Thursday, September 23, 2010

I am hating this new blogger interface.

My new baby!

As I write this, 4 o'clock on the second day of autumn, it is 98º outside. There are farmers in their fields, harvesting their corn and soybeans and kicking up dust and plant particles into the atmosphere, and these tiny bits of crap are finding their way into my house and onto my skin. (I don't fault the farmers. Please, no hate mail.) My skin is in flat out rebellion, I tell ya. Every year, my allergic dermatitis gets worse. This year, it's my knuckles that are red and flaky and itchy, in addition to all of the old red, flaky and itchy places: wrists, ankles, top of foot, odd places on my fingers, and elbows. The non-permanent irritations have been on my hips, front thighs, and shins. Least my face is still purty.

So far.

We are lucky here in Lovely LAconia, in that we have had almost an inch of rain in the last two weeks. My friend in the next county to my west said they have not had rain for six weeks. Lucky, too, in that there is a front moving through this weekend which may bring rain, but will assuredly bring us our normal seasonal temperatures of 78º daytime and 50-something at night by Saturday.

One more day.

Also? My new sewing machine arrived late Monday, the last delivery from a huge FedEx truck. Thank goodness I am married to a mechanic, because the thing needed to be assembled and fine-tuned and I couldn't even loosen a bolt myself. (Couldn't even find where he hides his ratchets and sockets and pliers.) (Because, of course, all of my tools have migrated to better pastures.) And thank goodness I had another machine, set in an industrial table, to use as a go-by. I pity the poor homesewer that gets one of these and doesn't have the hand strength or a handyman handy, as there were no assembly instructions. At all. My one complaint.

What can I say? I love this machine! I read as many reviews as I could find before and after I ordered this one, and one of the complaints was the noise of the one horsepower clutch motor. Noise? To me, that sound is as sweet as any Beethoven symphony! Ooooh, the power! She is mine! Bwahaha!

And the table is too big. Well, yeah. It's a big powerful machine in an industrial table.

And it goes too fast! Excuse me? Then why did you buy this one in the first place?

I hate having to stop and wind bobbins in the middle of my project! You can wind a bobbin as you sew, knucklehead!

The stitches are perfect, and at 2000 stitches a minute, just fine for my needs. Straight stitch and zigzag, with 5! needle positions. I love that I can backstitch at speed and not break a needle. This machine is manufactured in Thailand with Swiss-made parts. It is labeled as a TacSew. I saw Bernina Tacsews, the exact same machine, for sale online for $3400. I paid about $1700 less than that. (You do the math.) Yet mine still came with the Bernina guarantee and the Bernina brochure.) I am looking forward to working on this baby for many, many years to come.

Of course, I wish I could have bought this machine 20 years ago and know that it was made in Switzerland, but times change and this is the world I live in now.

Friday, September 17, 2010

We deliver.


The tension on my venerable Bernina has become erratic, as I wrote earlier this week, and it causes me great anxiety. I can get it right, after some fiddling, and then top thread or the bobbin thread tension goes kerflooey again. I can't produce good work with it. I will get it fixed. (I think what happened, is that the machine sat quiet for several years and in that time, this tension spring got rusty. Then, when I began sewing like mad on her, that rusty bit broke.) Kite Man thought it was the fabric, but no, it sewed the rip stop nylon fine for several weeks.

What to do? What to do?

Why, buy another machine, of course. I am all about the equipment. I ordered a Bernina 950, which is sort of a cross between an industrial and a domestic machine. Zig zag and straight stitch, 5 needles positions, and more!

Fed Ex just called to see if I would be here Monday to take delivery. I'm foamy with anticipation!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

See note below.

The printer, she works! She scans! She copies! She connects with my computer! She makes acres of coleslaw! And she's lovely.

I discovered that my Bernina 117 sewing machine is likely 70 years old, having first been manufactured in Switzerland in 1939. It is amazing, especially in today's throwaway world, to have a piece of equipment that still works after so many years, and most likely could still be working in 70 years hence. I have had a bit of trouble recently (in the past week,) with the tension. I have narrowed it down to the spring in the upper tension disk, but I have cleaned and oiled the assembly and had Sweetie blow it out with the air compressor and it is behaving a little better. But not perfectly, as it always has in the past. I'm not sure where I can get her worked on, around here. I found an original manual online, but there was not an expanded parts diagram included. Ah, well, I shall find a way. The shame is that I need her for kites and wind socks and such. The tension is passable, as I said, and I will cope. I always have the little Brother as backup.

