Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Work in Progress and a Sewing Machine Update


The "in between" seasons - Autumn and Spring - are my favorite seasons and on the weekend there was a definite shift in weather. Gentle warm sunshine and bright blue skies which in turn inspired my next project. The fabrics are all from stash, most of which have been used in previous quilts, in a yellow, blue, and green color palette. And so it began.

Juki 9000B-MS | Red Pepper Quilts

I also thought it might be time to share with you my new sewing machine ~ Juki 9000B-MS. It is an industrial, straight stitch only machine. It is heavy (not a portable machine) and was delivered fully assembled with the table that it fits into. It is self-oiling and has a servo motor which means it is completely silent when the pedal is not engaged and you can control the speed. This machine is FAST although for me this purchase wasn't about stitch speed but more so about consistent quality of stitch regardless of the fabric that you are using. Stitch quality and tension (as well as stitching a neat quarter inch seam) is something that I've struggled with for the last four years on my high end Bernina despite regular servicing as well as a number of repairs (both with my dealer as well as Bernina Head Office). So much so that I haven't pieced any of my quilts with my Bernina sewing machine in the last 2 years. (I do use my Bernina for quilting).

So far so good! I've had this Juki sewing machine since early June and have pieced with light weight Liberty fabrics (see Liberty Checkerboard Quilt) as well as heavier duty fabrics to make my 241 Totes without any problems. It is a workhorse. I am using standard Aurifil Cotton thread for piecing and haven't had a single breakage. You switch it on and it is ready to go. There is no fiddling with threading or tension, no sewing frustration. But then it is only a straight stitch machine. No tricks, fancy stitches or software updates.

I'll keep stitching,
Rita

If you have any questions regarding my sewing machine(s) please feel free to ask by leaving a comment and I will reply there so as to benefit anyone else who may have a similar question.

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51 comments:

  1. It looks like a very sturdy machine. I swear by bernina 440, though it is due for a service at the moment but there is nothing worst than a machine that doesn't perform as it is supposed to.

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    1. Hi Amanda - my first Bernina machine was also the 440. It was a great machine and it was based on my experience with this machine that I upgraded to the 820 (for the bigger throat space). Unfortunately my experience with these two machine do not compare.

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  2. can you drop the feed dogs for machine quilting? I piece on an older Pfaff and it sews perfect stitches every time, has for 23+ years, quilt on my trusty Babylock Jane, but may be in the market for a new straight stitch.

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  3. Oh - sewing machines! I quilt and piece on my Janome Horizon and have done for the last 4 years. I'm straight piecing on my ancient little Elna this week as we're away and it's portable. Sewing labels and a bit of embroidery on my Elna embroidery machine and when all else fails and I need to feed a heavy piece through a muncher - it's back to my old beast of a Singer which needs a forklift to move it up onto a table! I've been looking at industrial machines recently - it's good to hear what other quilters are using.

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  4. I have pretty much given up on my Bernina 820 too, complete diva and frankly I don't want to spend 30 mins coaxing a very expensive high end machine to sew a straight seam with good tension! I have just bought a Brother Innovis VQ2 and it's lovely to just sit down switch on and know it will sew a great seam with no issues. Plenty of decorative stuff to play with too. Not sure what I'll do with the Bernina beast!

    I'm glad you have got a great new machine Rita, I'm sure it's just what you need to keep creating in your very unique and delightful style. All the best, Ruth x

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    1. Ruth, you are not on your own with the Bernina 820, I have had & continue to have issues with tension & skipped stitches. I have been sewing for longer than I care to remember & never had soooo many issues. Not a cheap purchase & I can't afford to purchase another machine to replace it.

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  5. Rita what all types of sewing machines do you own? Do you use a long arm at all which one? Does anyone else use a long arm what are your preferences?

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  6. Great colours you've chosen and I enjoy hearing about what machines people are having a great experience with (or the opposite). I'm guessing as a straight stitch only machine your Juki has a single hole needle plate and a quarter inch foot (as opposed to my Janome which has a standard foot but a button to offset the needle)? How do you find it handles the initial feed in of the fabric - do you have to hold the threads behind? Do you get that bird's nest of thread at the start (which means I have to use a feeder piece which I deeply resent - I've paid the equivalent of a second-hand car for a machine that I have to use scrap material to start my stitching. Grrr).

