Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sewing Machine Thoughts

Let's talk sewing machines.  I know that most of the quilting world are Bernina owners.  I too sewed with Bernina's for many years because they were "THE" machine to own.  That was, until I test drove the Husqvarna Viking Designer series.  It was love at first sew.  I still feel that way, for most things.  There is no take up lever on the Viking.  It is all done with the foot pedal.  When you start you press the pedal and the foot goes up. When you start to sew you just do like you always do, and put the medal to the pedal.  To bring up the presser foot you tap the pedal when you're done.  Simple as that.  You save tons of time not lifting the take up lever to start and stop.  Piecing is a dream.  It has auto cutter too so as you are lining up the next pieces to sew, the ones under the presser foot are being cut.  

Okay, now the bad thing about the Viking.  No matter what they say, and they do say it, you can't quilt on the thing.  You can probably do free motion but I have yet to do that.  The straight quilting I do doesn't work at all with the Designer.  There is no dual feed and you really need one to quilt.  

I have the embroidery attachment for the Designer I (which is very dated now, maybe eight years old or so) but it's not easy to use.  Frankly, it's really a pain in the ass now because it takes a floppy and these newer computers don't have one so you have to get an external floppy drive.  I have it but now, being a Mac user, it doesn't work.  I am sure the new embroidery machines are much better.  I miss making the labels that I embroidered for gifts for weddings, etc.  

Now to the Janome.  I have the 6600 and I absolutely love it for quilting.  It has massive feet that the dual feed fits into and the opening to see what you are sewing is clearly visible.  The  arm of the machine is deeper so it's easier to maneuver a quilt with it; more space to move the parts of the quilt you aren't quilting at the moment.  The downside of the Janome?  The take up lever.  I am clearly spoiled and find it a nuance to take the lever up and down.  In fact, sometimes I sit at the machine and wait for the lever to go up on it's own, due to me being so used to it.  

I know that there are some new Bernina's coming out that cost almost as much as a car and I will hold off judgement until I see how good they really are.  I know that lots of people like the stitch regulator and I could totally understand the need for that feature if I free motioned but I don't so to me that's not an issue.  Okay, I've said my peace.  

Oh, and I have gotten tons of links from lots of people to follow them in Twitter.  Unfortunately, where I live here up north doesn't have cell service (can you believe that?) so I have to sometimes travel quite a distance to get service.  Therefore, twittering is a non issue for me.


Anonymous said...

I machine quilt on my Viking Designer SE, and before that on my Viking Designer I. I do both freemotion quilting with the feed dogs up, and straight line quilting with the walking foot and the feed dogs down. (I also take classes with Nancy Crow, and the straight line quilting is more appropriate for those quilts.) I wore out my old Bernina in the late 90's with freemotion quilting, and I love the features of the Viking machines. I've taught advanced freemotion quilting classes with fancy threads, both on the top and in the bobbin, and you have to use different techniques and adjustments for each type of machine. (One of the most complex machines to teach freemotion quilting on is the Pfaff, but once it is mastered it does a beautiful job quilting.) It's a matter of "becoming one" with the machine you are quilting on. I'm glad you love the Janome, since you and it understand each other when it comes to quilting. But the Viking can also do award-winning quilting. The tricky part with the Viking is starting, since it wants to put another stitch in the same spot, but there are ways to get around that.

Judi said...

Tommy, You can have your designer changed to acept a memory stick instead of the floppy. I have 2 designers and love both of them, I haven't had mine changed as of yet but it can be done. I use my walking foot for straight line quilting but do most of my quilting on my longarm.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your input Tommy, I really appreciate it.

I am a Bernina purist.......well used to be, until I started collecting machines. I have Pfaffs with the IDF too but cannot get a Pfaff to freemotion, no matter what the model. Well, my newest is about 10yrs old, so too for my newest Bernina. I mainly do clothing construction so my machines fill the need....until I do a quilt and want to do freemotion.

Berninas freemotion in a heartbeat. Drop those 'dogs' and off you go. The Pfaffs are perfect for piecing in quilts. I have issues with Pfaffs and jerseys. The Bernina walking foot is hard to beat, but the Pfaff make you see what you are doing easily, much like the Janome, I suspect.
The trouble with Berninas is the small space between the head and the needle and even though they keep coming out with newer machines, I think they are mostly geared towards embroiderers....I'd like to know who mis-informed Bernina's Management.

I suspect I could live with a presser foot lever as long as there was a thread cutter and enough space to move a quilt through.

Now I am wondering about those straight stitchers made specifically for quilting like the Brother etc. Wasn't there one with a needle feed?

Thanks again for this info.

Corky said...

I was always a Bernina person until I got my Janome 6500. I've only used my Bernina a couple of times since. I use the knee lift a lot when quilting with the 6500 although I don't think it would be as nice as the auto foot lift the Viking has. Most of my sewing friends are Viking people and are very loyal to the machine, but I'll stick with my Janome.

Susan Turney said...

I have a Janome that is about 12 years old and when I recently got back into quilting I pulled it out. I love how quiet it is and it was great for piecing but when I tried free-motion (after taking a great class) the tension got all screwed up. I was wandering through JoAnn and stopped at the sewing machine area and loved the big "beds" on the new machines. I wasn't even thinking of getting a new one, especially after seeing the prices on the Vikings but....there was a little Singer with the big bed. I know this will make a lot of people shudder but....I bought the Singer Confidence Quilter and it's amazing. It comes with all the quilting feet and has an auto-tension. In my opinion, it's a perfect little machine and I'm working on my second quilt. My Janome will eventually go off to the fix-it guy but I'm in no hurry since this little machine seems to do everything I want. Plus, I got the floor model for less than $300 including tax!!!

Melody said...

Don't you use the knee lift on your Janome?