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Janome Horizon

Herringbone Quilt

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Herringbone Quilt, by StitchfiedWell, this one took a lot longer than expected! I started this one back in March (!!!), and the recipient is now over a year old. So, yeah, I’m running way way behind on baby quilts.

I designed this quilt to use up a jellyroll that I had leftover from my niece’s quilt. I cut 7.5″ x 2.5″ strips, and (over cut ) 7.5″ x 1.25″ strips of white, and combined them in a herringbone pattern. I squared up after each white strip, so that the white strips finished at a half inch. All the squaring up helped to keep things straight(er), but made for slow piecing… and some unintended exercise! Sit to stitch, stand to press, walk to cutting table to trim, repeat.

I had every intention of quilting this one on my vintage machines, but I just couldn’t get the lines straight enough. I tried a walking foot and one of several vintage quilting feet, but they really couldn’t compete with my Janome’s Accufeed. Some day I hope to master quilting on a vintage machine, but in the meantime, I’m very glad that I have my Janome as backup. If you have any tips for quilting on a VSM, I would love to hear them!

Happy sewing!

My new sewing room

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When I first started sewing a few years ago, I would setup shop in the office. Every night I would put away my (crappy! infuriating!) computerized Singer sewing machine and tidy up my mess. Back then, all my fabric fit in one box (haha!) and I would work on one project at at time (LOL). So keeping things tidy was really very manageable.

But within a year I caught the quilting bug, and my fabric collection had became an unwieldy stash. I purchased a big girl sewing machine, and then a smaller Janome for travel, and then a Singer Featherweight. Around that time I started taking over the dining room. For awhile I was diligent and put everything away at night, and then um, I wasn’t. All my sewing stuff piled up with intermittent spells of “Oh my god, company is coming! Hide it all!”

Recently my husband pointed out that “there sure is a lot of dining room furniture in the sewing room, why is that exactly?” It was hard to admit that the dining room had finally lost the war, but it really had. And so, about three weeks ago, we officially began converting the space to a sewing room. Life changing! For the first time ever I can actually see what I have! Sitting in this space makes me so happy, even if it is a work in progress. Shall we take a mini tour of the place so far?

Sewing Room

First up we have a set of three BILLY bookshelves (from IKEA), which are sitting on (still-need-to be-painted) risers so they sit flush against the wall. This set is enormous and gives me plenty of room to display my fabric, fabric cutters, books, pincushions, and my favorite vintage toy sewing machine. I plan to add a curtain for some of the lower shelves to help hide the unsightly side of sewing (I’m looking at you fabric cutters!). And, of course, there is the obligatory craft room TASTRUP rug and little wooden mannequin. They make me silly happy!

I have to say, IKEA really is an awesome one stop shop for organizational goodies. While I was there I picked up a bunch of little organizer baskets and a 4 gallon KNODD bin, which is perfect for storing my unsorted scraps in. I also picked up an ALEX cart which holds all my WIPs, rulers, etc. Organizational bliss, I tell you!

There is still a lot to do in this space. For one, I need to retro-fit one of these sewing cabinets to fit my Janome Horizon. Once that’s done, the cabinet will get a fresh coat of creamy white paint and we’ll be good to go. The other sewing cabinet is newly refinished and houses my new-to-me vintage zigzag machine. More on that in a future post!

I also have plans to add a design wall to this space. I’ve been wanting a design wall for ages, and can’t wait to build it! I also hope to squeeze in a peg board to help organize some of my tools. And then there’s the matter of an old treadle machine that followed me home — I need to find a place for her to live in this new space, too. Maybe then she’ll get some much needed attention, haha.

Ok, there we have it — One WIP sewing room! Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

Happy sewing!

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SewTogetherBagI am very lucky to have a support network that contains a few female powerhouses. And this year has made me particularly grateful for each and every one of them. 

Which is why I was extra happy to stealth-make a #SewTogetherBag for my dear friend, and kindred spirit, MamaPeaches. And mail it off as a surprise just because. Bwhaha. Yep, I’m sneaky like that. 

This bag came together easily, even if it did take me a month to actually finish. It is definitely easier the second time around!. I used both my Featherweight (master top-stitcher!) and my Horizon (hooray for layer-devouring Accufeed!) which is becoming a favorite setup for bag-making projects. The exterior is an Echino print, and the interior is Essex Linen in sand. The zippers are, of course, from Zipit including an exterior brass zipper which is completely drool worthy. 

