Shopping for a new machine

Like many large metro areas, Joann’s has started putting the large “super” type stores in my area. I like to go there and buy fabric, though for most other Joann’s purchases, I go to the less crowded store closer to my home. Our big Joann’s store has a space that is rented to a local machine dealer, who sells two major brands of machines in that space.

Yesterday, while in the big store buying fabric and thread to make some t-shirts (a post on that later), I overheard the following exchange in the rented area …

 

Sales lady – As you can see, this is the top of the line machine. You will never need another machine!

Customer – So, if I buy this machine, it won’t be obsolete in 13 years?

Sales lady – Absolutely not! These machines are built to last. And the technology is the latest, so it will still be in top working order in 13 years!  (I got dirty looks from the sales lady when I laughed at that one)

Customer – So, for $9,000 I get all of this? Including the software?

Sales lady – Yes! Isn’t that a great deal?

Customer – Does this price include upgrades?

Sales lady – Yes! You won’t find another deal like this anywhere!

 

Well, let’s hope that’s true.

I really hate it when I overhear conversations like this, because I know the sales person is there to, well, make a sale. But I hate seeing someone taken for a ride, particularly a $9,000 ride. When the customer asked how long the sale would last and the sales lady walked away, I slipped over and suggested that the customer do a little research on the internet, not least because $9,000 for the machine she was looking at was NOT a good deal, and it hasn’t been the top of the line for two generations.

But really, I couldn’t believe it when she asked if the machine would be obsolete in 13 years and the sales lady said with a straight face that it wouldn’t be. Seriously?? Let’s get real here, folks … if you buy a computer today, do you expect it to be obsolete in 13 years? Yes?? Then why in the name of all that is good and holy would you have a different expectation about a sewing machine that is, in fact, a COMPUTER? You may still be able to use it, and it may work just fine. But it will, indeed, be obsolete. Let’s try not to be naive here.

Furthermore, before buying anything that costs so much, be sure you do all your research on the internet. Look at the company’s website to ensure that you’re getting what the dealer is telling you the product actually is supposed to do and be (in this case, the whole top of the line thing). Read reviews and comments about the product you’re interested in buying. Take into consideration how many complaints there are about it, as well as the satisfied customers, and then try to balance the two. If there are problems, read about the customer service the person received – how long did repairs take, did they fix the problem and did that resolution satisfy the customer.

Educate yourself on every aspect of your purchase. In this particular case, the sales lady told the customer that the embroidery/digitizing software costs $2500 and that future upgrades are included. I know the software is expensive, but I am positive from my own experiences that the upgrades are not free. And, there are other options that are considerably less expensive that will do the same thing – and the upgrades for them ARE free, or nearly so.

And finally, don’t rely on brand name to tell you “all you need to know” because in this day and age, brand name means almost nothing. In every single category, consumers are finding that brand names they trusted 20, 30, 50 years ago are not the same quality they’ve been in the past. From slow cookers to sewing machines to cars, there are few products that haven’t seen changes in their quality – both good and bad. Take the time to become familiar with the current quality of a product before buying it.

I have two sewing machines that cost me several thousand dollars and I’m satisfied with both, but I did my homework and made sure I was getting not only a good product, but companies that would stand behind the purchases. I’ve not been disappointed, though had I gone with the brand the woman in Joann’s was considering, I surely would have been, based on the reports from customers around the world. Do the research, and THEN make your decision. Don’t be blinded by the fancy looks, the bright colors or the claims of a sales person. Decide on the features you need and avoid impulse purchases. But once you do make a decision and you get that nice new machine home, send me photos so I can drool with you!

Dr Seuss baby quilt

I was sooooooo excited to finish this quilt – the first quilt I’ve actually finished in 2014, I apparently forgot to post it. Wooooooow … This one was ridiculously easy, but for some reason it took me freakin’ forever to do the binding. The entire quilt could easily be done in a single weekend, but I managed to drag it out for more than three months, because that’s how I roll.

Cat in the Hat baby quilt

Yes, that IS my son holding up the quilt while sitting in bed, because he was too lazy to stand up and hold it up for me. Fortunately, he has ridiculously long arms, so it worked. And I don’t have to apologize for his funny faces he makes while holding quilts as I take photos. LOL

This week, though I’m on vacation, I have yet to spend any real quality time in the studio. However, that should all change today, as my only plans for the day involve sewing, although I suspect that at some point, I will end up leaving the house; isn’t that what always happens? But my focus today isn’t another quilt – it’s t-shirts! I am tired of the baggy, ill-fitting t-shirts that are just not really my style that I keep finding in stores these days. I’m certainly no seamstress, and alterations terrify me, but I am really not impressed with the RTW clothing I’m finding lately. The t-shirt pattern I’ve chosen seems to be a fairly easy one, that has some fitting already. I’m sort of hoping I can get two of these shirts made, if not today, definitely this week.

