Friday, August 25, 2017

A New Janome Ruler Foot

Janome was the first sewing machine brand to have a ruler foot, and while it was originally intended for use on a frame mounted machine, quilters far and wide began using this combination of feet on regular, stationary sewing machines.

As I've shared my quilting adventures with ruler work here for over 7 years, so many people have enjoyed the technique, whether on a Janome or a compatible machine.

In the last few years, machines have been created with an automatic presser foot mechanism which is super duper awesome for sewing, but Janome did not approve of using the Janome ruler foot combination with these machines. Plenty of determined quilters used it anyway, though it wasn't approved, nor ideal.

Just last year I was in Cincinnati Ohio at a Janome training when they introduced the Janome 9400, which has an automatic presser foot lifter. I was talking to my Janome rep about the ruler foot when Shin Yamamoto, President and CEO of Janome America came over and asked what I thought of the new machine. I explained that I thought it was fabulous for sewing but because I loved to do ruler work and the Convertible Free Motion Foot set wasn't approved for the model, I wanted to see a ruler foot for these machines.


Fast forward to earlier this week and I'm in the same hotel conference room and Janome announced than not only was there a new version of the Memory Craft 15000, called the Quilt Maker 15000 that had a ruler foot and a ruler work setting, but there was also to be a free upgrade to previous versions of the 15000 that would make them compatible to the new ruler foot and several other new feet!

Janome Quilt Maker 15000 ruler foot


 The new foot and ruler work menu settings make quilting with rulers substantially easier to set up.

Janome Quilt Maker 15000



It gets even better! Janome is working on updates for the other Janome machines that have the auto presser foot lift (MC14000, 9400, S7, and S9). The update is a free one performed by your dealer, the new feet will not be free. (The update will also have a replacement part for the needle threader on the older 15000 versions, to make it work better.)

Ruler work was all the talk during our dealer training. Janome is motivated to get these new upgrades and feet out asap!

The new feet (ruler foot and a few others) aren’t quite available to dealers yet, other than those that come with the new 15000, which I have sitting in my studio! I was told that the update for the 9400 should be ready in a few months.

I’ll keep everybody updated as I can.


Meanwhile, I'll be playing with my new 15000. I used it for the very first time while demonstrating ruler work to students in my Quilting with Rulers class here in the shop. It was fabulous! No more worrying to remember to put the foot down before putting down the needle or making sure the needle is up before raising the foot. It's got a ton of other nifty features, but I'll save that for my shop's blog.


The foot is super! It's smooth, rounded on the bottom and has a good sized divot at the front to better see at the needle. It attaches directly to the presser foot bar, so there's no spring part in the way. You adjust its height through the ruler work menu. This gives it great visibility.

This will likely be the machine you see me use in my tutorials from now on, unless I'm doing a test of a new low shank ruler. This means my beloved MC8200 is for sale as a used machine. I'm not sure what the protocol is for a dealer selling a used machine and listing the price online so if you're somewhat local and looking for a fabulous machine for quilting with 11 inches to the right of the needle, you can call the store (434-239-6708). Not that we couldn't ship this machine where ever, but I feel weird about selling a machine far enough away that we couldn't support it well as the dealer. Having a local dealer is sooooo important. (BTW, we are also selling a new sewing/embroidery machine, the MC14000 at a smoking hot price that I can't list online, as it's being replaced by the 15000.)

I am so happy to see that Janome has listened to its dealers and customers and are making these changes so these higher-end machines also have a great ruler foot. I was blessed enough to have an opportunity to remind Shin that I had asked for this very thing in the same spot last year and how happy I was to see it and thanked him.

If you have a Janome without the auto presser foot lift, the new foot isn't for you. Stick the the convertible set and ruler foot combination.

Quilt on!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Leah Day and Amy Chat on Hello My Quilting Friends

I cannot believe I never posted that I was a guest on Leah Day's podcast recently! I shared it on Facebook and then totally dropped the ball.


Hopefully you've been catching these very interesting episodes hosted by Leah as she interviews people from the quilting industry and beyond. The show pulls back the curtain a bit into the business side of the quilting industry and she decided to interview me about running a "brick and click" business. Brick and click means a business that has a store front as well as an online component.

