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Conversational Threads

What type of machine and why?

cinderelladressmaker | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

Hello fellow sewers!  I am starting my hunt for an embroidery machine.  I would like to know what kind you have and why you like it, or don’t like it? Also, I would like to know your opinion about the ‘ease of use’.  Thank you so very much!


  1. ljb2115 | | #1

    I have owned a Janome 300 for five and one-half years and have never had an ounce of problems with it.  This model has been superceded by the Janome 350 which I have also used and will demo at our local quilt show June 5 and 6.  These are stand-alone machines and use both a 4x5" hoop and a 5"x7" hoop.  Very versitale - uses ATA compact flash cards, the 350 also can accomodate a memory stick,.  I am not too sure about all the virtues of the 350, but the 300 has 90 built-in designs, monogramming capabilities, on and on. 

    Look for a good dealer who will give lessons, has back-up advice and possibly has an embroidery club.  In actuality, I never had a lesson with my machine, just brought it home and looked at the instruction book, then took off and haven't stopped since.  The instruction book is on a par with all sewing machine instruction books, being that they are translated from another language, but overlooking small glitches, I can find no fault. 

    I have embroidered on everything from incredibly thick bath towels to very lightweight Swiss batiste.  I would also recommend subscribing to either Creative Machine Embroidery or Designs in Machine Embroidery.  These magazines contain a wealth of information, especially to a novice.  Get good advice about stabilizers, (a must) and keep a good supply of needles and you will be good to go.

    In a few months you will be surrounded with more embroidery thread, stabilizers, notions than you ever knew existed.  But I have fun with this machine.  It is a break from alterations and custom sewing. 

    Good luck. 

    1. cinderelladressmaker | | #2

      Thank you very much ljb2115 for taking the time to answer my question.  Thankfully for me, I live in a large city.   I will have to take the time out to go to different dealers and actually try out the demos.  We have a large sewing show in the fall and that would be the ideal time to try them out and also get a good deal!  I believe in paying for quality, but I don't want to pay for something that will frustrate me.  I also don't want to pay for a machine that comes with so many bells and whistles that I won't  utilize.  I want a machine that can connect to my computer and also one that I can use a usb stick with.  Also, I would like to be able to easily access designs on the internet.  Wow, I sound greedy!  It seems that Brother has a good reputation, but my mind is boggled by all their choice.  I will continue my quest for now! Stay well!

      1. ljb2115 | | #3

        I am not very computer savvy - DH does all that for me.  I could not embroider if I didn't have him to download, etc. for me. I just haven't taken the time to learn that step, but he assures me ANYONE can do it.  The Janome doesn't have too many bells and whistles - just enough to get by.  I do not work for the local Janome dealer, just happened to purchase this machine and fell in love.  The rest is history.  Please keep me posted on your quest.  The local dealer is incredibly generous to the local ASG and quilt guild.  I believe in staying local - if I can.

  2. MaryinColorado | | #4

    you can do a "search" here, we have had several discussions on embroidery machines. 

    http://www.patternreview.com has machine reviews written by owners that should help alot

    test drive!  try to find a local dealer that you feel a good rapport with

    local "brand" licensed repair wizards are a Godsend, often can troubleshoot over the phone too and save you the trip/shipping/$$$$$

    free "know your machine classes" are expected these days (as many as necessary for you)

    I love my Husqvarna Designer I sewing/embroidery machine and have had it for many years.  It's solid and very reliable.  I finally bought the professional software package and love it too.  

    Take your time and enjoy the search!  Hope you find the perfect machine for you. 

    Alot of the expense is in "accessories"  such as hoops, stabilizers, needles, designs, thread...start small and build up or try to get a package deal with several hoops included in the original purchase.  They often have special deals at Christmas/Mother's Day, etc.  Mary

    1. cinderelladressmaker | | #7

      Thanks Mary,  I have looked on this site and http://www.patternreview.com.  Some of the reviews on this site are from a while back.  I am interested in current reviews as the machines/features change so rapidly, as with anything electronic or computerized.  Also sometimes on a site I can't be sure if the review is coming from someone who has a vested interest in the product.  I want people like you to give me your opinions about the pros and cons of different machines.  Afterall, we unfortunately learn from our mistakes, but we also love to share our good finds!

      Stay well,   Cindy

      1. MaryinColorado | | #8

        It's funny how you mentioned the changing technology.  As we speak, Husq./Viking is getting ready to put several new machines on the market and most likely their competitors will be doing the same. 

        It seems that with computers, the prices don't keep escalating out of control, but with sewing and embroidery machines the prices have really gone through the roof with no consideration for the reality of the economy. 

        Have you decided wether to get a comercial or a home machine yet?  Have you discovered what your preferences are yet? 

        I like the front loading bobbin, thread paths I can follow without standing up, quiet and sturdy workhorse, good technical support, a dealer that is supportive of their clients and provides certified repair (preferably gold standard certification), good warranty, variety of stitches and size adjustment of decorative stitches, good lighting, good ergonomics, lots of feet (I have a foot fetish, tee hee), large foot control, hard cover, portable wheeled case, free learn your machine classes plus help and pointers from time to time, as well as other creative continuing education classes at a fair price.  Oh, and "cruise control" is wonderful!  I love the Pfaff or Husq./Viking Profession software!!!

        You may prefer knee control or drop in bobbin.  The important thing is to find the machine that is just right for your needs and you are on the right track by doing the research before you buy and test driving to make sure it "feels good" too. 

        I couldn't manage without my serger either.  So if I was in the market for a new machine and didn't own a serger, I would spend less on the sewing/embroidery machine so I could get a serger with coverstitch too.  Just sharing my thoughts here, not trying to push you in any direction at all. 

