Archive for the ‘Machine Embroidery’ Category

Miriam Coffey, Janome Educator, at the Janome Education Summit 2018 Post #5

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Several years back I had the great good fortune to have Miriam as the educator in one of the classes I taught in Houston.  It was fun to see her again at the Summit, and a jaw-dropping experience when we got to see some of the goodies she has made.  As she put it, she’s not a bows and teddy bears sort, but she DOES to machine embroidery on her Janome embroidery machine. I don’t do hearts and bows either, so I love how her entire approach–totally in keeping with her personality–is fresh and fun and inspiring.

Miriam brought show and tell, and it’s a miracle none of us tried to sneak home some of her goodies, except we wouldn’t do that to her! This sewing items case (could easily be an iPad cover etc), she used the embroidery module to create fabric, then cut the stitched fabric designs apart to use in patchwork. All those green bits were solid / plain fabric until she decorated them with embroidery.

Miriam must have been sitting under a vent because she was wrapped in this snuggle throw. It was made from flannel on one side, the Cuddle fleece (see earlier post) on the other, then free-motion quilted using fuzzy yarn and the couching foot. Let me just say I loved it so much I have already ordered fleece which is waiting for me in my workroom!

And another one of those throws. WANT!

Here’s a close up of a sample: Miriam hooped the fabric, embroidered it with a sashiko pattern (I think using a twin needle)

Lookit how modern the tumbling blocks pattern become hen using cloth that Miriam “made” by embroidering a simple solid.  With a little imagination, it would be possible to achieve some of this effect just using the decorative stitches on most machines.

A case Miriam made…same idea!

This is part of a wall hanging Miriam made using programmed designs. But I want to try to re-create that cross-cut of tree bark and tree rings just using the variable zigzag feature on my 9440 and free-motion stitching.

And a sample of a honeycomb programmed stitch (done on the embroidery module) on top of pieced squares.   It would be a fuss, but you could do this (probably not as perfectly!) using careful marking and a satin stitch, but obviously lots easier when it is a programmed design on the 15000 that you hoop and hit “start.”   It’s almost enough to convince me to try embroidery LOL!

Anyway, Miriam was so much fun to have in class…helpful, professional, capable, and obviously has a lot of creativity and skill to teach and share.  Thanks for schlepping ALL those things to share with us, Miriam!

Merry Mistletoe, a new free project

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Hi all!   At long last the new laptop has arrived, the nearly-deceased one is retired, and I’m scrambling to catch up.  So first things first!  Janome has published my freebie table runner pattern on their website and blog as part of the holiday celebrations. As always, thanks to Janome America for having me in their Artist and Teacher program for lo these many happy and productive years.

A table runner I made to feature the Janome 15000's beautiful embroidery

A table runner I made to feature the Janome 15000’s beautiful embroidery.  And no, my table is NEVER this tidy.  My laptop lives where the lower left corner is and there is always a pile of “to do” stuff!

I used a Lonni Rossi embroidery design built in on the Janome 15000 I am currently using.  I altered the colors of the built-in design to a wintry, holiday palette of red, green and golden tan.  Honestly, I never thought I’d like machine embroidery (the wanting to do my own thing stuff), but this design is so gorgeous and even *I*, a soul who doesn’t like uber-computerized machines, was able to stitch this out nearly perfectly the first try!

To see the project on the Janome site, go here and scroll down to December 14, 2015 or go here.   To download a PDF including full color photos with some neat tips for getting those skinny red strips to be perfect, go here.

The plain old vanilla photo of the table runner.

The plain old vanilla photo of the table runner.

Here’s what the project looks like in the original color selection on my 15000.  Quite a difference, eh?  And here is the boring, straight-on view of the table runner.

The Janome 15000 open to the Lonni Rossi block in the original colors.

The Janome 15000 open to the Lonni Rossi block in the original colors.

Close up of the original color way on the machine.

Close up of the original color way on the machine.

I’ve got one more version/colorway, but it is a gift (as yet unfinished) for Christmas, so I’ll just have to share it and add it in here later!

If you don’t have this machine, never fear–you can just insert your favorite embroidery or fabric instead of doing this beautiful design.

 

 

Janome’s 100 Blocks in 50 Days project!

