The best part of being a Janome artisan is that I get to play with different machines. While I’m primarily a quilter, I do have a Janome 500E but I haven’t really used it very much. I know that if you don’t make the time to learn how to use a machine, you’ll never find it, so I decided it was time to investigate what I could do with the Janome 500E.
Note: The Janome 550E also has the features I mention in this blogpost although it has different hoops included with it.
I had purchased some machine embroidery designs and thought that I could start by making an ITH (in-the-hoop) ornament. Making the first one was a bit of a learning curve but then it was so much fun and so addictive that I had trouble stopping! I mean, how many ornaments can you gift or have hanging in your studio?!
One of the ornaments I created was a Christmas Bell ornament from Embroidery Library. The features on the Janome 500E made this an easy process and I wanted to share some of my experience with you.
The Janome 500E comes with 4 different hoops and the SQ14 hoop was the perfect size for this Christmas Bell ornament.
With the Janome 500E, you can adjust the machine’s speed so you can choose to slow it down if you are doing intricate work or run it at its full speed of 860 spm (stitches per minute). I love how the Janome 500E will tell you how long it will take to stitch out your design at the speed you’ve selected. So, for example, if I had decided to reduce the speed to 400 spm, I would know how long it would take to stitch out this design.
If I wanted to stitch it out at the maximum speed of 860 spm, it would take a shorter period of time.
Since I know how long it will take for this project to embroidery, I’d know if I have time to stitch a binding on one of my projects using one of my other Janome sewing machines. 😉
Like many of the Janome machines, the Janome 500E has a locking feature. This is not only necessary to use when threading the needle on this machine but also helpful when you have “helpers” in the studio!
Making an ITH ornament is a little different than machine embroidering fabric in that you don’t hoop your fabric – you hoop your stabilizer (I used tearaway), stitch out the outline of the ornament on the stabilizer, and then “float” your fabric on top of the stabilizer. I used felt for my ornament and then floated it by gluing it inside the stitched outline to the stabilizer. Many people will use a temporary adhesive spray but I found that using a water-soluble glue stick worked really well.
After I glued the fabric to the stabilizer, the design printed out a tack-down stitch to keep the fabric from coming up off the stabilizer and then the Janome 500E continued to stitch out the design with the different coloured threads.
There are so many options and features on the Janome 500E but I wanted to point out a few that I found really helpful and that I use all the time.
By pressing the “Color Section” key in the “Ready to Sew” menu, I was able to see exactly what specific section was going to be stitched on this design with each thread colour. Since the machine could be “jumping around” to different areas on the fabric when embroidering with that particular thread, it was comforting to know where it would be stitching next – and kept me from freaking out that it was doing something I didn’t think it should be! (This actually never happened as I think the Janome 500E is smarter than me!).
I also wanted to see what thread colours would be used in this ornament design and the “Thread Color” area at the bottom of the Ready to Stitch menu in the image above showed me the various threads that would be used in this ornament. This helped me to line up my thread cones in stitching order so they’d be ready when it was time to change out threads.
Once the design was stitched onto the ornament, I needed to put a backing on the ornament and add a hanging ribbon. I used the hoop back button to bring the hoop back to its original position so I could take it out, insert the hanging ribbon, and glue on the backing.
Since the hoop was already in its home position, it was easy to pop the hoop back into the machine and continue stitching the back fabric to the front fabric.
And here’s the final result!
There are many other features on the Janome 500E that make it easy to stitch out ITH projects such as this hanging ornament. If you haven’t tried creating ITH (in the hoop) or other projects with your Janome 500E, I hope you’ll give it a try.
Happy creating from Kim Jamieson-Hirst of Chatterbox Quilts, a Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, Alberta.
Hi Kim, I have the 500E and the 550E and I LOVE them both. I have learned to do so many things with them both including quilting entire quilts and doing a complete child’s smocked dress ITH except for the finishing of the side seams and the hem. One thing I have learned though that unless it’s a one colour stitch out such as quilting a square block that I always double the stitch out time shown or on a really intricate design and/or an appliqué I might even triple the time. The time shown is the continuous stitch out and what with trimming of any fabric if it’s an appliqué and re-hooping and changing the thread and restarting the machine it’s usually that much longer. Cheers!
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HI Kay! We’re sew thrilled you’re loving your Janome embroidery machines. How fabulous to have two to speed up production and get all that quilting and ITH projects done fast! Happy Sewing!
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