OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (Full Version)

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Sparkle -> OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 6:54:35 AM)

A newbie was asking about this so I thought I'd start a new thread. We've done this at various times thru the years but not for a long time now. I first came to this forum when I bought my first embroidery machine, in 1999, I think - a Brother 8500, a wonderful machine and a really crappy dealer and tho I've sewn nearly all my life I was having a terrible learning curve getting this machine to work.  This forum kept me sane and kept me from teaching the machine how to fly as I thru it out the window!!!  That machine was a graduation present for myself as my youngest of 3 graduated from college - I felt I had accomplished an incredible fete getting all 3 of them thru college!  They are all grown and successful and contributing members of society now - my work is truely done!! 

I had watched Marth Pullen on PBS for years and, now I've attended many of her schools and made SO many wonderful friends thru this forum!!!  I work in engineering and have traveled all over the world with my job.  I LOVE to sew, especially heirloom-type baby and little girl clothing and I'm REALLY looking forward to sewing MORE when I retire in a year or so!!!!!  I also have a little online fabrics and notions business - Fine Stitchery.

I have several machines - a Viking Topaz and a Platinum, a Babylock Evolve serger, a Kenmore (Janome) travel machine and love them all. 

Ok Girls, now it's your turn to join in and introduce - and re-introduce - yourselves!!

jem -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 8:23:42 AM)

I too, have been sewing forever. I was introduced to Martha Pullen's patterns when heirloom sewing came to the small SC town that we lived in we had adopted my dd. I've watched MP on tv forever, and I admire her beautiful work. I have been blessed to go to several schools in Huntsville. I too am in engineering but presently unemployed.
I have moved to the village where I was raised ouside of Atlanta, GA. I can go on and on and on and some times do. The people here have taught me so much about sewing, and about life. They have held me up emotionally so many times. They are great prayer partners and gather together is an lovely way.

Most of my machines are Brothers. They all have names as does my dress form. I love to quilt, I have a new gran daughter I'm trying to sew for. I'm almost finished with a whole house reorganization. The Misc. Chat has supported me with all the up and downs that causes. We talk about our pets, grandchildren, children and strongly support our military. The best thing I find here is my friends and "heart sisters" from all over the world.

Next!! How about it? Shirley, mizlilly, Scottish Anna, bunny and all of you???

Post often and let us get to know you. No question is too small. Oh and once a question is asked it can go anywhere. That is the fun of it. 

p.s. My pic is of my material Irish grandmother, Eddie Lou.

LisaSewCute -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 8:42:52 AM)

Hi, My name is Lisa and I'm a Stitchaholic. I love sewing/crafts of all kinds. I also love anything vintage and babies. I must, since I have 5 children! My littlest is just 16 months and is such a joy- we are always busy, but we have a lot of fun! I started sewing when I was just 10 and taught myself to smock. I also taught myself French Handsewing and have taken a few classes over the years, including MP School of Art Fashion when I was 19. I got my current machine, a Viking D1, nearly 3 years ago and that's when I started doing machine embroidery. I got Embird last week and am really enjoying my first attempts at digitizing. I also like to sew, smock. and embroider by hand, knit, crochet, and quilt. I am active in my Quilt Guild and organize the charity quilt projects.
Aside from sewing, I am also an avid reader. My favorite series are: Mitford, Outlander, Harry Potter, and Elm Creek Quilts. I love the Harry Potter movies, too. My favorite TV show is the Waltons, which I watch on DVD while sewing. I recently got addicted to re-runs of Criminal Minds and CSI, which is not my usual fare!! I also collect patterns (both new and vintage- really, I'm going to live to 150 and make them all!) and I enjoy doing things on my computer.
We recently joined the local YMCA (brand new) and I am finally finding exercise fun. When my Mom or hubby watches the baby, I workout. The machines have TV and I can watch a show while I exercise. I've also been crocheting baby hats for a local charity while on the recumbent bike!
I love doing things with my family! We play games together, go outside, take day trips, go to yard sales, and spend time with my parents. My house is never quiet and never as neat as I'd like (but like my Mom says, you can have 5 kids or live in a museum, not both!)
I have been on this forum for about 3 years and have met many friends here. It's so great to have so many like minded women here to encourage, inspire, support, and entertain each other. I always know that there will be someone here with an answer when I have a question.
Well, I'm sure that's more than you wanted to know about me!

