I'm new to the group but not at all new to quilting, sewing, and obsessing over any form of needlework! :) So, here is my dilema. I want to elevate my FMQ skills and have considered purchasing a new (or gently used) machine with BSR, wider throat, and other similar "quilting" features. I would love your experienced insight with machines that have these (and other) features. Keep in mind, I don't have a money tree in the back yard. Any suggestions/advice you can share is greatly appreciated. Many thanks!
I bought a Baby Lock Symphony this year. No BSR. I've done enough Craftsy classes and read enough blogs to know that the experts don't like BSR for themselves although they don't bad mouth them for others. The Baby Lock didn't have that. It does have the wider throat, and it free motions much better than my previous machine which was also a Baby Lock but a cheaper one. Mine was new, but a floor model and I negotiated what I thought was a good price. I've since seen the original price in a magazine and I did much better than I thought.
The Symphonys have been around for a while, so a used one is not impossible. But in general the upper level models in any good brand, with a dealer which seems to be the definition of a good brand, should be helpful.
What I have learned is stay away from Brother because they mostly don't have dealers. They are made at the same plant as the Baby Locks, but not to the same specifications. The same is true about Singers. My dealer is also a Singer dealer. He won't bring the machines in. He can't warranty them. They literally fall apart when they go out the door.
I've never owned any of the other brands out there. But I also tended to buy sewing machines without dealerships. The current machine is my 5th and I owned most of them 12 to 20 years and never owned two at the same time. My older machines were from companies that have gone bottoms up. What I learned in the last couple of years is USE A DEALER! Your older machine, or your gently used one (my first Baby Lock was gently used) will be a lot better if you use a dealer.
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Auguste ,Happy to have you joining us , I have been a little lax here lately due to so many commitments but should be back at it here in the next couple of weeks .I have a Janome 6600 ,I don't have a BSR either , You don't really need one to do FMQ on your home machine, If you just speed a few minutes everyday doing a little practice you will get a good rhythm down all on your own. My suggestion would be to check out your dealers in your area for trade-in machines or try e-bay .but you will pay more if these machines have a BSR . If you just need to practice your skills ,Check out Leah Days Web site . She has the best of all the tutorials around . I think it is called The FRee Motion Quilting Project . . Let me know if I can help with anything else and good luck on your search. Barbara
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Many thanks for your insight and experience! I couldn't agree more with your suggestion regarding working with a dealer! I"ve done additional research and wonder if considering a mid arm machine might be a good alternative?
I'll continue to reasearch and truly appreciate your feedback!
Yep, I've gone to Leah Day's website --- terrific tutorials! I"m sure you're right about practicing my FMQ. . . . it's like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get. I wonder if there are DVD's available for purchase?
Oh I'm sure there are I know Karen Mactavish has Dvd's with her books that are fabulous . I think Leah Day has one with here new book but I'm not postive .I would just check around on Amazon and look at the quilt books ,they ususally let you know if there is a DVD ..
I've never tried a mid-arm, but one thing you have to recognize. You are still going to be moving the fabric through the machine and not the machine around the fabric. So the technique you will be using is still the domestic sewing machine technique. The advantage is obviously the opening, but the tables they come on are small. You will still need to build other tables around the machine in order to deal with the weight of the fabric.