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Thread: New member here, looking for a little advice and direction

  1. #1
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I'm new to the forum and fairly new to the world of quilting. I was hoping the more experienced members here could help give me some advice and share some knowledge.

    I've been learning to quilt, and sew in general, for the past couple of years. I am really enjoying quilting and can foresee this being a hobby I will continue from here on out. When I decided to start sewing a few years ago my husband bought me a little Brother (CS-6000) from Walmart. It is a great starter/beginner machine and I don't have many complaints about it. I'm ready to move up though and get a nicer machine. I've been researching for a couple weeks now and have somewhat narrowed my list but not nearly enough still. I'd like to get whatever input y'all would care to share.

    Bernina 440 QE - This is my number one choice and if I could afford it I'd run out and buy this machine new right now. I can't even begin to afford it though so if I go with this number one choice, it will HAVE to be used. I've seen a couple used one's online in the $2,000-$2,500 range, though that's still a bit more than I care to spend. I not looking to have the embroidery option so that helps some with price. Really, if I don't go with this machine it will be purely because of price. But we all know that money is always the bottom line so this machine may not be an option. That is why I'm needing to determine a second choice option.

    Janome 6600 - This seems like a comparable option to the Bernina, at a lower price. I can't quite determine what the new cost of this machine would be since internet sales are not allowed. I haven't seen hardly any used ones for sale and I don't know if that's just because the machine is a newer one so not many people ready to upgrade yet, or if everyone just loves theirs so much they don't want to sell. From the reading I've been doing it seems like there's some that are unhappy with the free motion quilting that this machine does. But I've read lots of happy reviews too so maybe there were a few duds that slipped through Quality Control? :)

    Pfaff - I've seen lots of happy Pfaff owner reviews, though I have not yet studied up on this brand enough to determine which model would best suit me.

    Juki TL98QE - I've read many times where this is a good machine for free motion, and that's the most important aspect to me, but it's a reeeeeally basic machine. It's got a great price, I could easily buy it new and not have an issue with that, but being a lockstitch there aren't any bells or whistles on it. Part of me wants to think that my little Brother could still do my piecing and whatever I wanted in the decorative stitch department and then I could have the Juki to free motion well on, but another part of me really wants a fancy-schmany machine that does all sorts of neato things. (Honestly probably more things than I'd ever use but lets not talk about that, lol)

    There's just so many machines out there and I've been trying to at least sort out which ones are best for free motion quilting on. I'm not interested in doing any embroidery so that isn't something the machine I choose HAS to do. If it's a built in extra, fine, but my decision isn't being made on that factor. My Brother has the needle up/down option and that is something I've gotten too used to having to go without now. I don't have the knee lift so that would be nice to try out, but I've learned without it so it's not totally necessary. As of right now I don't plan on quilting on a frame so the machine doesn't have to have that capability either. So other than being a great free motion machine and those couple of things I listed, I don't really have any other "must haves" on my list.

    Please feel free to give me whatever advice or knowledge you'd like to share! I more than appreciate it!

    Rachel

  2. #2
    CanadianLoon's Avatar
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    You may be even more confused by the end of this thread but here is my 2 cents worth.
    I have a 35year old Bernina which in that time has been serviced twice and runs like a dream. No bells and whistles but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
    I also have a Singer treadle machine which I am trying to tame. If I could have lifted it, I would have thrown it out the window yesterday. I'm not sure how many more lives it has got......

  3. #3
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    I think quite a few people on board here have the Janome and appear to like it. I really love my elna Quilter's Dream. Has some embroidery capabilities, needle up/down, knee lift, bigger bed than the average machine. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice, but I think the best thing for you to do, is go test drive some machines that you're considering.

  4. #4
    Senior Member LoriJ's Avatar
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    I have a Janome 6600 (have had it over a year) and really love it! I've been able to do piecing, straight line and free motion quilting as well as things for DH on his leather vest. It is a work horse of a machine at a reasonable price. In fact, I now have three Janomes, the 6600 the 350E embroidery and the 2018 for travel. Find a good dealer in your area and ask lots of questions. I chose between Bernina and Janome when I bought mine.