MLA -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 9:14:49 AM)

Where to I begin, I started on this forum almost from the beginning and have learned more than I ever did taking expensive classes and have taught a few of my friends a thing or two that I learned here. I have a wonderful husband that supports me in all things I do which helps with the things I want to do. In fact he encourages me to get things I didn't know I wanted until he tells me I do. I had four children but only have two living, my dear sweet son died two years ago and I still miss him so much but know he is in a better place. I learned to sew on my own we had no money and I needed clothes and when the little ones came they needed clothes. I learned by making their little clothes until I could sew about anything. I have made everything from panties, jeans to wedding dresses. But I will admit that all my sewing I love embroidery and could do it all the time but I don't have a lot of time to spend on it especially in the summer as I work outside all the time with a large garden and so many flowers I don't even know how many I have. We have 7 acres and we mow 2 of that. I love my home and love being here doing my thing. My husband I built our home and every nail and board we put into it.
I have had many machines over the years seems I keep wanting the next better one. I have had several Kenmore's one of which my dd has now and uses it all the time. I have had Bernina 930,1230, I still have a 180 and 730 that I use all the time. I bought a Babylock Elvolve last year but haven't learned how to use it yet. I can only do regular overcast but have all the feet. I have Bernina 5 software. I have so many designs I would be ashamed to say and still buying more.
I do sewing for friends as a favor, I knit premie hats for the hosptial, crochet, knit so many dishcloths that the number is very high, I quilt, I smock, I used to do hand embroidery and cross stitch but do that on my machine. I give most of my things away so only have pictures of the work. I make pillowcases for the children with cancer at our local hospital, at church we are making quilts for charity and you guess it I am in charge because I said I would help and then it was my baby. We have 19 made and they are beautiful.
I live in upstate NY and enjoy it except for winters and they are terrible. I was born and raised in Indiana but have lived in many states in between.
Thank you dear ladies for all the good ideas you give me and I will admit I take them and run with them sometimes and friends and family love them. Keep the ideas coming.

ShirleyCalgary -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 10:23:22 AM)

I have been on this forum forever I got my first Janome machine a Janome 8000 around 1990 or whenever it came out - now I use it for sewing since the newer models have so many bells and whistles - I also have 10001 and 11000 and 300e and 350e and while I have never seen the 12000 I am still lusting over it - my out of town dealer sent me a price and it is soooo far below what the girls on JEF lovers have been posting it is amazing so girls I have seeen prices of 9999 quoted and 8999 introductory prices - keep shopping is all I can say.
I picked up knitting needles and embroidery hoop when I was 5 and have been at it ever since.
I also have a babylock Serger and really while I love my Janome machines I never loved my Janome 234d serger it was too hard to thread and rethread but it still works and does duty now being threaded with a neutral colour either white/beige or black/navy
You cant do better than a Babylock serger.

Scottish Anna -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 10:28:06 AM)

Hi everyone,

How do I follow the previous posters, I am exhausted just reading their lists of abilities lol.  Ok, I am Anna and I live in Leicester, England though I was born and lived most of my life in Glasgow, Scotland.  I have been married to Ronan for 29 years and have a 28 year old son, Allan.  Our dd Shona, died in February this year and my step-daughter, Jo, died in August last year, all in all, it has not been a great year, but I don't think I could have got through it without the love and support from my friends here in this forum, and I bless them with all my heart.

I first learned to sew when my 14 year old brother bought me a Barbie for my 9th birthday and he was the one who taught me to sew, just little skirts and dresses, but that got me hooked.  My very first sewing machine was a Singer treadle, which I saw at a church jumble sale for a few pounds and my parents purchased for me, I was about 10 or 11 years old.  My next machine was a Jones/Brother basic zigzag machine, a gift for my 15th Birthday.   I still had this until 2 years ago, when I threw it out as the foot was broken and no-one seemed to be able to fix it, little did I realise that I could have purchased a new one on ebay, I was gutted!  Later in my 20's I purchased a Toyota sewing machine which could do fancy stitches using cams, but I must admit, I did not like it at all.  I did a course on soft furnishings and wanted to set up my own  business making drapes etc, so I then bought a industrial machine, but unfortunately, I was diagnosed with nerve damage in my arms and legs and so could not continue as I could no longer lift fabrics etc.  Previous to this problem, I made my own clothes and soft furnishings, I would knit, cross stitch, baking and also loved DIY.  When I moved to Leicester, I fitted my kitchen including all plumbing and electrics, in the bathroom I removed the bath and installed a shower/steam room and did any joinery work required, including building our conservatory.  Of course, Ronan did help, he was my labourer and gopher! ROFL  6 years ago, Ronan mistakenly purchased Sew Beautiful magazine for me and stupidly, I only glanced at it and put it away with my other sewing mags.  2 years later, I was looking throught these magazines for a particular pattern and came across SB, this time I sat down and really read through it and it was stunning...I was hooked lol.  Through the mag, I discovered the MP forum and met the most wonderful, kind, generous and fun ladies I have ever (not) met.  Of course, this led on for me to want an embroidery machine, so when Mother's day came along, Ronan and Allan presented me with a Janome 300e.  I was also persuaded by these lovely ladies that I shouldn't be scared of the serger I had, that had been sitting in its box for 4 years.  I also have a brother innovis 8120 which has wonderful heirloom stitches.

