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new machine review

virquilt | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on

I am trying to find comparisons of Baby Lock, Husq Designer etc electronic top of the line machines. Is there anywhere on the internet where such reviews can be had?

Replies

  1. Crazy K | | #1

    Try http://www.patternreview.com   You should be able to find out what you need there.

     

    Kay

    1. virquilt | | #2

      Thank you.
      I was hoping for a chart of the five major "big" machines and comparison of features and benefits and price.
      This site will help.

      1. Pattiann42 | | #3

        When you go to PatternReview.  Open "compare sewing machines".  At the top of the page is the Machine Wizard.  Use the Wizard to list the features you are looking for and the machines that fit your criteria will come up for your review.

        Aside from reviewing the machines, you need to test the machines and the dealer for yourself.

        I was all set to buy a TOL Bernina and the dealer's lack of honestly blew it - I bought a Babylock from a dealer I knew and trusted.....he stopped selling Bernina because of their high price and their demands that they be the only brand sold by the dealer.

        Edited 10/20/2008 10:08 pm ET by spicegirl1

  2. damascusannie | | #4

    Are you looking for a new quilting machine? And if so, do you just piece or do you plan to machine quilt, add embroidery, etc? If all you do is piece, then top-of-the-line is probably overkill. I do all my quilt stitching, including free-motion quilting on treadle sewing machines. I use a 1920s National Two Spool for piecing and a 1950s Montgomery Wards for free-motion quilting. They, and three other machines, are mounted in a big table that my husband built for me. Take a look at my studio and my quilts in my webshots albums to see what can be done on quite simple machines.

    1. Josefly | | #5

      I enjoyed looking at your photos of your work table and work room. I noticed you have quite a collection of irons, in addition to the many sewing machines. Are the irons a side-interest, or do they each serve a different function for you?

      1. damascusannie | | #6

        The irons are a side collection--sort of a corollary to the sewing machines and the quilting thing. I do prefer steamless vintage irons for pressing. They are heavier than modern irons, I don't need steam because I starch as I go when quilting and when I'm sewing clothing I prefer to use a damp pressing cloth anyway, plus they usually have wonderful tips for getting under the edge of the fabric to flip and press when I'm piecing. So, some of them I got to use and when I burn out the thermostats, I just grab another one off the shelf.Because I'm in the middle of a long-term sewing machine research project, I've made a pact with myself NOT to start researching irons! I have no idea when any of them were made, but I do think that they make a cool display in my sewing room.

        1. MaryinColorado | | #7

          corollary? ha ha ha Thanks so much for giving me my new "word for the week".  (I used to try to learn a new word once a day, but my neurons started misfiring in protest.) 

          My mother has several heavy old irons from her mother, non electric that she heated on the stove.  They make great doorstops and conversation pieces too.  

        2. Josefly | | #8

          I do sometimes long for the heavy old irons. Not that my wrists need the extra stress of lifting a heavier iron, but I have to really exert some pressure anyway, sometimes. I have the same mixed reaction to cookware - I really prefer cooking in heavy, even cast iron vessels, but I'm getting to the point where lifting such a pot when full is scary.Thanks for your answer about the irons. It reminds me that a damp press cloth would be better for me to use, often, when sewing, than constantly having to refill the steam reservoir. Is starching your quilt pieces a means of stabilizing, or is there some other function?

          1. damascusannie | | #9

            I find that in the long run, the reduction in pressing down to get a good crease out-weighs the extra strain of lifting the heavier iron. The starch is used to stabilize the fabrics before I even cut them. I find that I get more accurate cuts and that they don't stretch as much during the stitching process if I starch first. It's being done more and more by quilters to improve accuracy.

          2. Josefly | | #10

            Thank you again for another answer. Yes, I've been reading on this forum that people use spray starch to assist with cutting slippery or wiggly fabrics like silk or rayon, in garment sewing, too. I haven't had occasion to use that tip yet, but will keep it in mind.By the way, I bought cotton fabric from a quilting shop recently, to make a Hawaiian print shirt for DH. I couldn't find anything suitable at Hancock or Joann fabric stores. This fabric was a batik print, more expensive than usual (for me) for cotton fabric, but it turned out to be a lucky buy. It is a lovely grade, tightly woven fabric, and the selvages are practically invisible - if it had been necessary, I think I could've used the fabric all the way to the edge, without cutting off the selvage. It was cut in the shop, generously, and absolutely straight on the crossgrain, which was perfectly perpendicular to the selvages, something I've ceased to expect with the cottons I usually get. And when I laundered it before cutting, it barely raveled at all - with no shrinkage. (I think the lack of shrinkage might be a negative for old-timey quilters, though?) I was really impressed with the quality. Of course, visiting a quilting shop has its own perils... :>)

