Quilting Update…

I had a question on one of my quilting posts regarding the type of sewing machine I was using. I started with an old Singer machine which would overheat within an hour of stitching, gradually slowing down until it would no longer run. It was evident I needed a new machine…

So I first purchased a low-end Janome Magnolia. It was way better than my Singer and at first I really liked it. But as I started making larger quilts and wanting to quilt them myself, I became frustrated with the lack of well space (the space to the right of the needle which allows one to push fabric through the machine). My stitching was uneven and I found myself having to PUSH the fabric along.

So when I brought the machine back to the seller within three months, he suggested I “trade up” for a machine that had a built in feed dog which was motorized. He was willing to give me full credit on my trade in, and then offered me 10% off as well on the new machine. I didn’t buy it immediately because I had to get over the sticker shock of $1400 first. But Kip pointed out to me that a sewing machine was a tool, just like the very expensive tools in his workshop…and besides, it was almost Christmas and perhaps it could be an early Christmas present.

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(click on photos to enjoy a larger view)

So I bought the Janome 6600…and I am thrilled with it. This machine practically sews by itself. It has special features (like the built in walking foot for quilting, and the ability to lower the feed dogs for free motion quilting), and more stitches then I know what to do with. I am still learning the machine – but I will tell you that sewing and quilting is now a breeze with this fantastic “tool!” If you are a serious sewer or quilter, I guarantee you will not be unhappy with this machine.

So here is my latest project…a pinwheel table runner in Christmas colors which was inspired by Jodi at Pleasant Home. I made my runner shorter than her’s … and the block size slightly larger.

(click on photos to enjoy a larger view)

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I fell in love with this line of fabric from Marcus Fabrics called Metro Mirage and designed by Michelle D’Amore. It is incredibly soft and the colors are vibrant. I especially liked the diagonally striped fabric which made a perfect binding.

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I didn’t take a photo of the back of this runner, but I used the Jacobian floral chocolate fabric from the same line. It is more autumn-like, so this table runner COULD be reversible.

I also had some fun putting together these two little scrappy hedgerow blocks (inspired by Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!)…not sure yet what I’m going to do with them. Might need to make a few more and then see what happens.

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Are you working on any fun, crafty projects lately? If so, I’d love to see them…leave me a link in the comments to any posts you have!

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14 comments

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    • Molly on December 8, 2009 at 08:26

    What a lovely table runner — and a thoughtful Kip who recognized your needs and allowed you to indulge in an early Christmas gift 🙂

    • Laura on December 8, 2009 at 08:55

    Very nice Wendy!!

    And I agree with Kip about the “tool” aspect. At our house we joke about every project requiring a new tool, but Chris has always felt that trading up for quality was worth it. And as a beneficiary of his work, I agree! So I’m sure it will be worth the investment for you, too.

    • Kathrin on December 8, 2009 at 09:20

    Wow, Wendy! Those are amazing!!! 😀 They’re so beautiful, the pictures alone make me wish I was not so incapable of doing something – anything – with my hands…

  1. That quilt is gorgeous!

    • Care on December 8, 2009 at 11:48

    WOW! and guess how I got here… I clicked from the Women Unbound Challenge! it works. 🙂

    I keep saying I want to learn how to sew and have as a life goal to someday make a quilt (yea, I know: someday aint a day in the week…) but I want an easier to use sewing machine but my hub keeps telling me that I have a sewing machine (which is very old and heavy) so. I’m in a catch22, sort of.

    • Staci on December 8, 2009 at 12:47

    I absolutely love your color choices and that table runner is beyond words….you totally deserve that Janome!!

    • luanne on December 8, 2009 at 14:47

    Loved this post – I quilt and have been sending out my big stuff to a long arm lady. But small stuff like baby quilts I would like to do at home. But yep, the regular machine just doesn’t cut it. It is scary to spend that much on a machine, but it sounds like it’s what you wanted. Thanks for the post!

    • Teddy on December 8, 2009 at 20:55

    I have a friend with that machine and she loves it too. I think it is a good investment for someone who does a lot of quilting.

    • Verbatim on December 9, 2009 at 10:18

    Oh, thanks for the sewing machine info! I’m slowly but surely talking myself into how much I need a new, good machine. I love hand quilting, but it’s just taking me too long to finish quilts that way so I’ve got to start machine quilting. Love the hedgerow fabrics! Is hedgerow the name of the block? Looks like what I call log cabin. I have a couple in the works (waiting for quilting!) that I’ll send you a picture of when I get a chance. Speaking of fun, crafty projects, I recently finished a group of holiday-themed pillowcases. There are so many really cute Christmas fabrics out there, and I can make a homemade pillowcase in about an hour and a half. I send these off to my kids in college, as well as a young niece, as a little reminder that I’m thinking about them.

    • Wendy on December 9, 2009 at 13:07
      Author

    Molly: Thank you – and I am forever grateful to my wonderful husband who is always so thoughtful…and allows me to indulge guilt-free from time to time!

    Laura: Chris and Kip need to meet someday – they have the same “mentality” when it comes to trading up for quality. I must admit, I was initially reticent to “go for it” but when Kip put it in the perspective of needing the right tool for the job, he sold me quickly 🙂

    Kathrin: Thank you so much! Don’t under-estimate yourself…quilting is not that hard…really!!! You can do it!

    Serena: Thanks!

    Care: Sewing machines have changed so much in the last decade – they are really precision tools. My machine has quite a few digital features too. Maybe you can convince your hubby to give one to you for a gift???!?!?

    Staci: Thanks!! I promised Kip I’d run the machine into the ground I would keep it so busy *laughs*

    Luanne: It does seem like a lot to spend…but if you are planning on making a lot of quilts or doing other sewing projects it is really worth having the right machine. I regretted initially going “cheap”…and ended up trading up because I just needed more machine to do what I wanted to do.

    Teddy: *nods* I do look at it as an investment…and it is also my way of relaxing…so definitely worth it. Glad your friend is also happy with this machine.

    Verbatim: I called them “hedgerow” because that is what the quilter who inspired them called them. They are very much like log-cabin…but the strips vary in size (width) which I don’t think happens with traditional log cabin blocks. I totally admire anyone who has the patience (and time) to hand quilt! I might add…that the Janome 6600 has a stitch which mimics hand-quilting…so you could still get a similar look, even though it technically is being stitched by the machine. I haven’t tried that stitch yet, but I will someday. I’d love to see your pillowcases. Do you follow a specific pattern?

    • Kathrin on December 30, 2009 at 12:24

    Wendy, I’m really bad when it comes to making something with my hands – like I had two left thumbs or something like that 😉
    But if you really think it’s not that hard, I might try it next year. Maybe this could be my project for 2010?

    • Wendy on January 2, 2010 at 14:49
      Author

    Kathrin: I think you should try whatever you want to try – and not sell yourself short. If you really want to make a quilt…DO IT!!! I know you will have fun, and it really is not that hard. Please let me know if you try your hand at quilting (I bet you get hooked!)

  2. Wendy, I just know what I saw the last time I dared touch a sewing machine 😉

    • Wendy on January 27, 2010 at 11:12
      Author

    Kathrin: *laughs*

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