Now, what do I do with the machines I have, unfortunately, not a lot.  I plan, I buy, I think some more and nothing!  I need to drag myself away from this computer [;)]  To be honest, I am actually starting to make items.  I bought a pleater a few months ago and I have just finished smocking the practice piece I made.  Linda S is teaching me to do shadow work, so I am finally doing something.  My goal is to make some of the beautiful dresses we see in SB and I would love to make a Christening gown, that is if I can eventually choose which one to do, there are so many gorgeous styles [:D][:D]

I really like this idea of introducing ourselves, it is interesting finding out about everyone, it is a pity that it will eventually be lost in amongst the rest of the posts.  It would be good if it could remain at the top of the forum just like the copyright notice by Stacie, that way all newcomers could read it.

Well, who is next to tell their story?



Connie in CO -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 11:38:16 AM)

I guess i will also.I've been sewing since 7th grade.After getting married and having my kids i haven't stopped.I do mostly quilting and machine embroidery.I have Brother embroidery machines and a Pfaff sewing machine.I just bought my new Babylock Ellageo a few weeks ago.I'm interested in downloading from the web,but haven't gotten that far yet.I've seen Martha's programs on PBS for years and decieded to join this forum.

Penny Hal -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 12:06:02 PM)

When I was a child my mother would cover me with a quilt made by my great aunt when I got sick. It had appliqued cats on it. I decided that when I got older I would learn to quilt. My mother wasn't a sewer or quilter. I started sewing when I was 14 when my father bought my mother a sewing machine and I took the sewing classes. Mother really wasn't into it. It wasn't until I was 19 before I made my first attempt at quilting. I picked the most difficult pattern, a pattern that I wouldn't even attempt today. There was no one that I could turn to for help. I gave up almost immediately. It wasn't until I was in my early thirties before I made my first attempt at quilting again and was successful. By that time I was knitting, hand embroidery, crocheting, tatting, needlepointing, etc. One day I looked around at all my stuff and thought to myself, "Why do I have all this? All I really want to do is to quilt." And so I gave everything away except my quilting things.

Well, machine quilting was making it's debut and I wanted a machine with a wider hole in the throat plate. So I got a used Bernina 180 and it came with a ME arm... and that was how it all started. I've been on this Board for about 11 years now and have learned a lot along the way. I started making monogramed napkins and selling them to pay for all the threads I bought.

At a quilt show, I did find a cat applique pattern book. Has one cat almost identical to the one my great aunt made. For some reason, I want to make a quilt like hers, but I am sure dragging my feet. Perhaps I love the memory and don't want to replace it.

Grandmom -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 1:15:08 PM)

Can I remember back that far? My Mother sewed amongst her other talents. We had a singer treadle and I was sewing from grammar school on. In high school my Dad converted the machine to electric. I sewed almost everthing. When I married I bought my first Singer. Over the years I upgraded the Singers, one did do some embroidery, with cams and free stitching. I sewed all the clothes for my Daughters until they were in high school. I loved to make things around the house, drapes, bedspreads and wallpaper etc. I lived around the New York area until we retired (I was in the accounting field) and moved to Florida -- love the warm climate. My Dear Husband still ribs me about the abundance of sewing "stuff" I have. Every time I visit my Daughters in New York I always come home with too much fabric. My Dear Husband did convert one of the closets with drawers and such to hold some of my fabric and sewing stuff. (In New York we had more room and he built a lot more closets for my sewing habit.) In another closet I have a large box of girls patterns I had collected over the years. But with only Grandsons I have not opened the box since moving. I love to sew for my Grandsons now making shirts and sweat shirts which show their latest hobbies.

I started to embroider when I retired and bought my first Husqvarna SE. Over the last several years I have upgraded and now own the Diamond Deluxe and the 4D softwrae. I still make all my own clothes and have the Babylock evolve. I also have the Singer 6268 and the Singer Athena 2000 which my Daughter has in NY. Oh, I still have my Mom's original treaddle that I keep on display and the Singer cabinet with the six drawers. I love to digitize even though there are so many designs out there that are professionaly done. Makes it a little more personalized. Making gifts for firends.

When not sewing I play a lot of tennis, bridge and exercise.

I think this forum is terrific. The ladies are extremely helpful answering all questions. They are so talented and great at sharing their work.

SusanB -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 1:29:25 PM)

Well, like many of you, I began sewing at an early age. My mom says when I was about four and I cut holes in a piece of fabric to make polka dots. She got a new zigzig Singer when I was about 11 and I was able to take classes with her. Then, after I took the dealer's "teen" class, I thought I was an expert. My 7th grade home ec teacher didn't agree, so I transferred out of that class and continued teaching myself. By the time I was 15, I made a Vogue coat with bound buttonholes and in college was able to copy all of my friends fancy label clothes. The only thing I really loved to do was sew, so at that point it seemed natural to major in home ec. When I transferred into the department as a junior, my professor believed that since I had never had a class or 4H, I should take the beginning sewing class. I finally convinced her to at least let me take the test to skip it and she was shocked when I got the highest score in the group. I was delighted to be able to start out with tailoring.

