Friday, April 3, 2015

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP Sewing Machine

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP
Meet my new machine!  I've named her Rose, named after Eleanor Roosevelt, because I am a history nerd and I really admire her.  Rose is a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP.  That's a mouthful, and most of the time I just refer to her as a Janome 8900.

I purchased my Janome from Sew Vac City of College Station, TX at QuiltCon this year.  I'll admit it was mostly an impulse buy.  They were running a great special, and because I had been considering a new machine since Fall Quilt Market, I just went for it.

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP


I'm not going to go into all the specs because that's available all over the internet.  But I do want to compare it to my previous machine, a starter Brother XR-9000 (which I believe is now called Brother XR-9500PRW - Project Runway edition).  Which I still totally recommend to anyone that asks me what machine they should get for their first one.  Seriously, that machine is a workhorse.  Had I not wanted to work on my free motion quilting skills and start making large quilts, I probably never would have upgraded.

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP

I was always hesitant to get a "fancy" machine because they seemed very complicated to me, like a rocket ship.  I think this Janome is a good blend of the features I wanted in a fancy machine, and the simplicity I loved with my starter machine.

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP

After using Rose for about a month, I'm ready to share my preliminary list of things I like about this machine:
  • I like that the bobbin is just a drop in plastic bobbin.  No intimidating metal bobbin case.  Yes, those intimidate me!  
  • Although I haven't quilted anything very large yet, I really like the large harp space.  This thing boasts 11 inches.  That's huge!
  • I like the automatic thread cutter.  I am finally starting to get used to the motion of pushing the little scissors instead of picking up my snips to cut thread.
  • I love the Start/Stop button alternative to the foot pedal.  I am finally teaching my 4 year old son to sew and he's loving it.  I am too.
  • I'm obsessed with all the storage.  Like embarrassingly obsessed.  What can I say, I love organization!
Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP

In this past month, I've found some things that I'm not sure of yet.  It might be a feature I am not impressed with or just an area where I need more practice with a more complicated machine:
  • I have a lot of trouble winding bobbins.  I waste a lot of thread trying to get it right.  I follow all the steps in the manual, but I'm still getting loosely wound bobbins that sometimes get pretty tangled up.  I'll eventually get a bobbin wound that works, but it's a little frustrating.
  • I cannot chain piece without breaking thread.  This is by far the most frustrating thing I'm trying to figure out with this machine.  Every single time I try to feed fabric under the foot while chain-piecing, the top thread breaks.  I've figured out that it happens when the edge of the fabric grazes the needle while it's still down.  So I to combat the problem, I have to slow down and make sure the needle is all the way up before the fabric gets near it.  I didn't have to do anything like this with my Brother, so I am just at a loss.
  • I'm not sold on the knee bar thing.  It's not positioned right to be useful for me.  It's like I can't reach it or something.  I do have really short legs so maybe it's just not for me.  I've tried it a few times but I just don't get it.  I'm not mad at it though.
  • It's really super heavy.  The table I sew on is also my desk.  I keep the machine on an oldrotary mat so I can easily slide it back to fit my laptop down for work.  In my old house, I sewed on the dining table where we ate dinner every night.  This machine would not be practical for having to move it every time I wanted to sew before dinner the way my little Brother was.
So far I'm happy with my purchase, despite my current issues.  I would definitely purchase again if I could go back in time.  But I'd love to be able to figure the things I'm having trouble with.  I'm certain most are due to user-error, because I'm so used to using a lower-end machine.

Do you have any tips for me to help me where I'm struggling with this machine?  Please tell me!

17 comments:

  1. I love our new machine :D I haven't had any issues with the thread breaking during chain piecing, do you have it where the needle stops down or stops up?

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    Replies
    1. You know, I don't know! I think it stops up...I'll have to break out the manual again and check!

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  2. Hi, do you have the machine speed set to max when winding bobbins? You're supposed to, I have no issue with bobbins or chain piecing.

