Does Burda Think its US Readers are Dummkopfs?

Sorry, I don’t want to be mean.

But when Burda, the Germany-based purveyor of popular European sewing patterns, launched a magazine in the US last year, I was thrilled—until I found out that all the patterns in each issue aren’t included in the attached pattern sheet, like they are in the British version. Some of the patterns are included, but the rest of them you must purchase from their web site and download and print them on your own dime! Yep!

And wouldn’t you know, many of the patterns I love in the magazine, are the very ones that aren’t included…oooh, that burns me up!

Now, take this one, from the recent Winter issue. Newsstand price for the one issue: $14.99.

Burda Snow White scarf

Snow White scarf

Not sure why, but I really like the fluffy white scarf. AND I just happened to have a remnant of that fake fur in my stash, at almost precisely the required yardage. [Remnant= 1/2 price at the fabric shop] What are the odds? Except, the pattern for it is not included in the issue. I’d have to pay 99 cents and download the pattern, which, according to the sewing directions that ARE included, has 2 pieces of 59″ x 12″ fabric. So, I’m supposed to go on the web site, give them my credit card number so they can charge me 99 cents, print out about a hundred sheets of paper or however many it takes to assemble a 59″ x 12″ rectangle, tape them all together, then lay the sheets on top of the fabric and cut out the pieces?

Of course, I made up my own version, which may not be exactly the same, but I kinda like it, and it is very warm on a windy day, I must say. And it took me a very few minutes to make.

fake fur scarf

The Fluffy Fake

Sock Monkey Finis & A New Kind of Post

sock monkey blanket & toy

Finished blanket & toy

Per Lesson #14 of Blogging 101 Workshop

PS, if you are puzzled because you didn’t
see the beginning of the project, it is in the prior post…

Starting the Year with Losses; What Would You Do?

It’s only the first month of the year, and I’m already running around with a big L-shaped cloud over my head!

First thing: I started a post December 18, featuring an Infinity scarf I made to go with a cute dress I ordered from zulily. I pictured myself wearing it during the holidays. It was olive green, one of my favorite colors, and had a diagonal Argyle-plaid pattern. Here’s the scarf:

Infinity scarf

Infinity scarf

I found a good pattern on Craftsy and another good one from this blogger Crafty Gemini. It took me about 5 minutes, max, to make this.

But I never got the dress I ordered! Finally, after more than a month of waiting, I cancelled the order.

Next, I signed up for some personal training at the gym. I was sorry I did, because I wasn’t feeling so good after working out more strenuously than I wanted to, so I thought I would try to get out of the contract I signed for 12 sessions. Especially after I cancelled one less than 24 hours before it was to happen, and I got billed for it anyway, like I agreed upon in the terms of the contract. Not so! Although I’d been told I could stop any time I wanted to, I could only get out of the contract if a) I moved at least 30 miles away or b) I had some sort of medical procedure, like surgery, and presented a doctor’s excuse. A medical doctor’s excuse, so I couldn’t bring in a note from good ol’ Dr. Ingley. 😦

I am working on the Blogging 101 class. Today’s assignment is to work from the Daily Prompt. So I feel like the anti-prompter in this post about making a prompt your own.

Next, can you see my dilemma in this photo?

sock monkey and fleece blanket

Sock Monkey and Blankie

If you guessed “ran out of fleece binding” then ***ding ding ding*** you’re right! So what would you do if you were me? Go to JoAnn’s and buy another package of red to finish that little corner? Finish it in another color of fleece binding, such as light blue or yellow? Go to the fleece barrel and try to find a piece of red fleece and cut out a strip and use it to bind that little corner, where it will be red, but maybe not the exact same red, and a bigger, thicker texture? Or something else brilliant to fix the problem? Give me some feedback!

Reviewing The Diamond Machine

sewing machine Designer Diamond

Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond

Do you also love machines? My DH is an engineer, and he’s ALL ABOUT machines of every description. I was at one time in my life a mechanical draftsman, and I loved taking things apart and drawing all the parts. I don’t do that with my sewing machine, but I don’t mind talking about the machine, its quirks, and what I like and don’t like about it. So I’m back to participate in Sew Mama Sew’s

Sewing Machine Reviews

What brand and model do you have? I traded my Husqvarna Viking Ruby up for a Designer Diamond near the end of last year (2014).

How long have you had it? I’ve had it since the end of October 2014.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)? Roughly the Kelley Blue Book Value of a 7 year old Cadillac CTS.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? Quilting, machine embroidery, apparel, fleece, swimwear, bags, anything I can.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? At least once a week, sometimes every day

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? Love it. I learn new things all the time. I started with Husqvarna Viking’s embroidery-capable Topaz model, traded up to a Ruby, now to a Diamond. I think my experiences with the previous models were excellent preparation for my current usability of top-of-the-line Diamond. It has so much more help available online and through the machine’s onboard computer screen. The shop I bought it from offers free, in-depth training classes for buyers of this model and others.

What features does your machine have that work well for you? One big difference is that during machine embroidery, using the Sensor-Q foot is recommended. It’s included with the Diamond purchase, whereas I had bought it separately for my Ruby, but I only used it for quilting, not embroidery. I’ve had great success using it for machine embroidery, although it isn’t compatible with many of the embroidery hoops I already bought separately when I had the Ruby and Topaz, because the Sensor Q-foot has a big area around the needle and can bump into the corners of the hoop and throw off the design.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? The pre-wound bobbins I had stockpiled when I had my Ruby, don’t work as well on the Diamond. I keep getting a message “Bobbin thread low” and when I check, it’s nowhere near low. I have better luck with cheap pre-wound Coats and Clark bobbins that are wound on paper spools that didn’t work at all on the Ruby, although they are the same size bobbins.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Yes, because it is awesome. It will take me a whole lifetime to discover all the awesome things it can do.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Price, customer reviews, customer service record of the vendor, availability of training if you need it, availability of service/repairs.