I continued sewing and trying every craft that came along until I decided that I should choose one thing and learn to do it really well. At first that was cross stitch, and while teaching classes at my local needlework shop, the owner asked me if I knew how to smock. I told her no, but I could figure it out. She gave me an ornament kit, I tried it out over the weekend and was teaching later that week. I had found my new love! This was back in the early 80's, when smocking and heirloom sewing was beginning a revival, (does anyone remember when it was called "French sewing by machine?") and even though I lived in a small farming town in central California with no access to supplies or instruction, I plunged in. After a few years, life got in the way and my sewing machine went into storage while I raised my family and ran a business. However, I kept my subscription to Sew Beautiful (I'm a charter subscriber and have every issue from the beginning) and fell in love with machine embroidery. About ten years ago I got a Bernina 180 and began embroidering everything is site! Since I had the top of the line software, I didn't want to waste it so I took the classes and learned digitizing, which led to trying my hand at selling my designs. We sold our business and retired a few years ago and I've gotten busier and busier with volunteer work, so for right now, I've closed my site with the hope of returning to it in the future.

I've been a member here for many years and my main interests are embroidery, adult and children's clothing and home decor. I keep insisting that I don't and won't quilt, but I'm currently teaching myself Cotton Theory quilting, which sounds a bit suspicious, don't you think? Oh, and about a year ago, I expanded my horizons with a 6-needle Babylock machine -- the only way to embroider IMHO!

Gone Sewing -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 2:55:32 PM)

What a wonderful read....I have through enjoyed everyone's story

I started with the Barbie doll too....the day she came out....I ran...ok walked
a Longs drug store ....they were all out of the pony tail Barbie..I was
but got the bubble head one...
and rushed home to **sew** clothes for it....
Mom wasn't (and still isn't) a sew person...so I did the costumes by hand...

went along with the fun of that until 7th grade....oh what a joy...sewing
I loved every second of that class...it was love....made for my first item an a
skirt...with a zipper and everything!!!! and got an A+
so I just had to have a sewing machine....and it took until I was 14 to save up
money to buy one....my first...a yellow brother....of all my machines...that one
was just
about my most favorite one ever....I loved it...

one of my most remembered items....was not sewing by machine at all...
I knew in my heart that some day I would be blessed with little ones...little
of the girl style...I just knew...and so I made a christening dress out of pink
a soft light pink....with pin tucks and embroidery....every stitch by hand...
I had no idea that it was heirloom stitching...I love to collect old sewing
and happened to have found one written circa 1930 ....and just did the dress the
way that book explained...
my teacher (whom I loved very much....and would not let an out of place stitch
in the item!!!) was so angry at me for choosing pink fabric....I told her...it
had to be pink
for my girls....
she let it stand...but not happy....and I got featured in the school window case
my teacher said it was outstanding sewing...made my day...

and yes...I went on many ...many years later to have two perfectly wonderful

I have sewn everything....and was very blessed to have them let me make their
dresses....even though the one eloped and did not end up wearing the
dress....long ...
sweet story....

I found this fourm....oh I really don't remember...a while back....maybe 10
years now??
gosh ....doesn't seem possible..
and V the darlin' that she is....was so kind and special...
along with all the ladies here....I love visiting here....and how we share and

one thing has always led to another...and I just had to learn how to digitize...
and I take my hat off to Marie.....
she is the sweetest of ladies.....and a joy

all of you are a special addition to my days....

mizlilly -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 4:49:02 PM)

This is lots of fun. I started sewing early too... I was eleven. My mother worked with me on my first skirt, but she didn't really know a lot about sewing. My next door neighbour though was fantastic! She taught me how to sew. She also was not one to allow a wayward stitch to survive. I perfected ripping out early on :)  I sewed for myself and a bit for family and friends and then for my dd's.

In 1980 I learned to smock. I'd done some hand embroidery before I learned to sew, but had otherwise avoided anything by hand. Mind you I was forced to do hand buttonholes until we got the buttonhole attachment (a marvel!) for the straight stitch Singer I learned to sew on. However, I was cuckoo for smocking! I did loads of smocking.

Fast forward to 2000 and I am soon to be a grandmother! aka Nana! I still love smocking, but find handwork hard on my eyes. So... how to make something fun without stressing the eyes? An embroidery machine! So I got a Bernina 180 and the software and had loads of fun sewing and embroidering. I still do the odd bit of smocking though.

In the years in between I added machines... upgraded and added another grandson, with one more on the way. Sewing is my therapy and my fun and my entertainment! My constant companions are my two Goldens, Pinkerton, now 14 and Willoughby (Wills) who is five.