        Tore out the carpet in my studio finally and am reorganizing everything once again.  I seem to do this once a year.  Oooooooooh, it would be grand to have one of those wonderful huge quilting tables that folds up small and holds two machines and has lots of drawers and cubbys!  But then, I would have the delimma of deciding whether I'd prefer to get a long arm quilting machine which would take up the whole room! 

        There's always something to wish for!  The important thing is to appreciate our blessings and enjoy them,  especially the love of creating and the ability to do it with whatever tools we are blessed to have.    Mary

        1. cinderelladressmaker | | #9

          Thanks Mary for your indepth message.  I do appreciate it!  Yes, so you know exactly what I mean by up to date opinions.  Last week I was telling a dealer that I had wondered why the prices hadn't yet gone down as they have with other electronic gadgets.  She said "well these machines do a lot", I said, "but computer parts are very cheap".  I do agree with you about the prices.

          I want a home machine.  I don't want to pay the price of a car for one.  I am a dressmaker, but don't think that I will be doing lots of embroidery.  I want a foot control and lots of feet (I have a shoe fetish!!!) and a front loading bobbin sounds ideal.  I want a decent sized screen and one that I can hook up via usb to my laptop.   I want one that will work with the 'digitizers' I see on the internet.  I hear Singer is crap.  My main sewing machine is a Pfaff and it is a work horse.  I understand that the Pfaff and Baby Lock are expensive.  I keep hearing good things about Brother and Janome.  It seems most of the Brother machines are combos.

          My fear of making the purchase is similar to purchasing a computer.  I fear I will put out  a lot of money on one and then in a few of years it and the accessories will become obsolete?  And damn, I expect those prices to go down. 

          The quest continues!  With much appreciated input like yours, I will one day be successful! 

          Stay well in beautiful Colorado!    Cindy                                                                  

          1. MaryinColorado | | #10

            Thank You for the well wishes.  My brother and I spent a wonderful day in Estes Park where he used to live.  He is a glass lampwork artist and makes beautiful hummingbirds and columbines (Colorado state flower) so it was about 12 hours of business mixed with pleasure and great scenery!  We also watched a young very talented young artist blowing glass bowls and vases with such grace.  It was fascinating, like watching a dance, then chatting with him and listening to the two artists discuss thier techniques...I couldn't resist buying a "witch's ball" from the shop in blues and purples to hang in my studio window.  It was the lovliest day I've had in ages!  Mary

            Sorry for getting off subject on this thread, but I couldn't resist sharing my cheerful experience. 

          2. cinderelladressmaker | | #11

            Actually Mary, it is not too off topic for me.  My sister owns a stained glass studio!  Her website is http://www.borealisglass.com   Does your brother have a website?  I have always loved glass.  I guess you and I just happen to be people who love colour and being tactile!?  Great talking to you Mary!  Again, stay well!

          3. MaryinColorado | | #13

            http://www.coloradoglassart.com  He mostly sells retail but does a few festivals.  My grandson (12) is running the Boulder Boulder 10K race today with 50,000 other people!  wahoo!

          4. MaryinColorado | | #14

            Ooooooooh!  The stained glass is beautiful!  I love it!  Thanks for sharing!  I will share the website with my brother, he also loves stained glass and makes a few pieces from time to time.   Love eyecandy as well as tactile!  Mary

          5. MaryinColorado | | #12

            he he, I have a shoe fetish too!  One thing I love is that most of the feet for the Husq/Viking Rose sewing/embroidery machine that I bought over a decade ago, also fit on my Designer I.  The new Professional software works on most home embroidery machine formats as well as both my old and newer machines though one "speaks" Hus and the other VP3, as well as the Designer SE my dil has. 

            You might want to consider a "gently used" machine that has been gone over by a dealer and cleaned and checked out well.  Some dealers even provide a warranty and classes with these machines that were traded up for the latest or top of the line machines.  When I bought the Rose, it was a classroom model and is still like a brand new machine, just older technology.  I gave it to my grand daughter, but she keeps it here, my grandson's really put it through it paces learning to sew and embroider too.

          6. Jessie3 | | #16


            I am Sonja, I too took the advise of Mary in Colorado, She is a very smart lady, I listened very carefully, and made a very good choice, and you will make a good choice for you.  She stressed that the key is to get a dealership that has GREAT support, sit in on a class or two.  I looked and did my homework for about 6mos. (it doesn't take that long, i just wanted to pay cash, you get a better deal with some freebees,stabilizer, thread etc......)  I chose a Babylock (Model:Ellegante2 BLG2)due to the support they offered, every dealership is different, the people make the difference. I had my heart set on a Viking, but my viking dealership did not impress me. Also,I like the extras they offered too, like, the people they brought in for retreats, Nancy Zieman, Elenor Burns, Martha Pullen, etc....  Also FYI, Brother and Babylock ARE the same machine, the only difference is that Brother has the exclusive rights to disney embroidery designs.  But back to the point I am satisfied/happy with this machine.  I wish you lots of luck and patience while making your decision.


          7. cinderelladressmaker | | #17

            Hi Sonja,  Thank you so much for the message.  You are so right about the service from a dealer.  I usually purchase my electronic items based on that.  I just received a brochure from Brother.  I did not know that Brother/Babylock were the same company?  Thanks for that info.  Wow, the Ellagante!  Isn't that the Mercedes of embroidery machines?  I don't think I want to spend that much though.  As mentioned, I want the embroidery to enhance my dressmaking, not take it over.  You are right about Mary in Colorado.  She is helpful, insightful and I have enjoyed my conversations with her!  Sewers are helpful and friendly by natue.  I love the way we are not competitive, but work as one big team.  Thanks for the luck and patience!  Warm regards,   Cindy

          8. Jessie3 | | #18

            Hi Cindy,

            Let me know what you end up getting. 

