and encouraging comments here.   I won't be parting with my stash any time in the near future, but when I was typing that post, I was in so much pain that the thought of ironing, measuring, cutting pinning and sewing vast pieces of  fabric, my brain just shut down at the idea of doing anything large.   So at the moment I am satisfying my desires to dabble in craft by confining myself to small projects, mostly paper orientated.  I won't post them here for the reasons stated above, i.e. this blog is for stitching projects.
So for those of you who are regular readers and would like to stay in touch with my activities now and then, just hop over to Patra's Other Place.  In the meantime, I will continue to visit and comment on all my favourite blogs.  See ya round!