Friday, February 9, 2018

something old, something new, something purple...

...guess I'm missing something borrowed?

Last weekend I got off to a great start with my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.  Though I'll be honest, I truly struggled with whether I wanted to continue this quilt.  I know it's going to be amazing in the end, but the blocks are all strange, the template sewing is going not so well and after just one month, I'm not very excited about it any more.  Usually my interest doesn't drop off this quickly and I'm not sure if the blue squirrel last month killed it or what, but I talked myself into just doing it.

So I made the first block in purple, #10 forest park:

Not perfect, but I'm still struggling with the template piecing, but I think it's okay enough.

This will also forever be known as the block that forever broke my trusty sewing machine.  About halfway through the last seam it just stopped.  I tried to turn the hand crank and it would barely move.  I figured there were threads jammed up somewhere and pulled the block out.  Took out the bobbin.  Took out the top thread.  Still little to no movement.

Take off the plate covering the bobbin case. No obvious problems.

Well, let's see if we can take off the plastic cover.  If it's broken, it can't be made any more broken, right?  The hubby came to help - he heard the naughty words emanating from the sewing room and knew he was probably needed.

Ever wonder what the inside of your sewing machine looks like?

(something old)

It did not catch fire, as my mom thought.  There was just a LOT of lint in there, in places you'd never be able to clean without actually taking it apart like this.

We cranked on the hand wheel until it popped off a dozen or more times.  Still little movement.  We looked and looked for a thread snarl or something.  There is nothing obvious.  The wheel that goes over the hand crank to make it look tidy is now stripped.

I purchased this machine maybe 10 years ago for less than $200.  It's been a wonderful machine.  Sadly, Brother no longer makes this model.  So I downgraded.  No, seriously.  I want something that sews straight and has no computer.  Do you know that's not so easy to find?  I bought a fairly basic model, but it's not the lowest of the low, as I wanted one that had an adjustable stitch length (paper piecing ya'll!).  It cost less than $100.  (I also wanted another Brother so my walking foot and such would be compatible.)

(something new)

And look, it's purple!  Perfect for our color of the month!  I joke that I've named it "Not Broken" but right now it's being called "what the heck is wrong with the tension that every seam comes out just a touch puckered?"...  (I'm going to pull out the bobbin case next time I get into the sewing room and adjust the tension there because the top tension is about maxed out and since thread pokies are on the back, that tells me my top tension is too loose.  So if I loosen my bottom tension that's kinda the same as tightening the top, right?  One can hope...)

But not to be deterred, and I had to sew something to decide if I actually even like this machine...

On to block #11, clock tower.

It's this wonky in person.  I used templates and have no idea what's going on.  I'm hoping I can ease it and the pattern has sashing between all blocks, so maybe it will be okay?  Maybe it's the new sewing machine's fault?!

Not to be deterred, the next few blocks looked easier, so I forged on.  I'm not going to get that tension straightened out by worrying about it, right?  Sew!

#12 lobby:

Much nicer, but the puckering became more obvious with the strip piecing I had to do here.  But as you can see, you can't see the puckering.  You can run your fingers along the seam and it straightens some.  Also pressing helps.  But that's not fixing and how are longer seams going to look...

Onward...block #13 parking garage:

This one is not as wonky in person.  It didn't want to lay quite flat (some of those pieces finished at 1/2"!) and I just said whatever.  Again adjusting the tension and getting it better, but not perfect yet.

Next up, block #14, airport

This block was quite wasteful, as you create a rectangle and then chop a diagonal rectangle out of that.  I failed to center it quite right, but we're calling it good.  Again more tension adjustments, but also a bonus project...

A tiny pincushion!  (measured 3.5" before sewing and filling)  I love that the word iron is centered there.  That was nowhere near on purpose!

And finally, block #15, skyline:

At this point it was getting late and I was getting fed up with tension issues.  Every adjustment seemed to produce no change and I knew it was time to quit.  Or throw the new machine off the roof.

Since finishing this block Sunday, I haven't touched my sewing machine.  That tension issue has me frustrated.  It's sucking my sewing mojo right out of me.  What if it never gets adjusted right?  Can I live with this?  Maybe I should take my old machine to someone who repairs them and hope they don't laugh at me because it will cost more for their hourly fees to work on it than it cost to purchase.

I feel lucky that I don't have a pricey machine.  I've had friends debating whether to spend $2000 on a new motherboard for their machine or spend $4000 on a whole new one.  (I try to hold my jaw up off the floor when they talk like that so they don't see my disbelief.)  I feel lucky that I live close enough to a store that sells inexpensive machines that I like (or, well, liked the last two) so I can just stop by and pick one up.  I feel lucky that my hubby and I are financially in a place that I can just replace a machine, even if it's not an expensive one, when it quits.

But I don't like change.

