Friday, 24 June 2011

the quest continues

I have sewing machines on my brain at the moment. That's partly because I decide I want to do something then remember that I can't because I have no sewing machine here! :-(

But mostly it's because I have to make a decision on (or before) Sunday. Two of the six companies at the Fair will only give the special price if a deposit is paid during the Show. In some cases the saving is a few hundred dollars so, of course, I want to take advantage of the sale price.

So today I tried to compare the five machines left on my short list - Janome, Pfaff, Elna, Husqvarna and Singer (in the order I tested them not of merit or desirability).

If you read the extremely long post I wrote yesterday (my sincere thanks if you waded through all that), you may recall that they didn't have the machine I had at the top of my list on the Janome stand. Today I found out why - I visited my local Janome dealer; it is a straight stitching machine! According to their blurb it is the "fastest straight stitching machine in the range and can stitch up to 1600 stitches per minute"! But it doesn't do blanket stitch or satin stitch - so it's no good to me as an applique quilter!

So, that one is off my list. I can't imagine they sell many of those machines; no wonder they chose not to bring it to the Show! After all they have to bring dressmaking machines and quilting machines and embroidery machines at different price points and fit it all in a space of about ten square metres!

I went from my local Janome dealer to the quilting shop where I do my classes. They don't sell machines but they used to be Bernina dealers. As I said in my previous post, Bernina is not on the list because they don't do a wide throat model in my price range. I have plans to make a whole cloth quilt one day and I must have the widest throat I can get.

I talked at length to one of the owners of the business. She could add very little to what I had already heard but she did tell me what customers/students say about their machines. She would, understandably, buy another Bernina machine for herself but could see why I didn't want to buy one. She also told me which of the five I was still considering she would buy.

But the most helpful thing I got from her was the phone number of the man who will be servicing both the "sick" Brother I left there on Monday and my new machine.

When WM and I wanted to buy a used car, we went to our mechanic and asked his opinion - after all, he has to get the parts and work on the car so he knows what he is talking about and has no affiliation to any brand. I was already aware that the sewing machine repairman used to be a dealer for Bernina and that was his preferred brand. But I called him and told him my five choices - he told me one not to touch, and two which he finds the easiest to get parts for.

My choice is now limited to two brands, or four machines (two in each brand). All four are very similar - the more expensive in each brand has more features than the less expensive model.

So I have to decide between the less expensive model in the range or the more expensive model - and which of the two brands I prefer.

On Saturday afternoon, when I have finished teaching knitting on the Guild stand, I will test drive all four machines again. I need to make a decision before the Show finishes on Sunday afternoon!

Stay with me, we are approaching the end of my quest!


  1. Sounds like a roller-coaster ride. Boy oh boy do I know that feeling - I thought the toing and froing was only me. Good lucky with your decision

  2. You are doing fine-great idea to ask a mechanic! You are getting close to getting one!

  3. It's a good quest, a sound quest and hopefully a successful quest :-)

  4. One brand I don't think you considered was the Juki, they have 3 quilting models available and are very reasonably priced!

    Here's my review of the HZL-F600:

    Here's the line-up of Juki's quilting machines:

    Straight stitch only mechanical quilting machines:

    Good luck, I can't wait to find out which machine you choose!

  5. It's surprising to hear about the straight stitching Jenome, and likely disappointing for you. I'm waiting with baited breath to hear what you end up buying!

  6. Bernina does make a wide throat machine but it is $10500. I just bought the Janome Horizon yesterday, it has an 11 inch throat. I am feeling super overwhelmed by it already because my old machine was very low speed and this is high speed, it is like going from a pinto to a Ferrari. Good luck with your quest :)


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