Box Feed! If I had just two words to say about the JUKI Exceed F600 sewing machine - it would be - Box Feed.
I'm talking here about how the sewing machine pulls the fabric under the needle. There are 'feed dogs' - I think the name comes from the 'metal teeth' that come up from underneath and grab the fabric. Combined with the action of the pressure foot, the feed dogs pull the fabric under the needle. Home sewing machine feeding systems use an oval motion to pull the fabric under the needle. But industrial sewing machines use a Box motion which has more contact with the fabric, so the feeding system is stronger and more consistent. OK, so what's the big deal?
Straight seams! Right now straight seams are a big deal! I've been piecing some tops to use in the next Line Dancing DVD. Two of the quilts tops involve lots of strip piecing and I was struggling with puckering, particularly at the start and stop of the line. I just put this down to 'user error' on my part and tried to fiddle with the tension without much success. I tried to iron out the puckers which only worked up to a point. In the end I was frustrated by the distortion and put the project to the side.
This is why I am so impressed with the JUKI Exceed. Right from the start, my seams were straight, perfectly straight. I rang up my sewing machine guy and started waxing lyrical about my sudden new found ability to sew straight seams and he began explaining how the box feed works. Now I feel great. Those wonky puckered seams were not my fault. The sewing machine guy explained that the puckering is due to a hesitation - caused by the oval feed movement. It just takes a bit longer to get hold of the fabric and this is what causes the puckering. The box feed used by the industrial machines has a firmer grip on the fabric so the feed is steady and even, creating a beautiful straight line of stitching.
I was really enjoying how easily those initial blocks came together. Later as I was piecing entire sections of the quilt. I was impressed with how easily the machine handled the heavier weight of the entire quilt. The even and consistent feed meant that my quilt came together straight and square.
JUKI sewing machines are the only domestic home machines with a Box Feed. I've been using the JUKI TL 98P for years on my New English Quilter frame. And the JUKI TL 98P also has a box feed system. But as I drop the feed dogs for free-motion quilting, I'd never used it! So I'd never realized just how great the box feed system was. Now I do!
Yesterday I finished piecing Emily's quilt for University. Today Emily is quilting it!