Janome MC11000 Automatic Needle Down Button

I never knew that you could get your sewing machine to automatically stop with the needle in the fabric when you took your foot of the pedal. Earlier this year I learnt this in a Deborah Louie class I attended.

MC11000 Screen

When I got home I decided to see if I had this function on my MC11000. Looking at the manual I couldn’t find the information anywhere so I had a play around looking at my machine. On the main screen I noticed some images to the bottom of the screen.

Mc11000 Needle Up

Looking closer I noticed a image of a needle in the raised position. I pressed on the button and the image changed to the needle being lower. I stitched a few stitched and realised this was the automatic needle down button.

MC11000 Needle Down

Now that I have discovered this function I use it all the time. It is perfect when you have to pivot fabric as you know the needle is going to be down in the spot you want and you don’t need to place the needle down with the hand wheel or needle down button. When doing free motion quilting you are able to stop and reposition your hands without the quilt moving. If you start stitching and have forgotten to set this function you can easily stop stitching and press the button, when you next stop stitching the needle will stop automatically down in the fabric.

This is another reason why I like going to classes or group, you pick up other really handy bits of information and tips that you can use in your every day sewing.


Pedal Free

Confession I was having a lazy day yesterday…. I was sewing repetitive lines on an item yesterday. This is awful to say but I was bored holding my foot down on the pedal, yes maybe this meant I shouldn’t have actually been sewing but my gifts need to be done.

Pedal Free

On my MC 11000 machine I have the option of foot pedal free sewing by operating the machine by pressing the Start/Stop button. I’ve only ever pressed this button when doing machine embroidery but never during regular sewing. I decided to give it a go. The first thing I discovered is that it won’t work with the foot pedal plugged in, if you press start your prompted to disconnect the pedal if its connected. When you start sewing the first stitch or two is a bit slower than it resumes your normal speed. With what I was making it didn’t matter where my stitch lines finished. If you had to be very precise you could press stop near where you wish your stitching to end then press the needle up and down button to get to the exact spot. If your sewing with a decorative stitch when you press stop the needle position doesn’t go back to the centre to start the stitch at the beginning it remains in place so when you press start again it continues with the pattern. If your halfway through a swirl or shape it continues on doing that part of the shape even if you have shifted the fabric. With what I was making this wasn’t really an issue. I didn’t try it but I wonder if you press the back stitch button it would anchor the stitch and the needle return to the centre position like it does when you press the button during a decorative stitch with the foot pedal connected.

In regular sewing I don’t see myself going pedal free very often however I think it would be really useful if you at ever couldn’t use your foot to operate the pedal. I’m lucky I operate my machine with both feet (it seems except if I’m tired) Or you could use it if having the foot pedal on the floor is dangerous due to small children or pets. Online I hear a lot stories of animals falling asleep on foot pedals and scaring the owners. It’s always good to know all the options available to you on your machine.

My First Buttonhole

Yesterday I stitched my first buttonhole!!

First Buttonhole

Ok I know buttonholes are very basic and the machine does all the work, all you have to do is load the button into the size gauge on the buttonhole foot and press start on the sewing machine.  In my 4 years of sewing I’ve never made anything that needed a buttonhole so I’ve never had to do one. I was working on a project that needed one so I had a practice first on a piece of scrap. I read my sewing machines manual and worked it out. Yep very basic. The only thing I had trouble with was sliding the gauge back to release the button from the foot. There must be some sort of trick to it or my foot is just tight as it had never been used before. It was good to learn a new skill and I was able to complete that step in the project I was working on.

Ironically last weekend I was looking at one part of my machine thinking what is that lever for? Turns out it is the buttonhole foot stop lever. Now I know 🙂

Knee Lift

What does it do and why do you use it?

Knee Lift

Until now I’d never used my knee lift. It was just an attachment that I took out of the box when I got the machine that I had no idea what to do with. Asking around I discovered its a lever you attached to your machine that allows you to raise and lower the presser foot with your knee. If you do a lot of quilting it becomes your best friend as it gives you an extra hand when your moving the quilt around on the sewing bed, you can keep both hands on the quilt yet adjust the presser foot at the same time. Over the last couple of days I gave it a trial use. Its fantastic. It takes a bit of getting used to and I’ll admit at times I was getting confused between the machine sewing foot pedal and the knee lift. I may have done a couple of odd extra stitches here and there. On one project I was doing a lot of quilting and it made it so much easier just having to move my leg to operate it. Now I know how useful the knee lift is I’ll be using it again.

I will warn you if you have any leg issues you may struggle to use it however you already know your body and know what you can and can’t do. I have leg issues and I finally managed to combine sewing with exercise as every time I used the knee lift I was working my leg muscles to control it. Another way that sewing is great for my health 🙂


2015 Use It Or Lose It

I’ve decided that in 2015 I need to get tough with all my craft gadgets, machines, books etc… They are all take up valuable space when I’m limited for space so I’m going to adapt the use it or lose them principle.  I’ve mentioned that I’m slowly using the features of my MC 11000 I’m gaining confidence with that and its getting used. Its my main sewing machine. At first it scared me but now I’m concurring it. This year I’m going to learn how to use it to its full potential.