Word of the Day, with thanks to Wikipedia
Nerd — A colloquial term for a computer person, especially an obsessive, singularly focusedone.
Earlier spelling of the term is "Nurd" and the original spelling is "Knurd", but the pronunciation has remained the same. The term originated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the late 1940s. Students who partied, and rarely studied were called "Drunks", while the opposite — students who never partied and always studied were "Knurd" ("Drunk" spelled backwards). The term was also (independently) used in a Dr. Seuss book, and on the TV show Happy Days, giving it international popularity.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Report Damage at Once

Not much happening here in Lovely LAconia these days, save wishing for rain (and pissing off friends on facebook. Screw you if you can't take a joke.)(Here's the joke: How can you tell if it time to clean the house? Look in your pants and if you see a penis, it isn't time.) We have had minor sprinkles over the last few weeks, but it has been a month or more since there has been a major soil soaking rain. We are even watering a tree or two, mostly the Dawn Redwood who likes to have damp feet.

I have been sewing kites and wind socks in a sort of desultory manner, hopping up from the machine to tend laundry or to check email. I don't want this to turn into a JOB, but I do realize that the St. James Art Fair is fast approaching and the Kite Man needs some product, and so I am trying to make some for him.

The money I am making is helping our situation, (as is actually getting rent from our renters,) and so I have begun spending bits of it. The PFD cotton I ordered from Dharma arrived. I have reeled off 6 yards and washed it, and I have read up on low immersion dyeing techniques since it has been waaaay too long since I have dyed anything except with acid dyes. Two different beasties altogether they are.

I may or may not dye a little this nice, warm afternoon. (Let's see if this headache goes away.)

That's the other thing. In this dry and dusty environment, my allergies have gone haywire. The worst ever. I spent several hours outside Saturday past, helping Sweetie put up a better fence around the back yard enclosure, and when I finally came inside I felt sick and noticed the rashes and hives erupting in the same-as-usual as well as different places on my body. I am still not totally recovered, in spite of the 3 to 5 benadryls I have been taking daily. I am assuming that the mid-afternoon headaches must be part and parcel of the whole allergic mess. (Please, may I not be allergic to ripstop nylon!) In yet another aside, I am also allergic to mold, which rain will help bring along, but allergic more in my lungs, not my skin. So far.

The Little Bunny Foo Foo Shawl, the pattern for which I found on Ravelry, is being knit upon almost every morning. I am making the 3/4s of a square version, and every other round adds 6 stitches, making for slower and slower going. On the plus side, I seem to not be making stupid mistakes and so it progresses without ripping.

The other thing I have spent money on just came. Thank you, Dave the UPS Guy! It is a new printer/copier/scanner that I ordered - after it became obvious that Sweetie was to busy to deal with ordering. The one we have now (an HP All-in-One) has decided not to speak to our computer, at all, in spite of re-installing, work arounds and all manners of trying-to-make-the damn-thing-work. This new one is a Kodak, because that is what Sweetie said we would get. And now, we have it.

I'm gonna try to install this one my own little self. Thereby avoiding sewing a little bit longer. If the installation gives me grief, I can gladly retreat into the studio and the Bernina.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Replace cover when not in use.

Lucky Ducky is adapting well to the back yard. He is a Pekin duck, a flightless domestic bird, and looks curiously at the chickens but everyone appears to be getting along. He is fun to watch, (as are all of the outdoor animals,) and will quack happily back when quacked at.

I finished the Little Quilt on Sunday; it is nothing special save as practice, I suppose. (And it will be a warm little cover come winter.)

The front is nice and country-looking, but I rather favor the back.

It was a challenge to use only pre-cut pieces, and I probably have enough bits to make another one if I care to. I completely machine-sewed this one, even the binding, which, on the final seam, I usually hand-sew as it looks neater and lays flatter, but I was eager to be done. Finished size is about 40" X 50".

Sunday evening, I ordered a bolt of PDF (prepared for dyeing) Kona cotton from Dharma as I have a new art quilt in my head, trying to get out. I have done some preliminary design work. Unlike previous artistic ventures in the last couple of years, when I was trying to force my muse, this project seems impossible to repress.

I have bunches of kites and parrot-shaped windsocks to sew this week. Every time I sit myself down in front of my Bernina, I still feel as though I am supposed to be there. It feels right, and good. The Kite Man assembled a 12' compound kite for me on Monday, just to show me its enormity. Freakin' huge! I'm glad he has someone that likes to make those, as the ones with 8 foot wingspans are big enough for me.