Friday, 30 January 2015

A new machine!

Yes,  it's finally arrived, my lovely new Janome Horizon 8200 QC and I love it.  The stitch quality is excellent, and having all that room to the right of the needle is just what I was looking for.  I found the dual feed foot a little fiddly to attach at first but once I got the knack it popped on quite easily.  Tonight I did some piecing with the 1/4" foot and checked how precise it was - a brilliant scant 1/4" and no veering off at the end of stitching!

I'm also dead pleased at how snug it fits into my Horn Gemini sewing table. I thought I would have to buy another insert but it's so large it takes up all the space!!

I will be joining in with Melissa from the Happy Quilting blog, on her "Irish Chain with a Twist" quilt along which starts this week.  It's not too late to check it out if you fancy taking part.   This week she gave out the fabric requirements depending on what size quilt you want to make and suggested some colour scheme options.  I'm going for a dark blue/navy background with pink, peach and turquoise ....... These are the fabrics I've pulled together so far.

Can't wait to get cutting and stitching!!  

I'll have some time in the "hive" tomorrow on my lovely new machine but I'm travelling down to Brighton on Sunday to see my gorgeous grandson Marley and his dad and staying over with them so I will have to take some hand sewing or perhaps knitting with me.

Until next time happy stitching......... Jacky O

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Ardingly Spring Quilt Festival

What a fantastic day out we've had today.  No traffic or weather problems getting there and well worth making the journey from Kent to West Sussex.  The quilts on display were amazing and there was a great mix of traditional, modern and mixed media wall hangings.  Now generally it's the more traditional quilts that I find the most inspiring but today it was the mixed media and modern twists on the traditional that caused us to stand back in admiration.

I loved this one by Brenda Thomas

And this take on the fairy story  "The Princess and the Pea" made us smile, especially the disgruntled look on said princess's face!!!'

However the two quilters that really caught my attention were Delia Cecil and Christine Restall.  I especially loved the colourful, modern works by Christine, so much so that I treated myself to a new book on modern improv quilting!! So look out for something different coming from "the hive"!!!

Here though is a sample of Christine's work that was on show yesterday.

I really love the quilting on this one.

And of course there were some beautifully stitched traditional quilts

Aside from the quilts we had a great time with the traders at the show and both of us came away with bags filled with fabric ready to start new projects.  Imelda bought some lovely wool tartans to make the quilt that is featured on the front of February's Patchwork and Quilting magazine and I bought fabric to make a new table runner and placemats. 

Ahem!! That's not quite all we bought.............. But suffice to say the Janome lady offered us a deal we just couldn't refuse.  It was almost like it was meant to be, really.  We had discussed on the way to the show how much we would love a machine with a larger harp space and a few extras, and I told Imelda how I was going to The World of Sewing next week to test drive a couple.  Well would you believe it World of Sewing had a stand at the show.  We were offered the machine we both wanted, the Horizon 8200QC  at a massive £500 off the retail price. This is a third off the price.  And we didn't have to trade in our current machines either. Even so we stayed sensible, went to have a coffee to discuss the investment, walked around the traders then headed straight back and handed over our credit cards!!!

Can't wait, delivery day is Thursday...... I'll tell you all about her when she arrives.

So so happy stitching............Jacky O

Friday, 23 January 2015


I have just been made aware that some of my readers have been having trouble leaving comments, or finding that they disappear soon after posting.  I am happy to say that my clever techie daughter has been able to resolve these issues with a few clicks!! So don't be shy, I love to read your comments and if you have any problems please let me know via email.

Off to the spring quilt festival at Ardingly tomorrow, so I'll be posting about our day out on Sunday.

Happy stitching.    Jacky O

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Dazzling diamonds

The weather remains overcast but at least it was dry today so here are a couple of pictures of my latest quilt finish.... Dazzling diamonds.


All of the fabric apart from the binding is from the Kaffe Fassett range. I made the scrappy binding using some fun spotty fat quarters I had in my stash....

The brightness of the fabric can actually be seen better in this last picture, I may have to retake when the sun comes out!!

Happy stitching........ Jacky O

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Show and tell

You may be wondering what has happened to this weeks show and tell. Well I do have a second quilt finish to show, yes that's my second quilt finish in 2015!!!!  But the weather has been so horrendous I haven't been able to get any decent pictures of it yet.  I am hopeful that tomorrow will be the day so watch this space.

This quilt was started before Christmas and is made using Kaffe Fassett fabrics so as you can imagine its BRIGHT!!! In fact it's a real deviation from my usual colour palette.  I'm not sure what to call it, I thought "dazzling diamonds" or maybe "hypertension"!!!! You see I had an afternoon at home before Christmas because my blood pressure was high and being bored I started looking at fabric on line....... It's dangerous and expensive to be home alone and bored!!!!

I'm off to one of the first Grosvenor spring quilt shows this weekend with my quilting buddy Imelda, this one is in Sussex and I've not been to this venue before so I'm super excited.  Looking forward to being inspired by the quilts and of course seeing what the traders have on offer.  Then the following weekend St Michaels Quilters, AKA Sharon, Sam and myself are off to Tonbridge Wells to check out sewing machines!!!!!