            I hadn't sewn in 25yrs , way too busy with 2boys. Guess I jumped in with both feet buying the Ellegante, but I thought I may not get the opportunity to buy one with all the bells and whistles again since I am thinking of retiring soon (I am not old enough to retire I am just tired of working in the hospital and other venues won't hire RNs they say they can't afford us, but I am worn out). So my point is, I may not spend that kind of money on a hobby again, but who knows. 

            I have been wanting a serger and from what I have seen the baby lock has one of the best with the jet air threading, its a must see! Do you have one? 

            Take Care and have fun,


            Edited 5/28/2009 12:00 am ET by Jessie3

          9. cinderelladressmaker | | #19

            Jet air threading, heaven, pure heaven!  I have a Bernina serger.  It is a great machine and I am a mechanically inclined person, but changing thread colours, terror!  Nurses have never been paid enough or treated properly.  There rate of pay is disgusting.  My best friend is an oncology nurse.  All she does is upgrade her education and for what.  At this point she has spent as much time in school as a doctor!  Hopefully when the economy turns your work hours and choices will pick up?  Good for you then to spoil yourself with the Ellegante.  You deserve it.  Stay well and happy embroidering!

          10. Jessie3 | | #24

            Thank you for your nice email.

             I can't complain much about the pay, but,yes it could be better, it is the work load.  Anyway, thank you for your well wishes.

            Hope you get what you want! Let us know what you decide to get. 

            Happy Sewing!


          11. MaryinColorado | | #22

            I'm an RN too, had to give it up because of the physical strain and damage though my heart was still in it.  It was a difficult transition, but buying a new sewing/embroidery machine got me through it.  Then I got a serger, what a wonder!  I love my serger the most!  There are so many creative things that you can do with it, so far and above finishing seams and hems.  Serger Secrets and Secrets to Successful Sewing have some great information for techiniques and garment making with the serger. 

            The grandkids learned to sew and embroider on the Viking Rose and though it still "lives" at my house, it belongs to my grand daughter now.  I "moved up" to the Designer I and love it.  I am so glad to hear that you got your Ellegante before retiring from nursing!  It's a wonderful long term gift to yourself, you deserve it after all the years of giving to others.  Enjoy and cherish your blessings!  Mary

          12. Jessie3 | | #23

            Thank you for the nice email.  The physical demands and mental demands on Nurses are tough these days, I work in a hospital, out pt surgery.

            What kind of serger did you get?

              Also I want to tell you that if it weren't for YOU I would have probably made a mistake in my purchase.  I so desperately wanted a Viking like yours but there was no support that I could see.  When I get this one (Ellegante) mastered I will get a Viking, hopefully I will know more about the sewing and embroidery features that I can figure the Viking out on my own.  I am still learning about stabilizers. 

            What are you working on now?

            Hope to hear from you soon, HAPPY SEWING!


            Edited 5/30/2009 4:59 pm ET by Jessie3

          13. MaryinColorado | | #25

            I'm so glad that you are happily learning all you can about your machine, enjoy the process, the journey is half the fun! 

            I always have many projects going at once, most with no deadline so I can work on whatever catches my Muse's interest at any given moment.  Ah, if it were only that whimsical...I almost forgot that the reason I started working this way in the first place...intermittant and unpredictable physical limitations.  How's that for waxing poetic? 

            I have completed many red embroidered rose petal  and green leaf appliques.  It will be a giant rose with the stem and leaves going all the way to the hem of a long denim coat for my daughter.  There are also some rosebuds along the way.  Placement is the biggest issue as the stems and a few buds will be embroidered directly onto the denim.  Then I am making her a long scarf out of the red bali batik I used for the rosepetals.  I think I will embroider a longstemmed rose on the front too.  This is on my mannequin.

            On the cutting table, I have quilt squares that I am trying to figure out how to lay out for a throw.  (On top of that is a pile of fabric because I am also reorganizing the studio and had to empty out some drawers to move a dresser and hutch.)

            In a little basket is the makings for a tiny faery doll with a painted silk cocoon for a hat. 

            Clamped to a cafe rod is a dragonfly and dandelions artquilt with many techniques and my first attempt at beading on fabric. 

            There is another wallhanging gifted to me by the owner of my favorite quiltshop that is hanging over a rod (that's supposed to be my design wall) awaiting fabric tube  for the back so I can properly hang it. 

            There's a crazy quilt for my oldest grandson with fabrics and embroideries of his interests and memories of high school that I hope to finish by July, but definitely before he graduates next year...oh dear, I do have a few that MUST be completed within a reasonable time frame...tee hee

            Oh, and a panel skirt with drawstring waist waiting for just the right fabric, a pair of blue gauze pants that need a waistband with matching buttondown tank blouse, a jeanjacket with the cuffs cut off waiting for embellishment, 2 sundresses I made last year that are now too big,  a soon to be scarf made of thread and water soluble stabilizer at the serger....Are you storry you asked me what I'm working on yet?  tee hee 

             I'll just stop there even though there are more, they don't qualify as UFO's because this is just the way I work and try not to let it get too chaotic and messy either as I can't work in a messy studio!  That's probably the biggest challenge for me so I am always reorganizing better methods and better containers.  I think that part comes from being a nurse, we always have to know exactly where everything is and reasonably accessable, etc.

