Monday, 26 January 2015

Long Arm Threads

Horses for courses comes to mind when I think about long arm threads. While all long arms share certain attributes, like longer and taller throat space, they each have their own idiosyncratic ways of working. To put it simply, different log arm machines like different threads. 
Today I'm going to focus on Gammill long arms. The name Gammill is a long arm icon. It's certainly the first name that comes to mind when I think about long arm quilting machines. Gammill machines come in a variety of sizes and speeds, but for the most part Gammills stitch at high speeds and are factory set to a relatively high tension. The higher speed and the higher tension setting make certain kinds of demands on the thread. It needs to be STRONG.

Gammills love King Tut! I have professional long arm customers who order hundreds of cones of King Tut every year. King Tut is 100% extra-long-staple really-grown-in-Egypt cotton. Gammill long arm quilters love King Tut because it's strong so it can handle the higher Gammill tension without breaking. Their customers love it because it's gorgeous!

King Tut creates a beautiful bold matt line of stitching and comes in variegated, tone-on-tone and plain colours. Some Gammill quilters even use King Tut in the bobbin as well as that helps to balance the top and bottom tension and it makes the quilt-back beautiful too.

Other machine quilters love King Tut, especially if they're keen on cotton. Thread that's designed to cope with the demands of professional long arm machines works beautifully in ordinary domestic machines where the speed and the tension are not such an issue.

Right now our MachineQuilter Shop has hundreds of King Tut cones in stock. And ALL our in-stock cones are on SALE while stocks last.

ideal for machine quilting
 normally £18.95 on SALE for £15.95


Gammills also love So Fine #50. So Fine! is a polyester thread that's etched to look like cotton. So Fine comes in plain colours  and has the reputation of being 'THE most trouble-free thread!' It works great as a blender on top and also works well as a Bobbon thread when King Tut is on top. So Fine #50 £13.95 for a 3,280 yard cone.

OMNI works beautifully on Gammill machines too. This strong poly-core thread can be used both on top and in the bobbin. I really like the pure clean colours in the OMNI range. If you're looking for value for your money OMNI is the thread for you. ONMI by Superior Threads  £11.99 for a 6,000 yard cone

Monday, 19 January 2015

Tools and Gadgets

I think there is a big difference between tools and gadgets. There are gizmo's and gadgets galore on offer this time of year. Gadgets can be defined as frankly frivolous, time-saving space-wasting yet ingenious devices that clutter up the spaces of our life and work! They are the one-day-wonders that end up collecting dust in the back of our closets. Gadgets are clever yet not really all that necessary - we can live without them.

Tools in contrast are essential devices of lasting value. They are, to borrow a medical term, pluripotent - a single instrument that can accomplish many tasks as opposed to the many many little gadgets designed to do just one thing. 

Gadgets do it without you. But tools require a 'loving intelligence'. Loving intelligence truly describes the relationship between the tools and the craftsman or artisan. Tools require a certain manual competence - a practical wisdom that can be learned from direct experience or passed on from person to person.

Our New English Quilting frames and the JUKI sewing machines we use on them most definitely fall into the tools category! Our frames are hand crafted by craftsman for artisans. We create the tools and pass on the 'loving intelligence' required to get the most out of them. All the practical technology that makes JUKI so successful in industry, is evident in the robust and elegant simplicity of their domestic sewing machines. You can tell the difference just by listening to the sound of the machine running through it's paces.

JUKI TL98P straight stitch sewing machine on the New English Quilter frame
Good tools that last a life time are worth every penny. They are an investment that will keep on giving!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Another Happy Customer

Carol bought a machine quilting frame a few years ago, NOT one of ours.  But the frame didn't perform as she expected it would and the seller did not offer any after sales service. Understandably, Carol was really frustrated!

Carol heard about our 'La Mer' DVD. We designed the DVD to be helpful to ANY quilter using ANY sewing machine on ANY frame. Carol did find it helpful, but she was still struggling to get a nice line of stitching on her frame.  Just before Christmas she decided to get a set of Nifty Grips to help guide her sewing machine but realized that the installation was going to be difficult. As we were trying to figure out what to do, Carol's husband stepped in and said, "Just order the 6 foot New English Quilter frame." So she did! 
Carolis smiling now with her NEQ frame 
Carol's New English Quilter frame, purpose built table and Nifty Grip speed control handles arrived yesterday. Carol set it up today and here's what happened:

