26 February 2011

Any day that allows you to expand the ways in which you can express your creativity is a good one.

It was a good week for me. I unexpectedly put a sewing machine on layaway. I was a bit worried that I'd been duped by the salesperson, or that he used some kind of Jedi Mind Trick on me, but after talking about it w/a couple of knowledgeable people, I'm convinced that I made an excellent decision, regardless of the salesperson's intent.

My previous machine (a basic model Singer...I forget the model name/number, etc) was acting wonky & kept jamming (very frustrating for a new-ish sewist!), so I took it to a local shop for service or a tune-up or whatever magick they might be able to work that would help me in my sartorial adventures. The guy I talked to asked the problem, what I was sewing, how & when the problem occurred. I told him I had been trying to sew doll t-shirts w/some jersey knit from old t-shirts of my own. The machine had a tendency to jam after stitching for an inch or two. He explained to me how the bobbin carriage in these machines is prone to jamming because it rocks back & forth. A rotary bobbin (I think that's what he called it) rotates in a full circle, doesn't need oiling, & doesn't jam. 

He showed me some of their machines, ranging in price from a couple hundred $USD to several thousand $USD (thousand!!!!). He showed me the guts of a few different machines & explained how quality machines have a solid metal frame inside & this makes them sturdier & that machines built this way last longer, in general. Then, he said the magic words: "...layaway. 10% down, 90 days to pay the balance."

So, I have a Janome MyStyle 100 on layaway. The machine comes with 6 hours of sewing instruction over three ongoing classes, which I can take as many times as I'd like, I'm told. Also, a 25 year parts & service warranty. I think I did pretty alright, really.  :o)

22 February 2011

Some Ideas are Good As-Is & Some Ideas Need Time to Simmer

I've been sitting on a couple of projects while I decide where to go with them. The first is a cabled hat that I actually am quite pleased with, but I feel like it needs a pom-pom--a big one--& I have yet to get to the making-the-pom-pom part of the process.

It needs a giant pom-pom, am I right? :o)  That said, I find cables oddly fascinating. I'm not one to wear cabled knits for the most part, as they tend to feel too "busy" for my personal aesthetics. The times I've knit cables, though, I'm almost always struck by how 3-dimensional they are. It's very rewarding to knit them & make this piece of fabric that has pieces that stand up like a piece of bas-relief sculpture. I'm tempted to take that idea in one direction or another... we'll see.

This piece is a testament to the value of swatching, really. I bought these three colors from KnitPicks (Charcoal Heather, Columbine, & Northern Green), as I thought they'd work really well for a project I had in mind. That idea has been scrapped, but I still feel like the Northern Green & Columbine would work together really well. I started swatching in an attempt to try out a couple of striping patterns I had in mind & to make sure the colors look as good together as I thought they did. Well... I'm not so thrilled with the way this looks at this point. I might switch out the grey for a paler heathered grey & leave out the green altogether. 

Sometimes, I'm convinced that I should teach Master Classes in Procrastination. This picture was taken 01.30.2011 of bulbs I bought in late October 2010. In the interim, they had been chilling in the crisper of my refrigerator, but I had yet to pot them up. They did get potted shortly after this picture was taken. I was pretty sure that they had been chilling for more than the minimum time the needed, so I set them out on the back porch. The crocuses, at least, have started poking their little noses up (yay!), and I believe I saw a nub from one of the irises, too. This is reassuring, as I know I didn't completely mess them up by waiting so long to plant. It's also not entirely surprising, since those two have the earliest bloom time & therefore need less "cooling". Hopefully the daffy-down-dillies will make a showing, too. We'll see.