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Quilting Machine Advice

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Dewey78 posted on Sun, Nov 24 2013 10:35 PM

Hello, I was wondering if someone could help me with some questions about finding a quality quilting machine.  You probably are wondering what a network engineer is doing on a quilting forum, so let me start there.

  I recently got married to my best friend from High School class of 78 and want to find her something that is better than the simple sewing machine you buy at a department store.  She’s been quilting most of her life so I want to help her by getting a machine that will bring her up to the next level.

  Last night was the one year anniversary of her mother’s death, but before her mother could leave she needed her daughter to help finish a promise she made to the Wounded Warrior Project in Camp Pendleton and San Diego.

  In all Denise completed and delivered 25 quilts and lap blankets two days before her mother’s passing.

  With your help I need guidance in selecting a quilting machine that will help her advance her skills.  In researching quilting machines I find that the term sewing machine quickly replaces my queries.  Are these terms Sewing and Quilting machines synonymous with each other?

  My initial search for quality and durability led me to the Pfaff and Bernina websites.  I found these machines to have price tags equal to their quality and capability, but more than what she would want to start with.  This website gave me ideas of capabilities and options I would want to try to find in a less expensive model.  Some qualities other than durability I found were throat space, vertical space and quilting tables for larger projects.

  I won’t purchase anything without her approval, but I would like technical help in narrowing down some choices.  If you asked her opinion paying $150 - $300 would be fine, but I know the right machine would last her a long time and a stepping stone to advance her abilities and move up.

  For the right machine I would want to see what is available in the $1000-$1500 range and as high as $2000.  I would appreciate any advice.

 

 

Loving Husband

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Verified by Dewey78

Dewey,

That's just the sweetest thing.

So many wonderful machines out there. I think where you should start is to find out what brands have dealers close to your area. A couple reasons for this. The first is many offer free classes with purchase to help you get to know the machine. Secondly, and more important is having a service person close. If anything happens you don't want to have to drive two hours to have it serviced.

I think more and more sewing and quilting machines have merged, into being one. There are exceptions, as in long arms and some Quilt machines that only do a straight stitch.  Most of your price increases in machines you'll find are in the features, and additional decorative stitches. And of course machine embroidery. That's an addition that really bumps it up there.

For a machine used primarily for quilting, I'd look for one with a large throat area, (space between the needle and the body of the machine). You'll want at least 10 inches if she does large quilts. Needle up/down position that will allow the needle to stay in the fabric and have the presser foot lift to pivot the fabric. That's an awesome feature in both piecing and quilting. Having a thread cutter is really nice. A bobbin sensor that let's you know when the bobbin is low. Nothing more frustrating than to be quilting along with a bulky quilt and realize your bobbin thread ran out ten minutes ago.

After finding a machine with those features you can go on to find out value for the money in the additional features and cost differences in machines. I know with my Viking dealer they had a deal that if you trade it in within the year, they credit what you paid for your machine and apply it toward an upgraded machine.  

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Answered (Verified) Marie replied on Mon, Nov 25 2013 11:11 AM
Verified by Dewey78

Dewey78:
A capability I forgot to mention was heavy duty enough to do multiple layers with any kind of quilting material.  Most of this kind of work she’s had to do by hand or hasn’t been able to attempt because she didn’t have a powerful or strong enough machine to do it with.

Dewey, your wife is a lucky woman, please tell her for me that you are definitely a Keeper, but I bet she knows that by now.

I'm not sure if anyone mentioned a "walking foot", one attached to the machine you buy her is a nice feature.  This will take care of the problem you mention above.  I have a Janome 7700 and I love it.  From what I hear, the next model up from that is even better. 

Millbury, MA

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Verified by Dewey78

Dewey, as a wife that her husband also loves to buy me machines, make sure you have a great dealer that will give classes on how to work the machines. I have a featherweight for regular sewing and taking to classes. It is perfect for piecing and taking places as it is so light. I also have a 301 Singer for home sewing as the throat space is a bit larger. I don't do the free motion quilting on a domestic machine as I also now have a long arm. But you can use a local quilt store long arm, for renting before making that type of purchase. 

