Monday, 29 June 2015

Monday Makers!#45 and my humble review of some quilting machines

Hiya!
Last week, I wrote briefly about my visit to the Sydney Quilt and Craft Fair. Today I want to share a little more about the quilting machines I tried. This will be a lengthy post; so, if you want to link up your projects, just scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Whenever I go to a quilt and craft fair, sewing and quilting machine booths are the ones I run to first. Before I get too confused among all the other booths selling all sorts of colourful fabrics, threads, craft supplies and etc, I go to every single sewing/quilting machine booth and try them if I can. I also try to go in early to make sure I have enough time for everything. This time, however, I only got to spend two hours;so, rather than checking out every machine brand, I went to the ones I had a particular interest in.

The first booth was Handi Quilter's and the machine was the beautiful Sweet Sixteen. My quilty friend Mon owns one and she introduced me to hers a few weeks ago. She taught me all the how-tos and let me play with it as long as I wanted. Because I wasn't new to it, I knew what to expect and it certainly didn't fail to deliver.
This machine is so easy and nice to quilt with. It does 1500 stitches per minute and the speed is fully adjustable. It has a beautiful, large space which makes small projects a breeze to quilt and larger projects very easy and manageable. It runs so smoothly with very little noise and you feel like your quilt underneath is just floating in the air!
Do you see the intricate design that I quilted???? Naaah, joking, I didn't do that. LOL
If you later want to move to a long arm machine, Sweet Sixteen can be converted into a long arm very easily. Since my first encounter with my friend's machine, I just can't get it out of my mind. If I had some disposable money, I wouldn't even think twice and would just buy it.

Then I moved to the Juki booth. 
Juki had its TL-2200QVP (Quilt Virtuoso Pro) on display (as well as TL 98). I had a little session with this machine too. I am not going into the technical features of it since you can find them on the internet. Here is my experience with it. 
I found the stitching quite noisy and also it didn't feel as smooth as the S16 either. It felt like the machine was somehow resisting me. There is a clear, hard plastic plate/shield just in front of the needle which I found quite distracting. It rather blurred my vision and hurt my eyes a little, which might be due to me being slightly longsighted. Having said that, this shield can be removed by unscrewing the screws. The booth also didn't provide me with a clean, unused piece of quilt sandwich even though they had many pieces (not because they were being nasty, they were very friendly indeed). It was stitched to death all over and I struggled to see what I was doing, where I was going... The machine was certainly strongly built and a very high quality but I didn't enjoy quilting with it.
I had to concentrate hard while quilting.
Then I tried the TL 98P. I won't say much much about it; it was a dream to sew with. I read probably every customer review available on the internet. I haven't come up with one single negative comment. After trying and seeing it myself, I can say with no doubt that this machine is a work horse. Being able to sew 8-9 layers of denim was quite impressive and the machine didn't even blink once.

I also wanted to try a couple of long arm quilting machines too. The first one I played was HQ Avante 18". 
I didn't ask much about its technical features; what you can't get is the experience and this was what I went for. 
I only tried quilting circles/pebbles because I was wondering how making circular movements were going to feel; smooth and easy or not quite circle but squarish and not very smooth. When I started quilting, it was difficult to have a perfectly round shape; the machine was kind of resisting. When the representative lady asked how I was doing, I told her exactly the same thing. She said that the machine was on stitch regulator and it might have been the issue. Surprisingly, it was the issue; as soon as she switched it off, that resistance disappeared and making circles was so fun and much easier! I loved it! The only thing that interfered with my performance was my belly LOL. I shared a short video on my instagram if you want to see me in action.
Quilting with a long arm is very different when compared to moving the fabric underneath the machine. It gives you a different kind of freedom. You certainly have a wider vision of the area you are quilting without the interruption of your project bunched up underneath the machine's throat or at the back or on your lap. But I can't say that I prefer a long arm to a sit-down or domestic machine or vice versa ; as I said, they are all different and the experience you gain is different too.

The last machine I tried was a Nolting. Unfortunately, I can't say much about this machine as I didn't spend enough time quilting with it. I also can't remember the model and don't have a photo of it. The only thing I can say is that neither was the poor machine nor the poor representative was a having a good day. The machine got stuck several times- that turned out that there was so much tangled bobbin thread underneath the fabric. The salesman tried to clean them crazily by pulling/tearing them. Then the bobbin thread ran out, and a few other things happened. I didn't want to push the poor guy too much as he already looked super tired; I thanked him and left. I hope he got a good rest on that night.