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

Oh what fun!  Janome teamed up with Michael Miller and asked the folks in their Artists/Teachers loaner program as well as staff and educators to make 100 Blocks in 50 Days for a free online quilt project that debuted this past week.  You can sign up for free daily reminders from Janome so you can download PDFs of all the patterns (or just the ones you want).  I had so much fun,  asked if I could make extra blocks (ended up making six), then made doubles of each so I could have my own set, and as you may have read in my lengthy Skyline S7 review (here), made yet another block that will fit with these projects.  I’m sharing that block below (again) since it was at the end of such a long post.  I’ll have five more blocks which I will share as Janome publishes the links to them.  Some are easy peasy, some involve a lot of fun stuff with thread!

Michael Miller and Janome selected a set range of colors from Moda’s unbelievably silky-soft-delectable-heavenly Cotton Couture solids line.   Each participant got fat quarters in each of the colors.  I am planning to make even more blocks, then quilt them up into a wall hanging to use when teaching decorative stitching.   Or just to be pretty and colorful on the wall!

I was thrilled when my embroidered circles was one of the first two blocks featured!    Here’s a picture and a hotlink for the circles block which has the PDF (from Janome’s website):

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Circles block (c) Sarah Ann Smith

The second block I will share with you is an “extra” which came from the Skyline S7 test-drive.  I’m calling it Embroidered Leaves (guess why…duh Sarah!):

Using the built in stitches on the Skyline S7, I made this block.

Using the built in stitches on the Skyline S7, I made this block.

You can find a PDF by clicking on this link or visiting my Resources page (here or use the link on the menu bar above).  Once on the resources page, scroll down to Tutorials and find Embroidered Leaves in alphabetical order.  There’s lots of other fun free stuff there, so browse around!

 

Janome’s new Skyline S7 Sewing Machine

Monday, October 26th, 2015

Janome never ceases to amaze me with the quality of its machines.  The Janome Skyline S7 is a more modestly priced machine than what I have used for the past decade, but it has features straight from the top of the line 15000 (click on the link to open a new tab to Janome’s page with all the features).   If your budget or preferences don’t run to expensive machines, this machine may have all the versatility and dependability that you need with the right sticker price.  I am, quite bluntly, surprised and pleased at the wide array of features and outstanding performance of the S7.

Here’s the nice photo of the S7 from Janome’s site (NOTE:  photos are mostly clickable to view larger):

A screen capture from the Janome America website. To link to the site, go here.

A screen capture from the Janome America website. To link to the site, go S7 and scroll down.

Also from the Janome site, the included parts. Pretty much everything you need for routine sewing.

Also from the Janome site, the included parts. Pretty much everything you need for routine sewing.

And much less fancy shot of the S7 in my studio:

The Janome Skyline S7 in my studio.

The Janome Skyline S7 in my studio.  Notice the wonderful knee-lift in place!

I prepared a variety of projects to work on during my brief loan period for the Skyline S7, which Janome introduced/debuted at Janome Institute late this August and is now arriving at Janome dealers.   I had piecing for quilting, mending and repairs, sewing a new top, free-motion quilting, and decorative stitching.  The machine handled every task like a champ.  Here’s a teaser…keep reading to find out more about this block:

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For free instructions on how to use the built-in stitches to create this block, see below. This block will work with Janome’s ongoing 100 blocks in 50 days project; read more about the 100-Blocks Janome 100 Blocks.

Now…back to the regular review (I just wanted to tuck the pretty block up top!)

I've been piecing some blocks (who me?): made of turtleneck shirts. Eek! I had to stabilize all of them with interfacing (gray one in lower left corner). As expected, the machine breezed through without nary a burp.

I’ve been piecing some blocks (who me?): made of turtleneck shirts. Eek! I had to stabilize all of them with interfacing (gray one in lower left corner). As expected, the machine breezed through without nary a burp.  Because of the thickness of the fabric, I did find using a leader/ender so the stretchy fabric didn’t get pushed into the opening was a good thing.  Of course, I could have (and should have) used the straight stitch plate instead!

I had a tunic top cut out to make on this machine (see blogpost here or just scroll down two posts–and take a look at the review of the Janome15000 App while on your way).  I like a nice, clean finish.  So I used French seams (center vertical), overcast (using one of the utility stitches), and a bias edge as you can see in the next photo.

Seam finishes in my tunic: bias facing, on the top, overcast edge at the armscye (set in sleeve seam) and French seam (enclosed raw edges) on the side seam.

Seam finishes in my tunic: bias facing, on the top, overcast edge at the armscye (set in sleeve seam) and French seam (enclosed raw edges) on the side seam.

