Cynthia Scott, Educational Coordinator, Janome America
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These pieced and embellished whimsical birds are a stand-out on a one-piece, black quilted background. This project features rainbow sashing, using programmed decorative stitching, and color coordinated stitch binding.
Janome Supplies Required:
- Any Janome machine with a Knee Lift, Cynthia used the Memory Craft 6600 Professional
- Knee Lifter
- Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot F2
- Custom Crafted Zig-Zag Foot
- 1/4 inch Seam Foot O
- Open Toe Walking foot (or Acufeed Foot on 6600 Professional)
- Janome pre-wound Black bobbins
- Janome Blue Tip needle 75/11 or Janome Red Tip needle 90/14
Fabric and Notions Required:
- 16 scraps approximately 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" (four of each color range) cotton fabric
- 1 3/4 yds. black cotton fabric (for 26" square quilt top, 28" square false quilt back and three 2" straight of grain strip for binding)
- 28" square decorative color coordinated cotton fabric for second final quilt back (added at final binding stage)
- 28" square black flat batting (plus scraps for test sewing)
- 1/2 yd. fusible paper-backed web
- Black cotton thread for quilting
- Yellow, lime green, blue, purple, magenta and orange rayon thread for decorative stitch sashing
- Assorted decorative threads, in colors to coordinate with chosen fabrics
- Bright variegated rayon thread to coordinate with fabrics for binding
- Beads, sequins, colorful old zippers and embellishment ribbons and yarns of your choice
- Temporary fabric spray adhesive
- White chalk marker
- Oversized cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler
- Attach the 1/4" Seam Foot O. Insert a Blue Tip needle. Place coordinating thread of each value range in the needle and bobbin. Piece together four color blocks each with four 2 1/2" x 8 1/2" strips ranging from the lightest to the darkest value. Press. Hint: Creative embellishment idea: Sew one half of an old zipper (one set of teeth) into some of the seams for visual interest.
- Trace four bird shapes, two mirror-image, onto the fusible paper-backed web.
- Press traced bird shapes onto wrong side of pieced blocks. Seams should be running horizontally across birds, with the lightest value at the head. After pressing, cut out traced bird shapes. Peel off paper backing.
- Cut one 26" square from black fabric. Fold in half in both directions and finger press to create four quarter sections.
- With a white chalk marker and a straight edge, mark the quarter sections on the pressed folds. Then add chalked lines 5/8" on either side of the center lines just drawn. You should have three lines running horizontally and three lines running vertically across the 26" square top.
- Press birds onto each quarter section of top, equal distant from center lines, as shown. Birds should be facing each other.
- Using a temporary spray adhesive, baste 28" square batting and 28" square oversized black backing onto back of quilt top, making sure batting and backing are centered and larger than the top.
Note: The final, decorative fabric quilt back will be layered after decorative stitching is completed. This "false back" gives the final quilt a clean look.
Using Decorative and Metallic threads:
Sometimes it is necessary to adjust tension and stitch length to get the best results with a thinner (or thicker) thread. When using a fine metallic thread for decorative purposes, try using a light-weight bobbin thread-this "balancing" of thread weights in needle and bobbin gives you a better stitch. When using a metallic thread for satin-stitching, it is usually necessary to decrease stitch length (giving a denser look) as fine thread won't cover as densely as with a normal weight thread.
If you experience thread breakage using decorative or metallic threads, try these three things:
- Slow down your sewing speed.
- Adjust your needle tension, generally lower for thicker thread.
- Change to a top-stitch needle, sized to your thread.
Top-stitch needles come in different sizes but have a larger eye, which cuts down on thread friction and helps prevent thread breakage. Always TEST
sew on scraps of your same fabrics with batting before sewing on your project, to see if adjustments to tension or stitch length are necessary for the look you want.
- Attach the Open Toe Walking foot on the Memory Craft 6500, or the Acufeed Foot on the Memory Craft 6600. Select Mode 3, stitch #26 (Decorative) on the Memory Craft 6500, or Mode 3, stitch #30 on the Memory Craft 6600. Press "M" (Memory) button on keypad three times. (You should have three #26 triangle stitches on the Display Screen). Press the Editing (Edit) button to move the cursor to the second (center) stitch. Press "E" (Elongation) button until X2 appears on the Display Screen. Advance the cursor by pressing the "?" (Help) button until the blinking cursor is under the last stitch. Press "E" (Elongation) button until X3 appears on the Display Screen. Press the "?" (Help) button to advance the cursor beyond the third stitch. Select stitch #54 (Ball) on the Memory Craft 6500, or Mode 3, stitch #60 on the Memory Craft 6600. . Press "M" (Memory) button. Then press the Memory Locking Stitch button, then the Memory Auto Thread Cutter button. You should have three #26 triangle stitches (X1, X2, X3 Elongation), one #54 decorative ball stitch, one Locking Stitch and one Auto Thread Cutter. Press the Memory/Recall button to memorize this pattern combination.
- Thread the needle with yellow rayon and black bobbin thread in bobbin. Starting at top of the quilt, sew on the lines to the left and right of the center chalked line. After sewing one sequence, move to the line on other side of the center line and repeat.
