Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Why I Love My Janome Memorycraft 15000!

By Louise Harrison –

Many of you will have noticed the Janome sewing/embroidery machines we had on display by the shop entrance over the last couple of months.  They have certainly made people take notice, and even caught the eye of one or two husbands who have asked if they also make tea!
Joking aside, I never thought of buying an embroidery machine until Jane from Janome came to demonstrate them to all the staff at T&P.  I am not a girly girl, I’m not into highly decorated d├ęcor or clothes, in fact I have quite simple tastes (apart from a minor obsession with metallic fabric!).  When it comes to quilting I like geometric designs in the main.  I also already had a 5900QC.  So why did I buy a Janome Memory Craft 15000?

My first project – the Palazzo Quilt, made with Stonehenge Medici fabric.  This was quilted with the Acufil hoop and Horizon Link, the software provided with the machine for PC.  The all-over stipple design is calculated using the software, which also provides the templates to easily transfer placement to the quilt top.
Close up of the stipple quilting design.  Each ‘block’ fits a bit like a jigsaw with its neighbours.  Each block took 4 minutes to stitch out, with 90 hoopings it took two afternoons to stipple the whole quilt!
Quite simply, I was so impressed with what it was capable of.  It has immediately obvious wow factors; the automatic motorised needle threader, the fold up arm for embroidery, large hoop and harp area, WiFi, PC connectivity, and the huge range of inbuilt designs.  But it was also the sheer versatility of what it could do.  Little did I know that this was the start of a whole new chapter in my sewing life!

Embroidered bag using Simplicity pattern 1597.  Designs fromEmbroidery Library.
It was so easy to use, right from the off we were editing and producing embroidery using this fantastic machine.  Coupled with it being a fantastic sewing machine with all the features of the flagship long arm machines and more, I was already hooked.  It made everything so easy, and was simple to operate.  The results were impressive.  You could even just choose what sewing job you wanted to do and the machine would automatically set itself up to do it!  It had something for everyone; quilters, crafters & dressmakers alike.
Flowerpot table runner made with ‘Scallop Magic’ fabric from Riley Blake.  The flower quilting motifs were done 3 at a time in the hoop, and it was bound using the Janome quilt binder set
Even so, I didn’t decide then I was going to buy one, although I thought it was wonderful.  Back then I was of the opinion that it was a lot of money.  Well, that’s certainly true, and that’s something I hear a lot from customers in the shop.  But then I got to thinking about the use I could get from it and the fantastic things I could do with it.  The Acufil quilting system was something I was really interested in, and actually when I finally took the plunge and bought one my first project would be quilted this way.

King size quilt from pattern ‘Mulberry Stars’. Ditch quilted with borders and cornerstones quilted in the Acufil hoop. I enlarged the standard stippling pattern for the outer border.
In actual fact it’s been the best decision.  OK, half the kitchen has been lost to my ‘sewing space’ (I am waiting on the offspring moving out so I can have a sewing room…don’t think that’s happening any time soon!).  But I can do everything on the one machine, and I use it most days.  The super large harp space meant that quilting a 104” square quilt with the Acufeed walking foot was easy.  Quilts can be quilted in the special Acufil hoop, which makes it simple to cope with those thick layers.  I’ve even produced my own border designs using MBX software, meaning my designs are perfectly matched and sized to my project.  And friends and family are getting some pretty special presents for Christmas and birthdays!
 I digitised this poppy design to use in a wall hanging (to go with the poppy fabric.  Left: the free motion feet (there are three) float over the surface of the quilt rather than bouncing, which makes them a breeze to use.  I’ve finally got a result I’m proud of!

It’s opened up a whole new world of creativity for someone who, let’s face it, finds it hard to be inspired and original with a design.  This machine helps me really make it my own and has given me a whole new perspective on my sewing!  And it was worth every penny.
Louise (staff member @ Threads and Patches)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Wonderful Wonder Clips!

Each of our team have favourite products and fabrics. Julie wanted to share her love of these little gadgets with you –
Do you have a tool in your sewing box that you couldn’t possibly live without? I’m sure everyone does, and I bet they’re all different. Mine are Clover Wonder Clips  – I’ll recommend them to anyone who will listen!
If you’re a quilter, you can use Wonder Clips for what is, I suppose, their original purpose – keeping binding in place while you hand-stitch. That’s why I bought them in the first place – and I seem to have accumulated quite a few over the last few years! I keep a handful in every sewing bag or box.
Now I use Wonder Clips for everything and anything – I find them especially useful for English Paper Piecing : when hand basting, I Wonder Clip one seam around my paper and start basting from the opposite side. It just keeps the paper and fabric secure until I get a couple of stitches in, without needing a pin. Even if I am glue basting , I’ll still use a Wonder Clip to hold my English Paper Pieces together while sewing up seams. They’re just the perfect tool for anything you don’t want to use a pin in – like oilcloth, vinyls, leather, even paper – or anything you can’t easily get a pin into – like thick felt, fun fur, fleece, or even a project like bag-making , which might involve holding several thickly interfaced layers together. I’ve even been known to clip cut fabric pieces to their corresponding pattern pieces, so I don’t lose track of which piece is which in a complicated project!
Can you tell I really think Wonder Clips are the best tool ever?! What tool in your sewing box would you be totally lost without? Send us your thoughts!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Free Quilt Blocks from Threads and Patches

