Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile. We're not quantified; there's no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. [Steven Tyler]

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pfaffing About with Friends!

I have been considering buying a new sewing machine for some time now and was horrified at the prices when I first started looking around. My last machine which is still going strong was a considered purchase sometime between fifteen and twenty years ago. It has never let me down and is a double ended machine with great heavy duty sewing at one end and an over locker that trims away excess fabric at the other end. Apart from a regular service and the odd tension quandary it remains an absolute work horse and I wouldn't swap it for anything. But my artwork has been taking me in very different directions of late and I now want a machine that is compatible with my computer so that I can design and convert  my artistic ideas into a computerised embroidery design and the machine, once set away, will do it.

So I've been trekking around the countryside looking at all manner and makes of machines and finally I managed to narrow it down to two a few weeks ago but couldn't make up my mind which of the two to take the plunge with. Both excellent machines and both within the same price range, can you believe you can almost buy a small car for what some of these machines cost?

In the end I dragged my DH with me for a final look at the very first one I had earmarked and with a sharp intake of breath I ordered one of these:
I decided on the Pfaff for two reasons, as well as being a tremendous computerised embroidery machine it is renowned for its first class sewing capabilities and IDT (Integrated Duel Transportation or Walking Foot technology) which will handle the finest through to the bulkiest of fabrics perfectly.

I don't know how many of you reading this dip in and out of Create and Craft TV these days but sewing seems to be making such a huge come back, whenever I flick over to see what they're up too there seems to be another sewing machine under review. It is lovely to see the craft growing in popularity again (along with knitting) and I'm sure that C&C TV will help in its growth but I was horrified when I first started looking for a new machine to find how few Sewing Machine Shops have survived. I wanted to give my business to a 'shop' and not purchase on-line  as I know how important it is to support our bricks and mortar stores. Use them or loose them is the old adage and it is so true! I still had to wait for the machine to be delivered to the shop, that's the other thing I found.... they don't seem to keep stocks in store but considering the price I can understand that. I just had to control my urge to get stuck in and start creating until I got the call to say it had arrived in stock.

I am one very happy bunny now that I have my new best friend and I'm working my way through all of it's features, feet and computerised technology. It came with a trolley bag for transporting it around (I've been given a fantastic opportunity to teach with it so its important that I can get it from A to B relatively easily and safely) and they threw in the thread exchanger and some other things too.... I love a good haggle.

Here we are all set up and ready to make a start, can you believe it takes up almost the full length of this table.... now I really will have to move my upstairs studio into a much larger room or I won't have space to put up the Christmas tree up in the lounge when the time comes.

This is a selection of just some of the pre-set stitches it can do, it was the very first thing I stitched. I don't have any photos of the embroidery designs..... yet! What is really cool is that I can use any True Font to write a phrase, name, place name, or whatever else takes my fancy, on my PC and connect to the machine, press the button and it will stitch it for me. How cool is that? I am amazed at how much sewing machines have advanced since I bought my last one.

Now, talking of 'Friends'............ those of you who know me through visiting Graphicus when they were in business, will probably also know Judith who used to be our Office Manager. In addition to her clerical roll in the company Judith was also a brilliant Polymer Clay and Jewellery artist and she often taught classes in both subjects and demonstrated her craft at open days. Well, I am delighted to tell you that Judith has started her own business called Weddings of Clay. She fashions the most incredible, unique cake and keepsake toppers made from Polymer Clay and will work to a brief to capture every conceivable detail possible to make the piece totally unique to the recipient. Although Weddings are her forte she also does fabulous figurines for just about every other occasion known to man (woman and child too). Please take a couple of minutes to visit her website and leave her a comment to let her know you've been and please, please, please - pass the word if you know of anyone who is looking for something extraordinary for a special individual, or occasion.

Can you spot my very special little someone in the above photo? No? Let's look a little closer.....

Here's my Journalling Bear that Judith created for my birthday earlier in the year. His name is Jasper and he lives on my desk and he reminds me to drag out my journals and create whenever I look at him. He's sooooooo cute!

While I'm on the subject of friends, if you know Judith you will almost certainly know Denise (she was our Book Keeper and manned the tills at open days)..... and she got MARRIED today Hurrah, well yesterday or Tuesday to be precise (I've just realised its the early hours of Wednesday now). We knew it was on the cards but we didn't know exactly when it would happen. I got a text from her just after they'd tied the knot. The reason I'm mentioning this other than to keep you up to date with everyone, is in relation to Judith's new business. You see, Judith has also made Denise and John's wedding cake topper. Take a look at the Wedding Gallery and see if you can work out which one is theirs (a little clue.... they have a cute cat and both Denise and John have motorbikes)!

Seeing as I've mentioned my journalling, I will leave you with a couple of pages from one of my journals (above) and a page from my sketch book (below).

Until next time....... Happy Crafting to you all!