All I need to do is live another 250 years so I can stitch up all of my fabric, designs and patterns!

darleen -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 4:53:29 PM)

I am in Australia and have been a member of the forum for years as well.
Whilst growing up my dear aunt was always sewing for me items such as the box pleat school uniforn and the school blazers on the old singer treadle, and when I was old enough I got my first singer sewing machine that had discs in those days. It had a cog on the front and you put a disc on and it would do fancy stitches. When I completed school, I took on an evening dressmaking class for 2 nights a week for 4 years, it was fun. However, upon marriage and child rearing I never did anything with my dressmaking skills until now, but still only make for family and friends.
I was first introduced to ME when my DH whilst we were staying away on holiday went into town on his own and apparently he saw the brother embroidery machine super galaxie (1800 think that was the modeL )l being demonstrated in a store. He returned back to our accommodation and told my sil and myself about this fantastic machine he had seen he could not believe what it could do, in those days you had to digitize using drawings and textas. So during the next week when we arrived back home we did some research by hand and foot, as it was too early for the inernet and then we travelled around from shop to shop to see who had one in stock and low and behold that was my first embroidery machine. We had no lessons, DH set it all up, read the manual and then taught me how to operate it. I was hooked. From then I traded to the super galaxie 2000, then the next upgrade, they would not take a trade in, to the lemon of the disney one with the big hoop, that one didnt stay long (I still have the 2000, though that is a great free arm without the embroidery unit on) until I traded to the PR600, and recently to the entrepeneur. During this time janome bought out the 300e, so I had to have that one, then traded that to the 350e, which I still love . I love my machines, all for home sewing and embroidery for family, I have never ventured into markets or such. Thanks for listening. darleen

newmexicomama -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 5:27:41 PM)

I started sewing at an early age also.  As a military brat and later a military wife, sewing was a mainstay in an otherwise hectic life.  I bought my first Bernina (an 830) in 1972.  Then added a Bernina serger in 1992. Then a 180 in 2000.  But I love my new 830 which should be my final machine.  I sewed all my sons ans daughters clothes for many years including suits and jeans for them.  As they got older, I started doing more in decorations. I've been retired for 6 years so I spend more time sewing and decided to make a quilt and that's all it took.  I try to find quilts where I can use embroidery designs.
I had been lurking on this forum for many years before I joined.  I belonged to the Bernina site before it changed to a blog.  Patrick helped me a lot with answers to my questions.  And this site has also.

LisaSewCute -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/7/2011 5:55:36 PM)

Sparkle, what a great idea to share our stories. I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts so much. I forgot one important part of my story, though:

Yes, who would have thought? When I was 16 and started driving, I joined a smocking guild that used to be in my area. I was, of course, the youngest member. That was the year I got my first niece and I already smocked and did FHS on my Mom's old Singer. Anyway, I was a member of that guild until my first baby was 2. But back to how I met DH. When I was in college, I had been dating someone for a year or so. When we broke up, one of my friends in my smocking guild found out and went on a mission to find me a husband. I was only 20 at the time. She had a friend who worked at Lockheed. Her friend said she knew a nice guy and set us up on a blind date. We went out (once) and it turned out he was 30! Way too old for me, still in college. He talked the whole time about proton accelerators and was very self-absorbed. After that, they had another friend who knew someone really nice. So, now it was a chain of 3 friends between us. They had a cookout and invited us both and, as they say, the rest is history. We both feel blessed to have found each other this way as neither of us would go to bars or the like.

jem -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/8/2011 10:17:42 AM)

Lisa, I love how you met your dh.  Sparkle, this has been a great idea. It is funny how many of us started smocking in the 1980's. Yes, I remember "French sewing by machine" LOL!!!!!!!!!! I had taken classes to learn to do the French sewing by hand and was so proud to have, if not mastering at least being adequate, at the French sewing. I was luck enough to be a stay at home Mom then. A friend started a line of children's hand smocked clothing. I found my notebook in the clean up, where I kept track of my finished smocking.(this is how we were paid) All I had to do was smock. One lady pleated, I smocked, another sewed the dresses, and still another hemed the dresses by hand. We had a group of over 20 women. I also did a little designing. My book says I smocked over 420 dresses and JonJon's. This doesn't count dresses for dd and and gifts. These were from 6 mos. to size 8 for girls dresses. Then dd turned 10 and I went back to school to learn to be an engineering drafter.

Okay people, lets hear how you came into the family of Martha Pullen Forums.

I have to mention that there have been some wonderful people here who spent their last days with us and made truely deep friendships. Our darling "Liz" coined the phrase "heart sisters", and "Warmer8" (or was it 5?) was a huge contributer. I am sure they're others, but these are truely our very own "sewing angels" who gave us knowlege, compassion. I still feel connected to them. I'm sure others have made profound impressions on all of us.

Wind Dancer we need you! 

shebru -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/8/2011 11:51:01 AM)

When I was around four or five mom started teaching me how to embroider and knit and iron-pillow cases, lots and lots of pillow cases.  When I was around nine a friend was visiting: mom, grandma, and herself decided to knit.  I said I wanted to as well.  Mom said I couldn't knit because I couldn't cast on.  The friend said that is nonsense she knew I could do it, sat right down and showed me what my mom had tried to teach me multiple times. Much to my mother's chagrin I immediately got it and was knitting away with them in minutes. My great grandmother was did alterations (where she got that patience I will never know as it certainly skipped me!) for a living, so sewing was something I had always been intrigued over.  Both she and my mother were perfectionists, if it wasn't right it was ripped out and made right, mom did beautiful hand smocking and precise embroidery.  Lessons were learned well, and teaching me mom determined was not a good thing and she refused to teach me sewing.  Said I would learn in school.  Home Ec was not offered until I was a Freshman in High School.

