The Free Motion Quilting Project: New Machine: Janome Horizon 15000

Sunday, October 27, 2013

New Machine: Janome Horizon 15000

Whoo hoo! Yes, I have just gotten a new machine! The Janome Horizon 15000 came home with me on Tuesday after a quick trip to Ye Olde Forest Quilt Shop in Greensboro, NC. I mention the store because not very many Janome dealerships have these machines yet, so if you're eager to get your hands on one before Christmas and you live in this neck of the woods, that's where you should get it!

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Now before I jump into telling you WHY I purchased this particular machine, let me first stave off the fears that I can already feel creeping into the blogosphere with this announcement - getting an embroidery machine DOES NOT mean I will stop free motion quilting the way I have for so many years.

I have a skill with free motion quilting and I LOVE to quilt the way I do.

But I'm also wanting to learn something new, to check out this new technology and see what it's all about. For years I admit, I turned my nose up at machine embroidery with the declaration that "that's not really quilting."

It was after watching the Craftsy class The Machine Embroidered Quilt that I realized I was missing the point completely. The class teacher, Eileen Roache starts the class by defining a machine embroiderer as someone who "#1 loves their hobby, #2 expects beautiful projects every time they hoop something new in their machine, and #3 whatever they start, they really like to finish."

Whoa...that stopped me in my tracks. Because those are all things I would very much like to do: make quilts faster, with less fuss, and dependable results.

Watching that online class, I could see just how much faster the process was to allow the machine to stitch the digitized design automatically, and the designer side of my brain was definitely intrigued to see all the different possibilities for this new way to design and play with fabric and thread.

So really that's the background to this new machine purchase: I learned more about machine embroidery, got interested, and began looking at this as something new to get into this year.

As luck would have it, around the time I was getting interested in machine embroidery, some nice people from Janome America sent me an email about including some of my designs in a new machine, and then working together on an embroidery CD project. Whoo hoo! Why not?

This new embroidery CD features 50 designs and will be available in quilt shops soon!
So that is why I've purchased a Janome Horizon 15000 - it has 5 of my designs included in the "Designer Designs" area and pretty soon my first embroidery CD Expressions of Textures will be available in Janome dealerships. With how easily I design already, I know this will be the first of many embroidery collections!

Of course purchasing this new machine absolutely does not make me an instant expert at machine embroidery. I'm very much a beginner and already learned a lot just stitching out my five designs this morning:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
The 5th design can be seen on the machine in the first photo.
First thing to learn - the back isn't going to look as good as the front. I'm going to play around with different techniques like quilting the design without the backing, quilting with only stabilizer, etc, just to see what is the easiest way to produce the best design.

I also realized that I need to get a much thinner bobbin thread for machine embroidery. I had to change the bobbin to complete the stitching on two of my designs, and it made the design get "off" a bit when stitching out the rest of the design:

free motion quilting | Leah Day

Mostly this jumped off because I wasn't paying much attention and the inner hoop popped off while I was changing the bobbin and the whole piece shifted slightly to the right. But despite this imperfection, I think both blocks look great and could certainly still be used in a quilt.

So that's my newest machine and a bit about why I bought it. No, I didn't get this free or for any discount from working with Janome. It's an investment for fun, efficient stitching, and I can't wait to master the basics and start digitizing new designs on my own!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. You go girl! Thanks for always sharing your insights with us! Love your outlook and where you're going! Karen on Keuka

  2. I'm really interested to see where you take this. I own a Baby Lock Elegante and I hope your designs will be released in multiple file formats to be used with a variety of machine brands. I took the Machine Embroidered Quilt course and was really impressed with the results!

  3. OMG! You designs are digitized? That is SO cool.

    Unfortunately, they don't come in the format my machine reads :( Silly Bernina. Otherwise I would buy that in a second.


  4. Is the 1/4" foot any better? Will you be using the 15000 for piecing?

  5. You are going to fall in love with machine embroidery and machine embroidery applique. Once you move it from the hoop to the actual quilt sandwich and get to quilt it, the textures/dimensions you can create are unbelievable. Have fun!

  6. Congratulations Leah! That's the best gift ever to yourself ;). At least for now right?

    That's so awesome that your beautiful quilt designs come as embroidery in the Janome machines. How cool is that?
    I haven't gotten into machine embroidery yet. Will someday after my honeymoon stage with quilting is over. Not sure if that will happen any time soon ;).
    Happy Quilting!

  7. Imno - Yes, I think that foot is a bit better, but no, I still won't be piecing on this machine. I've actually set it up without a foot pedal because I plan to only use it for embroidery.



