Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

quilting fabric stash

quilting fabric stash

For this weekly photo challenge

we want to keep it simple: share a photograph with a prominent color (or assortment of colors) that reveals more about you. It could be a symbolic, meaningful shade; a color that expresses how you currently feel; or a combination of colors that excites you and tells a visual story.

Nothing says much more about me than my fabric stash: the hues and patterns that call out to me. It’s a little disorganized, the boundaries between the colors are a little jagged, some important items are hidden behind others. It’s a collection of possibilities and permutations.

People ask me my favorite color; I say green. But most of the clothes I like to buy are blue. And yellow looks terrible on me, but I have yellow-gold dishes and I loved my yellow-painted kitchen and dining room. It would appear that the hues of me are not all that simple…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinity

DSCN0814

You have to create within yourself the experience of beauty, liberation, and infinity. This is health.
BKS Iyengar

I didn’t have an entry for the subject “infinity” until this morning in yoga class, the teacher quoted Iyengar. I’ve never associated yoga poses with infinity, but there was a prompt for me, staring me in the face!

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinity at WordPress, look here.

Walker Tote Bag from Remnants

I visited a relative recently, who is living in an assisted living apartment building. She lives on a way upper floor, and I noticed that when she goes down to get the mail, she would hold the letters in one hand while trying to maneuver her walker at the same time. After I got home, a subsequent search of the Internet revealed that lots of creative sewists have posted many awesome free patterns for “walker bags;” I had plenty of designs to choose from!

I picked this one from Debbie Colgrove at About.com. I liked it because it has pockets, looks like it holds its shape, and has sturdy straps to attach it. I snagged some collegiate sports fabric while I was in the vicinity, knowing that it’s football season and boy, does she love football! Of course, in my remnant bin I happened to have some pre-quilted fabric for the body of the tote, which the pattern called for, in a relatively decent color match! I thought personalizing it would be a nice touch, and I love the script lettering in bold crimson red (I didn’t say Crimson Tide, here, slow down, buddy.)

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

The bag’s wide top straps button over the upper bar of the walker. It also has two bottom straps that can be fastened to the walker legs by lacing through D-rings. Hmmm, I just might have some D-rings in the old button box here—wait, here are some! Just the right size, too (1-inch)!

D-rings

D-rings

The best way to sew those D-rings to the straps was with a narrow zipper foot. That foot is a trouper!
Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Er, pay no attention to the fact that you only see one D-ring in this pic: I had to rip out the seam because I forgot to insert TWO D-rings onto each strap. No biggie: I also have a LOVELY seam ripper that gets more use than any other attachment!

finished bag

finished bag

I had buttons galore to choose from, stashed.

Thank you so much, Ms. Colgrove of About.com, for the wonderful free pattern. The changes to the original pattern that I made were the embroidery and the center button: I sewed a velcro strip inside rather than adding another button right over the embroidered name. Why? Because I thought the button might detract from the embroidery and make it look even more off-center than it is. Plus, I don’t have the greatest button-hole making capability with my machine and my teeth were already grinding plenty enough enamel after making two buttonholes and having to trim bird nests off the underside of the buttonholes and repair with a satin stitch. 🙂

The only other little quirks I noticed with the pattern were that it directs you to do something with one side of the body: if you personalize it with a name, it does make a difference which side you do some things to, like attaching the straps. And in attaching the top straps, it directs you to place them 2″ away from the seam but the picture shows 2 1/2″ from the seam. I chose the 2 1/2″ distance. I thought the collegiate fabric added a nice touch, what do you think? An elderly person has seen lots of purty flowers in their lifetime, but what’s not to love about a touchdown? Northern Illinois University actually played the Florida State Seminoles last year in the Orange Bowl. At the time, we were all saying “NIU who?” But it looks like a pretty good little football team!

Reviewing Ruby

I read the blog Sew Mama Sew, and decided to participate in Mama’s
Sewing Machine Reviews as currently featured. Good idea, I really like to read sewing machine reviews that are real testimonials that aren’t being presented for purposes of commissioned sales or something like that.

What brand and model do you have? Husqvarna Viking Ruby

How long have you had it? about 3 years

How much does that machine cost (approximately)? about $5K

What types of things do you sew? quilting, machine embroidery, clothing, bags, pillows, home dec, hats, toys

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? I sew at least one project a week. I sew a lot of fleece things, which generate lots of lint, so she gets some wear and tear.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I adored Ruby until I had to put her in the shop, and she stayed in there for more than 90 days, all during November and December; that really put a damper on my holiday sewing plans last year!

What features does your machine have that work well for you? the machine embroidery feature works very well most of the time. I traded up for Ruby; I had a Viking Topaz 20 before, and I didn’t have as good an experience with her and machine embroidery, or maybe I was more of a novice when I had that machine. But Ruby seems definitely more smooth and accomplished than her predecessor Topaz 20. I like the automatic thread cutter button. I have many specialty feet to experiment with; some work better than others.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? She sometimes shreds thread as it runs from the spool through all those mechanisms down into the needle. The shop employees will say it’s because you used cheap thread, however, it happens with all different brands from time to time. Yes, it’s worse with cheap thread (Coats and Clark), but it has happened with their favorite brands to recommend, too (Robison-Anton rayon and Madeira). Sometimes she produces bird-nesting underneath seams and I can really find no apparent reason. I re-thread the machine and maybe or maybe not will have more bird-nesting. I re-thread again and no bird-nesting. Maybe there is a little burr inside that mysterious thread path. When the repair guy tries it, it doesn’t bird-nest for him, of course.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? I don’t think they make this machine anymore, the new model that replaced it is the Ruby Deluxe. When I attended training classes for using my new Ruby, one of the class members had a problem with her machine from Day 1; she asked for a replacement machine and they wouldn’t give her one because she had bought a floor model machine. When mine was in the shop for 90 days, the problem was the motor. I think that if I buy another machine, I will research a lot and not buy a Viking next time, even though I have tons of accessories for a Viking. I bought the Viking from a local shop, so that I could be sure of ongoing maintenance and tech support, but I was disappointed in the customer service during that crisis when she stopped working so soon after purchase. They had promised to keep me updated, but I had to initiate every query. I had to borrow back my old mechanical Janome from someone I’d lent it to for basic sewing during the time Ruby was in the shop, and the Janome was a champ. The next town south of me (an hour’s drive) has a Janome shop. Good customer service means a lot to me.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Cost, reputation of company, tech support, customer service, buttonhole making capability, training opportunities.

Do you have a dream machine? I once dreamed of trading up to a Husqvarna Viking Diamond Deluxe, but I don’t think the features are worth double the cost of my Ruby.

I also have a Brother serger for overlocking seams, a Husqvarna Viking serger that I mostly use for coverstitch, and an old Singer Merrittlock serger that I haven’t been able to get working, plus a little collection of toy sewing machines.

Ruby

Ruby

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning! (and GO GATORS!)

first thing in the morning: yoga at the gym

first thing in the morning: yoga at the gym

for more WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge “Good Morning” look here.

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