(richelle with loads of junk behind her and lots of junk on either side cropped out of the photo!)
With all your sewing, what type of machine do you use?
I currently use three different sewing machines and use them all at different times depending on the project or my mood. I have a workhorse industrial machine, Richelle. She is a Riccar RD-102. I purchased her years ago used from a drapery seamstress who was getting out of the business. I didn't touch the machine for a few years after I bought it out of fear! If you search "richelle' on the sidebar, you can read about my experience getting to know her :-) Now I use her for heavy duty sewing or for things that I want to do quickly, like sewing straps or quilting. She is FAST and powerful - I've sewn through my finger more than once.
A few years ago I bought a Janome Memory Craft 4800. I mostly use this machine for sewing clothing and bags when I sew at the dining table. Richelle resides in my sewing studio, which is in the loft area of my house, so I don't always get to go up there to sew.
My latest addition is Miss Kitty, my little Hello Kitty Janome machine. I bought this to take with me to Seattle for the Dottie Angel workshop, but ended up leaving her at home. She is a 3/4 machine, which I thought would be easy to travel with, but I chickened out. For a bare bones basic machine, it works pretty well. I may have been lucky in getting a good one, but it has been well worth the money I spent on it. This was the only machine I sewed on for months.
I also have a Juki serger, but I'm still working on getting over my fears on that one.
What kind of interfacing do you use?
First off, I HATE fusible interfacings. Hate them! I can't stand how they distort the fabric and make it feel all icky. Yes, I do use them on occasion and my patterns sometimes call for them, but I try to avoid it. I think they work best in small applications or for things that need to be strong, like straps. My favorite interfacing is Pellon 926. It is a sew-in interfacing, has good body, but isn't crinkly and doesn't crease. I've mistakenly purchased Pellon 65 Extra Heavy Stabilizer, which feels like thin cardboard in my opinion - 926 is nothing like that. I used to purchase HTC or HTCW (I've seen it both ways) Ultra Firm, which is pretty much the same thing as the Pellon 926. This is my go-to interfacing for bags.
To use the sew-in, I cut out my pieces like you would any other interfacing, then attach it to the fabric at the center of the piece with straight pins.
(i hate wearing my rings around the house. they're usually on the window sill. i dusted the sill before taking this photo)
...i was wondering if you had any binding tips or tricks?
No, I wish I did! I use this technique, sewing the binging on by machine on the front, then flipping to the back and hand stitching. I tried to use this machine binding technique on Kyle's quilt, but it was a horrible fail! I definitely need more practice with that one.
This is a silly question from a newbie! I've been sewing/crafting for quite some time, but am doing my first show this Spring. Do you have top tips/suggestions for a beginner?
Strike two for me! Sorry, I've never participated in a show before. I'll have to come to you for tips if I ever decide to do a show. I've thought about it and even told myself that I was going t do a show, but I never have the time to build up enough inventory to do such a thing. Maybe one day! I think I'd really enjoy the interaction of doing a show.
I've always wondered how you take such wonderful pictures indoors and in low light.
Agh, low light! That's always a struggle. I am certainly no photography pro and still have LOADS to learn, but I'll share what works for me. First off, I never take pictures on automatic and I never use a flash. I either use aperture priority or full on manual. In either of these modes it always takes me a few shots to get it right. I usually do aperture proitory for low light and set my camera to the lowest aperture my lens will allow, which for my 50mm is 1.8 and I bump up my ISO to 800. Oh, be sure you have your camera on the correct white balance and you can always tweak the exposure if it is still too dark.
(there's never ever a shortage of laundry!!)
How do you balance it all and keep creative juices flowing?
This is easy to answer - I DON'T!! I sure hope I didn't fool you, but most of the time things are sorely out of balance. Take this past weekend for example - it was all about getting that quilt made, so the laundry, the dishes, and most everything got ignored. We ate just about every meal from a restaurant. The only way I was able to survive was that it happened to be a 3 day weekend, so I did the grocery shopping on Monday. If you came to my house right now, it would not be pretty! I have no less than 7 loads of clean laundry piled up in my bedroom waiting to be folded and put away and there are still at least 4 that need to be washed. There are dishes in the sink and you'll find dust bunnies in the corners (it is the year of the rabbit, isn't it?). Oh, and while I was busy sewing Matt decided it would be a good time to clean out the attic. It looks way better now than it did a few days ago, but there is still stuff everywhere. And my sewing room? In its' current state, it puts me on the verge of an anxiety attack. I need to do some SERIOUS clean up in there. It doesn't help that the door to the attic is in there. Believe me, the balance is always a struggle!!
(the girls's room, which needs to be properly put back together after painting their floor over the holiday)
One question: how did you become featured in different magazines/ books? Did it all follow from blogging?
Yep, it all came from blogging. I've never sought out anything. It all started with an email in my inbox.
I have a question about your process on coming up with a new bag. Do you usually just wing it and use fabric first or do you use muslin or another type of material first?
I've done both and have success and failure with both as well. I always start my bag making process on paper first - a sketch and then an actual paper pattern. If I'm feeling confident about it, I'll use good fabric first, but if I know there are still tweaks to be done, I'll use ugly stuff. My tastes in fabric have changed over the years and as tempted as I am to get rid of the old stuff, it comes in handy in testing out patterns.
(collection of prints from artists on etsy - I need to blog about this)
what blogs do you find yourself frequenting? Do you leave comments or just read and leave?
Seriously, I have over 500 subscriptions in my Google Reader (should I have admitted that?). I look at a LOT of blogs. Notice I said 'look' and not 'read'. In my reader I keep them all categorized - friends, quilts, decotating, design, yarn, etc. I'm constantly editing my feeds. Not every feed has daily posts, and many I only skim. Today, I can't really say that I have any favorites. Yes, there are those that I consider friends, who I've followed a long time and gotten to know, and I always visit there, but those usually fall in the infrequent post category. If a blog doesn't publish full content and I can't see it in my reader, I usually unsubscribe. I don't leave many comments anymore, but I'm trying to do better, especially with those who comment here.
(Mr. Snaggletooth lost a front tooth yesterday)
Favorite thing to do with the kiddos?
My favorite thing to do with my kids is to act silly. When I get in that mode I make up silly sing-song names for them and sing goofy songs. And I maybe throw in some spactic dance moves. This is when I let my up-tight self relax, which I wish I could do more often....I'm working on it.
I am about to make my first patchwork (no instructions or tutorials) and I'd like to know what do you use for other side of the pachwork? Plain fabric or another pachwork?
I'm not sure I fully understand the question - are you making a quilt? If so, I use both solid fabrics and pieced fabrics. Well now that I think about it, I'm not sure if I've ever used one solid backing on a quilt, they've always been pieced - not to the extent of a quilt top, but pieced nonetheless.
If you made it through all that, Bravo!