I did a quick free-motion quilting practice using the open toe foot skimming foot.  The default setting with my preferred threads, a 40-wt shiny poly in the needle and a 60-wt fine poly in the bobbin, wasn’t quite perfectly balanced for that thread combination, so I adjusted the balance by one notch and it looks excellent.  This is a common adjustment when using threads that are not identical.  Why do I use a thinner thread in the bobbin?  For art quilts, durability for wear and washing isn’t an issue.  And with the density of my stitching, the finer bobbin thread means less thread-build up, not as stiff, and more miles of thread to the bobbin!  ALWAYS test a potential new machine with the fabrics, batting and thread combinations that are your favorites–not whatever the sewing machine store has on hand!

Test free-motion stitching on the S7.

Test free-motion stitching on the S7.  You can see my note that says “Default 4.6” and “4.8.”  After looking at the back having stitched the first feather and name, I decided I wanted to have the balance adjusted slightly.  I always test for stitch balance with two contrasting colors so I can see what is happening.

Reverse of FMQ.

Reverse of FMQ.  The stitching on the right is the default setting.  I was seeing a TINY bit too much of the needle thread on the back, so I loosened the top tension one notch.  The second stitch out, on the left in the photo above, is better.  The tiny bit of dark you see is the shadow inside the needle hole.  A bit of moisture/steam or just time will close up those needle holes.  (Click for larger view)

The drawbacks to the S7 were VERY few and minor:  the harp, the space between the needle and the housing on the right, is that of a standard sewing machine.  I’ve been sewing on the machines with a longer harp area for a decade now.   However, I have also quilted a king-sized quilt (carefully) on a machine with a smaller harp than this one.   If you want to quilt king-sized quilts at home you might want to consider a longer harp, otherwise, you’ll be fine with this machine.  Also, the machine does not come with an extension table included.  These are minor quibbles:  this is a great machine for someone doing garment and home dec work, and for someone who is newer to quilting and doesn’t want to spend the bigger bucks for the larger machine.

Note:  one commenter told me “a regular sewing machine has a harp area of 6″-7″ and the S7 has a harp area of 8.25″ That makes it even more of a real winner (I hope you correct this on your S7 evaluation.)”   OK, I don’t have a measuring tape or the time to check this out (plus the machine is back at Janome), but let’s just go with “the harp area is smaller rather than larger.”  You can still quilt on it!  <grin!>

Janome makes a “Quilting Kit” to go with it that includes an extension table and my most-favorite-in-the-world convertible free-motion quilting foot.   The Skyline quilting kit part number is (according my lovely Janome contact) 003863402005, and comes with an extension table, appliqué foot, clear view quilting foot, ditch quilting foot, open toe satin stitch foot and (drum roll please!) the convertible free motion quilting foot set that is my fave!

My final test was the decorative stitches.  I’ve been able to be a part of Janome’s 100 blocks in 50 days project (ongoing now, here).  I liked the Michael Miller Cotton Couture fabric SO MUCH (silky, soft, glorious) that I made extra blocks for myself, and designed this embroidered block to go with mine. Here is the PDF for my Janome Embroidered Block .  Basically, start with a 7 inch block and stabilizer suitable for the weight of your cloth; you want to cut large because stitching can shrink a block a bit.  Basically, cut it big and trim to exact size when done.  Use a satin stitch (a short length zigzag) to create two stems coming in from opposite corners of the block.  Use the Satin Stitch leaf (built in on the S7–similar stitches on other machines) and adjust the stitch length (doubled on some) following the instructions in the manual, width and stitch density (refer to the PDF) to stitch out the leaves using my block as a general guide for placement–you don’t have to be exact.   I outlined the leaves with an overcast stitch from the basic utility stitches menu.  Then use the snowflake stitch, reduced in size, to make the “dots” in the background.  When complete, trim to 6 1/2 inches to match your other “100 Blocks” project.

Notice that I chalk marked a 6 inch square and a 5 1/2 inch square inside it. I needed to know the edges of the finished block, and wanted to leave a bit of clearance around the design so none of the decorative stitching accidentally ended up in the seam allowance.

Notice that I chalk marked a 6 inch square and a 5 1/2 inch square inside it. I needed to know the edges of the finished block, and wanted to leave a bit of clearance around the design so none of the decorative stitching accidentally ended up in the seam allowance.