Do you have a dream machine? Yes, this one.

Bonus: Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

I thought about doing the ultimate trade-up but I was worried, considering the much greater cost. Would it be worth it? What about all the negative reviews I’d seen? What about the experience I had with the lesser model, the engine needing to be replaced, the long wait for the parts coming in? Then I got an email saying if I wanted to trade up, I could get a $500 rebate if I acted before the end of October. I thought, well, surely, I could get a decent trade-in value and the purchase price could be defrayed a lot…I did get a very good trade-in value. I checked around with several other dealers, both near and far, and found that while some aspects of the deal were near the same, different dealers can give you very significant discounts over others! I ended up going to the same dealer I bought the first two machines (and a serger) from. It pays to have a good relationship with your local dealer, I think. As for the negative reviews I’ve read, I think that because I’ve worked with the Topaz and Ruby, I am fairly well experienced as a user of Husqvarna Viking sewing machines so many of the quirks aren’t new to me and I’ve probably encountered and fixed many of them prior to owning this machine.

P.S. I thought I was going to add this to the Sewing Machine Review post from Sew Mama Sew; however, the link-ups were closed. If Sew Mama does a new Review for 2015 I’ll add it then.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed

camellias in shadow

January camellias at 4:00 in the afternoon

To see these beautiful flowers when the shadows began to fall was appropriate, as the temperature went below freezing that night. For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed click here.

So Much to Blog About

Been doing the Blogging 101 Course, trying to do new things for the new year…however, the assignments seem to be just the same as the ones for this course last year. I remember doing the same things…like this one, trying out 3 new themes.

Since I did that last year, I’ll just skip it for 2015. As I recall, during the assignment last year, I accidentally changed to a theme that they wanted me to pay for. I didn’t sign up to blog on a platform that would end up costing me money! Free I like!

Meanwhile, I finished a sewing project (duh, yup, almost forgot, this is a sewing blog!)

I worked on some uniforms for my favorite non-profit organization, Plenitud PR. The uniforms consist of shirts that have the staff workers’ names embroidered on the fronts and a mandala-shaped logo patch sewn on the backs.

logo patch

logo patch

Once I got used to my new machine and lined up all the shirts and their 3 different tasks to do in assembly-line fashion, it got better and better. I got great directions and suggestions from some of the staff, which helped a lot. Among us, we decided that black would be a good thread color for the text embroidery on the fronts, except for a couple of shirts that were very dark-colored. Carson liked the Clarendon font best of the 3 text fonts that were right on the sewing machine without having to download anything extra, so we went with that. All the shirts were different, so I hooped most of them with a 100 x 100 cm hoop (a few had large pockets that were tricky to hoop around: a 150 x 150 hoop worked for them). In some of the practice runs, a few problems cropped up, like major bird-nesting underneath, causing some of the text letters to come out crooked or stunted in shape. So when starting the embroidery directly onto the shirts, I took every precaution. One or two tear-away stabilizer sheets went underneath, and water-soluble stabilizer (Sulky Solvy) went on top of each embroidery. I made sure to use the recommended sensor Q-foot that really bears down and flattens the area all around the needle, rather than the simpler R-foot I always used with my previous machines. The hoops for Husqvarna Viking sewing machines have marks inside at north, south, east and west (former mapper; for all others think up, down, right, left) so you can mark on the fabric with chalk or a temporary marking pen where they intersect, and that’s where you want the center point of your finished embroidery to fall. Some hoops have a plastic insert that has a little hole in the center, making it even more easy to line up the position of your embroidery. The machine comes with a bunch of little metal clips to put on the hoops, but I hate to use them; they tend to pop off and fly through the sewing room and get lost.

One shirt had a very large sectioned and zippered pocket right under where I wanted to embroider the name. At this point in the project, I felt like I’d seen every monkey wrench that could have possibly been thrown, so to head off any trouble, my idea was to fold down the top of the inner pocket and secure it with sticky-backed stabilizer so it wouldn’t flip up during embroidery and get trapped in the domain of an out-of-control bird-nest jungle.

machine embroidery sticky stabilizer

Sticky stabilizing possible bird-nest area

I tried this first with some Pellon sticky-back stabilizer. Unfortunately, this had been in my stash for a few years and the sticky back wasn’t very sticky at all. Luckily enough, some Sulky sticky-back stabilizer, also in my stash for a few years, worked like a charm.

machine embroidery stabilizer

Sulky is the superior sticky-back

How about you, do you have any new projects for the new year so far?

Weekly Photo Challenge: New

Masterpiece

New Season of Masterpiece Theater: Downton Abbey

 

Thrifty alternative to going out: watching the new season of Downton Abbey at home, relaxing in the La-Z-Boy.

For more Weekly Photo Challenge: New look here.

For the Blogging 101 Challenge, I changed my tag line…I think it more precisely describes this site, still focusing on the thrifty but allowing for other creative media besides only sewing and crafts.

Are you curious about Blogging 101, a WordPress Online Course for improving your write-site? For more Blogging 101, click here.

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