            Oh, I have a Husqvarna/Viking Huskylock 936 Serger with Coverstitch that I adore!  My dil just got the Huskylock 910 this week and is signed up for free classes.  I gave her a workbook written by the "Serger Lady"  Linda Lee Vivian  http://www.lindaleeoriginals.com  there are serger specific patterns on her website and other great info.  (Kwik Sew also has many serger patterns) 

            I'm a major chatterbox this week, sorry if it's excessive.  Mary


          14. gailete | | #26

            Mary, I don't have that much going on myself, but I finished my dress last night, and got to wear it to church today, so time to clear off the work table. I opened up my quilting UFO box as I want to make my BIL a quilt. I have this feeling if I put the UFO box away and start from scratch it will go faster, but I have so many leftover pieces that were sewed into small blocks in all different sizes, I'd really like to use some of them up. Discovered 12 quilt blocks from a friendship block exchange from about 20 years ago, quilt blocks from when I was trying to work my way through Quilts!Quilts!!Quilts!!! and then quilt blocks I made just for fun, and then all these other oddball blocks that I want to sew up into something that my BIL will enjoy.

            I am like you though too, I go where the muse and health let me on any given day. By the end of the night, I will be thinking on totally different ways of making him a quilt and even though the fabric on the dress I just made was hard to work with, the dress (with NO buttons or zippers) was a very comfy dress and FIT!!! so I would like to make it again in some different fabrics. But then tomorrow is an EGD and Tuesday a CT Scan so everything is going to get behind. It is nice to always have something creative to either be doing or thinking about. What do people (with poor health) who don't sew do with themselves, especially when they don't read either? I think I would have to shoot myself if the only thing left was watching TV 12 hours a day! At least I have a great collection of books and magazines to stimulate my brain and I always see something new every time I go through them.


          15. KharminJ | | #27

            Blessings to you for this week's health care adventures! I hope they don't find anything unexpected! Kharmin

          16. gailete | | #36

            I ended up waking up Monday morning sicker than the proverbial dog and am still recovering, so all my tests got canceled and haven't had the energy yet to try and reschedule. One of the tests I'd been waiting 6 weeks for and one was because they found something unexpected on my gallbaldder sono. I'm not a real happy camper.

            Sunday evening before getting sick I pulled out all my premade quilt blocks of assorted sizes and sorted them into same size stacks to try to figure out how to make my BIL a quilt from some of them. I'm currently derailed from sewing but as I feel better hopefully some ideas will pop into my head. I think it would probably be easier to start from scratch and let someone else in 40-50 years have a go at the blocks I've already made. Many of them have happy memories of me teaching myself to piece the different blocks. No rule that says we have to use up everything is there?


          17. cinderelladressmaker | | #37

            Hey ladies, just an update on my search for an embroidery machine.

            Thanks for all your help and suggestions! I have spent hours on the internet and the phone with my local dealers about Janome and Brother. Just when I get excited about some different Brother machines, they are already discontinued! The Brother 8500D and the Brother Ult2003 both caught my fancy and both are discontinued.I am now looking at Janome 350E. I don't believe I want a combo. I already have a number of sewing machines.The combo's seem to be made for quilters. I don't quilt. I am going this Saturday to a dealer in my city whom I know and seems to have the best prices here. He carries both Brother and Janome. One thing I have learned is also one of the reasons the search has taken so long. As with anything electronic/computer related, they become discontinued or obsolete. I want something that I can still update with downloads and software in a few years from now. These pieces of machinery are too expensive to only be able to use for a few years. I have the chance to purchase a used Brother 8500D for a good price, but I see some of the new Brother accessories aren't compatible with it. So welcome to my dilemma. I do know that when I physically test the different machines, that will tell me a lot. I also want one that is user

            friendly with a USB stick and that I can use my scanner with. I realize that the software for the digitizing capability is expensive, but there are some decent  programs out there for a good price.I will update you after my demo tests. Again, thanks so much for your input! Cindy

            P.S.  Gail, I hope you get feeling TOL soon!

          18. ljb2115 | | #40

            I get to "play" with the Janome 350E Friday and Saturday at our local quilt show.  I am taking all types of fabrics, towels, stiff and regular felt, paper, etc to demo.  This will be a learning experience for me; I have the 300E, so probably won't have any trouble.  I will report back, probably Monday or Tuesday on the whole experience.

            I should clarify a bit -   Mostly my projects are "blanks", which are purchased pieces.  As a rule, I never embroider on my garments - just goodies for the house and for gifts; therefore most of my projects are small.  I will embroider free-standing lace and lots of redwork, as we want to keep the machine running to generate interest and redwork is a one color deal.

          19. MaryinColorado | | #43

            Are you working at the quilt show?  I was wondering if you work for a Janome dealership?  What stabilizer do you like to use for your freestanding lace?  Have fun this weekend.  I look forward to hearing about the quilt show!  Mary

          20. ljb2115 | | #47

            I do not work for the local Janome dealer. He and his staff bend over backwards to support the local ASG chapter and our local quilt guild. (I did purchase my 300 Efrom him.) I am doing this as a favor to the owner as a thank-you from both groups.  I am as we speak (other than making a big mess) getting all my samples ready to pack.  I have had this machine for five and one-half years and have done far more embroidery than I realized.  Most is small stuff, as I don't really like embellished clothing, but I have saturated the relatives with towels, monogrammed purses and the like.

