Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Perfect Machine?

I get several emails a week asking about purchasing the types of machine that I own and other questions about quilting.  I jokingly told DH that I should really sell these machines for a living in real life and he said I'd sell them off the shelf as soon as they came in.

My biggest fear is that someone buys a machine on my recomendation and then they hate it while cursing my name in secret.  That's part of why I don't sell them in real life.  The thought of crushing someone's hopes and dreams on a particular machine scares me to death as it's happened to me several times.  Despite my fears, feel free to email me about my machines.  I'm happy to help.

The truth is there isn't a perfect machine out there that does everything.  That's why I own several machines.  I should sell two of them but I just can't part with them either as they do things the other can't.  I bought my Sapphire 870 first not knowing that the Topaz 30 existed.  The Topaz is the same machine with embroidery.  My Janome 350e is meh..okay, but I love the touch screen and it's perfect for simple projects.  My Sapphire..well, the color is blue..my favorite color while the Topaz is err..ugly so I can't give that up either.  Too bad I can't switch the plates around.

Oh..wait,  I also own a 1980's Viking machine that does a beautiful straight stitch, but it's so darn heavy you can't even lift it.  The master cam doesn't work so it can't do anything else than the straight stitch.  It sits in the basement because I can't have it upstairs as there is no room for it.  However; I still love it and call him "Tank" since he's built like one.  He also has the 5.5 mm feed dogs and I can't give him away for that either.  

I just feel so guilty that the Sapphire and the Janome 350e sit in a box.  DH says not to worry about it, but I do.

The two machines I use the most are the Horizon and my Topaz.  I hadn't planned on buying either of them after all I had my Sapphire and the Janome 350e embroidery machine.  However; I wasn't loving the 350e and was outgrowing it as well.  The Topaz caught my eye and it came home.  It does everything I want but the FMQ just wasn't working the greatest.  I couldn't get the tension right and the machine is designed that the pressure foot goes up automatically after you stop.  Great for piecing but not for FMQ.

After realizing that I hated my 6600, I wasn't about to buy another Janome machine.  I wasn't happy with the 350e and I figured the company hated me.  The last thing on my mind was buying the Horizon. 3000 bucks was way too much money for the machine despite all the features.  However; I was crazy enough to try it out at the dealer and loved it.  It helped that he gave me a great deal on the 6600 sealing the purchase.

Like the other two Janomes, it has things I love and hate about it now that I've had it since May.  However; I don't despise it like I did my 6600.  I wouldn't trade it in for almost anything..cept maybe the new Viking Ruby that comes out soon.  That's tempting.

They didn't really fix the 1/4 inch foot issue.  I think I know what the problem is after testing the foot out on my Topaz.  It's the shank adapter.  It sits too far to the left.  The actual foot sits perfectly on my Topaz feed dogs and sews a beautiful 1/4 inch seam.  If I put the foot back on the Horizon, it just barely catches the right feed dog.  There is nothing wrong with the foot.  Janome needs to fix the shank issue if you are adamant about having the foot ride on both feed dogs.  Don't let this stop you from buying it though.  It pieces just fine as I did my 9-patch quilt with it and didn't have too many problems.

The thing that sets this baby off and why I won't get rid of it is that it FMQ amazingly.  The precision, the accuracy, the new foot, the tension, it's a dream come true.  I've never loved a machine for FMQ like this.  I will use it for all my needs unless the piecing gets crazy and then I'll just move over to my Topaz.

Since I've given myself permission to know it's okay to have more than one machine, I have better bonded with my Horizon and I know that my Sapphire, 350e and my vintage Viking aren't sulking in the basement.  They know they are loved.

Now to get back to learning how to do decorative stitches that create one big pattern without screwing up big time.  The Border Foot really helps, but keeping the stitches to align perfectly side to side is harder than I thought.


kheli said...

I do 99.99% of my stuff on my Sapphire 830. I am not into the embroidery. I also have a 20 yr old basic Singer and a New Home serger I bought at an estate sale (works like a charm!) My mother, on the other hand, has a basic Bernina, a Bernina serger, a Viking Designer SE, Sapphire 850 and a brand new Gammill Long Arm! To quote my brillant mother: "how many golf clubs does he have in his bag?" LOL!!!!

So you love the Janome for FMQ? I have only used the Sapphire but have though about upgrading to a more profession-grade machine since I FMQ a lot! I really like the extra room with the longer arm. Does the Janome have this extra room? Any words of advice based on your experience? Thanks!

Amy said...

I can understand why your have several machines. Now that I have had my Sapphire 870 fine tuned, I really am much happier with it. But it was a year and a half before I had it fine tuned so it was definitely a journey getting the tension perfected, etc. Having said that, there are times I wonder if I might like to have just a straight stitch machine for free motion quilting. I love the decorative stitches on the Sapphire which are great for applique. But I'm sure every machine has an adjustment period which makes me hesitant to go through that process again.