"Hi Martha, And we are off!!  I have just completed my first line of quilting and followed your manual instructions to the letter.  As you say in the manual practise is the key but I am so pleased with efforts so far and the simplicity of setting up.  The goody bag is just lush – I love the thread colours am sure I shall be ordering some in the future.  The manual is brilliant and is almost as if you are speaking directly to me very easy to follow and reassuring with the little summaries of steps along the way.  I just had to take a break and let you know my progress so far.  I am delighted. 
Very best wishes and thanks,Carol."
Carol is up and running with her New English Quilter frame
We love our customers, even AFTER they pay us.    We offer lots of customer support before, during and especially after our sales. We are delighted that after years of frustration,  Carol is up and running with her New English Quilter frame. And if she does run into any problems we are always happy to help.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Trigger Happy

The NEW improved New English Quilter Handbook
The New English Quilter Handbook is new, improved, updated and digital. Martha wrote the Handbook years ago to give customers who bought our New English Quilter frames the support they needed. The new NEQ Handbook is a computer-friendly 'green' version of our original manual. It's full of photos and clear directions and tips to get you, your frame and your sewing machine all working together happily.

Our New English Quilter Handbook comes free with every NEQ frame purchase as part of our 'goodie bag'. Over the years people using other frames have also wanted copies but the cost of printing and posting pushed up the price. Going digital solved those problems. We've added lots of new photos and updated the text. And it comes in a really neat trigger case. We can now ship the New English Quilter Handbook anywhere in the world! 

The NEQ Handbook comes in a neat trigger case and ships everywhere
New English Quilter Handbook UK PRICE: £19.95

New English Quilter Handbook USA PRICE: $24.99

Friday, 16 January 2015

Rave Review

Once the Christmas decorations came down, Kirstie had a chance to play with her new toy. You can read all about it in Kirstie's blog: Sew Kirstie But Kirstie invited me to cut and paste her comments here too. 

"I've been playing with my Christmas present! Hip, hip, hooray! The husband bought it from  MachineQuilter. It's called the New English Quilter 2 and it's fabulous!!"
Kirstie's new toy - the New English Quilter 2
"Up until now, I've just been doing test runs on old sheets and random bits of wadding, but today was the day that I was rolling out the big guns. Well, a quilt top, at any rate. Normally, I try to avoid machine quilting as it brings me out in hives. And short temper. And aching shoulders. However, I'd tried the NEQ2 at the Festival of Quilts and felt that with its help, I could possibly manage to make quilts on a more commercial basis."

"Basically, it allows you to use your domestic sewing machine as a long arm quilting machine. it even negates the need to crawl around on hands and knees for AGES basting a quilt (my least favourite part!) What's not to love??"

"There had been a very slight hiccup with the Nifty Grip Handles, but the Brilliant Martha and Wonderful Paul, who are the business end of The New Love of My Life, had it sorted in no time ... in spite of the fact that it was between Christmas and New Year, and Paul had been poorly. I cannot praise this small company enough. the craftsmanship of the actual frame is second to none, and the customer service is astoundingly good. I truly recommend that you take a closer look."

"So back to the quilt top, I was so nervous! It's one thing practising loops and swirls on a bit of old sheet... and quite another to loop and swirl on something that took time and effort to create. But I did it! Yay!"

Kirstie's NEQ2 set up in her sewing room
Thanks Kirstie for taking the time to write such a lovely review of our New English Quilter frame! We were thrilled that the right tools enabled you to turn these lovely blocks into a gorgeous quilt in just a couple of hours. Wow!

the blocks that made up Kirstie's quilt top

Sunday, 11 January 2015

January Tidy Up

Tidy up your thread stash with Hugo's Amazing Tape. This see-through, no glue, re-usable tape keeps all your threads from un-ravelling and protects from dust and dirt.

Hugo's Amazing Tape can keep your thread cones from unravelling
The 2 inch wide roll is a perfect fit for these larger cones that we use for machine quilting. You can cut it to fit your smaller spools too.

Tidy your thread stash with Hugo's Amazing Tape
Hugo's Amazing Tape sticks to itself so you can use it over and over again. Just one roll of Hugo's Amazing Tape will keep your thread stash tidy for years to come.

2 inch x 50 feet (5cm. x 15m)
on special offer at MachineQuilter
£12.99 with FREE Delivery
while stocks last.
If the website gives you trouble ring Martha and she'll take the order by phone: 01526 378057

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

12th night

I'm always a bit nostalgic the last day of Christmas. Today is take-down-the-Christmas-tree day for us.I need to play loud jolly music to keep me cheerful. Once it's all down and packed away our house looks ready for a new adventure. With the big kids headed back to jobs and University and the little guys back in school I'm keen to get back to quilting!

Whether you're looking for brights or neutrals, we have a great selection of Superior Threads in stock for your 2015 projects.
Visit our website or
ring Martha for a chat
 01526 378551 or 01526 378057

Rosie helping to take down the tree