To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
Eight years ago, after realizing I’d been going through a computer bag/backpack a year, I made my first “spend money on quality” purchase—a Timbuk2 bag that I picked up at their retail shop while working and living in the Bay Area for the summer. I had hoped to get a few good years out of it; I did not expect to still find it just as integral to my life now as it was in college—nor still in almost perfect shape (albeit a bit dingy).
The one regret I’ve always had is that I bought a plain messenger bag rather than one with a laptop sleeve. I had a neoprene sleeve for the laptop I bought that same summer, but for some reason always found it awkward to use. Then, I was abusive to the laptop that replaced that one and never bothered with a sleeve.
Knowing that my new laptop deserves better, I scoured local shops and websites for a replacement bag, but couldn’t find anything I like better than my bag. So, I decided to retrofit my trusty friend.
I bought a piece of .5″ tall foam (kismet—there was a scrap of the perfect size sitting forlornly in the foam-by-yard section), some elastic, and Velcro, and combined them with minky scraps and a stashed fat-quarter.
I improvised the construction without a lot of forethought, so there are choices I’d have made differently a second time around—mainly securing the top flap and side elastic in the seams instead of hand-stitching them on later, and completely changing how the bottom is constructed.
It’s secured to the bag interior with a huge strip of Velcro, and allows the laptop to slide in and out easily without having to fiddle with a zipper. Best of all, it’s perfectly fitted to the laptop.
We’ll see if the bag and insert make it to laptop number four in a few years!
Late last week, I decided that I needed to actually start using the embroidery features of my machine—I paid a whole lot of money for a machine capable of it, so why haven’t I been using it? (That was rhetorical.) So, I decided to get started.
The first step was installing the software that allows my computer to communicate with the sewing machine (including running a couple of updates that were due on the machine itself). Except, Husqvarna Viking (and to my knowledge, every other manufacturer/software suite for embroidery) doesn’t support OSX—it’s all Windows only. I’m a Mac user and have been for years.
So, step one was switching back to my old laptop so that I had a working CD drive with which to install things (it’s a really long story about why I have two MacBooks [one is technically Carl’s old one] and switch my hard drive back and forth on occasion, but suffice it to say my priority in machine buying was a fancy sewing machine instead of replacing the two five year old laptops). Then, I had to completely reinstall my operating system. Then I had to find my old copy of Windows XP from when I was in college and had to use Windows sometimes because I was in Computer Science and sometimes that’s not OSX friendly either, and use that to dual boot. So, finally, I have a computer that is running Windows.
Then, I installed the software that came with my sewing machine. Or, tried. They gave me a 4D disk (old version) with a 5D (new version) key printed in the User Manual. So, I had to contact their tech support, but while I did, I searched around and found the manual for another model that would have shipped before 5D was released, and used that key (turns out, that is the key that Support later gave me). I still think that I’m being cheated by not being given 5D. They said to use the software update, but that doesn’t show any updates. Maybe it’s because I’m using a 11 year old version of Windows.
Finally, I decided to use the USB stick to run the machine updates, instead of directly connecting the laptop (mostly because the laptop’s wireless doesn’t work with our home network [re: one reason for the two laptops], and we only have one ethernet cable in the house—no where near my sewing room). I got that all set up, only to have the sewing machine tell me it needs to connect to the computer, because there’s too much updating needed for the USB stick method. So I did, and now my machine is all updated. Yay.
As a result of the above, I did two different embroidery projects this weekend.
One was part of a class at the Viking shop—ultimately it is going to be a table mat (or a pillow?), but for now, I’ve only finished the embroidery part. It was interesting doing trapunto in the hoop.
Did you know you can run two colors of thread through the machine? It makes the most interesting color mash in straight line embroidery (the above is a mix of rusty cotton and gold silk).
Then, I decided to be exceptionally lazy while working on my latest quilt project (a gift, but I’ll reveal it later this month), so I searched for a free heart outline that I could use as a quilting motif, and let my machine do a fair bit of my quilting for me. This is something I definitely want to explore in the future.
So, hopefully my future embroidery posts will be successes rather than woes.
Do you do much machine embroidery? Any tips for this newbie?
I’ve mentioned before that when I do digital mockups of my quilts or play with designs before quilting, I do so in Adobe Illustrator. I have nothing against EQ or any other quilt software, it’s just that I don’t actually have that software; I do have Illustrator (albeit an older version from when I was in college).
I’ve been using Illustrator for just shy of a decade, so it is absolutely shameful that I didn’t know how to draw a quarter-circle until a few months ago. So, for anyone else in that boat (I know some of you use Illustrator too), I posted a quick tutorial on it over at my Web dev blog on rachaelarnold.com. (Once upon a time I had a grand ideas of having a few different blogs. I even updated them all. These days, I pretty much stick to this one here, but on rare occasions I update the one on Web development, too.)
To my knowledge1, my content has never been stolen and posted with attribution to someone else. However, a Twitter friend recently retweeted a message from another crafty blogger who found her tutorial and photos copied in their entirety on a blog full of egregious violations of copyright.
Luckily, thanks to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), US bloggers have a clear recourse to having their stolen content removed. Unluckily, DMCA claims can be made only by the copyright holder2 and relies on the copyright holder knowing that their content has been stolen. Bloggers in other countries may have some recourse as well (such as the EU’s EUCD), but you’ll need to research your own laws.