            As for the free-standing lace, I use VILENE which is not very available on a local basis.  I purchased mine from the Sewphisticated Stitcher, but it really gripes me that I must have a min. $75.00 order to get the Vilene.  Vilene washes out well and quickly.  Another good product is the Floriani line.  Look at independent quilt and sewing shops for this.  I have some fab. sticky wash-away from F.  Horribly expensive but good.  Sulky is also good, has a heavy-duty which holds up well w/lace.  Badgemaster is another good product for very heavy lace, but takes a while for the substance to wash away.  This is good for stiff free standing items (like my Christmas snowflakes and the Chriswell and Zundt bowls. 

            The Sulky lightweight water-soluable stablizer is great for toppings on towels, fleece, flannel, etc.  It tears away and in most cases does not need to be laundered or soaked before using or giving. 

            If I haven't been through enough, email me back and will elaborate more.

          21. MaryinColorado | | #49

            I think Badgemaster and Vilene are the only two on the market that I haven't tried.  I've been machine embroidering for years, but have only done a little bit of free standing lace.  I was thinking it would be fun to make some snowflakes for gifts this winter.  Mary

          22. ljb2115 | | #50

            Check Criswell Designs and Zundt for some very nice snowflakes.  Criswell (Chriswell?) is more moderately priced, Zundt is very pricey.  Both are nice designs.

            I enclose snowflakes in my Christmas cards with a little gold thread through one of the outer loops.  People think I am the greatest!

          23. MaryinColorado | | #53

            Thank You for sharing that wonderful idea!  I love it! 

          24. ljb2115 | | #60

            Well, friends.....I just returned from my two-day stint at the quilt show.  Was very well attended and vendor area was great.  I purchased a to-die-for jacket pattern w/fabric.  Turquoise, jade, etc. batiks. 

            I showed off the Janome 350E machine for two long days and finally this afternoon I skipped out to see the quilts and wares.  The machine worked perfectly and most everyone who stopped to look at my progress was amazed with the scope of the machine.  I took quite a few of my samples, mostly towels, emboidered greeting cards (on paper) and on stiff felt.  I use a lot of stiff sparkly felt for holiday cards and projects.  I do tire of women who stop and look at these machines (the store had the Janome 11000  plus had two very moderately priced machines designed for carrying to quilt classes), who say well, I am on a fixed income and can't afford this!!!!!  I had one lady nearly blow off my ear when I quoted the price. 

            Other than the above I had a wonderful time.  Quite a few of my friends were there and many more displayed their quilts.

            I am primarily a garment person - quilts are the fun stuff.  I find it very relaxing to sit and sew pieces together to formulate a design and finally bring something to fruition.

            Besides, I better like to quilt, as I have a mega-stash of quilt fabric and cannot even begin to estimate the wool crepe I own. I do not hand quilt.  I  willingly pay ladies with long arm machines to quilt for me.  The fun is in selecting the fabric, cutting the fabric and the sewing process.

            This was a fun week-end, but am glad that it is biennial as I don't think most of us will be worth anything for a few days.

            Thanks for all your kind remarks about the stabilizers, etc. I guess once an instructor - always an instructor.




          25. gailete | | #51

            I've found the heavy duty Sulky to work very well for lace and lace bookmarkers.


          26. MaryinColorado | | #54

            That's great, and I have the heavy duty Sulky here so I can make a lace Celtic bracelet for my Grand daughter.  Mary


          27. KharminJ | | #39

            I sure hope you're A) feeling better, and B) healthy enough for the testing, VERY SOON! No fun jumping through the health-care-system hoops, only to have to start over, 'cuz you're not healthy enough!! Sympathetic AAArrrGhhh's! Bright Blessings anyway ~ Kharmin

          28. MaryinColorado | | #41

            No "rules" at all dear!  We've reached that point in our lives where we've earned the privelege of making our own rules!  Well, when it comes to our sewing anyway.  I'm glad you enjoyed going through your blocks and remembering the pleasure of learning to piece. 

            My dragonfly wallhanging needs narrow binding, I haven't done a narrow one yet.  But now I am considering using a wrapped edge on the serger with some varigated thick thread instead.  Don't know whether it's a creative inspiration or just laziness so it will wait while I mull it over.  Yesterday I started a new wallhanging for my kitchen though. 

            I've misplaced my grandson's quilt parts while reorganizing the studio.  I put it somewhere "special" so I wouldn't misplace it in the chaos, oops.  A bit too "special" I guess!

            I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling well.  Hope you feel better soon and will be happily creating your BIL's quilt.  Mary


          29. Ceeayche | | #45

            I hope today you are feeling better. I send best wishes your way.

            Edited 6/4/2009 12:52 pm ET by CHL

          30. gailete | | #52

            Thank you. I finally was strong enough to take a shower and put on clothes today! Once you get that sick stench washed off and out of nighties in the middle of the day, you somehow feel stronger. Looking forward to sewing soon but tonight it will be in my head. Just got a copy of Creative Machine Embroidery in the mail to look at. Last issue also so I have to decide if I want to renew.


          31. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #55

            Glad to hear you are starting to feel better! Nothing better than a couple of mags to dream over to get the creative juices flowing. Cathy

          32. gailete | | #56

            Woke up dreaming about the quilt I want to make and also to sunshine and feeling better. So glad to feel better. It is rough enough to battle the chronic problems,  to get something else knocking me flat is too much!


          33. MaryinColorado | | #57

            I just got home from Barnes and Nobel, they don't have Creative Machine Embroidery or Threads magazine.  Bummer!  I guess I will have to just peruse my older issues for now.  Enoy yours!  so glad to hear you are feeling better.

