14 October 2015

New sewing things!

My new-ish serger
So, back in August, my parents came to visit. They brought the above with them. It's a serger. To be accurate, it's a Janome MyLock 204D. It was my grandmother's.

I finally gathered the courage and time to pull out it earlier this week and try working with it. The manual is poorly assembled (Language A on page 1, Language B on page 2, Language C on page 3, Language A on page 4, etc), and not as easy to follow as I would like, but I did okay. I've determined that I find it easiest to manage when the cutting blade is disengaged, and I haven't tinkered too much with the tension settings yet (that did become necessary, though, as E. saw the dials and immediately went for them).

When I was a kid, sewing with Grandma, she would usually handle the serger, or she would let me use it with her guiding my hands so I wouldn't slice my fingers on the blade. If the machine she used then had the option to disengage the blade, I never saw her use it. It went very fast and it was very noisy, and I was a little scared of it. She offered me that one when she upgraded to this one, but I was living in a studio apartment at university then and just the regular sewing machine was plenty for me to handle.

This serger doesn't seem as intimidating as the old one did. It's newer, a little lighter (still heavier than my sewing machine), and the threading guide makes more sense. It's still noisy and fast, as that seems to be typical of sergers, and it does the one thing really well. It serges. There's a few other things it can do--serging and gathering at the same time, pintucking, some special hemming options. There are a few other feet I could purchase for it so it would make piping and do beads and gather more easily, but as is, it does what I need it to do.

I set it up on top of my dresser so I can stand and sew at the same time. This option actually works well with my standard machine, too, I've discovered, which means the backache from hunching over my sewing can be a thing of the past. Plus, standing desk. It does go back into the box between uses. I have a climbing toddler, after all.

I used the serger to finish edges for a dress for E., and the next project is either a t-shirt (to see how the serger handles the inside seams) or a pair of jeans (top-stitching and precision sewing on the regular machine, inside seams that need reinforcing on the serger). It's going to take a little practice to get used to using a different machine, but it's not nearly as scary as it was in my head.

True, the serger is obviously not practical for everything. A top I have slated to make for E. next week only requires finishing on the shoulder seams, since the rest is trimmed with bias tape, so I'm going for French seams there. I don't really want to haul the serger out for everything. But it will make some of my sewing with knits a bit easier, and it gives the "how do I finish these seams?" question an additional answer to work with.

07 October 2015

I mostly keep starting posts and then not finishing them lately, which is why I haven't been blogging. The brain, it doesn't always concentrate the way I want it to. Some of that is the process of trial and error involved in finding the right combination of anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds, and some of that is just me being scatterbrained (I doubt I'm officially ADD, but there are some tendencies. Plus, I live with a man who actually does have ADD, so I'm sure some of that just gets absorbed due to living together).

So, updates: Ley Lines is still in progress. It looks like my cover artist won't be done with the new cover by my initial planned release date, but the bonus of doing this myself (and of having such a minimal following at this point) is that I can reschedule things without a hassle. So we're bumping Ley Lines to a November 30, 2015 release date, contingent on my cover artist getting the cover completed and me getting my act together and finishing stuff. Which means, of course, that I won't even be attempting NaNoWriMo this year (it's a fun idea, though, so I'm going to give it a go another time).

I haven't been blogging in part because I have been feeling unmotivated about writing for no specific reason, and I've been reading a lot more than I've been writing. The reading is good, don't get me wrong, but it does distract from the writing. Add a sometimes grouchy and always bouncy two-year-old, the aforementioned anxiety and depression, the migraines that have been showing up lately, the attempt to knit more socks to replace the ones that are falling apart, and my recent interest in Criminal Minds, and you have a world-class set of distractions. (I mean, Spencer Reid and Penelope Garcia? So distracting. I've been forced to wait for Season 2 to show up on the hold shelf at the library for me, and now I get to go pick it up tomorrow. But I will make myself do some writing before I'm allowed to watch "Fisher King, Part 2" and find out what happens).

This weekend is Thanksgiving, and as we have the largest space and the most place settings, we're hosting again. Cooking a turkey grows less frightening every year. So, on Saturday, my sisters-in-law and their partners and my mother-in-law and possibly my aunt-in-law are descending on us. I've committed to doing the pie and the cranberry sauce, J. is doing the potatoes, and we're doing the turkey together. (Wait, that looks dirtier than I thought it would...). The others are bringing assorted vegetable and side dishes and booze. And I have to make sure to have some kid juice for E. so she won't get too grumpy about not being allowed to share.

My anxieties about E.'s language development are slowly disappearing, as it seems like she adds new words all the time, and is putting them together more frequently. Her first sentence using the first person pronoun was "I poop." It's hard to express just how excited I was about that. Now I mostly get to worry about the way she climbs things. The other day, we were in the kid's section at the library, and I was reading a book. Suddenly one of the librarians calls, "Ma'am, that's dangerous!" I turn to see E. dancing on top of a table. I wasn't terribly worried, since it wasn't a high table and she does this all the time, but rules are rules, especially at the library. If there's one place I never want to get banned from, it 's the library.

So, time for me to go make a grocery list and think about getting the chutney started tomorrow. At least chutney's an easy one to make. And I have a sock toe to finish tonight, and edits to incorporate into a short story so I can actually send it out again. Time to try being productive!