Oscar is my Janome 4120QDC. I've had it just over a year now. It was a gift from "Santa" that I was given a budget and allowed to "shop for" to make sure I got one that would meet my needs. And then I had to wait. Which is fair. Not complaining. But how in the world I made three quilts as gifts that year on my old machine, I'll never know.... (For the record, it was a Kenmore I had for fifteen years, made in the nineties so good enough to sew with but not good enough to last. No amount of oil or servicing kept that one from squealing horribly.)
What was I looking for in a machine?
|If you ever decide to use metal bobbins in your machine, don't let the lady at the sewing machine store know. You WILL get a talking to.... Trust me.|
- Free-motion capability. Check!! My old machine made it impossible to learn the technique and I had a couple of quilts waiting, basted, until I could. Now, I have only myself to blame for any lack in that department.
- Multiple needle positions. Check!! I have always had trouble with a scant 1/4" and wanted to be able to move that needle over just a smidgeon. Scant 1/4" is now possible and very consistent!
- Drop-in bobbins. Check! My old machine, you had to remove the "storage/base" and then flip open the door, fiddle with the bobbin holder case thingy for a hour or so, swear until the air was blue, and then try to sew unsuccessfully before repeating the entire sequence... Not anymore!
- Versatility. I don't just sew quilts and things with straight lines. I needed a machine that I could do clothes, mending, bags, whatever, with and this machine doesn't disappoint. However, I will confess that sometimes, really thick layers will cause some skipped stitches so I switch to a denim needle for heavy projects. Though I was afraid of them, it handles knits beautifully. Look at the Renfrew top I sewed last month (after having the fabric and pattern for two months...)
|Ah, stereotypical bathroom mirror photography. Just what you were hoping for...!|
What are the bonuses?
- Automatic thread cutter. Freakin' love it. How did I ever sew without it?
- Needle up/down. Optional needle-down-at-stop settings. A must for turning corners and having to stop during FMQ - no jogged stitches!
- Computerized settings. Beautiful. Makes it easy to ensure consistency in a project that happens over time, as opposed to all at once.
- Quilting kit. It came with a walking foot, guide, extension table, 1/4" foot, stitch in the ditch foot and a couple of other doodads for quilters. Nice perk.
- It's fairly quiet. Compared to Squealy McKenmore, it's lovely, and a television or radio can be heard over it. Very nice for a hockey fan.
- Lots of little bells and whistles. Stop/lock stitches. Variable speed control. Optional foot pedal. Wide variety of accessories available for it (love the border foot!) Eleventy billion stitches.
|That crazy one over the seam is ugly because of execution, not the stitch setting. That one's all me.|
What would I change?
- The throat's a little small for quilting big stuff but I wrestle even large quilts through there. Right now, I just consider it equivalent to weight lifting and skip the gym.
- When, oh, when are they going to invent little icons and alerts for things like empty bobbins and feed-dogs-down? Better yet, have a voice that sounds like Redd Fox that says, "You're sewing with the feed dogs down, dummy!" That would save me tons of frustration when I forget to raise them and create cumbersome thread knots, ruining fabric, and wondering why it's not going anywhere while simultaneously reminding me that I love Redd Fox. (God rest ye sir!)
- It's a little tricky to get even my tiny little lint brush into all the crannies that collect lint. I wish there was a another layer or two of parts I could remove to get better access. Every time I clean it out, I just know there's lint bunnies hiding in there laughing at me.... I need one of those vacuum kits, I guess.
|Oh, and the thread spindle is a little short for things like Aurafil but I've managed to work around it by flipping the stopper around. But it works fine for Gutermann.|
Would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely! but maybe not as your first sewing machine. It's an excellent second machine/upgrade but I imagine it could be quite intimidating if you're just beginning. Plus, so much stuff you don't necessarily need until you've practiced and gotten comfortable with the whole process. That said, I've had no problems with mine; it does what I need it to, and then some. It's given me a lot of confidence and room to grow and develop new skills.
|This is where I usually sew. Very untidy at the moment. And those fabric baskets are a bit of a fail but I'm not ready to talk about it yet. :-)|
Plus, I've found I make sewing more of a priority since I got it. The quieter machine means I'm not alienating people around me and I can use it more hours of the day, it's easier to take down and set up - though it stays out most of the time, and it's just nice to use. So there you go!
Thanks for hanging out and reading about my machine! There's lots more to get familiar with, if it tickles your fancy. Go check them out!
SUNDAY, MARCH 17
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THURSDAY, MARCH 21
FRIDAY, MARCH 22