          3. damascusannie | | #11

            Oh, the batik fabrics are GORGEOUS! I'm working on a queen-sized batik quilt right now for a wedding gift for a nephew. It's just a joy to work with. The tight weave makes it virtually impossible to hand quilt, but I machine quilt, so it doesn't bother me in the least. I've been working on a hand applique project in bright batiks on a black background. I'm looking forward to getting my holiday knitting and quilting done so I can work on it again.

          4. Josefly | | #12

            Sounds like a beautiful quilt you're working on. I hope you'll show it here when done.Yes, I can see the difficulty if hand-quilting on the batik fabric - I really had to tug on the needle when doing some hand-basting. I changed needles - no help at all. My fingers are thankful that the handwork is over on this project.The quilt shop had an incredible number of bolts of batik fabrics - about 20 horizontal feet of wall space, from floor to ceiling, in every conceivable shade of each color.

          5. damascusannie | | #13

            I'll definitely post some pictures of the finished quilt. Batiks are THE hot fabric in quilting right now. A few years ago it was feedsack repros, a few years before that it was Civil War repros....we go in cycles. The thing that I like about the batiks is the rich color that's available.

          6. Josefly | | #14

            The colors are brilliant. I think quite a few of the "non-traditional" quilts I saw last year at the Nat'l Quilt Museum in Paducah must've used the batik fabrics - the colors were so vibrant. I remember at least one was made with the kind of dual-colored strips sewn closely together, then pressed in different directions and stitched down - I'm not explaining this very well - like the black and white jacket that was featured in a recent Threads magazine. They were wonderful quilts.For garments, the batiks are almost too vibrant, if used by themselves. Just my opinion. There are some subtly colored and printed ones, but the one I picked for the "Hawaiian" shirt is rather loud and gaudy. I would've picked something quieter, but this was closest to what might pass as tropical. The shirt will probably not be worn much - it's for a contra dance festival, the theme of which is "South Pacific." But I've fallen in love with the quality, and may go back for some of the less vibrant stuff, with a smaller print. I don't know if the few batik "quilting cottons" I've seen in Hancock's are the same quality - they've never appealed to me before, so I haven't checked them out.I've been saying "batik fabrics" but perhaps I should say "batik-like prints", since I don't know if batik techniques are actually used to produce the fabrics or not.Edited 11/4/2008 4:00 pm ET by JoseflyEdited 11/4/2008 4:02 pm ET by Josefly

            Edited 11/4/2008 4:04 pm ET by Josefly

          7. damascusannie | | #15

            I know exactly what you mean and I could probably take a good guess at the maker--Carol Bryer Fallert. Did it look something like this? http://www.bryerpatch.com/images/quiltrecords/htt38/HighTechTucks38.htmThe term batik immediately conjures up images of extremely bright fabrics, but lately I've been finding more subtle colors and picking them up. I've got some lovely subtle blues, greens and purples that would make up beautifully into skirts or blouses.In quilting "batik" refers to both authentic batiks and bright hand-dyed fabrics. The one thing that they never are is printed--always vat dyed, or sometimes the dyes are splashed, sprayed, poured or dribbled onto the fabric. They are labor intensive which explains the price.Annie in Wisconsin, USA
            ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
            ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
            See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

            Edited 11/4/2008 4:20 pm by damascusannie

          8. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #16

            Ok, here is a short lesson on Fabric History for today.  Batik was originally a resist method of dying fabric, where a wax was placed where a colour was not wanted.  Then the fabric was dyed by painting or vat dying the areas the required colours.  To keep the areas that colour, they were again painted with the resist and a darker colour was overlaid the lighter colours.  Complex patterns and repeats are often hand painted onto the fabric, with the spread controlled by the resist.  The final dye bath would be black or brown, giving the whole piece it's final finishing background colour.  The reisist is removed, leaving a beautiful crackled look to the pattern where the wax fractured during handling.  This crackled look is what gives even a monocoloured batik its beauty and uniqueness today.

