New Sewing Machine

Last week I upgraded my embroidery machine – a totally impulsive decision. My Pfaff Creative Sensation was about 5 years old (no longer offered by Pfaff and  quite substantially depreciated since the new Creative Sensation Pro II was released within the last couple of months). My local Pfaff dealer was offering a good trade-in on my old machine so I decided to make the swap.

The differences between the two machines are subtle – the Pro II embroiders noticeably faster, there are a couple of new fancy stitches, the workings are all just a bit more stable than my original machine. The trade up made some sense since all my embroidery hoops work on this machine as do all the feet in my large collection of sewing machine feet.


Front of zippered bag

So I took the machine home, unpacked it, and decided to give it run by making a zippered bag for storing the foot pedal and cord when I need to transport the machine. I loaded one of the embroidery designs included on the machine, picked out some rayon embroidery thread and stitched out the design. Did a nice job and this was where I could see the increase in embroidery speed. The stitches were properly embedded in the fabric layers without my having to make any tension adjustment (which I often had to do on the old machine). No thread breakage – always a good sign.

One of the few hoops I don’t have is a “texture” hoop – one which lets me add ribbons and other trim to the surface of the fabric before stitching out an embroidery. Instead, I took a piece of grosgrain ribbon, lightly glued it along the middle of my fabric, hooped the fabric and stitched out the embroidery. Worked fine!


Back of zippered bag

I added a zipper, a lining, and stitched up the bag. Didn’t take long. Then I played around for a while testing out various stitches on a scrap of fabric.

These days, however, I primarily use my embroidery machine for quilting. Once my quilt top and quilt back are pieced and sewn (I actually prefer my straight stitch quilting machine for that), and the quilt sandwich pinned, I do the final quilting by hooping the pinned quilt segment by segment (easiest is when the top is actually constructed from blocks; more demanding is hooping from edge to edge – which is the job I just finished today on my Fibonacci quilt (I’ve quilted half of the border; I’ll complete that job tomorrow, then add the binding and label)).

The Pro II runs more quietly and smoothly than the original Creative Sensation. I can see I will turn to it for more than just quilting.

The new machine is now sitting proudly on my new sewing table which is deeper and a bit longer than the previous table (on which is sitting my straight stitch quilter) – making the whole business of quilting with the embroidery machine much easier (much less drag on the embroidery unit since the weight and expanse of the quilt is distributed over a much larger surface).

I can see I’m gonna be happy having upgraded the embroidery machine.

This ‘n That…

I’ve been working away at stuff – got another pair of socks finished:


My sister Barb was visiting from Toronto on Sunday and she went home with one of the pairs of socks in my stash. This pair will take their place. The others will be Christmas gifts, quite likely.

Yesterday, the zipper on my small “wallet” separated at the back end. It’s a small zippered pouch I made maybe four-five years ago – small enough to fit in a jacket pocket but large enough (with enough zippered pockets) to hold just about everything I want to carry with me: a few credit cards, a couple of loyalty cards, a bit of cash, some change, and a spare key (along with a pocket screwdriver). Here’s a second one I made at that time – discovered when I’d finished sewing that it was for a left-handed person!


The zippers open the wrong way and if you hold the pouch to open them with your right hand, then all the pockets are upside down! I use it to hold my driver licence and car permit in the large compartment but not much else. I needed a pouch that was right-handed.


The one I made today is a tiny bit wider and longer but the zippers open on the right side and the pockets are right way up when you open them.

I used some royal blue rip-stop scraps I had kicking around from my days of kite making. I had a some turquoise/lime green grosgrain tape, and some lime green zipper tape (without pulls) left over from a roll of make-a-zipper tape I’d bought from Nancy’s Notions years ago:


I’d used all the pulls that come with the tape – so I removed the pulls from the zippers on the original pouch – with some tugging, managed to install them on the green tape (which is why one pull is pink!).

Project took a couple of hours – the rip-stop is slippery and I had to pin as I went along to be sure the sections of the pouch would be aligned – slowed the sewing process down. I should actually make a pattern for this project – I’m sure other people would be interested.

This morning a jar of Rustins Leather Re-Colouring Balm arrived in the mail from England. I’ve had a dark brown leather chair for over 40 years. About 20 years ago I had the cushions restuffed but I was never able to find a product to refinish the leather itself. With this move I decided to see if I could find something to renew the leather on the cushions. I came across this Rustins Recolouring Leather Balm:


I ordered a jar in dark brown. I’ve just used it and it’s wonderful! I thought to myself as I started applying it to the chair cushions I should take a “before” picture – I didn’t. But here’s an “after”:


All the white wear marks are gone. The balm soaked in quickly – there wasn’t much excess to wipe off. The best part is it’s not going to come off on clothing when someone sits in the chair! It didn’t take long to apply, wait for 5 minutes, then wipe off (the wipe off cloth didn’t pick up much colour at all). I’ll apply a second coat tomorrow just to catch the few uncoloured spots that I’m noticing now. I can’t believe how much better this chair looks.

So now to get organized to quilt that latest quilt. The sandwich is pinned together. I’ve set up an embroidery design to quilt it edge-to-edge. Gotta try out the embroidery on some scrap fabric to make sure of the dimensions so my edge-to-edge quilting will align properly.



Gift Bags


From time to time I make a bunch of small zippered bags to have on hand as gifts. Two days ago, I was tidying up the baskets in my sewing room and came across some denim from a pair of jeans which I’d cut up – making a shopping bag from the top leaving the leg portions. I thought with some embroidery they’d make nice zippered bags. There was also a piece of tapestry left over from a large carry bag I’d made for my bed foam which I take with me when I travel. So I made a small bag from that leftover. As you can see I embroidered each denim bag differently (the tapestry had an interesting enough pattern that I left it alone).

There was also a scrap of pink fabric which I used to make a larger bag:


The design in this case was made from built in machine stitches – it was saved as an embroidery and done in one of the larger hoops.

This morning I began using some “lacy” fabric which surfaced in the clean up – I’ve done two bags, I have enough fabric to do two more.


These will all go into the bag stash and be given away as gifts when the occasion calls for something. I use them as gift wrap often, putting something else inside.

If you’re interested, here are instructions for making a simple zippered bag.