I swear I was only going to look

So, you may recall a couple posts ago I shared that my husband told me he was buying me a larger quilting sewing machine for Christmas.  Something that should enable me to quilt larger than a twin size like my current machine.  So once we got back, with budget in hand, I got down to sorting through possible machines.

One of the things that I wish would change about the sewing realm is that there is a sincere lack of pricing information.  To be honest, its a bit like car shopping wherein you can find all manner of details about the features and functions but the majority of pricing is “call for details”

So I scribbled out a few notes on which machines had good reviews, what the workspace (aka harp space or throat space) was and decided I’d take a trip to the local sewing shop where I bought my last machine and see what they had and probably a trip to a sewing expo in February before I made my final decision.

At least that was the plan.

So yesterday we went into the shop and took a look around.  There was a nice BabyLock Aria right at my budget, and the Juki I had been thinking about and a pair of nice Janome machines, though based on my online searching I figured these were out of my budget range.  But again… there aren’t really much in the way of prices when sewing machine shopping, so we asked anyway.

Turns out they were actually selling their floor model Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP!  Complete with the additional remote thread cutting foot that is usually extra.  So instead of looking… we did some buying.


Numerous feet, including accufeed (like a walking foot) and multiple variations on free motion feet as well as the extension table.  The 11 inch workspace is a nice step up from my prior machine.

Here they are side by side for scale.

IMG_20160113_150058 My husband’s comment upon seeing them side by side was that he didn’t realize in the shop just how much bigger the new machine was. And its not just the machine… one of my adjustments is getting used to how much larger the foot pedal is, when the much smaller thread cutter pedal is about the size of my old machine’s pedal.

The thread spool and numerous feet are stored under the top cover with the bobbin winder and the lid doubles as a handy quick reference to the stitches.


I’ve done a bit of piecing with it today, played with some stitches and wound a bobbin.  And she sews like a champ!

Now I just need to get my sewing room better organized!

Are we done yet? A post about Progress Tracking

Let me be up front, if you came for some finish photos, well… there won’t be any here today.  In fact when I first thought about making this post I wasn’t even sure there would be knitting or quilting in it.

Confession time; we are now midway into the second week of the year and I have not knit or quilted a thing! Last Wednesday I had nothing to post in the WIP weekly thread for knitting and it surprised even me.   Taking just a moment now and then to track how your projects is good for the soul.  Unfortunately, we sometimes want to scrub our beginning efforts from the record.  I was reminded of this when I went through my stash for yarns I want to use up or donate this year (I’m calling it my Knit It or Quit It stash) found the yarn from my first scarf, which I at one point had frogged. Its a bit of a shame really… and now I am going to find something new to make with it.IMG_20160104_104007

Tracking progress both on an individual project and on abilities over time doesn’t need to be complex.  A large percentage of the population actually have cameras in their phones at their fingertips.  When you finish for the day, or get to a spot you want to track, just snap a quick photo.

Maybe you turned a heel (always feels so satisfying) or got to a point where you could finally see the pattern or texture (and maybe you frog it or keep going) or you are trying out a layout… it doesn’t matter the reason. Taking a few minutes to make a note or snap a photo is worth it.  When you look back across the span of your skill journey you see how your latest socks with its cables/beads/no pattern design compares to that first pair of plain stockinette with a heel turn you just had to believe in the pattern because your brain didn’t yet wrap around the concept yet all fit together.  For my knitting, I upload these to Ravelry. (Pro Tip, if you tag your projects with the year you have a nice view with yardage of what you have done for the year too!) For my quilting, I file them all in a folder/album on Google, since my phone is already set to auto-update to there.  Once a week or so I just go in and move the relevant photos to their albums.

You don’t need to master photography and only take beauty shots either. Its ok to show the wrong side of your work.  In fact, there are times when as a crafter that’s exactly what other people want to see.  Sometimes its to see how that pattern fits a body shape, or how a color variation (variegated/stripes) may look.  Maybe you knit it up and can then show visually what you are having trouble with and ask for help.

And.. because we all know I wasn’t not crafting… here’s my latest WIP.

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My in-laws bought me a cross stitch kit off of my wishlist for Christmas.  Based on my math its final design is in the neighborhood of 50k stitches.  I have already made a few mistakes, corrected a few, and am probably doing it all wrong according to at least one person.  But isn’t it fun to watch it grow?