Janomelife summer giveaway: Wonderfil thread sets

HAPPY CANADA DAY to all our janomelife viewers in Canada! 

We celebrate with another look at Tamara Kate’s (Janome Canada Artisan and spokesperson) stunning maple leaf paper foundation pieced and Janome Acufeed Flex/ walking foot quilted wall hanging – part of our Canada 150 celebrations last year.

Wonderfil Threads are a Canadian company based in Calgary

We recently attended Quilt Canada 2018 in Vancouver. Janome was one of the major sponsors of the show. Please see this recent post.   Wonderfil Threads were also a sponsor of the show.  They handed out cute little bags of thread at the one evening lecture I attended. Each baggie has 6 different types of Wonderfil thread so is an ideal opportunity to try out these threads if you have not used them before.

I was lucky enough to be given a couple of extra baggies of this thread above but I decided I would rather share this with our Janomelife viewers. SO ………. little gift baggies of Wonderfil thread are up for grabs to 3 lucky people:  Want a chance to win? Please enter your name and one sentence telling us your best sewing tip about thread in the comment box below.


1. One ONE entry per person please. You will not increase your chances of winning with multiple submissions in the comment box as duplicate entries will be deleted –  Fair is fair.

2. The winners will be drawn by random computer generated # allotted in the order in which the entries come in. Entry #1 is 1,  entry # 30 is 30 and so on.

3. Entries close at 12 noon PST on Friday 13th July ( lucky Friday for 3 people!) so don’t forget…….enter in the comment box below before you forget and risk losing out on this giveaway.

4. Winners will be contacted by email to obtain your postal address for shipping. We regret that this giveaway is only open to residents in North America.


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Sewing with knits


What’s that saying about when you are afraid of something, just dive right in? I feel that way about sewing with knits.

For a long time, I avoided it.

Or I’d do a project here and there and put my projects away after each attempt because of mistakes and poor fit.

For a while now, most of my summer sewing projects have been with knits. I’m literally trying to dive right in and immerse myself in learning which are the proper stitches to use, which weight of fabric works best for which project, which machine foot to use, and of course – understanding fabric grain (VERY important when sewing with knit fabrics).


Enter my 7 month old daughter. First of all, clothes with give are a little easier to get on a squirmy baby. And, sewing clothes for her offer quick results, often with minimal fabric requirements (i.e. a dress for her might require between .5 meter to 1 meter versus a dress for me that requires… well, we don’t need to calculate those meters right this moment!).

I’ve been working on adding to her wardrobe. These pants/tights are a fun project because I can get the sizing right and then work on several pairs in an afternoon. There are many patterns available either at your local fabric store or online.

SIDE NOTE: How to you organize your thread? I found these containers at my local fabric store a while ago and they are perfect! I can put thread AND bobbin in each compartment so I am never searching for matching sets.


Back to sewing with knits!

DSC_5365There are several stitches you can use to sew with knit fabrics. Generally you want something that gives with the stretch of the fabric which is why a basic stitch (like my go to 01 stitch won’t work). You can use twin needles to finish your sewing, and the lightening stitch, number 06, is a popular one. But I like to use stitch number 13 in the Utility menu in the above pic. If you have never used this stitch for knits, try it. It almost makes me feel like I have a serger the way it finishes the edge and provides enough give so the stitches don’t pop when the fabric stretches.

And it provides a nice finish on the right side of the fabric due to the straight stitch component of the stitch.

I have also started using my Janome Acufeed flex walking foot regularly when I’m sewing with knits. Because the fabric is so stretchy, I find having the upper feed dogs on the walking foot guiding the fabric, along with the teeth under the needle plate/on the bottom, it makes the fabric not stretch as much when I’m sewing.


The final struggle I’ve been having with sewing with knit fabrics is understand grain of fabric. There are lots of tutorials on the web to help you understand this better and it is worth taking the time to learn this as it will take the finish on many of your projects up to the next level.


These basic pants/tights are perfect for a growing baby. My final tip is with a one piece waist band, I like to put the seam at the very back. Why? Because then I know which way the pants should go without having to resort to adding a tag.


These fit my girl perfectly – with lots of room to get us through a few more months!


Do you do a lot of sewing with knits? What are your favourite things to sew with knits? I know there is a lot more to learn about sewing with knit fabrics. What are your tips and tricks?

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You can construct your own creative embroidery designs with Artistic Digitizer software and the fonts built into your font folder on your computer.  Not all text is letters.  You may have a font that is images or symbols rather than traditional letters.  These font images can create interesting embroidery designs with a simple click of the mouse.

