Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ricky Tims - and a robin for Christmas!

Was given this little knitted robin for Christmas - didn't know what to say . . . overwhelmed!

Also given a wonderful "Grand Finale" DVD by Ricky Tims. I suggest you buy it. He is a brilliant teacher - gives clear instructions and is a mine of information. As I have lots of unquilted tops waiting . . . . . . . waiting . . . . . will certainly use some of his techniques - especially the way he binds his quilts. Beautiful.

This is the best Christmas present ever and I have sat and watched it 3 times already.
Relaxing with cups of tea and warm mince pies. Bliss!

Off to my brother's house to celebrate the New Year, but I shall drive back afterwards. I never was one for alcohol but stopped drinking completely after seeing how it affected Stephen.
Feel all the better for it.

Happy New Year to you all!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jan . . woke me up ..with a reminder of past glories!

Generous Jan (Jans Musing) has finally finished her beautiful version of Pop Patchwork magazine Singing Garden quilt and given me a mention as original designer, for which I thank her.
The finished quilt has not previously been seen on-line - only in it's bare state to meet the magazine deadline. No quilting or binding. So here it is - complete and finally on a bed.

I do like Jan's lovely version and her use of a restricted colour palette.

I was given a brief (and fabrics) to present a different and colourful block each month for a year.
Made Autumn and Winter versions too - which I prefer - but they are waiting to be quilted . .
alongside another 6 waiting in the wings . . . . !!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Sorry ladies, but have not been feeling good today. Back has been giving me lots of pain. Shuffling about - unable to sit at sewing machine or computer for any length of time. Posting the Juki info took ages and didn't help. Just hope you gals found the content useful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not for the faint-hearted - JUKI 98P

This is not a machine for the faint-hearted! One has to persevere. It is quite different to using a bog standard sewing machine. Read on . . .

First attempt . . and helpers (see blog list)

Was ready to chuck the machine out of the window . . . could not prevent the pedal running away with me. OK for a tippy toed - light footed fairy, but pedal too responsive to my size 6 (UK) foot. Tensions all wrong.

Didn't have this problem with my old Bernina.
BUT - the Juki has a large 'harp' which makes it a doddle to work on a bed-size quilt.

Offered the machine up for sale.

Only Angie Whiston from Staffs ( - and Maureen Lamb ( from Cumbria - saved the machine by encouraging me to persevere and offered some very helpful tips.

Left the machine for a few days before trying again.

Another useful source:
Leah Day (
Not forgetting the amazing Patsy Thompson (

Second attempt . .

Foot pedal adjustment

Found this a bit tricky - ended up using 2 telephone directories to ease pressure off foot.
This is one speedy machine and can run away with you. Using the directories enabled me to slow the machine down.
There is a thread cutter on the pedal (red bit) which I disconnected. Idea sounds wonderful but I found it easer to use the scissor button on the body of the machine - less liable to to cut threads by hitting the red button by mistake. Fine for a very experienced professional machinist - which I am not.

Brilliant - cuts top and bottom thread - saves a lot of messing . .

Upper tension knob

Adjusted Presser foot tension

Adjusted top tension

Adjusted tension in bobbin . .

Ready steady . . .OFF . .

Schmetz needles seem to work best . .

Sharon Scharmer adapted foot . .

Sharon Scharmer v Juki foot.. .

Sent for Sharon's adapted foot from the States. Expensive - and was shocked at cost of shipping. $2.95 on envelope - charged $14.95 by Sharon.

Having said that - the foot is very good and I prefer it to the original Juki foot.

Getting better

Aiming for a proper feather - see Patsy Thompson site.

Stitches OK on reverse side of work . .

Not there yet - but trying . . .

Playing . . .

First Patsy Thompson feather - long way to go . . .

First real feather - tho a bit wobbly. Used Invisafil #100 thread - not the best (in my opinion) for this particular work.

Re-played every DVD I own of Patsy Thompson's. She is the Queen of Feathers! Do look at her site. Her instructions are so clear and easy. Wonderful! Can see her on utube.

Using different threads on Juki TL98P

I used the following with varying degrees of success:

Presencia (as recommended by Angie). Good.
Sylko mercerised cotton 50wt.
Aurifil 50/2 thread. Good.
Madeira Polyneon #40 thread. Very nice result.
Invisafil #100 was quite good.
Madeira machine embroidery thread was OK.
Bottom Line #60 wt was OK.

Better control with hoop . .

Autumn/Winter Singing Garden quilt tops.

These are waiting to be layered and quilted.

Trusty Bernina 1230 but Juki is growing on me . .