            Batik is a complex process that is done by hand.  Even with the help of machinery today, the multistep process is labour intensive.  That is why they are so expensive.  They are as much a work of art as a piece of fabric.

            Batik is more commonly recognized as coming from Africa and the West Indian Islands.  It is a very old technique that is common around the world.  Japan and China have used resist techniques in silk dyeing for centuries.  The Ukrainian Pysanka (easter egg) uses the exact same technique.  Even the tools for applying the wax are similar.     Cathy

          9. damascusannie | | #17

            Most of the quilting batiks are coming out of Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia. For instance, Bali batiks really ARE from Bali, which has a very ancient batik tradition. I can remember seeing a PBS special on Bali years ago and one episode was completely dedicated to the traditional arts, including batik. It was fascinating.

          10. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #18

            Thank you Annie.  That is the one piece of info I had missing from my current file.  Some of my info is not as current as it should be.  I will add it to my cardfile.  I try to keep up, but it is hard to keep current with so many changes, and that mouse eating her way through my cards has not made updating any easier when I am starting from scratch again. 

            I have been admiring the Bali prints for a while.  They are wonderful.  There is a CDN company that comes to the Inspirations Embellishment Show each year that carries them.  I was saving up to get some this year, but they did not have the show this fall, much to my dismay. 

            When I started sewing, and keeping a file, batik was considered to be a novelty fabric, hard to come by, and not the fine fabric it is considered to be now.  It was more apt to be hung on a wall as an art object or a DIY made into a silk scarf or pillow. 

            It is great fun to do tho, and a wonderful project for older children.  I use leftover candles, Kool-aid, and Tshirts.  Plastic bags, newspaper, and sunshine will take care of the rest!  Cathy

          11. damascusannie | | #19

            I got to try batik back in the olden days when I was a kid (early 70s). We used RIT dye and crayons. Using crayons for the wax was cool because we got colored patterns that way and then over-dyed with black. My daughter and son have gotten into tie-dye and Rachel's going to dye the backing fabric for the batik quilt I'm working on. It's much cheaper to buy the white cotton and dye it ourselves and it doesn't have to be perfect for this backing as long as the colors are right.

          12. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #20

            I have used the crayons as well, but you have to be careful now.  So many are washable, that even after heatsetting, the colour washes out.  I liked shaving the crayons, scattering them over the garment, then putting them in a plastic bag in the sun to melt.  Never knew what you would get out of it.  For myself, fibrereactive, dylon or rit dyes are fine, but for kids, koolaid seems a lot safer.  And it takes just as well sometimes......not always where you want it...... 

            I am actually online with Batik Butik's site, the one I mentioned in my last post.  http://www.batikbutik.com  Although they deal with rayon dress materials, I was reading up on their manufacturing in Bali.  I found two, not so local, but close enough retailers.  Yay!  I have one of the patterns they sell.  It is the next pattern on my list to sew.   Cathy

          13. MaryinColorado | | #47

            I confess, I've been lurking here and learning some interesting things.  Thanks to all of you gals.

            http://www.equilter.com has some lovely batiks, some bali, some not.  Some are cotton some are rayon.  I've been very happy with their fabrics and their customer service.  Mary

          14. Katina | | #21

            I had quite an experience with a stunning African batik fabric some years ago.  The piece was from a small workshop in Ghana and very stiff with the resist wax used. Aha! I thought, hot water will remove it, so I dunked all 5 yards into the washing machine on the hottest cycle.  What possessed me I can't imagine.  The whole drum was thick with wax - the mess was indescribable.  I ran the empty machine though several boiling hot cycles to little avail and finally had to call a technician out.  From then on I take these 'raw' fabrics to the drycleaner who does a great job with them. The fabulous batiks from the quilt stores are fully finished - no wax problems!

            Katina

          15. damascusannie | | #22

            I prewash all my fabrics in the sink, in the hottest water out of my tap. Since my fabrics are almost always used for quilts, I'm usually washing relatively small amounts and I've not had the experience you had. Most of the quilting batiks seem to have been cleaned pretty well, but I do have one in the quilt that I'm working on that has enough that my studio smells like hot wax when I hit one of the pieces of that fabric with my iron. It's no enough to coat the iron or anything, just give off the odor.