The Home Ec that offered sewing the first semester was full and so I had to take cooking first.  I had been cooking so long by then that I coasted thru the first semester, bringing from home recipes to cook.  Each group cooked a different part of the meal.  Desserts were the only thing in our house that actually had recipes for and those were always family tested favorites, so you know that one I always either volunteered for the dessert group or was voted there which was fine by me for I would have been bored making the main course as well as constantly amazed that there were recipes for those staples.....didn't everyone know how to make potato & mac salad, fried chicken, pot roast, gravy, sour dough and such from memory/scratch?  Were there actual recipes written down for those things???????  While this is not a sewing thing, I include it because I was so ready so ripe to sew that when it started finally the second semester I was charging to go! 

The first week she did nothing but explain how the machine worked, about fabric, about patterns....oh Lord I didn't think she would ever get the sewing.  Second week the teacher had given us pieces of paper with straight lines, curvy lines, spirals and had us sew on the lines with the machine.  By the end of that class I had done every sheet twice, ready to sew the first project an a-line skirt with a zipper.  This was all suppose to take a week or more as well, you know select the fabric, the thread, the zipper, find the straight of the grain, sew the ends closed on the yardage on the straight of the grain, toss in washer to pre shrink, iron, carefully lay out the pattern, cut it out, sew up sides, put in zipper.  By end of second day I was champing to be shown how to put in zipper.  The teacher finally figured out that I was going to wreck it for the rest if she didn't get me going on that sewing stuff, so she would line me out then go back to teaching the rest of the class.  We did not have tons of money and by my junior and senior year I made a lot of my dresses for school.  However the dress code changed then and we were allowed to wear jeans and I never looked back...dresses were rapidly a thing of the past and I don't believe I wore another dress except for special occasions again.

I married at the end of the summer after graduating.  My mom had been so traumatized with my whirling the tensions guides around on her singer that she went out and bought me a used white sewing machine, best of all it had zig zag.  Thought I was cutting a fat hog with that baby let me tell you!  You could even free hand button holes!  I soon learned that the best button holes were still best made with mom's old singer and the button hole attachment with the cams!

I was well on the way to being a seamstress, dreams of exceeding all of what Mother Mable (my great grand mom) could ever do.  For our first anniversary my husband and I were at the fair where this guy was demo-ing the new TTL Elna.  Oh he went on about it being the best, showed us how the pressure foot would lift an extra bit to allow for those thick fabrics...like jeans thought I in my mind....  Of course wanting to impress his new bride he bought it for our anniversary.  Oh I was ecstatic!  A reality check hit right about then, prices of fabric, patterns, notions had escalated thru the roof, we barely made enough money to cover expenses let alone have leftovers for things like fabric and patterns.  I had enough clothes so there was little justification for buying fabric and just sewing. 

Over the next four years I had made intricate Western outfits with elaborate yokes on the shirts and matching embellishments on the back and sides of pants in stretchy polyester for my ten years younger sil to wear in competition at her horse shows.  I did it for the love of sewing as my mil wouldn't spend the money for it even thou they had the money to do so.  I tried sewing garments for others, but quickly learned when they would bring four or five patterns and want the yoke of this one, the sleeves from that one, the bodice of another and so on wanting scarlet red for prom (back then it was all pastels, it was a spring dance and the darker saturated colors just were unacceptable), then after I had morphed all that into something lovely, they wanted to pay me ten to twenty bucks.  I was sewing on fifty to sixty dollars worth of fabric alone and they only wanted to pay me ten dollars???????????  When a lady wanted me to make bathrobes out of this quilted fabric and then make matching jammies out of flannel, I did not have a serger so that meant french seams or zig zagging all the seams as well as pinking and even then they would have frayed.  She came to get them, hated them, paid me some pittance and stomped off, leaving me in tears. 

And back to that Elna, it was not any better than my mom's singer, all those wonderful cams with the fun designs didn't seem to go with anything I was sewing.  It did not sew on jeans, needle still broke unless you carefully hand turned the fly wheel oh so slowly.  My commercial venture and my machine were so disappointing that I basically swore off of sewing.  I had put on weight so it was not even fun to sew for myself any more, everything I made looked like I was a fat person in some awful fat blouse.