          34. gailete | | #58

            Barnes and Noble is the only place that I can find some of the Australian magazines I like to look at (and buy when I have the money). It is always a bummer when they are out of stock! I don't get there very often, maybe every 2-3 months any more. Our library is having a big sale starting this weekend and I'm hoping to score some donated sewing magazines, crossing fingers that I find some good stuff and that I feel well enough to even go. Today was MUCH better. Thanks for the kind thoughts.


          35. MaryinColorado | | #59

            Sounds as if you are improving a little each day!  So glad to hear that things are looking up. 

            I hope you feel well enough to go to the library sale!  I am going to ask at our library and see if they do that,  hadn't heard of it before.  Mary

          36. Ceeayche | | #61

            I'm so happy you're feeling better!  I pray this is the first of many days of increasing health for you!

            A friend of our family lost her battle with breast cancer on Friday on the eve before Saturday's Komen Global Race for the Cure.  I found myself doubly grateful for waking up in time to serve as a volunteer for this great event (though I had to leave my home by 3AM to get to DC in time to serve as a team captain for the volunteers working the stage.  It was a beautiful event, but poignant due to Fran's passing.  

            So on this day I am also grateful for your improved health.  And, I hope you're back at the sewing machine doing what you love soon.

          37. gailete | | #62

            Thank you so much. I am feeling better. Got to attend the large library book sale yesterday and toted home a huge box of sewing and needlecraft books many which will end up in my sewing room and others will go up for sale. I've been enjoying going through them.

            I saw an auction on Ebay today for a Janome 9000 at a great buy it now price and hubby let me go for it. I had one once and sold it when life was tough, but didn't realize till later that I lost so many decorative machine stitches that I used so much. Hopefully all will be well with this purchase. I tried buying a Pfaffs 2 different times around Christmas and there were problems with both, so this is technically a very late Christmas present. I've been trying to figure out which machine would get me back to the stitches I had lost and the 9000 was certainly one of them. I decided it was smarter to stay within the same brand also so I can use the same presser feet, etc. instead of having to buy special for different machines makes.

            Sorry also on the death of your friend. My sister had breast cancer at age 27 but is still around now in her 50's. I've been part of the Sister Study for several years now.


            Edited 6/8/2009 8:49 pm ET by gailete

          38. Ceeayche | | #63

            Glad you're feeling better.  Your DH is a prince!  Congrats on the new machine. I hope it brings you hours of enjoyment and lovely creations.

          39. Jessie3 | | #28

            Hi Mary,

            No not at all excessive.  I don't know many people that have the same interest that I have, so I really enjoy hearing all about your projects.  I am just getting back into sewing I have started 4 quilts, which has been such a challenge for me.  I met a lady a year ago april and we met again at a sewing retreat with Nancy Zieman, (in Sept. "08"), and we have become pretty good friends.  We have quite a bit in common.  She too is a Nurse, both have 2 boys almost same ages, we both used the same motif in our boys nursery when they were babies.  My boys will be 22 and 18 this summer. Wow, that seems odd to me to see those ages, they were just little guys, God has blessed my DH and I. We will have been married 30 yrs in Nov. Again time sure flies.  Back to the quilts I have two moda quilts going and one batik, and a mystery quilt.  I am afraid I bit off more than I can chew with this quilt.  Thank goodness my friend is doing the same one.  Then I have a bag to start, and a tuscan wall hanging waiting for me to start and several fabric stashes.  Oh well I am sure I am boring you.

            One more question if you don't mind?  What kind of cabinet do you have for your machine?  What have you found to keep you organized.  Oops I lied, I have more questions, but I am afraid that would take us in to the next week, so I will save a few for later, that is if you don't mind me asking.  I hope you have a good week, I work on Tuesdays, but other than that I am usually around.



          40. MaryinColorado | | #29

            I'm going to take photos when I am done reorganizing (2nd time this year).  (If I ever get the curtains finished!  We just pulled out the carpet and brought in two tables that were being used elsewhere.  They are industrial type tables with formica tops and wheels. 

            South wall with high window: The table for sewing/embroidery has a shelf above it and one at floor level.  It holds all my embroidery "stuff", including stabilizers in plastic bins underneath.  (Ironing board will go in corner when I get my glass display cabinet moved to the bedroom.)

            Next to that is a wood chest with 3 drawers of threads only.  Baskets on top with notions, etc.  shelf with little tv/vcr.

            West wall with large window has serger table just has a shelf at the bottom.  The shelves and tables are adjustable, which is great for me as I am 5'.  (Before that, I had formica counter tops bolted to the walls and couldn't move them around).   

            Next to it is a 4 drawer wood chest with my serger accessories, feet, threads, books and articles on serging.  Printer on top.

            Desk for computer and files.

            North Wall: Another wood glass front cabinet with art supplies

            Walk in closet with projects hanging on hangers, shelves with batting, pillowforms, patterns in boxes, books and magazines, , plastic bin with fabric.  A metal stand with plastic drawers that holds printouts of embroidery designs with their floppy disks, and lots of magazine clippings to go in binders one day.  (more projects on to do list, tee hee.  Colored cardboard boxes full of zippers, velcro, dollmaking stuff.  A plastic toolbox with jewelrymaking stuff.  (Had a large computer desk in there but took it out when I got tired of being closed in.)  The large bulletin board is still up with pictures and mementos on it.  Hope to put those pictures in albums and use this for pattern pieces and sketches while working on them.  Ironing board set up.  Steamer.

            East wall: Folding cutting table.  Behind it is a wood cornice with tension shower rod inside to hang batting as a "design wall" and maybe someday a large artquilt.  Pole lamp.  10$ deal: wheeled drafting chair so I can sit and work at the cutting table, which really helps! 

