Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Search for the Perfect Machine, Part Four: Purchase

...And then we came to the end.

Before I reveal which one I ended up buying, I want to insert some information about one more machine: the Juki TL2010Q (formerly 98Q).
The amazing (AMAZING!!) Joanna of Applique Today e-mailed me and suggested I think about purchasing this one instead. She also gave me some very important machine-buying advice. I asked her if she used her Juki for both piecing and quilting, and here was her response:

Monet, I do EVERYTHING on that machine! It is amazing for piecing. I use it for piecing, quilting, making clothes, curtains, you name it I make it on it! I have a Janome with all the fancy stitches, but as a quilter, I never ever use them. It's sat in the garage for the last 5 years collecting dust.

The speed thing would be an issue for you for all of about 15 minutes. I've had so many people use my machine, even children, and they get used to it very quickly. You get a feel for the pedal and can go slow, a stitch at a time, or fast, 1500 stitches per minute. I know it seems counter intuitive, but it really is easier to get smoother quilting lines the faster you go. All it takes is practice...

Even if you don't go for the Juki, still check out some of the other semi-industrial straight stitch machines - you would never look back! I really really recommend getting a machine with a knee lift. It was life-changing to me! You never ever need to lift the foot by hand which is HUGE when you are machine quilting. And the automatic thread cutter is something I can't go without now either. And I don't mean a button on the machine - it's on the foot pedal, so you tap your foot. When you are quilting (and piecing!) the more your hands can stay free, the better.

...I think the people who benefit most from Berninas are those doing beautiful heirloom sewing. People who actually use all those lovely stitches...If you think you will, then great! If not, you need to get the best quality machine you can get with the LEAST amount of stitches! For me, that is one, the straight stitch. I think a zig zag would be nice, but honestly, I have never needed to use it bad enough in the last 4 years to pull my Janome out of the garage!

Also, you are not going to want to keep the same machine forever. Our mothers did because all they did was make clothes in the 70's. I remember! They weren't making works of art like quilts. Quilts require different things than clothing...

If you want to quilt your own quilts, and they are bigger than a yard square, you NEED an amazing dedicated quilting machine. So here is my list of what you should look for, regardless of the brand. They are things that in my humble opinion are the only things you need for quilting:

Big throat space
Big flat bed
Needle down
Automatic thread cutting
Fast stitching
Easy to lower feed dogs (flick of a switch)

So there you have it, from a truly amazing quilter who has really put her machine to the test! I thought about what she said and even found a dealer in this area (Reliable Sewing Machines in Stoughton).

But in the end, I had to go with...

The Janome 7700/Horizon. It was my mom who convinced me. I haven't even finished the draperies, shower curtain, etc. in my apartment, and my mother told me that she didn't think I should buy a machine without an automatic buttonholer when I still have home decorating to do. Did I need a machine with 11 buttonholes? Probably not. But they sure are nice to have...

I'll admit that the most convincing feature was the 11" of harp space (11 must be Janome's lucky number). Once you have sewed with that much harp space, you won't go back. I would recommend not trying it unless you are prepared to pay for it. I could stick my head under that thing. Not that I would. I'm just saying.

In the end, it came down to a feeling. People tell you that you will "bond" with a certain machine, and they're right. It just felt right to me to sew on the Horizon. I didn't feel that way on anything else I tried.

I haven't had much time to play with it yet (although I did watch the hilarious instructional DVD while I set it up), and I'll post as soon as I do. For now, I have to finish up my work so I can go pack for the BMQG retreat!!


  1. Congratulations on finding the perfect machine for you!

    Thanks so much for taking us on your journey. You've provided a lot of great information as I continue to dream of a new machine :)

  2. Yay! I'm so happy for you! I knew you'd end up getting that one! If you can't stop thinking about it, then it's the right one! Have fun with it:)

  3. Hi Monet. I can ask for advice on how satisfied are you with the machine Janome Horizon 7700. I also want to buy it, but the reviews I was rather discouraged. I used google translate, so sorry for English. Hi Zuzana