We misplaced our dining room table runner over Christmas, so I’d thought I’d make a quick disappearing nine patch as a way to get to know the Horizon.
I used two fat quarters and a half yard of fabrics, cut 27 – 4 1/2″ squares to make three starter nine patch blocks. I’m not sure it’s going to get bound soon, as (of course) I didn’t think about the binding fabric. I’d like to use the brown, but I don’t have enough; I don’t want to finish it with the same fabric as the border, but I do have enough of the multicolour, so maybe that one.
Here’s a close up of the quilting. I did vertical straight lines with the accufeed (walking) foot, stippling in some of the brown squares, and a meander on the border. I also sewed a lightning stitch (a tiny zig zag) next to the border and centre seam. I used Aurifil for the straight quilting; Mettler 60 wt for the stippling, and Connecting Threads thread for the border quilting and lightning stitch.
I always test threads and stitches on scrap placed at the batting/backing overhang. Sometimes I’ll put made up blocks there as well, to see what an idea might look like over seams or a shape. My batting is almost always Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton/poly; but I did have some cotton batting left over from other home dec projects so I used cotton batting in this table runner.
I was able to sit down and immediately feel comfortable in playing with the Horizon for a few reasons…I have used Janomes and know how user friendly and well designed they are; I’ve had the opportunity to join a wonderful Yahoo group for the Horizon 7700 which has tons of tips and info from users; and, Janome (and others) have provided lots of videos on you-tube to help with getting acquainted.
So, this is what I found about the Horizon during yesterdays sewing
My 1/4″ wasn’t all that accurate, using the piecing foot. I blame that on the flange or guide that’s on this foot, I hate that thing and I’ve taken them off other 1/4″ feet like that. Didn’t do that yet to this foot, as I will likely be doing all my piecing on my other machine (a Juki F600).
The foot pedal is very responsive, even when the speed slider is set at its highest, I can still easily achieve one stitch at a time precision.
Very quiet, even with the accufeed.
I bought the open toe accufeed foot, because I remembered from when I had the Janome 6600 that the standard foot has limited visibiity to the fabric. I had to mark the centre needle position on the open toe foot with a pigma pen, then I could pretty easily achieve straight lines without marking.
The jog dial, used to choose stitches, is easy to use and I think I’ll enjoy this feature. At first I was wondering why there was no way to choose a stitch just by punching in the stitch number on some kind of a keypad, but the jog dial is a quick way to get to where you want, and, it gives you the opportunity to see stitches as you go by, ones you might not have considered by looking at the chart.
The free motion feet are the best I’ve ever used…the metal open toe foot is very small, and the visibility is great. It floats, or skims, along the fabric instead of bouncing which makes it much quieter…and the way the foot just skims along the surface seemed to make the stitching easier. On my first stippled squares, I seemed to be focusing on that foot too much, just because it was so different than what I’d been used to.
The APC, where you push a button to create a single hole needle plate, works like a charm. I’ve heard that others have had the occasional problem in this area. This doesn’t concern me too much, I’ve never used the straight stitch plate that I had with other machines because I couldn’t be bothered to switch them; and I’ve always been happy with my free motion work. I have been using the APC on the Horizon, and will continue to do so as it likely does improve the stitches somewhat.
The auto tension worked just fine. Never made one adjustment to it, or the bobbin case, or the presser foot pressure. The feet were easy to change, but a screwdriver is needed. I found the presser foot lifter is a bit stiff and heavy, it needed a bit of muscle…so I’m glad to have the knee lift!
The only real concern is the black plastic covering over the arm of the machine on the right side. I found it to be grabbing my backing. The quilt sandwich wouldn’t move all that easily over that area. The last bit of stitching on the border ended up with this, that no quilter wants to see! The back had doubled over on itself, so some of the stitching had to be removed and re-sewn. I’ll have to think of something to “shine” that black surface.
I like the new kind of needle threader. When the threader is pulled down, it stays in that position until you slide it up and the needle is threaded. On other machines, the needle threader is similar, but you have to hang on to it in the threading position while you loop your thread on to it. I also really like the foot storage at the top of the machine…already, I’m finding myself just placing a foot I’m not using up there, like a table!
The Horizon does not have a separate bobbin winder motor. But… I set my bobbin thread spool on a basic cone thread holder to the side of the machine, and followed the bobbin threading path. For once, the needle thread did not get all funky or loosened or whatever, I wound that bobbin and the needle thread was still exactly how I left it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wound a bobbin on other machines, while supposedly keeping the needle threaded, only to have the the two threads tangle or loosen out of their slots.