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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!!