Tag Archive | 4

Oh Brother!

I don’t know how old Mom’s serger is but I do know that it is really old, old enough to have knob tensions and be extremely difficult to thread. I also know that it has been giving her fits for years. It has a hard time holding its tensions and the lower looper thread keeps breaking. She has had it in for repairs and service many times, but it just never seem to be fixed or to work correctly especially in the last several years. It was another phone call from Mom one week before Christmas, bemoaning that fact that Christmas was just one week away and that her serger would just not behave so she could get her Christmas sewing finished, that finally prompted me to push Mom again to get a new serger.

Years ago when mom’s serger started to act up, I tried to help her replace her serger. When I looked into the available sergers at that time, I found there were two types, the expensive ones, $2000 to $3000, with all the bells and whistles, and the cheap sergers, $200 to $300, with no features and that barely serged. What happened to a nice $500 to $1000 machine that had just a few features but still serged nicely? At the time, Mom was not sewing as much as she use to, so she did not want to spend a large amount of money on a new serger, so a Singer serger from Walmart was purchased.

Big mistake! The machine was horrible!

It rattled and vibrated and did not serge well at all! It was not long before mom had pushed that serger into the corner and went back to fighting with her old, original serger.

Over the years, I have kept an eye on the big expensive sergers, hoping that one might have that special feature that would make it worth the dollar amount it was demanding. But, I never found one that was worth the price. So, as mom complained about her serger, I did not know what to say. Now, I love my serger so I decided to try and help mom by finding a used serger like mine. After some time looking, I did not find a good used serger similar to mine, but I did find a lot of useful information about sergers.

It seemed that most of the newer more expensive sergers that were purchased were hated, with many owners regretting their purchase and they were trying to rid themselves of their new serger’s on eBay. Most said that because there were so many special features that the machine did not serge well or even perform the special features well. It was a bad case of featuritus. On the other hand, almost all the reviews for the cheap sergers could be summed up to one phrase – piece of crap. So once again, where were that middle of the line sergers?

This time though I found one of those great middle of the line serger’s, the Brother 3234DT. This serger had several great special features, but none that took away from it’s main function, serging.

I told Mom what I had learned and she decided to take a chance and to get one of these new Brother 4 thread with differential feed sergers. When it was unpacked and the owner manual read, I helped Mom thread the serger. It threaded very easily with color coded lay in threading, dial tensions, and even auto needle threaders. I then showed Mom the adjustable stitch length and width, and differential feed like my serger has. Mom was very excited about these features. But, Mom’s new serger had some special features that mine did not. One of these features is the auto needle threader. Another feature that this serger has is a free arm. The table portion of the serger can be removed and there is a free arm for serging cuffs and collars. Man, wouldn’t that be handy while sewing baby sleepers? An extended table also came with this serger. Once again the side is removed and replaced with an extended table that would come in very handy when serging heavy or large items. I was so excited about the extra features of this serger that I thought for a moment about replacing my serger with one of these, but then I decided that there was nothing wrong with my serger and it did not need replacing. (But, if and when my serger does need replacing, I know which serger I will look at first.)

Mom seemed very happy with her purchase. She has sewn a couple of things with her new serger so far and says it serged like a dream. No more nightmares from using that old serger. I am happy that she has a good working serger now and that she can enjoy sewing and serging once again. Plus, along the way I learned a lot about sergers that I did not know before.

So until next time, sew forth and serge on!

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Hooked on a feeling

 

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So the question at hand today: Can you wear out a crochet hook?

I think I may have done just that!

I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but I have had to throw away my favorite G size hook and get a new one to replace it.

DSCN4056I have four common crochet hooks that I use to crochet with, but by far the one I use the most is a Susan Bates brand size 4 or G-6 hook. It is my “Go To” hook unless I know I want an amigurumi a little bit bigger or smaller. All my hooks have rubber pencil grips attached to them to help me crochet with them for better ergonomics and over the years I have replaced the grip many times on this G hook, but the hook itself has been just fine.

DSCN4053But when I picked up my favorite G hook to crochet something the other day, I noticed it had a burr on the end of the hook. I tried to remember if I had done something stupid with my hook like grout the tub or something that would have damaged the end, but I could not think of anything in particular. When I tried to crochet with the hook the burr was definitely a problem for me. It continually got caught on the yarn, and it slowed down my speed while crocheting with it.

ce45de1f58a1c2629e2a4a5b3695bc99I showed the burr to the husband and he said he could fix it. The husband took my hook to the garage and returned with the burr removed, but so was the anodized coating on the hook. I crocheted a few stitches with the hook but without the smooth coating on the hook, it felt odd like it wanted to stick instead of passing over the yarn smoothly.

Now, whether the hook was really sticking or the sticking part was just in my head, I don’t know, but I was not happy crocheting with this hook. So, I decided it was time to retire my favorite G hook and get a new one.

DSCN4057I purchased the exact same hook in the exact same size and brand and brought it home. Upon examining the two hooks together, it seems to me that the new hook has a deeper hook portion than the old hook had. Once again, I may have just been imagining this, but that is how it looked to me. I put a new pencil grip on this new hook and then I crocheted a few stitches with it. And for some reason it seemed odd in my hand.

But, really, this has to be all in my imagination. The hooks were essentially the same. They were the same size, same brand, same color. But were they? Yes, they were both the same size of crochet hooks by the same brand, but would the stitches they made be exactly the same? Could I switch hooks in the middle of a project? Would it effect the size and shape of the finished item if I did?

DSCN4058I did not know the answers to this questions and I did not want to ruin my current amigurumi project by switching hooks in the middle, so I dug my old G hook out of the garbage can. I decided that even though it did not seem to crochet as smoothly as it once did, I would work with it to complete my current amigurumi project and then I would start the next project with the new G hook.

Make sure an watch for the next exciting crocheting post to see if I really do find any differences between the old hook and the new hook, or if it really is just ALL IN MY HEAD!

Until then, crochet forth and G hook on!de38496775ab435d1dee24b18ca2bbd2

Happy Easter

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With Easter being so early this year, I had decided early on to not make any amigurumi’s for the holiday this year. But when I came across the pattern for these googly eyed easter eggs and bunny, I changed my mind. This project became a must do for some reason! I just fell in love with the pictures on the pattern and I could not wait to make my own eggs and bunny.

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The pattern said to use a size 3 hook, but you know me, I used my favorite size 4 or G hook instead. But who cares if they are a little bit bigger than the pattern called for? Not me! In fact, “who cares” became the theme of this project. Who cares if the bunny is a little lope sided? Who cares if the eyes are a little bit crooked? Who cares if the smiles are off slightly from the eyes? These little guys were supposed to be lop sided, and crooked and off center. That’s what makes them so much fun! And, that is what made them so much fun for me to crochet and stitch up.

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These guys did end up being a little time consuming in the end though. Crocheting the pieces and stuffing them were no big deal but the small details on them did take some time to finish. They have a lot of small felt pieces that need to be cut out and glued on. After I had cut out all the felt eyes, eyebrows, nose and teeth, I invited the husband to a glue party and he helped me to glue all the felt pieces onto these guys in one go. I could have used safety eyes instead of felt but since it is a meant for a decoration, and not a toy for a child, I decided on the felt. Plus with felt eyes I could make the eyes different sizes and shapes and make everything look just the way I wanted.

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So what do you think? Have you fallen in love with these crazy googly eyed easter decorations like I did?