Monday, January 19, 2015

Which embroidery machine do I buy?

Whether you are new to the world of embroidery or you've been embroidering for years, buying a new embroidery machine can be overwhelming.  There are so many brands and models to choose from. How do you pick the right one?  The answer is: Test Drive, Test Drive, Test Drive.

Every chance you can sit down and sew/embroider on the different brands/models of machines. If you live by a dealer, visit the dealer and sit in front of the machine yourself. Ask to press the buttons and thread the machine. Ask if you can change the bobbin and load a design. All things you want to be sure that are user friendly enough that you can do them at home when the dealer is no longer standing right next to you. (Most dealers offer free classes if you purchase the machine from them.)  Quilt shows are a great place for test drives, as the top manufacturer's are usually at most shows. You'll be able to sit down and sew on many different brands and models all in one day.

Ask a lot of questions, and decide what features are important to you. Perhaps you don't need a thread cutter, but really want an auto threader. How many feet come with the machine? What is the average price of new feet? What file format of embroidery design does the machine take (this is mostly important if you already have a machine, as you don't want to find out your entire library of designs is incompatible with the new machine.) Does it have a color screen or b/w? What hoop sizes come with the machine? How many built in designs does it come with? Does the machine have the ability to edit designs (making them larger or smaller, rotating them,. combining two designs etc.)

If you are at a quilt show that provides the machines for classes, then be sure to take some of those classes. Not only will you be able to sew/embroider on that particular machine for an hour or more, but most shows have special deals on the machines that are used in the classroom as they don't want to pack them all back up and ship them home.

One of the great things about sewing and embroidery machines is that much like cars, if/when you are ready to upgrade to a newer model, you can trade in your old machine towards the new one!
And much like cars, machine manufactures come out with new models of machines almost every year. There are always new features to discover.

Bottom line, test drive as many machines as you can, ask lots of questions and you'll be sure to find the perfect machine for you and your budget.

Happy Shopping!

- Kat

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Leaping Lizards! She's on the counter!

My husband and I have 3 dogs, and each one is completely different from the other. Each one is amazing, funny and loving. Like people, they have their strengths and weaknesses, and best of all we can always and count on them to snuggle up with us at the end of the day.

Our oldest George doesn't really play with toys that much, he loves hiking and napping. He does however have issues with small dogs, and sometimes barks non-stop for no reason. So we've learned to keep him out of dog parks, and he doesn't go places in public that could have small dogs. The barking we continue to work on and we adapt on the fly with him.

Cali is the middle doggy. She was born deaf, has allergies, her bladder is in the wrong spot so she takes incontinent medication and as a puppy she was a chewer. She's getting older now and doesn't chew as much, but she still loves walks and toys. She's taught us a new way of communication as we use doggy hand signals with her (much like sign language) and we've had to learn ways to get her attention since we can't just call out her name. When it comes to communication you can never have too many ways to get your ideas across.

Skylar is the puppy....full of energy, she likes to jump and she loves to chew. We've gone through countless toys over the past few months. She mastered climbing over baby gates at just 10 weeks old. We take lots of walks, and play many games of fetch, not to mention tug of war. She loves that game!

Over the months the long walks and high speed chasing of tennis balls through our dessert backyard has strengthened her legs.  She's also lean...and long. Unlike the other two dogs who's deep Boxer bellies keep them from jumping too much...Skylar can jump. And she's jumping higher and higher every day.

You see where this is going right? The other night I'm in the kitchen making dinner, when suddenly with a small running start Skylar jumped up onto the counter and slid across the stove, stopping right next me. "Can I have some meatloaf too?"

I called out to Jeff so he could see what she had done, and he burst out laughing. We've never had to worry about a dog being on the counter if there wasn't furniture in front of it that they could climb onto. In that one moment...the whole way we store things changed. No more just putting items we don't want the dogs to eat up high on the counter. I spent the rest of the night moving items off of the counter and finding new homes for them. We can't have Skylar eating the Kurig K-cups now can we??

This puppy is going to teach us lots of things. Starting with patience and different way of organizing. I'm guessing we are going to learn lots this year. What has your dog taught you? Has anyone else had to re-arrange their entire kitchen?

-Kat  :)

About Me

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Welcome to Calico Cali Designs! I’m Kat, digitizer and sewing enthusiast. I learned how to digitize in 2010 from master digitizer Walter Floriani…it was an amazing experience. Soon instead of spending my time sewing, quilting and stitching out other people’s embroidery designs, I was sewing, quilting and stitching out my own embroidery designs. I created this blog, not only as a place to share my embroidery designs, but also as a place to share all the things I make, sew, paint, embroider, and create. You’ll see posts about my life, my studio, patterns I’ve sewn and products I’ve tested. I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. Follow me on twitter . Hugs!! – Kat