Thursday, June 13, 2013

how she sews

 everyone wants to know how it's going with the new machine. i don't want to dwell on juki or appear to brag about her. i'm sensitive to those unable to get a new machine or who are struggling along with a less-than-satisfactory one. been there. i hesitated to even mention my new arrival at all except for two reasons:

1) when searching for a machine, i found it really helpful to read about others' experiences with their machines. there are so many options out there, i would never even have known about this machine if rachel at stitched in color hadn't posted about hers, bless her. i appreciated that and hope someone else might like to know the ups and downs of my experience with a juki. i wish more people would talk about their machines.

2) i wanted to celebrate juki's arrival with a giveaway! it's in the original post about her from monday. i enjoy spreading the love.

oh, and for the record, i don't plan on getting another machine, like, ever. i plan on making the most of this investment and this lady is a keeper, built to last and last. i don't foresee a need for anything more than her. i still have little brother to fill in her gaps and i am good with that. i certainly don't want to be greedy.

so, how is she sewing?

yep, that's cliche, but like most cliches, true.
i can not believe the difference a machine makes. i did some piecing with her on my paris nightmare over the weekend. she was great, my ideas not so much. but that was all me. yesterday i finally put my brave face on and tackled fmq with her. oh, what was i waiting for?! night and day, ladies, night and day difference here. juki was made for this.

i'd finished off both my little doll quilts with little brother and had no more sample projects to work on. i didn't want to go straight to a real quilt with a new machine untested. so i lifted (that's what we call it in scrapbooking, "lifting") liz's not really a quilt baby quilt idea, explained here. brilliant.

i was in need of a baby gift for two new upcoming friend babies and this fit the bill. it also gave me a whole yard of practice space for my fmq. the first one is for a girl and while digging through my pile of purchases from cia's palette (two years ago!), i happened upon two lovely prints that had the same shade of purply-pink for the background. (what do you call that color, anyway? 10 years ago i would have called it ugly, but it's growing on me. hyacinth?)  that amy butler daisy chain is so fantastic! i first used it on "at last"'s binding, which it was perfect for. glad i still have another yard of it.

here's what i like about this pairing: one is totally vintage and one completely modern. that is either super cool or completely doesn't work. i'm going with the first idea. the line between innovative and really stupid can be so fine sometimes. my kids just stared at me when i shared so i think they might be leaning toward the latter assessment. well, hopefully my friend, who is of my same generation as i am, agrees with me.

the baby really likes it. she plopped down on it and began plucking at the pins the moment i sat it down to examine my progress last night. but she does that to everything i sew, so it's small consolation or compliment. (she's wearing a diaper, not that you can see it behind her head. we're not complete heathens here.)

the fmq was just wonderful with juki. well, her part of it. i definitely still need improvement on my end. but she did marvelously. juki comes with 2 fmq feet: 1/4" and 1/5". i have no idea what the difference is or under what circumstance to choose which. i went with the smaller one so i could see better around it. i must say the feet for juki are hard core, heavy weight industrial attachments. they are solid.

before i started the not-quilt, i had just a row or two of work to do on the 2nd doll quilt. for some reason, i was having a lot of trouble at the very end of quilting it when working on little brother 2 weeks ago. the bobbin tension was going nuts with tons of ugly pulling on the back. it was horrid! nothing i did to fix it worked, either. in the photo above you can see all those pinprick marks of the needle going over the same spot about 4 times. i finally gave up. this is one of the reasons i decided i definitely needed wanted a machine upgrade. with juki here, i attempted one last time to finish the area. not a single problem. the stitches in the bottom of the photo are done on little brother. the top stitches are done with juki. better, for sure.

after a few inches i checked to see how the backside was looking. wow. same as the front. no birdnests or tension problems at all and i hadn't even adjusted tension from my piecing yet. it took about 30 seconds to finish doll quilt #2 and i moved on to the not-quilt.

side note: the supreme slider really does help! i accidentally started without it on so i can attest to the difference it makes. now i just need some gloves. i was feeling the lack of them by the end.

the not-quilt went great. the machine was making me look like a pro, or at least not like a complete novice. i kept thinking, "oh, that was bad! it's going to look bad there." but when i looked at the expected problem area, it wasn't too bad after all. in the hands of an experienced person this machine could do wonders, i'm sure.

the throat space is amazing. not once was i ever even near to running out of room. my whole shoulder could probably go through it. of course, this was only a one yard quilt. i have yet to work on a larger size, but it's huge. room to maneuver.

i had to stop half-way through to tend to dinner and bedtimes. it was rather late when i got back to the machine, but i wanted to finish as much of the project as i could. that was probably a bad idea. i find sewing after about 9pm is not so good for me. going directly to bed and getting up earlier works much better.

the second half didn't go quite as well for me. i began to feel less controlled rather than more so. i got more jerky instead of smoother. but that was my tired reflexes, not the machine.
 oh, and this was my fault, too. can you see i sewed through my slider? yikes! i saw that spot where the feed dogs were way down and thought it was the hole. wrong-o. the real hole was a bit south and is round. now my slider has a hole, too. but somehow it didn't affect the stitching at all.

the one problem i did encounter that's never occurred before: thread break. the thread broke on me twice during my second session. i did notice that was when i was very close to the edge both times, possibly going through the selvage on the backside, which i didn't bother to remove. it's my first time sewing with this thread, also, so i'm not really sure of the cause. it was only a minor inconvenience. juki is rather tedious to thread. i still have to pull out the manual to make sure i do it right. same with loading the bobbin. but it's not that bad and i'm sure i'll get used to it time. i'm just used to little brother taking about 3 seconds to thread and juki takes more like 10 or 15 since there are more steps involved.

no complaints, really.
that's my report on how she sews.

linking up with kelly's first ever "needle and thread thursday" at my quilt infatuation!


  1. Came by to follow your blog. Love it! :) Following with bloglovin'. :D

  2. That's fantastic that you love your new machine. It really can make all the difference in the world. And that is a fabulous shade of purplish pink, but I don't really know what you would call it either!

    Thanks for linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  3. I have two Juki's. One on a quilting frame and one in a cabinet as a backup. I love them both! (TL-98E). Enjoy!

  4. Serious machine envy over here! Thanks for the thoughts on yours. Someday i plan on replacing my little old Kenmore with one.
    I have dreams of being able to quilt something bigger than a baby quilt without having to use a pry bar to get it through the throat of my machine!

  5. Thanks for your thoughts. I may someday get a Juki. Glad to hear you are happy so far. Gloves do help!

  6. I love to mix vintage with modern! It is a perfect pairing for you NonQuilt. I have wondered about Leah's slippy mat, haven't tried it, but I definitely don't like working without some gloves.

    Beautiful stitching!


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