Sewing Machine Large

I need to pull out my Scan N Cut machine and figure out how to use it. When I used it last year to cut fabric I couldn’t get it to work for me. In the end I packed it in the box and only took out to draw a stitchery design. I watched youtube and things at the time but I couldn’t get it to work just like they did. Its a great machine and I’m sure once I get the hang of it I’ll use if not I’m going to lose it and pass it on to someone else so they  can get the hang of it.

ScanNCut Failure

Recently I just brought a couple of items including an electric bias binding maker and electronic strip cutter. I’m going to play around with these just as I did with my sewing machine cause I know once I get the hang of them they are going to be useful. I have a couple of gifts that I want to complete or at least start this year which are going to need a lot of bias binding and strips so I need to get these machines to work.

Craft Gadgets

I have a slight habit buying craft books. I’m going to limit myself as to what I buy. No more buying books on a whim. If its not a super discounted price which I’m unlikely to see again then I’m not going to buy them. A book for of knowledge is never wasteful but at some point you do have to say no. I need to do a cull of what I have too as some I won’t ever use so they may as well be passed on to someone who can use them.

Needlecraft Book

I generally don’t buy a lot of fabric as I have so much of it already but this year I’m going to refrain even more from getting it on a whim. Unless its for a specific purpose I’m not getting it. I’m not about to give away my fabric any time soon I just won’t add to it as much. The same applies to the rest of the stashes I have.

I’m hoping by the end of 2015 I can look back and say I was successful with following the Use It Or Lose It rule this year.



1st Attempt At Machine Embroidery

Embroidery Machine First Attempt

I got my fancy Janome Memory Craft sewing machine earlier this year. It is an embroidery machine as well as a general sewing machine. Up until now I have only used it as a sewing machine. The embroidery side scared me. I think I have mentioned in previous posts if I’m not familiar with something or unsure of it I get very nervous. Last month I had intentions of trying out the embroidery but life got in the way and I never got to it. Last night I watched the embroidery instructions videos that are on the machine and this morning I bit the bullet and gave it ago.

I was clueless as to what I was doing and in fact had to get the tablet pc out next to the machine to even see how to screw the embroidery arm on to the machine. I then had to work out how to even start the embroidery. Of course hit the start button on the machine! Once it started I realised I should’ve cut away the starting thread so I did that I little later than I should have. Oh well learning curve for next time. For a first attempt I’m happy with it. It isn’t as scary as it seems. I’m going to use this as part of a Christmas gift I decided upon last night. I was going to hand embroider it but I thought no I have this fancy machine I may as well use it to its potential.

Multiple Machines

I have 3 sewing machines and an overlocker. That might seem a lot but I do use them.

Sewing Machine Small

I don’t mean to collect sewing machines but in the last 4 years I’ve just acquired them. I started with my first ever sewing machine which was light weight and easy to move around. Mum taught me to sew on this one and it meant if I damaged it I was breaking my machine and not hers. When I got my 2nd machine this one just sat around for a few years as a spare and I was going to give it away once I got my 3rd machine but then I started going to Sewing Guild and its the perfect size to fit in my sewing tote and take with me.

Sewing Machine Medium

I got my 2nd machine as it was the same model my mum had but wasn’t available at the time I purchased my first one. This machine is a little bigger and has a cute ♥ stitch that to be perfectly honest I’ve never used but I do like looking at it. Again I was going to give this one away when I got my 3rd one but it is really handy to do WIRES pouches on as you can remove the sewing bed and use the free arm easier. It is still relatively easy to move on and off and table so I won’t hurt myself moving it onto my sewing table.

Sewing Machine Large

My 3rd machine is my largest and the one that still scares me. It does machine embroidery but I’m yet to try that element of it. I have the notions to do it now but I have to build up the courage to give it ago. So far I’ve only used this machine to do regular stitching and I did make a samplier tote using some its stitches. I’m confident using it to do regular sewing but as mentioned I’m still yet to try the advanced stuff on it. This one is large and heavy and doesn’t get moved about at all.

Serger Tension Settings

My overlocker is a machine I’m finding very useful. Before I’d gotten this one I’d only tried mum’s overlocker once. When I first used this one it did scare me but now I’m confident using it.


I like using the different machines as each has their own features and when you sit down at them you have to stop and think for a second which buttons does this one have and how do I do something. I surprised myself when I went to the sew-a-thon and used an overlocker that wasn’t my own how easily I worked it out. Ok so I know an overlocker isn’t that hard to operate but normally when I’m faced with anything (machine or otherwise) that I’m not familiar with I freak out a little. Using so many different machines you learn that they are all very similar. I use them I love them I’m keeping them all