  5. #5
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianLoon
    You may be even more confused by the end of this thread .....
    Yes, you might be more confused.

    There are a lot of threads that have addressed this question. You can do a search for them.

    I like my 'ancient' Viking - It has lasted 30 years with only one problem, and a few trips to the shop for cleaning. I also have two Singer featherweights - really ancient, about 60 years old - great machines. A lot of quilters like the older machines because they are real workhorses. For that reason, I would recommend looking for a used machine in a brand you like and trust.

  6. #6
    Super Member bebe's Avatar
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    use the search botton on the top and put in bernina sewing machine and you can see all that has been said about the machine. I have a Bernina that is almost 20 yrs old. Worth the money.
    So go to SEARCH and enter your topic. :-D :-D :-D

  7. #7
    Power Poster littlehud's Avatar
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    I have had a number of low end machines ( and some of these have been wonderful machines so I'm not knocking them ) I used these for piecing and my Juki for free motion quilting and that worked great for me. I just got a Pfaff. I use it for embroidery and some piecing. I guess my point is those lower end machines can be GREAT for piecing and sometimes quilting. You need to decide exactly what you want that second machine to do and go from there.

  8. #8
    CrystalKicks's Avatar
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    I vote for Janome!! I love mine, for 3 years, havent had an issue :)

  9. #9
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilt Mom
    For that reason, I would recommend looking for a used machine in a brand you like and trust.
    See that's the problem, I only have experience with my simple Brother machine. I would be even more lost trying to decide on what older make and model to buy since there's even less information available about those older machines. I have no doubt there's some older machines that would blow the newer ones out of the water when it comes to working ability though.

    I'm just scared to death I'll end up chosing the wrong machine and regret the purchase. Being indecisive isn't anything new for me though. :-P

  10. #10
    Senior Member vjengels's Avatar
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    You have put a great amount of thought into your needs, perhaps you should keep saving your pennies, unfortunately the econmy is going to make a few more victims before it's done, you may be surprised what you'll find in a few more months; make do with what you have for now, if you can...I have a 1962 Singer to do binding ( from the second hand store $10.00 in 1991) ;a Neechi I traded 2 hours to repair a zipper for, for piecing; A Janome School model , bought in 2000 for 199.00 to peice; and my newest treasure... A Husky C200 to do quilting!

  11. #11
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    I started my quilting on a simple Singer that my mom and dad bought me years and years ago. I now have a Kenmore Ergo3 that also embroiders. I've had that one for about 5 years and I love it. I also have another Kenmore that I use when Ergo decides it doesn't want to play nice or when I want to sew and embroider at the same time.
    I've seen the Janomes and Vikings and all the other machines and think they are nice, but I love what I have. Would I buy one of the higher end ones? hmmm....don't know.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is.....if you are happy with what you have, keep it. If you are wanting something else, then save for it, but don't let someone pressure you into something you are unsure of. Everyone has their preference and you will just have to find yours.

  12. #12
    NancyRose's Avatar
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    When I was looking to "upgrade", I wound up buying the low end Pfaff Classic Style Quilt machine. It isn't fancy, and as it is a mechanical machine my DBF can fix it for me (although in three years nothing has gone wrong. I also bought the Janome 1600P for quilting, but I haven't spent enough time with it to give it a vote. I love my Pfaff, but I know that Janome also makes good quality machines at a more affordable price. I've never used a Bernina, but several at UFO night have them and love them. I can say that they all have a similar whining sound when working. A good quilting friend has a 20 year old Olna that she absolutely loves. If I were you, I would recommend going to a shop that sells more than one brand and trying them to see what YOU like. Everyone has different preferences. Sorry if I have only added to the confusion.

