Ask The Readers: Sewing Machines

A guest post from Kayla…

I love reading Mom’s Ask Jo posts, because of course mother knows best, but she has the best readers who give advice in the comments! I found myself searching for information online and then I realized I have log-in credentials to make my own post here on Mom’s blog!

I’ll summarize: I’m looking for sewing machine advice.

I’m doing a heavy overhaul of my basement sewing area. I have a large space in our unfinished basement but it spills over into the entire basement. It has to hold ALL of my hobbies as well as my Etsy stock and shipping supplies.

I enjoy sewing and I love older machines but I just don’t have the space for them all. When I sew I tend to make clothing and crafts more than quilts. I’d like to have the capability to make more heavy-duty things from upholstery fabric.

Let’s take a tour of my machines!

I used a machine of Mom’s until I was 19 and purchased my own. I had worked at Pine Needles in Cresco and was devoted to the Bernina brand. Pine Needles (Now Inspired to Sew) was moving to a new location and had great prices on floor models.

I picked an Artista 230 and added a walking foot. It was a great purchase at the time.

  • It was the highest end of the Artista models
  • It had a wide stitch variety with computer selection, but not full on computer touch screen
  • It could use the same specialty feet as my Mom’s higher-end machine
  • It was adorable and lightweight, and I was moving around a lot and didn’t have a sewing room.

This is usually my go-to machine. But I’m considering a different one for a few reasons.

  • It’s pretty finicky. I have to carefully choose a bobbin and top threads that work together. It needs new needles all of the time or it skips a stitch. Sometimes it patches Carhartt and sometimes it eats the beginning of a triangle. It is unpredictable.
  • I can hear the computer running. I know this is not normal, but it drives me nuts. I can’t relax when I use it.
  • It’s pretty slow! My students used Bernettes that stitched at a much higher speed, and I love the speed of Mom’s Grand Quilter.

Here’s what I’m looking for.

  • NO computers.
  • Metal parts.
  • Open to new or vintage
  • High speed

Here’s a tour of my other machines.

I have a New Home treadle. I keep this as an end table in my bedroom and break it out occasionally. This is my main workhorse to do ridiculous things like sewing cardboard mailers for my Etsy shop. But it is a lot to get out, takes a lot of oil to get it running smoothly, and is pretty slow. I’ll keep it forever, but more for sentimental than practical reasons.

I have a featherweight. This baby isn’t going anywhere! It was an anniversary gift from my husband and I love that I have it in common with Mom. She is my little sweetie for quilt piecing. Again, adorable, but not super practical for utility.

I have a Singer 717. You might recognize her as “Mildred” because she is from Mom. I love this machine and it fills a lot of my requirements, but it takes up too much space in the cabinet. I know it could come out of the cabinet, but that seems a pity if there was someone else in the world to enjoy her. She’s up for sale on Facebook.

When I was photographing in the driveway, I chatted with my neighbor. He used to do upholstery and knows a lot about machines. I told him I’m considering a commercial machine and making space in my basement. He offered a machine of his, but I haven’t heard much about it and am asking for advice!

So, dear readers, help a girl out!

Here are my questions…

  • My neighbor’s machine is a Montgomery Ward J1969. Do you have any experience with this kind of machine? Does it fit my wish list?
  • Do you sew on a machine you love that fits my wish list? Tell me about it!

Thanks so much for your help!

I Come to the Garden Alone While the Dew is Still on the Roses… Alternate Sampler Wording

A guest post from Kayla…

Mom recently posted in a cross-stitch update about some modifications she plans to make to Teresa Kogut’s sampler design “In The Garden.” Instead, her sampler will read:

I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses

This verse has special meaning to our family because the song was played at the funerals of Mom’s parents and her like-a-sister niece. She is also adding their initials and the year.

The post resonated with a lot of readers, so I made a PDF of the alterations to share.

Click here to access the PDF 

Mom plans to follow the stitch-along #stitchteresakogut put on by debora.carroll.stitcher, 7daystitch and mama_yoyoyoder on Instagram. It starts on June 12 and is divided into monthly segments for a 2022 finish. (But I did include a chart for 2023 in the PDF, just in case!)

Follow the hashtag, and tag Mom (jo_joscountryjunction) on Instagram if you use this chart!

