Janome Blog

  • 11/24/2020

    Waiting...

    It is that in between season... I've often said my oldest son was born in November to bring love and joy and light into this otherwise somewhat dreary month.  Here in Maine the bittersweet hits its peak as the berries pop, the orange husks revealing the crimson inside.  It's time to go cut some to cheer the house for the winter. 

     

     

    First we just need to have some colorful FUN!   My year as a Michael Miller Brand Ambassador is drawing to an end.  Given COVID, supply interruptions and whatnot, it hasn't been what anyone expected.  But after months of waiting, I did get some polka dots, which I love.  The problem was I have never ever made anything from a roll of 2 1/2 inch strips--I'd asked for fat quarters, which weren't available.  I'm thrilled with the result!  I googled around, got some inspiration, and had a bolt of the aqua (purchased for a workshop that ended up not happening), so used that.   My "day job" (highly underpaid) as Chair of the Town Select Board has had me stretched beyond my limits for the past couple months, but I hope to have some quick and free guidelines on how to make it on my blog in the next month or so.  

     

     

    This is the first large-ish quilt I've done on my Janome M7--LOOK AT ALL THAT HARP ROOM!  It has probably been 20 years since I have done walking foot quilting on a whole quilt.  I was DELIGHTED!  Yoda has also granted his "plonk" of approval during construction, when I was checking out where I was going next.

     
                                                       

    The dots are "Dumb Dots" by Michael Miller.  I used 18 or the 20 colors, and used 36 strips total.  Finished quilt is about 68" square.  My other favorite tool was using Susan K Cleveland's Piping Hot Binding booklet and tool....learn about that in my Absolutely Perfect Facings (and binding and more) class.  For the Bias Binding itself, learn about that in Absolutely Perfect Bindings half day workshop.

     

     

    From the sublime to the ...well, perhaps not ridiculous... how about COZY? Time to snuggle in for the winter.  Now, if it were evening, my iPad would be on a stand next to the chair, I'd have knitting on my lap, the pug sharing the seat with me (he squishes in) and the cat on the arm waiting for scratches.   The best news is that I've taken a few photos and now I can USE the quilt!

     

  • 11/5/2020

                  The first time my mother tried to teach me how to sew, I made a small, four panel pillow. After that, I never really sewed until I was about 10-ish, when I would go into my mother’s sewing room and raid her fabric stash for something pretty and try to make an article of clothing with absolutely no experience in doing so. Today, I was awoken by the sound of her Janome.

                  When the golden light from the sun beamed in my eyes, and when my body permitted itself, I got up from bed. From the other room, a faint humming repeated over and over, then stopped then started then stopped again. The air smelled of bacon and eggs, and the old matted carpet on my feet felt like walking on sandpaper. I walked straight and then made a left, peering into the Tiffany blue room that once was my bedroom, that had been renovated into my mother’s sewing room. As soon as I opened the wooden door, a wave of dog smell launched at me. I looked down at the ground, to find my German shepherd, Loki, staring up at me with his big brown eyes. White cabinets lined the walls, shelves with fabric rolls and small projects displayed my mother’s love for sewing and her job, along with picture frames with sayings that you’d see in a teacher’s classroom in school.

                    Sewing was always near and dear to my mother’s heart. Growing up without a lot of money, she decided to start making her own clothes out of old ones and fabric she could buy for cheap. Years later, she got involved with the sewing machine industry and became an educator for Janome America, and specializes in teaching people how to use and sell the machines, so, naturally, she wanted to teach me too. And then, she did. We started off with a bag that, although complex, wasn’t too hard. A saddle bag made out of a beautiful screen printed cotton, printed with vibrant flowers and vines and leaves, with rose gold hardware and a green cork bottom.

                A lot of this project consisted of cutting and ironing. Measuring out 11” by 22”, 2” by 35”, ironing interfacing onto it to make it strong and thick, the heat permeating through the room, steam from ironing spray covering up the dog smell and making it smell like a weird starchy peach. When I finally began to sew, the heat from the sewing machine warmed me up quickly. The humming continued, but much louder. After finishing some of the basic assembly, I pressed seams open, trying to keep them down with my fingers after opening, but burning them on the hot fabric. I kept sewing and sewing, ironing and cutting, pinning and folding, and then my stomach rumbled a deep rumble that shakes your entire body, and I turned to my mother. She gave me a knowing look, and we ran out to get food. Although it was fast food (considering these were the only restaurants open at the time) my first sip of Baja blast from Taco Bell felt like a dip in the pool of youth, and my steak cantina bowl felt like I was eating a three michelin star meal. When we finished our meals, we returned home and finished the bag.

                   My mother often goes on about the mental health benefits of sewing. She remembers this experiment that she read about, where human trafficking victims were taught how to sew and how that then, in turn, taught them how to plan ahead. They spent so much of their life living day to day that they forgot about that aspect of life, and when they re-learned it, it helped them grow. She thinks, although I haven’t experienced something as extreme as that, it still helps keep you in the moment while also helping you learn how to think in advance. And she was right! The entire time I spent sewing, there was no overthinking or intrusive thoughts or paranoia, it was just me in my mother’s sewing room with my dog, making something together.

  • 11/5/2020

    If you’re like me, you LOVE to sew quilt tops. And, when you’re done making those quilt tops, you LOVE to send them off to a long armer. After some not-so-pleasant experiences with previous sewing machines I have some trust issues when it comes to quilting. But, after receiving my Janome 9450 QCP 8 months ago, I have been slowly working up the courage to try quilting something again and pillows felt like a good start. I just knew that if there was a sewing machine out there to redeem all those bad experiences my Janome Memory Craft was it. Spoiler alert - I was correct!

    I highly recommend, if you’re new to quilting, to start small. Pillows, potholders, minis, etc. are great projects for testing the quilting waters.

    Interested in making the pillows featured in this post? The pattern for the Holiday Pillows, Snowman and Falala, are available HERE! Use the hashtag #snowmanpillow and #falalapillow in your caption when you share your progress to social media. Don’t forget to tag me (@penandpaperpatterns) in your post as well!

    After piecing my pillow tops, I used some basting spray and made a quilt sandwich (backing fabric + batting (TIP: Use fusible fleece instead of batting and skip the basting spray part) + pillow top. I made sure there was at least a 2” overage with my backing and batting as well.

    I made a sample piece with some remnant fabric and batting to test out what quilting pattern I wanted to go with. There are so many options on the Janome 9450 QCP that I had a hard time narrowing it down.

    I ultimately decided on the #44 scallop design under the Quilt category. I wanted something simple that wouldn’t distract from the pillow top designs. Also (even though I ended up leaving the design on the default settings) I really liked how I had the option to customize it.

    Once I figured out my settings, I started quilting! It couldn’t have been easier. I also attached the quilting bar onto my foot holder to make sure my lines of quilting were evenly spaced. Yay for not having to mark my quilting with a water-soluble pen or Hera marker!

    And this is how the quilting turned out! Not too shabby for a novice quilter. It was such a positive experience that I’m anxious to try the Hand-look Quilt Stitches next! The look of hand quilting minus the time commitment – I’m so excited!

    Check out my other holiday patterns and tutorials here: ttps://penandpaperpatterns.com/search?q=holiday

    And check out my most recent finish - the Kris Kringle Quilt! This quilt is what inspired the colors in my Snowman and Falala pillows. PS – For those wondering, the Kona solids I used in my pillows are listed in the pattern. Kits for these pillows are also available from Sewtopia here: https://bit.ly/2FIkUCM

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