There you go! Here is my experience with the above mentioned machines. 
I also want to say that I am by no means a quilting or quilting/sewing machine expert. These are my personal views and your experience might be totally different. And it is totally fine.

Now to Monday Makers!
What do you have to share with us this week? Come and link up!
1.Your project can be anything you start on that Monday as long as it makes you move and be active and creative: a new quilt, a knitting project, scrap booking, cross-stitching, baking-we don't mind yummy recipes!, a gardening project, painting your house!, tidying up the pantry!...This is your Monday and you are the maker of the day!
2. Grab the button from the side bar or put a link back to me in your Monday post.
3. Click on "add your link" and just fill in the required areas. 
4. Please link to your specific post, not to your homepage: We would like to find your post easily.
5. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is http://instagram.com/hugabitquilts) Please hashtag #MondayMakers!
6. Please take time to visit other links and leave a sweet comment: We love comments!
7. Share the photos of your finished Monday projects in your next link up- I am hoping you will come back again!: Who doesn't love a sweet, finished project or a "before-after" photo?







Monday, 22 June 2015

Monday Makers!#44

Hi everyone!
How was your week/end? I had a pretty busy week and a weekend.
I want to tell you a little bit about my weekend, but first, I want to thank you for all your nice comments for last week's 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop post. I will catch up on responding to your comments and visiting your blogs this week. I also want to take the opportunity to welcome my new followers! Your support means a lot to me. I hope to see you visiting my blog again and again!
Ok, now to the weekend.
Last Saturday, I attended a festival at the Blue Mountains, Sydney with my jewellery stall. It was a pretty full on day with a very early set up in minus temperatures and a late finish due to the number of stalls that attended. My lovely sister-in-law Rhia came to help me for the day. Luckily we were all rugged up and from time to time, we had a chance to warm up under the gentle winter sun.
The biggest excitement for me was the Sunday. Me and Rhia went to the Sydney Quilt and Craft Fair. It was so lively, full of all kinds of fabric and craft booths, oh and sewing and quilting machines! Because it was the last day of the fair, it wasn't so crowded; therefore, we were able to spend as much time as we wanted at the booths. Also, I had a chance to meet the lovely Molly Sparkles and try my dream sewing machine Juki TL 98p. Ok, I have to admit that the model I want to buy is TL 2010Q which is not sold in Australia. But, seriously, the only difference between the two is that the 2010 model has speed control. After trying the 98P in person and talking to Molly, I am totally sold!
I also tried several sit down and long arm quilting machines. I will write more about my experience in my next post. If you want to have a sneak peak, I shared on Instagram a few pictures and a short video of me quilting on a long arm. My IG name is hugabitquilts.
A quick photo with the sparkling Molly :-)
I also bought a couple of things like thread and some fat quarters from Allison Glass, which I could not resist! I will show them in another post as well.
Now to Monday Makers!
What projects did you finish last week? Have you started something new today? Come and show them to us!

1.Your project can be anything you start on that Monday as long as it makes you move and be active and creative: a new quilt, a knitting project, scrap booking, cross-stitching, baking-we don't mind yummy recipes!, a gardening project, painting your house!, tidying up the pantry!...This is your Monday and you are the maker of the day!
2. Grab the button from the side bar or put a link back to me in your Monday post.
3. Click on "add your link" and just fill in the required areas. 
4. Please link to your specific post, not to your homepage: We would like to find your post easily.
5. To link an Instagram photo, click the Instagram icon at the bottom of the link-up screen and use the URL of your IG feed as the link (for example, my URL is http://instagram.com/hugabitquilts) Please hashtag #MondayMakers!
6. Please take time to visit other links and leave a sweet comment: We love comments!
7. Share the photos of your finished Monday projects in your next link up- I am hoping you will come back again!: Who doesn't love a sweet, finished project or a "before-after" photo?



