Well after having so many problems with my Pfaff, which were mostly computer-related problems, Juki's non-computerized TL line sounded better and better. Plus, when I talk to you guys, soooo many of you sew on a Juki TL98 or the newer TL2000 or TL2010. You report that these machines are heavy-duty, reliable and awesome for freemotion quilting. With a 8.5" x 6" harp space, there's room to maneuver large quilts. When I fretted about not being able to buy one with a local shop to service it, you said I wouldn't even need it. I mean, for real? So... I almost bought one without ever trying it!
|Juki's got the harp space!|
And then at QuiltCon there he was, the machine of my dreams, all set up for a test drive! I met Cristy of PurpleDaisies who sells many FMQ supplies and was using a Juki TL2010Q for demo work. It's the machine she recommends, don't ya know.
Girls, the machine was perfect. Perfect! He starts and stops on a dime with no computerized delay. I was actually on a break from a FMQ class in which we were using Janome's top-of-the-line quilting machines, when I came across the Juki in the vendor exhibits. In comparison to the Janome, the Juki rocked, at least in my eyes. I'm pretty sure there was a blissful smile on my face as I stitched some FMQ doodles. I knew then and there that this was The One.
Juki's TL line is "non-computerized" but not totally. Let's explain. These machines only do a straight stitch. That's it. (I'll be using my old Kenmore for special stitches like zigzag for binding.) There is no screen or computer inside for selecting stitches, since there aren't any. There's no auto-tension (thank goodness!), no programmable stitch sequences, etc. But there IS a lot of good stuff that you probably do want on the Juki TL2010Q: needle up/down (defaults to needle down.... yay!), knee lift, feed dog drop lever (conveniently located at last!), reverse sewing lever (not a button - easier for me!), presser foot adjuster, speed control and, drumroll please.... auto thread cutter. I believe the needle up/down and speed control are not mechanical, so you should realize you're not buying a 100% mechanical machine. But every bit less computer you get is a bit less computer that can go wrong, in my book.
|he's slim. he's sleek.|
The auto thread cutter is my hero. It engages with an immediate "ktch" that sounds deliciously powerful. My Pfaff's auto thread cutter always took an annoying moment or two to fully run through. It was a 2-step sound, even though you just had to push one button. Sometimes I wondered if cutting the threads myself would be faster? When the Pfaff auto thread cutter un-threaded my machine (which was often), it definitely would have been faster to do it myself!
Anyways, the Juki thread cutter can be activated by pushing a button, or - and this is Much Better - by tapping your heal on the foot pedal. Combine that action with the knee lift, which lifts the presser foot, and you can do everything without missing a beat. It's awesome. Completely awesome. And by the way the knee lift is very ergonomically placed - not at all hard to reach like some knee lifts. I did wonder if I might accidentally cut the threads with the foot, but that hasn't happened yet and I've been sewing all week. Also, the auto thread cutter has not un-threaded the needle - not once!
|Juki TL2010Q.... smooch!|
Yes, indeedy, this seems to be the machine for me. The only thing I've found fiddly is using the needle threader. It works, but not easily. Maybe with practice?
So, back to my story. I almost bought the Juki at QuiltCon, but held off because I wanted to research my options. I wanted to buy from an online store that had a reputation for good customer service, and preferably one that would cover shipping for warrantied repairs. Eventually I narrowed it down to 2 stores. I asked each if they would be interested in doing a trade for advertising at Stitched in Color. Amazingly, both said "yes"! I share this kind of private point because I want you to know that I chose to partner with SewVacDirect.com because I felt it was the very best option, period.
From my research, SewVacDirect has a reputation for solid customer service. Via email they were direct, answering questions about warranty service without leaving any murky gray areas. But, the #1 reason why I wanted to buy from them was their extended warranty option! On the Juki TL2010Q you can extend the normal 1 year warranty to a 2 year, 3 year or 5 year warranty. Considering that this machine costs $999, buying a 5 year warranty for just $70 is a no-brainer, in my opinion. The extended warranty includes parts, labor and shipping from SewVacDirect to you. You do have to cover shipping to SewVacDirect's location in Texas. Routine cleanings are not covered by warranty, so I'll be doing those locally or myself.
I don't know about you, but after all the research I've done and all the conflicting reports I've heard, I believe it's a real possibility to get a "lemon" of a machine. My troubles with my Pfaff started early on, but really got frustrating at about 6 months. I was just running out of my 1 year factory warranty when I convinced them to replace the machine. In my opinion, for such an expensive machine 1 year warranty doesn't cut it. The peace of mind of a 5 year warranty really matters to me! And, if that wasn't enough, SewVacDirect has a 30 day policy for return for refund or replacing your machine with a new one if you are not happy with it. You can even switch to a different machine, even a different brand, within reason. It just shows they are serious about satisfied customers.
|getting to know each other....|
Ok, so that's my story! I'm still in the honeymoon phase with my Juki, so I'll have to report back after getting to try some FMQ. If there are any hiccups in the machine's performance or my experience with SewVacDirect.com you can bet I'll share those here. I know that shopping for a sewing machine is stressful and high-stakes, and that a good machine can make all the difference. I'm hoping to be part of the solution!
Thanks so much for all your help along the way!