Happy stitching....... Jacky O

Friday, 16 January 2015

A new sewing machine

I've been considering buying a new sewing machine recently and consequently have been looking at what's on offer for quilters and the reveiws available.  Now I've always loved my little Janome and it's served me well but I would like a machine with a bigger throat space and maybe a few extras.  This led me to be tempted by a Bernina 750QE. The features that are especially luring me with this machine are the stitch regulator, for free motion quilting, the larger bobbin and the bobbin alarm which let's you know when it's running low on thread. 

Now these machines do not come cheap, and I would prefer to stay with the Janome brand but their upper end machines ( with the larger throat space) seem to be aimed more at those wishing to do machine embroidery, something I'm not likely to use much.

I have a dilemma, I know that Bernina had a very good reputation in the past but have had problems with their more advanced machines recently, but the 750QE does have the features I would love, but ......... can I trust them......... would I love it like my janome ........... can a stitcher switch!!

What are your thoughts on this?  I would love to hear them.

A quilters quandary   -  Jacky O

Monday, 12 January 2015

Show and tell Monday

I've had a busy week and even busier weekend, so not too much time spent in the sewing room. But I did complete another block for my sampler quilt. This one is called Seminole and is a traditional native Indian pattern. I love it and although it looks quite complex by following the instructions in Lynne Edwards book it was fairly straight forward.  That makes a total of 13 blocks completed for my quilt.  Sharon did 16 in her sampler quilt and I'm not sure if mine is to be 16 or 20.

Anyhow here's the latest 

I also made another apron.......... I just love this chicken fabric!!

Well it was just me and the chickens this week!! Sharon has jetted off to Mexico and Sam made rough puff pastry but she did help me pin up my next quilt ready for quilting earlier today.

Happy Mondays........... Jacky O

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

First quilt finish in 2015!!

Well this has to be a record for me at least anyway.  My lovely daughter Kate and Ruby took me out to buy fabric on 23rd December as a birthday treat.  I was given the choice of where I wanted to go and as I hadn't been to the Sewing Space in Hythe that's where we went.  I bought a metre each of four different fabrics for a bright and cheerful quilt.  Of course it being so close to Christmas all I could do was look at it, there simply wasn't any spare time to get in the sewing room until 27th when I was able to snatch a few hours to start cutting and piecing.  I decided on a simple rail fence design as the fabric was so pretty and busy I didn't want to detract from it.  Once pieced and sandwiched I had my first real attempt at free motion quilting something larger than a cushion, and whilst it's far from perfect I am more than happy with it.

And I chose an equally pretty and busy (and forgiving) backing!!!

And to use up some of the off cuts and show off the orange binding I made a cushion to match...

There's nothing more satisfying than a quilt finish!!

Happy stitching........
Jacky O

Sunday, 4 January 2015


I've looked at the year past and so now my thoughts have turned to the year ahead and what I would like to achieve personally and with my sewing.  I have decided that rather than set specific goals this year, (apart from finishing the "sampler quilt") I will try to adopt a different state of mind.  This lead me to thinking what held me back last year.  Two things sprang to mind immediately...... Fear and stress.

I stayed safe with a lot of my sewing because I was afraid of messing up and getting it all wrong which would then stress me out.  I also allowed things that I had no control over to get me into a negative state of stress, especially at work.  So this year I am going to adopt a word and a phrase to see me through........ 

My word of 2015 is courage.  I will have courage to free motion quilt, tackle curved piecing and who knows what else I might decide to have a go at!!!  Also courage to follow my instincts and set aside dogma, especially at work.

My phrase will balance the inevitable fall out of my courage and it is "C'est  la vie" !!!!!   

Have you a word or phrase for 2015.... I'd love to hear them.

Jacky O

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Reveiw of my 2014 Quilting Year

Looking back I can see just what a busy year I've had in my sewing room.  It kicked off early in January when I returned from a surprise trip to Vegas, whilst there I managed to visit a couple of quilt shops  - I must be one of the few people who went to Vegas and didn't have a gamble but did get excited about the quilting shops in the vicinity!!!  Anyhow I bought some lovely fabric and patterns for bags and other small projects. 

A craft bag............

And a bag using "grommets"......

Both of these bags have been made more than once in 2014 as they are both useful and satisfying to make.  

As for quilts...... Well I started my lovely Downton Abbey sampler quilt, this though was not a 2014 finish.  I began well but ran out of steam when I got to the curved piecing and it finally got put aside after attempting the tangled star block, I got in such a tangle that all the bits ended up in the bin!!! But I intend to return to this quilt with renewed purpose THIS year, you heard it here!!!

So what about the quilts I did complete.  There were five completed quilts, two completed tops and two more started ( not counting the sampler). Alongside the quilts I have made a number of cushions including two cathedral window ones, a felt bunny and some knitted toys for Mimi.  

Table runners were another of my fascinations in 2014. Friends and family will be able to attest to this as they figured highly in my gift list this Christmas.........

Both Sharon and I mastered the train case....

And I had my first venture into appliqué after visiting the National Quilting Championships at Sandown. I made a Lynette Anderson bag...

So I've tried a few new techniques, made some useful and pretty stuff and had a great time doing it and what's more I now have a blog to tell you all about it!!!!!

Happy new year to you all and looking forward to another great year of stitching fun!!

Jacky o