By the time my babies arrived, I could buy readymade as cheap or cheaper than I could sew as well as there never seemed any time any more.  As well as the worry of babies stepping on pins or worse swallowing them, playing with sharp scissors...  Nope I was done with sewing.  Every once and a while I would get a wild hair, buy a pattern, fabric, make a blouse and then be unhappy with some element of it.  I didn't fit right, I didn't like the button holes, it looked home made....  I wanted a serger so my seams looked like store bought.... but there was just never enough money for that kind of thing.... I put everyone and everything ahead of me.  I desperately wanted a new machine called a combo that serged on one end, you turned and it straight stitched on the other end.  In the end I just could not justify it.  So for thirty years I did little or no sewing.  I did not like doing repair sewing and alternating.  I learned pretty quickly on that by the time jeans were to the repair stage the fabric was starting to rot and the effort of repairing usually resulted in only a few more times of wearing before they gave out elsewhere.  Nope I was done....disenchanted and done.  Besides I was such a Tomboy, who had time for all that foo foo stuff???? LOL

I still knit some, crochet some, even occasionally hand embroidered and some crewel.  But no sewing! Then about six years ago, nearly seven now I bumped into a friend at a JoAnn's where I was killing time waiting for my car to get tires at the tire store over a block.  She was there looking for quilting fabric for a project.  It was the end of December and she told me about this store offering a "first Saturday" quilt project.  Explained how you just showed up, the lady gave you the material to make a quilt after a one time twenty dollar purchase and at the end of the year you would have a quilt top!  My ex sil and I had remained close friends, but we both had been so busy with families and careers that we had drifted apart and not had much together time.  I conned her into joining up with me to see how this would go, after all it was just once a month and by golly after all didn't we both deserve some "us" time?

Oh my, I was like an animal dying for water.  I soaked up and embraced quilting like you cannot believe.  The class had five color schemes you could choose from.  It became instantly apparent to me that I could not decide well...I undertook three of the color schemes, they were all so pretty, so different....so exciting.  They also sold Bernina's there.  The owner was very knowledgeable about them...for sewing...but both her and her staff were sadly lacking in embroidery knowledge/skill.  I became nearly obsessed smitten with these new machines.  I began a quest to find out more about them.  I slowly started prepping husband about major expense....  He went from I cannot see paying that amount for just a machine, to babe, you should have this, you are so excited about it! FYI - ladies it pays to drag hubby around with you when you are researching/looking, they are enough of a gadget person they quickly grasp the merit of the machine....just be careful… you don't promise to digitize them a design of their favorite hobby/plane in your innocent naive rose colored glasses state in an effort to get them to see the need for the accompanying software...rotfl...  To this day I suffer reminders of what I promised and did not deliver when friends and family admire what I have made.

I admit to the terror now that this would have a high and difficult learning curve and that I would be eating crow within the first year of getting this machine.  Boy was I ever wrong.  I was a way like a herd of turtles and have never looked back.  I am still working on narrowing my focus down to applying all the ideas that flow thru and I envision.  I have to echo all of the ladies that champion this forum.  I am afraid I found this area sadly lacking in knowledge or so focused on what their product was that they failed to ignite much of a fire.  When you go ALL toward branding of your designs and supplies it is so expensive that this hobby could only be achieved if you had more money than sense to use. 

I found mp when I was researching machines with an infoseek search (of course I would google it now).  I lurked for a while, but I just am not a bashful person and was soon adding to the forum, not much on embroidery, more on general topics that were so much fun to read and add to....a lot like this one!  I learned that there was not just OSED designs out there.  I learned that the cat gets skinned in many ways.  There are lots of reasonably priced well digitized wonderful designs out there by wonderful designers.  Don't get me wrong, I still covet many of the more pricey ones and work to budget in those so I can accommodate my lust for beautiful things.... but it isn’t just OSED now, of course not!  LOL  Thru MP forum I learned to be brave, to try things I would never have thought about trying and to remember how much I do like to sew and design.  Thanks to Shirley I have reawakened my knitting and with many others to inspire and lead me like Roxann, Mizlilly, Chere...even Scottish Anna.... for those of you not mentioned...Sparkle, Lisa, Penny Hal, Patsy....it is not because you have not inspired me it is because I have terrible recall... come on guys we are up to 1001 members! Once again I can’t imagine life without sewing….  I have just taken it to another dimension and am grateful to all of you for continuing to inspire me and pull me along kicking and screaming the whole way to become more.  If you didn’t catch that, that was a back handed “thank you” to ALL for being there supporting and encouraging!  AND sorry to be so long winded…. And this is JUST the sewing aspect of “me”.  BTW I truly expected longer replies from some of you! LOL

Scottish Anna -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/8/2011 12:36:08 PM)


That was a back handed compliment, if ever I received one......EVEN Scottish Anna ROFLMAO [:D][:D]

I shall now go hang my head in shame and have a good cry! [;)]

Hugs (I think)


ShirleyCalgary -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/8/2011 2:03:21 PM)