            Basement spare room:  large white cabinet full of fabric, plastic bins with fabric too...and lots of grandkids "stuff".  Used to be a nice bedroom...oh well, hope to have the grandkids help me work on that this summer!  Mary




          41. Jessie3 | | #31

            WOW, I AM A LITTLE BEHIND!   I must catch up, the thread, the material, the storage, the tables, and of course the machines.  I have two mechanical singers, original owner of one and found the other at a thrift store for 24.95, just could not pass up the old workhorse.  I have a 12 needle Baby Lock embellisher, and then the Ellegante.  I have a start but not like you.  I need that serger, the one I am looking at is the Baby Lock Evolve with the jet air threading that's about $2000.00.  Once I get it I will feel pretty much done for a while in purchasing machines.  Do all the Vikings do the coverstitch or just one model?  Which one of the Vikings would you recommend?

            What embroidery thread do you use.  I have a friend with a business and she uses metro thread and thread art.  Have you used those?  I am always looking for good deal on thread, it can get expensive.  Right now I am using Madeira thread, I got the thread chest with the purchase of my machine.

            I have a three bedroom home, but need all three as bedrooms.  In about two years I will be able to convert one for a sewing room.  So for now it is the kitchen table.  We plan to move to a larger home, we just really want to wait and get one of the boys through college and the other started before we move.  One will graduate next year from college as an Engineer, and the other High School.  They both plan to go to grad school but that will be on them. One wants to go on to law school the other to dental school, but who knows we will have to wait and see if dental is still his plan. I know I changed majors more than once myself . 

            Well enough of my whining. 

            So for now my storage and organization consist of Rubbermaid storage containers.  I keep my current projects separated into one smaller clear containers.  That's about the best I can do in my current situation. Do you have any solutions for my situation, I need to be pretty much portable.

            Thanks, have a nice evening.

            Sonja (in Oklahoma)

            Edited 6/1/2009 9:44 pm ET by Jessie3

            Edited 6/1/2009 9:47 pm ET by Jessie3

            Edited 6/1/2009 9:48 pm ET by Jessie3

          42. MaryinColorado | | #32

            Hi!  I really did alot of research before I bought my serger.  I kept all the informatin in a spiral notebook and took it with me to look at machines and test drive.  I read online and books from the library, watched Nancy Zeiman and Martha Pullen on PBS, bought Serger Secrets.  Decided on the Husqvarna Viking 936 and never looked back.  I love this machine!  It also has Coverstitch. 

             My first thought was to buy the Jet Air Threading because of arthritis in my hands, the reason I didn't: couldn't put thick threads like Perle Crown Rayon, 12 wt. Sulky Cotton Blendables, Glamour, etc. through the loopers.  The ladies in the stores couldn't either, so that was marked off my list.  Most people likely will use their sergers for traditional serging so that may not be a consideration. 

            I do "artistic" things with my serger like making thread scarves, creating fabric from thread and water soluble stabilizer, edge finish quilts with a wrapped stitch or a blanket stitch and heavy thread or yarn instead of binding.  (Lazy me, this is quick and easy and can look like piping too, fun with those heavy varigated threads). 

            You can even do Heirloom serging as in Cathy McMakin's book from http://www.marthapullen.com  She also has a great book on serging for babies, with patterns included. 

            http://www.lindaleeoriginals.com has serger specific patterns, books, etc. 

            You would be amazed at all you can do with a simple basic serger.  There is a learning curve with learning to thread a serger, but it's easy once you get the hang of it and practice a few times. 

            Good luck in your search! 

          43. Jessie3 | | #33

            Thanks for all your help. I will definatly look at the viking model you have.   I am just now looking at the sergers,  I probably won't buy til Christmas.  Talk to you later, have a good day!


          44. MaryinColorado | | #34

            That's good that you are taking your time to consider what you want in a serger, how you will use it, and finding the right machine for you.  Did I remember to mention, certified (brand name) service/repair?  I haven't needed it for the serger, but do take all my machines in every year or so for a check up.  I really put them through their paces, but love to keep them running like new.  I also have one of those little vacuum attatchments to clean them.  (runs around $10.00).  I never use that canned air as it can freeze up machines.  Enjoy the journey!  Mary

          45. Jessie3 | | #35

            Thanks for the tip on the canned air.  I had no idea about the canned air freezing up a machine.

            Anything else you can add I would appreciate it.  You can never get enough information when you spend this kind of money , they don't come  cheap.

            Keep in touch!


          46. KharminJ | | #38

            Hi, Mary ~

            Re: Canned air vs. mini-vacuums: I'd never thought about the temperature effect, either, but it does make sense. I was thinking that a vacuum sucks the dust off what you aim it at and takes it "away", while canned air merely moves it "somewhere else", usually deeper into where you don't want it, and at high velocity! ;-}Kharmin

          47. MaryinColorado | | #42

            I have to thank you for your "Bright Blessings" that you post here!  It comes to mind throughout my day and always makes me smile, and appreciate the good things I do have in my life.  It's very uplifting.  Thank You!  Mary

          48. KharminJ | | #46

            Dear Mary ~ Oh, I'm so glad you "Get it"!I firmly believe that we each find what we show (and tell) the Universe we're looking for - both in word choice and 'tone of voice'. And that "What goes around, comes around!", too ~

            HTH! Pass it on! Kharmin

          49. MaryinColorado | | #48

            Yes, I definitely get it!  The famous Golden Rule.  A little humanity goes a long long way.  Bright Blessings to You too!  Mary

