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Thread: Advice please on which Quilter to buy

  1. #1
    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Question Advice please on which Quilter to buy

    Hallo,
    I am ready and willing to buy a second sewing machine mainly for quilting but also usable as a normal machine. This for me means the machine must have a wider work surface and be able to buttonhole etc. I have whittled my choice down to Pfaff Quilt Expression 4 and Bernina 820. I need advice and comments as to which is the best. Or of course if you have an even better machine to suggest but please bear in mind I am resident on mainland Europe (France and Germany) so maybe some American machines are not available to me.

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    I like Pfaffs becasue thier accessories are more interchangeable with other machines than the berninas. The other feet are also generally cheaper than on berninas.

    Another thing to consider is the Pfaff will almost certainly have a dual feed ( IDT) which is the pateneted built in walking foot which you can engage or not at will with most of the other regular feet. meaning you can piece with a 1/4 foot and have the benifits of the walking foot at the same time. I don't know if the bernina has this or not. Otherwise the walking foot is a lot of money for a bernina.

    I love my Pfaff, and wouldn't have a bernina if you gave it to me. I may be being influenced by the over pushy saleman we have here at the shows, all those unecessary gadgets makes thinsg too overcomplicated and more things to go wrong. I have a non computersied machine as My main one, and a brother embroidery machine which I only use for embroidery or in an emergency as a sewing machine. I hate the way you turn them on and they reset to something other than just how I had it before I switched off the power. I like dials and switches not touch screens!

    Also consider what machine you have already. If you stay with the same make your bobbins etc may be interchangeable and that is very handy. Look at how many bobbins you have for your main machine and think about how many you will want to buy for the new one. I have 30+ bobbins on the go at any one time, all different colours. I hate overwinding!

    Best becks

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    I have the Quilt Expression 4 and love it. It sews like a dream and is very easy to quilt on. I am just learning to machine quilt and have been very pleased with its performance in that regard. Mine seems to be kind of picky about what threads it likes but that could be more a function of the fact that up till now I haven't done very much machine quilting. I do like using a bottom weight thread in the bobbin so that you don't have to change bobbins so often. It is a beautiful machine!

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    Janome and Brother are both imported, and have the widest work surface.My sister prefers the Janome, which has a built in walking foot that caneasily be engaged by pulling it forward via a sewing foot lever like the lever you raise and lower the machine foot. I like the Brother...it has a real automatic threader, and rings you when your bobbin is almost out.

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    I have a Bernina and after sewing on it, would never have anything else. It has the BSR foot and my quilting stitches are always even, no skipped stitches. I can wind a bobbin while Im sewing, auto needle threader, knee lift for the presser foot, if I want to use it, and so many other goodies. Having the BSR foot was a real plus for me, I had never FMQ'ed before and it made it so easy for me to learn.

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Thank you thank you thank you. I just needed to hear positive feedback.

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Thank you cheezy the quiltmaker, very helpful. Yes I am a Pfaff person. Sadly though they have completely changed the bobbin system for the newer models which means buying another 50+ bobbins! Yes I too hate running out and keep them wound and ready to use.

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judith View Post
    I have the Quilt Expression 4 and love it. It sews like a dream and is very easy to quilt on. I am just learning to machine quilt and have been very pleased with its performance in that regard. Mine seems to be kind of picky about what threads it likes but that could be more a function of the fact that up till now I haven't done very much machine quilting. I do like using a bottom weight thread in the bobbin so that you don't have to change bobbins so often. It is a beautiful machine!
    Thanks Judith. To show my ignorance what on earth is a bottom weight thread? Sounds a good tip if I could understand it!!

  9. #9
    Super Member mhansen6's Avatar
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    I have a Pfaff Creative 4.0 and absolutely love it. It has a large throat area and FMQ beautifully. I don't think you can go wrong with the Pfaff.
    Marie

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    I'm with Brabant; I have no idea what 'bottom weight' thread is? It sounds like something very important to know. LOL

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhansen6 View Post
    I have a Pfaff Creative 4.0 and absolutely love it. It has a large throat area and FMQ beautifully. I don't think you can go wrong with the Pfaff.
    Thanks, another vote for Pfaff AND it will cost me less than the Bernina! I too have loved my Pfaffs over the years: I have a 2144 in Germany and a 2140 in France. Bought them when they were the latest and greatest and they both serve well.

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I own the Bernina 830. I love it. I wouldn't buy a new Pfaff or Viking since the merger with Singer. My two cents.

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Just found a great website called Quiltbug.com. I was actually trying to find out what the devil bottom weight thread is. They didn't answer that but they do have a list of all threads and which ones to use when......http://quiltbug.com/articles/thread-theory.htm
    So Judith I still need your help in understanding bottom weight thread. Have this sinking feeling to know is vital.....

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    I own the Bernina 830. I love it. I wouldn't buy a new Pfaff or Viking since the merger with Singer. My two cents.
    Ah a merger with Singer: that I did not know and that explains a lot. Thanks Candace. Oh dear back to the drawing board!!! I don't need embroidery which means the 820 and not the 830: I guess they are as good as each other, I read somewhere that the 820 came out after the 830 as a machine designed for quilters.

