Monday, October 31, 2011

Coverstitch Machine Dilemma

I have decided that I really want need a coverstitch machine. I love to sew knits and I like the professional look that you get with a coverstitch machine. I have researched and googled and narrowed the search down to the BabyLock BLCS-2 or the Janome CoverPro 1000CPX.

Babylock BLCS-2

janome coverstitch
Janome CoverPro 1000CPX

All reveiws are great for the Babylock but the space to the right of the needle is small. I'm wondering if I will be bunching up fabric for a wider hem or to actually stitch on the garment rather than a hem such as topstitching over a princess seam. Or would I even want to do that type of stitching often? Also, the Babylock does not have the freearm feature. The Babylock has Jet-Air threading which would be great but I guess I could live without it.

Reviews for the Janome are great as well. The Janome, however, seems to be a bigger, heavier machine and my space is already cramped. Also, some report that the Janome does not sew quite as well through heavy fabrics such a heavyweight fleece and that it is more difficult to control the speed.

My local machine dealer does not carry either of these machines in stock but could order for me. The Janome is about half the price of the Babylock but this is probably the only coverstitch machine that I will ever buy so I want to get the one that works best for me.

Any help in this decision would be greatly appreciated!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kwik Sew 3740

I ordered a new wardrobe builder pattern from PatternReview a couple of weeks ago because it had lots of nice reviews. It is listed as one of the top ten patterns for 2010. Kwik Sew 3740 includes a cowl collar long sleeve pullover top and a sleeveless tank top. I had a pretty nice piece of jersey knit fabric in my stash which I actually found at WalMart for 99 cents per yard! I haven't used a Kwik Sew pattern for myself for a few years so it took a few try-ons and adjustments to get the right fit.

Kwik Sew 3740

I read on PatternReview that sometimes the cowl seam shows in the front. I stitched the seam as instructed the first time around and, sure enough, it did show a bit. Then I made clips in the seam and stitched the front 7 inches of the neckline/cowl seam opposite of the way the pattern instructed. In other words, the front seam allowance is actually on the outside of the pullover between the front and the cowl. The cowl drapes over the exposed seam allowance. The seam never shows when I am wearing the top.

Kwik Sew 3740

 I always save the little clear elastics that come on ready-to-wear garments to hold them on the hanger in the store. When a neckline or any other area is a little too stretchy, I stitch the elastic to the seam to stabilize it. For this top, I stitched the back neck seam down to the top only in the back from shoulder to shoulder inserting the elastic underneath as I stitched, stretching it slightly. The top feels much better after stabilizing this seam. These clear elastic pieces are also great to stabilize shoulder seams.

stabilize neckline sewing

I used my favorite double needle hem technique with woolly nylon in the bobbin as described in this post.

What are your favorite patterns and tips for knits? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stockings for the Troops

I just mailed my last batch of stockings for this year which will be filled by CitizenSam and shipped to the troops. Every year, right after Christmas when the clearance sales start, I buy Christmas fabric to start making these stockings for the troops. The pattern is provided by CitizenSam and can be found on their website. It's a very quick and easy stocking to make. Last year, over 40,000 stockings were shipped to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Citizen Sam stockings for the troops

Check out the CitizenSam website for other programs supported by CitizenSam such as Quilts for the Wounded, Cards/Letters of Support and Adopt a Soldier to name a few.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dew Drop Cowl

My daughter was on fall break from college last week and decided that she wanted to knit a cowl. I found this easy pattern on Ravelry and got her going on it. It is worked on 200 stitches so she wanted a pattern without purls. Not that she minds purling, but 200 purls at a time are a lot of purls. She knitted while watching TV. She knitted in the car on the way to a football game. We both knitted a little when we had the time and finished it pretty quickly. We used a self-striping fingering weight sock yarn from Patons.

Dew Crop Cowl

The cowl is about 52 inches in circumference and can be worn draped around the neck or doubled as shown in this picture. I'm pretty sure I will be borrowing this cowl from my daughter once in a while!

Ravelry link

I'm on the lookout for more quick and easy cowl patterns. What are your favorites?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Knitted Pumpkins

Since this is National Spinning and Weaving Month, I decided that I should include a post on spinning. I started spinning a few years ago and have enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoy it so much that I hardly buy yarn any more if I can spin it myself in a reasonable amount of time. I ran across this nutmeg colored wool fiber at Blueball Mountain Spindle and Needleworks in Elizabethtown, Ky.  I spun up a worsted weight 2-ply yarn on my Kromski spinning wheel to make this cute little knitted pumpkin that I found on this blog. I knitted up a few of these last fall and posted them on Ravelry (the greatest knitting website ever invented). I decided that it is time to get them out and do a little fall decorating.

knitted pumpkin

I'm off to find the rest of my pumpkin yarn so that I can knit up more little pumpkins! What are your favorite little pumpkin crafts?