          50. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #44

            Basically a correct thought Kharmin! I have a small "air pig" or portable air tank that I keep filled with room temperature air to remove the deep stubborn stuff the vacuum will not pull out. The trick is to blow away from the machine, inside to outside, under short gentle bursts if needed! I usually do this with the vac running to catch the airborne stuff as much as possible. The problem with this is that the air absorbs moisture as it sits, and is not dry air. This is not good for electronic machines, and you have to be extra careful around them. Once in a while is not going to hurt, and is less expensive in the long run, and less damaging than the cold frigid air. Cathy

          51. ohiostar | | #30

            Hi Mary
            I just got my Huskylock 936 about 3 months ago, and I am in serger heaven. I have the 910 that I purchased 8 years ago, and a few months after than had wished that I had bought the 936 instead. But now I have both machines the 936 set up to do coverstitch and decorative stitches only, and my durable 910 to do everything else. Currently I am on a garment sewing spree to use my 936 as much as possible.Our workrooms sound similar.Projects everywhere and also piles of 2gallon project storage bags to keep the cats from making my workroom worse. These health limitations certainly do take over.

          52. MaryinColorado | | #21

            Thank You for your heartwarming words!  You ladies made my day so bright, just when I needed a lift!  Don't know what I'd do without this wonderful forum and all the kind knowledgeable sharing friends here!  Thanks!  Mary

          53. MaryinColorado | | #20

            Thank You so much for the kind compliments, (blushing here).   I am so glad to hear that you found a wonderful supportive dealership and the machine that is "just right" for you!  I hope you will have many years of creative delight with your new machine!  Mary

  3. gailete | | #5

    I have a janome 300 also and it does everything I need it to and it can also use the Janome gigahoop 8"x8". I would highly recommend that you get a separate embroidery machine not a combo. I had both Janome 8000 and 9000 and with the length of time it takes to embroider out some patterns, you are stuck staring at your machine for hours with no ability to sew. My longest embroidery design took 2 1/2 hours to sew out! Yes, the combo machines can maybe do some marvelous things, perhaps more than a stand alone embroidery machine, but what good is that if you can't use it to do some simple mending or whatever while embroidering?

    You definitely want to be able to get classes included with your purchase and a dealer that can help you make an informed choice. Don't feel that you have to purchase lots of embroidery designs right from the get go too. If you check my website http://www.MoonwishesSewing.com you will find a listing of lots of embroidery sites that give out freebies so you can test their products prior to buying. Sign up for the different site's newsletters so you can get emailed when they post new designs and freebies. I have probably several thousand free designs for just about any kind of project. Most can be downloaded without knowing what format you will be needing and if you aren't sure yet and do have to specify, down load all the formats one at a time, once you have a machine and know the format you need, you can delete the spares.

    Hope this is some help, I didn't go into the 300 much as the other poster already did.


    1. cinderelladressmaker | | #6

      Thank you so much Gail for all the info and I love your site!  You are so right about not getting a dual purpose machine.  It will definitely be an embroidery only.  I love helpful sites and people.  I looked at it briefly, but will spend way more time on it tonight.  Stay well and happy sewing!  I will send you a message again as soon as I peruse your site. 


      1. gailete | | #15

        You mentioned to one of the other ladies about not wanting what you buy to go out of date or be noncompliant after awhile. I think this is why I have stuck with Janome (besides being happy with them) as feet can be used on the different machine. However, the embroidery only machine only uses the one foot so that isn't a consideration when looking at that type of machine.

        As you are a dressmaker, you would certainly want the regular hoops that come with your machine and rather than a meg hoop, you might want to be sure you are getting the smallest hoop possibly. Janome has one that does 2"x2" designs which would be great for doing monograms on shirt cuffs, little designs to add oomph to collars and pockets, things like that. It is on my wish list. I have the Gigahoop and use it, but I also do quilting and large designs and that helps. When using a hoop you want the smallest size possible for the design you are doing as that helps to hold the fabric more taut and consequently a better sew out. You would still need to stabilize, but I sure notice the difference between using my big hoop and my smaller one on the fabric tension.

        Once you have your machine, the software needed to combine and edit your designs and the hoops you think you will need, you can just shut the door to your sewing room and ignore all the new stuff coming on the market. If you have a good supply of designs (many that you can pick up free) you should actually be all set. I've had my 300 for I think 6 years and have no desire to upgrade. I love machines and wouldn't turn one down if someone wanted to gift me with one, but I don't want to have to go through the learning curve of a different brand, needing to collect designs from a different brand and then all the accessories and software for a different brand. It is good you are taking your time to decide what you want and need.

        Glad to be of help.


  4. jemima1 | | #64

    I am also looking for a sewing/embroidery machine. I would like to know if current 2010 comments. I looked at baby lock, brother and kenmore. I was not impressed by the presentation of any of them. I also stopped in a quilt shop and they only use Janome. So what is recommended? I read this forum but I have never done this before. Is there any web site that gives charts or more comments on machines? Is there any consumer reports? Thanks.

    1. Palady | | #65

      There may be a current evalaution list from Threads magazine but I was unable to find it. Consumer Reports has a site. You likely need to "join."


      Many members have emboiderers and hopefully someone who does will reply to you with more inforamtion than I am offering. I opted out of getting one at this point in my sewing life. I can say. from waht I've read Janome's are quality machines.


  5. munsheethodange | | #66

    Machine to choose for your purpose


          I would recommend you to first analys your requirment in embroidery.If you are into large scale production I gues you will have to meet an expert company such as BrotherUSA. We being into Embroidery Digitizing  use embroidery machines from BrotherUSA.



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