Love at first point? Craft columnist invests in new sewing machine, still passed out two weeks later

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Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood tested the Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine she purchased a few weeks ago and shares what she learned about this low-frills machine with readers considering their next machine upgrade .

(Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood | MLive.com)

I have a confession to make. I’ve been a little distracted lately.

My fingers click the keyboard, but every couple of paragraphs or so I find myself turning to glance over my shoulder at the shiny new Juki TL-2010Q sewing machine sitting on the table directly behind me. . I can not help myself. When it comes to sewing machines, he’s a looker.

With die-cast aluminum construction, straight stitch and free-motion functions only, automatic needle threader and thread cutter, speed control ranging from 200 to 1,500 stitches per minute and knee lifter and lower the presser foot – I feel like I’ve entered a new dimension of sewing.

The day I brought it home, I became a bit intoxicated by its simplicity and power. After years of deliberation and months of pining for this particular machine, I finally coughed up the greenbacks and bought it. I’ve had it for a few weeks now and I’ve had enough time to regain my composure and am committed to writing about it as objectively as possible. (Full disclosure: I’m still fainting.)

This last sewing machine purchase marks my return to my roots. As sewing technology has advanced over the years and it is now possible to purchase computerized patterns with hundreds of pre-programmed decorative stitches that sew and embroider at the touch of a button while you walk away and make tea , I was looking to forego all the extras. and extra expense and investing in a machine that would allow me to sew straight stitches and free-motion quilting with wild abandon. While I admit this machine would be even better with a zigzag stitch, I don’t zigzag much and have other low end computerized machines for that.

If you’re looking for a new sewing machine, it’s best to think about what you want to sew and what you need to do before investing several thousand dollars in a machine with a computerized screen and all sorts of decorative points you have earned. ‘t actually use.

My old mid-level Janome (which I keep in my sewing arsenal) has 50 computerized functions of which I use less than five on occasion. I used to use my old machine for free-motion quilting, but I was always afraid to push the boundaries of what it was designed for. When you’re worried about your machine jamming, it’s not much fun to sew. So I made the decision to upgrade to a streamlined pro-grade machine for under $1000 that I hope to use long term.

So far, the Juki TL-2010Q has proven to be a good choice for me as someone who enjoys quilting and sewing garments and craft projects without worrying about equipment running out.

Here is an overview of the features of the machine:

• Robust construction –The machine is built to last. It is made of aluminum and uses metal coils. It comes with seven feet (including a zipper, a hem and two quilting accessories). While some reviewers have criticized that a screwdriver is needed to swap the legs, I like that a large bolt securely locks each leg in place.

• Frilly bottoms – With limited settings, this machine is easy to use and can be set up quickly and in use within minutes of taking it out of the box. If you know the basics of sewing, no lessons or tutoring are needed to learn how to make it work. The manual also details how to oil and dust the machine to make it work. The downside is that there is no built-in storage compartment on this machine. (I’ll store everything in a plastic bin that I can slide under the side table and pull out for easy access.)

• Speed ​​- This Juki is fast and powerful and its sturdy construction means it won’t vibrate or bounce around when sewing at high speeds. Tortoise-to-hare speed control lets users set a maximum speed, so they don’t have to worry about stepping too hard on the foot pedal and losing control of their sewing when working on a project that requires a slower pace.

• Automatic needle threader – At first, that was a problem. I had a hard time following the diagram in the manual and it was a little frustrating. Now that I’ve got the process sorted, it’s a piece of cake. I made a video to help others reduce self-threading. You can watch this video on craftsanity.com.

• Automatic Thread Cutter – Needle and bobbin threads can be cut by pressing a button or by pressing your heel on the bottom edge of the foot pedal. I wasn’t sure I liked the pedal option and was worried about accidentally cutting the wires when I didn’t intend to. However, I’ve come to somewhat appreciate the convenience of this feature. For those who want to go old fashioned, there is a manual thread cutter on the left side of the machine.

• Needle up/down – I like that I can quickly change the needle position with the press of a button. It’s faster than turning a knob and seems to improve efficiency.

• Knee Lift Lever – This is by far my favorite feature. I like that I can lift the presser foot with my knee, rotate my fabric and lower the presser foot again with my knee and skip the extra motion of lifting the presser foot using the hand lever on the back of the machine. This hands-free feature streamlines projects and saves time.

• Machine Quilting Features – The machine comes with two quilting feet which are perfect for free motion quilting, quilting with a design and freehand embroidery. I had to look for a quilt foot for my last machine, so I really appreciate having two in the box. Another bonus with this machine is the auxiliary table and is approximately 22 inches long and 12 1/2 inches wide. There is approximately 9 inches of throat space to roll up a comforter. More space would be fantastic, but it will make a monumental difference to me. I used to struggle with large duvets in a much smaller space on my old machine. (I made another video on how to set up the machine for quilting.)

• Noise – I have certainly sewn on louder machines. For how much power it packs, it’s quieter than I expected and isn’t a nuisance.

Overall I feel very happy when I sew on my Juki because it does exactly what I want it to do. So far we haven’t had any wrestling matches or tension control issues. Is it love? I try not to fall for the machines, but I hope this sewing honeymoon never ends.

Email Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood at jennifer@craftsanity.com or send story ideas to PO Box 888192, Grand Rapids, MI 49588. Read Jennifer’s blog at craftsanity.com. Follow @CraftSanity on Twitter and Instagram and check out the latest edition of CraftSanity magazine available for download at craftsanity.com.

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