The Free Motion Quilting Project: Embroidery Time!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Embroidery Time!

It's Wednesday and time to check in on what's really going on in my sewing room! This week I've been playing with my new machine, the Janome 15000 and following along with a fun Craftsy class, Elegant Embroidered Quilts. This is my first ever hooping with sticky stabilizer!

free motion quilting | Leah Day

It's so much fun to see this stitch out and I've already learned a lot just by stitching out this one little strip of flowers. The best thing about it is I can set up the hoop, hit start, and after making sure everything is running smoothly, I can walk away and work on something else.

It almost makes me feel like there's another Leah quilting in the office!

Of course, I did get a few questions after my post about the 15000 about whether this is "real" quilting or not. Does it really count to be able to hit a button and produce a gorgeous embroidery or quilt a large block without even being in the room?

Well, having played with this machine a bit I can definitely say there is a learning curve here. It's really not as easy as hitting a button straight out of the box, but eventually once you learn about stabilizing and hooping, that will be how easy it is to produce a cute embroidery or quilt a mess of blocks:

free motion quilting | Leah Day
These designs were digitized from blocks I quilted for the project and are included in the Janome Horizon 15000
For me as a designer, I don't consider this "cheating" because I'm planning to design and digitize and I see this as a way to be a lot more productive. I'm already a prolific designer, but working with embroidery software means I will be able to DO so much with what I've designed.

So often these days I simply don't have time to do all the things I want to do: to make all the quilts, projects, and run off with the cool ideas that are always bouncing around in my head. With the 15000, I can have a quilt chugging along for a gift for a friend or family member while I work on new designs for this project or quilt a show quilt. It's simply productive!

But yes, I do understand the reservations and criticism of machine embroidery that this is "cheating" or just not a fair show of skill the way regular free motion quilting or hand quilting is. I understand it, I definitely see that point of view, but ultimately I believe this:

There is room for everyone in quilting.

Do what you love, enjoy what you do, and leave judgement and criticism to the Quilt Police!

One last thing about learning machine embroidery - I was feeling pretty intimidated by this machine and all the bells and whistles I didn't really understand. What helped me jump in with both feet and get going was the wonderful classes on Craftsy on machine embroidery. Here's my favorites with some discount links if you'd like to sign up too!

Elegant Embroidered Quilts - Amanda Murphy teaches how to incorporate embroidery motifs with simple piecing to make beautiful quilts. This is the class that taught me how to use the sticky stabilizer and how to stitch multiple designs within one hooping, which saved loads of time!

Machine Embroidered Quilt - Eileen Roche was really my inspiration for understanding machine embroidery and just one of the cool methods you can use for quilting and appliqueing at the same time. I especially liked her tips on hooping without the backing fabric to make a "quilt cracker" which will hide all the thread breaks. Even though this is embroidery, I really hate all those tie offs on the back of the quilt!

Digitizing Machine Embroidery Designs - I'm just getting my feet wet with digitizing and this class with Cookie Gaynor is essential to learning what all these complicated terms mean and how to most effectively digitize designs. I really like that Cookie teaches digitizing for many different projects and explains the ways you have to accommodate when digitizing for quilting a quilt verses embroidery on a knit sock.

So that's what I'm up to today! I plan to hoop another strip of white fabric and embroider another panel of flowers then figure out how I'm going to connect the two together with another embroidered block. Fun and challenging all around!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Leah, I received a Janome newsletter the other day where more of your designs have been digitized in a New Artistic Embroidery Collection. My question is will you also have these design collections available on your website for sale?

  2. Oh Leah, I'm so excited to see you learning and sharing insights on machine embroidery. The world of quilting and machine embroidery is crossing over and creating spectacular quilts, especially when machine embroidery (ME) can be show with spectacular free-motion quilting.


    PS - I host a blog hop every Fall and Spring to showcase a different ME designer. Currently have one going on this week where anyone interested can come have fun hopping and there are many chances to win your choice of favorite designs from the sponsor. Everyone is welcome.

  3. Toni - Yes, as soon as I can get my hands on the collection, I plan to carry it at!

    SewCalGal - Sounds great! I'll swing by today to take a look!



  4. I think that using the Embroidery machine is a smart move. I loved knitting but it would take up to 6 months for me to make an afghan (lap quilt size). When I started using a simple knitting machine I was able to make on in 3 days! I loved the speed and it was still me making them. I'm all for speeding things up when you can.

    I love reading these blogs and catching up from last year.


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