It's inevitable, but I think with all sorts of crazy going on at work (change, change, change, change, change, change, change), this is just the last straw.  And I think that's causing my lack of sewing mojo and my lack of interest in figuring this out and my general apathy towards sewing this week.

But hey, let's look at a photo of all the purple stuff together!  Because it's Friday and my hubby has to work this weekend, so I'll be able to sew all I want!

See I'm also working on the tiny stars?  More leader-enders there!

And only three more blocks to go for purple.  They're the largest ones, and there are some templates involved, but I keep telling myself I'll get better if I do it more.  Maybe I'm right?  (But I do know for sure that templates are NOT my strength and will not be something I choose on purpose for future projects!)

I did do a little other sewing, but have no photo.  I'm working on the Bird Seeds quilt by Tula Pink and last summer made all the "birds" but stalled out on the "seeds"...I sewed four more "seeds" last night.  I made a goal to do two per week and I haven't done my allotment for this week yet, but I'll get there.  It's a pretty awesome quilt, so I'm going to enjoy making it and not rush.  (Ha ha ha...that's how you say procrastinate in a really sly way!)

In other news, we got about 43 inches of snow today.  Okay, really, more like 6.  But it started about an hour or two before I had to go to work and quit an hour or two after I got home.  Not funny, Mother Nature.  Our driveway plow hadn't been here when I got home from work, so I gunned my little station wagon over the street-plow hump and snow drifted down into my garage.  The hubby had used his tire tracks (all wheel drive on that baby - my next car, man, my next car!) as guides and shoveled a half-path down to help, but the 90 degree turn at the end to go into the garage I went a little sideways.  Totally under control and on purpose to keep momentum, but the traction system was beeping and flashing and trying to not give me power to the wheels.  (Apparently traction control does not like you to attempt donuts...not in your driveway, not in the intersection near your fun at all, this little car...but at least I wasn't stuck in my driveway like before I got good winter tires! And hey, little car has an awesome sound system, so you can totally thump the ground while sitting at intersections and make the young kid next to you wonder what that "old lady" is doing listening to music like THAT?! (but really, even turning Mozart that loud you can sometimes get a thump...I was listening to Imagine Dragons, tho))  Anyways, safely to work and safely home and now that the snow has ended and the street plows can catch up and the driveway plow has been here (I beat him by about 30 minutes), I have nowhere to go.  To bad, so sad, guess I'll go sew!

Happy quilting!

PS The other projects (UFO Challenge, Philip's quilt) are also on the list for this month still, but I feel like the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is the least fun and hardest, so if I get it out of the way first, it's all downhill from there!  So maybe with only three blocks to go on the RSC, I'll get some UFO sewing done this weekend?


Lynette said...

Haha!! Katie, you made me laugh out loud at the image of a radio-thumping grannie tripping out a youngster. :D :D Your purple blocks look so nice together - I like the mixes with the b&w fabrics. Love that "Iron" pincushion. It does sound like the bobbin is set too tight - usually loosening that and then readjusting the top tension in response resolves puckering issues for me. I really hate it that the serviceman at the shop for my machine only tests stitches out on stiff organza. Who stitches on that? It never shows him when the tension is too tight in the bobbin for normal fabrics, and I have to mess around with it. Nothing drives me battier and foul-mouthier than problems with a sewing machine. :)

---"Love" said...

You are braver than I am; I'd never tear into any of my machines like you did! Hope you figure out the problem with the new machine. Please take it back to the store for help! Don't take it apart yourself! ---"Love"

Adventurous Quilter said...

Loving your purples 😍😍😍

maggie fellow said...

I have a trusty old singer featherweight that I love. It has no computer and sews a beautiful straight stitch and is portable. you might like adding that to your wishlist.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Machine troubles AND snow?!?! SEW sorry to hear that. If you are having tension issues with that new machine already, I would march that baby right back to the store and trade it for another model!!! It won't get better.

On the up side of your week, those PURPLE blocks look AWESOME and your bonus project does, too!! My favorite has got to be those little Star blocks, though. I'm going to have to add them to my RSC list for another year!

Cathy said...

I don't like change either. And I like a sewing machine (and other appliances like washers, irons) without computerized parts too. And I know well that lint is my enemy in a sewing machine! I had enough to stuff a pillow in mine once!

And your purple blocks are awesome.

Ivani said...

Hope you figure out the tension problem with your new machine.
It seems you have been busy this week.
Great purple blocks, I love the small stars you did as leader & enders.

Frédérique said...

Beautiful blocks! You did a lot ;)

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

I like all your other purples - maybe you will be excited to get back to the first blocks after a littl rest?

Sandra Walker said...