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    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Go to a quilt/sewing store, which carries the various machines. You can see each one, up close, and learn about the different features. I recently chose a Janome Horizon, after researching online and seeing the actual machine.

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    I have purchased a Pfaff since that merger and the quality is still there - I have an older Pfaff also to compare it to. I also have a mid-range Viking bought since that merger and it too is a great machine. Have no idea why merger seems to mean bad things on this board.

  17. #17
    Senior Member lonestardreams's Avatar
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    I am no expert. I buy from one dealer because I like her and she is very supportive-working very hard to make customers happy. She sells Janome, Brother and Bernina. I own a Bernina 380 (sewing), a Brother NX 2000 (sewing) and a Brother PR 620 (this one is embroidery only). I also have a Brother serger.

    I love all my machines but am a little partial to the Brother machines. While I love my Bernina- the Brother machines are so user friendly. I am just trying to learn FMQ and chose to do this on my Brother NX 2000. It came with a large table, has great speed controls and wow, it was so much fun to try the FMQ on this machine. It has so many options- thread cutter, threader, so many stitches, etc. It's just an easy machine to use as is my Brother embroidery machine.

    I really think that knowing your dealer and feeling confident in their knowledge and support are so important. I would not have bothered looking into learning new stitching skills if she had not been supportive. Of course, she has sold me several machines but it has been a win-win situation really. She does business and I get great machines and support.

    As I said, I am no expert and you will find your machine. I have read so many threads about different machine brands. New ones certainly aren't the heavy duty, all metal machines of years gone. I do also have a little featherweight and 1950's Necchi if I need that. The day I decided on my Brother NX 2000, I was actually looking at the Janome Horizon and the Bernina 820. Once I sat with my machine, I knew it was my machine. We have bonded. Good luck!

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    All, some people use a lighter weight thread in their bobbins. A couple that I have used are from Superior Threads: So Fine, this is a 50wt but is finer than the 50wts we use to piece with and Bottom Line which is a 60wt. Both of these are Polyester so in case that bothers you - it doesn't me and the So Fine doesn't look like a poly. I have a long arm and use it in my bobbins most of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sewmary View Post
    I have purchased a Pfaff since that merger and the quality is still there - I have an older Pfaff also to compare it to. I also have a mid-range Viking bought since that merger and it too is a great machine. Have no idea why merger seems to mean bad things on this board.
    I agree that the merger should have nothing to do with anything; companies merge all the time and most don't know about it. Maybe all this means is now there will be good Singers on the market again. I just bought a Viking this past year and it is still made in Sweden and I love my machine. I'd own a Pfaff before I'd own a Bernina no matter what. But you need to go to the stores offering the machines and see what the staff is like and if the support is strong and do you get classes. The Bernina store here, even though has great looking fabric I don't care for the staff (including owner) and rarely get good service when I go in so why would I get it with a machine. My Viking store I get free classes and added support if I need it and there is always help available. Check out the dealers and the machines to see which ones fit you better. You'll always find someone for or against any machine when you ask this question so you need to research both options involved.
    Judy

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    Pfaff! I love the dual feed!

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    I have discovered that the manufacture of Pfaff has moved from Germany to China. And that to me spells a drop in quality control. I have also done a comparison of the two machines on the website of my dealer and I have to say he seems to favour the Bernina. Fortunately the one firm sells all brands and I have had excellent service from the firm in the past.

    Keep talking to me please: I am still swaying between the two machines. If the Bernina were cheaper (but that is Switzerland for you) I'd be going for it, er I think....... If 'I were certain all the teething troubles for the Pfaff were over I'd be going for that........ You see the problem! I have tried them both. I like them both. The Pfaff is more familiar to me but new tricks can be learn't by older ladies if not old dogs.....

  22. #22
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brabant View Post
    I have discovered that the manufacture of Pfaff has moved from Germany to China. And that to me spells a drop in quality control.
    It's like Nordstrom merging with K-Mart or the Dollar Store. Of course there are going to be changes. And made in Germany vs. made in China is a whole lot of change, IMO. I own a vintage Pfaff made in Germany and I wouldn't exchange it for a new one. I did have several problems with my Bernina 830, which caused me some headaches! The 830 and 820 have dual feed, so that is a wash. That being said, everything was covered under warranty and it's been problem free for quite a while and I'd buy it again. I also own a Janome, which I love and many vintage machines. So, I'm not brand specific.
    Last edited by Candace; 04-09-2012 at 09:10 AM.

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    Member Brabant's Avatar
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    Thanks Candice. You make sense. And as you say, you are not hooked into one brand. I too would not say goodbye to my German built Pfaff 2144. As for the old tredle machines..... er not in use anymore! It really begins to sound like the Bernina 820. Now I have to find a way to get the dealer's price down!!! Hopefully he has a demo model for this one too. I'll keep you all posted.

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    I have the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0 and am very happy with it, but then I've been a Pfaff user for the past 25 yrs.

  25. #25
    Senior Member lonestardreams's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are hard at the research and that you will be happily stitching on the machine of your dreams very soon. I love reading the opinions of other's about machines even though I am super happy with my machines. I look forward to reading about your stitching adventures when you get your new friend/machine.

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