Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hello and Goodbye

I have two wonderful machines on my sewing table right now.

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.
Why can't we upgrade machines like computers? Granted, some computers you just want to pick up and toss out the window. But others just need a new sound card, or more memory, or a flat screen monitor added. Just something little to be changed isn't a problem for computers. I kept waiting for Janome to come out with the perfect machine for me.

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!

16 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your new sewing machine. You have been blessed.

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    1. I have! I am so grateful that I've been given so many opportunities to use my God-given creativity.

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  2. I look forward to your reviews of your new machine. I have been dragging my feet on an upgrade, it is expensive and I really want to make a good upgrade decision. I like the "no prong" aspect. I use a rubber band to lift the prongs when not in use, it works well for now.

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    1. Hmmm….I can’t decide if I wished I knew that before buying the new machine. Maybe I would have used your trick and stuck with the 6600. Nah. I’m loving the new machine. Can’t wait to get it into my table and do some ruler work!

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  3. I bought an 8200 last summer and I just love it! Have lots of fun!

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    1. I cannot wait until I've got it in my table and can really have some fun. Modifications are being made as we speak. Hopefully without too much sawdust. I ordered a 2 spool stand accessory to add to my machine already--- love my big cones of thread. Did you know there's one for it? It attaches with 2 screws on the back.

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  4. Congratulations with your new machine. Have lots of fun with your machine and many, many projects of beautiful stitching.

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    1. Thank you. How I wish we could buy time when we buy a machine! So many projects.

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  5. Many hours of fmq lie in wait for you......such fun on the horizon!!!!!

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  6. Congratulations on your new machine, Amy! I just love the Bible verse you had on your old machine. Where did you get that nice clear decal?

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    1. I’ve had the decal longer than I had my 6600. It had come from a Christian bookstore ages ago that carried some bible based scrap booking supplies. I won’t put one (if I had one) on the new machine since the outer shell is plastic. Much of the outer casing on the 6600 is smooth metal so I didn’t worry about removal. It is a great reminder that our talents are gifts from above, even if we work hard to grow them.

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  7. How fun to have a new machine! Congrats. I love the verse you had on your machine. I think I will use the verse for a wall hanging for my studio.

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  8. Congrats on your new machine. I love my old Pfaff 2040 with its integrated dual feed so no need for a walking foot. It was of the vintage that it was made in Germany ages ago. I can certainly understand the parting with an old friend feeling. Hope I do not need to do this for quite a while. I have heard excellent things about the Horizon though.

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  9. Congratulations on your new machine, the extra space is great...I took my 6600 to my DIL in TX, she's wanting to learn to sew....it will also be nice to have it when I'm visiting for extended stays! Can't wait to see your FMQing on your 8200

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  10. So happy for you hope you and your new machine become best friends. I have a husquvarna sapphire it has a large bed to hope to get a ruler and foot that will fit looks like the low shank one might fit so l am happy you showed that .look forward to your reviews on your new machine

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