Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sewing machines

Singer Featherweight


My trusty old featherweight that I’ve had since the 3rd grade, over 40 years.  I learned to sew using this featherweight.  I have pieced over 20 full size quilts on this machine.  I made drapes and slipcovers on this little baby.  It has served me well and still runs like a top. It purrs when it sews and I will never part with it.   The only maintenance it has required over the years is a little oiling and keeping it clean. 

I researched the serial number on the featherweight and found that it was built in 1948.  I doubt the sewing machines built today will still be working 67 years from now. 

I still have the case it came in all those years ago. Geff got me a tray that fits in the top of the case.  Mine didn’t have one when I got it as a girl.


A good reference book if you are lucky enough to own a featherweight is the appropriately named “ Featherweight 221 The Perfect Portable and Its Stitches Across History”  by Nancy Johnson-Srebro. 
As much as I love my featherweight, it does admittedly have it’s limitations.  It is great for piecing quilt tops very accurately.  It however, doesn’t do embroidery stitches or specialty stitches.  It is also quite small and isn’t easy to wrangle stiff interfacing under for large bulky projects.  

Singer Stylist
When I decided to start making tote bags I needed more options than my featherweight offered.  I didn’t want to invest a lot of money because I just couldn’t imagine that I would ever use these new fangled features often.  I decided to get a little Singer Stylist from Amazon on a daily deal for a whopping  $125.  This little Singer does have more features than my featherweight.  It has over 100 stitches and several extra feet for such things as overcasting, darning, gathering and buttonholes.  It has an automatic threader which was a treat for these old eyes.  This was a perfectly acceptable little machine for making tote bags, button holes, zippers, and basic sewing. 


I progressed to the point that I wanted to start quilting my own pieced tops instead of sending them all off to the longarm quilter.  I looked at Amazon reviews for relatively inexpensive quilting sewing machines.  The Brother PQ1500S had good ratings so I decided to give it a try.  It was not for me.  We engaged in a battle of wills and it won.  I sent it back, a better alternative than my first inclination of dumping it in the lake. 

Janome Horizon


After much encouragement from my husband to get a nice machine since I sew so much (sew sew much), I finally bit the bullet and got a really nice sewing machine (i.e., not cheap) but still not as expensive as some higher end machines like Bernina. 

This time I researched the quilting and sewing blogs for reviews (not Amazon) to see what machine would best fit my needs.  I decided on the Janome Horizon 8900. 

This machine has LOTS of features.  Lots of niceties that I never thought I would use but now  wonder how I ever did without.  One of my favorite features is the automatic thread cutter.  Seems like a silly thing but boy is it nice.  It has a Memorized needle up/down, 270 stitches, a dual feed system (instead of walking foot),  auto threader, auto thread cutter, feed dog down positions, and lots more. 

It sews very nicely and is a very heavy, sturdy machine.  For the most part I have been very pleased with my Janome.  It has however given me a worse sewing addiction than I already had.  
The one regret I have is that it doesn’t have a stitch regulator available.  I haven’t even been able to find a “generic’ for it.  I guess I just need to learn to regulate the quilting stitches myself.  Plenty of people do.  I hear it is just practice, practice, practice but I have no patience, patience, patience. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sweet Cherry Syrup in Weck Jars

cherry syrup
Cherries were on sale for $1.99/lb so I decided to make the cherry syrup we enjoy on ice cream.   I like to process them in Weck jars which are sealed with a rubber ring when processed in a hot water bath. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Lip balm key ring holder

lip balm holder

Sew4home had a cute, quick pattern for making a lip balm holder for your key ring.  I made Geff one for his honey lip balm  (He needs to get newer keys)

Find the pattern here:  and here’s a picture of some of the Sew4home’s holders.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Homemade Honey Bath Salts

Turn this Into this …
bath_salts honey bath salt
As easy as 1,2,3…
1.  Measure 1 cup coarse sea salt,  1/2 cup coconut or almond oil,   1/4 cup honey,  and a few drops essential oil of choice
2.  Mix all together
3.  Put in pretty jar