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Thread: a shout out to those who quilt on "smaller" sewing machines

  1. #1
    Super Member MarionsQuilts's Avatar
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    a shout out to those who quilt on "smaller" sewing machines

    I have been very fortunate in that when I dove into quilting, my first machine was a husqvarna sappire. So I started with a very decent quilting sewing machine. I have upgraded to the Brother Dreamweaver (just over a year ago), and am loving it to bits ... except when it's in the shop!

    For the last three weeks my machine has been in the shop for minor repairs (just got it back tonight)

    I also have a small Brother 9130 computerize quilting sewing machine. It's a fabulous little machine. Piecing is quick and easy, sews like a dream. It can even do FMQ.

    What my "baby" doesn't have? Automatic threader, automatic cutter, automatic presser foot, huge throat space, the FMQ foot that I really like.

    I just finished quilting a 40x40 quilt on my "baby" and I struggled with the issues I mentioned above. Granted none of them are serious, but when you are used to quilting on a bigger machine with tons of bells and whistles, it makes a huge difference!

    So I wanted to a shout out to all of you quilters who still quilt from beginning to end on a "smaller" / baby sewing machine - one with smaller throat space, and one without all of the bells and whistles!

    You have my utmost respect for being able to do it! In the future I will just continue to make quilt tops, and will wait until the big one comes home!

  2. #2
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I learned to FMQ on a dinky mechanical Brother xr52 with a tiny space. The feed dogs don't drop, so I just set the stitch length to zero. It was doable, but time consuming. I graduated to a Brother PQ1500 and it is a dream for me
    Alyce

  3. #3
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I use a 9" throat Juki TL98 QE. A large double is the biggest quilts I make and quilt. Works great for me.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  4. #4
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    You know what's funny is I have the dreamweaver like you love it to bits, but I use my sq9050 more since I am at my in laws more often. I honestly don't miss the features and that little thing just sews anything
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  5. #5
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
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    I have done several quilts in the past on my Brother sewing machines with that small a throat. (Yes, machines! They always died within a few years. I guess I either always ended up with Wal-Mart's lemons or I put too many miles on them!) I now have a 1950's Singer 15-91 with no bells or whistles. I can do all the maintenance and repairs myself. It has 7" throat; I would love a bigger throat, but I'm just glad I haven't needed to spend several hundred $$$ on a brand-new machine.

    One day I will get a long-arm! Even if it's just a simple Voyager 17.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  6. #6
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    I"ve gotten so used to quilting on my vintage machines that I don't worry about all the bells and whistles. I have done FMQ on some larger quilts using my older Bernina and it was a chore, but doable. I usually work around things. If my Juki is for some reason out of commission, I just piece on the vintage machines.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  7. #7
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    I think I fell into the "what I didn't know, I got used to doing without" category. I quilt on a very basic singer. No auto cutter, feed dogs don't drop (didn't even know why/what that's for). Has a threader that I didn't use for the first couple of years, and I can quilt a queen on it.(That's the largest I've made). I have a few stitches I can use, but for me, less is all I've ever known.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anniedeb View Post
    I think I fell into the "what I didn't know, I got used to doing without" category. I quilt on a very basic singer. No auto cutter, feed dogs don't drop (didn't even know why/what that's for). Has a threader that I didn't use for the first couple of years, and I can quilt a queen on it.(That's the largest I've made). I have a few stitches I can use, but for me, less is all I've ever known.
    I'm with you, Annie! I had one of those fancy Viking H. computerized machines for a few years and it was so fragile! It ended up with problems that no one would attempt to fix. All the repair guys said that it wasn't worth fixing. I bought a $99 Singer Heavy Duty from Walmart that works like a charm! No problems at all! Just keeps chugging along and does everything it is asked to do.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I am not cheap by any means but I will not pay thousands of dollars for a high end machine. The maintenance and repair cost is way overpriced and you have to pay it because you have so much money invested in the machine. I do have nice high end machines but didn't pay a fraction of the new cost. Dealers get trade ins for better especially when a big sale is going on. That's when I keep an eye on the trade ins. Just a few weeks ago I bought a Juki trade in for $200. It is excellent for machine quilting and has all the features I want. Needle up/down, auto cutter, adjustable pressure, large throat space and knee lift. It is given a good check up by the shop before putting on the sale table.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  10. #10
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    The maintenance and repair cost is way overpriced and you have to pay it because you have so much money invested in the machine.
    My thoughts exactly.

  11. #11
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    I belong to the smaller machine group. Wouldn't trade my VSM's for a boat load of money. Everyone in my sewing group has computerized and large harp machines that they either fight with to get the settings right or on their backup machine because the "good" one is being adjusted yet again. They are always amazed at how much I get done on a sewing day while they fiddle away with their machines.

  12. #12
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    I quilt and piece on my little Bernina Activa and love it so much. I do wish I had the extension table, but being resourceful I pile books behind the machine to let the quilt rest on.
    Create something beautiful from scraps.

