I always find Janome’s designs to be very sensible. They may not have been the fanciest machines of their time, but they were always so very useful.
Janome New Home 551 is such a machine. It has 14 built-in stitch patterns, independent zig-zag and stretch stitch, and a three-step buttonhole.
To select patterns, first set the zig-zag width knob to OFF – this releases the pattern selector knob at the top. Turn it – it should move very lightly. If it doesn’t, it’s stuck, so clean and oil.
Once you’ve selected a pattern, set the zig-zag width knob to AUTO to get a basic pattern or set it to a small number (no more than 2) to get a variant as I’ve done below. You can engage and disengage stretch stitch at any time, except obviously during stitching!
That independent zig-zag and stretch stitch can be added to each of the stitch patterns, so the number of patterns actually quadruples (plain, with zig-zag, with stretch and with both zig-zag and stretch), giving it 56 stitches. But zig-zag is not an on/off setting and can be incremented in little steps from 0 to about 2, after which it overpowers the pattern and everything looks like zig-zag. But there are a dozen little steps there, and different settings create different patterns…
Blind stitch turns into a mock overlock and then into a zig-zag with an “undercoat” of little zig-zag.
Two versions of scallops. Pattern 4 starts out as a line drawing, turns into fine scallops with added zig-zag and into Christmas trees of sorts with stretch stitch. Pattern 5 starts out already as scallops and turns into a bolder wave border with added zig-zag.
Pattern 13 is the most versatile one from the lot. It starts out as a three-tier zig-zag ladder, then turns into a flip-flop bunting, then into a thicker zig-zag line with notches. Adding stretch gives a cross-stitch design turning into a picot line and into a bold inverted picots design.
And pattern 1? Well, that’s your basic straight stitch and zig-zag, with and without stretch.
So why exactly did I sell this machine? Oh yes, my flat is not a Tardis… 😦