Thursday, November 7, 2013

the Machine difference

Let's see, I've owned my Juki TL2010 since March.  And I love it!  You can read that back story and why I chose this particular machine in this post.  I've never ever ever regretted switching from my fancy computerized Pfaff to this non-computerized Juki.  I really appreciate it's rugged simplicity.  And it IS rugged!

he's slim, he's sleek

But....in September I began having issues with skipped stitches.  It happened first when free motion quilting Lolly Lolly quilt, which had a fabric with plastic-y printed polka dots.  The dots may have triggered the problem, from what I observed.  Since then, on other projects, I'd occasionally have a skip stitch when free motion quilting.  So annoying!  Do you pull out a bunch of quilting (the worst kind of un-sewing!!!) to fix a few skipped stitches?  You hem.  You haw.  You waste time feeling yucky.

Then my Juki skipped stitches when straight stitching through about 3 layers of batting, while top stitching this makeup roll.  That kind of thick sewing is normally a piece of cake for this awesome machine.  Y'all know I sew a lot, so I do expect my machines to need TLC from time to time.  Apparently, it was time.

And, yay, I have a warranty!  My Juki TL2010 is from Sew Vac Direct, which offers a 5 year extended warranty for just $70.  That warranty includes parts, labor and shipping from SewVacDirect to you.  You do have to cover shipping to SewVacDirect's location in Texas.  So, on Wednesday, October 23rd I paid $32 to ship my machine by UPS in its original packaging (and shipping box, which I had saved) to my dealer.

BIG Stripes

Gosh it was hard to part with that machine!  There is always a project coming up that I want to free motion quilt, which I loath to attempt with my bitty basic Kenmore.   While Juki was out of town, I've been piecing quilt tops without finishing them (oh, the slippery slope!).  But there was at least one quilt to straight line quilt - go Anywhere Stripes!

marking quilt lines

Each large block is composed of 3 striped triangles.  I used a hera marker and my ruler to mark a zigzag path through each triangle, making sure the lines contrasted interestingly with the direction of the stripes.

Then, with my trusty Kenmore (which really is a great machine and has quilted many a quilt!), fitted with a walking foot, I followed the faintly marked crease lines to and fro.

on the Kenmore

The results?  Not so pretty.  You can see that many paths are pretty wavy.  I was trying, really trying, to keep things straight.  But in comparison to my Juki this machine has no pull.  The quilt really has to be guided straight, coddled and cajoled.  The slightest counter touch from a passing cat or the edge of a table - any interference makes a straight line impossible.

Kenmore quilting

What's more, the stitches!  Yikes, take a look!  The stitch regularity is non-existant, going from long-ish when I provided optimal push, to way-too-short when the machine needed more help to pull it along.  After a bit of this I gave up, deciding I'd rather wait to finish this project!

quilting Today!

Juki arrived home on Wednesday.  It was away from home for a total of 2 weeks (including shipping time from South Carolina to Texas), and I was out just $32.  Since I was traveling to buy and service my machines anyways, this seemed pretty cushy, actually.  It's cheaper than a road trip and doesn't require my time!  Sew Vac Direct says that the needle/hook clearance was off, something that can happen when a machine is used a lot.  A minor adjustment and it's all fixed!  They even sent back the test pieces they had used to replicate the conditions of my problems.  It was reassuring to see they had tested all the scenarios I mentioned.

on the Juki

I'm so, so happy to report that my Juki is sewing good as new!  I got right back to quilting go Anywhere. Wow, what a difference a machine makes!  The quilting is flying along with so much more harp space to maneuver, the knee lift for fast rotations and a machine that can pull with ease.

Juki quilting

Just look at that stitch quality.  Mmmmmmm...

So, if you find yourself discouraged by your quilting (whether straight line or free motion) as compared to what you see elsewhere, just remember it really could be the machine!  I'm not kidding.  I was trying my darnedest to do well on that Kenmore, but every line was a battle.  The good news is that wavy or straight, either way will hold a quilt together.  Whatever you have, make the best of it, cut yourself some slack and keep on quilting!!!

32 comments:

  1. I feel your frustration. My machine is walking on its last legs I'm afraid. It loops on the bottom whenever I have to sew some thick fabric or stitch through 2-3 layers. It frustrates me so much. Still, this is my first sewing machine. Call me sentimental! Glad you've found a great solution!
    Esther.

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  2. Wow, that's quite a warranty! I considered a Juki and I wish that's what I had purchased.

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  3. My beloved Bernina (17 years old) starts skipping stitches when it needs a cleaning and adjustment. I just bought a Juki last week, partially on your recommendation and I'm loving it!!!

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  4. Thanks! It is good to be reminded that no matter how great a machine, it cannot get by without regular servicing, especially if it gets heavy use.

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  5. I'm pretty sure that little Kenmore is the same machine I have, the ONLY machine I have. I have had stitch regulation trouble, but figured it was just because I'm still learning. *sigh*

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  6. Time for me to start saving! :)

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  7. i love these machines. Sometimes a simple workhorse is all that is needed.

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  8. I have the same problem with my Kenmore (but it's from the 50's, so I just figured it was old) and sometimes the regulation problem with my Brother. Can't WAIT to get a different machine. I'm saving my pennies. Glad your Juki is safe and sound at home :)

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  9. I admire your will to wait for the Juki to get back! It really does make a difference! This is a beautiful quilt and the quilting will make all the difference!

