Thursday, April 18, 2013

sewing machine rundown

My main machine is my Juki TL-98Q. If you've read my blog for awhile, you probably already know this, but I LOVE MY JUKI! I'd become a spokesperson for them in a heartbeat if I had the chance. I've sewn on this machine for 6 1/2 years and it's like my right arm. There is so much to like about it. I like to sew fast and this machine does just that! At top speed it sews 1500 stitches per minute. The machine is mostly metal, so it's sturdy and a true work horse. Actually, it's kind of like the Energizer bunny. It keeps going and going and going. It weighs about 23 pounds, so it's not the most portable, but it's still manageable. I've flown with it and put it in an overhead compartment of an aircraft (several times). It took some upper body strength to wrestle it up and down, but I managed to do it without harming myself or any small children. (ha!) It's a straight stitch only-there is no zig zag. That's the one drawback, but definitely not a deal breaker. The auto cut feature is something that I turned up my nose at when I bought it, but now it's one of my favorite features. I MAY be a little spoiled by it. :) The first time I sat down to my machine I did some free motion quilting and it held the tension on both sides right out of the gate...no adjusting needed. Seriously impressive! I've free motion quilted MANY a quilt, and I rarely have tension issues. I can quilt FAST without the machine feeling like it's going to rattle off the table or rattle apart. It's not picky about the kind of thread I use, which is a huge plus, and it's got adapters for cone holders. All around, it's a simple, dependable machine.

In the past few years I have found it to be less dependable at straight line quilting. Layers shift more than they used to when doing straight line quilting. I haven't been able to get down to the bottom of WHY this happens...nor has my repair man. It's subtle at times and more pronounced at others. It bugs me! I have replaced my walking foot and it hasn't helped the problem. Maybe the machine is just tired? I don't blame it one bit. :) All that being said, I still use this machine with my walking foot to attach all my bindings to my quilts and it works well then. ????? I don't know what to think of all of that.

The TL-98Q model has been discontinued but has been replaced by a similar machine, which is the TL-2000QI.
Last November I bought a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 7700 QCP. It was kind of an extravagant purchase...but I broke down and bought it anyway. It's huge and a little bit flashy and I must confess that I love that red panel. This thing has more features than I could ever hope to use. It has a zig zag stitch, so I can piece batting to my heart's content. (My husband made a comment about how much batting I could buy at the price of this machine, but that's not really fair now, is it?) To be honest with you, I have just started to learn the ins and outs of this one. One of my favorite features so far is the built in even feed foot. This thing straight line quilts like a dream. (One instance aside.) I have used it to do a lot of honeycomb quilting, too, which is a nice alternative to straight line quilting or stippling. I'm planning to sew more clothes for my daughter (and hopefully me, too) so the zig zag and over lock stitches will come in handy for finishing seams when that time comes.

A few weekends ago I tried to free motion quilt on this machine and it didn't hold the tension on the back very well at all (think ladder stitches) so rather than mess with the settings, I just jumped on over to my Juki. Someday I plan to devote some time to figure out that piece.

I've found that I am using both machines for different purposes, but both with enough regularity that I "need" them both set up at the same time. And I think that's a good thing! Also, my husband was in full support of me buying my Janome, but he did reserve the right to give me a hard time about it. Typical!

41 comments:

Svetlana said...

love your husband's attitude :) Thanks for this greatly informative post.

Diane said...

Thank you for your reviews! I'm going to look at a Juki Exceed F400 tomorrow. Can't find a lot of info on it, but from what I've read, everyone who has a juki loves it, and it sounds like they're very reliable. Wish me luck!

Brenda said...

I have the same Juki and it works like a charm. do you have the extension table for it?

bloominworkshop said...

I agree that the Janome doesn't FMQ as well as the Juki (or my Brother version). But I have found that it does improve with one of those Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers dropped into the bobbin case. Though I find it is nice to have one machine set up for FMQ and the other set up for straight line quilting. :) I guess I am spoiled too!

Jeanna said...

It's funny how differently the "same" machine quilts! I love the FMQ on the Horizon, I played with it a bit at first to figure myself out - I had never FMQ before - but it is fantastic now!

karen @ badlandsquilts said...

