A lovely little sale – 20% off all orders over £10! No codes needed – the discount will be applied for you when you check out.
I don’t know about you, but 2013 seems to have got to a rather slow start around here! Lots to do with the usual seasonal illnesses, combined with those things that go wrong with the house in bunches of threes (boiler once, boiler twice, boiler… thrice). No hot water or heating has meant that the house has been just too cold to sew in – I just can’t stitch with a blanket around my shoulders and fingerless gloves on. It might be a look some people rock, but it’s not for me.
I must admit to another diversion though. In November we became the proud ‘parents’ to two little black fluffy dogs. Waffle and Wispa. Wispa and Waffle. Wiffle and Waspa. They’re adorable 5-year old mixed breed brothers, a ‘rescue’ from Bath RSPCA and a furry whirring, barking, licking double act. My daughters wanted them. It’s me who has fallen in love with them. It’s only a matter of time before they get something sewn from me. I’m thinking winter shoes – like Ugg boots for dogs? Thoughts?
There have been many jokes about it on a certain social networking site, but did you know that some people have started to prepare for Christmas already? No? Of course, many of we sewers, knitters and crafters are familiar with preparing early – preparing since August for gifts, for fairs and for ourselves.
Our new arrivals from Nancy Nicholson have a definite Christmas feel to them.
The paper-based items are a diversion for us – but aren’t they beautiful – as are the stitch kits (the Cat design is shown above).
We’ve added a few new bits and pieces to the site over the last few weeks, the most recent of which are quilt kits to make this very pretty Cloud9 strip quilt. It uses pinks from their Beyond the Sea and My Happy Nursery collections, and looks especially lovely with a zingy green backing it. Finished size is a generous 115 x 140 cm – depending on your seam allowances.
If you are a beginner sewer, you might wish to use the Super Quick Strip Quilt instructions.
The kit comprises of enough fabric to make the quilt top and binding – and all fabric is pre-cut into strips, so it really is just buy-and-sew!
Take advantage of our weekend sale, with 20% off everything in the shop! No code needed…
So, this is my new machine. After sewing for nearly ten years on my first and only machine, and that machine being very basic indeed, it was about time.
This was a decision of the head and the heart. I couldn’t spend £1,000 upwards, yet I still wanted quality, and it had to look good. I don’t need hundreds of stitches. This cost me £499.
I looked online and this machine caught my eye right away. I loved the clean lines which echo those of a Bernina (never been one for curvy machines). It looked like it would be pretty solid. And it came with an extension table and the other accessories you would expect like feet, cleaning items, screwdriver and the like.
I visited my local sewing machine retailer – Exeter Sewing Machine Company – last Saturday to try a few out, but it was the Janome I think I had already set my heart on. Not only did I like the look of it, but because the machine I was replacing was a Janome, I knew that I could keep the feet I had collected over the years.
On the advice of the shop assistant who had one, I tried a Brother (Innovis 350 I think) but it didn’t excite me. It had plenty going on, and all of the features of the Janome and more, but… I had planned to try a bottom of the range Bernina after trying this Janome but it seemed that this one offered what I needed for similar quality to the Bernina and for fewer pennies. And to be honest it had me hooked.
The DKS (Direct Key Selection) 30 is marketed as a solid, easy to use machine. What’s simpler than pressing the button for the stitch you would like? The machine beeps, your selection is shown on the screen, along with the recommended foot, and you’re ready to sew. You can choose to use the stop/start button or the foot pedal. If you like to use a pedal but would still like to take it easy, then you can set the speed to slow, and that will limit your speed however hard you press on the pedal. And when you’re finished then you press the little scissors button and it cuts the thread for you. Lovely!
And it’s so quiet! Maybe that’s because I’m used to a machine which thumps when you drive it like a madwoman.
The stitch quality is good. I mistakenly played with the balance (thinking it was a screw to get to the feed dogs), which sent my stitches awry, but that was soon sorted. I am especially looking forward to playing with the cross stitch pattern.
These are the stitches you get: Straight , Lockamatic, Locking, Triple Stretch, Stretch, Saddle, Zig Zag, Multiple Zig Zag, Overedge, Double Overedge, Buttonholes (x3) – with automatic buttonhole foot, Tacking, Eyelet. There are stitches to use with the feet included for shelltucking, applique, fringing, cross stitch, fagoting, scalloping, smocking, pintucking and other techniques.
I’ve found most useful:
- the buttonhole foot (you put your button in and it automatically stitches – in one step! – the right size buttonhole
- thread cutter
- the very clear LCD display which also tells you which foot to use
So far I’ve quilted a bit and embroidered a bit and had a lot of fun.
We had a small delivery of Kaffe Fassett fabrics last week. He is well known for his colourful designs and it was such a treat to pick a few out which just caught our eye and made us smile. Take a look! We also made a few packs up, and took the opportunity to dip our toes into the festive theme with a few of them.
When I saw this quilt I knew I just had to make it. That doesn’t happen to me very often. Time is precious – I have a part time job, two children, a husband away quite a lot, and of course Saints & Pinners – so I choose my projects carefully. But as soon as I had my hands on the long quarters needed to make this quilt, I was so eager to start.
The first job was to create this:
What you see here is about 11 and a half long quarters of fabric cut into 1-3 inch strips and pieced. All in all it measures just over two metres by 1 metre. I’m not sure about you but I was kind of dithering about whether to cut into it. It looks pretty good as is, don’t you agree? But, this dear readers isn’t a feathers quilt, it is the beginnings of one…
I downloaded and printed the instructions for the quilt from the AMH site, and the next job was to cut the feather pieces from this enormous expanse of gorgeousness. I cut out the templates (you print them off actual size – no scaling required), and after forgetting to join a couple of pieces of the template (do lots of people do this in their haste?), cut out my first two sides to a feather. Gasp! (and I draw your attention to the heinous state of my cutting board).
It’s now that you see that these feathers are pretty large, but oh so pretty!
I am making a twin quilt, and this feather here is just a tester for the feather block pattern, though I think I will frame it – the colours (orange, plus a bit of everything else) kind of go. Because it’s just a tester (and because I haven’t decided what shade background fabric I will use yet), I used bog-standard cream cotton – something I have loads of in my sewing room for jobs like this. At this point, you add the first bits of your background fabric to the bottom of the feather.
I had to make sure that I placed the background fabric slightly off so that when I sewed the 1/4 inch seam and pressed the pieces open, the edges were aligned. Now I was ready to stitch the spine of the feather. There’s a template for this too. I used the Kaffe shot cotton in Chartreuse. It’s perfect!
Then the top of the block…You will see a mistake here. I actually found that template ‘E’ (the triangle of cream fabric on the top right) isn’t quite big enough, so once stitched, the edge of the background fabric on the right side doesn’t meet the edge of the feather. Not to worry, I just cut out a bigger piece of fabric, and trimmed its edges when I trimmed the block at the end.
One ‘Gypsy’ pack ordered as long quarters is enough patterned fabric to make a twin quilt, or Rosanne helpfully suggested that she might do a ‘string pieced’ version, which allows you to use scraps for this one – here’s a link to the method if you don’t know what string pieced is… which I didn’t. Dur.
PLUS! Don’t forget we have a giveaway on at the moment through Twitter for 8 quarters of Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study.