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  10. This is exactly what my machine has just started doing! Skipping stitches on everything, thick or thin. My husband and I sat down last night to look at it and he tightened a screw, but we also think it's the spool wobbling on the holder too much so that the thread isn't coming off smoothly enough. But yes, my machine is heavily used and it's definitely not as sturdy as your Juki, so it'll be getting a service next week once I've gotten a commission finished!

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  11. That's great to hear. My 28 year old Janome just has issues once the speed goes over very slow. Yep, I'm sure the Juki would be a revolution to my sewing and quilting. You have had great service too, a real bonus.

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  12. good to hear it was an easy fix. sew on, Juki lovers everywhere!

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  13. I definitely agree that a machine can make a huge difference. Glad you were able to get yours repaired without too much trouble!

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  14. Love my Juki too! Also got it in March, but since I probably sew half as much as you, I haven't had to have any work done yet. Your stitches do look fabulous!

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  15. Ah, my Juki has been acting a bit off too (since I broke a needle quilting way too fast) and my auto threader isn't threading. These old eyes NEED that auto threader! I'll be taking mine in soon. I forgot about the warranty. I've only had it since April but have done 4 king quilts and a bunch of smalls on it. I guess that counts as a bit of use.

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  16. What is a "hera marker", Rachel and could I buy it somewhere online? I am always searching for good markers. Love, Carola from Munich, Germany.

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    1. Carola, das ist das kleine Plastikdingens am Bild, das ein wenig wie ein Orangenschäler aussieht. Mit dem drückt man die Linie, die man quilten will, in den Stoff und braucht später keine Quiltmarkerfarbe rauszuwaschen. LG aus Österreich ;)

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    2. Oooh, I like the reply above! But for English speakers - The hera marker is white tool with a sharp (but not dangerous) edge for marking a crease. Yes, you can find them online!

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  17. I'm so glad to hear juki was fixed so easily and well! I thought you were going to report some major flaw. After that glowing review you wrote of it in march, I knew I wanted one and got mine in june. I adore my juki! Fortunately for me, I have a local dealer. but they are so busy I wonder if I won't need to wait at least 2 weeks when I do take her in for service. Sounds like sewvac took great care of you. I agree with you that the machine has made all the difference. I found out I wasn't such a horrible quilter after all once I started sewing on juki.

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  18. I really appreciate your sewing machine reports as I´m thinking of upgrading from my trusty 35 yr old -mostly metall- Pfaff to ???
    I like my old Pfaff for piecing a lot, it´s a work horse but the new computerized Pfaffs have so much knick knacks that I´m not sure I´ll need... What I need is a machine for quilting so keep the reports coming ;) , maybe a Juki is what I really need?

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  19. I'm so very happy for you that the fix was so affordable and speedy. Let the quilting continue!!!

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  20. I couldn't agree with you more, Rachel! My Juki has been a dream. I finally took it in (just for a good tune up and cleaning) after using it for over 2 years with absolutely no problems. Amazing.

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  21. Thanks for sharing your experiences with your Juki. First thing I noticed is the massive harp space. My tiny Janome only has 6.5" and I am having serious harp space envy here. Good to know the cause of the skipped stitches! Great post, Rachel!

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  22. Thanks for this post Rachel! I, too have a Kenmore which I use to quilt. You are so spot on with describing the difficulty trying to keep the stitches even and the quilting straight! I haven't quite figured out how to coordinate pedal speed and feeding a quilt through on my vintage Singer, which I use for everyday sewing. Quilting is, therefore, my least favorite part of making a quilt.

    I've been toying with the idea of maybe buying a machine which can handle quilting with ease. This post has given me a nudge in that direction :)

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  23. Great story, glad it had such a happy ending! My machine has been skipping stitches lately, too, when quilting through layers, but luckily no problems piecing. It's been about 5 years since I've had it serviced, so it's time.

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  24. So glad your Juki is back and working. Out of curiosity - how many hours a day do you sew on it?

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    1. Lately I have not been sewing as much as usual. =(. Maybe because my machine was gone! But, usually I sew about 5 days a week, probably just 2-3 hours? Some days more like 5.

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  25. I admire my beautiful Juki stitches constantly! Love, love, love this machine. Glad to read your repair went well.

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  26. Rachel, we are leading parallel lives! My Bernina's in the shop and my Brother machine is so sub-par. Irregular stitches, tension trouble, bobbin thread bunching. It has made sewing so frustrating and I'm only attempting a straight stitch! The Brother ended up breaking, and I have to send it off to the shop, so I'm currently without a machine! They said it would take 3 weeks to fix the Bernina - just for a tune up, essentially (and a few minor issues). I am definitely having withdrawals. :)

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  27. Interesting story!! My Juki is skipping stitches like mad, and the retailer tells me that it's because the needle doesn't go down into the bobbin case far enough. So, each time I change the needle, I have to get a flashlight and contort myself and try to look into the bobbin case and see the tiny little needle eye? Impossible. I can thread the needle even without glasses, as I have 1. threaded a bazillion needles in my life and 2. never ever figured out how that Juki needle threader worked. But, my Juki, same one as yours, Rachel, is a lemon. Sigh.

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  28. I know this is a comment about 3 years after your post, but I wanted to thank you for not only reviewing the machine, but also where you purchased it. It has made my decision a lot easier knowing a place stands by their product and service and has an outstanding warranty.

    Thanks!

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