To begin, open the Artistic Digitizer to a new design screen.  Click on the text tool text tool.jpgon the toolbar at the left side.  A text box will open at the top of the screen.  I have a font folder on my computer called ‘Wingdings 2’ which is a standard PC font folder on most  computers.  This folder is actually images applied to the text typed on your keyboard.  I typed the small letter ‘a’ on the keyboard for the text element from the Wingdings 2 font folder.  I also selected a larger font size of 60 so my image is larger when produced. You may choose to leave the settings at the default numbers if you choose.


The image associated with this font for the letter ‘a’ is automatically placed on my work space ready for editing.  Click on the selection tool slection tooland then click on the design to be able to change the stitch properties of the design.

wingding font a shape

Clicking on the design a second time will give me rotation handles.  I clicked on the corner rotation handle and dragged it so the design is now vertical.

rotated image

Click on the fill image fill colorat the lower left side of the screen and change the color of the image so it is easier to see against the background.

colored wingding

With the image still selected, click on the arrays tools arrays toolon the left side toolbar.  Choose the circular array circular arrayfrom the fly out menu.  You will now get an edit menu at the top of the screen to set angles and steps and number of units.  I chose to have 7 units rotated around in a circle.  Click on the apply button when you are happy with the layout of your design.

circle array edit options

circle layout confirmed

Each element can now be selected and edited to your choice.  Vary the colors for more individual interest to the pattern elements.

edited font circle array

A new embroidery design is created ready for stitching by using a font image rather than a traditional text letter.  This is a quick and easy way to create a decorative stitch file without having to draw the shape yourself.

Be sure to watch the built in videos in Artistic Digitizer to further explain the use of the Circle Array tool.  The videos are highly valuable when learning to use the specialty tools of the program


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Educator Pick of the month: Ruler work Kit

Pix courtesy of Amy Johnson of Amy’s Free Motion Quilting – Ruler quilting at its best!

Well, I am just so pleased with the rulers in our Janome Ruler work kit. They have been so well selected that you can do one heck of a lot of ruler quilting showing great variety.

The kit comes with a block marker for you to mark the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines on your blocks –  a very handy tool indeed as some of my students discovered at Ruler Quilting 201 recently at Saskatchewan Stitches Conference: if you mark your blocks, it is MUCH easier to keep the design straight and where you want it to be. The block marker allows you to make vital registration marks on your quilt to keep you on track.

In addition, the ruler set includes a DVD which is well over an hour long. Leonie West explains in careful and full detail how to use each of the included 6 rulers.

AND there is also a full colour booklet of instructions if you prefer to learn that way or want the best of both worlds.

Full project instructions are included in this kit about how to make the practical ruler/template pouch or folder to store an carry around your collection of rulers in this kit (see pic below). It takes about 4-5 hours to make it so is not a huge, lengthy project – but just perfect for getting a taste of how to use the rulers in the kit and get the most from your investment.

This pic courtesy of Terry Mingee (Janome America Educator) who did his own variation of Ruler quilting on his block at the recent Ed Summit we enjoyed. Thanks for sharing, Terry.

There are 6 different rulers to use in this kit to create a stunning array of designs and combinations of designs:

From top left: Spin E Flex ruler; Simple pointed oval; Heart; elongated clamshell in next row; straight ruler and arc at the bottom

Note the strips of white “sticky” self liner type product. The kit includes this to cut, peel off the paper backing and stick to the underside of the rulers to prevent slippage. Janome sure does think of everything!

And another beautiful quilt with ruler quilting + free motion filling in. Pic courtesy of Amy Johnson

Text and crown were cut on the Artistic Edge 15 Digital cutter and appliqued with a satin stitch. The embroidered block set on point was embroidered on the Janome Mc15000 and is a Kenny’s Kreations design

We have been hosting RULE YOUR QUILTS AND REIGN OVER YOUR SEWING presentations across Canada since April 2018. And we still have a few more during the summer in Manitoba and Saskatchewan so check it out with your local Janome dealer. Hope to see you in Gimli, Yorkton and Saskatoon!

The feedback has been great as we have explained all about the Convertible Free Motion foot set with the “ruler foot” attachment – with which machines to use this ruler quilting system.  And all about the new QR Ruler foot and the upgrades to our Janome Mc15000 and Janome MC9400 and how you can get brilliant ruler quilting results with this QR foot system.

We were literally selling out of these Ruler Work Kits wherever Michael; Erin, Yvonne and I have been visiting! But the good news is that we still have some left……ask your authorized North America Janome dealer today to order you a kit! AND……may we suggest that you ask your dealer when we might be returning to their store if you missed one of our recent Janome Ed events this Spring. Make sure your dealer knows to keep you informed about when we will be next visiting to your area.