I have been happy with FMQ with my Janome. I also use a Little Genie washer, and always adjust the tension myself. The autotension doesn't work for me with FMQ. Other times I have had thread/skipped stitches and those were caused by bad needles (I bought some Klass titanium needles that are supposed to be great but were terrible) and an 80/20 batting I had got at JoAnns.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I just bought a Juki TL-2010Q from a friend who was downsizing - I have heard such good things from others about this machine - I have not had time to really use it yet as I just got it yesterday but I was over joyed to hear your comments on the one you have.

jennifer said...

I really appreciate reading this post because I've been dreaming about a new machine for a while, but it seems like I just can't get away with one machine, for exactly the same reasons you've outlined here. My current machine is something old that was passed to me, so *someday* a new machine will be really fun. For now I'll keep dreaming about which new machine to splurge on first!

amandajean said...

Brenda,

I do have the extension table for the Juki but I rarely use it. When I do, I feel like I have to extend my arms too much and the machine, while only a few inches further back, feels too far away. Just my own personal experience!

AJ

giddy99 said...

I have the TL2010Qi which I LOVE! I have 3 other machines (two old Singers and a mini Janome), none of which will do an "automated" buttonhole. One Singer is missing the cams, and the other was "repaired" (and hasn't made a buttonhole since). I'm thinking of buying another machine for that, but it seems silly, doesn't it?

treadlemusic said...

To continue the discussion. I have the Juki TL2010Q and LOVE THAT MACHINE (sorry for shouting!!). The interesting thing is I don't even put the walking foot on to do straight line stitching or put binding on. I have adjusted the downward pressure on the pressure foot and it sews w/o any puckering/pleating just fine. I agree, though, that having a "dedicated" machine seems like a luxury but if you do any amount of quilting/piecing/sewing it really saves a ton of "angst"!!! LOL! I, also, would recommend the Horizon for the computerized type of machine. Many of the gals (ex. Leah Day) use that model and have awesome results with them. The pricing is much more favorable than other brands (ex. Bernina). I could be a spokesperson for the Juki model I have, also. It is one terrific machine. Hugs, Doreen

verykerryberry said...

I have the Horizon and I love it, although for FMQ I found it works better feed dogs up. The Accufeed foot is wonderful for quilts and bulk-bags/purses for instance, and you are right- the straight-line is fantastic. It was my 1st machine with auto cut and I wouldn't have a machine without it now!

Becky said...

FWIW, I recently decided not to buy the Horizon, instead opting for the Janome 6600, which, IMO is the best of both worlds... heavy, almost industrial, FMQ like a dream, and has plenty of bells and whistles. LOVE it! It does however have a shorter neck, but so far it's working for me! I sold a Pfaff QE4.0 that I bought used and that never FMQ-ed worth a darn to pay for the Janome. Wish I'd don't that a long time ago... My experience with the Pfaff is partly what made me decide to buy the 6600 instead of the Horizon... Thanks so much for your assessment!! These machines really DO cost a whole heck of a lot!

amandajean said...

Becky,

I sew on a 6600 at work and I agree, it's a very good machine as well.

AJ

sewhappy said...

I LOVE my Horizon - had mine for nearly three years and still find new things that it can do! I always use the D1S stitch(covers the needle plate) as with most top loaders it is easy to drag the bobbin thread away from the needle if you are speeding along.

Linda said...

Someday I'd love to have a second machine like the Juki that I could use for all of my seaming and piecing. I like my Pfaff and would keep that for the other stitches, the zigzag and buttonholes and such and I would never be without my serger. :) I just like the fact that the Juki is so rugged and fast. I'm sure it is way better for FMQ than mine is, too. Mine tends to continue a few stitches after I take my foot off the pedal depending on how fast I am sewing and that gets annoying when I am doing free motion.

charlene carmeans said...

I just bought the Janome 8900 about a month ago. I am loving it. I have found that with FMQ leaving the feed dogs up (as another reader posted) does a better job. I just ordered the bobbin washers and a Supreme slider to go along with it. I am hoping that that will help the problem with the back tension.

Annilu + Pele + Lulu said...

My machine is also the Horizon 7700. Fortunately I have no problems with the tension while quilting. In the beginning I had some problems, but I found that it was my own fault because I threaded the down thread in wrongly.

Heike

Vicki in MN said...