          16. Katina | | #23

            The sink's a good idea; I buy a lot of African batik fabric (from an African source) and this always has to be treated to remove the wax.  Gorgeous stuff, but not as 'sophisticated' as the Hoffman batiks.

            Katina

          17. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #32

            ROTFL  I am sorry for not answering you earlier today.  Every time I started, I laughed myself into a coughing fit.  tee hee  I can see myself doing something just like that!  Actually I sort of did. 

            As a newlywed, and a citygirl, I was unused to the large amount of dirt that the barn and work clothes could acquire.  One particularily wet day, DH had to wrestle a newborn calf and cow into the barn.  The calf escaped, and fell into the manure behind the barn.  He had to wade into the soupy mess, right up to his chest to rescue it.  He came home, peeled his clothes off, and headed to the shower.  Without thinking, I threw the clothing into the washer.   When the cycle was finished, the clothes came out no cleaner, and the washer was a mess!  There was about 1/4 inch of sand and straw in the bottom of the washer as well!  How the heck do you clean that out?  I washed them again.  NO Better!  I ended up scooping the worst of the stinking mess out by hand, shaking the clothing out, outside the house, before trying to wash them again.  This time at least, they smelled better.  I hung the clothes on the line to dry in the pouring rain, DH laughing his head off the whole time!

            The washer was still a mess, full of straw and dirt.  I damp wiped what I could out of it, but could not get it clean.  So I threw in a load of dark coloured towels that had to be washed.  I figured they would pick up the flotsam and I could shake them out when I hung them on the line.  They worked like a charm.  The washer was clean, and after a good shake, so were the towels!  And after the sun came out the next day, everything was clean, well rinsed and sweet smelling again.   Cathy

             

          18. Katina | | #33

            Oh Cathy - this is hilarious!! Interesting that you made use of the pouring rain. I sometimes do that to finish rinsing skeins of yarn that I've dyed - rainwater's so soft.

            Katina

          19. damascusannie | | #34

            ROTFL! When we moved to a new farm, we had to have the entire dry lot regraded so that it would drain. Naturally, the day after we dug it all up, it began to rain, and kept raining for about a week. Well, we told the girls that they were to STAY OUT OF THE DRY LOT until it dried out. It was so bad we couldn't even let the cows out into it. They obeyed for about three days, until the twins (yes, twins do get into twice as much trouble!) were sailing boats with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and one of them started down a channel through the lot. Without thinking, Karen waded right into all that deep mud to rescue it and got stuck up to her knees. Katie followed to help her out, but wasn't able to get her pulled free. In the process, they fell repeatly into the muck. Finally, Katie waded back out to get help--me. I was furious! I got a spade and sent Katie back in to dig Karen out. Then had to send them back after their boots which had come off in the mud. There was no way I was letting all that mud into the house and they were already soaked to the skin anyway so I took them into the milkhouse and hosed them down. The good thing was that they did rescue the toy they'd gone after, AND they stayed about 50 yards away from the lot for about the next year. They still tell this story at family parties.

          20. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #36

            ROTFL...I think twins get into things not doubled, but squared.  My brother has twin boys. 

            You have reminded me of another story.  DD2 had a friend home from school just before school let out in June.  They were probably in grade 3 or 4.  The young lady was from town and just that, a little lady.  We had one of those really heavy late afternoon heavy thunderstorms that was over quick, that left rain puddles everywhere.  I can see you thinking.........Yes, they went puddle jumping...but wait...there is more.  As the puddles dwindled, they roamed back towards the creek, a favorite haunt to sit and talk. 

            You see, it was a warm rain, and you know how warm and squishy the mud gets and how nice it feels between your toes?  Well, they got to play fighting, and then to MUD SLIDING in the warm MUD PUDDLES!  They came back covered head to foot with black mud.  They both had long hair caked and looking like dreadlocks!  All you could see of their faces were their eyes and mouths, grinning from ear to ear.  Laughing and giggling like hyenas.  I could hardly believe what I saw.  All I asked them was if they had fun.  The little friend looked really scared, then admitted it was a blast. 

            Now I admit I feel a dirty kid is a happy kid and that means they had fun.  So I said,  Are you all finished now?  They looked at each other, the young lady had the most astonished look on her face.  My daughter said to her, I told you we were not going to get in trouble, my mom is cool.  So I turned on the garden hose and hosed them off, then gave them the hose to play with.  I loaned the young lady dry clothes to wear while washing hers, and sent her home clean.  