- Move to the left edge of the quilt and sew same sequence again, on the lines to the left and right of the center line. You will now have a total of four yellow stitched sequences, two at the top of the quilt and two on the left side of the quilt. Rethread the machine with lime green thread and repeat same procedure, stitching directly after the first yellow stitching, following the chalked lines. Follow lime green thread with blue, purple, magenta and orange in sequence until decorative stitched sashing extends completely across the quilt, both horizontally and vertically.
- Select Mode 1, stitch #01 (straight stitch). Place Black cotton thread the needle. Sew diagonal quilt lines approximately 3/8" apart up to and around bird shapes, stopping stitching at decorative sashing. Lines should be stitched starting at the center of the quilt as shown in the picture of the project. Do not sew through birds.
Hint: To get started, try using a white chalk marker to mark your first diagonal line. Use each subsequently sewn line as a guide for your next line, using the side of the walking or Acufeed foot as a spacing guide.
- Attach the Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot F2. Using decorative threads and decorative stitches of choice, stitch horizontal lines across the body of the birds, couching yarn and ribbons on seam lines and across fabrics horizontally fro visual interest. Give each bird a different topknot - use your imagination! Try adding beads (with sequins behind) to create bird eyes.
- Select Mode 1, stitch #08 (zig zag), adjusted stitch width to 3.0 and stitch length to .25. Change the Foot Pressure Dial to 2. The presser foot remains the same. Satin stitch around each bird, using the appropriate thread color. Do not satin stitch the beak.
Before Sewing Bird's Beaks, Legs or Toes:
Test sew these elements using scraps of fabric/batting used on project and thread of choice - adjusting stitch length or tension as necessary to achieve good thread coverage and balanced tension. Depending on the thread you are using, settings may need to be slightly altered from what is indicated. Also, you can play with how you want YOUR bird's legs to look, changing angles or length. Test sewing will give you an idea of how long the legs, toes, and beaks will sew out on your machine, using your particular thread.
- To sew the bird's beak: (Remember to test-sew this on scrap fabric first). Using the Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot F2, select Mode 3, stitch #26 on the Memory Craft 6500, or Mode 3, stitch #30 on the Memory Craft 6600. Adjust the stitch length to .25 (stitch width will remain at 7.0). Press the "E" (Elongation) button until X3 appears on the Display Screen. Press the "M" (Memory) button; then press the Memory Auto Thread Cutter button. Only one stitch pattern will sew and then the machine will cut the thread. You will be stitching each half o the beak over the previous appliquèd fabric, starting slightly beyond the tip of the fabric beak. Sew lower beak, then upper beak.
- To sew the bird's legs: (Test-sew this on a scrap fabric first). Using a chalk marker, mark bird legs as shown on pattern, approximately 1 1/2" long. Select Mode 3, stitch #26 on the Memory Craft 6500, or Mode 3, stitch #30 on the Memory Craft 6600. Adjust the stitch length to .25. Press the "E" (Elongation) button until X4 is selected. Press the "M" (Memory) button, then press the Memory Auto Thread Cutter button. Only one stitch pattern will sew and then the machine will cut the thread. The presser foot remains the same. Starting at bottom end of leg (toe) stitch on the chalked line, into body area of the bird as shown on pattern. The tip of the leg becomes the center "toe" of the bird.
- To sew the two outer "toes" on the bird's feet: (Test-sew this on a scrap fabric first). Select Mode 3, stitch #26 on the Memory Craft 6500, or Mode 3, stitch #30 on the Memory Craft 6600, standard X1 Elongation. Adjust the stitch length to .25 and stitch width 5.0. Press the "M" (Memory) button, then press the Memory Auto Thread Cutter button. Starting at the tip of the toe, sew towards the leg so that the widest part of the stitch overlaps onto the previously sewn leg.
Finishing the Quilt
- Spray-baste the final decorative backing to back of quilt. Attach the Open Toe Walking Foot on the Memory Craft 6500, or the Acufeed Foot on the Memory Craft 6600. Select Mode 1, stitch #01 (straight stitch). Place Black quilting thread in the needle. Sew the center chalked lines, horizontal and vertical through all layers. This secures the fabric back to your quilt, and gives a finished look.
- "True up" your quilt (trim to a prefect square shape after sewing/quilting) on all edges by using a rotary cutter, clear ruler and oversized mat. Trim away oversized backing and batting, so all layers are the same size. Quilt should be approximately 25" square.
- Select Mode 1, stitch #09 (3-step zig zag) and sew through all layers on edge of quilt to secure edges before adding binding.
Decorative Stitch Binding
- Cut three 45" strips of 2" wide straight of grain binding. Join strips into one piece using diagonal seams.
- Select Mode 3, stitch #25 on the Memory Craft 6500, or Mode 3, stitch #29 on the Memory Craft 6600. Thread needle with variegated thread. Using the 45 degree angle on the machine's throat plate, sew diagonal lines across the binding strip, approximately 1" apart. As each line is finished, touch the Thread Cutter button and use the Knee Lifter for easy repeat sewing.
- If desired, add a 4" wide pocket (flap) to the top of the quilt for hanging quilt prior to attaching the binding. This is a good place to add your quilt label! Using the Memory Craft 6500P or 6600P built-in alphabet, add your name and date to this flap before attaching to the quilt. After attaching flap to top edge during binding, whip stitch bottom edge of flap to quilt backing by hand, using a running stitch.
- Attach binding to quilt, using your favorite method.