Beyond cool!

I was reading this and down the very bottom is ohnikki’s skinned sewing machine! How cool is that!

Unfortunately it’s a Bernina thing so no can do for my Janome 😦

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On the hunt for my 1/4″ seam allowance

One of the things I have managed to get done recently is sort out my 1/4″ seam allowance. I had it down on my Brother Innov-is 10a, but was proving elusive on my Horizon, which wasn’t really conducive to accurate piecing!

To get it sorted, I used a method described in Jelly Roll Inspirations where you cut 3 bits of fabric, sew two together and the third along the top. If the top piece is the same length as the width of the other two then you have the correct seam allowance…

Interestingly enough, I couldn’t get a 1/4″ seam with the Horizon’s standard 1/4″ (O) foot without adjusting the needle position, so I ended up using the freebie 1/4″ foot my dealer chucked in when I bought the 10a!

Brother 1/4" foot on left, Janome Horizon 1/4" O foot on right

This is kinda good because I wasn’t keen on the O foot a) because moving the needle meant I couldn’t use the automatic needle plate converter (APC) which is designed to help with precise straight stitching, and b) because it has a seam guide which I found made it difficult to see what was going on. My Brother foot doesn’t have a guide and I can use it with the APC so I’m happy 🙂

Interestingly enough, it seems that Janome are bringing out a replacement O foot, with a different shape, as a lot of people have reported problems sewing bulky seams (which would probably be an issue for my Baby Jane blocks). As I’m not using the O foot, it doesn’t really matter, but I think the new foot is going to be shipped to all current Horizon owners, so I might get to try it out.

QoT UFO to WIP

Do you think I could fit more TLA’s in that title?! I must have been desperate to sew after last week’s break because my QoT (Quilt of Torture) is off the UFO list and back to being a WIP…

I am just so loving the colours of this one! The turquoise binding is just fab and that stripy fabric – love it!!

Having the QoT ready for quilting was kinda handy because it’s not a gift so I could play around with the dual feed device on my Horizon without worrying about messing up something important. And I’m liking what I found – the dual feed was so smooth and that extra space was utter bliss 🙂

Getting the binding on was a bit more interesting though. I had a total mare of a time getting my binding strips together. I guess I’m out of practice, but my quick unpick was getting way too much use for comfort!

Then stitching the binding in place was tricky because the dual feed foot doesn’t have a 1/4″ mark like my walking foot did for my Brother 10a. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do about that because it was really hard keeping the line straight as there wasn’t a suitable edge or mark on the foot to line up against.

A bit of investigation suggests there may be a 1/4″ dual feed foot but I can’t find information to say for sure if the foot works with the 7700 or just the previous 6600 model. I think a trip to the sewing machine man might be in order…

Checklist

Passport? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Ooodles of excitement about having a week off work? Double-check! Hmmm, I’m sure I’m missing something… ah yes, a load of crafty stuff to play with!

I’m off to Italy for a week with hubby, my parents, my brother and his partner to celebrate my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary! And I’m not the only one going on holiday – my Brother Innov-is 10a is going to be visiting Anna for the week so she can work on (finish?!) this!

Stopping for safety reasons…

Not really the error message you want to see from your sewing machine, is it, especially when it’s new, shiny and very expensive. But I guess if I’ve just made my needle look like this, then it’s just as well it stopped.

I thought I’d have a bit of fun and have my first attempt at FMQ on my Janome 7700. I dropped the feed dogs, selected stitch 100 (which I thought was the right one for doing a nice wiggly line) and the machine told me to attach foot QB-H which is the big monster FMQ foot.

I got the foot on (it’s a bit of a faff manoeuvring it around the dual feed device, but I got there in the end), hit the start button and the machine took one stitch then the needle position shifted and it hit the foot. Not ideal, really.

So I went back to the manual, which admittedly I should have read a bit more thoroughly. But I kinda assumed that the machine wouldn’t tell me to put on a foot which would end up bending the needle. I guess I won’t be making that mistake again.

What I think happened is that stitch 100 is a wiggly stitch that should be done with the feed dogs up. To FMQ, I should have used stitch 1 (straight stitch) with the feed dogs down. It also seems that if the feed dogs are down, the machine will say to use foot QB-H, regardless of the stitch selected and even if this will result in the needle hitting the foot. I’ll have to remember that.

Anyway, I’ve never bent a needle before this and it kind of freaked me out so went back to straight stitch and made some pin cushions. I’ll come back to FMQ once I’ve plucked up some more courage!

Oh and when I showed hubby the red one, he said “great wonky log cabin”. LOL, I guess he’s picked up more quilting stuff than I realised!

Are you sitting comfortably?

So I thought a story on how on earth I ended up with a Janome 7700 would be in order. Are you sitting comfortably? You probably need to be because this is kinda long, even after some brutal edits. Man I’m wordy when I get going! Anyway, my first machine was (and still is) a Brother Innov-is 10a. Isn’t it cute?!