            To this day this young lady talks about that day.  And she never told her mother.  Cathy

          21. MaryinColorado | | #48

            thanks for the giggles!

          22. Ceeayche | | #54

            Cathy you are a wonder.  Thanks for the lessons!  Keep em coming!  I like how they are sort of sprinkled in throughout the entire site!

          23. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #55

            Thanks.  I figure that a bit here and a bit there for interest is fun.  Cathy

          24. Josefly | | #24

            That is an amazing quilt, thank you for showing it. And yes, it is similar to the one(s) I saw, though I remember shades of blue and green. I wish I could remember the creators' names - one or all of the similar ones I saw may have been created by Carol Bryer Fallert. When I saw that jacket pictured in the Threads article, these quilts were the first thing I thought of.I continue to be reminded how much engineering skill sewers have. This kind of 3-D fabric manipulation just wows me. Then you put the color into it - mind-boggling.And thank you for the notes about batik fabric - I think I understood the process of batik to be resist-dying, usually with wax as the resist agent. So many of the batiks I saw had floral and/or leaf designs - so I assumed that those designs were "printed" on the fabric with a resist agent at some point before or during the dying process. I know the fabrics I saw at the quilt shop were extraordinary. But I'm wondering if some of the less expensive "batik" fabrics I've seen at other shops aren't made more like the standard printed cottons, resembling genuine batik only in the style and colors of the prints? I suppose an indication of that would be that the selvages would be left unprinted and the colors wouldn't completely penetrate the fabric, unlike the fabric I purchased. I'll look more closely when I'm in the store.

          25. damascusannie | | #25

            The quilts in the museum are often ones that won awards at the AQS show. It has a purchase award, which means that if you want the cash prize, you basically sell the quilt to the museum in exchange. I believe that one of Carol's quilts, in the colors you describe, was a winner in its class a few years back, but she's not the only one using this sort of fabric manipulation. Yes, batiks are a made with a wax-resist, and the commercial batiks are made with big blocks that have a raised design carved into them. They are dipped in the wax and then stamped on the fabric. I remember reading an article about this not too long ago, probably in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. A true batik is easy to identify because it is dipped into the dye vat, so that the color saturates the fabric, including the selvedges. You are right in that there are "faux" batiks being made using printing processes, but I much prefer the real deal.

          26. Josefly | | #28

            Faux batiks. Much better description than "batik prints". Thank you. I'll be on the lookout for more of these sculptural quilts. I think they're wonderful.

          27. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #26

            The beauty of a true batik is that it can almost be considered double sided.  Because the colour saturates the fabric, it is as beautiful on the wrong side as it is on the right side.  This means that it can be hard to tell right from wrong.  Just make sure you cut all your pieces the same way (unless you want a special effect from using the wrong side of course.) 

            You are correct in checking the selvedge.  A true batik will not have white edges.  A batik may have a print overlaid on it, as part of the design.  However, it should still seem almost the same on both sides of the fabric.  When cost is a factor, there is nothing wrong with a batik style print-as long as it is sold as that.  As always, buyer beware, but be informed.  Cathy

          28. Josefly | | #27

            Thanks, that affirms what I suspected about the cheaper "batiks". The fabric I bought, though, from the quilt shop, is just gorgeous. As I said earlier, I believe it's woven tighter, and straighter, than any other cotton I've seen in a long time, and the selvages are undetectable, both visually and tactilely. I think I could've used the selvage edges easily without worrying about puckering, etc, in the seams. And you're right - I had to be careful cutting out and sewing the pieces together, because it was so difficult to tell "right" from "wrong" side. There were some small "spatters" and "cracks" of dye that didn't show on the wrong side, and that had to be looked at closely. But I suppose someone might've liked the "cleaner" look of the wrong side. I just can't praise this cotton fabric enough. No wax residue on this stuff, though.I once saw a video of batik-making, where, instead of stamping waxed designs onto the fabric, and then vat-dyeing, the fabric was colored with dye being poured or dripped on from containers with very narrow openings, so that tiny lines and designs could be produced. The images were thus "drawn on" free hand. I have a couple of wall-hangings from Israel, and one from Iceland, done in that way. I imagine wax was used somewhere in the process, to keep the dye from spreading into unwanted areas of the fabric - perhaps the color being poured out of the containers was actually colored, melted wax. Not sure of this, though.

