I am a lucky (and hard working) gal to have a new Janome 8200. I haven't even plugged in in yet.
I am also a lucky gal for all the wonderful projects I have made on my Janome 6600. It's a great machine and has helped me through some tough times by stitching my heart out.
|Had to take my verse off. Thankfully, it came off cleanly.|
My 6600? It has only one problem for me. Those blasted prongs from the first generation built-in dual feed system. Janome only used this system on 2 models and then made changes that did away with the prongs. My husband offered to "remove" them for me but I love the Accufeed system when I use it for bindings, piecing (sometimes), and garment sewing.
Little did I know when I bought the machine that I would embark on this free motion quilting adventure, and especially that long arm rulers and templates would be such a big thing for me. Those prongs would tap on my rulers. I could avoid them for the most part, but still they bugged me.
So my eyes began to wander. Pretty easy to do when you work in a sewing machine shop. Those eleven inch machines beckoned with their extra 2 inches of space. The Artistic-18 quilter tried to catch my eye, but I knew it wasn't the time for me to have a dedicated sit-down quilting machine.
For a time, I even considered down-grading to the 6500 or the 6300, which were essentially the same as the 6600, but no Accufeed system. I'd have to use a regular walking foot. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but I liked the built in walking foot. All three machines also lack a free arm. Not that I do much garment sewing, but I sometimes make dresses for my daughter. I have used my smaller Janome 3160 when a free arm is needed.
Then the Janome Skyline S5 came out. Nice machine, great features, good price. (My Skyline review here) Tempting. But no even feed system and 3/4 of an inch shorter throat space. While I have always said you can do great FMQ on even a regular machine with just 6 inches of throat space, I didn't want to go smaller.
So back to eyeing the 11 inch machines. Not the 7700, which has the same prongs. Really all the 11 inch machines except the 8200 were out of my budget. Don't read that as these machines are over-priced, they just don't fit my tight budget.
Would blog readers new to FMQ be discouraged if I went to an 11-inch machine, thinking that they had to have a bigger machine to do good free motion work? I couldn't decide. I have sat on this decision for over 18 months! I am not a patient person either.
But I got a great deal on my machine and was able to use my earnings from the shop to pay for the new machine. So Tuesday, I brought home the Janome 8200.
I kept it in the box for nearly 2 days. Did I really want to replace my 6600? It's out of the box now. We will have to adapt my home-made sewing table so it will fit. I am excited about the new method we will use to fit it in my table. My post on making a sewing table out of a regular table is one of my most popular posts, and this will be even better information for those who want to do this.
Really, it sounds like I don't like the machine, doesn't it? But I do. I've used this same model at the shop for several projects and it's great. In many respects, it's a lot like my 6600. It has just what I need and nothing extra. (Extra increases the price.) If I could have afforded it, I might have gone with the Janome 8900 as it's very similar, but has additional stitches (fun!), a few other little handy features, and comes with an extension table.
And there are features that I didn't have with the 6600. The ones that mean the most to me are: The needle plate can be switched to a single hole plate without having to use a screwdriver, plus the machine won't zigzag with the single hole plate on. A free arm so I can hem the pants of my short kiddos easier....woo. (OK so I'm not excited about hemming, just that it will be easier, which will of course mean I should hem the pants before they outgrow them!) The lighting is better. Finally, of course, the Accu-flex foot has no prongs to get in my way. Eleven inches of space will be wonderful for my quilting.
I really am looking forward to doing more ruler work on this machine, both with the Janome Ruler Foot and the Westalee Ruler Foot. I also want to do some free motion work on my smaller Janome 3160 to show on the blog that these smaller machines are capable of great FMQ. The folks at Westalee also sent me a ruler foot to fit this low shank machine.
I will be taking my 6600 to Sew Simple tomorrow for a cleaning and oiling before offering it for sale. I threw away the box it came in, so I'm not sure I will try to sell it online, where I would have to ship it, but if you are interested, drop me an email, or come by the shop if you are local. I'm offering it at $850 which is about half the price of a new 6600.
This is a good time for me to mention that you should save the box and packing that your sewing machine came in. Especially if you don't have a local dealer or you've bought a machine from a big box store. It makes shipping the machine so much easier!