Monday, 15 June 2015

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop and Monday Makers! #43

Quantum Quilters
Welcome to 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop! 
Last year, I participated in Plum and June's blog hop for new quilt bloggers. It was such a nice experience for me which taught me a lot about quilting and blogging but also allowed me to make new friends who share the same passion with me. 
When Quilting Jetgirl, together with Meadow Mist Designs, Late Night Quilter and Childlike Fascination announced that they were hosting the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers, I decided to participate for all the same reasons.
Today is the first week of the blog hop and at the end of my post, you will find the other bloggers who are joining in the fun.

Let me start with telling you a little bit about myself.
My name is Nurdan, aka Hug-a-Bit Quilts. I was born and raised in Turkey, met my (Aussie) other half there as well, got married and followed him to Australia to start a completely new chapter in my life. We have been married for six years and have a three year old boy who is excitedly waiting for his baby sister's/brother's arrival in 20 weeks! Eeep!! I work part-time as executive and program manager at one of the learned Academy's in Australia. I love listening to music, catching up on my favourite Turkish soap opera (but currently addicted to Orange is the New Black!!), reading, visiting my favourite blogs, and of course quilting, which is quite difficult to find time to do recently. We will be moving to Buenos Aires early March 2016 for three years. I am so looking forward to this for many reasons, one of which is having much more quilting time!!
I have always been a crafty person; I have tried lots of different things when I was in Turkey through community learning centres. Among these are antique painting, silk painting, hand and machine embroidery, some unique traditional Turkish embroidery...
My interest in arts and craft has always been something I had inside which never required encouragement from my parents or others. That's how I learned knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching and sewing. I remember, as a child, sitting next to my mum while she was doing machine embroidery and just watching her and asking lots of how's and why's. It always felt like a therapy.

How I started quilting and why I quilt
I had no idea about what a quilt was until we came to Australia and visited one of my husband’s friends. I saw all those gorgeous wall hangings and beautiful throws on the sofas. The lady of the house told me that she made all those QUILTS. I developed an immediate love and that love has grown more with the first quilt I made for my son when I was expecting him.
These two are my first and still my favourite quilts; they are so special to me as they remind me of my baby's first days and the start of my quilting journey.
See how brave I was that I free motion quilted my first quilt?!
I designed this cute owl quilt. I had no idea about Y seams those days but this quilt required lots as the blocks are not log cabins even though they look like it. Again, something I just thought could work if I did it that way.
 And here are a few pictures of my more recent finishes.
Scattered Colours Table Runner
Layers of Charm
Very proud of this quilt as I designed the quilting pattern myself. Just love how it turned out.
My son's quilt-in progress                       
You can find more photos of these projects and other projects on my blog.
People ask me why I make quilts; isn't it taking too much of my time, isn't it a waste of time??? (instead I can sleep for example-suggestion!). I make quilts because I, first of all, like making things. During the last few years, I found that sewing and quilt making make me feel relaxed; it eases my ever-talking mind, allows me to express myself. It is keeping me mentally active and healthier which then leads to a better physical health. Playing with colours and fabrics is my toy which I can never get bored of playing with. What would I ask more?
I can't finish my projects quickly because of other commitments; this used to stress me a lot. Now I just enjoy the process and be grateful that I have a spare room in my house where I can be just me, close the door when I finish and come back to it whenever I want to. This is also my quilting tip to you all. Don't just rush and finish things for the sake of finishing them, don't stress yourself, enjoy the process.

Now I want to tell you a few things about me that not many people know!
1. I was singing at a pub when I was a university student in Turkey to pay my costs. I had quite a large group of audience!
2. I received an offer from a recording company in Turkey. After many discussions and initial recordings of a few songs, I turned it down because of the cost of the whole thing.
3. I can play any musical instrument after trying a few times- this is being able to play a tune, not symphonies from Mozart LOL
4. The story of my blog's name: I finished my second quilt for my son and showed it to my husband. He loved it so much and praised me which made me very happy. Immediately following this conversation, I said "Come on, let's hug a bit." and we cuddled on the sofa. That moment on, I decided that this was the name. It took a year to start my blog but I never gave up on the name.
5. Can't think of anything else to say; I must be quite a "sharing" person LOLL

Still reading? Great and thank you very much for stopping by!! Now that you know a little bit more about me and my quilting story, I want to finish with a question: Why do you quilt and what do you like about quilting blogs?
Please also be sure to check out all the other bloggers in this week's blog hop and do not forget to link up with Monday Makers!