Sunday, May 15, 2016

Footloose in Cambridge

I made my way back to the quilt group in Cambridge, MN on a very cold Saturday morning to talk about all of those attachments you get with your sewing machine but rarely use.
All packed up but only 3 sewing machines
 It was a small group this time so they could just gather their chairs in a semi-circle as I talked about sewing machine feet they might not have used before. But first we had a game:

Name that foot!
Each foot had a number and there were half sheets of paper with 1-12 listed and suggestions at the bottom for the possible names (with extras that didn't get used just to confuse them). As I talked about a foot I gave the answer for the quiz and then we talked about how it could be used. I'm as guilty as anyone for not using my sewing machine feet when they are called for but, in my defense, my trusty Kenmore didn't have many extra feet. Imagine my surprise when my Viking 1100 called for the blind hem foot and it worked so much nicer than just a zigzag foot. There was a purpose behind all those different configurations! I had learned to make a rolled hem just by sheer practice but the rolled hem foot made it so much easier and without clocking 30 hours of practice over the years!

We talked about walking feet attachments and many brought theirs out to show me since this was an extra that wasn't very well understood, plus it looks a bit scary!
Viking 1100 walking foot attachment
The purpose it to place a set of feed dogs on the top of your fabric just like there is already a set of feed dogs under your fabric. Both sets now move the fabric instead of only the bottom single set. What's the big deal? It keeps your fabric even so when you get to the end of the seam the top fabric and bottom fabric are still even instead of the top fabric a tad longer. This is great with a quilt sandwich (layers of fabric with batting between) to keep all layers even but also works great for matching plaids (and keeping them matched).

One of the women had a Pfaff with the IDT system which is an integrated dual feed foot so she had a built in walking foot:
Pfaff IDT (see back hinged part)
She didn't know that's what she had so was very pleased to learn she had one of the best deals around for keeping fabrics together as she sewed. We worked on getting her machine to use the darning/free motion embroidery foot but I'm not very good at it yet so could only get her started and from there is was going to be practice, practice, practice. Some day I'm going to learn this technique!

The last big surprise for the women was using the gathering foot. There are different models with the big older type:
Greist ruffler
and also a shirring foot with a small single hole that will gather fabric as it stitches:
Greist shirring foot
But I had discovered another foot that Bernina has with the gathering capacity as the shirring foot but with a slot to put another piece of fabric or ribbon that does not gather but just gets sewn on top!
Gathers with flat grosgrain ribbon on top
I pointed out that this was the first time I had used this foot and it still looked pretty good so think how it might look with practice! It only sews the ribbon on one edge and I went back to sew down the other edge so it would be secure (didn't want to mislead anyone).

Afterwards I went around and talked with some of the women about their machines and any questions they might have and there were questions. We looked at the free motion foot, where to oil a Featherweight, and how to get a free manual for a Bernina 1130. They continued to work while I packed up and headed back home again, satisfied with teaching about these great machines whether old or new. I learn something new every time and think they did, too, so it was time well spent.

Who won the game? Why, we all did!

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