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    1. Hi Kirsty - the juki 9000 does have a single hole stitch plate (and you cannot move the needle position). It does not nest thread when you start sewing, I don't need to hold the threads behind the needle, nor do I need to use leaders or enders when sewing. (I can't say the same for the 820).

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  7. You know some of my Bernina 820 struggles. The straight stitch is not what it should be. I've been a committed Bernina owner for 20 years but the last two machines have been frustrating. My new quilting-oriented Juki has an AMAZING straight stitch. I hate that I felt the need to buy a new machine to do this most basic task, but I'm not sorry I did. The Juki does its job VERY well! Great to hear about your experience!

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  8. Thank you for posting about your new Juki, Rita! Have you tried quilting with it? Does it have a free motion foot?

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    1. Hi Penny - thank you for stopping by. Although you can drop the feed dogs (by removing them) the presser foot does not have the "hopping" action required for fmq'ing. You can get this modified and I am still in the process of doing so.

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    2. Hi Rita- what is involved in modifying this machine for fmq'ing?

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    3. I have found on my Juki industrial that setting it to 0 drops the feed dogs and I bought a generic long shank free motion foot which I use for FMQ. My machine is older, though.

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    4. Rita, would be very interested in the modification process. I have an older Juki industrial that I've used in my slipcover business for 13 years. Now that I am no longer doing slipcovers, would love to convert this for free motion stitching.

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  9. Thanks for the info, I have been curious since you first said you were ordering this. I'd like to know how you think this compares to your other Juki (as I have the same/similar model) and would also like to know about quilting on this new Juki. Also, I can't wait to see this quilt finished!

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  10. I bought a Juki Industrial straight-stitch machine (5550) a few years ago and made some basic modifications to turn it into my free-motion quilting machine. I love it! There is nothing like an industrial machine and I can't believe the thousands of dollars I have sunk in Berninas over the years. It's worth the money to have two--one for straight stitch and one for free-motion. I could change it back and forth, but it's a bit time-consuming to change out the base plate (to cover the feed dogs) and adjust the pressure foot height. I also had to mod a darning foot. The bobbins and bobbin casings are really inexpensive so I have been able to play around with the bobbin tension. I wish I had known about industrial machines years ago.

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    1. Hi Anastasia - it's the same for the Juki 9000. You can remove the feed dogs (take off the stitch plate and unscrew the feed dogs) which takes a minute or two. I still need to have the darning foot adjusted to get that "hopping" action happening but right now I am just pleased to have a reliable straight stitch machine. I absolutely agree with you, there's nothing like an industrial machine ~ and at significantly less than half the price of my high end machine, this machine is likely to outlast me! It's such a work horse.

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    2. I have posted a comment further down asking you, anastasiaK,some questions about your industrial machine. I have one like yours but can't find a quilting foot that will fit the machine. Please let me know where you found yours.

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  11. Rita, Could you tell me the throat space? I'm not sure I need a commercial machine, but I am looking for a new machine with 12" of space and spent some time at their website yesterday, but couldn't find the throat space of any of their machines, home or industrial.

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    1. Hi Suzy - the throat space of the Juki9000 is 12 inches by 6 inches. The throat space is just as wide as the Bernina 820 but about 1/2" higher than the 820.

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  12. How much do these baby's cost? It does look very sturdy.

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  13. Rosemary B here:
    I love your new machine.
    For all that want to know the price, they run in the $2000 range, not sure if the table is included in that. That is a great price for a very good machine Rita you made a good purchase.
    As always, your creativity and results always inspire

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    1. Hi Rosemary - thank you for stopping by. I paid $2800AUD for my Juki (which is still significantly less than half of what I paid for my Bernina). The table was included as well as assembly and delivery.

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  14. So glad I didn't take the 820 plunge. Thank you for your honesty about this machine. What a disappointment for you...not to mention the wasted dollars.

