The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilting on the Janome HD 1000

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quilting on the Janome HD 1000

Last week I shared a guest post over at Sew Bittersweet Designs that walked you through quilting this small 1 yard quilt with a super simple version of stippling:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
Now let's learn a bit about the sewing machine this quilt was quilted on!

If you remember back a few months ago, I started reviewing sewing machines that cost under $500. Things got a bit crazy this summer trying to publish my latest book, but now I'm back at the reviews with a final video about the Janome HD 1000:

Here's a run down of the Janome HD 1000:

free motion quilting | Leah DayGreat companion to the Janome Horizon - Both machines take the same bobbins, which is quite convenient if you suddenly want to switch machines in the middle of a project.

The HD 1000 is also lighter and smaller and would make a great workshop machine to take with you to classes.

Tools for Free Motion - Yes, you will need to invest in a few tools in order to get the HD 1000 working well for quilting. Since I use Isacord Polyester thread that is wound on spools, I needed a spool stand in order to hold the thread properly.

This machine does get a little finicky about the way thread is wound and if it's not wound properly, it simply won't work. The motor will buzz, but the needle won't move, so make sure to follow the guides properly!

You'll also need a low shank free motion quilting foot for free motion quilting. In order to make this foot work the best on this machine, you'll need to modify it by breaking open the base and bending back the top section so make sure to watch this video on how that works.

Slow Down - If you're used to using a higher powered machine like a semi-industrial Juki TL series or the Janome Horizon, you'll need to adjust to the slower speeds of the HD 1000. When cranked full tilt, the machine will vibrate and make a pretty loud noise, so it's best not to run it at full blast.

Consciously slow down the movement of your hands to balance with the speed of the machine. It might take some practice to get used to, but it's definitely possible to produce beautiful stitches with this machine.

No Automatic Needle Down - This is a mechanical machine which means you don't have some of the fancy features we've gotten used to on computerized machines. An automatic needle down simply drops the needle into the down position (down inside your quilt) so the quilt doesn't shift when you're repositioning it.

Yes, an auto feature like this is very helpful for free motion quilting, but it's certainly not a deal breaker. To compensate, you simply need to get into the habit of stopping and putting a hand on your quilt so it doesn't shift, moving the other hand to the wheel to move the needle into the down position.

I found the foot pedal on the HD 1000 to be very responsive so an alternative is to tap the pedal lightly to bring the needle down into the quilt. Again, controlling this is just down to practice and patience until it becomes a habit!

Throat space - I didn't mention this in the video, so just in case you're wondering the throat space on this machine is around 6 3/4 inches. It's not huge, but it's certainly big enough to quilt full to queen sized quilts.

Now that I've finished this review - I need your opinion!

I'm planning to share many more sewing machine reviews next year, as well as showing you how to quilt large scale designs. So I'd like to know what you thought of this new video!

Did you find my stopping to take out pins annoying?

Were you able to see what I was doing and gain a general idea of how to quilt your quilt?

Was the video long and detailed enough?

Did you find the review of the machine helpful?

Did I leave out any important information you needed to know about the machine?

How likely are you to try this large scale stippling design after watching this video?

The fact is - quilting a real quilt on video is EXTREMELY difficult. Trying to get a good angle to show you both the stitching detail, but also show you how the quilt is moving is hard to balance. Just let me know what you think and how this can be improved for the new videos coming in 2012!

And Yes! I do plan to get these sewing machine reviews better linked up! I'm working on several new pages to link up the reviews better and they should be up by the end of the week.

Let's go quilt!



  1. I've been too frightened to take the plunge, but saw that last week and thought, "I can do that". I'm going to try it on my next quilt top, size of about a single bed

  2. I'm not in the market for a machine, but when I saw your question on taking pins out, I made sure to watch- i've been wondering how you handle it.

    Do you have problems with stitch length varying when you start/stop, or is that just another thing to work on getting more consistent?

    I just want to thank you so much for all the videos. I just finished FMQing yet another quilt- and before I saw your site I would have never considered doing that!