  13. #13
    Super Member tuckyquilter's Avatar
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    I don't even own anything close to a computerized machine. The Janome 415 is the newest and he isn't reliable when it comes to even sewing decent stitches. I quilt on a 301A Singer and right now am doing some grid quilting on my featherweight. My goal is to use the treadle like Tim Latimer does. I have 10 machines now, having just received a Singer FashionMate from a friend at church who doesn't sew at all. But I do have friends who have the fancy machines and they are always in the shop for something. Mine I get tuned up every 2-3 yrs and keep them oiled between.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 05-05-2019 at 12:28 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps
    Jackie
    Lover of Scrappy, Chocolate and Wine

  14. #14
    Super Member tuckyquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NZquilter View Post
    I have done several quilts in the past on my Brother sewing machines with that small a throat. (Yes, machines! They always died within a few years. I guess I either always ended up with Wal-Mart's lemons or I put too many miles on them!) I now have a 1950's Singer 15-91 with no bells or whistles. I can do all the maintenance and repairs myself. It has 7" throat; I would love a bigger throat, but I'm just glad I haven't needed to spend several hundred $$$ on a brand-new machine.

    One day I will get a long-arm! Even if it's just a simple Voyager 17.
    I Love my Singers. I have several and they never fail me. They can do it all when it comes to sewing/quilting. Ok they don't cut my thread, easy thread or have embroidery.. BUT who cares. Putting out great quilts is the idea. LOL
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 05-05-2019 at 12:28 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps
    Jackie
    Lover of Scrappy, Chocolate and Wine

  15. #15
    Super Member tuckyquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anniedeb View Post
    I think I fell into the "what I didn't know, I got used to doing without" category. I quilt on a very basic singer. No auto cutter, feed dogs don't drop (didn't even know why/what that's for). Has a threader that I didn't use for the first couple of years, and I can quilt a queen on it.(That's the largest I've made). I have a few stitches I can use, but for me, less is all I've ever known.
    Me too. But I use Candy Glendening Column quilting (youtube tutorials) and can do Any Size I want. The only thing I change on her method is I make the back one piece and only sew the columns and battings on one column at a time.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 05-05-2019 at 12:28 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps
    Jackie
    Lover of Scrappy, Chocolate and Wine

  16. #16
    Power Poster JuneBillie's Avatar
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    I have pieced, and almost finished quilting a queen size quilt for my son's new camper. It has the cotton top, and middle batting, but the backing is fleece. I have used my walking foot to be able to quilt it with my brother's little throat. It has been an experience.

  17. #17
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    I have a HV Rose. The largest I can quilt is a twin. It doesn't have enough throat space for me. It doesn't have the automatic cutter or threader, but sews great and its 20 years old.

  18. #18
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    Back around 1980 I had a pretty good machine (top of the line Sears, forgot who made them), last version of the ones with Cams before they went computerized. I think it was more than a month's salary at the time... Loved it for about five years but then it broke. Part not under warranty. Tried to fix through Sears, through repair shops... couldn't get the part.

    So around 1990 I started sewing on a friend's grandmother's machine. She had asked me what to price it for at a Garage Sale and I said "price at $40 and take any offer -- my offer is $20" so she said sold! Machine was/is a Remington older than I am (I am circa 1960), and has been a work horse. It offers up a good solid straight stitch, the feed dogs take up the fabric smoothly, it is easy to adjust stitch width, etc. A nice little machine. I am able to do the basic maintenance on such a machine with no problems. Does have foot plates and can do zig zag, but weighs a ton and a half.

    Just this past August, my friend in Arizona gifted me with her modern Bernina 820 she wasn't clicking with and plus she loves me and is concerned about my declining vision and felt that I could use a self-threading machine. She had already gotten a different one she likes better. LOL I've had cars that cost less than this machine. I'm clicking just fine with it, thank you I am pushing myself to use the modern features and not just ignore them. I've been doing projects just to learn the machine.

    So yes, auto-threader is lovely. I love the thread cutter too, it's nice to have less threads on me and I recently did a couple of projects that involved partial seams that were excellent with the cutter. My friend never used the knee bar to lift the presser foot up/down but I love it. I'm trying to remember that I can tap the foot pedal to make the needle stop up or down. Machine has a super large capacity bobbin, as a quilter I really appreciate that. The machine has basically a built-in walking foot as well as the BSR (bernina stitch regulator), I've used both techniques on baby quilts and it was lovely. The throat space is huge. It's all very nice and I appreciate it very much!

    But I still maintain, all I really need is my sturdy little vintage workhorse for piecing. I had already decided I could not quilt as I desired sufficiently on it any longer. Sure, I was able to push a king sized quilt through it on a simple in the ditch grid, but I want to do more than that and never want to do that again!

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