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Thread: Which feature(s) can't you do without?

  1. #1
    Moose's Avatar
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    Hello,

    I'm trying to make sure I am not missing anything before Sunday comes when I go to the quilt show. Sometimes, we don't know what we don't know :)

    So, for those of you who use or have used sewing machines for quilting, I'd like to know which feature(s) you don't know what you'd do without them and why? Please, state which machine you own.

    Thank you :)

  2. #2
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I have 3 machines, a Brother and 2 Pfaffs.
    My Brother is a low end which I take to classes. (It doesn't mind being carted around) I love the drop-in bobbin and it does a better job on some of the applique stitches, particularly the button-hole stitch.

    My regular Pfaff (I think it's called a Quilt and Sew) has the built-in walking foot, needle down selection, low bobbin indicator, a nice 1/4" quilting foot for accurate seams, and a stitch-in-the-ditch foot for straight line quilting. That is really my work horse.

    Then I invested in a Pfaff Grandquilter which has a 9"x6" Throat Opening for quilting. It is a mechanical machine that requires oiling and it ONLY goes forward and backward (but it does so VERY fast). It has a bobbin winding system that does not require you to remove the sewing thread.
    I plan to set it up with the Handiquilter Frame (that has been patiently waiting for years) and the Quilter's Cruise Control (that came in last week) and use it exclusively for the quilting part of it all.

    I'm excited for you. Have a blast.

  3. #3
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I love love love my needle down or needle up when I stop. Also always use my 1/4" foot, walking foot. I have separate bobbin winder motor so can wind bobbins w/o unthreading my machine. Personally I don't see a need for one of those separate bobbin winder thingies. I have a Bernina 630. Expensive little bugger, but there are quite a few more expensive machines out there. I wish I had a thread cutter that would engage when wanted to cut those pesky threads while quilting.
    I also love the fact that I can make my stitches any width or length by small increments. I can slow down the speed of my machine, great for when I was teaching someone to sew on it and they shouldn't go so fast.
    There are many other things that I love ( I also have the embroidery unit on it but havn't figured out the software yet) Just can't think of them all right now.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LoriJ's Avatar
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    I really enjoy having a needle up/down option. I also love the threadcutter, needlethreader and speed control. I have a Janome 6600 and it is Wonderful!! I think for myself, the most important feature is the needle up/down and the 1/4 inch foot. Without those, quilting would be much harder.

  5. #5
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I like the needle up down capability as well as I can move my needle to the left or right in small increments, this really helps in hitting the perfect 1/4 in seam or scant 1/4 inch. I like the decorative stitches, and the fact that I can narrow or widen them, too. BUT I really love the needle threader!!!!!! A walking foot, 1/4 inch foot are musts too! See if they won't throw in some other feet too!!! It never hurts to ask :D :D

  6. #6
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Oh yes, the needle threader, thanks for reminding me of that. That's a great feature!!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member quiltbugs's Avatar
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    I thought I would like the auto needle threader, but I can never get the darn thing to work, so I could live without that. It is probably something I am doing wrong, though.

    I LOVE the auto thread cutter, just push the button and you are free to move the quilt around without struggling to cut the threads. My main quilting machine is a Brother PQ1500 which has a 9" "work area", and even machine quilting a thick queen size quilt is a breeze. It only sews forward and backward, but the stitches are beautiful, and it is a very sturdy, solid. fast and reliable machine. I have other machines with the fancy stitches, but the PQ1500 is my go-to machine. I don't know how I lived without it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member k_jupiter's Avatar
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    Well, being the status quo kinda person on this list, I have an old Bernina 830 and an old Elna Super. What I can't live without is the walking foot on the 830. It's LARGE table is also very nice to have. What I would like but don't have is needle up/down.

    Simple kinda guy, eh?

    tim in san jose



  9. #9
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    i like needle down, thread cutter, and a side loading bobbin. i hate having to take my quilt off to put a bobbin in the machine.

  10. #10
    Quiltin'Lady's Avatar
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    My first machine was a Bernina 730, bought in 1971. I sewed EVERYTHING on that machine (draperies, upholstery, quilts, clothing, yada, yada, yada). It was/is a super fantastic machine.

    About 8 years ago, I was making a really complicated applique baby quilt and just got frustrated with having to stop, lift presser foot, move fabric one iota, drop presser foot, stitch, stop, lift presser foot, [repeat, repeat]. And pray the entire time that the fabric wouldn't move from under the needle!

    Because I'd had such good experiences with my Bernina, I looked around for another one. I found a used 530 "Quilter's Edition" with the two features that saved my sanity: needle down and a knee-driven presser foot lifter. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those features. I mean, I truly L-O-V-E them. :lol:

    I was used to being able to finely adjust my stitch width and length; move my needle from side to side; and adjust the motor speed, so those were "old hat" But I also got these wonderful features: thread cutter, needle-threader, reversible pattern stitches, 'stitch to the end of the pattern and stop,' and a fabulous automatic buttonhole maker [not that I make buttonholes any more, but still...].

    The only thing I wish I had? Bernina came out with their automatic stitch regulator for free-motion quilting about 2 years after I'd bought my new one. I've begged and begged, but they tell me my machine can't be retro-fitted with it. :evil:

    I'll likely never buy another machine (much, much too much $$), but I would SURE love to have that stitch regulator......


  11. #11
    Quiltin'Lady's Avatar
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    Oh, yeah -- I love my 1/4" foot and walking foot, too! I guess I use them so much, I just overlooked them.....

  12. #12
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    I also have a Bernina 630 that I totally love. It was the best choice I coujld have made for myself.

    My Must Have Features & Why:

    Needle up/down: Use this all the time.

