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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Slower than normal

I'm still limping about here, which is a pain in the butt(and knee).
Which eats into the time I would normally post things, or sit and think about things even.

So my pithy observances may be somewhat lacking for the next little while.

we'll see.

I've got a bunch of irons in the fire right now. 
I'm working on the maintenance guide, servicing a few machines, and running the 1130 through the process of making a pair of silk cargo pants.

Oh, right. I wanted to mention that this machine is handling silk extremely well.
Kinda frighteningly well actually, for a machine with no adjustable foot pressure.

Right now I am finishing up a Record 830 I'll be putting up on Craigslist.
I really like selling machines locally rather than etsy or ebay.
Shipping machines is fraught with both peril and expense.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1130 continued.

So, I had certain expectations about this machine before I started using it.
Or, prejudices, if you prefer.

I expected it to sound like a dot matrix printer.
My Janome does. You can hear the little servo motors whining as it stitches.
This machine.... doesn't.

It's got that Bernina 'chuffa chuffa' sound...I can't really describe it any better than that, if you're familiar with Berninas you know the sound I mean.

at first she was a little intimidating.

I mean, really...
For someone who uses 99.9% vintage machines.. that's a heck of a lot of buttons.
But, the good thing is, the Bernina manuals are excellent. Each button is clearly and concisely explained
and once you've read about them it seems silly that you were ever in any doubt as to what they do!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I've started

working on the manual for my class.
Here's the first page:
I'm doing a bunch of illustrations, the first 4 pages are done now.
The 1130 review will re-commence later this afternoon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Bernina 1130

My first reaction to the 1130 was twofold:
1. All of the earlier machines came in these amazing protective cases, ranging from suitcases for the 530/730, to the famous red box for the 830, then the over the top Giant Lego block construction used to house the 930(which is probably the most amazing case I've seen ever.)  But not the 1130.
The 1130 has a sort of hard plastic shell that drops over the machine. It does not completely enclose the machine, nor does it latch on in any way. The handle built into the machine itself pokes up though a slot in the top, for carrying.
It's not a BAD design, and the built in carrying compartment is fairly clever, but it just is not as protective/robust as one might hope.

When you hear 'computerized machine' you probably thought of all the weight that would save....

This thing is heavy, and when I say heavy I mean... not at all light.
There is a bit of plastic here, the back plate is plastic, but the body of the machine is metal, and most of the internals are metal as well.
Remember those old Radio Shack calculators that were the size and consistency of bricks?
This is the sewing machine version of that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Limp Limp Limp

So, while my knee is acting up, I am going to be good and not walk around all day or carry machines up and down stairs or anything like that..
I mended a pair of long johns and I'm going to work on the cargo pants, using the 1130.

Unless I get too bored, in which case all bets are off.

I've decided to actually write my own little booklet thingy for my class.
I may even put them up for sale on my etsy shop, eventually. Assuming that I think it's worth selling.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It seems..

My knee is determined to not like me just yet...
Oh well, I guess I'll take a week and stay home and work on machines/clothing.

I did find something pretty cool yesterday.

a watercolor eyeshadow set from 1969.. how cool is that?
I put it on my etsy shop, because even if it doesn't sell, I don't care.
It just looks so cool!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Not my normal

I picked up a Bernin 1130.
Yes, it is computer controlled, and it has a bit of plastic to it...
We'll see if it measures up to my standards soon enough!

I'm doing a Wonder Woman pin-up drawing for a friend..
this is a rough beginning..

If you live in Texas..

and you are thinking of moving:
I can offer you a bit of advice.
Don't hire  First Priority Movers.

Two of my very dear friends moved from Austin to Bloomington IN...
They hired these dirtbags to move their things, got an estimate based on sq footage, and away they went!
After a week of no contact, the movers contacted them saying they had more stuff in the truck than they had thought(as if it had magically grown) and they would have to pay an additional bit of money to have their stuff delivered, above the contract price.
(i.e. extortion,  btw.. this is not even slightly legal, a moving company CANNOT change the rate if they are charging by sqft once the estimate has been agreed on, it's against the law)

This really upsets me as these people have had a really rough time lately, leading up to their move, and they are two of the kindest people I know.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today, I got a phone.

A Princess phone!

I found a few other things to toss onto the etsy site as well, and experienced some downright horrific machines.
50$ for a early 80s Singer? Ummmmm, no thanks! You can keep that one Goodwill.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ethics and principles...

You hear a lot of talk these days about ethics..
ethical conduct, values, etc..

So why do I have so many people come to me after they've been treated badly elsewhere?

I'm no saint, but I am someone who believes that treating people fairly is 100% the way to go.

Look, besides allowing you to feel good about yourself, it's just sound business practice.
My customers/clients know I'm not going to lie to them. If that means telling them they bought a terrible machine, or chiding them when they are considering trading out a vintage machine for a new piece of terrible be it.
I'm not going to make up things that need to be fixed on there machine 'the gyrodongle needs to be refibrualicated!' or tell them they need new parts 'Yeah, I'd replace that whole needle bar! It'll save you a bunch of stress in the future!' unless it's true.

And I think most people that come to me understand that.

So why do these places treat the women who shop at them with disdain?
From blatant disregard to bald faced lies?