I have had my 7700 for 1 1/2 yrs and love it! But I don't FMQ with it(have a longarm for that) I still have a whole lot of learning what all the 7700 can do!

Mina said...

I just got the MC8900 at Quiltcon and am new to FMQ, but I do think that the tension on the back is very loose.

I am hoping that you can solve your problems because I cant seem to solve mine

Carla said...

I've been using the Juki 98 on a Grace quilting frame for about 8 years now and it is still going strong for FMQ and I have never had to have it serviced....it was a bargain e-bay purchase that has been awesome!

Annemieke said...

Nice to read about your machines and experieces. I don't think you can buy Juki here in the Netherlands. Janome you can.
I'm going to order your pattern now, very cute!
Groetjes
Annemieke

ipatchandquilt said...

Hello everyone!
I am the proud owner of a Janome Horizon for little over a week now. I have been doing lost of FMQ on it. I found the quilting very easy. I have ordered one of those sliding mats to use on it as bigger pieces would not "move" so smoothly.
I did have trouble last week with puckering of the thread when starting the FMQ. After cleaning everything, it still did it. You can imagine that I was not really happy with my investment at that moment. After mulling things over I tried resetting the machine to the factory settings ... and guess what? All problems were solved! Maybe the previous owner fiddled with the settings or something, but I am so happy that it sews without puckers now! ME SO HAPPY! ;-)
Esther

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

I went from a 1 machine girl to 3 in January and love it! I keep my Juki TL2010Q and F600 at 2 workstations and swap in my Pfaff when I want to use the IDT. I'd have to say the TL2010Q is my favorite because it makes machine quilting as much fun as piecing! It's great to have a machine set up for quilting and one for piecing.

Jessica said...

Perfect timing, I just blogged about my new Juki TL-98P ( which is the same as a 98Q but for 240v power supplies here in Australia & Europe). It's now my main machine that stays out.

On the weekend I needed to zig zag some batting & overcast some taken-in seams on a top, so I got my Brother out as well and had them side by side which felt a bit fancy! You can see them both on my blog Pesca Presents

Martha said...

So nice to read about your machine experience. I have a Janome 3160 and the thread cutting is my favorite feature. I have been thinking about upgrading and The Horizon and Juki are my top choices. Thank you so much for sharing.

Suzan said...

I quilt with a Janome 1600DP and I love it like you love your Juki. I test drove both when I made my purchase and the only reason I bought the Janome was because they were throwing in some special add-ons. The thread cutter feature totally spoiled me! When I purchased another machine to take to retreats and sew-ins, I bought a Brother with every stitch feature I could afford. I love that machine as well. My dream machine at this point is the Horizon and if my ship ever comes in, I am going to get one. Love that huge harp area!

Live a Colorful Life said...

So here is my question: I keep reading about the Juki, especially since sewing just a teensy bit on yours, and I really think I want one. I "had" to have a serger, which then sat, never plugged in for two years(imagine my husband's annoyance with that!). This year I got the Elna version of your Horizon. It has the overlock which I haven't used yet. So could I sell my serger and just use the Elna overlock, and then buy a Juki? My dealer has a 98Q at a pretty decent price. And can I do all this without really noticing so much...?

VeeV said...

NICE!!!!
i'm envious...
curious - what is an over lock stitch? is it like a surger makes with a zig-zag(ish) and cuts??
thanks for your expertise on both machines..
xo
eva

Lili Jane said...

I purchased a Juki TL2000qi after reading this blog for a year and then shooting off an email to Amanda to confirm that she really does love it. I haven't been disappointed. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Juki. FMQ wasn't as easy as I thought but I'm getting the hang of it now. And now I have an excuse to purchase another machine :)

Mara Cockman said...

I broke down and bought my Julie Q2010 about 3 months ago and it was the best decision I've made. LOVE that machine. Oddly, my only complaint is the same as yours. When I straight line quilt with the walking foot I get puckers occasionally. I play with my settings every time hoping to find the magical combo. I'm going to try what treadlemusic suggested and try it without the walking foot and the presser foot pressure adjusted. Thanks for the tip!

anolddoglearnsnewtricks said...

