Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Long Weekend

Lately, I've been on a long sewing hiatus. What's worse is that I have a million projects in my head that aren't coming to fruition because I'm not taking the time to sit down in front of the machine. A big part of it is due to the fact that I've been waffling over which one of my five sewing machines to use for my primary machine. The debate is now over and I'm happy to say that I'm back to sewing!

I had a local sewing machine repair man come over to my house and assess my machines, tune them up and lube them. He took on my Bernina 830 Record that wouldn't zig-zag, my Bernina 731 Record that didn't have any problems and my Singer Athena 2000 and put them all in great working condition. I now intend to use these three machines primarily because each has its own strengths and the repair guy reassured me that I'd be very angry with myself if I ever sold any of them. Problem solved.

I decided that I'd sew a project on the Singer Athena 2000 and the Bernina 830 Record this weekend to get a feel for which machine will be the best all around. I love the quiet, smooth feel of the 830, it really can't be beat. But the Singer has some attributes that I didn't know about and now love, too.

Since my boy just started pre-school this week, I felt a back-pack was necessary for his first day of school. I designed and developed my pattern on Friday night and had this completed by Monday. I'm pretty much in love with how it turned out. It was completely sewn on the Athena and this project gave me a chance to try out the zig-zag foot, the zipper foot and the buttonhole foot/1-step buttonhole feature. One thing I love about the Athena is the machine baste stitch. Even my new Brother doesn't have this stitch.

Here's the pack in its entirety. I used piping for the first time and was surprised how easy it turned out.

I added pockets on both sides and pleated them at the bottom, though the pattern design makes it hard to see in the photo.

It has an elastic loop that I salvaged from an old dappi diaper cover and a button that was part of a family friend's campaign to make the Tagua Nut a household name back in the 90's.

The straps close with a simple button closure. Those were I's idea. Its such a simple solution to a problem that I made out to be so huge. When in doubt, ask a three year old.

Here he is on the way to his first day of pre-school (aaacckk!), hand in hand with Daddy, wearing the pack I made him. He made sure to bring Bear and I'm totally happy that his Klean Kanteen fits the outside pockets.

Here's the Bernina Record 830. I really am in love with it. I started a quilting project on this machine, but haven't had a chance to take a photo. Besides, its a gift, so you may not see the picture until its completed and given to its proper recipient.

Oh, and huz and I also used the long weekend to our advantage and crafted together. We tried our hand at making cold-processed soap. This is the old fashioned way of making soap where one mixes oil with sodium hydroxide (lye) and water to produce soap through the chemical reaction called saponification. Fun and dangerous! We didn't get any photos of soap making in process, but we did get a picture of ourselves high-fiving our accomplishment!

Please excuse our grubby clothes. We were working with lye, what can we say?

Here is what the soap looked like once we cut it. For this batch we used a mix of olive oil, rice bran oil and coconut oil . Its dye and fragrance free.

Its now sitting on this drying rack to cure for 4-6 weeks. Anyone willing to be a tester for us?