Support Ukrainian makers with digital Etsy sales

Kayla and I were talking cross stitch and she asked if she could write a guest post here on the blog.  I said sure…

A guest post from Kayla…

I saw a great idea on TikTok… You can support the people of Ukraine by making digital purchases from their Etsy shops.

Once a shop owner uploads a file and makes a listing, the item can be sold and downloaded continually with no additional work from them. So even though their lives are in turmoil, their Etsy shop can keep working away for them.

Think of things you might already purchase digitally: Printable art, planner pages, etc, and filter results by location to Ukraine.

I did this with cross-stitch patterns and rounded up a few of my favorites to share.

XCrossStitchPatternX has a great variety of Scandi-inspired designs.

A trio of folk ornaments:

Scandinavian cross stitch pattern Advent calendar Nordic cross image 1

A cute folk rooster design

Folk ornament cross stitch pattern Scandinavian cross stitch image 1

And choosing a single pattern from her Norwegian-inspired category was far too difficult, so this set of five fits the bill.

SET OF 5 Scandinavian cross stitch pattern Nordic cross stitch image 1

It’s hard to choose favorites from StitchyPrincess. The shop has many whimsical seasonal samplers.

This bunny and carrot design would work up quickly for Easter.

Easter cross stitch pattern PDF bunny primitive sampler spring image 1

And it never occurred to me to need a cross stitch sampler for my bathroom, but this one made me consider it.

Cute Bathroom Cross Stitch Pattern PDF / funny tiny simple image 1

FireplaceHobby is a shop full of biscornu patterns. They come together in such interesting ways.

Like this reindeer design with trees that meet in the middle

Rudolf Cross stitch pattern Christmas Biscornu PDF CHART image 1

Or this spider design for Halloween

Halloween Spider Biscornu PDF CHART Cross Stitch Pattern / image 3

Or a set of three Christmas designs if you can’t settle on one favorite.

CHRISTMAS set of 3 PDF CHARTS Cross Stitch Pattern / biscornu image 1

Consider making a purchase from these makers and comment below if you have found digital items that other readers might like. It’s such a small thing to do, but as an Etsy seller myself I know how much I appreciate every notification for every sale. Let’s light these folks’ phones up with sales and messages of support.

I’m also adding a link to The Quilted Twins’ website HERE.  In this post Becky, the missionary in Poland, tells about what she is doing with the money that has been donated so far to help the refugees coming to Poland from Ukraine.

Kayla’s Nativity Sets

Over the weekend wasn’t feeling well so Kayla has been so sweet and took the initiative to write a few blog posts for me.  I so appreciate it.  No worries…I am feeling better now.  The meds I told you about in yesterday’s post are really doing the trick.  Thanks for your thoughts and prayers and messages.  It’s so appreciated-as is Kayla!!  Now here’s Kayla…

At the beginning of Advent, I joked in an Instagram post that Jesus’ arrival would be a true miracle, as he was truly lost. Does anyone else hide Baby Jesus until Christmas morning?

Not to worry, I have several others. I thought I’d show them off, as we didn’t host any holiday guests this year.

First is Jasper’s Star from Afar set. It comes with a simple book explaining each item. It shares a game to play throughout Advent, but that could work with any set. Parents hide the star piece around the home. The children find it and bring their wise men to sit with the star. Eventually, the star shows the wise men to the rest of the nativity set.

Jasper also has a Little People set which is hard to find, but that he was gifted by a blog reader. (Thanks again!) I have looked for them in the past and think they come in different versions: One is an Advent calendar and one has just the “main characters.” He loves this set and it goes nicely with his favorite movie, The Star, which is told from the perspective of animals.

This sweet little set still had the $.25 sticker on the bottom. It was such a find! Christmas for me is so much about family traditions, which for me means Scandinavian influences. This set looks right at home among Dala horses. It’s tiny and fits in the kitchen windowsill of my small home.

My treasure is my Jim Shore set. Spencer gave it to me for our first dating anniversary, 14 years ago now. 

There is some artistic license taken, definitely, as Baby Jesus is wrapped in a beautiful quilt, and check out that rose applique on Mary’s sleeves! But again, for me, Christmas is about family, and family to me means cozy quilts. 

I imagine I will live in a bigger house one day and it will be very hard to not have a set on every flat surface. I’ll be back again to share my Christmas ornaments when I take them down for Epiphany. Many of them are mini-nativities.

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