Love at first stitch? Craft columnist invests in a new sewing machine, still swooning two weeks later
By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood (Read full article at MLive.com)
I have a confession to make. I’ve been a bit distracted lately.
My fingers have been clicking away at the keyboard, but every couple paragraphs or so I catch myself turning to sneak a peek over my shoulder at the shiny new Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine set up on the table directly behind me. I just can’t help it. As far as sewing machines go, it’s a looker.
With an aluminum die-cast construction, straight stitch and free-motion only functions, an auto-needle threader and thread trimmer, speed control ranging from 200 to 1,500 stitches per minute, and a knee lever to raise and lower the pressure foot – I feel like I’ve entered a new dimension of sewing.
The day I brought it into my home I became a bit intoxicated by its simplicity and power. After years of deliberation and months of pining away for this particular machine, I finally coughed up the greenbacks and bought it. I’ve had it for a couple weeks now and have had sufficient time to regain my composure and I’ve committed to writing about it with as much objectivity as I can muster. (Full disclosure: I’m still in the swoon phase.)
This most recent sewing machine purchase marks my return to basics. While sewing technology has advanced through the years and it’s now possible to purchase computerized models with hundreds of pre-programmed decorative stitches that sew and embroider at the push of a button while you walk away and make tea, I was looking to forgo all the extras and added expense and invest in a machine that would allow me to straight stitch and free motion quilt with wild abandon. While I admit that this machine would be even better with a zigzag stitch, I don’t zigzag that much and have other lower-end, computerized machines for that.
If you’re in the market for a new sewing machine, it’s best to consider what you want to sew and what you need to do it before you invest several thousand dollars in a machine with a computerized display and all sorts of decorative stitches you won’t actually use.
My old mid-grade Janome (which I am keeping in my sewing arsenal) has 50 computerized functions of which I use less than five on occasion. I used to use my old machine to do free motion quilting but always worried that I was pushing the limits of what it was designed to do. When you’re worried that your machine is about seize up, it’s not much fun to sew. So I made a decision to upgrade to a stripped down professional grade machine for under $1,000 that I hope to use for the long haul.
So far, the Juki TL-2010Q has proved to be a good fit for me as someone who likes to quilt and sew garments and craft projects without worrying about burning out equipment.
Here’s a rundown of the machine features:
• Sturdy construction –The machine is built to last. It’s made out of aluminum and uses metal bobbins. It comes with seven feet (including a zipper, hemming, and two quilting attachments). While some reviews have been critical of the fact that a screw driver is required to swap out feet, I like the fact that a large bolt locks each foot securely in place.
• Low frills – With limited settings, this machine is easy to operate and can be set up quickly and used within minutes of getting it out of the box. If you know the basics of sewing, no class or tutoring is needed to learn how to operate it. The manual also details how to oil and dust the machine to keep it running. The downside is that there is no built-in storage compartment on this machine. (I’m going to store everything in a plastic bin that I can slide under the auxiliary table and pull out for easy access.)
• Speed – This Juki is fast and powerful and its sturdy construction means it doesn’t vibrate or bounce around when sewing at high speed. The tortoise to hare speed control allows users to set a maximum speed, so they don’t have to worry about stepping down too hard on the foot pedal and losing control of their sewing when working on a project that requires a slower pace.
• Auto needle threader – At first this was problematic. I had a lot of trouble following the diagram in the manual and that was a bit frustrating. Now that I have the process sorted out, it’s a breeze. I made a video to help others get their auto-threading down.
• Machine quilting features – The machine comes with two quilting feet that are great for free motion quilting, quilting along with a pattern and free hand embroidery. I had to go searching for a quilting foot for my last machine, so I really appreciate getting two right in the box. Another bonus with this machine is the auxiliary table and measures roughly 22 inches long and 12 1/2 inches wide. There is roughly 9 inches of throat space to roll up a quilt. More space would be fantastic, but this will make a monumental difference for me. I used to wrestle large quilts into a much smaller space on my old machine. (I made another video on how to set up the machine for quilting.)
• Knee lift lever – This is by far my favorite feature. I love that I can lift the pressure foot with my knee, pivot my fabric and lower the pressure foot again with my knee and skip the added motion of lifting the pressure foot using the hand lever at the back of the machine. This hands-free function streamlines projects and saves time.
Read the rest of my review at MLive.com.