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  15. I have been looking to buy the 2010Q. I wondered if you had looked at this option and what made you decide on the 9000?

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    1. Hi Kat - The Juki 2010Q is not available in Australia however the Juki TL98P is very similar. I purchased this domestic Juki 2 years ago and have used it for all patchwork piecing until my Juki upgrade in June this year. The TL98-P is also a fantastic work horse (I only have good things to say about this machine!) and it is now my back-up machine. (I upgraded my domestic Juki as I needed a reliable machine - my 820 was spending weeks at a time at my dealer for service as well as repairs and even when it was returned to me I could never rely upon it to work as it should.

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  16. I'm considering and 830.....its a HUGE investment. I wonder if they have the same problems as the 820. I have a 20 year old Bernina 1090 that is still amazing, so I'm just not sure. I'm torn between the 830 (I've never done embroidery but would like to) OR the Handiquilter Sweet 16 (quilting only.....NO feed-dogs) Not sure what the best solution is.

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    1. The 820 and 830 are effectively the same other than the embroidery unit - and both are a huge investment. I'd strongly recommend you do some online research and read reviews (I know my experience with this machine is not unique to me). There are also several Bernina Series 8 Yahoo Groups you may benefit from joining - there you can read about the experience (both good and bad) of other Series 8 users.

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  17. Great to hear what others are sewing with. I have been sewing on my Pfaff for 37 years. It has stitched to the moon and back I'm sure. No problem with skipped stitches ever, even over denim and fake fur. Super reliable and quiet too. Sadly, it is just wearing out. Metal fatigue I guess. It will be like parting with a dear, dear friend, but I will need to get a new machine soon. Have thought of getting a Pfaff, metal body, that does just the basics. Something with a built-walking foot. Mine pre-dates their walking foot and there isn't an add on that fits. I want quiet too and light if possible........

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    1. I've had my Pfaff 2038 for 5 years and have really enjoyed the built-in walking foot (IDT). It does tend to eat fabric as you are starting and therefore need a leader piece and I think it could use extra throat space for quilting, but all-in-all I've been happy. It's also fairly light and a lot of fancy stitches (that I never use). I bought a Sew Steady table to make piecing blocks a little easier.

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  18. Funny, I test drove a top of the line, new Bernina for a day in a quilting class and all I could think all day was...'I wish I had brought my Juki'. The Bernina was so fussy and the quality of stitches just wasn't there. Many others in the classroom felt the same way.

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  19. When I started getting interested in machine embroidery I bought a Bernina 730 (my first Bernina) about 7 years ago. It was a huge investment. It sewed fine but there were issues when embroidering which didn't seem to get fixed. Finally the shop ordered me a new machine and I had no more issues. After about 4 years and much investment in thread and stabilizers, I lost interest in embroidery and realize for the sewing/quilting I do, I sure don't need as fancy a machine as I have. I have considered selling it along with my threads and stabilizers and purchasing something more basic, and less expensive. I know I could get something for less than half the price that would do everything I needed. I appreciate you sharing information on your new Juke.

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  20. My LQS keeps trying to interest me in the Bernina 820 (I have a 440 and a 153). Apparently I have been wise to ignore them!

    Love your work . . .

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  21. I just watched a video of this machine. Holy SMOKES. Impressed.

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  22. I have a Juki TL-98 Q, (made more for household use) which is amazing! Only straight stitches but fast and reliable and great for free motion quilting.

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  23. I just sold my Bernina 820, it had a good stitch but I didn't like the threading system at all. I now have a 750 and love it so far! I am REALLY interested in one of these industrial machines for piecing. Do you have a special foot for accurate 1/4 inch seams? Does it have an automatic thread cutter? Thanks for all the info, I have been excited to hear how you like your new machine:)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. I have a Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0. I love the IDT that "the mrs" mentioned above. However, the FMQ is hit-or-miss. There are two feet and therefore two ways to FMQ - the traditional spring-motion foot (or darning foot), and the sensormatic free motion (that hovers over the fabric at high speeds). I have trouble with the sensormatic in that it doesn't complete the stitch, and I'll have moved the quilt an inch before it catches the bobbin again, and I'll have a HUGE stitch in the middle of my quilting. So, with the sensormatic foot, you have to really slow down and take your time (so not me!). Also, if you're trying to use a light bobbin and dark top thread (or vice versa), the tension isn't ever just right, so you have to live with it or just use the same color thread top and bottom. But for piecing? Quiet, perfect tension, feeds beautifully, but need a leader piece. Would I buy it again...hmm, maybe not. I'd like a more reliable FMQ machine, since that is what I originally bought it for!