    Lowering the feed dogs: For free motion quilting

    Adjustable needle position: Often makes a sewing task easier

    Speed control: There are times when I want to sew very slowly.

    Mirror Image: So I can flip stitch designs to sew in the opposite direction.

    MY FAVORITE FEATURE:
    Infinite stitch length and width: For me, the predetermined width setting increments of most other computerized machines are too large, the gaps too big. I like to do invisible machine applique, the total control of infinite stitch and width really makes this possible for me.

    Features that could be a must:
    IF I was an avid paper piecer, the thread cutters might be a must have.

    Good luck with your sewing machine hunt! :)


  13. #13
    ButtercreamCakeArtist's Avatar
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    I have a bunch of machines, but the one that has my favorite thing is the Brother SE-270D. The feature is the automatic thread cutter that works at the push of a button. I also like it's button for reinforcment stitches. It does it on its own.

  14. #14
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Auto thread cutter. No more bobbin or top threads to snip. Saves thread.
    Needle up/down is useful. Auto needle threader that works the first time every time.


  15. #15
    Super Member butterflywing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtHomeSewing
    I also have a Bernina 630 that I totally love. It was the best choice I coujld have made for myself.

    My Must Have Features & Why:

    Needle up/down: Use this all the time.

    Lowering the feed dogs: For free motion quilting

    Adjustable needle position: Often makes a sewing task easier

    Speed control: There are times when I want to sew very slowly.

    Mirror Image: So I can flip stitch designs to sew in the opposite direction.

    MY FAVORITE FEATURE:
    Infinite stitch length and width: For me, the predetermined width setting increments of most other computerized machines are too large, the gaps too big. I like to do invisible machine applique, the total control of infinite stitch and width really makes this possible for me.

    Features that could be a must:
    IF I was an avid paper piecer, the thread cutters might be a must have.

    Good luck with your sewing machine hunt! :)
    I HAVE THE JANOME AND IT DOES THOSE THINGS. ALSO HAS A WARNING BUZZ WHEN THE BOBBIN IS LOW. DROP-IN BOBBIN

    THE VIKING #1+ ALSO HAS THOSE FEATURES BUT WITH A FLASHING LIGHT FOR LOW BOBBIN. FRONT BOBBIN.

  16. #16
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    Love needle up/down! Very handy! My next machine will have an automatic thread cutter. I think that would be so handy. Especially for paper piecing. How about a machine that warns you that the bobbin is low. Do they make those? And in my perfect world, a machine that also did housework would be really neato! :roll:

  17. #17
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I have the H.Viking sapphire 830. I love the 10inch throat and the needle down and the auto foot up when you stop sewing and the stay stitch and etc etc.

  18. #18
    Senior Member AtHomeSewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by butterflywing
    Quote Originally Posted by AtHomeSewing
    I also have a Bernina 630 that I totally love. It was the best choice I coujld have made for myself.

    My Must Have Features & Why:

    Needle up/down: Use this all the time.

    Lowering the feed dogs: For free motion quilting

    Adjustable needle position: Often makes a sewing task easier

    Speed control: There are times when I want to sew very slowly.

    Mirror Image: So I can flip stitch designs to sew in the opposite direction.

    MY FAVORITE FEATURE:
    Infinite stitch length and width: For me, the predetermined width setting increments of most other computerized machines are too large, the gaps too big. I like to do invisible machine applique, the total control of infinite stitch and width really makes this possible for me.

    Features that could be a must:
    IF I was an avid paper piecer, the thread cutters might be a must have.

    Good luck with your sewing machine hunt! :)
    I HAVE THE JANOME AND IT DOES THOSE THINGS. ALSO HAS A WARNING BUZZ WHEN THE BOBBIN IS LOW. DROP-IN BOBBIN

    THE VIKING #1+ ALSO HAS THOSE FEATURES BUT WITH A FLASHING LIGHT FOR LOW BOBBIN. FRONT BOBBIN.
    I thought we were only discussing those we could not/would not live without?

    When I looked at three brands (Viking, Pfaff, Bernina) a few years ago, only the Bernina, did not have predetermined stitch length and width settings. All brands change stitch width and length however the other brands, at that time, had incremental settings such as 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, etc. For some things I like to do, those are too far apart.


  19. #19
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I don't think I could live without the knee lift on my Berninas. Having both hands free to move the fabric around is a must. I also love the needle down option.

  20. #20
    Moose's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the replies. I have edited the checklist/spreadsheet I made to take to the show to compare machines with my needs/wants.

  21. #21
    CRH
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    May be too late to help you this week-end, but before purchasing a machine, please consider this: If you are going to machine quilt your quilts with your home machine, a deeper throat is much better. Most machine makers are making these available now, and I wouldn't buy a new machine without this feature.

  22. #22
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoriJ
    I really enjoy having a needle up/down option. I also love the threadcutter, needlethreader and speed control. I have a Janome 6600 and it is Wonderful!! I think for myself, the most important feature is the needle up/down and the 1/4 inch foot. Without those, quilting would be much harder.
    i also have the janome 6600 and i love everything u mentioned and also the built in walking foot, that is wonderful.

  23. #23
    Moose's Avatar
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    It was one of the items on my checklist yesterday. I don't think less than 7" would be acceptable for me. :)

    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by CRH
    a deeper throat is much better.

  24. #24
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    I suppose part of your equation is how much you are able/willing to spend for this machine.

    Another thing to consider - how easy is it to maintain - what is it's track record for needing repairs?

  25. #25
    Moose's Avatar
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    I have finally settled for a machine and should have it in hand by the end of next week. I am getting a Baby Lock Quest Plus which I hope will last me 25 years just like my last one. :)

    Thank you all for your valuable input.

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