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Thread: New (to me) Machine Advice

  1. #1
    Junior Member QuiltedCritterLady's Avatar
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    Red face New (to me) Machine Advice

    Hi Quilters, I am starting to look for a new machine. I've been using a Baby Lock QC, but I am looking for something that might also allow me to do embroidery in the future and will do better with free motion. What I want are more even stitches in FM quilting.

    I sort of have my eye on Bernina probably second hand, as the new ones cost as much as a car. I do not want to get heavily into embroidery, but I would like the capability. I like free motion quilting and Bernina dealers want to sell me on the idea of a stitch regulator for that. Is that all hype? Is a Bernina worth the money? Is there something better out there? Any recommendations? I would appreciate any opinions/input.

    Thanks!
    Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine!

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Have you tried the stitch regulator? If you went to a dealer why didn't you try it? Test driving a machine is the only way to know if it's the one for you if you're uncertain.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I would advise you to get a separate embroidery machine, if possible. That way, if you want to do embroidery, you can still be quilting while the embroidery machine is running.

    I love my Bernina 1230 and can get very nice looking FMQ on it (because I practiced a lot). Its biggest drawback is the small throat space. Personally, as much as I love my 15yo Bernina, I would not pay the current price for a used Bernina with stitch regulator; I just do not think they are worth that much money. If you go with a separate machine for embroidery, I kind of think you are better off with a used Sweet Sixteen or other machine made strictly for FMQ.

    One thing to think about is whether you ultimately prefer sitting down to FMQ or using a frame setup. I have done both, but find that frame quilting is easier for me (especially physically) and more fun. I can complete quilting much faster on my frame setup. If I had to choose between a Bernina with BSR and an entry-level Innova, I would go with the Innova:
    http://www.innovalongarm.com/shop/in...ge-detail.html

  4. #4
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    I agree with Prism. My longarm was new when I bought it and it cost less then some of the Berninas on the market and I have an 18" throat on a 12 foot frame! Funny, I just finished reading Prism's post...I have an Innova too and mine is 6 years old and still fabulous!! I am quilt on it just about every day since I quilt for others as a "job"!!

  5. #5
    Super Member ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    You really have to test drive any DSM just like you would when buying a new or used car. I have a Bernina 1530 which was a model produced before stitch regulators. Achieving FMQ takes a lot of practice. I learned from the best at the time I was professional quilting for others. I took a class from Harriet Hargrave and it was the turning point in my quilting. You need to be able to duplicate the movement that the your sewing machine moves the fabric at a certain speed. Secondly, you need to learn to be looking to where you want to go, not where you are at currently. Hope this helps. Make some charity quilts or dog beds to hone your FMQ skills.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  6. #6
    Senior Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    I have a Bernina 440 and I will tell you what the dealer told me when I got it ...

    "If you are wanting to do embroidery, there are better machines out there than this one"

    Since I was wanting it for piecing and FMQing I had no qualms about getting it. Now whether she was referring to another brand or another Bernina, I do not know.
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  7. #7
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    I have several Bernina's. Can you say my favorite machine. Please PM me. Thanks.


  8. #8
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    My dream machine is a Bernina 630. It has great embroidery capabilities, a little bigger throat space, and it has an oscillating hook. Most Bernina Embroidery machines have the rotary hook, which just doesn't give as great stitch quality (IMHO). I don't even like the new 7 Series Berninas, just because the stitch quality isn't there--and that's a whole different hook system. The stitch regulator is OK, but not great. Bernina machines only go about 800 to 900 stitches per minute. You can easily out-run the BSR. Just to give you an idea... the Handi Quilter Avante goes 1800 stitches per minute. They're 2 different animals. The Bernina 440 is a great machine, but the embroidery system is obsolete.
    Annette in Utah

  9. #9
    Junior Member QuiltedCritterLady's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks! You have all given me quite a lot to think about. I thought the stitch regulator was the answer, but maybe not so much. I did not know the difference between oscillating and rotary hooks. Interesting! (I Googled it for an explanation.) I guess I will keep looking and like Candace advised, test drive everything before buying. ;-)
    Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine!

  10. #10
    Junior Member Bree123's Avatar
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    Glad you're going to test drive it. About 1/2 of the 80 people in my quilt guild say they would never use a stitch regulator because they don't want to give up that control. Often I hear them compare it to the difference between a stick & an automatic. There are advantages to each.

    The other thing I would add is that you will want to prioritize the features you're looking for in a machine. There is no one machine that is the best at everything. If you pick a machine that is better at embroidery, usually it will not be as good for quilting, precision sewing, or other tasks. The same holds true if you pick the top of the line for quilting. It's the reason why so many people have multiple machines. I am not at all pushing for you to get more than one machine; just encouraging you to consider that there are always trade offs. Take your time & test out any of the features you want to use on at least 3-4 different machines before making your decision. A lot of time dealers will be eager to have you try out different features on different machines based on what the machine's strength is. I've even seen them be very slick about it by saying something like "well, since you've tried out FMQ on this machine & you said you also wanted to do embroidery, let's try embroidery out on that machine so you can compare." That's comparing apples to oranges.

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