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    Replies
    1. I do kick the speed all the way up for bobbin winding. Thanks for the input!

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    2. When winding bobbins make sure you tug the thread until it clicks through the first tension pass the same one the machine thread passes through I found this helps a lot

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    3. I solved the same problem by tightening the bobbin winding tension screw as well as following Janis's advice.

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    4. Where is bobbin winding tension screw?

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  3. I have the Janome Quilters Edition (Marie Osmond one) and I haven't had any problems with winding the bobbin or thread breakage when chain piecing. Are you putting the thread through a little button (a small tensioner) when winding bobbins (I can't tell from the picture if you have one, but I do) or do you leave it in the path for threading the thread to the needle? I have never had a machine that had problems with chain piecing...could you call the folks at Sew Vac City and ask them what the problem could be? If there is a problem, you want to find out while the machine is still under warranty!

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    Replies
    1. The path for the bobbin thread starts the same as the path of the needle thread, but then it turns. I'm just following the path on the machine, and it seems to be the same as in the manual. Then the end of the thread goes through the hole in the bobbin before winding it. Not sure about a button? Thanks for your suggestion!

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  4. Ooooh...I think I can help you with the winding...you know where your thread takes it's turn to the right under the plastic in the top left corner of the machine? There are tension discs under there to put the correct tension on the thread for bobbin winding. Make sure your thread is passing between those discs. I'll try to take a video on mine for you and post to Instagram.

    As for the chain piecing issue...are you using the straight stitch needle plate or the zig zag? This one baffles me but I keep thinking about it ever since you mentioned it on IG.

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  5. I did have a little trouble with bobbin winding in the beginning, but now I seem to do it right every time. I'm not sure why I had trouble at first, so I'm no help there. As for the "knee thing", I agree it is awkward. I'm kind of short, too, and it seems to be too far to my right to comfortably use it, although I have tried to use it several times. I love what it does; I just wish it was placed more to the left. I hope you get the bobbin threading worked out. I actually have more trouble with the regular threading. It never seems to slide into the eye of the take-up lever smoothly like my old Janome did. I usually open the side door to watch it go in. I was used to threading very quickly & easily on my old one. But all in all, I adore this new machine. It's amazing, smooth, quiet, so many useful features. It's a dream!

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  6. I have the Horizon 7700 and am sad to hear the knee lift position was not corrected on the 8900. Here is what was posted on the Yahoo groups post for helping the issue. I've tried it and it works reasonably well.

    "I took the knee lift assembly completely apart, unscrewing the screw all the way
    out, making certain not to drop the little washer thingies.

    Then I turned the smaller piece, the one that fits into the machine, UPSIDE
    DOWN, and reinserted the large part of the knee lift back inside it. Again, the
    two pieces are back together, but the slot on the small part is now facing the
    floor, not the ceiling like before.

    You will note that the hole in the large part of the knee lift goes all the way
    through. So you can now reinsert the screw and washers (in the same order they
    were) back into the slot on the small piece, and into the underside of the large
    part of the knee lift. I was afraid this would not work, because of the screw
    threads, but it did. The screw is a bit balky going back in, but it will screw
    in tightly. The whole assembly will then go back into the machine, with the
    small part is upside down.

    I have the lift pulled to the far outside position of the slot and it now slants
    to the left. I've been using it this way for weeks now, with no problem."

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    Replies
    1. http://pin.it/ZoPjw60
      I added an old bottle.

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  7. I gone through your blog. Its really good.very useful information..Thanks for sharing this.see my products also Capacitor Winding Machine

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  8. I need help with the hand quilting stitch on my Horizon 8900 . Can you maybe help me ?

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  9. My hubby modified my knee lift lever. I love that special feature. If you want to see, email me at iluvlou@mchsi.com and I will send a photo to you. I can use it now. Michelle

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I'm so excited that you've decided to join the discussion! I think what you have to say is so interesting and it's valuable to share our thoughts with everyone. I'll reply here on the blog so please check back and keep the conversation going.

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