Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Stuff

I bought the Janome 6600! It hasn't been unpacked and fired up yet, because I first had to put away my old Viking and organize my old, old Singer to give away. I feel sad about the Singer; we made many interesting things together. But for the Viking, I have no regrets. I'll report on how the new machine is going in a day or two.

In the meantime, we have a new family member: Florabelle. When I was at the farm a couple of weeks ago, I brought her home with me. Here she is in her former home with her mother and a sibling,

and here she is in one of her favorite spots, the top of the piano.

She's sweet and well-behaved (translate that as litter trained), although not a real people cat yet. She likes me, and since I'm the one who kidnapped her and put her in a cat carrier for a day and a half, that seems odd. An example of Stockholm syndrome, I guess.

Many people would say she's come to a much better life, but it has to be lonely without her family, and who wouldn't miss that beautifully peaceful and pastoral setting.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Machine, Part 2

Thanks for all the helpful comments about the Janome machines. I also found this discussion on Quilting About which was highly favorable. I drove down to one regional dealer today and tried out the 6600. She does not have the 6500 because she says the improved new acufeed (the only real difference) doesn't add enough to the price to make the lower price for the other model that attractive. Maybe. I thought the acufeed made changing feet a bit awkward because it's bulky and in the way. The Quilting About discussion mentioned this too, but apparently you get used to it. Other than that I liked the machine, and the lady was extremely helpful, and had a good price package, including a table.

She also showed me a Baby Lock Espire, which has some interesting features, but seems to violate the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). It has a jillion stitches because if they make a minuscule change to a stitch, like whether it locks at the beginning, they call it a new stitch. But the way it goes sideways and on the diagonal allowing lots of large decorative stitches is pretty tempting. As the saleslady pointed out, you could actually quilt a border design using one stitch, or combining it with others. Would I do this? I'm always bored watching the machine do something slowly like that.

Tomorrow I will go to another nearby shop and see if they have the Janome 6500 just to make a comparison, but I'm pretty sold, and this is a shop that many quilting friends highly recommend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Janome MC6600P

I just read a review of this machine in Quiltmaker, and it sounds like something I would like. It has the features I want (large space, fast stitching, needle up and down, adjustable speeds, etc.) and doesn't have a jillion stitches ("only" 163). It's also in my price range. Does anyone know anything about it? I just read one discussion forum that made it sound good, although most of the posters had the older model. I am oh-so-sick of my Viking! I haven't been to look at one yet; before I commit to that much time, I'd like to know a little more. Shopping for a machine is as difficult as shopping for a car. Why should that be? But the pricing policies and unhelpful salespeople are a rant for another day, I guess.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good News

"It's a Ming Thing" 36" x 36"
Trunk E
Hoffman Challenge 2008

I'm very pleased about this. And I'm also pleased that the quilts of my on-line friends Debra Spincic and Laura Krasinski were chosen for the traveling collection, and that Liz from Kansas was a prize winner for her wonderful doll.

And--the green spots on the granite are gone, thanks to another application of stain-removing poultice! The poultice is actually lye, according to the family chemists, and the stone shop manager thought the green was copper that somehow came out in the stone after sealer was applied.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I want to stay home--

I'm back from eight days at my sister's so my mother wouldn't be alone. It's a long, not too interesting story. I haven't done any sewing in the entire time, or looked at many blogs. I did drive a truck and trailer with six hay bales, which was a first for me, for sure. Unfortunately no camera, or I would definitely share that.

It will take me a while to catch up with everyone, after I clean the counters so that the green marks can be bleached again, go to the grocery, etc. After that, I hope to sit down and stitch up some Broken Dishes blocks while listening to the end of my Amelia Peabody book on tape. For those of you who listen to books while you sew, I highly recommend this series about the totally improbable adventures of 19th century Egyptologist Amelia Peabody and her irrasible but sexy husband Radcliffe. Written by Elizabeth Peters and read by Barbara Rosenblat, who can do dozens of voices and accents, they make me laugh out loud. The early ones are better than the most recent ones, and I hit the jackpot by discovering one of the earlier ones, The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog, that I hadn't heard before. What a treat!

I saw the Hoffman Challenge winners posted Saturday, but now that's gone from the website and they're back to a June post. What's with that? Catch you later everyone.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Broken Dishes and Counter Rings

You've heard of crop circles? Well, how about mysterious green rings on a brand new granite counter top? The first rings (actually a vaguely rectangular outline) appeared about a week after the counter was installed. I worried that I had made these rings somehow even though I don't have anything that shape, size, or bright green color. But even if I had, the granite is sealed with a 15 year guarantee, so it shouldn't have happened.

The installers came, looked, said they'd never seen anything like that, and came back two weeks later with a poultice which sat on the counter for 24 hours. We were in Russia during this time, and our son reported that the rings were fainter, but still there. I reported this, but no action has been taken.

Then yesterday, I moved the phone books, day planner, and junk mail from the counter on a small side cabinet. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I haven't done a thorough cleaning in that area since the counter was installed--been gone a lot, remember? :) Anyway, there they are--more bright green marks! Since this area hasn't seen light of day since right after installation, to me this is proof that no one in our house made these marks; they must have been caused by something placed on the granite before it was installed that didn't appear immediately. Weird, right? So I've back on the phone to the granite people. Still no scheduled return for more of the poultice. Fortunately all these marks are in inconspicuous places, but still. That's a lot of money for something that is flawed from the beginning.

As for broken dishes, I've been making slow progress on these blocks.

I like this, I think. There will be more gold and green ones, but the rust will predominate. Still wondering about the sashing.