Hello everyone! I'm pretty familiar with the QuiltingBoard since my mother in law and her sister are members and I've finally decided to jump in. I also want give everyone a big "thank you" considering all the information here regarding machines which was very helpful to me considering I just purchased a Babylock Unity. My first sewing/embroidery machine is a Brother SE350 which I got for about $250 since the model was being discontinued about 4 years ago. I've been sewing ever since with it but decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to the Unity which I bought last week. Unfortunately, I couldn't really find out a whole lot of information on the Unity or people just didn't have the thing that long but I wanted to pay it forward and post my review so that others here on the board can benefit.
First I would like to say that I really didn't enjoy the buying a new machine process which is unfortunate. The way the manufacturers use dealers or restrict everything is in my opinion is just silly and frustrating. Anyway, I don't have a lot of sewing experience having just started 4 years ago or so, so I really don't have much experience in using various machines. I really like my little brother and so far its been just fine and I've never had it serviced or oiled it or anything like that. I've also been going to a local quilt shop and they sell Pfaff and Babylock. They're really nice people and I've enjoyed several classes there. So with all that said, I decided that I would buy a Babylock since they are very similar (if not clones) to Brother and the dealer is well known to me.
My other criteria is that I wanted a sewing/embroidery machine. So I looked the Ellisimo and Unity. The difference between the two is fairly small feature wise and not so small price wise. The features the Ellisimo has over the Unity, simply wasn't worth the price difference - to me that is. The Ellisimo is geared towards embroidery and the Unity more sewing. Just an example, the Unity has 11.25" to the right of the needle and the Ellisimo has 10". The Ellisimo has a camera that will scan your fabric before embroidering so you can see exactly what the design will look like on screen while the Unity has a nifty sensor pen so you can select exactly where you want the design to be. There are several other differences of course but for the money I thought Unity was the better choice. Of course I'm more of a sewer not embroiderer but I too want good embroidery options. And the camera is slick but I just didn't feel it was worth the extra 2-3K difference.
Okay that was my two cents worth on how I arrived at the purchase of the Unity. I've used it for the last week and the little laser guide thing is awesome! And it is really, really easy to use. I'll no doubt be posting more about this machine as I learn it but so far I'm quite pleased. I just hope I NEVER have to buy another machine considering what I paid for the Unity. And as my husband says "and you can't even drive it."
And I also wanted to share my latest quilt. Last year I was thinking that 2013 means I'll turn 40 and that I should do a quilt that makes me step outside my comfort zone. So no paper piecing. I had never done needle turn appliqué so I wanted to do that. Then I thought, what else is turning 40? Google to the rescue and I found Secretariat's Triple Crown Win in 1973. Perfect! I love horses so I thought that would be a good quilt to do. So I started thinking about a quilt with Secretariat on it and after many rough drafts, I started in July 2012.
I first drew the horse and jockey on the fabric, divided up darks/lights, selected my fabric and applied the fabric. The background was pieced but everything else was done by needle turn appliqué and then hand embroidered. I added the states of KY, MD and NY, roses, black-eyed susans, a large hat and several other items that are related to each race or the state. It hasn't been quilted yet and I'm still considering another boarder and some trapunto in some of the squares. Yep, trapunto.. Why not? My comfort zone is about 4 miles in the rear view mirror anyway. It certainly isn't perfect and some probably could do the applique a lot better then me but that's okay. I've worked really hard on it and its taught me a lot and I'm really pleased that my horse actually looks like a horse and that its really really similar to what I originally designed.
I also took a photo at several stages. I new this project was going to be a long time in making and I wanted a record of my progress. And since this is my first QB post, I thought I'd figure out posting pictures.
So that's my story and sorry this turned into a really long post. Happy quilting!