Monday, October 20, 2014

A Sigh of Annoyance

Mama B is back in the shop. She just wasn't behaving as well as I thought she should. There were too many problems with the thread getting caught in the bobbin case. She didn't do that when I first got her. So, back she went. I'm tired of her going back into the shop. I am very frustrated at having to deal with issues when she isn't completely fixed. Mama ain't happy, I'm not happy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Today's New Thing

Each day, I learn another thing about Mama Bernina. Today, I learned that using up whatever I have left in my studio is not a good idea. I was using several different brands of bobbin thread. One of them acted badly when I tried to use it and I had no idea what was wrong. Fortunately, it was not a large spool and I was able to toss out what I had left of it. I ran around in circles and pulled out my hair before I figured out it was the bobbin thread.

Today what I learned is to use standard materials and always use the same stuff when you are learning. Do not try six different things when you don't know what you are doing. You have no idea what the results are going to be and even worse, you don't know why you got those results, either! If it turns out great or turns out crappy, you don't know why. You haven't learned anything useful because you can't do it again, or do it differently on purpose the next time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Trimming for Applique

I have one favorite tip that I use for creating cleaner edges when doing machine applique in the hoop. I use a lint brush. Not one of the ones with adhesive, one that has velvet with a nap on it.

After I attach and trim, I brush in all directions.

Here's what a piece looks like after trimming and before the lint brush.



And here's what it looks like after I go over it with the lint brush. 

I can easily trim those threads now that I can see them.

I keep brushing and trimming until there are no more threads that stick out to be trimmed off. Even then, I'll still have the occasional thread that pokes out where I don't want it. For those, I suggest a permanent marker.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Up and Running!

Mama Bernina is back in her usual spot and has been running steadily since I got her back and got home from the quilt show. At first, she was clattering a bit, but I threw oil at her and she quieted down. Project comments later.

While Mama was in the shop, I went through my embroidery designs, both in digital and physical form. In digital form, I have a master directory that contains ALL of my digital versions. The key is that there is only ONE master directory. I copy only the version of the designs that I will use into my master directory, into a folder with a descriptive name. "Collection #12513" tells me nothing. "Halloween Couture" tells me a lot more. Into that folder, I also copy the digital version of the directions, if there were any included. 

When I buy a CD of designs, I put the printed directions and the CD together into a plastic organizer sheet that goes into a 3 ring notebook. I don't keep the bulky plastic cases that the CDs come in.

My stuff is easy for me to find, and the system isn't complicated and time consuming to use. Win!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Repair Woes for my Bernina 830LE

I was having trouble with multiple false alarms for my top thread sensor. I turned it off, but then, my touchscreen would lock up. The problem got bad enough that I dropped the machine off for service. That was on Sunday, the 31st of August. The owner of the shop wrote up the service ticket and she understands that I only get to sew on the weekends. Wonderful Hubby picked up my machine on Friday, September 5th.

FAIL!!! Not only was I still getting false alarms, There was a serious top thread tension issue. I got the worst thread 'nests' I've ever seen. Not only did the knotted clump of thread manage to pull the project out of the hoop, the thread nest also pulled the throat plate off the free arm. The bobbin stopped moving entirely, as well. In short, the thread clump pulled my machine apart.

So, on Saturday, September 6, before 10:00 in the morning, my machine was back in the shop for the second time in a single week. I'm not usually prone to italics, but I am that upset about it.

When I dropped off the machine the second time, the owner of the shop was again present. She passed me off to her employees. I didn't get to speak to her about paying for four hours of labor, only to discover that the problem had not been fixed and new issues had been created that were worse.  There is a chance that not only is the top tension off, the timing of the machine is wrong. Bad timing is often a death knell for a machine.

The mechanic has been on vacation this week and has not touched my machine. I was expecting it to be finished by today. Heck, I really had expected it to be finished last week!

OTOH, if the mechanic has screwed up the timing, the worst case scenario means the machine will have to be shipped to Chicago to be repaired. If Chicago can't repair it, I'm going to demand that the shop owner buy me a replacement. My 830 is a Limited Edition of a numbered series. I'd accept a used machine as a replacement because I got mine used. But I'm not paying for the shipping or the additional repairs, no matter what. I didn't break it, the mechanic did.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Embroidery Class Two

The second class on how to do machine embroidery got more into the interface. I had a question on a function button that wasn't mentioned in the manual. But, it still boiled down to the instructor had many different types of machines to cover and could not go into detail for my machine. The students also had a very wide range of skill levels.

I made a mistake with endless embroidery and tried something too fancy. I duplicated the pattern, so the machine thought two repeats were what I really wanted. I only wanted one repeat at a time, but what did I know?
The two "arrows" are the marks, similar to a tailor's tack, that the machine will baste in. They show you where to align the hoop in the machine. I hooped the fabric using the center crease as my center line. The machine started at the left, stitched two repeats and then put in the tailor's tacks. I took the fabric out of the hoop, moved the hoop and then lined up my stitching for the next repeat  using the tailor's tacks. My problem was that all the motifs started at the right side and stitched over to the left. I couldn't tell where I was really going to be using the handwheel and testing the needle position. I just had to trust. It isn't perfect, but it isn't bad either.

But! I did get more actual embroidery completed during this class. I learned how to use a basting box for alignment checks. I learned where to adjust to use Puffy Foam (details to follow in a different post), I learned that Floriani thread and my 830 might not get along. I got a sample of embroidery stabilizer that I'd never seen before. I also got my sample book of fabrics and stabilizers used for embroidery up to date. It wasn't a wasted class.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Machine Embroidery Class

The class for embroidery has been divided into two parts. If one class covered everything, the students would be completely overloaded. At the first class, I practiced and got better at doing things I already knew how to do.

I learned about the screens:
I got more comfortable flipping back and forth between screens. I learned that it is worth while to use the zoom function on the screen. I learned the technical names for the buttons and that helps me remember what each button does.

I learned about hooping my fabric:
505 spray adhesive will hold my stabilizer and fabric together before I put them into the hoop. Too much spray will gum up my needle. 505 is fast and I can reposition my fabric, if I need to. The funky gray doo-dads are handles for the template that fits inside the hoop. I don't need to pick at the edge to pick up the template any more, I've got handles! Me like handles!

I still have two things that I'd like to have the instructor help me get firmly under control.
First, I'm not successful when I need to navigate to a specific location in the design. My move slowly function does not work. The enter the location by stitch number does not work. I can only make large jumps. That's not right.
Second, I want to learn how to do endless embroidery. That's where I put marker stitches in when I complete a design, re hoop the fabric, and use the marker stitches to line up the next repetition. The result is a design that looks like I didn't stop and start a zillion times, but embroidered it all in one go.