I’m almost done talking about Loulouthi Tiles, I promise.
I was dreading quilting this quilt, and for good reason. I finished quilting it a week ago Sunday, it’s now the following Monday, and I’m only now able to fully bend the fingers on my right hand. That bizarre cut I have across the bed of my index finger nail is not going anywhere, either, and it really hurts.
I bought my sewing machine a few months after I learned to sew. I was waiting to see whether this sewing thing would stick, since I tend to get quickly obsessive about new things and then equally quickly drop them. At the time, I hadn’t started quilting and my two main issues with sewing were being able to sew in a straight line and being able to control the machine’s speed. The hand-me-down Singer (514) I had at the time was so powerful that I felt it controlled me instead of the other way around. So when it came time to look for a machine, the only feature I cared about was that the machine had speed control.
I had gone to John Lewis to have a look at their machines and settled on the JL250, a branded machine made by Janome. It had speed control and I could sort of afford it (I had been out of work for about a year at this point because of my visa troubles and had only just gotten a job, so there wasn’t an awful lot of money in the pot). It was absolutely great and I was really pleased with it.
Then I made The Quilt That Ate Berlin.
The Quilt That Ate Berlin
And another friend’s wedding quilt.
And our Dreamweaver quilt.
And my niece’s Mixtape quilt (my first and only FMQed quilt).
Well. The machine has turned out to be a complete nightmare. While it’s fine for piecing and doing any number of things, it is a disaster for quilting. It has a 6” throat space, no automatic thread cutter, no needle up-down control. You know what it does have? Speed control, which after two years of sewing is a feature I can now only scoff at.
So I obviously had to do something. On Saturday at the Harrogate show I went to the Janome dealer and had a go at the Horizon Memory Craft 8900. It. was. gorgeous. But it was also £1500 (after a £500 show discount!) and I’d just quit my job (I QUIT MY JOB!)(Eeeeee!). The saleswoman also pointed at the MC8200, which is very similar, but comes with fewer stitch designs (275 instead of 900) and no extension table or hard case. It was selling for £1000. Let me tell you, with every shove of that quilt through my John Lewis machine on Sunday, that £1000 price tag was looking more and more reasonable. I hemmed and hawed for about TWO MINUTES before ringing the dealer first thing on Monday morning and ordering the MC8200. I plopped down an extra £70 for the extension table, too.
You guys? THIS MACHINE IS A DREAM! It has an 11” throat space. I could fit my head in there if I wanted! It also has all the requisites for quilting: needle up-down, thread cutter, stitch reinforcer, a stop-start button, a knee-lift (haven’t attached this yet), an extra lift of the presser foot so you can fit really bulky quilts under it. I haven’t even looked at the stitch options, though admittedly, of the thirty six stitch options on my John Lewis machine I use precisely four (standard, needle to the left, needle to the right, zig-zag stitch), so I’m not entirely sure all those stitches will make much of a difference. They’re about as important to me as speed control at this stage.
It arrived last Wednesday and by the end of that day I managed to bind the Loulouthi Tiles quilt (fully by machine–needle up down IS A REVELATION, PEOPLE!) and sew five more Tula Pink City Sampler blocks. I also made the new block I hinted at in my lat post, and I then had a quick go at FMQ and OH MY GOD it is amazing. AMAZING!
Janome Memory Craft 8200
So yeah, I’m a little excited! And a lot broke, but way more excited than broke!