Actually, she wanted to see how I balance life and work between the two businesses.....insert hysterical laughter here.........and I am not the person to talk about balance! It's a constant juggling act with balls getting dropped from time to time. I liken it to standing on a teeter totter. Ideally, you're in the middle, keeping both ends balanced. More likely, it's a dance from one side to another, a constant wiggling back and forth. It's a pretty wild and amazing ride and I think Leah did an excellent job of asking the right questions to bring out my story.

You can listen here: Hello my Quilting Friends with Leah Day, episode 26


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Floss Your Bobbin!

I was cleaning out my bobbin case and it reminded me of a couple tips for all my free motion quilting friends. Actually, this applies to all sewing machine users and technically, I have a bobbin holder, since my machine is a top loading machine.

I love my top loading machines for ease of use and easily seen bobbin. I hate running out of bobbin thread! But one drawback is that the groove that creates the bobbin tension can be difficult to clean.

Most sewing machine owners know that keeping your machine clean and lubricated extends the life of a machine, keeps tension troubles at bay, and keeps the noise down, but did you know that much like teeth, you can floss your machine? If you've ever watched me demo the proper way to thread a machine I often talk about using two hands like flossing teeth. But flossing the bobbin case is another trick I've picked up over the years.

Getting lint built up in these grooves can really mess with getting good tension on your machine. Here's a video on cleaning these spots:


Make sure you have a good brush to clean the lint out of the bobbin area. One should have come with your machine. You can also get these at any sewing center or place with a good selection of notions.

See the bit of lint I teased out ?

You can "floss" your bobbin holder too with a bit of thread as shown in the video. Running a piece of good thread through the groove can loosen lint and help remove it.

Don't be tempted to disassemble the case/holder as it is likely that you will lose one of the tiny screws or have difficulty getting the tension set back to where it needs to be.

Clean this area out frequently. Newer Janomes make this easy with their lever release needleplates. If the area under the bobbin case is linty, it can cause extra tension on the top thread and can cause the bobbin case to try to come unseated.

One suggestion quilters are given when having a sudden issue with tension is to re-thread the machine. We all hate to hear this as usually we think it's threaded properly. But there are times that the issue is a wad of lint that has caused the problem and the re-threading process may work it loose. (Plus, there are those times when the thread jumps out of the take up lever!)

You probably already know this, but never thread the machine with the foot down! Put the foot down to thread the needle if need be, but the thread won't settle between the tension discs properly with the foot down as that closes them. For this reason, I always raise the presser foot when adjusting my thread tension too.

I mentioned canned air in the video, don't blow it into the machine! It will send the lint around the gears and shafts. I have seen some machines so full of lint (glitter, sequins, needles, and pins too!) that a wad of lint has felted and become a wedge in the workings and causes them to "freeze up".

So, now that I have a clean machine, I'm off to sew......

This post was retrieved and edited from my archives. The original posted in August of 2014.


Friday, August 4, 2017

A bit of this and that

In my recent post, Creativity: On a Wing and a Prayer, I talked about letting your creativity take flight without the constraints of perfection. Of being "gooder enough." Yes, my  inner grammar nazi doesn't like the phrase, but the artist in me is OK with it. I also mentioned this chair cover I was working on....done! Even stitched up a new embroidered pillow for it.


The hubby has me working on a leather work apron and again, totally winging it. Check out those big shears! The leather smalls wonderful too! Am I the only one who thinks leather smells fabulous?


By the way, I'm using a chaco liner pen to mark the back side of the leather. If you like using loose chalk to mark on dark fabric, this is the bomb! The line is fine and the tool is narrow at the tip to go right along a ruler.


Last night I taught a lovely group of ladies to free motion quilt. We had a blast and learned that they can free motion quilt. I'm looking forward to another class with them soon to teach them some more designs.



This student was a natural and very excited about the process. I love the butterflies on her machine. I think I found another free spirited artist-type who can 'wing it.'


 Finally, I pieced up this cute sunflower and his little friends. This was an easy and fun project.


Don't worry, I've got some quilting projects to show you soon. In fact I've got three projects to quilt up, all for other people. What have you been working on?