If this goes well, I may be ordering tons of knit fabric to make some t-shirts. I have lots of ideas, including some embroidery and other embellishments. 🙂

Confessions of a Quiltaholic

I am a stasher. Yes, that’s a little like a hoarder. I buy fabric even when I have no definite plans for it, to be used at some “future time.” I’ve done this since I first started quilting about 10 years ago, and I can’t see myself stopping now. Last month, I added more than twenty yards to my stash. Some of the fabrics, I’ve been coveting for MONTHS. I fell in love with one piece in particular, the first time I saw it, but I was practicing “restraint.” I don’t know why, really, but I thought I should limit my fabric purchasing. Silly girl! Don’t you know you can’t forget a fabric love? Well, I know that now, so when I headed to that shop for something else, I had my fingers crossed that they might still have some. They did!

I have more pairs of scissors than one girl should be allowed to have (last count, 10), and more rotary cutters than I could ever use (eight). I have one Craftsman tool chest drawer half filled with thread, and boxes of thread on my storage shelf.

I currently have six machines – the Janome 8900, a Brother PC-8500, a Viking #1+ (that is technically my mom’s machine, but … ) and a Brother SQ-9050 I bought from Walmart a few years ago. I also have a White serger They all get used. I added a new machine in March, the Brother DreamCreator VM5100, which is seeing a LOT of use. I love it already.

I have two cutting tables – one for actual cutting, and one I use for various other things – pinning quilts, sorting fabrics, and other quilty type things.

I have one sewing cabinet where the DreamCreator hangs out, and a small Ikea table for the Janome. I’m considering buying a new cabinet next year …

My studio is actually part of my master bedroom. Since the master is H U G E, it isn’t crowded or in any way difficult to work or sleep in. However, I still dream of a dedicated studio that’s at least the size of my current bedroom. Right now, I have a king size bed, a dresser, two end tables, a love seat, a 40″ tv with stand, an ironing board, a set of Elfa wire drawers, a Horn of America 3180 cabinet, a Craftsman tool chest, and a set of nine cubbies in the room. I could put another 3180 cabinet and set up the second cutting table in the room and still have space to move around and not feel too crowded.

I keep trying to convince my husband that we should move our bed into the spare bedroom and let me use the master as the studio. He’s reluctantly agreed, but I really think that’s something I will wait to do once my son is out on his own in a few years.

I sew more days than I don’t, even if it’s just to do a couple of small things. I would sew more, but I like spending time with my husband and he likes being in the living room where he’s more comfortable. I tried to get him to let me move my studio downstairs and he didn’t like that idea either. And truthfully, as loudly as he has the surround sound sometimes, I’m not sure I would want to be down here either.

There’s lots more I could confess, but a woman can’t give away all her secrets! Well, not all at one time, anyway. 😉

Studio Frustrations

Yesterday, I was working on my Wishes Block of the Month for March (yeah, I’m a little behind). As I was rotary cutting fabric, I had a little accident and … well … it’s not pretty. I did a pretty good number on my left pointer, I guess because I wasn’t paying attention. I’ve never done that before, and it’s a hard lesson to learn – even a “dull”-ish rotary blade is damn sharp! That meant that I had to stop work to get it cleaned up and bandaged, and then it was throbbing with pain. But after dinner, I decided to go back up and work on the block some more. That probably wasn’t my best idea.

I got all my pieces cut without further incident, and started sewing them together. I guess I still wasn’t paying really close attention, because I didn’t get all the pieces sewn together correctly. This is one of those blocks where you sew squares and rectangles together and then have to trim them to make half square triangle pieces. I got all four of these units put together, trimmed them, and ironed before I realized that I had sewn from the wrong corner. All those pieces were a wasted effort! Ugh! So I went back and recut them (obviously since they’d been trimmed they were of no use to me now) and marked and sewed, and cut the first one … it was sewn together wrong! This time, the fabric was sewn together WRONG sides together instead of RIGHT sides together. OMG!! Two of the squares were salvageable, one was correct and another one – WRONG. At that point, I just turned off the machine and got up and walked away. I was furious with myself for not paying better attention. /sigh

Today, I’ll go back and finish the block but it was a day for the history books. I’ve not been that frustrated about quilting in YEARS. I guess maybe my mind wasn’t really on what I was doing? But lesson learned – I really need to pay better attention to what I’m doing in the studio, and keep my mind on task.