Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 4 1 2 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 90

Thread: Newbie Quilter Needs Your Input & Recomendations Desperately!!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    38
    Hello everyone. Hope you can help me out. I want to purchase a new/used or refurbished sewing machine with all the features to make my quilting easier - hopefully within the next 6 months. I would love to have a computerized machine, but I'm not able to spend a whole lot of money. If I can find one at a decent price though, I'd get it. My problem is that there are so many choices and so many conflicting reviews of each machine when I search that I'm so confused and don't know where to turn! I think I can rule out Singers and definately the Brother 6000, (but there are great reviews on that one too). I've read that BabyLok's can be quite tempermental, so I'm going to avoid them. I have read a lot of great reviews on Janome and have also been told by another quilter that they don't like their Bernina! I have read reviews on many different machines and half the people love that particular machine and the other half hates it. I have also read that top loading bobbins cause a lot of problems with thread binding up than front loading bobbins (from a quilting book, not from a person). I would absolutely love to have a self-threading machine.
    Here we go:
    1. What machine/s have you used and what do you like and dislike about them? What is your favorite machine and why? Suggestions on what brand or machine to definately stay away from would help. Also, can you give me an estimate on cost of a good machine to "grow with"?
    2. I am not only a beginner quilter, I have yet to finish my very first quilt. (I just need to add the border and finish it off). What features and accessories do I need (it seems there are millions of them)!? What features are on your machine that you absolutely can't live without? What features are on your machine that you never use when quilting/sewing and wish you hadn't paid the extra money for?
    3. Of course, I'd love to have the latest and greatest with all the bells and whistles - but again - money restrictions. I want to learn as much as I can so I can become a great quilter. I want to eventually do embroidery by machine as well.
    4. I know that I should "test drive" any machine before deciding to purchase it and what to look for - ease of use, easy to understand, especially for a beginner, how it sounds when working, etc. I'm just trying to get input from other, more knowledgeable quilters. We have a few, but not a lot of sewing machine dealers here in Virginia Beach, VA (and the surrounding areas), that sell new, used and refurbished machines and also service them and the variety of machines are limited. I also want to be able to take it in for service without waiting weeks to get it back. I'm really close to Northeast NC and am willing to go there to find what I'm looking for.
    Any and all feedback would be so appreciated! I'm willing to travel an hour or two if I can find what I'm looking for and get an awesome deal. I know this request is kind of lengthy and I apologize. I'd appreciate it soooo much if you could spare a few minutes and give me some feedback and any and all suggestions!! Also, what machines do your quilting friends use that they absolutely love?

    Thanks so much! CherylR, waving hello from Va. Beach, VA.
    By the way, is there ANYBODY out there from the Mid-Atlantic region of the country? Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Franklin, Portsmouth, (VA) or northeast NC? I feel so alone!!!!

  2. #2
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Camarillo, California
    Posts
    35,480
    I have a Bernina and love it. It is an expensive bugger though. There are lots of people on here that should be able to help you!

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Alturas, CA
    Posts
    8,413
    If you have any dealers around your area, I would recommend you test drive different machines and brands. I like the elnas, personally and they're fairly reasonably priced.

  4. #4
    varacefan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by CherylR

    By the way, is there ANYBODY out there from the Mid-Atlantic region of the country? Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Hampton, Franklin, Portsmouth, (VA) or northeast NC? I feel so alone!!!!
    Hello! I live in Chesapeake. I bought my Janome at Sew EZ in Portsmouth - they were very helpful and informative.

  5. #5
    Pam
    Pam is offline
    Super Member Pam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Southern Illinois
    Posts
    3,713
    AWwww, you need to find a quilt guild in your area and get some quilting buddies. I have an older Bernina, it is about 17 years old, and I love it. I cannot tell you anything about the newer machines, I like the oldies.

  6. #6
    Member Bustertruster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
    Posts
    54
    Yup, I can echo VaRacefan's recommendation of sew ez as I also found them very helpful. I have a older Pfaff and a new Janome (which I love). Figure out what you need on a machine and ask lots of questions.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    3
    My advice on your new sewing machine: I don't believe the brand is as important as buying one from a trusted dealer close to you where you can get help when you need it. I have a newer Bernina & would not buy one again. They say it doesn't need oiling but when it starts to sound like a thrashing machine... it needs oil! I have 3 Elnas of early '70's vintage. One I purchased then, the others two I have picked up, one at a rummage sale and another as used in my local store. Love then & it is fun to teach my twin grandkids on them because they are all the same. Two features I do like on the Bernina that I would not want to do without are 1)The feature that allows me to stop my needly either up or down & 2) the feature that allows me to lift the pressure foot with the knee lever. But I am sure they are probably available on other brands. But I still think the most important thing is to buy it close to home where you can take lessons on it, talk to the person who sold it to you, get help when you need it, buy attachments as you can afford them, etc.

