Monday, November 2, 2015

High Contrast for the Sewist, A Users Review of the Babylock Ovation

I cannot remember a time when I was not enamoured of machines, doo-dads, tools and notions. Not ever. When I explored my Grandmother's Treadle machine for the first time, aged 9, I was instantly focused on how the mechanism worked and all the accoutrement waiting for an audition. There was no instruction book, my Mother didn't have a clue. I spent a few days just watching and studying the mechanism, the shuttle bobbin and the attachments.
The lighting is very good but you will note a secondary source of light coming from the left. I plugged in an Ott light because I was having trouble seeing the little markings on the needle holder. There are 3 on the left for cover/chain stitch and two on the right for the overlocker. The reason you may ask? The reason I couldn't see? Well, I have an older pair of glasses that are really cute, leopard-like print with with rhinestone embellishment on the arms. I was cute I tell you but I couldn't see doodle!  And no, I was not driving.

That was then, this is now. It was time to upgrade my Serger. My faithful Janome 634 D is a great piece of equipment, has seen lots of use but is limited. No cover stitch. I searched for a stand alone cover stitch machine but couldn't find one I was ready to plunk down $ to own. My Bernina 1300MDC was convertible to cover stitch, if you had been medicated, had an open day in your calendar and there were no small children around, just saying.
Now, this alone is worth the price of admission sewists! Several of the Babylock overlockers have this function. It is so nice to thread those loopers with no fuss. Click the tubes in place, put that thread in the hole 1/2 inch, press the button and magic, threaded loopers!

Enter my Olivia. (The Babylock Ovation.) You know, I just realized that the Bernina was the only machine I had ever owned that I did not name. Very telling that.

The foot markings and the guide markings are very clear. I am finding out all kinds of neat little things by watching U-tube videos. Part of my purchase package includes the Love of Sewing Online Classes. I haven't started those yet.  
I have spent several days trying out the different stitching combinations and functions of the machine and I have to say, I am very pleased. I had one stitch where the loops were forming off to the right but discovered that I had forgotten a setting. Every trial thereafter was flawless. I am in love. The threading is amazing. That little puff of air makes the angst of threading a serger history. Worth every penny. The only negative I have found this far is the threads and scraps from the cutting blade. When I think about the high cost of this machine I think they could have come up with a catcher. Even my much less expensive Janome has a catcher. 

The narrow hemming stitch in two different length/width combinations. I make scarves that are a Pain to hem by hand. My other sergers do not hem this smoothly on a single layer. This is a good thing.
basic setting for 4 thread overlock, be still my heart
 
Playing with some flannel charm squares here. I need a little quilt for a gift, this will work nicely. The machine can sew up to 1500 stitches per minute but I cannot sew that fast and stay accurate. The machine has a speed control which is so convenient. I have used sergers for 20 years and can easily judge speed with minor adjustments but this is a great way to slow things down. I also sew shoe-less. I am infinitely more comfortable and feel more in tune with my machines if I am not wearing a shoe. And I am not alone. I would suspect 1/3 of my fellow retreat attendees were shoe-less. It was funny to see us all hobbling around the studios with one shoe. Some great socks were on parade I tell you! 

 So back to the whole "contrast" comment. This machine represents the new wave of sewing machines while the link below shows you a collection of quilts Bonnie Hunter posted on her blog unearthed in an antique store. I know these were not made on sergers! A beautiful collection of quilts. Take a moment if you can and click on the link. Such lovely testament to quilters who are likely no longer with us. Their hard work a memory in thread and fabric.

bonie hunter antique shop jaunt

*as a reminder, no one pays me or compensates me in any way to say nice things about anything.
*In the market for a new serger, or sewing machine, maybe a Christmas present? Give a call to Gloria Horn Sewing Studios of Mt. Lebanon. Information here.  I am so pleased with my Babylock machines and she has them all.

1 comment:

Gayle said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your new serger. I too, have thought a cover stitch would be a great thing to have - I might have to check into this one. Can you share the price of it, (please?>)

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