Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Her name is Helga

Sew Mama Sew, apart from being a great shop and a resource for all things home sewing (with free tutorials, patterns and weekly giveaways as an added bonus), has also given me yet another opportunity to brag about my new machine. Brag? Nah... Me? I'm just helping people looking for a new sewing machine to buy. It's for the greater good. Really...

Ahem, well, without farther ado, The Sew Mama Sew Sewing Machine Meme:

Introducing: Helga

What brand and model do you have? Viking Emerald 183 (yep the same one they're giving away! Let me just say "wow")

How long have you had it? Six months

How much does that machine cost (approximately)? $800 But it was on sale for $600 at Joann's at the time

What types of things do you sew? Plush, clothes, a bit of home decor stuff, lots of small things

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? On average 6-10 hours a week

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I love Helga to bits. Love her-love her-love her. This machine is solid and is very smooth to operate. I often say it can sew without me, all she needs me to do is press on the pedal.

What features does your machine have that work well for you? I like the ease of stitch selection and adjustment, and the Stop and Fix buttons. I like that it's electronic and gives me some indication of what's wrong when something is wrong. That was a big frustration point with my old Singer 8280. I also love the drop in bobbin.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? Not really. I'd say the manual is a bit vague, but so far that's it. I haven't tried sewing knits with it yet, or making button holes or some-such, so who knows. Oh, it's also not the prettiest machine in the world, but it has a brick-ish charm.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! It was a Xmas present from my darling husband. He knew I was saving up for a new machine as a part of trying to make more of my wardrobe (instead of small children in china), and decided that the gift budget we set for the year was not to his liking. Yes, he is a catch, and for your information - I have some fighting skills. I've been paint-balling, watch out.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Absolutely. I know it's pricey, but a refurbished machine or if you did a tradeoff at a Joann's store might help drop the price somewhat. If you don't need the embroidery stitches (did I mention it has some of those?) you could possibly go to the lower end ones in the Emerald range, but I believe none of them are electronic. Yeah, it's kinda fancy-nancy, but it just makes things a bit nicer and smoother. Also, it's a sturdy beast, unlike a lot of machines at the same level (like the Singers), it feels like an old school machine, built to last. That's also the main thing I read in reviews about it as a big big bonus.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? What you're planning to sew, how much are you willing to spend (with the understandinprobablyhave to sacrifice some comfort and quality,), what other sewers feel about a certain brand and machine (learn from other people's experience). I'd definitely try and find a place to test-sew on the machine you're considering. Comfort and ergonomics are important and hard to gauge if you're not sitting in front of one. On that note, remember that the sales people are there to make a commission, so don't let them sell you on a machine that you were not planning to get, is more than you need or just plain doesn't work for you.

Do you have a dream machine? This one! I hope it will last me a lifetime of sewing. I do sometimes fantasize about my grandma's old black and gold Singer, though. Those are gorgeous machines (not to mention the sentimental value).

Feel free to ask me anything else, BTW! I'm no expert, but if I can get a chance to chew your ear off with my smarty-pants-know-it-all-ness I'll most likely take it. Be warned.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

And the "Maybe the Best" Award goes to...

1. Maybe the coolest nail polish color ever: It's OPI "NY Apple Red" (or some such), but it says more tomato to me. It's the pedicure I got at the end of a long spa day Ant got me for my birthday (he's definitely the coolest husband). And yes, of course it's a cup of coffee in the background. Dah.

2. Maybe the cutest plush pattern ever: It's Katy Kitty (with an extra coat pattern!) from Larissa of Mmmcrafts on Etsy. This is one heck of a well written pattern! It's very easy to follow, super cute, and I didn't even alter it much, I know, it's a shocker. Strange, how I drew very carefully inside the lines as a kid, but I refuse to follow any pattern without some sort of alterations as an adult... I'll ask my psychology student friend. But I digress, super cute, please buy it and support this super talented lady (or any of her other patterns). I made this for my best friend for her birthday and she loves it. Now I just need to make one for myself.

3. Maybe the tastiest banana bread in the world: - the low fat banana bread from The Veganomicon. Hands down. Make sure to add a bit of soy/rice/almond milk (for extra gooey-ness) and some walnuts and chocolate chips. I'm making an average of a loaf a week. I kid you not.

4. Maybe the best TV show: The Shield (well... maybe the best after Dexter, depends on what season you're talking about) The Shield. Excellent show, but sheesh... not for the weak of heart or stomach, though. It's like a mix between The Sopranos, Law and Order (do you really need a link?) and Dexter. Funny though how it's all shot in Los Feliz, Silverlake and Sunset Junction, which is all a ten minute radius from us, on foot. Yeah... Got to love LA.

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