I'm really not sure. I think part of it is that they are so sure that their customers WON'T go elsewhere that they feel safe behaving in a truly egregious manner.
Maybe that'll change when they see their business falling off...
maybe not.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today's find

is a cute little Kenmore..
I'm not usually a huge Kenmore fan, but this thing was too cute to pass up:

it's in amazing shape and all the accessories are there, including a straight stitch needle plate!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Taught the first class

this weekend, and it was definitely an interesting experience.
For me, anyway.

Today, I found one of the strangest objects I've yet to encounter....
It's another hair dryer, of the bonnet variety.(I LOVE these things) BUT it's a variation I've never seen before:

Yeah....the motor is built INTO the it floats over your head on a cushion of hot air..
but it's got a 14 foot long cord so you can wander around while this machine screams on top of your head...wait, what?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Singer's new Vintage...

In honor of the 160th anniversary of the Singer company, and in keeping with the disdain for their modern machines and love of their vintage machines that is commonplace these days...Singer is producing a new, limited edition machine, the 160...
Looks like a Curvy with a new paintjob to me....
It is sort of fitting, I guess. They haven't figured out that it's not the LOOKS of the machines that makes the older models so popular, it's the quality. 
'We'll paint a plastic machine to look lke one of our old cast metal machines and no one will know the difference!'
Ummmm, it's plastic.
It's probably computer controlled.

The thing is, for what they charge for a modern machine, you COULD make a high quality aluminum bodied machine with a mechanical gearing system that would be capable of producing all those stitches and more...
But then you'd have to label it 'Bernina' :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

From the ground up.

I had almost gotten the new Nova back together, when I realized I really wasn't 100% satisfied with how it was running.
It was just not quite 'there'.
So, I made an executive decision. I decided to take it all the way
apart and do a complete rebuild.

After redoing the wiring, I started going over every bit of the mechanics.

Which means I had to disassemble it.


She runs perfectly now.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You never get a second chance

to make a first impression, but luckily sometimes people spend the time to really get to know something before judging.
Now, I have an automatic twinge when it comes to plastic machines...and this baby is no exception.
The body is metal, with a plastic backing and lots of little fiddly plastic bits.

Also, yeah I'll admit it. I have a bias against machines made in SE Asia. mostly because the workers there get paid peanuts, while the machines still cost a tonne of money...
So, if I were going to go by those things alone... I'd have to say this is a terrible terrible machine.

BUT, I'm not going to say that.

I expected to hate this machine, honestly.
I thought I would hate the noise it would make.
Basically, I thought it would sound and feel like a crappy little plastic machine.
It doesn't.
The stitch width/length controls are easy to use, as they are a direct descendant of the Record series.

The stitch pattern selector, and all the other functions are similar to the old fashioned ones.

The feel is soooo close to one of  my vintage machines, it's not quite the same, there is a slightly less smooth feeling to this machine, but it is close. The stitch quality is definitely Bernina.
(if you don't know what that means, I'm actually somewhat jealous of you)

Another nice thing about this machine, it uses the old style mounting system, with a twist:
The machine comes with a snap-on adapter.

All in all...this is not a bad machine. It's much better than 99% of the modern machines I've used.
I used it to repair a denim dress, and it sewed over a very thick seam with no hesitation whatsoever
so, there you go! 
I'd use a vintage machine over this one, but it's definitely not crappy!

Just like it was

The only visible difference between this machine and it's original state is the new foot pedal.
The power cord is original and the pedal plugs in the same way it always did...
Now I just have to fix the feed dog drop thingy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of my friends from PR

suggested that I check out the Bernina 1008, as it is a modern mechanical....
So, I picked one up :)
I got it off ebay. It was packed terribly but somehow arrived intact!
We'll see how it performs!


was truly a day of discovery.
I learned SO much about the 900 Nova that I didn't learn the first time around :)
which feels really good!
This time, the machine is going to look PERFECT.
Oh, and I also figured out how to fox a mistake I made in the first one :).
Go me!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A new Nova

It has the same issues as the last while being a bit prettier! 
But this time I am better prepared.
I am going to keep it pretty much identical to how it looks now, with a different foot pedal.
I will wire the foot pedal to use the existing socket, and I will keep the original power cord intact.
A challenge? Yes.
Can I do it? 
Does a shark poop in the ocean?

Part of my sewing room

This is one corner of my sewing/work space.
Normally that 830 would be on the repair table.
But.. there's still that dang Brother Pacesetter there...
I use 2 of those lamps. 
Luckily for me, I'm about as photosensitive as they come.
for close detail work light is good, but under normal conditions I can see just fine in the dark.
something to do with the shape of my eyes.

2 and 2

2 Rocketeers and 2 401As...
I made pouches for their feet/accessories, I thought about embroidering 'Singer' onto them, but then I thought that would be silly..

Saturday, October 1, 2011

1953 221

I found this machine yesterday...
Now, even given the fact that it's 'only' 60 years old....
This is the cleanest, most perfect 221 I have ever seen.
It's crazy.

This is the case...
The outside is as perfect..
It's not a repro, it's all original.

The power cord/foot control are frightening. It's the original wire, but it's in perfect shape.