I promised last week I would explain how to do hand-look quilting by machine once I my samples arrived back from Saskatchewan.
The idea is to see stitches on the top of the quilt or similar project that look just like HAND QUILTING stitches BUT have actually been done on the sewing machine. NO thimble, NO tiny hand quilting needle, NO pricked fingers, NO hours and hours of tiny hand stitching on a huge quilt.
You need a few things to achieve what is shown in the pic’s above:
- You need a sewing machine that has the hand-look quilt stitch. Most (though not all) of our Janome sewing machines have it as we know you just love having this time-saving option! It is the stitch that has one triple straight stitch followed by a single straight stitch – repeated over & over.
- A GOOD quality invisible thread. Some folk call it monofilament. I like Sulky, YLI, Invisifil – any of the reputable brands. Avoid the no-name bargain bin options as these will more than likely be cheap quality nylon which will stretch and not give you the results you require.
- Bobbin thread: select a colour that you wish to see as “hand quilting” on the top of your work. My pin cushion has pink bobbin thread. My hot pad has purple bobbin thread. Using a 50wt cotton thread is just fine. You do not have to use fine bobbin thread for this technique.
- Janome has an optional accessory: the blue dot bobbin case.
This comes in 2 types as can be seen in the pics. You will need to choose the one which is recommended for your sewing machine: Notice in the pic where both bobbin cases are shown: the left hand one has a little mechanism in the upper right of the bobbin case. This is the mechanism which is necessary for sewing machines which have a thread cutter built into the machine. However, it ALSO fits some machines which do not have a thread cutter such as the Janome MC10000. This bobbin case is for most Memory Craft machines. The other bobbin case on the right in this pic is for all of our other top load bobbin sewing machines. Please see your local Janome dealer for more information. We refer to this optional accessory as the BLUE DOT bobbin case; QUILTER’S bobbin case or LOW TENSION bobbin case – all the same thing: great results for this hand look quilting stitch as well as for FREE MOTION QUILTING.
- A sewing machine which allows you to adjust speed control and stitch length.
NOW YOU HAVE ALL THE ABOVE, YOU ARE READY TO DO IT:
- Exchange the regular red dot bobbin case for the correct blue dot bobbin case for your machine. Remove the needle plate screws with a screw driver to do this. NOTE: the new JANOME HORIZON MC 12000 does NOT require a screw driver and screws: it has the wonderful one-step-needle plate conversion button. See your local Janome dealer today for a demo of this incredible time-saving feature!
- Thread up with invisible thread in the needle and cotton thread in the bobbin.
- Select the hand look quilt stitch on your JANOME machine.
- Adjust the needle tension by increasing by 1 or 2 numbers: eg if it was 4, make it 5 or 6. Before we had this blue dot bobbin case, we had to increase tension as far as it would go to 9 and then often the invisible thread would snap as the tension on it was so high. That was annoying……..no more frustration for us now that we have the blue dot bobbin case as it releases the bobbin thread much easier as it is factory set at a lower tension. Hence we only have to increase needle tension 1 or 2 notches.
- Adjust stitch length: I usually increase the length of the stitch to 3.5 or 4. I find this gives me a result I like.
- Adjust the speed at which you sew: if your machine has a speed control knob, reduce to slow. Sewing slowing will give a much better result with this technique as it gives the triple stitch time to form correctly and bring the bobbin thread to the top of the fabric. If you sew too fast, you may not be happy with the results.
- That’s it: mark your fabric if required and stitch away……..you will see just how fast your quilting gets done. Let your JANOME sewing machine work for you!
(Deb adding on to Liz’s post…) Users of other Janome machines have asked what the stitch number is for their machines. Hers is a copy of the 6600 stitch chart. Stitches 22, 23 or 24 will work, albeit somewhat differently, for this technique. Some folks know this as the ‘sculpture stitch,’ ‘reinforcing stitch,’ or ‘hand look quilt stitch.’ Whatever you call it – we hope you enjoy the technique! ~ Happy Sewing ~