  8. Congratulations Leah! Your hard work is paying off in so many ways, so keep up the great work!

  9. Felicitaciones/Congratulations Leah! What a nice way to share even more your beautiful designs :)

  10. I would so love one of these machines. I've been wanting one for years. I'm just not that good at free motion. I don't have that gift. LOL Congratulations on the machine. Looking forward to seeing your creations and tips :)

  11. Oh Great Jumpin Juliweed! I can't believe you did this! It's So awesome! I use my little machine to make blocks with stabilizer then add them to my quilts. You're going to be SO pleased! Helps create beautiful quilts and is so easy! I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

  12. I too dislike the back of machine embroidered I look forward to seeing your suggestions.
    I often use this technique before adding the backing, then stitch in the ditch to secure it. I embroider through the batting and don't use stabilizer.For a really large quilt I have used the Quilt as you go method in strip form. ie I have pieced the quilt normally in smaller easier to use Strips of blocks with 7 without backing then join.
    I prefer free-motion quilting on the whole, but machine embroidery is great to accent fabrics used or when using plain solid colour fabrics.

  13. I have literally just spent the last month learning 3 of the 5 designs shown in this post. I've practiced and played, to the point I think I can now use them on a quilt without regret. I must say, although I'm super happy for Leah to get her designs out there, I'm conflicted on the fact that a machine will do the work for you.....
    I like to believe in the fact that "I" created a design on the quilt, my hands moved the fabric....and if a mistake is my mistake. I do not like the idea of a machine putting the quilting on the quilt for me....(my opinion at this point of course).
    If I didn't want to quilt it....I'd hire a local longarm quilter....but the time and energy to create a quilt - done by myself - is something to be so proud of. I could not (at this point) be proud of a quilt that was quilted by a machine at the press of a button....and not by my own hands...
    Maybe time will change my views....but I also think a machine like this will take away from those who FMQ themselves.....devaluing the time spent.

    1. Quilting by machine is not going to go away as so many of the judges and supporters of quilt shows have realized. There are now divisions relating to the type of quilting for all entries, at many quilt shows in my area. The only issue I can see are those who try to pass off a machine quilted piece as having been done by "hand" or "computerized quilting" as "free motion." There are those who are also separating the "cheater cloth" quilts from the machine pieced and some are gorgeous quilts.

  14. Congratulations on your new venture. I have learned so much from you and have a million miles to go on FMQ but everyone needs something new to stimulate new ideas. Go Leah, Go

  15. Congrats on your new machine - so stinkin' smart to make your designs digitized! I think nothing is devalued, more like you are helping a variety of quilters - I totally did not "get" embroidery until last year and all of a sudden, I just had to have one! I often am stitching out a design I created on the embroidery design while I am piecing blocks or FMQ on my Juki...Very efficient and I create some really original quilts! Will love to see your journey as you get into it!

  16. Congrats on your machine. I get mine next week. Went to the launch here in perth Australia last friday and was so impressed. Can't wait to try your designs. My hubby said he liked it so much I can have one for my 25th wedding Anniversary, its not till feb but he wanted me to be one of the first lucky People here in perth to have one as they are in short supply ATM here in Western Australia.
    Love your work by the way

  17. Congrats on your new machine. I have purchased one also but still waiting on it to come in. Am very happy you got one so I can watch you and learn more , love your videos.

  18. This morning I begin working at my local Janome dealer part time. I need to learn about this machine and all the others, plus sergers! Slightly overwhelmed!

  19. I have the 12000 and have used the Acufil quilt features with good success. The stipple design that came with it is a little too tight but back and front stitched smoothly.

    Also, just waiting to take delivery of the 15000 this week and am so pleased to hear some of your designs are included! Yeah!

    Can't wait to try some of my own designs, too!

    Thanks so much for sharing your talent and tips!

  20. Leah - best of luck with your new venture. I have had an embroidery machine for years, but they have really had too small a throat area to accurately quilt a quilt.
    For fine bobbin thread I HEARTILY recommend Bottom Line by Superior. This was recommended many years ago when I first started using an embroidery machine, and now the selection of colors etc is fantastic. I it is the only bobbin thread I use.

  21. I purchased the Janome Memory Craft Horizon 12000 in January and I'm having a ball learning all about machine embroidering and quilting. Today I ordered the TruEmbroidery Software System ('s for MACs) on sale for 50% retail price. It's a lot of money and I would never pay full price but after all the money sunk into the MC 12000 I might as well invest in the software too. I like what I have seen of the MC 15000 but I think I will hold off upgrading at this point. By the way I had some bobbin issues with my MC 12000 and found it works better using the Janome bobbin thread that came with my machine. I love Janomes. I had my New Home Memory Craft 6000 since 1984 (29 years!) and it was still sewing beautifully when I gave it to my niece. Have fun with your MC 15000. I'm glad I found your blog!

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