Quality testing sewtogetherbag

All zippers underwent rigorous quality control testing, and passed with high marks for “swishyness.”

And while I tried to tone down my usual rainbowgasm palette, I just *had* to hide a few splashes of color in the pocket linings. For added luxury, the needle pad is a double layer of turquoise wool felt, and the mini pin cushion is wool-stuffed. I hope she likes it! 

SewTogether InsideAnd now, in closing, a little PSA: Every quilter needs at least one of these bags. Pattern here. They are a must have for EPP and sewing retreats. Seriously. Friends don’t let quilty friends go without. Besides, secret sewing is pretty much the best! 🙂

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday at CrazyMom!

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Another Star

Big Red finally came back from her tune-up, and she purrs! Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying my sewing time especially much. Good thing too because I have a lot of gifts that need making between now and Christmas — time to put the sewing pedal to the metal!

Two Color Star

First up? My Summer Solstice Quilt! I pieced two more stars for my Summer Solstice Quilt — “Two Colors Star” and “Another Star.” I had the hardest time picking the colors for “Another Star,” but in the end I decided to give it an extra pop with the gold and yellow tips. I also like how the extra yellow separates this star from the rest of the pack.

And while I really like the “Two Colors Star,” I think it will look better on the back of the quilt. I’ll replace it with the “Whirling Star” (also from the Solstice Stars Series) on the front. With any luck I’ll be able to piece the LAST star this weekend, but that hasn’t stopped me from playing around with mock quilt tops. There are so many choices!

Gold and navy color blocks

Mock-up with Blue and Gold

Teal and navy color blocks

Mock-up with Blue and Aqua

Aqua and Teal color blocks

Mock-up with Teal and Aqua

Grey and navy color blocks

Mock-up with Blue and Grey

Or do I get really fancy, and try some highlights?

Grey and navy with gold highlights?

Mock-up with Blue and Grey with gold accents

Grey and navy with teal highlights?

Mock-up with Blue and Grey with aqua accents

If this quilt were for me, I would probably go with a teal or aqua color scheme… but I think my sister and her husband are more grey and navy folks. So, I’m leaning towards the grey and navy with teal highlights… or maybe gold highlights? Argh! It’s so hard to choose! What do you guys think?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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I am taking a forced break from my sewing machine. I pushed it a little too far while I was working on a wool costume cloak, and now Big Red is in the shop for a week or two. Note to future self: sewing a decorative stitch through 8 layers of coating wool + 4 layers of velvet is an unkind thing to do. Poor Big Red!

Handmade Wool Cloak

McCall'sEven if the cloak did break my machine, I still really like it. The cloak is based off of McCall’s Pattern # 4139, but I chose to make a few modifications — the hood is lined, and it closes with a clasp instead of ties (which made me revise the hood shape a little).  The cloak itself is made from heavy coating wool, and lined with dark purple velvet. No more trick or treating in the cold — this thing is warm and cozy!

I finished the edges with a rolled over hem, and added a row of decorative stitches in purple. I also added top stitching throughout the cloak for strength, and finished all the seams. Neither were called for by the pattern, but the fabrics were so nice that I wanted to go all out.

So… it’s likely that this will be the last finish for a little while. Big Red should be back in 1-2 weeks, and I hope to have the rest of my Summer Solstice Quilt cut and ready to piece then!

 

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As much as I love my big red Janome Horizon, she isn’t very travel friendly. And I’ve missed out on some really fun events because I don’t like hauling her around. So, I’ve definitely been hankering  for a second machine for travel. I knew I wanted either a standard sized Janome or a really great Singer Featherweight. I wasn’t able to find a good Featherweight at a reasonable price, so I chose to go with a new Janome. I still hope to add a Featherweight to my collection at some point, but I’m happy waiting for the right one to come along. (And when I do, I fully intend to get a snazzy custom paint job! Eggplant purple Featherweight? Yes. Yes indeed)

After a lot of research on smaller Janomes, I decided to go with either a 3/4 size Janome Jem Platinum or a full size Janome DC1050. Both models have functions that I’ve become entirely too reliant on like needle up-down, a start/stop button, and a speed control slider. But once I noticed the Hello Kitty 18750 (which as far as I can tell is an exact clone of the DC1050) my search was over. Baby Bee is utterly obsessed with Hello Kitty (daughter of a toy-maker? No irony lost there!), and I thought this might be a good machine for her to learn on eventually.

