Received! Juki TL-2000 Qi

I received my Juki TL-2000Qi Friday afternoon but there were issues regarding the dealer which I may or may not reveal depending on resolution. Let me just say that I was not impressed with the state of the machine when it arrived. If I were to do it all over again, I would buy locally.

However, this is a great machine, you can really tell the difference between a domestic and this machine, it sounds different, it feels different, it’s quick and super responsive. It reverses when you want it to reverse, there are no surprise extra stitches backward or forward, it’s super accurate. The feed dogs are fantastic, they grip and hold the fabric moving it straight and true, as they should. I love the reverse lever, it’s BIG, you can’t miss it unlike typical domestic machines where you may or may not hit the correct button. I’ve often hit the wrong button on my Bernina to reverse, which sometimes doesn’t work and sometimes takes too many stitches. When I first turned on the Juki, I was unsure there was any power to the machine because there was no noise, no movement, nothing, it was just ready to go.

Click to enlarge.

So far my only complaints are that the lighting, although LED, is very, very dim and the 1/4 inch marking on the bed is not accurate. As you can see in the image, the difference between Nancy Zieman’s 1/4″ and Juki’s 1/4″ are off enough to make a difference in your piecing, this would be considered a very generous 1/4″! But this machine won’t be used for piecing, it’ll be mounted on a Gracie Queen quilting frame and used for free motion only. This model comes with a “compensating presser foot” which I haven’t tried yet, I don’t know what the seam allowance is with this foot as I haven’t tried it yet and to be honest, have no idea what it’s intended for, it doesn’t say in the manual.

This morning I did some free motion quilting, I had to fold up a piece of painter’s tape and wedge it above the spring of the quilting foot to raise it a little, there was too much pressure and I couldn’t move the fabric freely. So far in my quilting experience, I’ve only FMQ on my Bernina with the stitch regulator.  Winging it without is a blast, quite frankly, I love it! Can’t wait to get it on the frame!!

BTW, I need help!! I have no idea how to quilt my log cabin quilt, if you have any ideas or have seen other log cabin quilts quilted online, please send me a link. I thought maybe a simple meander or water pattern — after all, it is a “guy’s quilt” and I don’t want any flowers or swirly girly stuff on it.

My Gracie Queen frame is due to arrive this Friday if the crazy hurricane doesn’t interfere. Have a great week and stay safe!

The Mother of all Posts

I’m   A L I V E !!!

No, nothing happened to me, I’ve just been stuck in a sewing rut and not the stitch in the ditch kind. I pieced my sister’s quilt 3 weeks ago, finished the backing but dreaded quilting it so I started making zipper bags and fooling around with craftsy stuff.

In November, I mentioned the Craftsy online course on free motion quilting (FMQ)  and how I kept breaking thread, quickly becoming frustrated. The kind folks on PatternReview suggested changing thread brand and type, trying different needles and when all else fails, bring the machine in to see if there are any burrs. Burrs usually occur when the rotary hook, shuttle or needle plate are damaged when the needle hits them — your needle usually breaks. My Jukie isn’t even a year old and the only time I broke a needle was when I tried fmq.

Bernina 550 QE (image from Bernina website)

Then I discovered the Bernina 550 QE.

Berninas are notoriously more expensive than any other machine on the market. In my mind, they are the Mercedes or holy grail of the sewing world and out of reach for me… until now.

Yes, that’s right, I am now the very happy and proud owner of a Bernina 550 QE! After just 5 minutes with this beauty, I knew the difference between Bernina and every other brand of sewing machine. I have sewn on Singers, Kenmores, Baby Lock, Elna, Domestic, Viking, Janome and my Juki and none can touch the craftsmanship of this Bernina. Everything is S O L I D on this machine and built to last!

Bernina Stitch Regulator

The Bernina 550QE came with all but one attachment a quilter would want or need. The 1//4″ foot, walking foot (with three soles!) and the patented Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR). The BSR helps you regulate your stitch length and quality by only stitching when you move the fabric when FMQ. It does not help you with your fabric movements, of course. IMHO, quilting gloves are a must for FMQ and I can’t imagine doing without.

I spent most of Friday afternoon merrily fmq a piece the size of a placemat. Although my fabric movements need a lot of practice and  work, I was very impressed and happy with the results I was obtaining. I tried a few different beginner patterns covering the entire piece and when there was no room left, I started to applique fabric scraps to create a scene.

Bernina Walking Foot

The walking foot is the heaviest and most quiet walking foot I’ve ever encountered. I had one with my Baby Lock which I also tried on the Brother and Juki, all of which worked but were extremely noisy and clunky. The Bernina walking foot in comparison is smooth and although not silent, but quiet.

The bottom line is that Bernina is worth every cent you pay. Yes, it is probably the most expensive sewing machine on the market but it holds it’s value, even when the model is no longer in production.

Today may be a double post day, I want to take photos of my fmq to show you how the BSR can help an amateur build confidence and get results they can be proud of.