There is SO MUCH here Katie and I love it all; like Lynette I totally love the image of you rocking it out in your Mozart ha, but no Imagine Dragons! I love love LOVE them, thanks to my grandson, and ya I crank it when they are on. Your poor machine woes, so frustrating. Hope you get it figured out....Not to 'throw a spanner in the works' as my very English mum would say, but I got a 1947 Featherweight last Spring for $75 and I adore her; maybe you can score one of those if you can't get your Brother to cooperate. btw love the names, and that it's purple! Your purple blocks are all amazing, so different, and they look fine to me.... had a peek at your blue post, and please link it up at the end of Feb with my DREAMi linky party? It's a perfect squirrel, and we celebrate going off the rails in that party ;-) So happy to meet you; I love the way you write, and oh yeah, the hump at the end of the driveway from the plough/plow (my English mama influence again) brought back memories of those days out in Alberta! And gunning it... Hope you do get the tension worked out; is there a little screw on the bobbin case if there is one, or Google tension issues on your machine and see what pops up...

Katie Z. said...

I killed my old Brother machine about a year ago and wasn’t disappointed at the new options. My tension has gotten better, so I live with it. Maybe a new needle? Sometimes that was my problem, and I also checked to make sure there no lint under my bobbin case.

Anonymous said...

I love that you crank up the music in the car. SO DO I! When the kids were young and at the babysitters, they would say to me "Mom, can you turn down the radio? We can hear you coming a block away!" My response was always, "You know how many kids WISH their parents played music that loud?" Hmmmm. Now, I'm 63, and still crank the music loud in the car. Probably vibrating the screws loose on the car a bit . . . But now, people see me at stop signs and probably think, "Oh, that poor little old lady must be deaf . . . " LOL

PaulaB quilts said...

Such frustration! You really went above and beyond with both of your machines. I would trade the new one for a different model. Those blocks are fascinating. I haven't seen them. Are they a "neighborhood "? The combo of color with b/w is great. Good luck this week.

a good yarn said...

Are you lightly starching your fabrics - there’s a lot of bias edges that your working with and the stretch like crazy. It doesn’t take much for them to stretch.

scraphappy said...

I sure hope you get the tension issues figured out. Change is hard, but hopefully once you get your new machine adjusted correctly she will keep you sewing for years. Hang in there with the templates! Each block is a chance to get better. They do look great all together, I don't see the flaws at all.

Marti said...

I can't believe you took your sewing machine apart. You rock! Sorry you didn't find out why it quit working though. I have heard the newer machines have so many plastic part that something breaks off and then it's cheaper to replace. I'm kind of torn between not wanting all the frills and wanting a few. I'd use an older machine all the time except I really can't sew without a threader, and being able to move the needle over a fraction at a time is pretty handy when sewing 1/4" seams on one block, and sewing down the middle on the next.

Ruth said...

I love your purple blocks! I am always having problems with tension. I just had my featherweight in for adjustment and it seems to be working fine now. My Janome is one of those fancier machines and my bobbin case will shift and the needle will break and then I have to take all that out, change the needle, rethread it, put it all back in and try again. Half the time, the bobbin case will shift again. I had it into the quilt shop/sewing machine shop twice last year for the same problem. It did it again last week, and that's when I decided to use my featherweight for a while - the first time since it was in the shop - and it was working fine. The rest must have helped my Janome, because when I went back to it, the tension was good and other than being more noisy, it was working fine. I have had continual problems with this machine which DH got for me about 5 1/2 years ago. I really like to have a machine that has zig zag stitches and other ones that I can use when I want something fancier - or even to sew batting together. Before we took our over 7,000 mile trip over Christmas, we took our 2004 Silverado to be checked over and the bad news was that the transmission wasn't looking good - $2,000. Since we have already had the transmission worked on at least 3-4 times, we decided we didn't want to go that route, so we traded it in on a 2015 Buick Encore (Little B). Even though it has 4-wheel drive, DH thought we should put winter tires on it in case we came across snow - we didn't. We didn't see any snow on the roads during the whole trip. We haven't had any snow here this winter, whereas last year we had snow several times, but nothing compared to what you have gotten. I like it when it snows!

Marsha B said...

The purple blocks are so interesting. Sorry to hear your machine stopped working and the new one is giving you tension problems. Hope you can find a fix for it, or return it if it doesn't straighten out. I do have a computerized machine and I love it, but if something expensive went wrong with it, I don't know that I would get another high end one. I find I only use a fraction of the things it will do but the functions I do use, I love. Hope it's a l o n g time before I need to replace it or pass it along to one of the kids. Those little stars are adorable! ! !

We need some moisture here, rain, snow, anything! We have only had something like .07 inch of rain in the last four months, it is so dry! Glad you were safe in the snow!

Kate said...

I hope you were able to figure out the tension issues on the new machine. It's not fun to want to sew and not be able too. You've got some great blocks from last week. They do not look puckered at all. Happy stitching this week.