          29. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #29

            The designs could have been drawn with the dyes, and then covered by wax to keep the pattern before overdying.  There are many ways of doing the patterns.  They can even be painted on with brushes, or dabbed on with fine quill like sticks.  Block printing as well.  Like many artistic mediums,  it is whatever the artist prefers to work with, and what traditional methods are used in the areas that the artist learned the craft. 

            Because the batik is a multistep dyeing process, with several dryings inbetween, plus the removal of the wax, they are pretty well preshrunk.  This is why the weave is so tight. The grain is so straight, because they are not going to put all that work into poor quality cloth.  Batiks should still be prewashed, even though there will be little shrinkage.  There may still be some dye run off, or wax residue.  Most quilting cotton, and the rayon batik will not have these problems, but there is no guarantee.   Cathy

          30. damascusannie | | #30

            I've found some batiks to be terrific bleeders and others very little. No rhyme or reason to which ones bleed and which ones don't either. One of the worst I've ever had was a light blue and then I've had bright reds and purples that were perfectly colorfast. It really depends on how carefully they wash the fabric once the dying process is over. We are discussing this on a quilting forum as a prewashed hand-dyed fabric (not a batik) has bled into the white areas on a lady's quilt and the dye stains seem to be permanent already. I fear that it's a fiber reactive dye and she'll never get the stains out, which would be a terrible shame since it's a hand-appliqued project. This is why I ALWAYS prewash every fabric in my white sink before it goes upstairs to the studio. I have two bags of fabric sitting on the counter in the bathroom right now, waiting for me to get to washing them. Until that water runs clear, the fabric stays downstairs!

          31. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #31

            Oh My!  I could just cry for her.  How badly did the dye bleed and what colour was it?  What has she tried, if anything yet?  I ran into a similar problem like this once when I was working at the fabric shop.  I am trying to remember the product that removes dyes.  It is painted onto the areas that have bled only, and then rinsed out.   Hair colourists use a similar product to remove excess colour from the skin when dyeing hair.  Perhaps that might work as well? 

            I prewash everything as well.  Straight from the store to the sink or the washer.  I do not have time to 2nd guess if my stash is washed or not.  So it gets washed before it goes upstairs.  I am also a bit sensitive to the smell of some fabric finishes they use on fabrics, so I always wash them well. 

            I had a lovely piece of fuschia fabric that never seemed to rinse clear.  It just kept fading.  I ended up throwing it out.  No matter how hard I tried to set the colour, it still bled.  Not worth the effort to keep even for a muslin, as it left marks on everything.      Cathy

             

          32. damascusannie | | #35

            Bleeding fabric: She's tried rewashing it in Synthrapol but was afraid to try anything else. We sent her to Paula Burch's website, which I think is probably the best site on dyes and dying on the internet.

            I don't trust the washing machine to remove dye completely after seeing how much some pre-washed fabrics can still bleed. I had one client make a quilt with some beautiful purple fabric, which she prewashed as she always does. Well, the first time she washed the quilt, the purple bled into the white sections, even though she'd used cold water and a mild detergent. So, now all my fabrics are washed in my white sink and they aren't allowed into the studio until I can't see any more dye leaching into the water in the sink.

          33. Josefly | | #37

            I love this thread! What fun. Tucked away and hidden in "new machine review"! Batiks, wax in the washing machine, mud and manure - what else?The Batikbutik site is great. Looked for a retail outlet in my state, and there is none, so I'd have to order online. I saw the patterns you mentioned, and there are several I would like to have, including the sarongs. Which one are you planning to make?

          34. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #38

            I think you meant to address this to me.  Tee hee,  but Annie will not mind.  I have the pattern for the Kusamba Dress, Tunic and Pants.  When I was at the show last year, almost all the ladies in the booth were wearing the same pattern, and it looked great, and different, on all of them, even tho they ranged in size from very very petite to very rubanesque.   I had a knit only dress pattern that I love that is similar, but no darts.  One lady was wearing almost all the pieces layered as a coordinated outfit with several colours of the batiks.  Beautiful.   There are two shops within a half a day from me, so I am going to take a trip soon!   Cathy

          35. Josefly | | #41

            Yes, you're right...sorry I lost track of who mentioned the Batik Butik. The pattern you have looks very versatile. All the patterns look loose and comfortable, just right for rayon. Very nice.You and Annie are making me envious of farm life.