  13. #13
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    I'm a Pfaff user but I would recommend that you check out the Janome 6600. It apparently has most of the neat features of the Pfaff - including the built-in walking foot. According to what one member wrote recently, the Janome does not pull the fabric down when you first start (definitely an issue) and she had some other nice things to say. Can't find the thread though.

    Janome is cheaper than the Pfaff too and you know you can haggle!

    Go test drive and see what works best for you.

  14. #14
    Super Member lisalovesquilting's Avatar
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    I have the Janome 6600 and love it! My advice would be to go to the shops and try them out then you'll know which one is right for you. Good luck.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rismstress's Avatar
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    I have a used Bernina--20 years old. I bought it 10 years ago for $1000 and it was 10 years old then. I bought it from a Bernina dealer who does trade-ups and it has been great!!! I wouldn't trade it for anything. But then I don't quilt on the machine- only sewing. I sewed through 2 brothers and a few singers before the Bernina. Best ever!
    Cheryl

  16. #16
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    I got a used Bernina 440QE in July and I am in love! Paid about $1800. Paid the 8 and got 6 mos same as cash financing for the rest. I have never regretted my decision (actually hubby insisted I get something that would last). The machine was 5 years old and I got the remainder of the 20 year warranty. I did go back and get the embroidery module and enjoy it more than I ever anticipated. The 440 comes with the BSR. I am learning to FMQ and love it. Never would have had enough nerve to try without it. Stick with a dealer as service after the sale is very important. You won't regret it.

    That being said, the Janome seems to be a good machine also. The best thing for you to do (if you haven't already) is go try each one out...not for a minute or two, but an hour or two. Ask questions, get a feel for the machines.

    Good luck on your search.

  17. #17
    mysacrifice's Avatar
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    Rachel, I have both the 440QE and the Janome and I can speak HIGHLY about both. I use my Bernina for Patchwork and for Embroidery, but truthfully, the Janome can do patchwork just as well, if not better than the Bernina. I use the Janome for all free motion quilting and stitchin' in the ditch quilting. I've used it for patchwork once or twice and it works great there too. I really like the bright light on the Janome and if you can get the table as well, it is certainly worth its weight in gold! Please feel free to PM me any addt'l questions you may have.

  18. #18
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    I have the JukiTL98QE and love it. I piece on it all the time and also freemotion. I sew on the machine for at least 5 hours a day. It has a longer bed, so you have the ease for FM. Also has auto scissors, which is a God send to someone with arthritis.
    I also own a Fwt.221, Singers,20 yr old Bernina and Viking 555. Just love my machines......

  19. #19
    Super Member Deecee's Avatar
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    I have the Janome 6500P and love it. Have not had any problems at all with it. I piece, quilt, stitch in ditch and freemotion with it.

    Decide what your pre-requisites are and look for something that has them and try it out.

    Mine were automatic needle threader (poor eyesight!), needle up/down, longer bed than average, knee-lift.

    I don't have embroidery capability which isn't an issue with me.

  20. #20
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    The Janome 6600P is my dream to buy. You can get it much cheaper than the retail price. Ask about sales or promotions. I would recommend that which ever you purchase there is a shop that can/will service it.

  21. #21
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    I have a Babylock Quest and it's wonderful. I drove a Bernina before I made the final decision and loved the feel, but the throat was too small for me--and a bigger throat than what I had was a huge priority. I test drove a Janome too and loved that one!! But, at the time, the BLQ was a better price and for the same features; on any other machine I would have had to spend much more.

    Good luck. Take you time. And I LOVE your avatar photo. It's beautiful.

  22. #22
    Junior Member Justok's Avatar
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    I have the Baby Lock Espire and I love it. It is made just for quilters, needle up&down,threader, knee lift or peddle free sewing. All of the above machines are good, but be sure when you purchase you get someone who can demo the machine and do maintance when needed. But don't stress out just relax and enjoy your new journey.

