Got to have a second sewing machine…

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After my Juki HZL-F600 gave out on me, I got a little anxious – I need 2 sewing machine ! Sewing, reading, needlework, knitting, artwork, they are what I do. And I do indulge myself so that I have what I need, when I need it, with the quality I enjoy 🙂

I’ve been sewing with my former backup, a Singer 9960 Quantum Stylist, for several days. And have really appreciated it. Quiet, even stitches, perfect straight stitch. Looking back, I know my Juki perchase was hopeful splurge. Not really a ‘better’ machine for me, as I don’t need all the whiz bang features. Since it broke last week, I’ve definitely fallen out of whatever love I had for it.

Here it comes, my new purchase: another Quantum Stylist.

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I did so much research. And I’ll admit to a fondness for Singer – I sewed on a Singer slant needle machine, the one with the discs, for 15 years, I even had a new zig-zag disc crafted in metal when I was living in Costa Rica. I wish I had kept it. About 9 years ago, I purchased a very low end Singer and did not keep it. It worked, but was noisy and unpredictable. But the Stylist is a keeper. It is fully featured, has an auto-presser foot pressure, does lovely buttonholes, and ta-dum, has a metal chassis. The latter is a big deal – it’s heavy, stable, and, with it’s distributed footprint, very quiet. And at $290 on Amazon, new, it’s a great budget fit.

I’m going to use the new machine as my primary, I might as well take advantage of any upgrades/changes since I purchased my first one in 2012. And I’m jazzed!

Bye for now – Coco

p.s. I’m going to take my Juki apart, learn stuff, practice 🙂

Sewing machine in the infirmary…

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Oh, thank goodness it didn’t get to this point 🙂

After almost 5 years, my Juki Hzl-F600, aka fancy, high-strung, and expensive sewing machine, has taken a dive!

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Suddenly today, the upper thread was not being picked up by the bobbin thread. In fact, it was forming a knot behind the bobbin case after about 3 stitches. Here’s the mess on the back/bobbin side of some stitching:

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Of course, I cleaned everything, took off the casings, etc., to do it. Cleaned the tension discs. Changed my needles, rethreaded the machine. About 2 hours of hopeful work.

To no avail. I’ve spotted a worn thread guide on the bobbin case and also suspect the timing is off. A new bobbin case – which would only be a starting point – is almost $60.

Solution: I pulled out my trusty Singer Quantum Stylist.

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And I was amazed by how quiet it seemed! I guess I had gotten used to my Juki slowly breaking down.

The Stylist is a great machine, does beautiful buttonholes, and is ‘uncomplicated’. I don’t plan to fix the Juki – I’d rather spend the money on a less picky machine, probably something that has been refurbished.

No woes! Coco

Fabric stash madness…

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Breaking the rules…I had a fantastic shopping spree this morning at Fabric Mart. They have their pre-cut fabrics and fabric kits on sale.

This might be my best fabric sales/order ever. A little over 24 yards of fabric for $54, with shipping!

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Included in there, 3 patterns. The Sewing Workshop Eureka top and skirt,

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McCalls 6608 woven and knit skirts,

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And New Look 6150 ruched knit tops (perfect for tucking into pants and skirts)!

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I love Fabric Mart. Great service, shipping, fabric, and specials. I’m getting dangerous with all the fabric and pattern additions to the loft this year. Wowser!

Ciao! Coco

Gifting myself – new serger

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I am a serger aficiando! Just love them. About 90% of my sewing is with knits, so a serger is really important to me.

About 3 months ago, I managed to ‘kill’ my Juki MO654DE. I ran fabric through it at the 5/8″ seam mark, with the cutter dis-engaged. The needles jammed with the fabric, and bent one of the looper needles.

I looked into repairs, and, honestly, a repair and new throat plate, which carries the looper needles, would have cost almost as a new serger. Gulp.

Yes, I pulled out my old Janome 8002D, but, believe me, there’s no comparison. The Juki has a separate motor to drive the knives. Clean cuts. It makes a difference. My Janome tends to eat the fabric edges – the Juki does not. And the Juki is so quiet and steady.

So – I ordered a new Juki MO654DE from SewingMachinesPlus, same place I got my first one. But things have changed! Now the tension knobs have a pic of the looper or needle associated with them. And the price has dropped 🙂

It’s the holidays. Sales. I got this one for over $100 less than my first one. Less a 10% discount. And free shipping. Here’s what’s included:

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That lower knife alone is $20. And it has a spare light bulb and oiler. I’m happy about this. I’ll keep my other Juki serger in the spare parts department in my garage.

And enjoy trucking on with my new serger!

P.s. I buy my machines and parts from either Sewing Machines Plus or Ken’s Sewing Center. Both are great. Fast shipping and terrific customer service.

A week till Christmas! I’m wrapping presents today, but still have one DIY gift to sew.

Ciao! Coco

The essential kit

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Ah, sewing… My first year on Instagram (@cocos.loft), and I’m participating in @sewphotohop. Tomorrow’s theme is ‘the essential kit’. And one photo just won’t do. I tried, but, no. I need it all.

So a cruise through my sewing lifeline…

The first pic is of a multi-drawer thingie that I got at JoAnns. And it refects my fastidious side. I cannot abide the idea of dust collecting on my thread. The same reason I keep my fabric stash in covered bins. My serger thread is in a similar article, also from JoAnns.

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I love the tote in the pic, from Thirty One and gifted by Ashley.

The wonderful thing about these little storage chests is that I have lots of spaces for my office supplies, sewing machine needles, various machine parts, presser feet, and sewing manuals.

OK, I didn’t move anything around when I went into the loft to take these pics. And I’m really fortunate to have an entire room for the loft. My ironing board and garment rack are permanent! and I love them both. I got the rack online ages ago and cannot find it now.

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And little things that make a difference. Because I have two tables, I keep helpers at hand for both… this one is by my serger, the one by my sewing machine is similar, except that it includes a comb and lipstick!

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At my sewing machine, my very favorite pin cushion, me-made, that lets me separate my pins and fits so well in front of my machine. At hand, my seam ripper, nippers, and 4″ needle, which is my poker stick when I’m sewing. Also, I love love my focused lamp from IKEA (this thing is only about $10 from IKEA – get one!!!).

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I use so many pens and markers. I have lots of chalks in a separate dish, but don’t very often make broad strokes on my fabric in the loft (on my cutting board, downstairs, yes, and I use a yardstick and curves as needed!). In my Rockettes mug from my trip to NYC with Ashley, Christmas a few years ago: Frixion pens, chalk quilters pens, pencils, Sharpies, a couple sable hair brushes to clean the machine…and a nail files. Ah, vanity.

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A wonderful way to keep my needles at hand – a magnetic that clings to the base of the lamp on my sewing desk. My sewing needles, a double-eye needle for finishing off serger threads, and an assortment of self-threading needles for sinking threads as I sew. I also put my presser-feet-in-play on the lamp base, walking foot, straight stitch foot, 1/4″ foot…whatever I’m using. These tend to just reside there. With my pencil sharpener for my chalk pencils and my jewelers loupe for work on my stamp collection.

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And here’s an essential – a small TV (my printer is beside it but not in the pic). I love to sew with a good movie or something I’ve recorded. Unseen in the pics, the TV sits on a 10′ span of bookshelves – sewing books, pics, my international stamp collection, and lots of small storage boxes for things like embroidery thread, buttons, zippers, bias tape, metal piggy-banks and colored pencils (I collect them, seriously, from museums), lots of fun things.

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And that’s it – a walk through the loft, the essentials.

Bye for now! Coco