I’ve spent some time with Little Red over the past two weeks, and she’s a good little machine. She can’t compete with Big Red on any front, but she is totally functional. She runs quietly and has handled everything I’ve thrown at her with ease. She is very smooth to piece on, and is pretty accurate as well. One of my girlfriends is learning to sew on Little Red and has really enjoyed sewing on her, too.

I will say that there is more plastic on this machine than I would like. I know it isn’t a thousand dollar machine, but the ankle, needle plate, and rotary hook are all plastic. Sure, it seems like good quality plastic, but even my sad little beginner Singer had more metal. At any rate, I replaced the plastic “slide-on” style ankle right away with a metal “snap on” style ankle. Not only did that get rid of some plastic, but now I can use my Horizon feet on Little Red. Having that compatibility is great. (FYI – The part number for the metal ankle adapter is Janome #804509000. I found mine at Ken’s Sewing Center here for the bargain price of $13.)  I’ve tried searching for replacement needle plates, but haven’t had any success. If anyone out there has a tip there, I’m all ears!

Replacement metal ankle (left) vs. plastic ankle that comes standard (right)

Overall, I certainly prefer sewing on my Janome Horizon. No surprise there. If the machines were actually comparable I would be pretty ticked off for having paid so much for the Horizon. Even so, I definitely look forward to hitting the road with Little Red in full Hello Kitty style. I just need a certain red and aqua quilt-as-you-go carry case for her first 🙂

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I did this mini-review earlier, but adding a bit to it for SewMamaSew’s sewing machine reviews!
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What brand and model do you have?

My travel machine is a Janome 18750 (which from what I can tell is the same as a Janome DC1050, but with added Hello Kitty bling)

How long have you had it?
Almost two months.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
The retail price is $499.00, but it is on sale pretty consistently around the $300 mark.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
I sew a little bit of everything, but so far I’ve only used this machine for piecing. It does really well at piecing (my most recent Summer Solstice Stars were pieced on this machine), but I haven’t experimented with anything heavy duty.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
I travel with this machine, and use it for sewing in front of the TV. Everything else is done on my beloved Janome Horizon 7700. So this little machine only sees a couple of hours of use a week.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
I like this machine a lot as a travel machine. It’s cute, portable (weighs in at about 12 pounds), and it gets the job done in style. The stitches look great, and she has met every challenge I’ve thrown at it — I have yet to get into a fight with her. And yes, I’ve affectionately named her Little Red since I call my Horizon “Big Red” 🙂

What features does your machine have that work well for you?
It has a lot of the great features like up/down needle position and speed control. The machine is also very smooth and quiet at lower speeds (which is key to the whole “sewing while watching TV” thing). Even though she’s small, she is still a Janome and the quality is shows. As an added bonus, my machine came with a blue hand wheel. The others I’ve seen have a white hand wheel. I know it’s silly, but I really like that mine is an odd-duck.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
As I explained above, my biggest pet peeve is the amount of plastic used on this machine. I know this isn’t a three thousand dollar machine, but I think the needle plate (and maybe the rotary hook) should have been metal. Oh, and if you put the pedal to the metal she will shake a bit and make a little noise — to be expected, really. In fairness, she probably wouldn’t shake if I sewed somewhere *besides* folding card tables. Details!

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I really do love this little machine. It’s a great little machine for a beginner and it works very well as a travel machine. That said, I wouldn’t recommend it as a standalone machine for an experienced quilter or bag-maker.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
I think it’s important to know what you expect out of your machine. The needs of a garment maker are completely different than those of a quilter. Since I’m mostly a quilter and a toy-maker, I looked for something that was accurate, with a needle up/down, and speed control. I decided that my travel machine didn’t have to handle 8+ layers of fabric, but that’s an absolute must for my main machine.

Do you have a dream machine?
I’m lucky enough to have my dream sewing machine (the Janome Horizon 7700) as my main machine, but my dream travel machine is a Singer Featherweight. And so long as we’re dreaming, I’d like it to be custom painted eggplant purple. With silver decals. Maybe someday 🙂

Edit: Bonus Picture of the Feed Dog Drop Lever and Thread Cutter for Violet Craft 🙂

Little Red