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Showing posts with label Janome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Janome. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Good quilting, Sometimes it's all about the thread!

Although I already knew good quilting is so reliant on the thread, I thought I would try some of what I had been reading about--experimenting with different threads in the needle and bobbin.

Experimentation in this area was not fun. That doesn't mean I have given up; it just means that using different threads is now deemed well out of my comfort zone for now.

This table runner is the first free-motion quilting I've done with my new Janome DC2014 sewing machine. I have mixed reviews, but not about the machine. I love it! Despite it being so similar to my 30-year old model, there was still a learning curve. There are two new features on this machine that I didn't have before. 1) stitch speed and 2) needle up/down

Both were useful, but the needle up/down was a breath of fresh air. It was so nice not to have to grab and turn the wheel every time I stopped and started. 

Because this project had a white backing fabric, determined by what I had on hand, I wanted to quilt the center star in a gray 40wt. Floriani thread and everything else in white 40 wt. Isacord thread. I decided to thread the need with the gray and put white in the bobbin. Once I finally got the tension right, so that little if any of the gray showed through on the back, I began quilting. It was nightmarish. My machine did not like what I was doing. I re-threaded, changed needles, re-adjusted tension, and most of all, picked out lots of stitches. I limped through it the best I could with minimal gray loops on the back. 

The gray shows through, as seen in the photo at right. I'm thinking of painting it with white out or a little white acrylic paint just to camouflage it since this one square is the only one where the gray is so prominent. 

If anyone has any tips about using different threads in a domestic machine, please comment. I'd love to hear them. 
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Janome fits right in

My new sewing machine--a Janome DC2014--has arrived and is working great. 

CHQuilts: New Janome DC2014It came Monday, but not until 6:10 p.m., which really tested my anticipation skills. I failed. I am not very good at waiting. I tried to stay busy, but kept glancing out the window to see if the big brown truck was in view. It wasn't. Finally, while talking to a friend on the phone, I saw the driver with a big square box. Hurray!

Once I unpacked the machine, I decided to wait to set it up. I did, however, check out all the attachments and read the instruction booklet. I figured that in the morning I could scavenge the thread, bobbins, and whatever else I needed from my old machine before inserting the new one in its place. 

The next morning I removed my old machine and replaced it with the new one. Although the two are very similar, the 30-year difference in their ages was evident. My old one looked like a clunky old Nash sitting next to a sporty new Mustang.

I suspect this machine is simply an updated version of my old one, which makes the learning curve so simple. Threading it is identical, as is winding and replacing the bobbin. The only real difference besides age, is that this one has several more decorative stitches, which admittedly, I rarely used. It has a digital readout, which doesn't impress me in the slightest since I never had a problem turning a dial. 

The one feature it has that my other one didn't have, probably because it wasn't invented yet, is a programmable needle-up/down button. That one feature was my real motivation for wanting a new machine. When free-motion quilting, that feature is practically a necessity. 

I spent yesterday and today finishing a table runner, as seen above, while listening to Janome's steady hum. What a difference not to hear that whining, clicking, and clanging. I guess after 30 years, I really did need a new machine.


 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Awaiting a new tool for my quilting pleasure

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. 

As I awoke this morning, my mind raced with anticipation. It is hard to concentrate on mundane tasks. Today I am supposed to receive my new sewing machine; I ordered a Janome DC2014 from Amazon.com. 

It was so hard to settle on what to buy, but I knew it had to be a Jenome. 

I have had one for about 25 years that has been a work horse. It was the bottom of the line when I bought it from Sears, but I bought what I could afford. Unfortunately, cost had to be a high priority, then as now. I am pretty sure there is no new $6,000 Janome Horizon in my future, at least not unless I win the lottery. That would be difficult because I don't buy tickets.

When I bought my sewing machine initially, it was to replace the old Kenmore my mother gave me. I wasn't a quilter in those days. Quilting wasn't even on my radar. I wanted to sew for my little girl. I did make an outfit or two, but mostly my sewing machine was utilitarian--patching jeans, fixing seams and replacing zippers, etc. For these things, my Janome Harmony 4200 was perfect. 

Then I began writing for a local newspaper. I covered several quilt shows, each time learning more and more about the historical, artistic, and many other aspects of quiltmaking. I met some of the quilters and simply fell in love with their work. It was there that my interest in quilting began. I was encouraged and inspired by the shows' organizer and former high school home economics teacher from Peotone, IL, Doris Kruger, a wonderfully spirited and insightful woman who was eager to help budding young quilters. 

My sewing machine finally had a new purpose--one for which it was intended. 

I made my first quilt, an appliqued rose pattern on alternating blocks. It was a very enjoyable first endeavor. I machine pieced the blocks, but the rest was done by hand. I decided I really loved hand-quilting.

That was my favorite method until I learned about free-motion quilting many years later. I didn't think such a thing was possible. That was a couple of quilts ago. Now, I can't stop. I want to perfect this skill because I love drawing with thread. 

Free-motion quilting caused me to think about a new machine. The day after I decided to buy a new one, the tension spring on my machine broke. So now I need a new machine. And, today is the day!