  8. #8
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Central Indiana (USA)
    Posts
    30,667
    Blog Entries
    194
    I would go around to some of the dealers and test drive them

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    High Entropy Zone
    Posts
    1,250
    Sorry, I can't help with location. I'm in Texas (but my parents still live in VA if that helps).

    Things I think are a must with my machine:

    For piecing:
    1. The built in "walking foot" (on my machine it is called IDT).
    2. The sensor light that indicates when the bobbin thread is about to run out.
    3. Adjusting my needle position so I can get an accurate 1/4 inch seam (It is important to me, maybe not so much to others.)

    For quilting, quilting:

    1. Being able to drop my feed dogs.
    2. As big a throat as I can afford so I could handle more quilt bulk.
    3. Is there an big open toed free-motion/darning foot available? I hated the little darning foot that came with my machine. I couldn't see a thing.

    I'm sure there are more but I didn't think of them yet.


    I would think that the following would be part of things to think about:

    1. cost of feet [Can you get a 1/4 inch piecing foot with a blade, stitch in the ditch foot (mine is called a knit edge foot because I wanted the all metal construction for durability), etc]
    2. warranty and repair facility [Does the machine get serviced on site or does it have to be sent away? That is a big factor for me]
    3. if the machine can download stitched from a computer, is the software compatable with the new Windows 7 and Vista updates. (My machine will not load the software on the those new operating systems but the machine itself is still wonderful. Just wanted to give you a heads up on the software issues since my old computer "ate itself and I bought a new one".)

    I own a Pfaff 7570 and bought it new. I paid a lot for things I really probably haven't used enough of like the computerized emboidery, but I can't say enough about how the way it handles all sorts of fabric. That is important to me because I sew a lot of other things besides quilt pieces. Front bobbin loading has never been an issue for me because I don't think I've ever owned a machine that didn't do this. However, I bought my daughter her first sewing machine, a Janome DC2010 (fairly economical, has some good features, access to feet that are inexpensive, serviced at the place I purchased, etc.) It has a top loading bobbin and I liked it a lot. That little machine sews pretty well and has handled everything she has given it so far. She hasn't pieced anything so I can't tell you how well her new 1/4 inch foot works yet (or the stitch-in-the-ditch one either). We do use those feet for other sewing needs and they've preformed well so far.

    My point of view is just mine, but I have bought many machines over the years. I have to say I'm getting better with each one I purchase.

    Make sure you take fabric and thread with you to test drive a machine (make a small quilt sandwich or two as well.) I'm sure other people will think of more things to consider. I always envision sewing everything when I buy a machine (I kind of sound like Alton Brown, all things should multipurpose not just single task) because I usually end up doing it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tortoisethreads's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    378
    I have an older Singer that I use daily for piecing and other projects. I also have a fancy Husqvarna that only gets used for free motion quilting. I like the older one better. It's metal and sews wonderfully!

  11. #11
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    High Entropy Zone
    Posts
    1,250
    Oh yeah, I forgot, the needle up and down feature. That's something I use all the time.

  12. #12
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    6,487
    I have not done any machine quilting at all, but do sew all sorts of things and have begun doing some strip piecing on the machine.
    I have a very basic inexpensive Brother LX-3125 that I just love. It does great straight stitching and has the basic zigzag options that I would be likely to use.

    I'm sure that when I get ready to do machine quilting of a good sized project I will want a machine with more throat space, but that is in the future and this works great for me now.

    I got it at Wal-Mart when it was the featured machine on sale.

    Wish I still had the Singer I learned to sew on...one of the vintage black ones with the gold curlicues from the 40's.

  13. #13
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Northern Indiana
    Posts
    20,411
    Blog Entries
    10
    I have the Bothers CS6000i, not sure why you have ruled it out. I think it is a GREAT machine :lol: It has the needle up and down, you can move the needle from side to side . Comes with the walking foot and quilt extension table .

