Emily is off to University in a weeks time. So I thought that we'd better start on her quilt. We'd bought the fabric while we were at the Festival of Quilts.
I ordered some new tools from Creative Grids. It is such a pleasure to be using a new rotary cutter and ruler!
For the piecing I decided to try out a new sewing machine; the JUKI Exceed F600. We have the machine on loan for a DVD film shoot. But it was still in the box. A customer earlier in the week was raving about how fantastic it was for her dressmaking alteration business. So I decided that it might be fun to try it out for this project.
I do use the JUKI TL 98-P on my New English Quilter frame. And I love it! There is nothing else in the UK market that comes close to its performance on a frame. But I've found that I need 2 machines. I need a designated frame machine as I don't want to be taking a machine on and off the frame. And I need a machine for piecing and binding and general mending and sewing. Yesterday, I decided to try the JUKI Exceed F600 for piecing Emily's quilt. First I had to get it out of the box and set it up.
I am not one of those people who have a natural affinity for machines. So I opened the box with a certain amount of trepidation. I don't really enjoy reading directions. I was a bit worried that setting it up might be too frustrating. What a pleasant surprise! It was easy. The set-up from opening the box to sewing the first seam was less than 30 minutes.
The manual is brilliant! I'm not a 'read-the-manual-from-cover-to-cover-before-I-start' kind of person. I am not proud of this personality quirk. And I have a great appreciation for the people who do read the directions. I'm married to one and some of my kids are so inclined and they get me out of all kinds of trouble. Anyway, I need a manual that is clearly set out so I can find just the bits I need when I need them; like how to thread the machine. This was easy to find and very clear. There were also very clear diagrams on the actual sewing machine. Fantastic.
There is even a needle thread-er which I was able to work on the very first try just by following the pictures on the sewing machine! This was a total first for me! I tried and failed to use a sewing machine needle thread-er years ago and never tried again. I can't tell you how impressed I was. Yes, I was doing the 'happy dance'. My kids were even proud of me.
I have a sizeable collection of the larger thread cones. I use these for machine quilting but some of the ranges are ideal for piecing too. Thread is always less expensive yard for yard on the larger cones and I didn't want to be limited to using the smaller spools. So I set up a thread stand just to the back of the machine. The larger cones are cross wound which means that the thread needs to come off the top of the cone. So I ran the thread through the extended guide on the thread stand and then followed the thread guide directions on the machine. It worked just fine.
I also like to use pre-wound bobbins in the JUKI TL98-P when I machine quilt and I was delighted to find that the pre-wounds also work in the Exceed range.
I'll be posting more about this JUKI Exceed F600. Here are a few points to sum up the first impression. This is a well thought out machine. I would go so far as to call it intuitive and girl friendly. It was easy to set up. Easy to thread. Easy to get started. Because of that I got to spend lots of time piecing. This sewing machine is very very nice to piece with. But I'll post more about that tomorrow.