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Janome Education Summit

I was fortunate to recently attend a Janome Education Summit in New Jersey not far from our Janome North America office.  This was for Janome North America Educators; Artisans and bloggers.   I attended together with  Debbie (our Director of Marketing & Education), Jen who hosts/presents our Janome sales events on The Shopping Channel and Tamara who is one of our Janome Canada Artisans and spokesperson for Janome in Canada (Michael, aka janomeman, wrote about Tamara last week on the 18th June: “Look who I ran into” )

From left: Tamara; Jen and Debbie

The purpose was to get time to work on a range of our Janome sewing machines and learn some great techniques and machine features. Janome sure has a lot to offer!  It was a very fun and successful time had by all.

There were a number of wonderfully creative and informative sessions:

Kimberley Einmo who is the new National  spokesperson for Janome America taught us how to do flying geese with her very clever ruler and a jelly roll of her new line of fabric: Solid-ish . Thank you, Kimberley. She told us it was an intermediate – advanced  technique so I breathed out nicely and will try harder on my second block to get my points to match! Her ruler sure makes it easier and saves a lot compared to other techniques for flying geese that waste a lot of fabric. The method I have used previosuly has a pile of discarded little triangles in my waste bin. Too small for much else but when added up, is a sizable chunk of fabric. But I think a note to self is in order: Slow down a bit, Liz, if you want your points to be more accurate!


Tamara  led us through a fun journey of discovery on our free Janome APP: AcuSketch and then we stitched the design created on AcuSketch onto one of Tamara’s own designed fabrics using the embroidery unit on our fabulous  Janome MC15000 Quilt Maker. I am SO taken up by AcuSketch as it is simply the most fun to scribble on my iPad and turn this instantly into quilting or needle painting – all sent conveniently and wirelessly to my hoop!  No need to have to free motion and hold my tongue in the right spot in my mouth to get it perfect – AcuSketch and the Janome Mc15000 does it all for me. This is simply the best! Thank you, Tamara, for this fun exercise.

The ladies from Shannons Fabrics had us cut up and make a cuddly baby blanket with one of their Cuddle Kits. What a great bonus to hold, stroke and sew these luscious fabrics! Thank you, Shannons Fabrics for a fun and rewarding project. Lots of fluff for sure but we also got lots of tips about how to reduce that fluff. Our Janome Acufeed Flex walking foot was perfect for success with this project.

Amy Johnson (who I call the “Ruler Quilting Queen”) was also there to teach us about Ruler quilting using the new QR foot on the Janome MC9400. I was so pleased to be able to finally meet Amy in person although we have emailed each other several times before. Amy provided us with great printed blocks (thanks, Amy) on which to experiment with and practice our ruler quilting skills using the block marker and all 6 rulers in the Janome Ruler Work kit.  Here is a link to a recent post from Amy on her site which talks about this same Ed Summit.

Isn’t this a great fabric block to go wild with the rulers and create a unique and beautifully quilted block?

Now I am showing you this block above as we also had Eileen Roche from Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine with us. She gave us each a software program to design and colour our very own quilt blocks and panels – which is what Amy did to get these lovely blocks for us to do our ruler quilting on. What a great opportunity to learn about this easy software and start designing our very own blocks and panels. Thank you, Eileen.In a similar way to other print-your-own fabric companies like Spoonflower, you then email your created design to them and they print it onto a your choice of a wide variety of sub-strates. Turn-around time is only a few weeks. I was pretty impressed with the endless possibilities this opens up for us. I have been looking in vain for suitable fabric for our Janome QMP longarm on which to demo and let people play with longarm quilting at shows and I think I finally found the way to end my search!

Heather Peterson from Girl Charlee Fabrics in California gave us all kits with pattern instructions and fabric to make an on trend pencil skirt with knit fabric. Thank you, Heather! This was all done on the Janome 4 thread serger and Janome CPX 2000 coverhem machine. I think I was done and already wearing my completed skirt in less than 45 minutes! What a quick and fun project and I was so glad I learnt some valuable fitting tips and time saving techniques which I fully intend to use when I make more of these skirts. I have the fabric already picked out at home!

I gave a quick demo at our PJ Pizza party on how to use the Janome Quilt Binder set……. my “schtik” caused some hilarity! Those of you who have heard me do this demo will know to what I am referring.

Was I possibly considering whether to mention a certain incident at airport security with my Quilt Binder and the confusion over whether I was a Doctor or not?!