    WalMart has it for about $150.00 Delivered to your door :thumbup:

  14. #14
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    SW Iowa
    Posts
    32,958
    I have had Jamomes, Brothers, and a Singer. I loved all my Janome and Brother machines. I didn't like the Singer. I have a Pfaff now and really love it.

  15. #15
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    3,246
    I have 2 Pfaffs 7570 is about 12 years old the other is about 5 years old. I love them both, would never trade either machine.

  16. #16
    Kas
    Kas is offline
    Super Member Kas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Renton, WA
    Posts
    2,044
    Quote Originally Posted by Quilting Mom
    My advice on your new sewing machine: I don't believe the brand is as important as buying one from a trusted dealer close to you where you can get help when you need it. I have a newer Bernina & would not buy one again. They say it doesn't need oiling but when it starts to sound like a thrashing machine... it needs oil! I have 3 Elnas of early '70's vintage. One I purchased then, the others two I have picked up, one at a rummage sale and another as used in my local store. Love then & it is fun to teach my twin grandkids on them because they are all the same. Two features I do like on the Bernina that I would not want to do without are 1)The feature that allows me to stop my needly either up or down & 2) the feature that allows me to lift the pressure foot with the knee lever. But I am sure they are probably available on other brands. But I still think the most important thing is to buy it close to home where you can take lessons on it, talk to the person who sold it to you, get help when you need it, buy attachments as you can afford them, etc.
    Who told you a new Bernina doesn't need oiling? That was bad advice since the manual says to oil. You only need to oil the race, though. I do agree with the dealer being key. In fact, my floormodel Bernina had a problem with the thread getting behind a moving part that it shouldn't. The dealer gave me a new machine when they couldn't make it stop doing that weird thing. If I had bought it from someone on ebay or something, I would be hating life, regardless of the great deal we got to start with.

    Features I have loved...on the Pfaff you have the IDF which is a built in walking foot. Loved this so much for piecing. Can't really piece with the Bernina walking foot. But I love free motion quilting with the Bernina more. The Pfaff had to be in darning mode and the lever is in the throat of the machine and always getting caught on the bulk of my quilt and popping out of darning mode. I said "darn" a whole bunch!

  17. #17

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    38
    Hello Neighbor!
    Thanks so much for your info. I will definately check them out. It's so great to know that other people exist in the Hampton Roads area who quilt! I live in Kempsville, so we're probably pretty close.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    38
    Sharon B
    I eliminated the 6000 because of the reviews by owners. I did see some reviews that praised the machine, but most of the others were having a lot of problems with "clunky noises" after 2-3 projects and not being able to get someone to figure it out. They also said that the thread gets all bunched and tangled up. From what I've read on the 6000 - it's either feast or famine. They either have absolutely no problems out of it and wouldn't trade it for anything and the others hate it because of the noises and thread and jamming problems. Thanks so much for your input!

  19. #19
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Chapel Hill
    Posts
    1,078
    I have a vintage Bernina which is new-to-me.

    I decided early in my search that I did not need embroidery or computerized capabilities right now - but did want a quality machine. One concern that I had about the computer programs is that I now have Windows 7 at home with no access to XP, and some of the older machines/programs may not be compatible.

    The critical stitches for me right now are a straight stitch and a zigzag.

    I've finished 2 rag quilts so far, getting myself used to the machine.

    What I like about the machine is the durability - it is all metal - not easy to move around by any means, but also less likely to break.

    At a class I took recently, there was another student trying to figure out how to set up the automatic needle threader - and after watching her, I'm happy to not have that feature as it looked to be more trouble than it is worth.

    My previous machine is a low end Singer - and is NOT my "mother's sewing machine." I learned to sew on Mom's 1960's heavy duty Singer. Some of the olders Singers are fantastic, it is the newer plastic ones that are not so much...

    As to front loading versus drop in bobbins - the explanation I read has to do with the angle of the thread coming off the bobbin - the front load allows the thread to come straight off the bobbin while the top load involves a 90ish degree turn - one more chance for tangling.

    Some day I may upgrade to a fancier machine. For now I'm very happy with my choice.