I am not sure when I first got interested in sewing. My granny had a Singer in a bentwood case shaped like an n sturdy immoveable handle on top that locked with a key. It was electric and had a knee press to make it go. When I was about 5 granny showed me how to thread it so that I could thread the needle for her. I learned to machine sew on that Singer. My first sewing project ever at age 5 was a yellow woven tea tray cloth that had a stamped duck in the middle - we were supposed to fringe it on all 4 sides and embroider the duck - I think we learned 3 stitches - stem stitches for the outline of the duck - frech knots for the eyes and cant remember what we did for the orange beak and feet - maybe satin stitches. Fringing it took forever and a great deal of concentration for a 5 year old - we used a pin or a sewing needle to remove one thread at a time 14 x 18 inches perhaps the fringe was less than an inch - I BET that kept us all as quiet as mice and gave our 1st grade teacher a break - a nun who had taught my mother`s oldest sister as a novice and continued to teach grade one until she retired at age 75 so she was 70 when she taught me 72 when my sister got to grade one. My grade one class has somewhere between 42 and 45 kids aged 5 to 8 - we had a wave of Italian immigrants so some of the girls in my class had started school in Italy but could not speak English so Grade 1 even two sets of sisters not twins either. I dont know how she did not lose her mind - of course the youngest ones like me had never been away from our mothers and grannies before and were a bit terrified. She also taught us how to knit - can you imagine teaching such a large class of such young children how to knit. We learned to cast on 10 stitches and k.nit a head band all garter stitches. Grade 2 was a scarf - garter stitch border - and stocking stitch in the middle. Knitting project was from Labour day to be finished by Epiphany when school resumed after the Christmas break we started our sewing embroidery project. Each year the knitting and sewing and embroidery became more detailed - by grade 6 we were knitting mitts and sewing a full modest slip trimmed with lace all by hand french seams - advancing to a toddler`s dress complete with collar and puff sleeves and big bow tie in the back - by machine. I got to use the electric Singer machine since I had been using my grannys Elecric Singer and could not get the hang of the treadle. The button holes were done by hand - the buttons sewn on by hand and the dress hand hemmed. We got to buy our own fabric, buy the pattern listed as well as thread and buttons etc ditto for the next year when we made a blouse with collar and cuffs. We knitted cable socks that year but I was so envious of a transfer in student from a convent nearby who had a layette for her knittng project - that looked way more interesting and challenging than my socks - I convinced my aunts who were both knitters to help me finish my socks in reord time so that I could then start on a layette for my sister who was due in June. That was the start of me making baby layettes and the sweater and bonnet in ivory that I sent to Mizlilly was the same pattern that I knitted for my sister so I have been knitting that sweater and bonnet for more years than I can even imagine. I have totally worn out one or two copies of that pattern book (Beehive for Bairns) Now to preserve my books I scan the patterns and insert them into plastic sleeves printed on card stock.

embroideryallsorts -> RE: OT - kinda - Introduce Yourself (10/8/2011 3:25:44 PM)

What a great Idea and such interesting stories. I was born in Scotland and immigrated to Australia when I was 5 years old. I am not really sure when I started sewing but I know that it was while I was still living in Scotland because my granny started to teach me. I am the second oldest of 9 with an older sister and 7 younger brothers, so we did not have a lot of money. By the time I was 12 I was making most of my own clothes. My home economics teacher didn't like me because she thought I was getting my mother to finish my projects when I told her that my mother could not sew as well as I could she got quite indignant, she thought I was being cheeky, but I was just being honest.
I have 4 children and 2 granddaughters, when my children were little I made all of my own clothes and their clothes. There father left me when they were babies and I started my nurses training, between raising children studying and working shifts I did not have much time for sewing.
I met my current husband in 1995 and in 1999 he bought me my first embroidery machine, it is a janome memorycraft, in those days we did not have good internet connections here in Australia and I did not find any of the fabulous forums that are around. I got very frustrated with my machine because I really did not know how to hoop properly so my results were varied. I used the machine for sewing but rarely for embroidery. In 2008 I decided that I wanted to make big bibs for eating pasta so I got the machine set up only to discover that I had lost the code for my software program. So I phoned the maker of the software, it was Echidna, I discovered that this company was a 15 minute drive from my house, here is the defining moment that changed my life. I went into the shop to get the software and saw all of the amazing projects and fabulous machines. I bought the software and a new embroidery machine, and not very long after I bought the generations digitizing software and a course on how to use it.
I used the new single needle for a while but I had been lusting after the pr620 the was always stitching when I went into the shop. It did not take to long for me to convince my husband that I really needed this machine, so I traded my single needle back in and got the 6 needle beauty.
At this time I was working as a clinical nurse consultant managing a very busy mental health assessment team. I was starting to get very depressed and stressed with my work. I got quite sick and had to take some time off. I decided that it was good time to start an embroidery business. I had worked through my digitising course and decided to sell my designs on line. So I started working out how to create my website and upload my designs. I love my website and it is a pet project, but does not make any money really because I have discovered that embroiderers tend to like freebies, so I don't sell very many designs. I have established a small client base of local people who come to me for embroidery, a few months ago I was given an early retirement on the grounds of ill health. So I quit my job and felt so liberated.
In march this year I bought the pr1000, So I now have 2 multineedle machines, My embroidery business probably cost more to run than it actually makes at the moment so I got a casual job in a local nursing home for two days a week and the rest of the time I work on improving my business and maintaining my website.
At the moment we are in the process of moving house, so I am very busy with all of the above and packing etc... but the new house has a great area to set my business up and I am sure once we are there business is going to get better and I will not have to work as a nurse any-more.

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