Back when I bought it, I’d just started quilting and didn’t want to fork out for a big, expensive machine on the back of having sewn a few squares of fabric together! So when my dealer showed me the 10a I realised it was the perfect machine for me. It’s so easy to use, sews really well and I could decide whether I wanted or needed anything bigger. Plus it’s pink 🙂

A year on and although I really love my 10a, I’ve started wanting to make big quilts and the 10a just isn’t big enough for that. So I started researching bigger machines and listing my must-have features, with the aim of saving up to get something bigger this time next year.

But then word starting filtering through the interweb of a new machine, with a whopping 11″ of space to the right of the needle and 5 bright LED lights. Yes, 5. For me, these are the killer features of this machine. Forget the oodles of stitches, forget the gazzilions of buttonholes. My top must-have features are lots of space and lots of lights and this machine has both of those in spades.

The more I looked, the more I fell in lust, but it was so out of my budget it was unreal. But then, totally out of the blue, my Dad rang and mentioned that he’d been saving some money for when I turned 21 (now before you get a highly unrealistic impression of my age, let’s just say that Dad’s been hanging on to the money for a while. A long while). But what a truly awesome, generous surprise. Thanks Dad!

After that, I started thinking about it more seriously and when I found out that Janome have a £500 off deal right now (yes, you did read that right – that’s about 1/3rd off), suddenly things became do-able. So I booked an appointment for a test drive and rang hubby several hours later to ask him to come pick me and my new machine up!

When I opened the box, hubby’s first comment was “it’s fricking enormous!”. Then when I put it next to my current machine, he just collapsed laughing (I think the laughter had a tinge of hysteria though)!

I’m not planning on getting rid of my 10a. It’s a great wee machine and perfect for taking to crafty club as the 7700 weighs a tonne and I don’t think carting it around that often would be good for it (or me either come to that!). So I’m now in a two sewing machine family. One car, but two sewing machines. I think I’ve got my priorities right!

Oh and the best bit of all? When I told Dad I was going to put the money towards a new machine, he told me that my Granny would be very proud. She was a big sewer (even made her own wedding dress) and it means a lot that he thinks she’d be happy with what I’m doing right now 🙂

Get Excited and Make Things!

I saw this poster a while back and just loved it. Check out the spanner crown – how cool is that!

Original image by moleitau

It’s inspired by the good old British “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster from WW2 and I just loved the twist and how it’s the perfect crafty motto. It completely sums up how I’m feeling, especially now I’ve got my new machine!

And how could I not mention my Janome 7700? I found/made some time on Sunday (by skipping chores!) and did an unboxing photo shoot and, more importantly, a test drive – fun fun fun 🙂 Photos and first impressions to come!

Busy busy busy

So you know those weekends where you just do. not. stop.?! Well I’m totally having one of those! After the small matter of purchasing a new, awesome sewing machine yesterday, did I sit down and so for the rest of the day? Nope. Am I planning to sit down and sew today? Nope.

So what is keeping me from locking myself in a room with my new machine and sewing for 24 hours solid?! Well, yesterday was crafty club and it wasn’t just normal crafty club (which is an evening of crafty goodness), it was an afternoon and evening! Four extra hours of craftyness and chat – bliss 🙂

I was thinking about finishing off the Quilt of Torture but now I have the Horizon, I’m going to finish it on that instead. (The fact that I’d been planning to finish the QoT on my other machine kinda shows how quickly I made the decision to get the Horizon. But more on that in another post!).

So yesterday I hand-sewed. Yes, I appreciate the irony of getting a new sewing machine and spending the day hand-sewing, but it was fun and I got my latest embroidery project finished. Here’s a sneak peak until I get around to deciding what to do with it…

Today I’m off catching up with friends, there’s assorted household chores that need* to be done and then hubby and I are having dinner with my folks, so that’s basically today all used up. Really, I don’t think I could have picked a worse weekend to get the Horizon if I’d tried!

I guess I could be playing now instead of blogging but the time it’s taken to write this would not have been long enough to unpack the box, so I think I just have to wait. Hmmmm, I wonder how much warning I need to give work if I want to take a day off?!!

* yes, I did evaluate to see if “need” could be reduced to “should” but I don’t think it’s possible!

(Nearly) Wordless Weekend

I have a Janome 7700 box sitting on my kitchen floor!! I’m so excited I’m actually bouncing around the room…

New goodies, part 3

I ordered an extension table for my sewing machine to give me a bigger working area and it’s arrived! With my previous quilts, I found that I had to hold them up to stop them dragging and pulling on the needle during the quilting, so I’m hoping the extension table will help take the weight a bit. Roses for Rosa is ready for quilting so I’ll be able to test the theory today!

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