          36. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #42

            There are two sides to every coin Josefly, and as idyllic as it sounds sometimes, the other side is a lot of hard work, bad smells, and long hours.  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.   Cathy

          37. Josefly | | #43

            As I wrote that I was envious, I started to add that I don't believe I could ever have managed the long, hard physical work. But I didn't want to detract from the fun just thinking about the kids' freedom and opportunity to "make mischief."

          38. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #45

            Sorry Friend if my reply seemed a little short tempered!  I was going to edit it after I posted but got called away to bring wood in for the woodstove. 

            Where I live is bordering on a large urban area.  Many people move out here expecting a certain quiet, idyllic, private lifestyle.  What they do not realize is the pretty cows and corn they gaze at are actually a working farm, with all the inherent noise, smells, dust and late hours.  It may look like the country side, but is actually an industrial workplace. 

            And we have to live there.  We look after one another, and look after each other's habits and routines.  Anything out of place or routine is investigated.  A tractor sitting idle in the field, running too long, can mean someone is in trouble, and needs help.  Despite the wide spaces, we are in each other's backyards more than our urban neighbours are.  We have to be.  Privacy is a premium, and the gossip vine works quickly for good and bad.  The newly rural often cannot handle it. 

            If I seemed a little sharp, I am sorry, as I have often had to explain to people that yes it is pretty and peaceful, at times.  But you cannot just let the kids loose.  They must be watched like a hawk.  It is more dangerous than a city street if you do not know it, and the places they are not allowed, strictly enforced. 

            But yes it is a riot of fun also, and a great experience as well.  And like I said before, I grew up in the city, and would not trade my life for the world.  Cathy

          39. Josefly | | #51

            "Sorry Friend if my reply seemed a little short tempered! I was going to edit it after I posted but got called away to bring wood in for the woodstove. "No explanation necessary - I wasn't offended in the least. Y'all have made the life sound wonderful, but I'm aware of the trade-offs - at least intellectually if not from experience. Still, I hope those delightful stories keep coming.

          40. miatamomma | | #44

            Rubanesque-sized is a much nicer word to use instead of "plus-sized" to describe either yourself or someone else.  Thanks for using it.

            Sue

          41. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #46

            You are most welcome Sue.  I have found it to be a pleasing description, that rolls off the tongue nicely.  I always found plus-sized to be some what confusing myself.  Plus size,  Plus what?  And it is not even descriptive, nor very uplifting.  I vote we change it.   Cathy

          42. damascusannie | | #39

            What else? How 'bout cockleburr grenades. The day we were moving onto the farm, some friends were helping us move in, along with my parents and my in-laws (NOT a good idea!) Anyway, our kids and our friends' children decided to have a cockleburr fight. I don't know if you know what these are, but if I tell you that they inspired Velcro, you'll have some idea of how they work. The kids had the wonderfully creative idea (NOT!) of making grenades from hands-full of burrs to throw at each other. My father-in-law came in the house to tell ME that I should be watching the kids more closely, even though the fight was taking place right under my husband's nose. Then my mother-in-law chewed me out when I scolded the kids for it! I had to cut the burrs out of the girls' hair and Matt's mom had to shave his head because they had gotten so imbedded in his naturally curly hair.

          43. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #40

            ROTFL  You are gonna make me pee my pants!  Are your kids related to mine?  or are kids just kids? 

              The Girls used to go help DH with chores at night, even at a young age, and then when they were done, would help throw down the hay from the big round bales.  If DH was in a good humor, he sometimes would let them blow off steam on really cold nights up there letting them play.  They had a rope swing, and the bale wagon to play with, and would make forts from the small straw bales. 

