Out of desperation for a dependable machine for quilting at home, I've begun to research my options. I'm looking only at quilting machines - not machines that quilt and a have regular sewing machine features like decorative stitches, nor sit-down mid-arm machines with 16" to 20" harps. Those don't allow walking foot quilting, and most often have a built-in stitch regulator that I wouldn't use.
Last week found me visiting two dealers:
Bernina Sewing Centre in Lake Mary selling Bernina and Janome
Sew Mini Things in Mount Dora selling Juki, Babylock, Elna, and Singer
These dealerships are in Florida.
The two machines I am considering look and behave very much like my Pfaff Grand Quilter.
Features that are the same on both machines
- Lovely stitches - without/don't have a stitch regulator
- Industrial, all metal, high speed:
- Janome 1,600 stitches per minute
- Juki 1,500 stitches per minute
- Speed control: "turtle" to "running rabbit"
- Straight stitch only (no zig-zag)
- Needle up/needle down by pushing a button
- 9" throat (harp)
- Separate bobbin winding (while upper threads and bobbin are threaded)
- Knee lift to lower/raise the presser foot
- Reverse (backstitch) bar, meant to be pressed by one's right forearm
- Left-to-right needle threading
- Automatic needle threader (I never use it)
- Automatic thread cutter (I never use it because a long tweezer/hemostat is needed to capture the bobbin thread and pull it back up)
- Extended sewing machine bed with adjustable surface surround table
Different Janome features
- Uses HL-X5 machine needles
- Thread-cutting by pressing a button
- Feed dogs covered by a separate single-hole throat plate
- Price includes only a straight stitch foot. Priced separately: a walking foot, darning foot, and ruler work foot.
Different Juki features
- Uses standard sewing machine needles
- Thread cutting by heel-tapping the foot control
- Feed dogs lowered or raised by moving a switch
- LED lighting
- Price includes a straight stitch foot, two darning (quilting) feet, and a walking foot
- Comparing the sound of each machine, as I was quilting... the Janome runs quieter. Since Dan accompanied me to each shop, he's the one who noticed! Having worked in manufacturing for John Deere for more than 30 years, I value his opinion that the Janome is quieter because it may go through a more fitted, tighter manufacturing process.
- The Juki seemed to require more "push" to get the quilt sandwich moving under the needle in spite of the pressure on the presser foot raised to the high position.
I'm reluctant to quote prices because those will change. But I'll say that the two machines are within about $100 of each other even though:
- A Janome purchase means buying three extra feet - walking foot, darning foot, ruler work foot.
- A Juki purchase means buying a ruler work foot.
Whether I buy a Janome or a Juki may come down to the warranty, and convenience/distance to the dealership. But if you have any input about either machine, I'd love to hear what you have to say. Thanks! Linda