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  25. I've used industrial machines in costume shops back in the school years. They are super fast and not for amateurs! My teacher put a guy who didn't know anything about sewing on an industrial serger and he put a nice slice through the middle of a princess seamed dress panel. Ouch! Have fun!!

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  26. Eeek, just invested in a Bernina 550 QE, and have a Janome 660 QE as well! Hopefully the 'cheaper' models of Berninas are better behaved! I've heard folk talk of Juki's, but never seen them in action, or even thought you could get them in Aus. I have machine envy..... ;)

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  27. What a timely post as I've been trying to decide between the Juki TL2010q or the Bernina 550 (I think very similar to the 440 you love). I am leaning towards the Juki which then I would have to purchase a cheaper machine for my applique stitches or just get the 550 to do it all. I would love to hear what you think would be a good solution based on your experience with these two similar machines. Thanks!

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  28. Does anyone know the difference between the 8700 and 9000?

    Also is there a foot or guide to ensure perfect 1/4" seams

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  29. I have the Bernina 440 QE for the last 5 years or so, love it. I also bought the original Bernina 830, the mechanical one, at a tag sale. It is probably the best machine Bernina ever made, it sews like buttah. Perfect stitch. I have read so many negative reviews of the Bernina 820 from owners of the machine, it's really too bad. It's such a big investment in the machine, and then to get one that doesn't work smoothly is very discouraging. I'm hearing some not-so-good things about the newest Pfaff machines too. It seems all the brands produce a poorly functioning machine on occasion.

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  30. Hi Rita

    You say you don't quilt with the new Juki but only piece, can the Juki quilt or do you need an extra walking foot for it?...

    thanks

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  31. Nice! I'm a fellow Juki-owner myself - just the simple, cheaper one. I'm wondering if you use a 1/4 inch foot or just the standard foot that came with your machine? I use the standard foot and I've gotten used to visualizing a pretty consistent 1/4 inch but it'd be kind of nice to have a true 1/4 inch foot.

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  32. I enjoyed reading all the reviews on various sewing machines. I noticed that anastasiaK said she quilts on a Juki 5550. I have one of those and have had no luck in finding a quilting foot to fit. I am hoping that she will see this post and reply to me as to how her machine is set up. My email is ellenhmills@gmail.com. Anastasia, please contact me if you have time and are willing to share your knowledge! Thanks

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  33. As much as you sew you do need an industrial. I traded my 820 for a 780 but it has been in the shop needing a new board. So glad it is under warrenty. I don't sew as much as I should. I am thrilled for you!

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  34. Congrats on the new sewing machine. I go the Juki 8100e industrial in March and Love It! Between the dealer and I we sourced a foot so I can do free motion quilting and it is fab! I just love how well it works. Enjoy yours!!

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  35. Rita - help me please! I am in Scotland feeling desperately frustrated at the number of people here voting to return us to the Dark Ages. I have tried to distract myself from the Referendum by doing some stitching, and find myself equally frustrated with my Bernina 820. I have finally realised that I have never in my adult life done so little stitching as in the last 5 years, when this machine entered my house. It is going back in its box, and back to its maker. I (used to) do a lot of piecing, quilting, free machining and general sewing, and all I want is a machine which energetically springs into action and enthusiastically does the job for which it is made. What do you recommend I look at to take the place of the eliminated culprit?

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    1. Hi Annetta - can you send me an email? I have no way of contacting you - there's no email address on your profile. :-)
      (redpepperquilts at gmail dot com)

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