And last, but not least, Miriam Coffey showed us a bunch of her fabulous samples – modern quilted bags and runners etc made with fabric she embroidered (open, quilting-like designs, not heavy stitch fill). She then cut that embroidered fabric up and used the pieces as embellished fabric for piecing into unique items with a Modern quilting flair. See our recent janomelife post where Miriam explains on video how she does this. And here is some of her “eye candy” – thanks for graciously allowing me to photograph your samples, Miriam.


This was one of those fancy storage tote bags with little plastic pockets inside. The brand name of this bag eludes me for now. Miriam covered it with her embellished fabric pieces sewed together.

There is a LOT of creativity and sewing fun to be had by visiting your local authorized Janome dealer store and by attending special Janome events they may offer from time to time. We even have several planned during the summer so check it out at your local Janome dealer’s store.

Also please do visit us in the classrooms and on the booth at sewing and quilt shows all over North America……we are always there  – ready and willing to answer your queries and show you the newest Janome machines and sewing tools we have to offer. 

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Janome Canada is looking for…….. possibly you?

Janome Canada is looking to hire an independent contractor for BC: We need a part time Education Coordinator. This is a position based in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, BC as commuting on a part time basis to our Delta, BC office is essential. Occasional travel within BC and beyond as well as a valid Drivers license is required.

Are you an energetic, self-starter looking to join a winning team? Do you love to inspire and create?  You would be educating on & promoting our products at sewing and quilting shows and at Dealer’s stores.

Please send a brief indication of interest in the comment box below this post with your Name, Email address and Tel #.  We will then send you further information about the contract position. The information you supply including your name will not be published on janomelife. 

We intend to appoint and train the independent contractor  during July and August so as to be ready to “hit the road” running with the rest of our Janome Canada team for our Fall sewing season in September. Deadline: please indicate your interest by 30th June 2018.

Liz Thompson, National Education Manager.

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Part 1 in our new series on ARTISTIC DIGITIZER: Fabulous Fonts


Text on computers is usually referred to as being ‘fonts’.  The fonts can be letters, numbers, or images stored in our font folder on our computer.  Artisitc Digitizer can read any font in your computer font folder.  Artistitc Digtizer also comes pre-loaded with a variety of font options available to us to use.  We will be offering a series of working with fonts in various ways using our Artistic Digitizer software. This is part 1 in the series.

Let’s start exploring the fonts options by creating a monogram with the Artistitc Digitizer software.  There are 25 different monogram layouts built right into the program.  All we need to do is type in the fonts to use and determine if we want to add a border to the design.

  1. Open the program to create a new design.  Begin by clicking on the text tool on the left side of the screen.text tool
  2. A pop out menu will appear.  Select the monogram option by clicking on it.  A new selection box will appear on the screen.  This is where we will select the size of the font, the type of the font, the template to use, and add a frame if we want that.  I like to use the template number 6 for multiple letters.  This will take my text and intertwine the elements for a very elegant style of font.  Once you select all your options from the drop down menu, just click on the OK at the bottom of the box.

monogram dialog box

The text elements are intertwined and the border I chose also mimics that intertwine element.  This is automatically generated by the program for us once we click OK.

auto generated monogram

This design can now be edited further by clicking on the selection tool first slection tooland  then by clicking on each element to select it. Using the stitch and color tools you can change the elements to form a design that appeals to you.

edited monogram intertwine

Practice playing with the monogram tools to see how creative you can be with the designs.


Subscribe or follow janomelife if you wish to regularly receive notifications of our blog posts. If you are interested in more on Artistic Digitizer, be sure to keeping watching janomelife as there are many more helpful posts coming on this topic.

Posted in Artistic Digitizer embroidery software | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Another delightful project from Sherri over at Thread Ridinghood

Summer fun at camp: embroidered pillow case with secret Glow-in-the-dark thread message.

Sherri over at Thread Ridinghood is known to many of our regular janomelife viewers….she is one of our Janome Canada Artisans and we have become accustomed to her beautifully made projects  – many lovely & different things she has made on her Janome Skyline S9. 

Sherri has done it again! Please check out the simply charming pillow case she has offered up in a very comprehensive step by step tutorial with pic’s: this is a pillow case suitable for any child about to set off to camp during the summer…….or even for a bit of fun at home?

Not only does Sherri share all manner of clever hints & tips, she also shows exactly how to use the incredible AcuSetter App to position the floral embroidery on the pillow case ……perfect placement at its technological best!

AND…..the secret message stitched on the flange on the pillow is stitched in glow-in-the-dark thread to comfort and reassure any first time or homesick campers. Aaaahhhh…..we love it Sherri! Many thanks.