Interesting reading about your machines, I would really like to get the Horizon , but alas finances! perhaps one day. I do have a Janome, the 3160 QDC ,its okay, things i like and things i like not so much!
but I did discover after fighting with tension issues while FMQ that it works great with the feed dogs up and stitch length set to 0 for FMQ.
I wonder if that is something inherent in the Janome machines?

Let us know if you try leaving the dogs up and how it works!

Vicki

Madame Purl said...

I have the the Brother version of the Juki - the PQ1500s. I love it. I also have the Janome 7700 and have had it since November 2010 and I'm finally finding all the sweet spots. I haven't had any problems FMQ, but I have had to go to a larger needle size than I thought.

One thing I was thinking about the Juki on the straight line quilting. I'm thinking you had the feed dogs engaged if you are using the walking foot. Maybe you have slightly worn down the feed dogs and they need to be replaced. I wonder if it's ever so slight that eye can't see it, but the machine knows. Anyway it was just a thought... your guy has probably already looked at it.

I have a HQ Sweet Sixteen now and I'm learning it... it's like driving a race car fast. I'm not only doing FMQ but rulers as well for straight line quilting and it's awesome, but talk about the amount of batting you could buy. (lol)

Pat said...

Wish I had seen all this 2 years ago when I bought my 7700. I was considering a Juki but everyone kept telling me I should get something with more stitches, etc. etc. Well, the 7700 doesn't work worth a darn for FMQ so I wind up using the serpentine stitch for straight line quilting. If I could FMQ on it I wouldn't need those other stitches. As far as other sewing goes, I send my clothIng out for alterations. :D I only want to make quilts.
I know plenty of people who love their 7700 but, unfortunately, I'm not one of them.

Random Thoughts Tracy said...

Thank you for this wonderful review! I have a janome 5200 not near the dream machine you have, as well as the Juki 2010q. I got the juki because the Janome was a serious FLAKE about FMQ. I have been able to do a modest amount of quilting on the Janome (not any more since I have the Juki) but a few things that the machine absolutely required, after MUCH MUCH stress. 1. Isacord thread. It's poly but I'm not too worried about that. 2. Little Genie magic bobbin washers (Leah Day has them), 3. and a special bobbin case , and 4. I got a free motion kit, I think it had a non hopping foot and a very essential feed dog cover! which leads me to the 5. Probably the most important step of all DON'T drop the feed dogs, that really tends to send many a Janome into crazy ladder stitch land! I spent HOURS pouring over the internets looking for posts, discussions, blogs of people talking about tension issues while FMQ with their Janome's. This combination worked really well for mine. They are finicky but what amazing girl isn't a bit so once in a while!

Glynis said...

AmandaJean, thank you for sharing your experiences with your two girls! Yesterday I made the jump! I visited the area Juki dealer and arranged to purchase a Juki TL 2010 and a Juki HZL F600. Two machines for less than a used Bernina or your 7700 new. The owner/dealer thought it a brilliant solution and though we kept trying to look at the 7700, he kept coming back to my "package". Super excited. And one of the other commenters on this post said she had the same and was also keeping her little Pfaff so it was like a sign from Heaven!! Thank you for your encouragement, sharing heart, and creative energy! You add such a spark to life! Enjoy!! Glynis

Christine said...

I have a Janome 6600 which I love but had lots of problems with FMQ until I bought the FMQ bobbin case. Works like a dream and I think it came with different feet too. I'd check with your dealer if you continue to have trouble, it's all I needed!

QuiltyGirl said...

I had that Juki, and I loved it! And now I have a Horizon! I've used my Horizon a TON for fmq. My dealer recommends the fmq bobbin case, but I'm cheap so I didn't buy it. I just crank up the top tension to about 5-6 and I get great tension!
Thanks for the machine rundown, I like hearing what works for others!

QuiltyGirl said...

Oh and one more tip! I have had several people ask me for help with fmq on their 7700's, and it's almost always the same issue: adjust the free motion foot so that it's down closer to the quilt. :)

Rachel said...

I love my Juki (same model) although she does need to go in for a service, LOL. Thanks for the run down!

Blue.Ridge.Girl said...

Just to lend agreement to some of the comments above: I, too have a Janome which I love :o) When I first tried FMQing I just could not get the tension to work. After researching I came across Leah Day's information about leaving the feed dogs up. That makes all the difference on my machine!