HH all my fellow ME’ers….I’ve been SHOPPING up a storm!!!!!….
Actually it started right there in Orlando at Ann’s Community Circle the day BEFORE I won the machine last April… and it sort of hasn’t stopped….but I THINK, finally, I am getting really close to having what I need - in bulk - (& actually soooo much more!!!!!) to seriously “ get started.” I now need to STAY PUT for awhile & ME up a storm!!!
(For those who didn’t read my last blog, I was attending summer school in more than one place and didn’t sew a stitch….or blog a word.)
Since my last ‘book/blog’ was extra extra long and wordy…I’m giving you a break. Today’s blog is mostly pictures. (Well that might not turn out to be possible, but I will at least try!!)
Some of the items you can get @ Ann the Gran’s store (ex. The BadgeMaster stabilizer that I wrote about has been added to Ann’s store.) It is a wonderful product for doing ‘lace.” Ann carries the Thread Pilot too and some great scissors. I just got in the mail the Gingher 6” Applique Scissors Knife Edge that one of you suggested as s favorite. I just used them to cut the thread making the cherry design on my PE700 to top our canned cherries made earlier today. (And total oops….I made matching a matching red thread bobbin because of my ‘lace’ in my head lesson I guess…and did NOT remember to use BOBBIN thread. Will one of you experts tell me WHY I am suppose to NOT use the same thread????
I’ve purchased several items from Wendy (my instructor) @ the SewingRoom & the Mill End store both in Beaverton, Oregon and NW Quilts in Sherwood..my old stompin’ grounds…. and some additonal big items from ‘on-line’ stores.
All you ‘newbies” like me (& golden oldies for that matter) know what I am talking about as far as ‘setting up” & starting a ‘new hobby.” - WHERE DOES one begin/ WHAT should I buy!!??? What are the basics??? (The same thing happened with water colors this last grad class…but that’s another story!)
I REALLY really appreciated everyone letting me know what your favorite gadgets were too !!! It helped a lot!!! Ann’s store has some of these items I have pictures of today. Also, if you are reading this for the 1st time - since I “won my machine” - I did not get ‘free lessons’ that usually come with a purchase. I think that it is super important especially if you are completely new at it. Just find a good teacher. You CAN find knowledgeable people to help you. For some ,sitting down with the manual is just fine. For me, I am all for a WARM body helping me & preferably right beside me.….(It helps reduce my frustration.) I did buy a phone and phone head set for ‘long distance learning!” Pat I will be calling you and any others who’d be willing to share your knowledge.
Those of you who are in the market for an embroidery machine, I think it’s super important to meet owners/instructors and shop around for a store you like. It can be a great experience or just the opposite.
My friend Kitty who is a total die hard quilter enthusiast …gave me a piece of wonderful advice which I somehow ignored initially….but OH so how true it was…She said, “Cathy, go around to different shops and see how they treat you. Get a ‘feel’ for the place.” She goes where she feels ‘part of the family.”
Well I was originally ‘locked into thinking BROTHER machine only” and had tunnel vision period. I somehow had my thinking set that I also had to go to the closest Brother dealership too. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the close local Brother wanted to charge $75 per hour for lessons. It seemed really high. (As a professional teacher with a gazillion years of college credits and 28 years of experience, I NEVER made that an hour.) So, to be honest, I felt that quote was WAY way over priced.)….
When you consider I was a brand new newbie and would be buying hundreds of dollars worth of items in the future….(which I have since done but not from them.) it was short sighted in my opinion. Anyway, I now order items from other Brother dealerships in Portland, Oregon City and even Missouri!!!
Oh, another biggie that might be helpful to you….. I was also very shocked to find out the difference in prices that different dealerships charge for the very SAME machines!!!! (It may hold true for other brands too..I don’t know.) For example, the top of the line Brother model was $6,000 just down the road (@ that $75 an hr place) - which I ended up not getting right before I left for Orlando because of a glitch to finance it for 90 days – ( which turned out to be a GREAT blessing as I won Ann’s machine etc.) …Anyway, it turns out that if I DID want to get that same machine… I can get it for under $4,000 from Mike in a Michigan’s Brother dealership!!!! Holy cow…..so NEWBIES….shop around…& don’t let someone pressure you into a fast buy or assume all stores charge the same amount. They don’t!!!! I initially went in for a PE700 demonstration just prior to leaving for Orlando…and ended up ALMOST ended up paying $6,000!!! for their top model.
I had assumed ‘same model machines’ would be about the same price, but they’re not!!! (A $2,000 difference….are you kidding me!!!???) There is a brand new Brother machine coming out in a couple of months ….not sure what it will do and what ‘bells and whistles’ it will have!!! I’m sure just great & I will love hearing about it from any of you who do end up getting one!!!