  23. #23
    Super Member Quilter7x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mysacrifice
    Rachel, I have both the 440QE and the Janome and I can speak HIGHLY about both. I use my Bernina for Patchwork and for Embroidery, but truthfully, the Janome can do patchwork just as well, if not better than the Bernina. I use the Janome for all free motion quilting and stitchin' in the ditch quilting. I've used it for patchwork once or twice and it works great there too. I really like the bright light on the Janome and if you can get the table as well, it is certainly worth its weight in gold! Please feel free to PM me any addt'l questions you may have.
    I went to quilt show this past summer with a couple of friends and we decided to take a class where a local quilt shop offered the machines so that we didn't have to bring our machines/tools.

    I own a Janome Memory Craft 9000 that I wouldn't trade for anything. It's about 12 years old and I paid top dollar for it because it had just come out. It does small embroidery and is an absolute workhorse. I also own a Janome Jem Platinum that I take to classes with me because it's lightweight. I love both Janome machines ... however, I do get some loops on the back when doing free motion quilting. I am aware that I can play with the tension.

    Back to the quilt show; the local quilt shop provided us all with brand new Bernina 440 machines. Some of our class was on free motion quilting and I was blown out of the water at how beautiful the FMQ was on the Bernina.

    I have since talked to my local sewing machine shop's owner about my Janome's (that I bought from him) and the Bernina. He said Bernina is known for beautiful stitches and is an excellent machine for FMQ. He also said that my MC 9000 is one of the best machines Janome has made. He has a brand new Bernina 155 (a basic machine) for $750 right now that I'm thinking of buying. The MC 9000's go for around $1,000 or less now. The MC 9000 has the needle up/down and knee lift lever that you talked about as well as tons of other nice features. The knee lift lever was something I had never heard of before looking at this machine and was very much a selling point for me. I cannot imagine not having one now, it is that helpful!

    I have been looking on eBay for Bernina machines and they do have them. Looking there might give you an idea of the going prices for all brands of machines.

    I totally agree with the ladies who say you have to sit at a machine and and have someone show you how to use it and tell you what each machine's benefits are. You've done excellent research, but the machine has to feel right for you. No shop will be offended if you want to try the machines before deciding on what to buy.

    Best of luck and please let us all know what you decide. :)

  24. #24
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Gosh, thanks everyone for your posts, I really appreciate y'alls time. It really is helping me sort through my options and narrow things down a bit. I love hearing what machine everyone has and their thoughts about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by barnbum
    Good luck. Take you time. And I LOVE your avatar photo. It's beautiful.
    Thank you, I really like your avatar as well! I love Minis but don't have the fencing for them right now. Two strands of hotwire keep my lazy Paint gelding in but wouldn't keep a short guy in. :)

  25. #25
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilter7x
    Back to the quilt show; the local quilt shop provided us all with brand new Bernina 440 machines. Some of our class was on free motion quilting and I was blown out of the water at how beautiful the FMQ was on the Bernina.

    I have since talked to my local sewing machine shop's owner about my Janome's (that I bought from him) and the Bernina. He said Bernina is known for beautiful stitches and is an excellent machine for FMQ. He also said that my MC 9000 is one of the best machines Janome has made. He has a brand new Bernina 155 (a basic machine) for $750 right now that I'm thinking of buying. The MC 9000's go for around $1,000 or less now. The MC 9000 has the needle up/down and knee lift lever that you talked about as well as tons of other nice features. The knee lift lever was something I had never heard of before looking at this machine and was very much a selling point for me. I cannot imagine not having one now, it is that helpful!

    I have been looking on eBay for Bernina machines and they do have them. Looking there might give you an idea of the going prices for all brands of machines.

    I totally agree with the ladies who say you have to sit at a machine and and have someone show you how to use it and tell you what each machine's benefits are. You've done excellent research, but the machine has to feel right for you. No shop will be offended if you want to try the machines before deciding on what to buy.

    Best of luck and please let us all know what you decide. :)
    I have read a couple times now some glowing reviews of the Bernina's free motion ability and that is a big part of why I'm so interested in that machine. I've seen a couple used 440's on ebay and on craigslist. You've helped me lean towards the Bernina even more! :)

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