14 Sep

Vaya Con Dios My Darling!

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I am not worthy of you!  After promising you a forever home… I am loading you into my car this morning in search of greener pastures.

Yep… I am getting rid of my Bernina 630… she’s been traded in on the Bernina B700 embroidery only machine.  My dealer gave me a fabulous trade on her, and this week only, Bernina is throwing in the luggage system and the maxi hoop with the machine.

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For an embroidery machine, my first instinct wasn’t to go with a Bernina.  I really only had two requirements, a large hoop, with a minimum of an 8″ x 12″ embroidery field, and some type of precision positioning.

Without going to a multi-needle machine, this is the only model of embroidery only machine that met both those requirements.  Lots of combo machines met and exceeded those requirements, but I will never own another combo machine… with the exception of my beloved Babylock Ovation, but only because I also have the Babylock BLCS stand alone coverstitch machine.

I will have to wait until sometime around the end of October for the machine to arrive.  I would have liked a larger hoop for jacket backs, but this one is large enough (8″ x 15″) that with the precision placement features, I should be able to easily combine designs.

I am mostly interested in embroidery for clothing, and if you haven’t had a chance to see how this machine cuts all jump threads and pulls them to the surface, so that the back of the design is as neat as the front, it’s quite impressive.

With the exception of my Bernina 430, which will remain as my backup and travel machine, all of my machines (excluding the vintage models, which I am slowly selling off) are now current.  It was a bit of a surprise to me when I purchased the 740 last year, to realize that my stable of sewing, embroidery and sergers were all around 10 years old, and how much technology has changed.

I adore my 740.  I never thought anything could sew as well as my 630, but the 740 easily surpasses it in many ways.  Both have an exceptionally lovely stitch quality, but the 740’s lighting is superb, and it is much, much quieter.

I am good to go for another ten years!

09 Sep

Which setting fabric?

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I didn’t make it to the retreat… the withdrawals from the Gabapentin were making me too sick.  It comes and goes, so I’m doing a little sewing in between bouts.

These are the blocks I cut out for the retreat.  I love Lori Holt’s Great Granny blocks so much!  They are just fun to assemble!

They get trimmed to twelve and a half inches, so they are always perfectly square.  I love my Creative Grids square up ruler, and my Olfa rotating matt for this step.

I haven’t made up my mind yet on which fabric to use for my setting triangles, so your input is welcome!  I’d originally planned on the check (right) for the binding, the light fabric (left) for the setting triangles, but now I can’t decide.

Here is my layout in EQ7.  Keep in mind that the sashing space looks bigger in EQ7 than it actually is because doing the math to make these blocks to scale is beyond me!

A Facebook friend shared a link with me for a free Craftsy class, so I used it to purchase and watch “Know Your Multi-Needle Embroidery Machine”.  If I decided to update my 10-year-old embroidery machine, there’s two features I want.  A large hoop, and precise positioning.  And one I don’t want… a combo machine.  Which pretty much makes my little want list impossible, so I thought I’d take a look at the multi-needle beasts.

I am SO glad I watched this class!  I know for sure now I do NOT want a multi-needle machine.  As much as I loved all the pro’s of them, especially the huge hoops, they are way more hassle than I want.

As far as I have been able to find, the new Bernina 700 coming out has the largest hoop I can find on a single needle embroidery only machine. It only gives me two more inches in width than I currently have.  But of course, it has that lovely precision placement.

I wish this little gem had a larger hoop (it’s only 8 x 8) as I’m quite taken with the Brother Persona!

07 Sep

Lean to the left… lean to the right. I’m dizzy!

I think I have established, without a doubt, what a fickle creature I am.  I said I was done with machine embroidery and I meant it.  And then I changed my mind!

I sold my Bernina software back when I sold my Bernina 830, and have dabbled just a bit in Embrilliance since then, but I’ve never been able to really warm up to it.  It’s just not intuitive to me like the Bernina software was, but of course I’d used it since version three.  It does however, run natively on a Mac, which is a big plus.

I downloaded the trial of the new Bernina version eight.  And then I downloaded the trial of Hatch by Wilcom too.  It was quite similar to the Bernina software, since Wilcom makes both.

Then I started watching videos on Youtube of Floriani’s Total Control U.  I’ve heard rave reviews about it but couldn’t find a free trial to test it out.  The videos look great and the navigation and icons more or less familiar… even though I haven’t embroidered much in the last four years, I do know my way around embroidery software concepts pretty well.

I love the trial version of Bernina V8.  I felt right at home in it and would love to have it again… but that $600 upgrade fee every couple of years is a killer.  Plus, I could care less about the crystal tool, cutwork tool, or painting tool.  Floriani doesn’t charge upgrade fees!  But the MSRP on it is $4299!

Some online retailers have it listed for $2999.  That’s still really expensive.  Then I decided to check Ebay.  I found a new copy listed for $1600.  Naturally, I was leery.  I emailed the sender  and he replied with, “When perfect embroidery pro took over the old Floriani and FTCU came out they gave everyone a download for free. So actually if you owned the old you were entitled to both.”  He had a copy of the email from Floriani confirming this.

I shot him an offer of $1200, which he accepted.  How’s that for a deal?  As fast as I am selling my unwanted/needed sewing supplies/machines, I am replacing them with newer, or different items I want.  Which is okay!

I’m finding my way around the software quite nicely.  My only complaint so far is that there are no real Bernina hoops in the software.  You can create a new hoop, but you are limited to either a rectangle, square, or elongated circle.  Bernina hoops are oval.  An elongated circle and an oval are not the same thing! Or at least, Bernina’s oval and elongated circles aren’t the same!  I sent off a support ticket requesting this in a future update.

But that’s not all I’ve waffled over.  I am once again considering opening a quilt shop.  Jim and I would have done this long ago except for the fact that thus far, no local sewing/fabric shop has survived here.  Wether that is due to poor marketing, business practices, or simply a shortage of people willing to pay quilt shop prices, I don’t know.  I DO know none of these shops have offered a couple of things I personally think make a quilt shop.

  1.  A large classroom.  Not just for classes, but as a place for quilters and sewers to gather and work together.  Inevitably, they will think of something they need to purchase.
  2. Shop samples.  Lots of shop samples.  I can’t stress that enough. Not everyone is born with an active imagination.  Inspiration is needed.  Kitted samples.  Some people don’t want to be bothered or can’t decide on fabric combinations.
  3. Marketing.  It’s not just quilters that are drawn to textiles.  There are a lot of young mom’s with kids out there that have no idea how easy it is to make adorable little outfits for their kids.

Feel free to add to my list.  I am going to begin researching the feasibility of this.  I of course, have no business sense so the idea is probably not a good one.   And I just read this article.  Some of the comments are dead on.  I for example, will go out of my way for a bargain if it’s too be had.  My just purchased software is a perfect example.  I’m afraid, brick and mortar is probably a dying breed.

I am pretty certain only the right side of my brain functions as logic and me… well we won’t go there!