Will use my old machine to quilt the Wm Morris quilt (better the devil you know).
And then tackle remaining 10 quilt tops on my JUKI - after lots . . . . of practice. . .

BUT - I have to say the JUKI is growing on me and very exciting to use once you're used to it . . .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Latest Offering . . ."Live well - Laugh Often - Love much" Quilt

My "Live well - Laugh often - Love much" bed quilt - started some years ago - set aside whilst Stephen was ill - finished recently.
Ready to be layered - then machine quilted - possibly on my Juki TL98P. More about that later.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Latest quilt - in memory of Stephen . . .

Had a chance to visit Kelmscott Manor in Glos - just a few miles from my daughter in Cirencester. William Morris (and that rascal Rossetti) leased the manor for a few years.
Rossetti was having an affair with Jane Morris - William left them to it - went off to Iceland. Meanwhile Rossetti left Kelmscott (and Jane) and William finally bought the manor. It became William and Jane's favourite place. William was inspired by Kelmscott and many of his designs reflect this. Stephen was very much like William Morris.
A basic attitude towards life - fiercely independent - an artist - creative - outspoken. He even resembled Morris - and was bearded. One photograph of Morris in his bedroom at Kelmscott caught me off guard as he looked so much like Stephen. Beverley pointed out the resemblance. Had to sit down for a moment.

This quilt was made in his memory. Adapted from Michele Hill design. I enjoyed making it - wept a few times during the process. The Juki machine (with its large 'harp' and single stitch) was bought specifically to quilt it - plus - eventually - 9 other quilt tops!

More of the JUKI later . . .


Here is latest gadget to strengthen my leg muscles - as part of new medical DIY.

A Pedalatoré. Peddle away whilst watching TV - during adverts. Keeps circulation going.


Was buying groceries -veggies - from Lidl and picked up a bottle of their new Madame Glamour (name puts you off) perfume everyone is raving about. Apparently beat Dior and others in blind testing.

Thought it will do as an everyday fragrance - cheap. First impression was of lavatory cleaner - but it mellowed and was not bad. Sprayed myself liberally and limped to library and covered market.
Was stopped twice by women saying how nice I smelled and what was my perfume? It's Dior something or other said one lady. 'I buy that - but it's so expensive at £80 a bottle. Yours is a bit different - but LOVELY! Bet it's expensive.' Yes, it is rather. Lidl - £3.99 a bottle!!!
Lasts a long time too - unlike my usual Clarins Sunshine perfume - which is nice and fresh - but soon disappears.
See both perfumes above. More FREE information for you gals. I'm too good to you.
Tests on Juki sewing machine coming up later.

A case of DIY

As my back problem is something I have to live with - unless my bottom or legs go numb - in which case an op will be performed ASAP - it's a case of DIY treatment.

So . . . have made an appointment with physio for some traction - contacted my ex pilates tutor to see if she can help and instead of counselling I've been having at Cancercare - asked for massage sessions instead.

Decided I must do something about my pale washed-out face. Invested in two wash-off 'home tan' products. See above. Guerlain Teint d'ailleurs 02 - made me look like a red Indian (apologies to American Indians - lived in Oklahoma and good friends with a couple - who would understand!) Should have ordered 01. The Becca - Tobacco (colour not flavour) did similar. However, mixed with some pale foundation and moisturiser - look less red Indian - more of a Strictly Come Dancing star!
This is useful FREE information for you.

Friday, October 28, 2011

To be or not to be - that is the question . . . .

Operation on 11th cancelled last minute due to emergency that had arisen at hospital. Sent home.
Re set for Saturday 15th October.
Prepped and ready to go - elastic stockings - paper panties et al. when - after examination and much discussion with anaesthetist and neuro-surgeon - it was decided the risks outweighed the benefits at this present time. Sent home once more. Feel quite depressed as had banked on the operation curing all my back problems. Am back to square one with backache and still shuffling about.

FOR SALE: JUKI TL 98P sewing machine. Purchased 10 days ago. Cannot use it due to back problems. Any Offers?

Monday, September 26, 2011

At Last . . .

At long last. Operation - spinal decompression - set for 11th October. Operated on by best neurosurgeon in northwest UK so not feeling too worried about the outcome.

Scary problems/complications arising from the op have been explained - but they have to do that don't they?

Any advice re above op would be appreciated, especially if anyone out there has had this particular operation. Must confess I am a bit concerned about aftercare given that Stephen died last year and I have no helpful family nearby.
Will throw myself on social services and see what they can offer.

I will be glad to see the back of the last 2+ years - which have been ghastly.
Just hope this operation will be successful and I am able to get back into normal living once more.