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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Expanding Your Horizons

I had a good time on Saturday at Creative House.  It was a small gathering and more informal than we had anticipated.  Wendy bought SO much food.  Her grand kids and my children got to pig out on fresh fruit and cheese for the rest of the night, so it all turned out great.  : )  Thank you to the women who came!  I had a great little catch up with an old high school friend who showed up, not knowing that it was me she was coming to see!  ; )

Pretty Penny did a good job.  I am really surprised how often I meet Janome and Horizon 7700P owners that didn't know about awesome features or can't get something to work (hey- I was one of them!).  I had two phone calls this month plus an email asking for Horizon advice.

Did you know there's an extra-high presser foot lift?  That's great for stuffing quilts under, or a stabilizer hoop.

Did you also know that there's a little screw to adjust the height of the presser foot for free motion stitching?  You don't need a screwdriver.  You just use your fingertip to adjust it.  You'll want it lower if you are working on scrim or any thinner surface.  You'll want it higher if you are quilting a big fat quilt.  How high?  I tell people to set it at the lowest level you can that will not create any drag at all.  You want it somewhat close as it acts to stabilize the fabric at the point of quilting.  When the foot is too high, your fabric can bounce while you FMQ or threadpaint, and this will ultimately cause skipped stitches.

Another tips with the Horizon is to get the needle plate engaged for FMQ.  Again, this stabilizes the fabric while quilting and will prevent those horrible skipped stitches when you free-motion pretty curls. Read your manual.  It's easy to do.

Hands down, the Horizon loves Topstitch needles.  I do use a lot of Wonderfil thread, and they also suggest topstitch for nearly all their threads.  Maybe that's the variable.  So... Topstitch it is.  It has a long, long eye and I never get shredded threads ever.

When most people free motion quilt on a domestic machine, they lower the top tension to achieve even stitches that meet-in-the-middle of the quilt sandwich.  If the top is too loose or the bottom is too tight, you will get those horrible eyelashes / feathers on the back.  With the horizon, you can leave it on auto tension for the top, and change to this alternate 'blue arrow' bobbin case.  The blue arrow bobbin case is pre-set with a lower tension and creates PERFECT FMQ stitches.  You don't have to fiddle and test on a sample first.  I used to get eyelashes all the time no matter how carefully I sewed or how precise I thought I was setting my machine tension manually.  I found that when I tightened up the top thread, I would ended up getting my top thread snapping during quilting.  Everything was too tight: top and bottom.  That's enough to make me cry.  This blue arrow case is brilliant, it's only $25, and OMG it fits my old non-computerized Kenmore!!  wow.

With that in mind, I popped my other loosely-set 'play' bobbin case (yes - I have another case for bobbin work) into that old 12 stitch Kenmore.  It worked!!  I marked it green for fun with nail polish.  This is the one I play with and set very loose according to the cord / floss I use.  I don't want to play around with my other ones because they are perfect and I would like them to stay that way.

bobbin play sampler

Now I'm really looking forward to doing bobbin sewing on my Horizon - all the pretty stitches she has!

So I was thinking...
If any other Horizon owners would like to get together to experiment with the machine together, or if you need help troubleshooting, I would love to gather at Creative House in the sewing area.  We can set up and sew together for a couple hours. If you are upgrading from a Kenmore to a Janome, the presser feet are the same on the low shank machines FYI.  The bobbins & bobbin cases are all the same for high or low shank Janome & Kenmore. 

I'm linking this in as a "Tips on Tuesdays".  I hope many of you find this helpful.  : )  And yes - I drop the dogs, especially when threadpainting on a low, thin piece.  On quilts, I don't notice drag if I forget.

Have a great day everyone!  I hope this was helpful.


Wendy said...

Like you I also have a Janome Horizon. I also purchased the extra bobbin case for FMQ. Love it!
I have never tried the needles you referred to though, so I will be looking for some of those my next shopping trip.
Not sure what you mean about engaging the needle plate for FMQ...do you mean dropping the feed dogs?
Great post today and congratulations on all your success lately! Wish you the best of success at Quilt Canada. I am hoping to get there this summer seeing that it is only a 4.5 hour drive away.

Anonymous said...

i have a janome memorycraft and it is a wonderful machine. i have never fully explored its possibilities, though....i'm too scared to fiddle with tensions and settings and suchlike! you make me feel like i could be bold though!
and using the right needles can be essential to a decent final product - i was INTENSELY frustrated the first time i used metallic threads on a quilted wall hanging until i discovered the proper needle....
isn't it silly to not play and explore the possibilities?

Anonymous said...

You did an awesome presentation on Sat. You've inspired me to take the cover off my Horizon and put that baby to work!
A "Horizon Club" would be fabulous!
BTW, I'm waiting for Wendy to announce her Name Your Horizon contest :)
Thanks again for a fun afternoon.
See you tonight ;)

Marguerite (Tina) Smith Hart said...

Oh I am so happy I was a follower of your blog and stopped to read your post today! I also have a Janome MemoryCraft 3000 and have not used any of the features before and recently I got the bug to explore art in textiles! FMQ is all new to me and I have zero idea how to go about it except what I have seen on shows like "Sewing With Nancy"! I am looking forward to learning more here on your blog and putting my little sewing machine through some new paces. Thanks so much for the info!
Tina xo

Elsa said...

Thanks so much for this post. I had no idea that Janome has a special free motion bobbin case. Just called my local sewing machine store and they've got one! YAY!
Oh, and just love your blog!

Vivian said...

(Coming to you from Katie's Sew Bike Quilt blog.) Thanks for the tip on the FMQ bobbin case--did not know about that and so need to get one. I'm currently quilting with a rayon top thread and had to adjust the tension down as you stated to keep the bobbin thread from popping up when stitching backwards. Never had that problem with cotton thread.

Added to my shopping list when the machine goes in for servicing!

lorrwill said...

I found this from Pinterest while researching how to do the look of hand stitching on the sewing machine. Thank goodness I did, because it confirms the blue dot bobbin case will work on my sewing machine. Except now I am distracted and want to learn how you did that gorgeous bobbin stitching!
I have an old Kenmore that I have been using Janome parts and accessories on with great success. Thanks for the top about these bobbin cases. You're the best.

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