  I now also have an embroidery machine and yes, I do set it up for embroidery while sewing on the other machines. It takes some coordination but I can do 2 pieces like that at one time. But to get comfortable on the embroidery machine you really need a few classes unless she is one to read instruction books. I also have found that the books don't really get to the "meat " of the machine and I have learned so much more at the classes. So if you are not close to a store that she loves the classes, I would do classes in different quilt stores to know where  the most comfortable. Just my opinion, but I hear this slot from other quilters also. 

Michelle B
Enjoy family, friends and hobbies

 

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Answered (Verified) zoetc49 replied on Tue, Nov 26 2013 10:28 PM
Verified by Dewey78

Dewey, 

I looked at the embroidery machines last year.  Since she enjoys this type of work, go with one that can do many ranges in size. If I recall Janome  had the best software compared to Brother, but these are both good machines. There are more brands out there. I was only wanting one to use for lettering and I was going to go with the smaller Brother- still have not bought one.

As the other posters have pointed out, the classes will be a great value for your wife. You can but these machine cheaper on line, but then you will not get the classes.     

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Verified by Dewey78

Dewey78:
it was recommended that we get one machine, or one for quilting and one for embroidery. To me this makes sense as with two machines you don't wear out equipment and while one is doing embroidery the other can be used for sewing and quilting. My wife was excited and said she could set the embroidery working while so continues working on quilting or sewing...

I had to chuckle at this. I started out with an embroidery/sewing machine. I bought a used Viking Designer 1. Fabulous machine! I did use it to quilt an oversized queen size quilt, and worried about the wear and tear on it. It was rough too with the smaller throat space. For Christmas two years ago my husband went into the dealer and gifted me  with a Viking Sapphire for quilting. So now, I can and do have both machines going. It's just fascinating to watch the embroidery machines as the designs take form. It's also nice to have a back up in case one has to go in for repair.

Dewey78:
What embroidery machines are worthwhile?

I'm not sure if this is still true, but with the Brother there was a limitation on purchasing  only "their" designs. With other machines you could go online and download any design into your embroidery software and  write the design onto a usb or card for your machine. I forgot to mention that my initial purchase was another machine that only had the capability of doing small designs. I got so hooked, that it wasn't three months, and I was back at the dealer ready to trade up. LOL

Hopefully you'll get more input from others with different brands. I'm locked into my Vikings, love them, and I have a dealer close for anything I need.

One more thing I forgot to mention. In the case with my machines, all of the feet I had purchased over time fit both machines.  Sounds like a small thing, but some of them are pretty pricey and it was nice not to have to go to the expense to have to buy one for each machine.

 

 

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Answered (Verified) Ginny replied on Wed, Nov 27 2013 1:36 PM
Verified by Dewey78

I will just add to this that if she doesn't want to use the walking foot for a certain application, it is easily moved up out of the way.  The application that I can think of for this would be during free motion quilting.    Ginny

 

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A quilting foot is a necessity. If the shop didn't bother to mention it, I'm sure it was because its so obvious. It doesn't need to be an integrated walking foot (an IDT), in fact an integrated  foot has disadvantages, but you do need an attachable walking foot that matches the machine brand ( a Janome foot for Janome, a Brother foot for a Brother.)

Denise Smart

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Jacy replied on Wed, Nov 27 2013 12:56 PM

Marie:

Dewey78:
Marie, I'll look into what a walking foot is, but so far in my research no one else has brought it up.

This foot is a necessity for quilting the three layers together when your wife is at the quilting stage.  Girls, please comment on this.

If you buy a Pfaff it will have IDT built in, you won't need a walking foot. I think some of the other machines are starting to do that now too.

