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Monday, October 24, 2011

More machine problems! (And Mabry){And a final thought}

Don't buy a singer. Just don't do it.

When Linda and I were discussing our Mabry blocks the other day, she gave me a hint that helps her keep hers in line better. She and I both piece with Janome's and both of our machines have 7 feed dogs. Linda said that unless she manually lowers the needle (using the turn handle) it gets crooked every single time.

I got to thinking...and my older paper piecing is much better. Such as my dragon. So I turned to manual TRex machine and figured I would just use it from now on for paper piecing. It is what I used to use, and liked it, so why not again. I uncovered it, moved all my Mabry supplies over to it (all those itty bitty fabric scraps are a pain to move around) , turned it on and NOTHING. The light was on. But the foot pedal would not work. At all. Now why in the world??? This machine is only 3 years old. (or is it 4?). It sat for 6+ months because the timing was off, and I had to get that fixed. It sat in the repair shop for another 3 months, and now back home I've barely used it and the foot pedal doesn't work. A quick check online--new one is $45. So the Jeans Machine is going away again until tax which time I will decide whether to buy the new part or throw it out of the window.

My husband and I both have agreed that I will not do denim on my new nice machine. I just won't. So all dog quilts are stopped until further notice. I am so frustrated!!! I do have another machine I got at a garage sale. I'll dig it out and see what I can do with it sometime. Just don't buy a Singer. Ok? Especially a CG 550.

Ok, now onto Mabry. I last left you with a very wonky water wheel and didn't show you my improved version.

This weeks blocks are EE thru EJ. I have put them in one photo, along with a couple of pins for size comparison.

The little blocks are small, but they are not hard to do. 
The hard part is joining the blocks. They are so small even for the straight pins!
I did try Linda's method of manually lowering the needle and took the first couple of stitches that way, and turned my machine to it's lowest speed. That helped alot, and here is what the above blocks look like all joined together:

Not perfect--but better. There are almost 70 pieces in that small area.
Next was to join to last weeks blocks:

Like my wonky Hillbilly wheel? I am AMAZED at Linda's. Her's is perfection.
Notice the bottom half of mine is much better than the top half. 
Thanks Linda for the hint. 

I am thinking the pattern has a mistake and should have some black on that one block in the middle of the water wheel. It is not on the foundation, but it does not look right. 

These blocks now need to be joined to some from before:

I look forward to seeing my blocks improve greatly now that I know the problem. But my desire is not great enough to go back and fix everything. 

A final thought today: I have been very embarrassed about my Mabry blocks but I am a stick to it person. I really didn't understand why I was doing so bad. I didn't have this problem years ago on all the paper piecing I used to do. Hopefully we have found the problem, but if not, I did get to thinking that often times people are better at teaching something than actually doing it themselves. For instance, think about Olympic athletes. Often their coaches never made it to the Olympics. Yet their students went on to win gold medals. I am a good teacher. That I can admit. My sewing is not perfect. Never has been. I am trying to improve. But...I can still teach and a wonky water wheel will not keep me from doing something I love--teaching. 
Of course, Linda, now this means that you have to become a world famous paper piecing designer or something. Just like those Olympians! Just pressure. :0)


Fiona said...

wow.. those little blocks are minute...

Michelle said...

My very first machine was a brand new Singer and I hated it... I eventually ended up getting a Janome and I love it!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Hey - these are tiny - tiny is very hard. I hand sew that tiny as well as remove the foundation to elliminate bulk - oh, I felt that brick thrown at me! My Mom loves her 'old' singer (the new plastic machines are crud - no matter what model) And I have an old New Home (Janome). Yes, we both have newer machines - but 90% of our work is on the older machines.

Heather said...

I think you're doing a great job- those are tiny pieces!
I use brother sewing machines. I have several actually. I like that they are pretty low in cost & not highly computerized. I hope you can figure out what's wrong with your machine & not have to go buy any new parts!

Colleen said...

Well I agree about the new singers. Sorry for your frustration. But the Singer featherweights are awesome! Real work horses. I use mine daily. You need an old(45yo+) machine for your jeans quilts. They were actually built to last and sew everything! Besides my FW I have a 60 yo White that is a workhorse too. BTW FW were made for the rural population and to last a lifetime!

Belinda said...

How frustrating! I don't envy you and Linda doing those tiny little pieces either!!
But, the little imperfections make it uniquely yours right? That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :P

Snoodles said...

Wow, those blocks are amazing! Teensy little pieces...ya'll are paper piecers extraordinaire!

Stray Stitches said...

All of those pieces are so very tiny! I think you are doing a great job.

Marcia - Crafty Sewing and Quilting said...

Those blocks are so tiny! Keep plugging away at them! I think they look just fine and when it is all put together is will blend in as you sew the pieces together.
I love my Janomes. I took my oldest one along to retreat on the weekend. It's 15 years old and I have had it majorly repaired twice. I clean it often on my own to keep it fresh, a little oil, and free of the lint build up!
Keep up the good work!

Patty@Granma's said...

I have a 37 year old Sears and it still hums along, after sewing jeans, coveralls, kiddy clothes, 50-60 quilts, wedding gowns and on and on and on ;=} It has never seen a 'real repairman' and other than a new belt (25th birthday) no other repairs. Just clean and oil regularly.
I have five others (3 Janome, 2bailey) all new in last 10 years, and the repairman stops every month. They don't make'm like they used to! For Sure!!

basketsbyrose said...

I was dumb enough to purchase a Singer from Jo-Ann's Fabric on line. After one month is was in a shop getting fixed! Jo-Ann was of no help get this fixed or what to do. Once I had it fix it has been working well. But never again will I purchase something from Jo-Ann's.

Love your quilt!

Michelle May said...

I had a singer for 4 years. Hated it! Saved up my pennies and got a Bernina quilters edition. Never looked back.

Sarah Craig said...

Don't discount Singers out of hand - I've owned them all my life up until last year, when I bought a Juki because I was afraid I'd kill my current Singer with all the quilting I was doing. If you are doing heavy-duty sewing, you can't go wrong with a 50+ year old Singer - they are workhorses! I own a Featherweight, and a circa 1900 "portable" Singer, plus a treadle Singer - all awesome machines that will sew through anything!