Over the last few years Sally has run a ‘Saturday Sampler’ Quilt course, these were usually her own designs and were made block by block into quilts over the year. As many of these designs have been very successful Threads and Patches has decided to share them here, so starting in the next week you will be able to access and download the patterns for the blocks for Sallys’ 2014 Saturday Sampler . this was originally constructed in burgundy and grey fabrics but would work well in any complimentary colours, or even as a scrappy quilt.

You can see from the examples of quilts made by our customers with the same fabrics how diverse they can look
Over the next few weeks I shall be adding the instructions for these blocks  to this blog, you will be able to download them  and follow them at your own pace.
I used 6 different burgundy fabrics and 5 or 6 different pale grey fabrics, plus I needed burgundy embroidery thread and grey embroidery thread.  Many of our customers embellished their quilts with beads and buttons . There is some embroidery on some of the designs but many of the participants enjoyed adding extra embroidery throughout the quilt.
I would love to see what you make so please email me your work at and I shall incorporate as many as I can in to the blog posts.
Follow our blog to make sure you don’t miss any of the blocks. I look forward to creating a fun quilt along side you.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Weekly Special Deals from Threads and Patches Plus Click and Collect!

At Threads and Patches we like to offer you great value. So we have recently started a new program of weekly special offers. To be notified of these offers customers sign up to our email list, they then receive an email when the offers become available on our website. There are some great deals to be had, so if you want to keep ahead of the game, sign up to our emailing list today
You can even ‘Click and Collect’ by placing an order and selecting the collection option we shall prepare your goods for you, email you when they are ready for collection and of course you have no waiting at the till or postal charges.
Try out the new system and see if you like it!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Stitcher's Weekend Retreat - November 2015 Fri 13th - Sun 15th

I am so looking forward to our weekend retreat this year.
We have been going to The Holiday Inn in Milton Keynes  for several years now and they have always looked after us well.One of the great things about this holiday is that there is no single supplement. Everyone gets their own room!
I have lots of plans for this weekend, not least the two quilts - one an applique Baltimore style

  and the other a pieced snails trail and stars

Both of these quilts are suitable for beginner patchworkers and the more experienced. 

During the weekend I shall also be offering a couple of 'quick makes' these are usually7 done as 'early risers' ie, those who wish to get up and stitch at 7 am may join me to make something fun - honestly at the moment I have so many ideas for these I cannot decide what to go for, one will probably be a small bag of some sort, just not sure what the other one will be. I have found in the pst that the easiets thing to do for this ios to provide kits, that way i know everyone has everything, they are usually priced at around £4-£5

If you are interested in joining us for this weekend please call the shop on 01908 649687

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Saddest News

Elaine having tea at the Ritz last year.

On Friday 5th June Elaine Brough a valued staff member and a friend died in Willen Hospice. Threads and Patches is not just a business, it is a family and a community and we all feel her loss keenly. Elaine has worked at Threads and Patches for several years, and was really part of the furniture! Her fun and positive personality made her a firm favourite with the customers and the positive way she managed her cancer therapy was an inspiration to all who met her.

On a personal note, she was the most supportive and loyal friend and employee to me and I shall miss her terribly. Elaine's husband Michael often helped out at the shop, together they were a fantastic team, and I have never met a more selfless couple, just willing to take time to help anyone. I am not waxing lyrical here because Elaine has died, I could have written those words within a few months of meeting them both. Elaine lit up a room with her bubbly fun personality, she was never happier than when she was busy. I must also mention her needlecraft skills, her embroidery was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen, just immaculate.

We will miss her, and there will always be a small part of Threads and Patches that is Elaine.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Sally's Favorite New Book - Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt

We have so many new things going on at Threads and Patches, new products arrive weekly, new fabrics fill our shelves and we are always striving to provide new and interesting workshops and classes in patchwork, quilting, dressmaking and needle craft. Below is a selection of a few new things we have on offer

This is my favorite new book, with a wonderful selection of sampler blocks and projects. It is great value for money as you are bound to get many projects out of the beautiful selection here.

Just look at some of the lovely ideas

If you want to see more click on the link