 

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A bit of explanation if it hasn't been stated yet.  A walking foot feeds the top and bottom layers of whatever you are sewing at the same rate of advancement.  This feature helps eliminate bunching or puckering on one of the layers when using normal sewing mode.  I personally own a Pjaff Quilt Expressions 4.0.  This machine has the IDT (built in walking foot) feature which I absolutely love.  And, it is very useful for other projects besides quilting.  I sew quite a bit of napped fabrics (fleece, velvet, satin, etc.).  My IDT is wonderful for these applications as well.  The Pfaff also has needle up/down, a presser foot lever for raising and lowering, decorative stitching and many other features that are useful for all types of quilting/sewing.  Pfaff has recently come out with a new sewing/embroidery/quilting machine which I have been seriously contemplating.  I also own a TinLizzie longarm by Pfaff and a crafters' Pfaff that only weighs about 12 lbs. and has all the features I need to attend classes.  Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like a salesman, I just love my Pfaffs

Barbara

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Answered (Verified) Ginny replied on Wed, Nov 27 2013 1:36 PM
Verified by Dewey78

I will just add to this that if she doesn't want to use the walking foot for a certain application, it is easily moved up out of the way.  The application that I can think of for this would be during free motion quilting.    Ginny

 

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Barbara in Colorado:
The Pfaff also has needle up/down, a presser foot lever for raising and lowering, decorative stitching and many other features that are useful for all types of quilting/sewing.  Pfaff has recently come out with a new sewing/embroidery/quilting machine which I have been seriously contemplating.

Barbara, which machine are you refering to?

  We have an appointment with a Janome "Only" dealer on Saturday and I just found three Multi-Dealer stores at different distances from us that I'll check out after work today. 

 

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Dewey

If you are asking about the machine I am contemplating, it is the Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro.  It looks to have everything on could desire in a multi-task machine.  I haven't actually tried it out yet.  I am waiting for a really good sale with top trade in dollars.

Barbara

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I would certainly visit your local or nearest Babylock dealer.  You can try out the machines, you can pick out the one for your wife based on what type of sewing she wants to do.  I have the old Babylock Quilter's Choice and simply love it!  I believe the Melody replaced it. Good luck, and Happy Holidays. Deb

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gini replied on Sun, Dec 1 2013 9:02 PM

Marie, the need for a walking foot depends on your machine.  I have a designer 1 and haven't needed a walking foot.

gini in north idaho

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Hello All,
  Sorry I haven't been on lately to give you updates, but it's been very hard to get my account straightened out until now.
  My account was shut off several times and then I couldn't get the password reset.
  Best wishes to everyone for Happy and Safe Holidays.

  We finally made our purchase!  It wasn't what I had expected, but the ultimate choice was that of my wife's.
  With your help I armed her with all of the latest information that you all provided and she really appreciated all of your interest in helping me.
  Ultimately she requested that I purchase a Brother Duetta 2 4750d for her.  It's not the high end machine that I was thinking of getting, but it allowed us to get a lot of machine and options with a good warranty at a good price we could afford.

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Ginny replied on Tue, Dec 24 2013 7:18 AM

Dewey,  The most important thing about this is that your wife got just what she wanted and that you were able to get it for her.  At some point in the future, she may decide to upgrade her choice when she gets more comfortable with her quilting.  And then she will be armed with the knowledge of what she wants and what direction she wants to move ahead.   Although, this machine may also be her forever love.    Best wishes you both.    Ginny

 

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Dewey, So glad you and your Wife are happy with her new machine. Tell her happy quilting from me.

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I own the Duetta 4500D and love it. I have not had any problems with it and it sews, embroiders and quilts beautifully. Congratulations, she will love it.
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Dewey,

So glad you perservered to get back on here and let us know the final choice. Looks like a great machine, and one she will get many years of enjoyment from for sure...She's a lucky lady....

Best wishes for a Happy and Safe Holiday to you and yours as well. 

 

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