Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Machine comes home

I've had a busy year with sewing machines..... more about some of them later. Suffice to say, I've wanted a Janome 6600 for a couple of years now so that I could do the work the way i thought it should be done with less hassles. In August, when I went to pick up my Janome needle felting machine, I also ended up coming home with a Babylock Quest because the price was just too good to pass up. Now this was gonna be the machine to create on at home. It was basically an unused machine (had been traded back by a beginner for a Pfaff cuz all her friends had them). I liked what it could one hesitation was the separate bobbin case. Having learned to sew on a Singer, I am a drop in bobbin fan, although I do have the other type in my Bernina and a 1966 White Zig Zag machine and I cope ok with them. I left on a 2 month work travel stint ( as a camp cook) to the Yukon and the mountains in SE BC so it never came out of the box until October. I took it to a Gloria Loughman workshop in Fernie (that was a great experience which I hope to blog about at another time). I spent time getting acquainted with it the night before the workshop so I wouldn't be a dunce about my machine. Once home, I found myself wanting to use the Platinum Jem (my travelling machine) instead of the Quest as the work I was doing seemed more suited to the smaller machine. I did use the Quest to create my fibre greeting card and had a number of tension issues. Now I've used the 70's singer with tension issues and come to terms with it so I wasn't too intimidated by this. But it continued to break the bobbin thread when it caught on the tiny spring. I woke up one morning after Christmas and decided I would go for the trade-in offered by the Janome dealer. He told me when I bought the Quest that if i wanted to trade it in on the 6600 within 6 months he would give me full credit for what I paid for it (less tax).

So, Dec. 28 found me driving to Medicine Hat with a sick laptop (turned out to be a factory recall service job = no charge) and the Quest to trade for a Janome. It turns out that the dealer (Dueck's Sewing Centre in Medicine Hat) opted for the sewing table instead of the rolling tote to go with the 6600's. WOO HOO. I love the table. It is a great size for my small studio and I can set up another table in front of it. I spent 2 days sewing stitch samples and playing with it so I feel comfortable with it before starting any projects. I've spent 6-8 hrs just playing with it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Gifts to ME!

This year's gift from me to me is books! I started ordering books in late November to use up a couple of Chapters/Indigo gift cards I got with my accumulated Air Miles and I think I will keep doing that. I also saw some books on the Quilt Art List and the The Thread Society Yahoo group that interested me. Some I ordered from as they were not available and much less expensive (even with the exchange than and had sent to my dd's place and who forwarded them to me. When they arrived, I put them in the living room in a designated place (where I tree might have gone - it never did get up this year) and left them alone (it's true).

Where possible I like to buy the books from the authors on their website, since they then get the "middleman" share of the sale plus they will often autograph them to you which makes the whole thing more personal to me.

This pic shows the whole batch - altogether. Quite an assortment of technique books, inspiration books, art books, and art promotion.

These should help me with my plan to immerse myself in studio work for 2009 to further continue my journey of exploration with the tools" I acquired over the summer and fall.

These books are the ones I expect to have the greatest influence on this year's work:
From L to R, Top to Bottom:

From Image to Stitch by Maggie Grey
Digital Images by Gloria Hansen
Creative Quilts Inspiration Texture Stitch by Sandra Meech
The Painted Quilt by Laura and Linda Kemshall
Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter AND Design Exploration for the Creative Quilter both by Katie Pasquini Masopust

I confess, I've flipped through them but not immersed myself in the techniques yet. I wore a bib to prevent drooling marks though.

Among the things I want to work on this year is improving the quality of my work. These books were mentioned on the The Thread Society Yahoo group as good references and I managed to track down a couple of used copies at reasonable prices. Although I've been sewing for many years on a variety of machines, I find it helpful to have reference books to fall back on when I am trying to decide on a particular technique. These books are by Robbie Fanning:

Decorative Machine Stitching
The Complete Book of Machine Embroidery (with Tony Fanning).

I also want to work on my machine quilting. The AQS puts out a nice series of books called Quilt Savvy and I bought Diane Gaudynski's Machine Quilting Guidebook. So far it appears to be a great reference to put right beside the machine.

I also purchased the Janome Needle Felting Machine and wanted a good reference book coverning a variety of felting styles - I have seen several but this one explores quite an array of methods/styles:

Designer Needle Felting by Tery Taylor & Candie Cooper

And last, but certainly not least, I bought several books on being a studio artist, developing good creative work habits and routines to make the work ACTUALLY happen.

These include (from L to Right, top row, bottom row):

The View from the Studio Door by Ted Orland
Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
The Creative Habit by Twila Tharp
I'd Rather be in the Studio by Alison Stanfield

I expect to be reading and absorbing these books starting with the Creative Habit before delving too much into the technique books mentioned previously.

In fact, I've already started reading the Creative Habit and will be progressing through the exercises before reading much else.

I apologize for not giving links for all the books........ they can all be found by searching via their titles or authors. I do not remember at this point which books were ordered from where. I did order both Gloria's and Alyson's books from their websites. Bpth were offering a Holiday special price that helped to compensate for the current exchange rate between the Canadian and US dollar.