Monday, July 25, 2011
The Horizon: what a year it's been
I've had my sewing machine for nearly a year now, so I decided it was time to look back and update my first impressions. I can honestly say without exaggeration that this machine has changed my life. I have learned so much about sewing and quilting in the year that i've had this machine. it's by far the most expensive craft-related purchase i've ever made, but it was definitely worth it, even with its quirks.
First, I'll start with the bad to get it out of the way. the machine isn't perfect. some things about it frustrate me a lot. some of the feet cannot handle multiple layers of fabric, like the zipper foot, the buttonhole foot, and the blind-hem. so things like sewing a zipper to a lined pouch can be a nightmare. recently i've read about an alternative zipper foot and a fix for the buttonholer that i will try out. it's not so much a pain to make adjustments to the machine. it is a pain to have to buy more parts. so far i've only bought extra bobbins and an invisible zipper foot (which i've only used once). i've thought about getting some of the accufeed feet and maybe a thread stand but i haven't done it yet. sometimes the free arm is just a teensy bit too wide to the point of annoyance.
there are many parts of the machine that i haven't even used yet. i do wish the machine had come with an explanation for the stitch guide so that i could understand what a lot of these stitches are for. honestly, there's probably a lot of stitches on the horizon that i'll never use without ever missing them. and there's some that are probably there, like an overcast stitch, that i just don't know which one it is but i wish i did.
i've tried a lot of new things, many of which i previously had no idea what they were, like french seams, applique, decent free motion quilting, and stitch in the ditch. i know this isn't strictly machine-related, but i've learned a lot about hand stitching as well and when to use it over a machine stitch. i can sit down and blind stitch a hem or hand pick a zipper without wanting to tear my hair out. well, most of the time.
i don't know how i would have gotten by without the janome horizon yahoo group. yahoo groups have like the worst set-up ever but the wealth of knowledge there is invaluable. i get the daily digests and i learn something new nearly every day.
i love the extension table for quilting, the accufeed foot, the saved settings (i finally figured out how to turn this on). btw, it's a really good idea to keep the manual handy. there's just so much that this machine can do that it can be hard to remember it all when you need it. i've learned to slow down my stitches and increase control, but it's nice to be able to blaze through at lightning speed when i need to do that too.
i've finally learned the importance of keeping my machine clean and happy. i've made it a habit to change my needle frequently and brush the lint out of the bobbin area every couple of weeks. i don't think i ever cleaned out my old singer, not even once, which is embarrassing but true.
i've made quilts, bags, clothes, toys, kitchen items, and many other things with my machine. i use it almost every day. i'm so happy with my sewing machine and i'm eager to keep using it and learning new things. Yay, Horizon!