            One night, he had a calf dropping, and needed straw.  It was about midnight.  He climbed up to get the bales from the back of the mow.  It is not well lit, and had forgotten his flashlight.  Suddenly, he felt something brush across his face.  He reached up, and got tangled in a piece of baler twine that was tied between two large haybales.  He turned a bit, and got tangled in some more, tripped, and fell, getting tangled in a literal spiderweb of balertwine.  It was tied to the bales, the rafters, the strawbales, the bale wagon, everything!  He ripped what he could apart, fortunately he always carrys a pen knife, and grabbed two straw bales.  He couldn't lift them!  They were tied together!  And then tied to the other straw bales!  By this time he was swearing a blue cloud!  He couldn't even move!  Then he started to laugh.  He had stumbled into the girls "Fort" in the hay mow!  No wonder they wanted to spend so much time up there!  It took the girls two nights to cut and wrap the twine up, but they missed a bit, and Dad had to be careful to check to see if the bales were still tied together before moving them all winter! 

          44. MaryinColorado | | #49

            Those kids must've had a blast!  So creative!  That's one I've never heard, bet they made wonderful grenades!  Bet the one who had his head shaved will never forget.  Loved the reference to velcro. 

            My dogs have had their share of cockleburs and haircuts, somehow, my kids avoided getting them in their hair.  As far as I know anyway....

            Edited 11/8/2008 12:59 am by MaryinColorado

          45. damascusannie | | #50

            They were (and are) pretty creative--six girls with rampant imaginations and 100 acres to play on, they had a lot of fun. Plus we had a huge house at that time with one giant room just for them to play in and a mom who didn't mind them making messes in it. About four times a year I'd threaten to come in with a shovel and a box of garbage bags and "clean' and they'd get all panicky and pick everything up and it would look good for about a nano-second. They also attempted to "float down the river" on the ice floes in the ditch one spring. Naturally, the youngest one fell off her floe and had to come squishing up to the house to dry off. Years later they told me the story of the time the waterway was running hard and fast behind the house, creating a temporary river of spring run-off water. They put their youngest sister (poor Julie was always the lab rat!) in one of their plastic sleds and shoved her out into the current to "harvest wild rice". ( Don't ask me how they knew about wild rice, since the oldest was only about 8 at the time!) I guess they got pretty excited when they lost hold of the rope and the current started taking her down the ravine! They managed to rescue her on their own, and thank God none of them were hurt or drowned. Honestly, I don't think I was a careless mother; it just never occurred to me to tell them not to send their sister down the river on a sled! The experience was terrifying enough for everyone that they never tried it again. Later that spring, a child in the next town was drowned when she slipped while wading in the normally shallow creek that was at flood-stage due to the heavy snow melt. Some of our favorite books are those written by Patrick F. McManus, an outdoor humorist who has a column in Outdoor Life. Anyway, our favorite McManus stories are those about his childhood in Idaho. We'd take turns reading them out loud on butchering days and I swear my kids thought they were "how-to" manuals! Annie in Wisconsin, USA
            ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
            ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
            See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

            Edited 11/8/2008 9:56 am by damascusannie

          46. MaryinColorado | | #52

            Oh so many rich and wonderful memories you have!  Your children were so blessed to grow up in such a natural healthy environment.  It really stimulates the imagination to have all that "raw material".  I hope you wrote a journal or will write down some of these for your children and future family to share!  Thanks so much for sharing a little piece of wonder! 

            (I was the "lab rat" too, so I can relate to little Julie!)  My mother, now in her 80's loves to tell stories about raising us, we have "shocked" her with a few admissions through the years too.  Mary

          47. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #53

            I am so glad my crew did not read those books!  They imagined enough trouble on their own.

            Our creek is a runs year round, 1 1/2 feet deep, spring fed, and COLD.  Even on the hottest days, it runs about 50F.  And it runs fast.  So we pile rocks around the culvert bridge to keep it washing out every spring.  We have been doing this for years as we pick rocks from the fields.  There is quite a pile on both sides, but mainly on the upriver side. 

            One hot dry summer day, the girls and their younger cousins and some friends went back to the culvert bridge to go fishing.  There are a few suckers and brookies that breed there.  They might catch a few small fry.  But the kids mainly like to play around the culvert as the water is cool and shallow on a hot day, and the rocks are fun to climb on, and sit on and just hang out.  The culvert is large enough to play in and is cool also. 

            Well I guess while they were playing around there, a few rocks got knocked down into the middle of the creek, and someone had the bright idea, "Let's build a dam."  They built a 4 foot dam in front of the culvert by knocking rocks off the culvert.  This backed up the water into the neighbour's cornfield and flooded it.  They were not too impressed.   It took  DH all day in 4 1/2 feet of freezing cold water to remove all the rocks by hand.    Cathy

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