The Janome 15000 App by Jim and Diane Stutsman of Software Miracles

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

The phrases life-saver, worth it’s weight in gold, a value at twice the price are what first come to mind:   The Janome 15000 app is simply amazing.  I have delayed blogging and reviewing it because I wanted to view ALL the videos first.  I came to realize there is simply so much content packed into this App that it would take eons for me to go through all of the videos, and I should simply go ahead and say:  if you are lucky enough to have the Janome 15000, unless you are an expert like Jim and Diane Stutsman, BUY THIS App!!!!!

 

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When you type Janome 15000 into the App Store search box, you’ll get this screen. You will see a “buy” and price. On mine, it has the Download box since I’ve already got it.

To buy it, you’ll want to use your iOS device (iPad usually but also works on iPhone, just smaller for seeing) to open the App store.  Type Janome 15000 into the search box to reach the App which sells for $59.95.  If you don’t have a Janome, you can still learn from Jim and Diane via the FootBook, their App (reviewed FootBook Review) about how to use Janome presser feet.  Don’t let that dissuade you:  this modestly priced ($6.99) app shows how to use various feet that are common to all machines.  Even though the foot name might be different from one brand to the next, how they work carries over.

When you go to the App store on your iOS device, put Software Miracles into the search box to bring up this screen.

When you go to the App store on your iOS device, put Software Miracles into the search box to bring up this screen.  The FootBook is pictured on the left.  The Janome 15000 pretty much covers all the territory on the FootBook, so you don’t need both.  However, since many of my readers aren’t lucky enough to have the 15000, I’m including this for their information.

The Janome 15000 App is a “manual” for the Janome 15000 with videos, photos, and incredible and extensive detail that covers

  • Home Screen Functions
  • Embroidery Functions
  • Home Screen Applications
  • Optional Feet
  • Quick Start Videos
  • Set Screen Functions (how to customize the machine)
  • HorizonLink Suite (an optional embroidery software from Janome)
  • iPad Apps (including the included with the 15000 Acu Monitor and AcuEdit)
  • Accessories (Using the optional Clothsetter)
  • Free Motion Quilting

Here’s what you see when you open the App:

When you open the Janome 15000 App, here's what you see...don't forget to scroll down, there is a LOT more!

When you open the Janome 15000 App, here’s what you see…don’t forget to scroll down, there is a LOT more!

There are multiple videos and tutorials for each of the above major sections.  As with their impressive FootBook App (which is about how to use Janome feet, but frankly works for most feet/brands, blogpost here), there is a ton of information   In the Home Screen Applications section alone there are tutorials on (photo just below).

  • Seaming
  • Overedge
  • Blind Hem and Shell Tuck
  • Rolled Hem
  • Zippers
  • Gathering
  • Bating
  • Button Sewing
  • Tacking
  • Applique
  • Patchwork
  • Quilting
Here's just part of what is on this information-packed app.

Here’s just part of what is on this information-packed app.

This app is essentially a whose SERIES of sewing lessons that are useful even if you aren’t on the 15000 (though they are geared to using the screens and pre-sets on this machine).   And, because it is an App, not a disc, Jim and Diane can update the software easily.  Once there is an update, you can download the update as part of  your original purchase price, which means you get the benefit of improvements down the line.

As I said when I reviewed the FootBook, I have been hand-sewing since I was about 7, and Mother let me start to machine sew when I was about 9.  I am pretty close to expert having made garments, worked for an interior designer making high-end home dec items, and been both a traditional and art quilter (published, exhibited, yada yada).  Well, I learned stuff from this App, which means that it is crazy comprehensive.

For me, with my experience, the embroidery instructions are the most useful, and I am so grateful to have these on my iPad so I can watch them while I am working at my machine.   I don’t have the Horizon Link Suite (because I’m not wild for embroidery), but I can tell you if I did I would use these videos as my step-by-step learning process.  Another thing that is amazing, Jim has a Yahoo group for owners of the Janome 12000 and 15000.  I joined before Janome lent me one just to start learning.  Jim’s help there has also been phenomenal.   If you are interested, you can go Janome 15000 yahoo group to ask to join the group.

The Stutsmans have a website, OnLineSewing.com.  Here’s a link to the page with info on the Janome 15000 app, and another link for the FootBook. There is helpful information on what you need in terms of tablets for viewing (with generation etc).

Bottom Line and Last Word:  If you have the Janome 15000, unless you are the most expert Janome 15000 person on the planet, you will learn something from this App and be able to use and learn from it.