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Pic courtesy of Sew4Home.com

There is more than just one Janome beading foot! We have a wide and a narrow one depending on the size of cord/beading string being used + we have a beading feet for 7mm wide stitch machines and for 9mm wide stitch machines + we have beading feet for our sergers too!


Lots of options and creative possibilities – Check out these great links:

  1. Find all the applicable part #’s as well as a video to watch
  2. And this one has more beading foot info

Pic courtesy of sew4Home.com

The beauty of this foot is actually quite simple: the groove on the underside of the foot guides the string of beads or cord or yarn as you stitch a simple zig-zag stitch over top. The size of the zig-zag stitch is determined by the size of the yarn or beading being used. And the colour of the thread for the zig-zag is a personal preference: blending or contrast?  Essentially all you are doing is couching the beads or yarn/cord on top of your fabric. It would be impossible or very difficult to do this successfully without this foot. Good tools make all the difference!

Pic courtesy of sew4Home.com

The beading foot letter is L – L1 is the narrow beading foot and L2 is the wider one.


“rat tail” cord works very well together with the beading foot for all sorts of great embellishment techniques on quilts, clothing, wall hangings, etc

Pic courtesy of sew4Home.com

Here is another use for the beading foot: for Gathering. Have you ever tried to gather stiff fabric like corduroy or denim? Not easy is it? Why not try this: Use a narrow cord like thin string or similar, strong 12wt thread  or even thick dental floss and run a zig-zag stitch over it while guiding the cord with the groove under the L1/narrow beading foot. When done, pull the cord up and space out your gathers. Works really well for those thicker, not-so-easy-to-gather fabrics.

Want to use your serger to add strings of beads or cords? Our Janome sergers offer similar optional accessories for applying strings of beads and cords – see below.

What creative couching ideas can you think of to put our Janome beading feet to good use?

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Look Who I Ran Into!

The wonderful thing about the sewing/quilting world is that in spite of being a global, MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR business, it really is quite a small industry. It’s such a joy for me to travel anywhere in the world with Janome and run into some familiar faces who’ve also travel for business.

Imagine my delightful surprize when none other than Montreal’s own, and ultra-talented Janome Artisan, and fabric designer Tamara Kate was in the booth right next to Janome’s at the recent Courtepointe Quebec quilt show, which was held for 4 days in the College Lionel-Grouix in Sainte-Therese, Quebec May 31- June 4, 2018.



Perhaps you might not recognize Tamara’s face, but surely you’ll recognize THIS face!

Machine Tamara Kate

Yes! THAT Tamara Kate!

See the source image

Tamara designed the special edition Janome Canada 150 QDC model for Canada’s big birthday last year. You know……. the model which FLEW out of our warehouses so fast that even I didn’t get one! lol!

Some people bought multiples; one to sew on and one to keep as a special memento for future generations. One lady I met a few months back said she kept her Janome Canada 150 model in her home in Florida so she had a little bit of Canada (home) with her while she sewed down south all winter.

You might also remember Tamara’s beautiful work with the special coordinating pillow which was offered as a free download through Janome.ca last year.

See the source image

Or the STUNNING wall-hanging in our Janome booth last Quilt Canada in Mississauga.

See the source image

In the lower right side of the above photo you’ll see the cute and ultra-useful Blue Fig sewing luggage which Tamara designed as well. My bosses at Janome gave me a set of this luggage when I first started as an Educator two years ago and it’s truly worth it’s weight in gold! It takes a beating but still looks good as I schlep half a sewing room and AV tech studio around with me for various shows and presentations.  Ask your local Janome dealer about it.

The luggage came in handy yet again while at the Courtepointe Quebec show because I (once again, lol!) bought more than an arm’s full of Tamara’s gorgeous fabric, which she designs for Michael Miller.  It was too hard to resist being right next door, and with colours and prints so vibrant and playful, how could I not pack her fabric into my Tamara Kate roller tote!?





You can never have too many Fat Quarters, either, right?


And what a great project to sew with them! These cute little baskets could hold all sorts of goodies!


If the fabrics weren’t inspiring enough, Tamara had some of her beautiful quilts in the booth to share, too. Talk about eye candy!


Yet another reason I think it’s so important for sewers/ quilters/ creative people to attend as many shows and events as they can so they get new ideas, new techniques flowing. We’re always learning from each other and there’s always SEW much to share – especially with Janome by our side.

Inspiration is everywhere so in a future post I’ll share how the creative light bulb went off for me while chatting with Tamara one day at the show. As a little tease/ hint, it has something to do with the skirt she wore in the photo at the top of this post. Stay tuned!

Editor’s note: Oh, Michael, how sweet of you……does this mean you will make me a skirt??

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