  3. Leah, I really enjoyed this video! It didn't matter that you stopped to take out the pins, especially since you sped up the film. Even though I have already learned this design, I thought you did just fine explaining it and demonstrating the stitch on the machine. While I think it would drive me crazy not to have the needle-down feature, I agree that this Janome is a great starter machine...but if a person could scrape up a bit more money, and intends to comtinue fmq, the next model or 2 up would be a great investment (I have the 3160 and it wasn't too much more money, on sale - $500).

  4. I thought the video and review were good and helpful. Watching the pin removal was fine. It has to be done, after all. The length of the video was good as well. I already know how to stipple and don't think I'd use a larger design like this, preferring something smaller & more interesting, but it's great for learning. I'd love to see a video of you actually manhandling a queen-size through a machine like this. I know it can be done because I've done it, but I'd like to watch a pro do it. Thanks!

  5. I think this is a great review. I appreciate your thinking about camera angles and a good view on what we need to see. Taking out the pins was not annoying at all. It is all part of what is needed to "quilt the quilt" Looking forward to more reviews. I do think you should be getting a kick back from Janome... and from Juki too!!! I wonder how many have been influenced to buy them bc of you!
    Thanks Again,

  6. Hi Leah. I think you do a fantastic job of evaluating a machine. Taking out the pins is not distracting, it shows a technique and reality of FMQ. I totally agree with the convenience of having both machines take the same feet/bobbins. My 'other' machine is a Janome too. It's my 'workshop' machine and has a hard shell case. I can't wait for your next review.

  7. I enjoyed your video and found it very informative. Even though I am able to machine quilt some I enjoyed watching your technique and ease of moving the quilt around. As for the needle up/down - the majority of my machines have this feature but if someone is just starting out they wouldn't really know what they are missing and it's a great starter machine. Bells and whistles can come later.

  8. Very good video,it's helpful to see the progress before and after during the actual sewing thx for that.keep up the fun work!

  9. Hi Leah, This is a great review. I've already recommended it to a friend who is interested in starting FMQ. I didn't find the taking out of pins to be annoying or distracting at all. I was able to see clearly what you were doing and found the video very helpful. The only suggestion I would make is perhaps a sentence or two more about why you quilt in quadrants. Being an experienced quilter, I know why you did that but a beginner may not catch on.

    I could see using this large scale stippling design in the future. I'd like to get into making quilts to donate to Project Linus and this would be a good design for cranking small quilts out quickly. Thanks!

  10. Morning Leah. Have watched this a couple of times, there is a lot here to absorb. Big meandering did not draw me in, but in watching and reading your comments, I see it is a place to begin. To the questions.
    Did you find my stopping to take out pins annoying?
    Probably would not have given second thought to the pin removal if you had not mentioned it. I took note of your hands and how they smooth things out after pin was removed, etc. Not sure I would have picked up on it otherwise.
    I can not see myself buying another machine ever... have a few anbd they do great. By reading your review I became aware of features that I had taken for granted, etc. Another words I learned more about my machine listening to your review. Your review sounds like a sewer talking, not a marketing guy - which is the way most magazine "reviews" sound. So keep up the great work.

  11. Leah, this is a great video. I'm actually glad you kept the pins in-it shows how frequently you will need to stop to remove them. I also noticed in a couple of places how you were able to maneuver the quilt to avoid a too close pin.

  12. Leah, your review is excellent. The camera shots are so clear, and your information answers the questions that come to mind. I like you removing the pins as you went - than in itself answers questions.

    As for trying the large stipple - absolutely!

    As an addit - you have opened up a new world of sewing for me.

  13. I made the mistake of buying a cheap Brother sewing machine from Wal-Mart. I am new to sewing and didn't really know what free motion quilting was. Just as I getting the hang of free motion quilting, my cheap machine took a turn for the worst. I can honestly say that the $70 I spent on that machine was a complete waste. When I started sewing, I didn't know that I would become instantly hooked.

    When shopping for a new machine, I was able to make a more informed decision this time. About every blog I read said to buy a Janome or Bernina. This posting made the choice easy for me. I can't wait for the UPS delivery. I may be back to post my review in a couple of days.


Help us create more quilting tutorials! Check out our quilt shop at