    Cheers, K

  20. #20

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    38
    To: Jim'sGem, Pocoellie, Pam, Bustertruster, QuiltingMom, CraftyBear, LabFairy, tortoisethreads, Mom-6, Kas and Sharon:

    Thanks so much for your feedback! Your information is invaluable and I have written your info down so when I go to the sewing store, I'll have a better idea of what to look for and what to watch out for. Thank you again - I appreciate all of the info and heads up. Lots of great info!
    CherylR

  21. #21
    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Ramona, California
    Posts
    3,057
    Blog Entries
    1
    I have a Brother Star 230 E which I bought in Australia while living in that neck of the woods (and haven't been able to find it here). I run it on a transformer here, since it is 220. I love the machine for piecing (have made over 28 quilts with it so far), have only machine quilted a couple of small quilts with purchased (about $45.00) walking foot(usually hand-quilt), but I do applique some quilts by machine. There is no blanket stitch which I really wish it had, so use a zig-zag stitch as the default stitch. If you want the machine for just piecing, I don't have a complaint about my Brother, but will be looking to purchase a new one this year so I will be in the same boat as you. I am reading everyone's comments with interest!!

  22. #22
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    17,462
    Hi Cheryl, First of all, welcome to the board!!
    I have a Bernina and absolutely love it.
    I sewed on a Kenmore for many years before I got my new one.
    Mine is computerized although the older Berninas are great as well.I know many people who have them. You already got lots of good advice. For your first machine I probably wouldn't get too fancy and that will lower the cost as well.
    Let us know what you end up getting :D

  23. #23
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,929
    Blog Entries
    1
    In my opinion, you need to set your budget first. That will narrow down the range of machines to consider.

    I have a Bernina 1230 that I love; some of the newer Bernina's I would not like as much. Bernina's are pricey, though; you don't need a Bernina to quilt! You need a machine that you enjoy using.

    You really want the needle-down feature, and at least a few different needle positions (to be sure you can adjust for a scant 1/4-inch). You need infinitely adjustable stitch width and stitch length (so you can do different types of machine applique). You will want a walking foot and a darning foot.

    Bring a quilt sandwich and some fabrics with you to test drive machines.

    The first thing that always strikes me is how noisy the machine is; I like machines that hum or purr, not ones that clink and clank! Make sure the machine sews a nice 1/4-inch seam on the fabrics *you* bring in. You don't want the feed dogs pulling your fabric to one side or the other, you don't want crooked stitches, and you want the stitch to look nice on both the top and the bottom. You also want to be sure you can adjust the needle so that your fabric covers the feed dogs while you are sewing a 1/4-inch seam. Run flimsy fabrics through and a couple layers of denim; the stitches should look good on both without having to adjust the tension. (Having a machine that does not maintain good tension while you sew is one of the worst problems you can have!) Check the wide, long zigzag stitch on both top and bottom; the zigzag is the best way to check that the tensions are balanced, as it will show up any imperfections.

    Not all machines make good stitches on a quilt sandwich. If you already know how to free-motion quilt, try that out on the machine to make sure that the stitches look good top and bottom. A walking foot made especially for the machine often works better than a generic walking foot.

    Make sure that the machine is full size. You need enough space under the arm to fit a quilt.

    Most of the bells and whistles on newer machines are completely unnecessary for quilting. My Bernina has more decorative stitches on it than I will ever want to use. You do want a good blind-hem stitch (the stitch used for hemming curtains) and the ability to mirror-image it so you can do invisible machine applique later; however, even this stitch is not absolutely necessary because you can also do machine applique with just a zigzag.

    My advice is not to spend too much money on this first machine. Develop your skills, take classes, see what other quilters are using, try out machines at dealerships whenever you have an hour to spare, and take your time before investing in an expensive machine. It's a good idea to have a backup machine anyway.

  24. #24
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    16,682
    I also have a Bernina and love it! I have a Kenmore and love it too, but I gotta say I really really love my juki I just got. Sorry I'm not much help. All of my machines are pretty new.

  25. #25
    Senior Member AudreyB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Wichita Falls, TX
    Posts
    615
    Blog Entries
    5
    Janome has a new machine for quilters...Model 3160QDC. It's only been out a few months. It is a dream for quilters, with lots of bells and whistles. Our local quilt shop had it on sale, so you may find it for less than the $799 retail price.

    I have three friends who purchased one and they absolutely love it. I don't need a new machine, but if I did I'd get this one. You can check it out on Janome's web site.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.