Friday, December 12, 2014

Oh, Brother!

Sometime during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday jumble of sales, I bought a new sewing machine! 

My old machine is a super simple Singer model bought at Target on Black Friday 2006, I believe.  It still works-- better now than at some times in the past, since I've gotten a little more comfortable with sewing-- but it has some rough miles (of stitching) on it, and at its best it's an extremely bare bones machine, so I've been thinking about getting a nicer one "someday".  Then Donald saw this new machine on sale... and someday came sooner than expected. 

(I'll keep the old Singer, too, for now.  As long as it works, I'll use it for messy projects like rag quilting, to save the new machine from that wear and tear and flannel fluff.  It wouldn't be worth much second-hand, and I don't know anyone who is in desperate need of it, or I might have passed it along.  Fortunately, there's plenty of storage space in the craft room's double-closet.)

Big Brother

When the new machine-- a Brother DZ2400-- arrived in the mail, I couldn't wait to get it out and set it up.  Then I waited a couple of days before daring to turn it on!  (There was an instructional DVD and a fairly thick manual to go through.)  My first experience with a digital sewing machine!  I was intimidated, and it took a while to get down to sewing that first test run.  The first line of stitching wasn't perfect, but I immediately diagnosed the problem (needed to re-thread the top with the needle in the correct position), and after that it was smooth sailing. 

Obviously there are still a lot of features I haven't even tried, yet.  For instance, any stitch other than a straight stitch.  There are all these fancy stitch options (not to mention the other feet), and I haven't tried even one of them!  (I got sidetracked...)

I love the adjustable speed settings!  I love the needle up/needle down setting!  I love the needle threader!  I love the fact that the clear plastic over the bobbin case lets you see at a glance how much thread is left on the bobbin!  It's a joy to sew with, and I think this new machine (along with the string quilt project) may be my gateway into yet another crafty obsession.  Yes, I think I'm ready to take the plunge into quilting.  (Or if not a total plunge into quilting mania, at least a nice, waist-deep wade in between periods of luxurious sun-bathing with yarny crafts.)

Once I knew it was stitching correctly, I picked up the sewing project already in progress-- making string blocks.  I think I'm all done with those, now.  I have 35 squares, which I'll probably put into a 5x7 arrangement.  I could squeeze out one more square, which could make it a 6x6 quilt, but I'm thinking that might be less useful.  (I like to be able to stretch out underneath a blanket.)  The thought of sewing the squares into strips makes me nervous, so I'm putting it off for a while.

String Quilt Blocks

I want to make a cover for the sewing machine, but I'm still mulling that over.  So, what else could I sew?  Something unimportant... Something using the tiny scraps from the string quilt squares, maybe?  And that's when I saw crumb blocks on Pinterest.  Perfect.

Well, my crumb blocks aren't perfect, but I like the idea of crumb quilting.  It's a good way to practice sewing, and I love the scrappy "use it up" aesthetic.  They're one of those things that look so much better in quantity than individually.  ("The whole is greater than the sum of its parts"?)

Here are the four I've complete so far.  Five-and-a-half-inch squares.  Lots and lots more to go before there will be enough of them to really make anything, but that's fine.  I'll put them away, a few at a time, until they accumulate sufficiently.  :o)

Crumb Blocks

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New Sewing Machine

New Sewing Machine