(Oh any visitors to Ann’s site… you might be very pleased (& surprised) at the price of the PE700 @ Ann’s store compared to ANY on-line Brother store etc that I found that carrying the same model.) I am getting a bit more educated in machine embroidery…and FOR ME, I STILL love the idea of having a ‘dedicated embroidery machine.” I DO now see the reason to have a sewing machine, but having the PE700 is FUN!!!!
Another idea is to buy a good used machine if you are starting out. My sweet Wendy at Pfaff is willing to sell me a great floor model at a really great price too on one of her favorite machines….(which still may happen down the road) but for now I am trying to just learn my Brother. But my point here is….Don’t be afraid to shop around.
Find people who are nice and supportive & that you make a connection with!!!
I LOVE to shop and will continue to do so, but now I also really look at how I am treated- be it for a $5 purchase or $500 & perhaps $5,000 or more down the road….Ok…enough….off that soapbox….
My biggest new purchase……TA- DA…..is my new ‘other Brother SE270 ” machine. It is almost a twin to my PE700, but it is the DISNEY model YEAH…DOUBLE YEAH!!!!! ( Well actually the newest and somewhat more expensive purchase was the Dell laptop - so that I can EVENTUALLY download what I bought in Orlando (Alphabet Express and its buddy…but I’ll write about that in another month or 3 . Maybe a whole blog could be dedicated to just that. I have YET to download one purchased design…etc….SIGH….talk about putting the cart before the horse….gee…how about a warehouse of carts before the horse!
My new Brother is also is a “sewing machine”. With a gazillion grand kids you can see the ‘WHY’ of a Disney machine….(what an excuse that is…. because … …I TOTALLY LOVE Disney myself!!) (Just yesterday we had 6 grandchildren picking fresh raspberries in our yard and one had a Disney shirt on….I asked them all…How many of you like Mickey Mouse?….They ALL did!!!….My point exactly. (I actually met Walt Disney accidentally when I was 5 or 6 right there at Disneyland.) He was as sweet and kind (and offered me a bite of his chicken leg) as you saw him on TV. I have been hooked ever since. I have a darling Mickey Mouse watch I wear a LOT and I have visited Tokyo Disney & the ones in Florida and California…Anyway….back to embroidery…
Since E has been helping me since day one and he ENJOYS MEing too…We now have side by side machines!!!! Yes!!!! and we can use the SAME hoops & bobbins!!!!!!! - and for now I really need “SAME!!!! “ (Once I get the basics down, I am open to a more expensive machine….but for now I am ONE very happy camper & have more than enough stuff to keep me busy.
My next largest purchase was a steam press iron under $250. I read Ann’s site and several others on the internet & decided I wanted a large (even though it takes up space) steam presser so I can iron several blocks of material quickly. (I bought one entire bolt of black Kona cotton so I can FINALLY stitch out each ‘ built in sample’ now for both Brother machines.) Yeah!!!! I also bought a bolt of black stabilizer to go with it, so I should be set for quite awhile. I will let you know how the iron works etc in a later post.
All I can say again is that FOR ME…I really just wanted 1 type of material (oops fabric), 1 machine, 1 stabilizer, 1 needle & thread brand ( loved Madeira colors) 1 hoop, 1 design company, “1 everything” …. so that I could minimize the variables & that I had a really good chance of ‘mastering’ the basics while trying to learn to even thread a machine. I SO wanted to keep it simple…I did not.
I ended up NOT going that route….but now I am going back to go back to GROUND ZERO and will start FROM the beginning and approach it as if I had JUST started, only this time E will be beside me and we will stitch together with our 2 new basic Brother machines. I can hardly wait.
E is away clamming in Alaska, but once he’s back we will take those machines down to the ALMOST completed new art studio and stitch away, stitch away, stitch away….(Can’t you just hear Enya singing that instead of Sail Away which is just about my theme song…I want it played as my casket is leaving the church.)
OK ME’ers I promise – I’ll do more projects (for beginners.) I will do a few more new-for-me projects and will write those up for you too. In the meantime, the other ladies are blogging up a storm with such GREAT projects, helps, photos and ideas!!! They are the experts and can help you a lot!!!! For now I’m here just journaling my baby steps, my shopping sprees, etc & walks down memory lane. I really don’t know if I am helping you much, but perhaps I can save you some $ from my experiences.
This is a good time too to thank those of you for taking the time to write me! I really appreciate it!
Have a really GREAT August everyone!!!!
Chatty Cathy in Hillsboro